Footprints crunched into the thick snow behind us,
daylight breaking through the thick clouds that blind us.
You blind me, chick-pea. Whatever happened to honesty?
I’m searching for the side of you the other people never see.
The side of you I never see. The side of you meticulously
hidden from suspicion within a breezy personality.
I’d say that you were care-free, because it felt as if you cared,
yet you were free to wreak havoc on my psyche out of nowhere.
And you don’t care; stop. I feel that cold against my neck again.
I feel my heart slip away as you share another peck again.
The snow was settled on your head like a skullcap.
But I brushed it all aside, never stepped back;
I didn’t know.
You sink your hand inside my pocket
to relieve the coldness.
Begin to wear me like a puppet
to relieve my boldness.
Fidgeting, manipulating it to make it fit
like a glove.
I didn’t know the meaning of true love.
My first experi-ence made me steer against
that feeling, someone sailing high above
the rest. I never guessed
that my chest could be left so
cut up and torn.
I have been murdered and reborn
at the whim of another;
feeling like no other.
Try to count all your blessings
against all of your suffer-rings.
Bring me out of squalor,
drag me by the collar,
I feel like a sucker,
another poor fucker;
bury me here,
I’ll pass under.
And on a roadside memorial,
on the deed, let it read:
“To almighty ignorance,
a tender remedy indeed”.
And the permafrost stings
deep under the foundations.
It’s pulsating in my body;
can you vibe with my vibrations?
It was stamped all over me,
a hand, two hands;
gigantic and red and smothering.
Stamped, again and again,
with a force that made my skin convex,
pushed me into the shape.
My cells pulling, trying to avoid it,
but thinner skin will bruise easier.
You slipped your hand into the hand,
began to wear it as a puppet,
acting like it had a life of its own.
But you touched me still,
caressed me with the same look in your eyes,
the same taste of compliments dripping off your tongue in the shower.
I guess sometimes you’re left, sometimes you’re right,
sometimes it was the hand.
It must have been,
because here I am still bruised and moulded.
A push from my elastin, a push from your hand, in the hand,
a pressure too hard that maybe I became it after
it touched, you touched, it touched again.
Then you look at me in disgust when I am it,
when you can’t see me as anything other
than the hand.
His dad’s dad had built the boat, age 15. His dad swapped the wood for plastic as a project, after spreading the ashes of the man that raised him, and taught him how to sail. He decided to keep the tradition afloat, but couldn’t do that without dragging the boat into years its creator would never see. He worked until it was safe to sail again, and he had begun to feel easier. The hands of grief slipped with each blow of the hammer; respecting the past, building for the future. A legacy of material and water. But life caught up and he had to work. The garage door shut.
The boy went looking for the key, on the day the girl he loved said she didn’t feel the same. He dragged the boat over the small field, and lifted it over the stone wall, creating a slight dent on the bottom left of the yellowing outer shell. He walked it to the water’s edge, checked his bag, nodded and sailed. When he thought the water looked deep enough, using only the darkness of the blue as a guide, he let out a line.
The sky was beginning to burn when he resigned himself to failure. He threw the stick to the ground, causing a black scuff on the peeling paint of the blue inner wall; the day had melted and he had felt no bite. ‘I can’t do it and I never will’ he muttered, stomping his feet out of failure to find any other way to release his anger. He looked out, acknowledging that he may have sailed a little too far from shore for an amateur, but aware that the feeling in the pit of his stomach still pulsed with the breaking of the waves. Suddenly, he took off his shoes. He took off his coat, his jeans, but left on his shirt, insecure about his skinny, teenage chest.
He stood up on the ledge and stepped off, falling into the water that enveloped him. He had decided that if he could not catch them, he would join them.
The grey blue of the morning sky had returned, on the 215th time he emerged on the surface. He had grown neither gills, nor a fin to allow him to swim better than a mediocre level, deemed acceptable in primary school swimming lessons. He saw that the boat had floated back towards the stones of the shore.
‘Maybe when our loved ones die, they become our Gods. The wind of our lives become controlled by them, the sights of the sky spun by them. Each to our own religion, of family morals and memories. Grandad wants to keep his boat.’
