i know i have to grow old
but i don't want to grow old like this
no plan or dedication
i can see it happening

Side a- Idea; A Few Kisses; Escalator In The Rain; Dolly; Dreaming Drains; I'll Be A Gentleman; Moon.
Side b- Sun; Sleepless, Come On Over And Cry; This Liberal Love; Before Famine; Everybody Is Dead.

Tracklisting as LP with bonus track ''Dear Rosemary'.

The first and most complete of all the Microdisney LP's. Sean O'Hagan would probably have wished for a better studio, but the record seems positively enhanced by limited resources. The acousticy, minimal production blends the songs together perfectly and results in a beautifully melancholic sound. A drum machine that barely changes gear between songs adds to the atmosphere as the songs drift into each other. A concept album it isn't but it feels much more than just a collection of songs thrown together randomly.

Mainly written in/around experiences in Southern Ireland the lyrics have a common thread. A gentle lament to a life that's drifting, being stifled by everything around it, wanting more. Some loose phrases are too difficult to interpret, (but 'pass' under the normally much abused 'poetic licence' tag). Others have more obvious stories or targets, generally provincial in nature.

The songs are much more subtle than the later 'fuck, fuck, fuck' tirades. When Cathal Coughlan formed the Fatima Mansions he said that he never again wanted to be misunderstood. It's easy to see how he could be on this record as the words don't hit you in the face and reactionary bigots lurk unmolested in the background. I'm just glad they got to produce a record with a timeless feel before moving onto meatier things.

While much of it may be introspective the LP still manages to get in a few digs most viciously on 'Sleepless' where a lost (and probably starving) soul is saved by the good doctor.

there was blood where he once had eyes in the fog at the doctor's door-
'could you not go anywhere else?
my wife and son are asleep'

and the doctor did what he could
and he gave him love on the floor

he was cured and was given sight
and deprived of the will to die

and he soon forgot his old friends for he needed purpose now

the cathedral was big and black
'twas the doctor who brought him here
'and on Sundays you will come with your suit and wife and son'

god bless the doctor's trade and the lovely quagmire he made
they have built a race who can't read
and are sleepless like the sun.


'Come Over and Cry' follows a similar theme. A society stuck in a poverty of flesh and soul, stagnating, unable to 'evolve' because of pressure imposed by those with a vested interest in the status quo.

Other classics include 'Escalator In The Rain' about a sad Escalator whose life was going nowhere and
'never wanted half enough'- I don't think I've got that one right somehow.

some ugly girls and boys in the park one fine morning
swore they would save the world by the next friday night
but when friday came they were in a bar
looking sad as I spoke to them

Maybe those boys and girls should have tried blockading a few oil refineries. With the support of the police and
multinationals they couldn't have failed. Cheaper petrol, more pollution, less taxes for public transport- at last a battle you can win. I digress.

This Liberal Love is often highlighted as the classic on the LP. A pre-Riot Grrl story of a boy who gets lucky and then bugs and whinges at her for the next thirty years unable to comprehend the nature of a casual shag. Of course Microdisney tell it much better than I can- you can click (right click and 'save target as') HERE to hear a live version in glorious MP3.

Casual shags, if you can call them that, are also to be found on one of my favourite tracks 'A Few Kisses'. 'Repressed' attitudes to sex is one of the themes in Cathal Coughlan's lyrics, so it's hard to see him moralising about sex, even prostitution. But although the song is as much commentary as it is condemnation of double standards, it still has a distinct pathos to it.

and they told us we were decent fifty quid for a few kisses.

and our fathers and our uncles
ran through town like fevered cattle
took the women in the doorway
no-one questioned ageless law.

'Dolly' follows the theme of dark demons hiding below the surface. On the face of it a simple love-themed song to hum along to...

dolly, look and see if there's much love left for me

The reality seems more to do with a drunken sod who comes back from the pub lamenting a life where love is a comfort but not enough. Futility and tenderness go hand in hand, full of regrets but desperate for something more to his life.

send me love and peace
two more things I can't afford

The rest of the LP is packed with poetic gems. Starting with the introspective 'Idea' (another of my favourites without quite grasping the storyline), the mood builds up into the finale of 'Everybody is Dead' and a tortured 'I LOVE YOU' scream as they get whisked away in a Rolls Royce on their marriage day. A fine end to a perfect record. That's unless of course you have the CD where you end up with 'Dear Rosemary'- my gratitude for having a CD recording of the song is tempered by disapproval at the ill thought out placement.

Every song on the LP is a classic and everything is spot on right down to the title. Even the sleeve. I once had an argument with an art friend about the sleeve. He said it was crap. Shocked by this I had to backtrack slightly and claim it was meant to be ironic, but actually deep down I love it full stop. Oh the beauty of London at night...