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He’s Very Good at Swimming

WRITTEN BY KEL

“Where is your line? Is it clear? Was your mind clear at the time?”

Like all women, I have had my fair share of mistreatment and sexual inappropriateness from men. But I have never (so far) been raped. It speaks volumes that I consider myself lucky up until now. Many of my friends and family members have been. So many incidents are never even spoken about, never mind reported.  

It was a few years ago that I read about a particular rape case, if you read about it too you’ll know the one I mean. It was the 22 year old victim’s open letter that really struck a chord with me. I read it over and over and cried. His father’s words slapped me across the face too: ‘it’s a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action’. I can’t imagine what those words did to her. All the media kept focusing on was his athletic achievements.

This was just one of so many cases in which the perpetrator’s perceived successes are foregrounded and celebrated by the media, while the victim is so often dragged through the mud, every aspect of her conduct and lifestyle scrutinised to find a way to pin it on her. She was dressed provocatively, she was wearing a thong, she had an active sex life, she was drunk, she was flirting, and so on.

I wrote this song to try and put my feelings on this subject into words. Every time we play it I choke up. It is a song of two halves, at the midway point the melancholy gives way to incendiary rage. I hope I did this subject the justice it deserves. Unlike the sentences of many rapists.

—————————————–

Red dress left hanging

Cardigan no guard

Make your mind up, you’re confused

Who are you to accuse somebody so cool?

Fresh meat, punch bowl,

How could you know, he would…?

Bright white light

He didn’t mean it, he didn’t mean it

Bright white light

He wasn’t thinking, he wasn’t thinking

Wipe clean crime scene – could have been a bad dream

Except the swabs and the needles

Like brambles

Left blackcurrant bruises

If you don’t remember, how can you know? 

Prove it.

Bright white light

He didn’t mean it, he didn’t mean it

Bright white light

He wasn’t thinking, he wasn’t thinking

Fluorescent bulbs pop like pornographic paps

Metal clatters on metal

The cold, unfriendly wrench of a speculum

You’re a specimen

And all bodies are foreign including your own.

Now the blue black beaks peck at the gory deets

Are you partial to one or two?

Have u spent a lot of time in bedrooms?

And how was it different this time?

Where is your line?

Is it clear?

Was your mind clear at the time?

Boys will be boys.

It must have been something you said

Something you did

He ran, he ran, he ran, he ran, he ran.

He’s very good at running

He’s very good at swimming.

If you liked this blog post and want to support us, you can buy our music herehere or even here or you can stream it on Spotify. Keep up to date on new music, gigs and blog posts by signing up to our mailing list here, we only mail out when we have something worth telling you. You can also follow us on Twitter and Instagram @thmptypg or find us on Facebook.


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When The Cloud Explodes

written by Kel
“Cos when there’s nowt to do, that’s when the mould will bloom.”

Nose pink, hood up, my fingers gripping its sides to keep it there, I battle against the bellicose weather in the direction of home. Crossing the finishing line of my front door I flick the kettle on and change into dry clothes before rummaging out my pens and notebooks. I sink into the sofa with a steaming cup of builder’s and begin to write. The rain beats a steady pulse on the roof and I am grateful to be inside, and I am inspired.

I grew up in a tiny northern market town and have lived in Manchester for most of my adult years. It may seem trivial but rain has featured, er, heavily in my life. I finally got a chance to do some travelling a few years ago and after spending some months bumming around in sunny places I returned home to Manchester and was immediately greeted by a downpour. It felt like a ticker tape parade welcoming me home. Make us a brew, mate.

As I reacquainted myself with Manchester like a tourist in my own city, I was acutely aware of the creativity bulging out of its seams. I wrote the notes to the lyrics which eventually became the song ‘When The Cloud Explodes’, a paean to rainy days in grey towns and cities and the vibrant art that shines out through the gaps in our curtains. I think these two things are intrinsically linked.

The single comes out on Feb 22nd. Digitally you can find it in all the usual places. It’s also being released by labour-of-love bedroom label Punk Fox on bright orange 7” vinyl. The cover art is a black and white photo of a defiant androgynous child in a ginnel, taken by the late Manchester based photographer Shirley Baker. Check out some more of her beautiful captures of life in Manchester in the 50s and 60s here.

We chose orange for the vinyl (which you can pre-order now) as a contrast to the black and white, and a symbol of the brightness of the creative people here in Manchester. Or as our drummer, Jim puts it,

‘Orange: it’s Clockwork, GM Buses, and Mick Hucknall’s hair’.

Northern production whizz kids Sugar House approached us to record the song with them in St Helens. We think they really captured the energy and the scuzz. It’s intense and fuzz heavy with a hint of post-punk and a load of Manc attitude.

It’s already been played by Steve Lamacq and Gideon Coe on BBC 6 Music, and playlisted on Amazing Radio, how lovely is that?

We hope you like it.

———————–

born in a humdrum town under a charcoal cloud
lords of the puke stained streets
spores growing in bad meat
stink wrinkles up your nose and you’re pulling your curtains closed
when the cloud explodes
it’s raining in our city again, we’re staying in
singing smoking thinking
cos when there’s nowt to do that’s when the mould will bloom
that’s when the ink will flow
and that’s why our gardens grow
when the cloud explodes
it’s raining in our city again, we’re staying in
drinking painting creating
right at the heart of things 
sick from the stench of bins
right at the heart of things
sick from the stench
when the cloud explodes
it’s raining in our city again, we’re staying in
dreaming dancing growing
WTCE Cover image by Shirley Baker

If you liked this blog post and want to support us, you can buy our music here, here or even here or you can stream it on Spotify. Keep up to date on new music, gigs and blog posts by signing up to our mailing list here, we only mail out when we have something worth telling you. You can also follow us on Twitter and Instagram @thmptypg or find us on Facebook.