He distracted himself from the water, which had become significantly colder in the morning air, with thought. He wondered whether his grandad would recognise him, for he’d only met him a couple of times as a baby. He thought maybe the cold was a punishment for the stranger that stole his boat. The wind an attempt to get his old livelihood away from the boy that could neither fish, nor be a fish.
He noticed his dad’s car parked on the beach, just out of reach of the tide. He pulled the boat out of the water, as his dad rolled down the window, only to say ‘I’ll meet you back at the house’.
To remind himself, he made a mental note; ‘teach the children how to fish and sail this boat.’
(Photography by Elizabeth Evans, Words by Lucy Harbron)
Today was my first good day in a month of bad ones – and of course it was because of you.
This day radiates happiness, finding its way into every detail.
The sunlight highlighting the green in your eyes, making my heart hurt.
Your laugh when I ran into a bookstore apologising, because we both know I own too many.
The way you get frustrated when I make no sense at all – and how I can see you trying to make sense for me.
You held my hand so tightly helping me up that tree and I swear you hesitated to let go.
I must be dreaming because I don’t get good days and today was the best yet.
I said “Boys don’t like me”, you laughed softly and said “Yeah, they do”.
But how would you know if you didn’t like me?
One day I’ll be content being your friend, being only your friend.
Some days it feels like that day and then I see your face and everything comes flooding back. How even an innocent touch of my leg, or your elbows in my ribs – after you’ve made the dumbest joke I’ve ever heard, can make my stomach twist.
And then I see you with her, and you say you don’t know what she is. But I see you when you think no one does, your arm around her waist, her holding onto your hand a second too long. And maybe if I cry enough I won’t have anything left in me to cry over you, or the feelings I have will be washed out with the tears. But if I hear you say her name one more time I’ll fucking scream and I know even if I did you would remain clueless.
You have been the best friend I could have hoped for and maybe one day that will be enough for me. Today isn’t that day I hope it’s soon, I’m too tired to make it another 4 years.
My favourite memory of us is that time I found out my dad was cheating on my mum and the only thing I could think to do was text you. You didn’t know what to say, I didn’t know what to say, but you text me for 5 hours just telling me jokes, trying to cheer me up. Every time I come close to telling you how I really feel I remember this, and I’ve come to realise that I never will tell you. I could live my entire life never being with you but I couldn’t live without having you at all.
I wish that we were never friends and I didn’t have everything to lose. I wish that everything I say in my head would escape my mouth.
I wish that the big empty ache in my chest had a cure. I wish I could put my frustration into beautiful words, maybe then I’d know how to tell you – That I wish you were mine and how I wish you would feel the same way and I wish that you didn’t excite and terrify me and make me feel a million things i didn’t know I could.
You’re so beautiful and i wish you would fuck off but please don’t ever leave me.
I haven’t felt this happy in a long time.
It shouldn’t be this way though,
I have no time and sleep is only a memory, but I can’t stop smiling.
My only explanation is you, I hate how easily my thoughts wander to you.
They give me happiness and pain all at the same time.
I know we’ll never be, but the thought is comforting.
I haven’t felt this happy in a long time
But maybe this isn’t happy, maybe I just got tired of sad.
Today our favourite band, The Rose Affair, released their new single ‘Caffeine’. The lyrics are poetic and catching, the music video is beautiful and full of cryptic messages, the upbeat riffs mirror perfectly the message of addictive emotion. It signals the next stage of a band ever growing as lead singer, Lucas Jones, comes more and more into himself in both performance and lyrical poetry.
I caught up with Lucas to talk about the song, it’s process and it’s inspiration.
Tell us a little bit about what the band has been up to since your last release, ‘II’. What’s been going on? How have things changed?
We’ve been gigging and writing as much as possible! The gigs have been noticeably different lately, audiences singing lyrics back has become thing. And we had an encore the other night, we were like ‘Fuck, what do we play?’ it was mental.
‘Caffeine’ is pretty different from a lot of your other stuff, more upbeat! Was that a conscious change or did it just happen?
