.​.​.​Loves You

by The Black Maria Memorial Fund

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In the last days of last summer, Patrick, Windom and I recorded these songs in a little church, in the sleeping heart of rural Bedfordshire.

Overseeing proceedings from behind his large, mixing desk-shaped lectern was our friend and hero Johnny Parry.

In the short time we had together, Patrick got very excited about the church's bell*, Anne-Marie Kirby stopped by and shipwrecked our hearts with her violin, and Johnny taught us how to waltz around a darkened kitchen floor.

Most of the songs were recorded completely as live**, either in the little church or in the sprawlingly beautiful cottage we were calling home. While we sang and tripped over each other's feet, Claire Harrison was back in Falmouth, designing the album's foldingly beautiful sleeve.

The last song on the album is the last song we recorded. As we reached the final verse – and despite the unrepentant atheism of more than one the preceding tracks – the heavens opened. Turn the volume up at the end and you'll hear us sitting in the pews, trying to be quieter than the rain.

Love Kieran, 21.06.2011

*Witness the opening few seconds of Hotel Esmeralda.

**Recording ‘as live’ here means recording everybody playing at once, often with little or no room to correct mistakes later. If you plan to use this phrase in conversation, it’s important to remember that there is no direct opposite to describe the much more common approach of recording one instrument at a time. The sentence ‘Yeah, I heard they locked themselves away in the studio for months, recording the whole thing as dead’ is not correct. Well, maybe if you're referring to a goth band. ;)


released August 21, 2011

The Black Maria Memorial Fund... loves you.

Performed and arranged by...

Kieran Haynes – Guitar, Vocals
Patrick Durkan – Accordion, Bass, Church Bell, Glockenspiel, Percussion (mostly
triangle), Vocals
Windom Owl – Vocals
Johnny Parry – Piano
Anne-Marie Kirby – Violin

in Beds at...

All Saints Church
Whitehall Cottage
MIMS Studio

The Black Maria Memorial Fund loves...

Patrick, Johnny & Liz, Claire
The Haynes family
Dave & Katy, Roger & Rose, John
Dave and Martin (especially for their generosity with bass guitars)
Coline, Arnold, Stan and their families
Joe, Casimir, Jack, Deva, Cally, Zapoppin’ and all the musicians of Falmouth, UK

This record is for JR & A Cox, and JT & S Haynes

Words and music by Kieran Haynes, © 2011 Kieran Haynes
Performances recorded and produced by Johnny Parry
Art and design by Claire Harrison, © 2011 Claire Harrison
This recording © 2011 Kieran Haynes


all rights reserved


Track Name: Master Of The Alphabet
Master Of The Alphabet

A B – that’s as far as some girls get
they never C, D E F Gee, Huh, I bet
you’re not that dumb...

J K – peut-être tu peux parler français?
Voici une fille gentille qui j’aime baiser
L M N O je t’aime, oh je t’aime ma chérie

P Q the cheerleaders to shout and spell out
how great we R… S T U know it’s true!
V W! Drive me to the sea!
I never want to be your X
Y can’t everything be so e… Z!
And if they ever ask me why, oh you are master of the alphabet
You can make such pretty sentences
like: I L O V E Y O U are the mistress of the alphabet!
You can make such pretty sentences
like: I L O V E Y O U

1 2 3!
You’re the only girl I see!
You’re what I’m living 4!
And if 5 broken certain laws of phy6
floating to your door, your door is 7’s g8:
it’d be assi9
if I weren’t flying
when you opened it up
and I played this song
and you said ‘Yeah, I like it! Now, don’t take this wrong – I think the last part is a little too long.
Maybe it could be rewri… 10?’
Track Name: Hotel Esmeralda
Over the river they’re ringing the bells
as you ring in the view from the Esmeralda Hotel
the Esmeralda Hotel

