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Collected Local Songs

by Steven Ball

a step, a stop not so much shuffling, hobbling, or stumbling but stopping and stopping, more stopping than walking then falling forward falling and stopping forward and stopping stopping and falling stopping and walking walking and falling across Creek Road and then down the High Street into Douglas Way Amersham Vale Amersham Grove right into Edward Street left down the High Street across Creek Road into Watergate Street up to the river and back down Watergate Street
woke up one morning singing phrases from a dream into his mobile phone his note book out of reach in the morning it doesn’t matter one fleeting impression among many others dream diary in the cloud in the morning a cloud of dreams geo-tagged, metadata, dreams no longer forgotten from this morning this song, singular thing thing, ephemeral thing a memory from a bar a run around the park in the morning dreams all encoded, uploaded, to a cloud [there’s no one listening in] from pillow to server in the morning a cloud of dreams related to a data subject pseudonymised fragmented from this morning
Ray song 03:24
waiting now for the story of how the neighbour is being played by another actor Ray went away for a long time and now he looks quite different but he does all the things that Ray does cleans his car stands outside and smokes a cigarette he’s played by a different actor now someone who doesn’t look like him what can I do?
turning the tide on the river getting higher every day down by the creekside high spec apartments higher and higher and higher every day selling place to the foreigners nothing gets in their way down by the river water and networks slower and slower and slower every day turning their backs on the village (but) nothing just goes away sewage and bandwidth the tide and the rainfall higher and narrower and higher and narrower every day
signs and wonders every last Friday I've got a folder on my computer named 'Current Projects' this song is in it along with others they're current projects a woman stops me stops me to ask me is that the Albany the Albany Deptford I say yes I didn’t realize it was so close I could park I could walk I say I guess myself wants to talk to talk to yourself nobody trusts this warm weather they’re all wearing coats singing songs songs with lyrics full of meaning the boy walked into into the road because he was hit by hit by the bus he’s got the ‘ump Emergency Tax basically literally it should be no larger than a sheet of A4 a sheet of A4 paper the girl that passed passed on the platform the aroma of chocolate It's just the worstest time really The Welshman on on the night bus said he'd had enough of this country he couldn't wait to get back to China. she's living on toast two phones on the bus New Cross pavements health insurance? music on earphones whose earphones? his earphones? no, mine. unattended bags cause delays please keep yours with you at all times the exclamation mark is to the right of the block of text and runs its full height vertically the point at its base is a graphical image of a case we stop and start through the emptied estates CCTV is in operation at all times at this station in the same place but not in the same state in the same place but not in the same time the thing I notice on the old estate the smell of weed new seats and the puddles are all in the same place the puddles are still in the same place to help and bless and save the working the working classes stinking unpaved unpaved lane rough sailors from cattle steamers women selling jumping jacks men hawking primrose roots rabbits dangling from the end of a stick here would be a vendor a vendor of whirligigs there a mender of old umbrellas a blind beggar Italian women women with cages of fortune telling fortune telling canaries the hemp that is to hang me is not grown yet the police stopped stopped all such customs the electric light can never be applied applied indoors without the production of an offensive smell which undoubtedly causes headaches about a pound a week from the butchers' and greengrocers’ shops gaslights flared flared and flickered wild and ghastly haggard groups of slipshod dirty dirty women bargaining for scraps of stale meat and frost-bitten vegetables wrangling about short weight and bad and bad quality fish stalls and fruit stalls lined the edge of the greasy the greasy pavement sending up odours as foul as the language of sellers and buyers blood and sewer water crawled from under doors and out of spouts reeked down to the gutters among offal, animal and vegetable in every stage of of putrefaction she would bring bring a tray up with a bowl of water soap and flannel and a towel for washing and make our bed comfortable and meals such as as we could eat were brought upstairs sometimes Mum was given back a shilling or two I can imagine how she must have saved this to buy something to improve the home


"... a drifting, sometimes aleatory assemblage of signs and signals encountered in South London's Deptford and New Cross. Ball sees the city as plunderphonic terrain, and this music is built up from layers of centrifugal texts... Memories, fragmented and not always lucid, act as bulwarks against capitalism's amnesia." Sukhdev Sandhu, The Wire, April 2015

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released February 2, 2015

written, performed and recorded by Steven Ball
image by Riccardo Iacono


all rights reserved



Steven Ball London, UK

Steven Ball has been working as an artist since the early 1980s, in film, video, sound, installation, and performance, and has been a member of the post-punk DIY group Storm Bugs. In 2014 he started writing and recording songs as a solo project, being particularly concerned with experimenting with which kinds of texts might constitute a song lyric. ... more

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