It’s always super interesting when people say our new stuff sounds different because I’ve observed the track from birth to finality and so I never know at which point it became ‘different’. It’s like getting taller, you don’t really clock it until someone calls you out on it. It’s definitely more upbeat sonically than say ‘Taurus’, but lyrically it’s the same depressing kinda’ vibe. Going by lyrics alone we don’t actually have any upbeat songs, come to think of it; the upbeat guitar riffs are a bit of a trick.
Were there any particular musical or literary influences on the track?
Personally I’ve been listening to Radiohead quite a bit, but I’m pretty certain ‘Caffeine’ sounds precisely 0% Radiohead influenced. It’s quite ‘On The Road’ inspired, subconsciously; The ‘Hotel wedding sex’ kind of dirty, broken, Vegas stuff. Matt’s been playing Catfish and The Bottlemen a fair bit too, so I think there’s a drop of them in there.
Tell us about writing and recording caffeine! Did you straight away have the sound in mind, or did it take a while to find it?
Matt and I were sitting in the living room as per usual, and he played that riff, the intro, and I was like ‘Yooooo!!’. The first thing that came out of my mouth was the opening lyrics, which kind of set the tone for the whole song, then Jacob and Tom sprinkled their magic all over it. When it came to recording, we have a really solid idea of how our producer Jake can make bits come to life and so we wrote it very much with production in mind. ‘The sound’ is very much Jake’s work to be honest, you could mix Caffeine so many different ways.
You’re gigging more and more nowadays, but what’s number 1? Gigging or writing?
Eeeeek, hmmmm. Tough one. I guess gigging is the ultimate because what are songs without gigs? But then writing because what are gigs otherwise?! Chicken & egg scenario. Fuck it, gigs. People singing and moving and smiling to something that was born in our minds, nothing better in the world.
What are the band’s goals for the year? What’s next?
TO TAKE OVER EVERYTHING. Nah, to just keep on progressing. Kind of not joking about taking over everything I suppose but not in a dictatorship way, in an incredibly grateful and humble way within the time frame that is most conducive to our longevity. To sign with the label of my dreams would be gangbusters. (I learnt that expression today, it means great. It’s such a sick phrase, it’s so over the top).
Listen to The Rose Affair :
In the wake of the industrialisation of music in an X-Factor, generic pop generation, we must seek shelter from the after-shocks in the comfort of our local scene. Each one individual, each one growing.
I moved to Sheffield in September’16 and instantly found an active independent music scene engulfing not only bands but venues, writers and festivals. When you think Sheffield you might think Pulp, or Arctic Monkeys; I think Vultures.
I caught up with front-man, Luke…
Tell us a little bit about the band. Who are you / how did you form?
We’re Vultures, a 5 piece psych band hailing from Sheffield. We formed in late 2015 after myself and Nathan’s previous punk project wasn’t going where we wanted it too, we decided to make a new band and try out a new sound neither of us had worked with before.
Was there a specific moment when the band really solidified and you knew you were onto a good thing?
Well it took us about 4 months to find a solid line up, however we always felt there was something missing. We invited John McCullagh down for a practice with us and it went down a storm, and ever since then we seem to gel perfectly as a band.
Who are your main influences as a group?
Nick Cave n the bad seeds, Joy Division, New Order, The Cure, Tame impala we could go on forever
What do you like most about the Sheffield music scene?
It’s like a bit of a family really. The scene has really come together over the last couple of years and you’ll find that most the crowd at local gigs are in fact members of other bands.
Having all come together from past bands and musical ventures, do you think that experience helped? Or was it hard adapting to one another?
The experience definitely helps. John had a successful solo career before joining us and his knowledge of the touring scene has definitely helped us when it’s come to gigging. When we were recording our first single, we found it quite a struggle to get the sound of us across properly because the sound we wanted was pretty new to us, but we felt we got it across in the end
What’s your favourite song to play live? Why?
I think the others may disagree but mines probably the song we always end on, Swarm. I get on bass for it and our bass player Dillon goes onto synth; it’s just a big climax to our set and we always leave the stage on a huge high.
There was a rumour floating round that Vultures was over but you’re back. What’s changed / what’s new about vultures 2.0?
