Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Grumpy Old Men Songs #7: Take The Slow Train

7. Philip Jeays - Take The Slow Train

I first encountered Philip Jeays about ten years ago when he was the support act for the comedian Robin Ince. An unusual combination, seeing a singer support a comedian, but Jeays' bitter, arch-eyebrowed, comic songs in the vein of Jacques Brel era Scott Walker fit the bill perfectly (and Ince is famous for being a bit of a muso).

After the show, I immediately ordered three CDs from Jeays' website and enjoyed the hell out of them. Time passed and he dropped off my radar. Recently, I saw those three CDs on the shelf and I started to wonder what had happened to him. Turns out he's continued to put out new music, I've just not been aware of it. Keeping up with artists who don't occupy the mainstream is always hard work.

To begin my catch-up, I downloaded his most recent album from bandcamp and was delighted to discover his caustic candle hadn't dimmed at all. And though he's only 56, the silver-haired old devil seemed a shoe-in as a Grumpy Old Man... as you'll hear below.

People travel miles
To lay flowers for a child
They never even knew
It’s conspicuous compassion
It’s sentiment as status
It’s lining the procession
Emotions are credentials
When people crave importance
Watch the angry man
Run to hit the prison van
Just look at how the rivers
All run into the sea

There’s a man on my TV
Showing me his MBE
They pat him on the head
And tell him he’s a good boy
Everybody needs a prize
To make them feel special
A martyr has his paradise
A mistress picks out something nice
Have yourself another slice
Buy into the dream
Your life is over
With your first down payment

(And there's a lot more where that came from if you listen to the whole song. Which I'd urge you to do, as the video only has 263 views on youtube, which is criminal if you ask me.)


  1. A combination of grumpy old man and angry young man?

    Listened to another song of his - "Geoff" - and he reminds me a little of Jake Thackray.

    1. Yes, there's definitely a Jake Thackray influence in there.


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