A POINT ON THE MAP
The songs on this CD have been inspired by people and events on three seperate continents, spanning thousands of miles across the globe.
Roof Of The World
You have to go back many years to find a world map which shows Tibet as a country in its own right. Since Chinese occupation began in 1949, it has been merely classed as a 'province' of its powerful neighbour. After nearly 50 years of persecution, the plight of the Tibetan people may seem hopeless. But miracles happen. And if East can meet West in Berlin, and white can meet black in South Africa, then maybe passive resistance can meet with success in Tibet, the roof of the world.
Welcome to the roof of the world the sun is fading at the Holiday Inn
another nation is out in the cold and fighting people have let themselves in.
Bringing steel guns and armies towards peace
China tore down and tortured brave men prayed for their release
from the first occupation in 1949
there was no Tibetan army raised to bring the Chinese down
still the holy men were slaughtered, women, children to the wall
exiled leader's rights aborted - why did no one help at all?
It takes one generation to bring a country down
you can tell Tibetan children they belong to China now
no oil flows beneath the soil of this forgotten land
just a stream of resistance that nobody understands
so there's no condemnation from the powers that be
on this most favoured nation acting so unfavourably.
Well the roof may be falling, we can make it strong again
while the cellars hold the bones of all the lost and tortured men
but the stairs are there for climbing we can quickly reach the top
if we all join together we can make the torture stop
and if this one peaceful protest can break the party line
will the fight be changed forever to bring peace in our time?
You can change your nationality, but you can't change the colour of your skin. This is the story of a Queensland boy who went to school one day to discover that his friends didn't like him any more because his skin wasn't white.
Now somebody's been talking about the colour of his skin
he is only in year seven, but he knows what he's wrapped up in
he walks to school quite slowly, then he runs back home again
because he can't explain the bruises on his shin.
.... his name is Tom, he lives with his family
he's a Japanese boy eleven years old and he loves to watch the fast cars
as they tear down the highway and if his eyes are slanted
then that's twice as good as yours 'cause yours are closed.
Somebody's been listening to a television show
and with half an ear they're hearing things that they already know
it's passed around the playground - last one in's the first to go
leave a young boy bleeding on the floor below, ha ha ....
So how do you explain about the shame of the upper hand
when your dream of independence doesn't happen like you planned
he'll always be a stranger labelled from a foreign land
well it's hard for a child to understand .....
Twelve Mile Creek
When I came to Australia in 1996 I spent the first three months living just outside Rockhampton. Every day I drove over the bridge of Twelve Mile Creek on my way into work, and again coming back in the evening. It became a symbol of my time there, as many unlikely places take on significance when you're travelling.
I have decided there's nothing here
just a twelve mile creek and a windy street
no-one's been down for years
nothing ventured is nothing gained
so I will pack my things up and I'll never be here again.
The rains of summer can't be long, swell the rivers up the banks
and turn the gentle breeze to strong
throw my hair back and look upon
the dusty open country now I must be moving on
and if I don't, its my memory to lose, it's my memory to lose.
The city's empty this time of year see the waiter walk more slowly
as he fetches one more beer streets are shining in winter sun
I curse the train that left me here as I break into a run
I'll leave the city to the men who have phones in their hip pockets
and computers in the den.
Find the moon on the coral shore the sand beneath my feet
where they have never been before
and if I don't, its my memory to lose, it's my memory to lose.
The wheels are turning and the wheels are strong
and still we move along.
I have decided there's nothing here just a beach goes on forever
and the waters running clear
golden footprints in the sand heading west out of the waves
onto the heat of solid land
one by one now the trees will blow throwing seeds into the desert
so that another one may grow, back and forwards is ever on
the world in perfect motion throw your hand in and it's gone.
But if I don't its my memory to lose, its my memory to lose
Thousands Of Years
One of the first songs I wrote after arriving in Australia. For a long time I kept this song to myself, being such a newcomer to the country. But one day I heard Kev Carmody's 'Images of London' and decided that if he could spend two weeks in my land and write a song about it, then I could spend two months in his land and do the same.
It took thousands and thousands of years to make a nation
just one for replacing the dreaming and it's gone.
Well you can't dress a dreamer in a suit and a tie
and you can't take away that look in his eye
all the hurt and the anger and the want to know why?
It's a question of people, it's a question of pride
it's a question of waiting, not when to decide
and of too many men living on the inside.
It's the heart of this country it's six feet of air
it's a whole generation feel more than despair
for their fathers and mothers whose memory they share.
Very often it seems that the people who have suffered most in their lives do the least complaining. This is a tribute to a lady I worked with in Queensland who had the strength to keep looking forward to every new day, while all around her, people were whinging away about nothing.