We never really went, well maybe we did, or maybe it was a marketing ploy, I’ll leave it to your imagination. We’ve come back with a new attitude more than anything else, before we had a break we’d hit a bit of a writers block, then when we had our first practice back we wrote probably our 2 best songs in the space of 3 hours.
Do you think the music industry in general has become more welcoming to up and coming, local bands? Or do you think having industry interest and deals etc is less necessary now?
Not at all, it’s near impossible to get a major deal outside of London and to a certain extent Manchester. There’s so many amazing bands outside the capital that just don’t get the attention they deserve down the fact major labels rarely look outside London. There are a lot more small indie labels popping up which are out there to help new bands though, I’d say if you plan on recording an album label backing is needed, but for singles/EP’s in a band our size it’s easy to get away with it without label help.
Who are some of your fave local bands?
Femur, The Blinders, TRASH, Beat the Bandit, The Vellas, ROOD, Saints.
Facebook – VULTURESBANDUK
Instagram – @vulturesband
Through the silken haze of red, pink, blue,
and all since
I have breathed what she gave me;
nourished and nurtured on the feast of warmth
which is both cave and atmosphere.
Past the liquefied emotions and
power in the emergence;
she worries I am no longer hers
as she can no longer hide me from the threat.
No longer can she used her skin as an armour,
building barriers of bone and flesh,
stretched and cracked.
But I am my mother in each inhale
and exhale when i cry.
I am her skin,
shades altering and pulled to the day
but still hers when i catch it in that mirror
in that place she was photographed, age 6.
I was a dream then, but still there.
Still here when a hand brushes her stomach,
changed like a landscape after a storm,
A field in rejuvenation.
I am my mother each time my bones ache with
pulsing out a prayer to the god
that turns to me and smiles,
waiting to hear the door open.
Some days I feel the poetry looming tossing turning in its bed
A wriggling free of ecstasy I can’t quite cram into my head
Other days I just feel nothing and bite the pillow hard
And wish I had a thought to give, some feeling to discard
And there are days I want to scream and roaring shout out from a rock
And envision curling on the floor stuffing silence with a sock
The days when I feel hollow are the days loved least of all
A draining carved out cavern through which I swooning fall
I tender turn these feelings, each on their separate days
And marvel at the mysteries that makes me feel this way
I can’t quite dissect my long respect of good humour from my pain
Its all in jest and yet at best, my joking is in vain
The First Vision
It is as if
They are now victims
Of some obscene assault
Strung up like highway men
Or black bodies in the South
Scorched by a seductive destruction
And set aflame by want
Of a real wasteland
It is already there in the twisted
Minds of the preachers
Of the rustbelt’s weary revival
Where rotten fruit is devoured still
By men that would snatch it
From beneath the naked feet
Of women and feral children
They are all in agony
Ancient-eyed as the metamorphoses of something
So abhorrently familiar
Dissolves below in the dreary, dreadful water
And they feel it burning but dare not hear it speak
It’s like some kind of soul searching,
Primal lust for purpose
Which flies from the body
With a faux-shoddy stress
Like blood from a gaping wound.
It will outrun your tired brain,
Your pain-pale flesh veil and veins,
And you will think that it is paradise
As you dance to the sound of the horses.
Shiver, grow weary of the ceaseless chase,
Sick and sick of preserving a shallow grace
That kills your body of flesh and bone,
As a stinging moonlight guides you home.
Yet to have known it for a fleeting moment
Is an ethereal bestowment that can never spoil
Like the language of manly sin that rips from the heart,
Or rises like the waves upon a silver-tongued sea.
Memoirs for Pallas Athene
Suffocated – suffering sour grace,
The solemn rain presses hard against
The face of a queer, quiet man
In the thoroughfare.
There, under a spider-like sun
He had proudly spun the likeness of a Goddess
On the pavement,
And bound the eternal enslavement of form forever.
But he did not see the clouds rise together,
And only when the rain began to lather
The gathered dust did he yowl
Like a wolf with a hole in its side.
This is where I saw him, struggling in the street.
Our eyes did not meet, but I believe
He will come again in the morning,
Once he has grieved for Pallas Athene.