When Staying Alive’s The Latest Craze (2020 – Art Rock)

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“In years to come there will likely be much written about the creative response to this time of crisis and confusion. Tim Arnold has taken the perfect stab at being a leading and truthful messenger of these dark days. Spontaneous and sincere, his reflections, like all astute creativity, transcends the spark of its inception. This is much more than a lockdown sequence of songs, it is an inspired reaction to having time and isolation forced into your hands. ”
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– Robert Cochrane (Culture Catch, New York)

“An uplifting album which tackles the truth with a dose of reality and compassion.”

–  Ange Chan, (We Are Cult)

WHEN STAYING ALIVE’S THE LATEST CRAZE

The pandemic lockdown acted like a lens. It magnified and clarified all the component parts of our lives.

It made the lonely lonelier, and it made real friendships deeper. It made our health more important and our distractions more irrelevant. It made mental health issues worse and pointless jobs more absurd. It revealed what was important and what was not. For those lockdowned in harmonious relationships, it made their love more valued and less likely to be taken for granted. On a political level, it revealed just how deeply cruel and incompetent the cruel and the incompetent could be.

For each individual soul behind each closed front door, the lockdown period was unique. We all were dropped into magnified versions of our lives and given time to process what we found. Each lockdown – be it with family or flatmates or alone, in cramped council flats or semi-detached suburban homes – was a portrait of a life, caricatured in hard focus and always entirely unique.

This was as true for Tim Arnold as it was for everyone else. For Arnold, the pandemic exaggerated his need to make music and so, on 23 March 2020, the day the UK went into lockdown, he began work on what became WHEN STAYING ALIVE’S THE LATEST CRAZE. He had little choice but to do this because it was how he processed things. “I had to just keep responding to what was happening, because it was always pretty intense,” he recalls.

What is so extraordinary, given this context, is how universal the album is. Arnold faced his own unique personal situation and pulled out of it stories and feelings that all of us can recognise. The effect is like listening to a soundtrack album and realising with shock that it is the soundtrack to your own life.

Beneath all our individual flavours and unique circumstances there lies a bedrock of awareness and emotion that is truly universal. It is this that Arnold returns to again and again, unearthing different aspects of it in different songs. In NOTHING ON EARTH he touches on the importance of being embraced. In ANOTHER RECORD THAT CHANGED MY LIFE he honours the joy we find in music. In THE GREAT WITHOUT he recognises the importance of doubt, that most noble of philosophies, and in HERE LIES LIBERTY he looks inwards to find the source of freedom. He explored his own unique circumstances, but he unearthed the music of us all.

The lockdown is fading into the past now – or at least, the sharply focused early version of it is. A new and different world seems to arrive every few days on average, and we can be forgiven if much of our mental capacity is spent trying to navigate this. There is a danger that what we saw at the start will be forgotten, when our lives and values were presented back to us in magnified clarity. Should this happen, WHEN SAYING ALIVE’S THE LATEST CRAZE will help. Arnold went deep into the unified and the universal, so you will find your own personal portrait here.

John Higgs

Brighton UK,

August 2020

Tracks and Lyrics

1. Nothing On Earth

Alison says Life’s like death on two legs

She’s finding it hard to breathe

Phil says emergency services come

But not till you’re tested

By watching your first-born bleed

 

Terry and Julie can’t meet on the bridge

Like they used to, no it just won’t play

Their kid’s kids adjust well but don’t understand

Why they can’t play the Xbox, the Xbox, the Xbox all day

 

And we wonder aloud

Why did this happen to me?

It’s showing us powers

Powers that we couldn’t see

 

Like there’s nothing on Earth quite like being alone with someone else
The simplest charms of throwing your arms around someone else

Like the ball we dropped.  And the world we stopped.

Like nothing on earth, it’s revealed a secret that can’t be topped.

 

Katie and Lee were gonna get married

At Lake Como by the end of May

They didn’t wanna pull it but they’ve bitten the bullet
When staying alive’s the latest craze

 

Zuckerberg’s getting meditative.
The Pope tested negative.

There’s a one-man protest at a church in Cork

There’s time on your mind of a kind you never had

Catch up on the Eps you missed of Breaking Bad

Or try something new. There’s a thought.

 

We’re learning how to learn how to change

And find comfort in knowing nothing will be the same again.

 

But still there’s nothing on Earth quite like being alone with someone else
The simplest charms of throwing your arms around someone else

Like the ball we dropped.  And the work that stopped.

Like nothing on earth, it can’t be topped

There’s nothing on Earth like being alone with someone else.

2. Weird Now

Scientists detect a powerful radio burst

Coming from our galaxy

May your troubles fade away

With this beautiful month of May

I must say that this testing time

Kicks up all the unanswerable questions

I miss people

I miss friends

Starting to feel weird now

‘This is no darn hobby’

Said the gangsta gardener

Transforming Los Angeles

Drive in concerts are now a thing

A thing in Denmark

BBC quarantining cast and crew

So the filming of lies can continue

I miss people

I miss friends

Starting to feel weird now

 

I miss people

I miss friends

Starting to feel weird now

 

No whales will be hunted in Ireland

The second year in a row

And there’s an interesting article

About a possible return to tourism

Crowdfunding a lawsuit

Just might be the last resort

 

I miss people

I miss friends

Starting to feel weird now

 

I miss people

I miss friends

Starting to feel weird now

 

She said hold my Tao

 

