cyber bard, composer, performer and author

Archetypes live dates

kozfest2016_archetypes15At summer solstice I reformed The Archetypes with Rich Mason (gtr/vox) and Laura Tupker (vox/perc) from Tantric Panic. I’ve been having fun playing bass with them over the last year, so I pitched the idea of doing some amped-up psychedelic rock, which they responded to enthusiastically. Sadly communications with Jim Peters broke down earlier in the year. I’m going to cite personal and musical differences here, you know the story. So I invited synth wizard Andy Bull, who has previously worked with Nukli and Will Greenwood amongst others, to come and add his cosmic harmonics to the mix. A week before the gig we still had no drummer, but Greg Willow came to our rescue with a huge barrel of enthusiasm and sat in on the first gig. It went down so well that Dave Hatfield has asked us to cover the solstices and equinoxes at the King Arthur for the foreseeable future – We’ve confirmed Dec 21st and March 20th 2017 so far.

kozfest2016_archetypes27The fact that we all live fairly close to one another has meant that this line-up has been able to practice regularly. This definitely reflects in performances and as a result I’m much happier with what I’m hearing than ever before. The combined energy of the band, particularly between me, Rich and Greg, is pure rock’n’roll; I’m loving it! Since Lemmy’s passing I’ve turned up the gain and started using a pick on some numbers; I’m finding this rather liberating too.

kozfest2016_archetypes21Our Kozfest performance got recorded this summer by Pete Wibrew (Gentleman and scholar), so some of that will get released in some form fairly soon. Is that vague enough for you? I seriously can’t wait for you to hear it … because the songs are actually sounding like they do in my head at last. Greg, Andy, Rich and Laura are a phenomenal team to work with. I’m loving the way everyone makes a uniquely strong contribution to the sound and I’m impatient to do more.

Sadly there isn’t much on the horizon for the band before solstice. This is in part due to Rich being in chronic back pain for the last few months, which makes touring unthinkable right now. Hopefully in the new year. Meanwhile we shall be working on some new material for the solstice gig and some old stuff that you won’t have heard like this before! Mwahaha! And I’ll work on getting this Kofest recording in front of your lugholes. From here on in it’s a scorched mirth campaign, leaving no left turn unstoned. Love this planet or get lost …

Big Love

Uncarved gets released

mellstock_cover It gives me great pleasure to announce that Uncarved :: Live at Mellstock is now officially a thing. It represents a small step for mankind, but a huge step for me in crowd-funding. The entire production has been financed on goodwill and donations. I neither have a day job, trust fund or savings, nor do I claim benefits. I survive literally on what I earn from music, every month I struggle to pay the bills … I’m not complaining, it’s a good life, but it does get tricky when you need to come up with chunks of money all at once.

I’ve been particularly inspired by Amanda Palmer on the “Art of Asking” and although I don’t have anything like the fan-base she has built up, I thought I’d give it a go. What I have learned is that there are a lot more people than I had imagined who are prepared to support my music. If that wasn’t amazing enough, along with financial support came heartfelt messages, constructive advice and feedback. By asking for help I have got a really strong message back that you lot want me to keep on writing, playing and recording music.

So this album was recorded at a little festival in Mells. Mells is the ‘plum’ that Jack Horner pulled out of the pie, so the album was recorded in the church that Jack built. The festival was put on in order to raise money for Help in Action and the whole thing was recorded by Sam Welbourne. Sam persuaded me that the recording was releasable and in the final analysis I decided to release the whole performance, nothing added or taken away, as the set had a really nice coherence to it. I had wanted to put out something that represented me busking and for my birthday last year, Earl Bramley-Howard had given me a wonderful pencil drawing of me performing on the street, which seemed the perfect piece of artwork to use for he cover. All the pieces came together really smoothly once I decided to do it.

Sam has given his time and expertise largely on trust, and this is now the third album he has facilitated in this way. I put out a cry for help in August and was overwhelmed with the responses, pulling in enough to keep the website running and produce an initial run of CDs in just two days! Despite all this support it is still slow, going. It’s taken me two months to get round to updating the site. Hi Dad. And I still have a few pre-orders to dispatch. This is partly because I’m an ultra-distractable creative person, I have just completed a series of maps showing language families and dialect continuums across the world and I’m writing a comedy screenplay, oh and the book … , partly because I’m working with such a limited cash-flow and I’m also just really rubbish at posting things. In an ideal world I would have someone do deal with the mail order. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for me as you can now download it from Bandcamp. So thank you all for your patience, I hope it has been worth the wait!

