Microchipping Me

The sound guy at the Pavillion had heard me play a few times when he handed me a Phil Ochs CD. I can’t remember the guy’s name, it’s been that long, but I can’t thank him enough for the CD. You can trace the origins of Microchipping Me by listening to Love Me I’m A Liberal by Phil Ochs.

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Verse 1
I went to an ATM one sunny day
I went to a hole in the wall
But to my surprise my card was denied
For no justified reason at all

Of course this was just the beginning
The worst of it still to be seen
Boy I wish I’d listened to the resistance
Now they’re micro chipping me

Verse 2
I called my accountant to make an appointment
To sort out my finance somehow
But what I was told made my blood run cold
You’re savings can’t save you now

It’s easy to see now in hindsight
Why the brought down our economy
Boy I wish I’d listened to the resistance
Now they’re Micro-chipping me

Verse 3
I flew to the United States I confess
I saw the American way
As soon as I landed officials demanded
A sample of my DNA

Without second thought I provided
My genetic identity
Boy I wish I’d listened to the resistance
Now they’re Micro-chipping me

Verse 4
Too late to escape I’ve got nowhere to go
They’ll find me wherever I flee
With pin-point precision their satellite system
Can locate the chip inside me

By sheepish obedience blinded
They sure pulled the whole over me
Boy I wish I’d listened to the resistance
Now they’re Micro-chipping me

Verse 5
Oh this isn’t fiction, this isn’t a joke
Wake up and realise the truth
Their sinister pyramid scheme is a fix
The many controlled by the few

And to them we are no more than cattle
That’s why it’s the mark of the beast
Boy I wish I’d listened to the resistance
Now that they’ve Micro-chipped me

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Song for Jane and John

This is not about actual people called Jane and John since those are the generic names they assign to unidentified patients admitted to hospital. It was a break-up ballad written about imaginary characters inspired by Donovan’s early storytelling on songs like The Ballad of Geraldine.

Walking over car bonnets and roughing a new boyfriend up after hearing the line “I don’t know if John will restrain from teaching this punk a thing when he’s drunk – make a fist to pass on the pain”

I hope the rest of my songs don’t inspire such thuggish behaviour!

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I heard it on the news – a local lad got knocked off his motorbike in Belfast. When he asked for help they wouldn’t call him an ambulance because he wasn’t a Protestant. I made myself a mental note: “This sucks. Write a song about this injustice”

I’ve borrowed from the talking blues traditional popularised by Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, where every verse has to end with a funny tongue-in-cheek line. Which is good because otherwise it would be quite a depressing topic.

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At the time I was recording the songs my girlfriend at the time called it her least favourite song. Never got a proper answer as to what it was she disliked about the song. I was trying for lower bass heavy Jonny Cash vocals – it might have been that – or maybe she just thought the words were stupid.

Theres’s a verse about the HMV record store that existed briefly in Bangor. A verse about nautical chart correcting – a job which I did for 10 years. A verse about the (then newly-introduced) smoking ban.

And even a MISSING VERSE:

“They pressed it onto vinyl – a lot of people bought em – now they’re in the attic growing mouldy and forgotten – that 45 was fine by me in all its faded glory – I preferred it when there were two sides to every story”.

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