The man at reception must have seen how I was feeling
he’s travelled in time, papered the ceiling
with love
a garden of Eden above our heads
above the bed:

bright pink flowers bursting through
kitsch green shoots of bamboo

As next door, the bookstore begins to awaken
and my newfound friends know there’s stock to be taken
outside – each nook has its own book to hide

And each book was cut from its own tree of life
this one won him a wife
this concealed a knife
and this propped up a chair
where a French girl cut hair with a smile
with a smile
exactly like:

bright pink flowers bursting through
kitsch green shoots of bamboo

While there in a drawer is a book I’m not reading
it starts out alright in a garden of Eden
that’s not quite as bright as the one behind your mother’s house

Where I strung out my shirts only ten days ago
and you lit up the path
and I longed for you so
to say,

‘Let’s take a walk to the lakes,
j’apporterai une belle nappe.’

And you said just that

Who would have thought there were pockets sewn into the air?
Someone must have sewn invisible seeds in the air

‘Cos I look around
I look around
and suddenly everywhere:

bright pink flowers bursting through
kitsch green shoots of bamboo

And the bells are still ringing out for Esmeralda
And this is how he’d have felt if he’d held her:

bright pink flowers bursting through
kitsch green shoots of bamboo

Over the river they’re ringing the bells
as you hold my gaze and my
everything else
in the Esmeralda Hotel
Track Name: Jenny Was An Octopus
Jenny was an octopus
she lived deep in the ocean just like every good octopus should
and Jenny was the best

She knew the secrets of the sand
she was always keen to lend a hand
or a tentacle to her fellow man (or octopus, I guess)

Yes – Jenny was an octopus
and her friends all knew she was in love
with a pirate boy who dwelt above the ever-rolling waves

She longed to take her tentacle
and smash it straight up through the hull
and hold him till her ventricles beat in time with his

But Jenny was an octopus, not
a giant squid

Billy was a buccaneer
he knew his trade
he knew no fear
though he was not advanced in years
and he shed his tears for home

and after dark
on silent feet
across the sleeping deck he’d creep
and hold a lantern to the deep
where Jenny swam alone, oh…


One summer night
a Spanish tar spied his candle from afar
the grapeshot flew
poor Billy knew the sea rush through his heart

When Jenny saw his lantern fall
she used an arm to plug each hole
carried him off through the shoals of dead men to the shore

knowing, if he lived, that Billy wouldn’t sail no more

When the doctors woke him up
Billy let an eight-armed tear fall to the floor...

Jenny was an octopus we met in an aquarium
back when our hopes and cares were young
and we were barely old

Jenny was an octopus we told each other stories of
each time we finished making love
and we were feeling cold

Jenny was an octopus I dredged up as a sign of trust
in a hallway with your teeth half-brushed
and your eyes full on the door

Oh Jenny is the octopus still wrapped around my heart
and she’ll just plug the holes as best she can until I’m safe ashore

Jenny is my octopus – I’m not sailing anymore
Track Name: I Need A Room
Come and find me in the mean time
in a night-spot-lit by the moon
They’ll be cutting down on my screen time
there’ll be younger stars coming through

I’ll be wearing a suit I’ll have fashioned
from illusions I’ll think I have lost
(letters of blood, declarations of love)
you’ll open your mouth – I’ll say:

‘Stop – stop posing like you’re the question to the answer to my prayers
I need a room
I need my books
I need my health
I don’t need anyone else to be there.’

And an owl will swoop down beside us
and he’ll take my side too
like a broken-hearted chorus he’ll tell you
you’d be a twit to woo

And I’ll pull a rose from the riverbank
and I’ll show you the thorns held below
I’ll say, ‘Yes, the petals are pretty, I guess,
but then pretty soon they’re gonna go, so, though

you’re posing just like the question to the answer to my prayers
I need a room
I need my books
I need my health
I don’t need anyone else to be there.’

And the moon will drop for the May moths
you’ll put a finger to my sullen pout
and you’ll say, ‘What was all that in aid of?!
All I did was open my mouth!

Well I see that suit that you’re wearing,
but Kieran it isn’t your style – don’t you see how the sleeves are tearing
every time that I smile?