So here is Uncarved. I really couldn’t have done this without you.

Thank You!

Will’s Last Terrestament

Download

  1. Lowlands 04:48
  2. Samsara 05:14
  3. Truth – Box of Rain – The End of Words 18:39
  4. She Lives in a Time of Her Own – Mining for Starlight – Love Chant – Music is Love 23:30

In Memory of Will Greenwood (1959 – 2014)

In August 2013 on a stage in Devon at Kozfest there was a re-convergence of four old brothers of sound: Tim Hawthorn, Will Greenwood and myself had not played together for 10 years, and we were joined by our old pal from Invisible Opera Company of Tibet times, Nick Harrison on drums, who Tim and I had not seen for even longer, and who Will had never played with at all!

An hour of unrehearsed spontaneous psionic surfing ensued, with another the following weekend at the Green Gathering. We were so happy to be playing together again doing our psychedelic thang, and that seemed to be communicated to our audiences in a pleasing way. We agreed to do it a lot more often from then on!

Four months later we assembled again (without Nick) in the living room at St. Dunstan’s House, next door to Glastonbury Abbey ruins, for an intimate Midwinter’s evening of Solstice carols and Tim’s songs, at the behest of our marvelous host, Sam Welbourne who, naturally, recorded the performance.

We had no idea it was to be Will’s last. He died 10 weeks later on 10th February 2014.

Playing with Will was always special and exciting for me: his mastery of the guitar and boundless musical versatility and invention, played with a crackling intensity yet such apparent ease, sparked me in a rare way and something exciting always happened. A precious and thrilling thing!

Then, when you add Tim’s amazing songs and our harmony blend…
and decorate with the beauty of vocals from Laura Iseley, and violin and flute from Harmony Davies…

Magick Can Occur.

Thanks to Sam’s vision, generosity and care we reckon we’ve bottled some, and with it Will Greenwood’s last display of sonic wizardry.

Blessed Be!

Will’s last text message to me, a few days before he died, was upbeat and ended thus:

“Let’s get together and play soon mate. Music Is Love and I wanna play! Want to sound like a good band, which I think we are xx”

Music Iz Love!

Jim Iz
Glastonbury, 11th Feb 2015

released February 11, 2015

Will Greenwood – Lead guitar
Jim Peters – Keys, D whistle and vocals
Harmony Davies – Violin and flute
Laura Iseley – Vocals
Tim Hawthorn – Guitar and vocals

Produced by Sam Welbourne, Jim Peters and Tim Hawthorn

Uncarved :: Live at Mellstock

Download

  1. Dangerous Thing 3:28
  2. Overnight (Robb Johnson) 5:28
  3. Blood Mother / Cailleagh 10:19
  4. Maid in Bedlam (trad) 4:25
  5. Samsara 4:40
  6. Dance your Dreaming Awake 3:51
  7. She Lives in a Time Of Her Own (Rocky Ericson / Tommy Hall) / Mining for Starlight 8:16
  8. Oak and Ash and Thorn (Rudyard Kipling) 5:31

This is a live solo acoustic concert recorded at Mellstock, which was organised to raise money for Help in Action
credits
released September 23, 2016

Recorded by Sam Welbourne
Cover drawing by Earl Bramley-Howard

Spring releases (boing!)

Continuing the story of getting this backlog of recordings released:

We’ve just released Mandala Mother an archive recording of me and Jim Iz around one microphone at Dave Goodman’s in 1997. The first few copies will come with unique hand-made covers. Please give me a few more days to get the ordering system in place. It’s been rather hectic of late.

Close on its heels we intend to release Crazy Horseshoe Resurrection a recent band jam session; and Live at St Dunstan’s a live record of our semi-acoustic set and the last gig Will played with us.

In the longer pipeline is the long awaited Invisible Opera album Open for Isness; a live Silver on the Tree album and we’re also intending to remaster and digitise Eye of the Aeon / Mystic Spiral at some point.

Then there’s my solo album, working title The End of Words which I hope to be able to release during my own lifetime.

They will all be made available via bandcamp and on CD when the time comes.