He left her with a broken nose and a fractured view of life
this woman who was doomed to be a drunken bastard's wife
and even as a dead man he caused a lot of strife by leaving all his money to the children.
So maybe you're just whinging to keep warm 'cause there's a bitter wind that's blowing
and you're hiding from the storm but after the thunder comes the rain
true heroes always rise again.
She had to borrow money to buy the children out and she struggled with the freehold
through seven years of drought
but she always said a prayer before she blew the candles out
I wonder did the Heavens hear her calling?
Life was never easy, but the wolf stayed from her door
she filled the yard with flowers to make it shine once more
and how with all this beauty can anyone be poor
she said from her window every morning.
Now when I see her passing, her hair is turning grey
it's the colour of a memory that can never fade away
she's living for tomorrow to make up for today
and I've never once heard her complaining.
Fruit Of Our Labour
A song inspired by a Renmark fruit grower who made me realise how attached people become to their crops. The Riverland area of South Australia has long been famous for its citrus and stone fruit. But lately many of these faithful old trees have been ripped out of the ground to make way for the new boom crop, wine grapes. I used to see piles of uprooted trees ready for burning at the edges of the fruit blocks as I drove to work. Next day the land would be cleared, and soon neat rows of posts would be in place to support the new vines.
These old apricot trees have been part of the land since my
grandfather planted them here with the sweat of his hand
there'll be no more blossom, no petals like snow
its hard but I just had to let them all go.
These old apricot trees were not paying their way
giving too little profit for so much hard work every day
and after three generations I've pulled them all out
replaced them with a grapevine to turn things about.
Who buried the stone as the fruit of our labour
was torn from the ground this year
who could have known that the markets would favour
the fruit of the vine so dear
and Christmas time will not be the same around here.
These old apricot trees made a pretty good fire
that I watched from the edge of the block
as the flames burned higher
but they meant more to me than a heap of old wood
if you laugh at my tears, then I'm misunderstood.
These old apricot trees were a real way of life
for my brother Danny and me, for my kids and my wife
and money's not everything Heavens above
but I can't afford to just do it for love.
My first sight of the Murray River was driving over the Blanchetown Bridge on my way up from Adelaide. It was stunning - dead gums silhouetted against the water and pelicans gliding over the surface, hardly moving a feather of their huge and graceful wings. My caravan ended up parked on the banks of the Murray in Renmark for over six months, and I loved every minute of it.
See the willow branches hang down to the river
cover up the fishermen
still the heron's chances are quick to deliver dinner in his beak again
on the banks of the Murray away from the worry zone
I've been sitting here by myself, but I don't feel alone.
So long, so long easy water, I'm swimming with the tide
but I've gotta make up my mind, I'm just praying for some easy answers, but the battle is open wide and I've gotta make up my mind.
Steamer in the distance paddle wheel turning
sends a wave out as she goes
in her wake the fish dance little ones learning
how to beat the undertow.
There's a big river rising waiting to take me home
and it's hardly surprising I don't want to leave at all.
A Hundred Pounds More
This comes from my days as a reporter on a provincial English weekly newspaper. I not only read it in the paper, I wrote it in the paper as well - so it absolutely must be true!
Lee remembers the times they were easy
before he said goodbye to the factory gates
now he's standing in line trying to squeeze
a little money or comfort from this old welfare state
he's filled in the forms delivered and signed
and he's offered up a prayer to the Lord
because the date of his first cheque is the 29th
and there's fourteen more days to go.
He says the money's no good to me in two weeks time
I've got to feed my children now
he says I don't want to have a sensible discussion with you
I'm gonna have a bloody big row.
Now the man at the desk he was smiling
but his arms are folded and he's shaking his head
he says there's really no point in dialling
you see I don't make the rules here it's the government instead
Lee tried not to think of his wife and child, hungry, tired, unsure
then he picked up the phone in his right hand
and he smashed it down on the floor.
When the policeman arrived Lee was quiet
sitting in the corner with his head in his hands
He said" I never mean't to start a riot
help me please 'cause I don't understand".
But the court room was busy when the very next day
the magistrate laid down the law
he said "Have you got anything to say now
before we fine you a hundred pounds more?"
Mind Over Matter
There's a saying that if you want to achieve something, it's all a question of mind over matter. But where I used to live in Stoke-on-Trent, they had another saying that went "I don't mind, so it don't matter". And that pretty much sums up the political apathy of England at that time.
Mr and Mrs Jones have such a lovely garden
all around their cottage where they're living in the suburbs
middle income earners way up off the breadline
hardly even know what unemployment is.
Early in the morning driving to the office
sitting there in comfort they don't comment on the placards
of the angry workers standing at the roadside
trying to stem the closure of the factories.