A flower can open again and again
long as you don’t cut it off
show me the lessons you think that you’ve learnt
and I’ll show you whole schools you’ve forgot

You could take me
You could leave me
There are others for whom I could care

I need a room
I need my books
I need my heath
I don’t need you to be there

I don’t need you,
but I like you
– I think I still like you –
and I’d like you to be there.’

And I’ll say,


I’m convinced.

Let’s fake our own deaths!
Let’s live in a treehouse! Keep the squirrels!
Keep the squirrels as pets!

Then let’s… let’s…

…let’s get married!
Never get out of bed!
And let’s not be too careful – I like the name Zoë, tell me, how to you feel about Jed?

Let’s teach injured sparrows to learn once again how to fly!
Let’s invent a thousand new languages
never once a word for goodbye

We don’t need to
I know we don’t need to
I know we don’t need to

– but honey – let’s try’
Track Name: ...
Back when time was just a twinkle
in the eye of the great, great grandfather clock
the sky contained the words of one long story
and the moon was a ( and a ) and a big .
And Orion’s belt, was a space for … I don’t know what
You see Orion’s shining belt, was one interstellar dot-dot-dot

So time began, the words fell from the sky
they hit the ground
they cried
they looked about
and they developed arms and legs and heads
and heads is where the words then started hanging out
where they gave themselves new compound names
like human thought
and free will
and Xerxes and Napoleon
and Jennifer
and Sylvia
and Phil

And the words now known as Jennifer sold real estate
and worried about their widowed dad
And the words known as Napoleon
dreamt of marching through what would be
And some words crossed the oceans
and some words worked out maths
and others painted pictures
to express the words they lacked

Still, in their deepest syllables
the words all sometimes felt the pull
of the story in the sky that they had lost
so they made up books and movies
and some made something much less fun
and they called it god
But the best of all the words, I think
they just became lovers
yes the best of all the words, I think
could find new stories in each other
And they had names
like Romeo
and Juliet
and Greg
and Joe
and Casimir
and Sue
and Jeff and Len and Marianne, and Carrie-Anne and

me and you

And as we sit here talking on my bed
it’s clear the words called me aren’t coming out on top
so I’m trying not to reminisce
about the words called you biting on their fist
and squirming
and wearing just a single sock

‘Cos the words called you are careful
and they're much wiser than my lot
and I’d like to know them better
yes I’d like to know
whatever words you’ve got

We can leave a space for Alnitak and Alnilam and Mintaka
and we don’t know
we still don’t know what

We can take some time to find out just what kind of words
tomorrow’s got in stock

We can leave our futures hanging like an interstellar: …
Let the summer hang above us like one interstellar
Track Name: Zugzwanged
Well I hope you don’t mind if I write you a song
while we sit here
and drink
and play chess

It’s got that old kind of tune that makes no sudden moves
takes you only where you might expect

I could write you an opera of kings and their queens
filled with scenes of great symbolic depth

…but though you’re holding the night in your mouth
girl, sometimes
the simplest songs are the best
sometimes simple is all for the best

Yes it makes us both smile when you pick up the pieces
picking them up with your lips
but if we drink much more wine
I don’t think you’ll pick up the pieces
no you won’t pick them up with a kiss

We could make this an opera of gambits and pins
where each turn further tangles the thread

…but you’re not looking to act, no, let’s take these moves back
say, ‘The simplest songs are the best.
The simplest songs are the best.’