Mandala Mother

Download

  1. Truth 05:39
  2. All Comin’ True 08:09
  3. Bad Self 05:09
  4. Simple Song 07:10
  5. Mining for Starlight 05:13
  6. Music Power Medicine 06:00
  7. Empty Space 03:20
  8. Uma Parvati 04:47
  9. Divine Mother 05:46

The morning after a crazy party on Gypsy Hill in honour of Matt Spacegoat’s birthday 1997, Dave Goodman locked us in the studio with only a stereo microphone for comfort. This is what happened.

So, friends and dear ones, here’s a thing … In the aftermath of a rather colourful party at Mandala Central Gypsy Hill in October ’97 in honour of Matt Spacegoat, ‘Dalaman’ Dave Goodman (always remembered with deep Love) ushered Tim and I down into the hallowed basement, assembled us around a microphone and said, “just do those songs you were both singin’ last night,” as he pressed the Red Button and walked back upstairs … That was 17 years ago … the resultant recording has been heard by maybe half a dozen people since (therein lies another tale, or two). On the few occasions I’ve rediscovered it over the years, I have always been struck by the energy and joy in the performances … we were flying and you could tell! The summer of 1997 was intensely potent, creative and magical for us, and this musical snapshot always seemed to me to be a distillation of that halcyon time. Dave captured and bottled the essence of the particular phenomenon that is the musical blend of Tim and myself, bless ‘im x Then I was in my 34th year, and now 17 years on I am in my 51st. (you do the …) This is the next octave of the story. Music is powerful medicine (I wrote that somewhere), and we’ve not really released our musical spells out into the world in all these years, but the time is NOW! We have survived, and this is a time of rekindling connections. There’s more than a whiff of that same magic in the air and we have ignition! We’re playing together again, and recently have been doing our thing out on the street for the first time and ‘coincidentally’ being filmed in full flow …

The full electric psychedelic boogie band experience is also back up and very much happening, with the addition of old friends and new, taking off in a field near you this summer … channels open, power’s on! Psst! here’s another thing … we’d rather be playing on the street because we want to,  not because we have to. So, if you dig the music, or if you might get a warm glow from helping us to keep doing what we seem to be on this planet to do … or even both … for a fiver (or more if you feel so inspired), you can download the whole 9 song session which we’ve named Mandala Mother here: http://timhawthorn.bandcamp.com/album/mandala-mother. Alternatively, if you still have a yen for those old-fangled CD objects, you can order Limited Edition CDs, each  with Unique Hand-made Covers (may include sparkles) … message us.  Music is Love, and we’re prepared to put our music where your ears is! There’s so much more to unleash … we really appreciate every drop of encouragement! Thank you for helping us get this thing in the air …

Cover art: Jo Thilwind.

released 14 May 2014

Busking Videos

Jim and I were recently captured singing for our supper in Glastonbury by camera genius Tom Eveson. We’re rather pleased with the results, although silencers on the passing motorbikes wouldn’t have gone amiss.

Check out the rest of Tom’s work too, he’s a bit good at capturing random moments of beauty in and around Glastonbury. 🙂

RIP Will Greenwood

We’re still reeling from the death of our guitarist earlier this year.
http://www.centralsomersetgazette.co.uk/Tributes-paid-Glastonbury-musician-Greenwood/story-20766145-detail/story.html published a great obit so reprinting here as words still fail me.

Will Greenwood

FAMILY and friends have paid tribute to talented musician Will Greenwood, following his sudden death.

Will, who was born Stephen Worley in Greenwich, South London, on June 13, 1959, and was raised in Deptford.

His dad, Reg, died when he was 11 and after that he was brought up by his mum, Vera, and his uncles – They were a proper close knit London family.

His mum and dad met when she was working in the Co-op in Deptford and his dad came in to buy some corned beef, she gave him extra and the romance bloomed.

His mum never remarried after his dad died and she always said she was her one true love. This made Will a real romantic.

Will moved to Glastonbury in the mid-80s and after arriving he quickly joined the music scene.

He became the musical director of Glastonbury Town Players for eight years in which he staged seven pantomimes and regular seasonal shows and cabarets.

He lived on boats for some time in the 90s and bought another boat in 2009 with money left to him after his mum died. He then began to partially live on the boat, mainly on the Kennet and Avon Canal but also venturing onto the Thames, the Avon, and the River Wey in the summer.

Will’s partner Jacqui Woodward Smith said: “He was a real wanderer and lover of the land. He also loved science, especially physics and astronomy, and had been studying for a degree with the Open University. His love of space comes out a lot in his music.”

