Liner notes 4 – 6


I can’t remember clearly how I wrote this one. I found a demo of it on my little wallet recorder that K. gave me, and I have the impression that it just got 90% written all in a rush, after a couple of minutes’ thought. Then I put in the line about “having no lunch at all” which is what people used to say, dishonestly, in some of the Edinburgh organisations I worked in, when they wanted to indulge in “overwork porn.” After a few years of “overwork porn” myself, I used to get a kick out of telling people that I wasn’t overworked, and that I was taking it easy. Whenever I said it I felt slightly like I was streaking, on a tightrope, over a busy street full of people who knew me. Anyway; it wasn’t me who noted that that’s what people used to say; it was a friend of mine and he already knows that I credit him with it, so no need to go on further here.

Don’t write if you don’t have time, / If you don’t call me I won’t mind, / I know that we will catch up someday.

You’re probably short of money, / You’re probably overworked, / If you don’t call me I won’t fear the worst.

Because that’s just the way it is / We’re all so overworked we’ve had no lunch at all.

Don’t write if you don’t have time / If you don’t call me I won’t mind, /I know that we will catch up someday. /Or put it in a Christmas card / Put it in a Christmas Card / Inner Christmas.


I recorded this before I started, so that I had some backup tracks to give me breathing space if I couldn’t think of anything. I had to play this cover card at this stage because I knew I wanted to write something about the climate change emails stunt and needed some time to think it over. This one’s a trad. jug band song, but essentially rewritten and given life by Catfish Keith, who’s cover I’m playing, as well as I can. He plays it with much deeper emotion. Anyway, as played here it’s dedicated to a friend who went back to Germany that week.


There’s no use pretending this isn’t the worst song. It all went pear-shaped in the second half. Then it was a discipline for me to put it up anyway, on the grounds that I wasn’t supposed to be getting too hung up on the quality. The song’s about the incredible right wing stunt that was pulled off early December, where some team, perhaps linked to the Cato Institute, who knows?, stole a vast quantity of emails from the Hadley Centre and then picked out snippets of lines which they used to make a case that climate change is an enormous hoax. I guess that they’d tipped off the commentators at Fox and the like, who were ready to take the idea and run with it—run, run, run! So the stunt became news in itself, and all the other news outlets picked it up, notably the BBC, which gave long unchallenged airtime (on World Have Your Say) to three crazy right wing nuts to make vast claims about climate change, unsupported by any evidence. The astonishing thing in the end (which took me about 20 minutes on the net to discover, so one wonders why it wasn’t also discovered by the BBC), was that the climate change emails did not contain slight evidence against the probity of the scientists involved: they contained nothing at all. Absolutely nothing. I was pissed off about Monbiot because by treating it as a “major blow,” he constituted it as a major blow. I spent a lot of time in angry correspondence with the BBC World Service about this. I guess I was too close to this one to get a reasonable song out of it.

I am the man who leaked the emails, sticking it to climate change / Looks like none of you bothered to read them, isn’t it such a shame.

But if Monbiot, / In the Guardian, / Says it’s no use pretending this isn’t a major blow, / Then there must have been something in all those mails.

I’d love to sit and blog about just what that thing may be, / But the river is rising the flood banks burst and the water is swirling around my feet. / Next time I try an intellectual crime I’m going to do it from somewhere that’s high and dry/ Like . . . etc.


One comment

  1. […] Atheist Advent 2009 Solstice songs on a Godless Guitar « Song notes and lyrics (1) LIner notes 4-6 January 13, 2010 More liner notes and lyrics: https://atheistadvent.wordpress.com/liner-notes-4-6/ […]

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