Week 9: Who’s to know

      Who's to know - Simon Van Gend

09 Who's to know
It seems to me people fall in love for the most random reasons, often because of things way beyond their control, only to discover years down the line that they can’t stand each other, once the drug of love has worn off. It’s very hard to know while under the influence of nature’s most powerful drive whether we’re doing the right thing or not. That’s kind of what this song is about. Cynical or realistic? I’m not too sure, but thought it made for a good song.


Stepping off the edge of Friday’s sunny afternoon
Dreamy little lies we whisper in a sleepy room
Then we wander by the water
Who’s to know who’s s’posed to fall in love with whom?

I always try to be so wise to the lies of love
But keeping up with every move can be a little too much
I try so hard to keep my guard up
But who’s to know who’s s’posed to fall in love with whom?

We throw it all away to fall
In love with somebody we hardly know at all
You’d better hope that when the fuzzy feelings end
What you’ve got is something like a friend

I got an SOS today from my lovelorn friend
She said she needed someone kind with an ear to lend
But now I feel myself falling
Who’s to know who’s s’posed to fall in love with whom?

All I ever try to do is make the love bird sing
I love the way it breathes new life into everything
But it’s song can skew my thinking
As if I’d been drinking
Who’s to know who’s s’posed to fall in love with whom?

Week 8: Beyond the blue beyond

      Beyond the blue beyond - Simon Van Gend

08 Beyond the blue beyond

Not too much to say about this one, except that it was written during the same burst of inspiration as the last one, although it came out with a completely different feel. A bit bluegrassy maybe. Had fun with the words. Hope you like it.


Digging down touching base
Turning round to face
What’s on the inside
Where all the secrets hide
Where all the tangled roots feed the shoots
I couldn’t give a hoot
What all the world says
About the boy who’s lost inside his head

And I don’t mind
Spend my time
Sailing on an ocean of
Superfluous emotion
because there I find
A contagious kind
Of impracticable notion
That to me’s like magic potion
That can free the vagabond
to scoot, skedaddle and abscond
Beyond the blue beyond
That’ll free the vagabond to run
Beyond the blue beyond

Wide awake 3 am
Staking out my stratagem
For dealing
with these clouds of consternated feelings
Sleep away, half the day
People say I’ve gone astray
But why not? This is the freedom that I’ve got


Edging closer to where the stranger
Feelings linger and the warning finger
Of fear’s not touching this forward thrusting
This heart combusting and this brand new trusting
Of all my love
All my crazy dreamy love


Week 7: Year of the dreamer

      Year of the dreamer - Simon Van Gend

07 Year of the dreamer

This week’s song was one where I kind of returned to my old ways and just wrote from the heart, not really thinking too much about what I was trying to say, just letting words come out, without trying too hard to construct it in any particular direction. It’s kind of a celebration of that way of doing things.

Last year I did a songwriting course that taught a very particular method in which you  with a strong idea, then outline it through three developmental stages, kind of like a mind-map with three boxes, with the idea growing in meaning through the verses of the song. I’ve been working hard to try to master this technique, and I guess Google Song and Suffer Well are two songs that came about by sort of applying this method. But all along there’s been a part of me rebelling against this whole constructed way of doing things, and saying, but wait, there’s a much more honest, simple and direct way of doing things, i.e. the way I’ve been doing things all these years.

Recently I read a book called Everything I know by Paul Jarvis. It really inspired me back into doing things my way – basically he says that the best way to stand out in the world as any kind of creative artist (he’s actually a web designer) is to have the courage to be yourself and to do things your way, not to feel you need to compromise to somehow fit in to what you think the world needs. That idea got me all fired up and the next morning I wrote this song. Would love to hear your thoughts about all this. Enjoy!

I’d offer to erase these thoughts
If I believed that there was some way to
Shake awake the ocean beast
Deep beneath the tranquil ocean blue

Doe-eyed I’d awaken
A brand new breath I’d take in and I’d
Turn towards the love I see in you

I’d sing a song about my love
For everyone and all I ever I knew
If I could catch a memory of
The chorus of that long-forgotten tune

With tender new wings aching
And the soul inside me quaking
I’d turn towards the love I’d see in you
Rise to greet the light come shining through

I like to guess in emptiness I do

Colour me in when I’m grey
Give me word balloons when I’ve got nothing to say
Send a cartoon ship to the cartoon castaway

You’ve got to keep it wide open,
The road to the ocean
Those murmurs of unspoken love

Got to dive in the deep where
The memories sleep where
The things that complete you live

I wandered all weekend
Adrift in the deep end
Through layers of sleep I arose

It’s the year of the dreamer,
The float on the streamer
The wanderer where no one knows

I like to guess in emptiness I do

Week 6: Suffer well

      Suffer well - Simon Van Gend

06 Suffer well
This week’s song was kicked off by a Muhammad Ali quote: “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'” This got me curious about what other people had to say about suffering, so I got busy on google and soon had enough ideas to make a song. Enjoy. Thanks again to Chris Tuck for the great production.

Muhammad Ali stung like a bee
But said he couldn’t stand the training
But he swallowed the pain, ’cause he wanted to gain
All the things he wound up gaining

Dostoyevsky said this about those
With hearts that love and with minds that know
The bigger you are and the more that you care
The greater the pain you’ll have to bear

And each of us must learn in our own way
To silently relate
To everything we hate
’Cause sure enough for everyone
The time will come
For suffering to be done
And when it casts its spell
I hope you suffer well

Keats said this and I agree
That all this pain is necessary
Like squeezing diamonds out of coal
It turns a mind into a soul

and Nietsche’s life was strange and dark
But what he said was on the mark
That we’ll survive our suffering
By learning to see what it means


Now I’m not saying you’ve got to bottle it in
Sometimes it’s good to offload on your friends
But everyone has problems of their own
And mostly we must face them all alone