Will, who leaves a daughter named Gaia who is in her early twenties, was part of the peace convoy at the Battle of the Beanfield on June 1, 1985. Although he wasn’t with the group when they were attacked, he witnessed the devastation of it the following day.

Will was a talented artist, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, but his main love and talent was the guitar. He is widely acknowledged as being one of the best guitarists on the festival scene.

Will formed his first band in 1974 playing his first gigs jamming on the South London blues pub rock scene. He has also been a regular on free festival stages since the mid-70s.

Unable to study music at school, Will taught himself guitar and attended electronic music classes at Goldsmiths College.

In the mid-80s Will started the original Space Pirates. They played gigs and festivals throughout the 80s and 90s and they supported bands such as Here and Now, Hawkwind, Radio Mongolia and Cardiacs.

Will was also involved with many other bands and projects over the years including Blue Cheese From Space, Splatman, Glass Unicorn, Spannerman, Titanic Dance Band, Will Greenwood’s Impossible Stress Factor, Medicine, Kemunnos, Hubba, Indivisible, Invisible Opera, The Kaputniks and The Glissando Orchestra.

Will’s first recordings were with Joie Hinton in 1986 and then on his own equipment from 1987 onwards, during which time he developed as a multi-instrumentalist arranger and songwriter. His first album Half a Dozen of the Other was released in 2000, followed by Lament to a Space Pirate in 2004 and The Endlessness of It All in 2009.

Will also arranged one last outing for the Space Pirates recording Avast Beyond in 2007 and performing a few gigs, notably at that year’s Eastern Haze event.

Will’s most recent performances included performing as part of The Glissando Orchestra and at Kozfest 2013.

Will was due to play this year at both Cosmic Puffin and Kozfest, both festivals that were very close to his heart.

This year’s Kozfest will be dedicated to Will’s memory and the Top Field at Kozfest will now be named The Will Greenwood field.

Mrs Woodward Smith added: “I thought that he was a brave and intelligent man, who never lost his kindness and humanity despite his illness and the lack of support he received. I think that his alternative way of life is something that the authorities find it hard to handle in terms of offering healthcare. We had a very difficult time.”

Unfortunately, he suffered from poor mental health throughout most of his life and that was made much worse when he began to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the early 90s.

Since his sudden death on February 10, there have been several tributes to Will on the radio, most notably on Radio Caroline and an hour-long tribute by Starship Overflow.

His funeral will be held in Glastonbury on March 7 followed by a woodland burial close to Stonehenge.

His funeral has been entirely funded and organised by family and friends so that it will be completely about him.

Read more: http://www.centralsomersetgazette.co.uk/Tributes-paid-Glastonbury-musician-Greenwood/story-20766145-detail/story.html#ixzz30xPyI3Ll

Midwinter’s Day release

Sam Welbourne (MD of Mindful Sounds) had this brilliant idea. Let’s record this gig, mix it in a matter of days and put it up for immediate download.

1512259_250360861794568_1429213836_o
Through love and music, we make history!
The Silver Twiglets, Frost Fayre 2013
The Silver Twiglets at the Frost Fayre, Glastonbury, earlier in December.

So I now have a glorious new bandcamp page with two albums available – the original Carols for Solstice, recorded in 1997 and the new live versions recorded on the 22nd December 2013 at St. Dunstan’s House.

Not only that but we recorded the semi-acoustic set afterwards with Jim Peters, Harmony, Laura Iseley and Will Greenwood, which is taking a little longer to mix, but should be out in some format soon.

I’ll put the back catalogue up on bandcamp in the New Year.

Blessings of the Season!

Live on Midwinter’s Day

Live on Midwinter's DayDownload Only

  1. Welcum Yule
  2. The Carol of the Unconquered Sun
  3. The Praise of Solstice
  4. Zummerzet Wassail
  5. Green Growth The Holly
  6. The Greensleeves Carol
  7. Levy Dew
  8. Midwinter’s Day
  9. The Grail Carol
  10. The Holly and The Ivy
  11. Deck the Hall
  12. Patapan
  13. The Apple Tree Wassail
  14. Celtic Prayer
released 25 December 2013
Carol concert recorded live at St Dunstan’s House, Glastonbury 22nd Dec 2013. Engineered and masterminded by Sam Welbourne.Cover design: Will Greenwood, Photo: Amanda Earthwren.50% of profits go to St Dunstan’s House restoration project.