And it's her never mind over his doesn't matter
that keeps the poor man poor and makes the fat man fatter.
Mr and Mrs Jones they have three lovely children
talented and clever they're a credit to their parents
who think it's worth the effort and know it's worth the money
to buy them all the privilege of the school they're in.
Summer term it's sailing, winter term it's skiing, their laughter
drowns the sound of other voices round the corner
from the local primary trying to raise some funds
to buy the children empty books for writing in.
Mr and Mrs Jones go shopping on a Friday
supermarket buying, lots of goodies for the weekend
we'll try some gourmet cheeses and a spot of rosé
its time you know for us to spend the night alone.
Plastic at the check-out pockets always empty
empty as the solitary figure in the doorway
who stretches out a hand and points to a petition
to show the world he's hungry and without a home.
Run For Cover
Escapes are much easier to plan than to carry out.
I don't know and the world won't tell me when to run for cover
but I'm thinking of getting out before the year is over.
Forty days spent planning and another ten spent dreaming
and when the year is over I've forgotten what I'm scheming.
So the days have drifted and I've suffered with the seasons
I don't want to stay, but I can't go and I'm not leaving.
As Time Rolls By
The twin barriers of language and borders are not enough to stop true love. Mind you, this is a made up story.
He was generously open, a clever man, quite softly spoken
always kept a letter as a token,
never seemed too good to hide as time rolled by.
He met her by a mountain, she didn't know a lot about him
but the way he spoke of better things, it touched her
somewhere deep inside and time rolled by.
And as time rolls by he tells his children one by one
hey now take the chances as they come
don't ever let love pass you by, as time rolls by.
Sharing every language
they tried to free the world of anguish
and they spoke of how their love was gonna cross over
the great divide as time rolls by.
Destination Dover, they parted when the war was over
and he never knew the fire that drove her
only felt the tears he cried, as time rolled by.
And as time rolls by the days become the years
and a man gets frightened by his tears.
Now memory can be shaken
something stirred within to waken
all his feelings of a love mistaken,
nothing hurt except his pride as time rolled by.
So one day he wrote a letter,
knowing he could not forget her
leaving no time to regret it
she was standing right before his eyes
and time rolled by.
You look down from the mountains and find corruption; you look up from the gutter and find indifference. City living in England is not complete without its smattering of lost souls in doorways who never seem to disappear at night.
My bed is cold in the morning, the litter keeps blowing inside
an old lady trips and she kicks me awake with a sigh
and the birds start to sing without warning,
their voices are mellow and high
like they know the fight isn't over until it gets light.
And I stand in every doorway I stand alone
waiting for the man with money to carry me home
once there were streets of promise now they are gone
I wear a purple bodice and Gina's my name.
And the landlord he's throwing the drinkers out
into the afternoon sun
their eyes are open, their trousers quite often undone
and down the alley the workers walk past in their suits of disguise
with a hole in their heart and a faraway look in their eyes.
Now it's midnight and the bars are all closing
the drink has made everyone free
nervously glancing away from the vision of me
and even the greediest nation has more to be proud of than greed
so maybe tomorrow will bring me just what I need.
One More Day (in this city)
Very much the other side of the coin as far as city life is concerned. This ought to have been written about Perth, though I hadn't actually been there at the time.
You say you've met someone won't take you for granted
you're on his doorstep, you're feeling romantic
if you stay one more day in this city, if you stay one more day
how will you ever, I'll bet you never go home.
The lights are shining the air is inviting
the bar is open and the music exciting
.....if you stay one more day in this city, if you stay one more day
how will you ever, I'll bet you never go home
I'll bet you never go home, I'll bet you never go home
how could you ever go home.
You see the ocean from the flat where you're living
the view's so perfect it is hard to believe in.....
A Point On The Map
This is my alternative story of creation, tied up with the myth that there's a 'perfect place' for each of us to settle down.
There when the story began always a loner not part of the plan
he was sleeping gently underneath a tree.
Saw the whole world as innocence can
the dreamer looked up through the eyes of a man
and said "all this looks like paradise to me".
Stick a point on the map and I'll settle here
gather good friends around over the years
wear an old straw hat, I'll be happy with that.
Two hearts are better than one,
the man loved a woman she gave him a son
and their garden blossomed well over the years.
The boy knew his life would be blessed
he looked to the east then set out to the west
said "I'll come back when my yearning's disappeared".
Stick a point on the map and I'll settle here
gather good friends around over the years
find an old tin shack, I'll be happy with that.
Cities sprang up where he slept
the people remembered and the promise was kept
like a burning stone that never fades away.
Father to nations of men
the man shut his eyes to start dreaming again
and the earth could hear him whisper where he lay.
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A Point On The Map
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