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Songs: Red Black Gold

notes / gigs / releases


Near a lonely layby on the B6061
Stands a petrol station rarely used by anyone
There behind the cashier's desk
The sleeper agent waits
For the signal from the Kremlin
Telling him to activate
Part of a chain of service stations funded by the KGB
Designed to form invasion staging posts for the Red Army


The rest of the chain was quietly sold when the Cold War had cooled down
The sleeper used his agent's pension to buy the leasehold out
It's all he's ever known to do
So he prefers to wait
For the signal from the Kremlin
Telling him to activate
So say 'nyet' to Welcome Break, let Moto be ignored
Look for the final holdout
On the island of Mam Tor


Searching online for the lyrics to 'Ask'
I found an unofficial homepage
With a furious debate between teenagers over
The words of a Morrissey phrase
Some said he sang 'It is the bond' meaning the bond
That forms when the lovers unite
Others thought it was 'The Bomb' like explosions
That go off when love unrequited requites
But of course it's the bomb, it's the nuclear bomb
Is the bomb that'll bring them together
But none of them knew, they had no idea what it meant

And I thought, well that's great, that we live in an age
Where the kids don't live in certain knowledge
That they'll all be wiped out beneath a mushroom cloud
Before they're halfway through sixth form college
And I know that the world isn't perfect, I know there's lots wrong
But at least we have managed to turn round the words of one song
Because it's not the bomb, it's not the bomb
That'll bring us together
And if it's not the bomb maybe it's love

Published by Wipe Out Music Publishing

This song first came about through one of our JAM sessions in Derby, meant to be a Fast One (which we then didn't have many of) with a Fast End Bit. I had an idea to write a song about the Kinder Scout Mass Trespass, generated by The Laces In My Walking Boots suggesting "Kinder Scout" as a REALLY good name for an album. I agreed and, knowing Tim would do too, gave the song that title.

HOwever, I never really got far with that idea so was content to let the song LIE. Tim had other ideas though and, in his new Producer Mode, got me and Frankie to join with him on recording it during one of our sessions. HANDILY I'd taped it as Frankie had no memory AT ALL of doing it before (neither had Emma and Tom later on) and we ended up doing the end bit completely differently, due to some Additional Jamming.

Next day me, Tom and Tim went up to DURHAM to do a ROCK GIG, which was BRILLIANT. On the way back I was REGALING them with The Legend Of The Petrol Stations. I'm not sure WHERE I read it (obviously on the Interweb somewhere) but I'd seen a vague remark about The Kremlin bankrolling a chain of petrol stations which used to be seen in oddly out of the way positions on b-roads in the 1970s. Hardly anybody ever visited them, but they were placed in strategically useful positions to act as staging posts for any Soviet Invasion. I'm not sure if it's true or not, but I think it's a FANTASTIC legend and enjoy telling it, and as I was doing so it struck me that this would be an excellent subject for a song.

ALSO on that journey we were discussing the fansite I'd looked at recently where youthful Smiths fans were trying to work out what the bit about "The Bomb" in "Ask" is all about - when I WERE A LAD The Bomb was pretty much ALL I thought about, so the fact that people of a similar age nowadays have no idea what it means seemed to me to be a lovely sign that at least SOME things have changed for the better. We ALSO also talked about the fact that it's very rare to get a song about two different things, and though the two parts of the song do end up being sort of linked, this was at least an ATTEMPT to do something like that.

With all these ideas in my head the song wrote itself pretty easily, starting slightly on the Sunday when I got home and then finishing off on the Monday evening. BIT I REALLY LIKE: getting the B6061 in - it goes past Kinder Scout!

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