The impossible may take a little longer …

Since putting out the call for support at the beginning of October, you lovely people have been amazing! One person offered to put up the money for a new soundcard, another funded a stock of CDs and cases and someone else has offered to pay for the covers. I have also been offered the loan of several bass guitars. Not to mention passing donations, general kindness and people actually buying CDs! Thank you all for your support.

I am by no means out of the woods yet, but I am able to survive and get on with making music for the time being. So I’ve created backing tracks for four songs over the last month Certain Things, Nothing Serious, Who But I? and The End of Words. Only ten more tracks to get started. If I carry on at this rate the album will be finished about Spring Equinox next year!

I have been struggling with the bass parts slightly because my old fretless is not really up to the job, several people have now offered the loan of fretted models, so I all I have to do is play the bass-lines right now. I have several wonderful musicians lined up to add instrumental and vocal parts, it’s all about finding / making time to do it.

Carols for Solstice CDI’m in process of redesigning my CD covers and generally tidying up the contents. I’m planning on doing another run of Carols for Solstice very soon, so get your orders in if you haven’t yet got a copy. I hope to have Charm, Born With Masks and The Isle of The Dead back in stock asap. Once that’s done I will set up some means on buying them on-line – I currently do it via email , but that’s not ideal for everyone. I apologise for the temporary inconvenience – this too shall be remedied asap.

I am also slowly trying to fix some of the website weirdness, thanks for all your feedback. I’ve started fixing the font issues, hopefully the site will look a bit better in your browser and started to tackle the CSS for mobiles and print, so you can print off pages cleanly without a whole load of extraneous guff.

Isle of the DeadI have started blogging about songwriting techniques. It’s something I frequently get asked about, so I thought I’d share my experiences and understanding with a view to possibly leading a course next year. The first article is on the subject of Clichés and how to avoid them. In future articles I intend to look into the rudiments of Melody and Harmony from a modal perspective to try and answer the question of How do you find the right notes?, setting words to music, rhythm and possibly a 101 on how to read music. What would you like to know more about on the songwriting front? Let me know.

tim
/|\

Clichés – avoid them like the plague!

You’ve just sat up half the night fine-tuning and agonising over your latest lyrical piece de resistance, but reading it back in the cold light of day you discover that what your previous night’s magical inspiration reads roughly like this:

Your love is like a platitude …

I Love you and you love me,
Love is forever, can’t you see?
Call on me, I’m down on my knees,
Together babe we can be free.

Like the rain on a mountain top,
My love for you will never stop.
I know I’ll be rambling for years
With nothing but my fears and lonely tears.

I think of you each lonely night
My angel of the starlight.
How I cried with foolish pride
Without you there beside my side.

I saw you walking down the street
Hoping that one day we’d meet;
When you walked into the room
You picked me up out of the gloom.

You said you would be my wife
When you came into my life.
All that we have left is strife;
Cold as ice, cuts like a knife.

I want you, I need you, I love you;
Hold me close, my dream come true.
We used to make love all night long
And feel our hearts beating as one.

You looked at me with eyes of fire,
And told sweet lies of love’s desire,
You ripped apart my broken heart
And now I don’t know where to start.

I’ll be riding out of Georgia
With that railtrack on my mind,
Gambling with the queen of hearts
Coz you know love is blind.

Believe in love and feel the pain.
Baby take me back again.
We could be much more than friends;
Keep it real, don’t let it end.

You know I’m lost without you
After all that we’ve been through.
Let’s get together and be one;
We should be having fun in the sun.

Ooh babe, all my love is more than words can say …
Ooh babe, I believe in you …

If that sounds like one of your songs, you need help. If you think that sounds like a perfectly good lyric, you’re in serious trouble. You also need to get a life and move to a different state.

The world is full of drunk and depressing Country and Western ballads; songs about how great it is to rock’n’roll or whatever it is you like to put your hands in the air and shake your thing to; or how emotionally disturbed or rich and famous you pretend to be. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to edit your work.

When you’re writing new material, you don’t need your internal editor to get in the way. We all tend to go for rather obvious rhymes when we’re first downloading a lyric from the ethers. That’s fine. The trick is to go over it afterwards with a critical eye and do something about the bloopers.

What is a cliché?