You’ve exposed your flanks
I’ve overcommitted
we’ve zugzwanged each other, I guess

…but the bar’s pretty empty, nobody’s to know
if we tell them we were just playing chess

And that I was just writing some old little song
about the simplest ones being the best

We came here as friends, we could wake up as friends
who have helped each other to undress

…but we’ll both say goodnight
‘cos there’s some truth in the lie
that the simplest songs are the best
Goodnight, goodnight – it’s no out and out lie
that the simplest songs are the best
It just seems, sometimes, even the simplest of mine
have a habit of turning complex
Track Name: The Piano Makes Us Lovers
Tea towels
snow globes
light-up Louvres

awnings reaching from the roofs
a web to catch the flies from the bateaux mouches
but don’t we all just long to be caught in truth

like Sylvie
walking there
wrapped up in the jacket of her Baudelaire

who stops
pushes back his hair
lighting up his dinner as they turn to quit the square

They take the Metro to Abbesses
he pulls a notebook from his vest
the front page shows the number of a bar
at her request he reads the wine list like a will
divides estates
divides the bill
‘cos it’s clear that they’re just friends
yes it’s clear that they’re just friends until

the piano makes them lovers

in the ring of the arpeggio
it’s the young player’s half-cut hands vs Cupid’s old and rusty 88 string bow

The sky’s a tiger
a lantern in its jaws
I track it down Montmartre
I'm earning its permission
to send you these clippings from its claws

The hammers strike a gypsy waltz
back up her 6/8 pulse
her major charm and his minor faults
merge in the sustain as the refrain exalts

and I wish
that she was you
and that I was he and were dancing too
to the keys
that unlock the rooms
in which we keep our angel-selves away from view

Metro to Abbesses
notebook from my vest
image of a bar
at your request I read the wine list like a will
divide estates
divide the bill
it’s clear that we’re just friends
‘Cos everybody here’s just friends until

the piano makes us them lovers

plugs them deep into the flow
of the sad joy and the desperate comfort
of knowing there are things that you will never know

Oh oh! You are a tiger!
Oh how your lantern roars!
I walk on beside you
you’re holding my heart in your

dramatic paws!

And the player punches out a final chord
as a poverty of poets stomp on the floor
and the streets are all but crying with the weight of the wine
in the dark a sacred heart is up there starting to chime
and I’m sending my piano to you sweetheart
I’m sending my piano to you sweetheart
I’m sending my piano to you sweetheart

one note at a time
Track Name: Hospital Post
They told us today was the first day of spring
and wheeled us out into the light
of a garden that’s long
like a haiku gone wrong – strung out with military spite

And though no shoots had burst from the fists of the earth
and the hills still had knuckles of white
I know that the tilt of our axis will help them relax
and I know that it’s good that you write

I was trying to describe you to
a hit-man named Laverne
I said, ‘Pick out a place
in-between her two faces
take twenty paces and turn’

And if he should miss, I may learn to forgive
the night that you pissed in my urn

but his rubber band gun’s hanging loose at his thumb
and I guess that you will never learn
how much I love you

Yes, I love you

And yes, I remember, Zembla in June
the street-sellers’ cries and the room where we slept
How we let the mosquitoes and the children we vetoed
repaint the walls, make us breakfast in bed

and the landlord would walk in on eggshells and baulk
at the splashes of passionate red

but most of all I recall
all the mornings we’d rise with the moon in our eyes
try to talk the sun down from the ledge

Sister Marie brings me paper
and crayons she steals from the visitors’ lounge
she lives here upstairs in a dorm that she swears
is just as attractive as ours

she’s been testing her bed
and our caretaker Ed
and she folds every night at the score
and she shrinks from his side as she tries on for size
the voice beating up through her floor

desperately singing:

‘I love you
Yes, I love you‘

The Sister was reading your letter
she said that
this time
I just must understand

so I’ve had to disclose some of our secret codes
and your gift for disguising your hand

And she kissed both my cheeks
and she sobbed with relief
when I showed her what you’d really said

how you’ll be here any day now to take me away
and to help me to sort out my head

I will meet you when I’m nine years old
in a park where the swings are on fire
and we’ll play in the dust as the roundabouts rust
and the trees hold the telegraph wire

so you won’t be alone on the night you come home
to find out that your dad couldn’t steer
and I will grow up just fine
knowing my missing rhymes

were your laugh
and your smile

and you’re here

and you’re saying, ‘I love you. Yes, I love you.‘

Yes I...