Some well used clichesA cliché is anything that has been overused, recycled too many times or done to death. It is stereotypical or banal. The first time someone used the line it was genius, but that was in thirteen-canteen – now it just sounds lazy and insincere. Many proverbs, aphorisms and popular turns of phrase come into this category. Sometimes they’re unavoidable, occasionally they can be appropriate, but rarely are they a master stroke of song-fu.

Generally, it is wise to avoid writing about:

Combinations of weather, elements and geographical features: rain, storms, clouds, snow; mountains, rivers, valleys, streams, oceans, and so on. Crossing or climbing one or more of these to get to your love-object. Love being deeper than the ocean, higher than the sky or whatever. Comparing their body parts to beautiful things in nature. Any reference to angels or hearts. Travelling or rambling from town to town. Either in a train or car with your baby, or alone, searching for, or running away from your baby. Use of the word baby. Gambling. Rolling of the dice in any way, shape, or form. Ace of spades, queen of hearts, shooting crap. Weapons: usually guns or knives. Anything about how heart wrenching it is when they leave and perhaps take some part of you away when they go and so on and such forth.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: River Deep, Mountain High, Walk On By, Whole Lotta Love, War Pigs, Highway Star songs like that are classics!?! Sure, but they’ve been done. That lamp-post has been pissed on by every dog in town. Your task is to think of something better, different or funnier.

How to avoid clichés

The first great tip is: get clear what your song is actually about. Know what you’re trying to say. Rip out any lines that don’t make sense or add to the emotional build-up.

Authenticity

The best way to avoid clichés is to write from your own personal experience with as much specific detail as possible. Don’t just hold your lover’s hand, stroke their nervous fingers with your awkward shaking palms. Or something better than that. Authenticity cannot be bought or learned; it is more about what you don’t do than what you do. Sure, write from the heart, but write about what you know. Real life often juxtaposes ideas and events in a way that you would rarely imagine. Ruth is much stranger than Richard.

Reversal

Elvis Costello revitalised tired old aphorisms by turning them round on themselves: A death worse than fate, Your mouth is made up but your mind is undone. Diane Warren turned round a worn-out phrase and wrote Unbreak My Heart. Talking Heads turned round the entire concept of Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi in (Nothing But) Flowers. The trick is to think of it first.

Find a new angle

The Author, trying to avoid a cliché and failing.

Say you want to write about an event that occurred at night. You just happened to be in Georgia and it was actually raining. And you really were headed for San Fran with a floral hair-do. You are going to have to approach this from a different angle if you don’t want to labelled as a lyrical lamer. Try writing it from someone else’s point of view. Relocate the action. Placing a well-worn concept into a new context or juxtaposing it with other familiar themes can often rehydrate those stale old chestnuts.

Learn to use a thesaurus

Songs written using a thesaurus or rhyming dictionary can often sound mechanical and contrived, but if your heart-felt sentiment has just come out sounding like Phil Collins or The Black Eyed Peas, get a thesaurus and find some different words that say the same thing. It’s good practice to avoid repeating words – the above example repeats the word lonely in close succession. As well as criminally over-using love and heart. Find an alternative.

It doesn’t have to rhyme

Or scan for that matter. Lyrics with monotonous rhythms and rhyming patterns tend to sound trite whatever you do. This is often exacerbated by using bad grammar or street slang in order to make the line fit. Let the melody do the work. Setting up the expectation of a rhyme and then failing to fulfil it can have great comic and dramatic effect. Try using an odd number of syllables, learn about assonance, alliteration and internal rhymes. Try cutting it into pieces and rearranging them. Alternatively, rewrite the whole thing as prose the way you would say it. Or the way someone witty and clever would say it.

Be genre-savvy

Listen to classic songs within the genre. Make a note of what is considered great and what is generally reckoned to be awful. Bear in mind there is such a thing as so-bad-it’s-good, the prime example of which is MacArthur Park by Jimmy Webb. This is actually a classic, but you’re probably not going to get away with it. If Bob Dylan used the line, you must not. Not even as a quote – don’t do it, think of something else, try to think of another way to say the same thing.

Break the rules

Never listen to advice. It’s your song. If you write from the heart, put some effort into your choice of words and then sing it like you really mean it, you will probably get away with it. You may even end up composing a classic – great songs have been known to just download themselves from the ethers if you get yourself out of the way enough. That said, most people have to work at it to a greater or lesser extent.

Happy songwriting!