It’s starting to feel weird now

3. One Percent

Activate me

Cultivate me

Circulate me

Concentrate me

 

And just when I think I escape

It’s got me on my knees

I smile through the tape
Restrictions never ease

 

Data rape me
Calibrate me

Alienate me

Dominate me

 

I talk to stupid in my mirror

And a choice that can’t be clearer

One prison on my left

Another one on my right

Gotta make up my mind now

For the one per cent parasite

 

Contaminate me

Devastate me
Prostitute me

Electrocute me

 

Attention deficit

The strangest benefit

Ahead of the curve
Try not to, hope not to,

pray not to lose your nerve

 

One prison on my left

Another one on my right

Gotta make up my mind now

For the one percent parasite

 

Contain and constrain

And profits go insane

Enrage to engage
It’s cold here in the flames

 

One prison on my left

Another one on my right

Gotta make up my mind now

For the one percent parasite

 

One prison on my left

Another one on my right

Gotta make up my mind now

For the one percent parasite

 

You sedate me

Automate me

Inoculate me

 

Take me back to

 

Infancy

Liberty

Security

 

and purity

4. Change of System

Melujean Ballesteros, Rahima Bibi Sidhanee

Kevin Smith, Gareth Roberts, Leilani Medel, Oscar King

 

Amor Gatinao, Abdul Mabud Chowdury

Elbert Rico Sara Trollope Lynsay Coventry

Julie Omar, Donna Campbell, Areema Nasreen
Donald Suelto, Syed Zishan Haider, Glen Corbin

 

Isn’t that enough

Names to make a difference?

Isn’t that Enough

To end your game?

Isn’t that Enough

Shame on you to listen?

Isn’t that Enough

To roll out a change of system?

 

Edmond Adedeji, Catherine Sweeney, Adil El Tayar

Mohamed Sami Shousha Elizabeth Glanister

 

Leilani Dayrit, Barbara Moore, Pooja Sharma
Anton Sebastianpillai, Eric Labeja Acellam

 

Isn’t that enough

Names to make a difference?

Isn’t that Enough

To end your game?

Isn’t that Enough

Shame on you to listen?

Isn’t that Enough

To roll out a change of system?

 

John Alagos, Rebecca Mack, Fayez Ayache

Elsie Sazuze, Janice Graham, Jitendra Rathod

 

Emily Perugia,  Alice Kit Tak Ong, Aimee O’Rourke,

Alfa Sa’adu, Thomas Harvey, Carol Jamabo

 

Isn’t that enough

Names to make a difference?

Isn’t that Enough

To end your game?

Isn’t that Enough

Shame on you to listen?

Isn’t that Enough

To roll out a change of system?

5. Another Record That Changed My Life

Here’s another record that changed my life…

Peter Gabriel’s ‘So’ saved my soul
Kate Bush hit me with The Sensual World
Synchronicty, What’s Going On

Anything by Stevie and the game is on
Lady In Satin, Solitude Standing
The Liberated Woman, Plastic Ono Band

Axis Bold As Love, Ziggy and The Wall
Get Close to Judy At Carnegie Hall

 

Loveless and the Mothership connection

Vienna to The Joshua Tree

Hormonally Yours, give me Protection

 

Please Please Me.

 

Here’s another record that changed my life

It takes me to a place

That puts the smile back on my face

 

Here’s another record that changed my life

Everlasting powers to amaze

When staying alive’s the latest craze

 

Ok Computer in a Siamese Dream

Masseduction, Out of Time, Fresh Cream
Nevermind The Bollocks and The Fat Of The Land
Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

 

Ooh those Little Earthquakes, Batman and The Score
In the Wee Small Hours, Grace and Scott 4
A Night at The Opera, Tapestry
Stories from The City, Stories from the sea

 

Reading, Writing and Arithmetic
Doolittle, Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik

Give me Cheap Thrills, I’m Five Leaves Left
Tubular Bells, I’m Amused To Death

 

The Dark Side Of The Moon is waiting
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Easter and The Idiot

The Velvet Underground and Nico

Here’s another record that changed my life

It takes me to a place
That puts the smile back on my face

 

 

Here’s another record that changed my life

Everlasting powers to amaze

When staying alive’s the latest craze

Here’s another record that changed our lives

Let’s goi into that place
That puts the smile back on our face.

 

Here’s another record that our lives

Everlasting powers to amaze

When staying alive’s the latest craze

6. Key Worker

Today I’m in the news
A cough replaced a gun

I’m used to being abused
At weekends there’s always one

 

Don’t come near me

They say I’m infected

So we back off as hell breaks loose
I’d step in if we were protected
But superiors say it’s no excuse

 

It’s not what I’m used to

But I risk my own life for you
And while someone who will never see any of this

Lines their pockets down the hall

 

I’m just happy

I’m just happy

I’m just happy

 

To work at all

 

I deliver junk mail daily

Colleagues are mostly sick
One piece of junk mail for pizza

Showed people in parks
I post it like a lunatic

 

And I love it when Betty says it will blow over

By her ninetieth birthday next week
She’s asked me to keep on delivering
If I get ill or not

But I can’t agree

 

It’s not what I’m used to

But I risk my own life for you
And while someone who will never see any of this

Lines their pockets down the hall

 

I’m just happy

I’m just happy

I’m just happy

 

To work at all

 

 

 

 

My firm is busier than Christmas

Yes they’re pulling out all the stops
It’s all about public perception

As I treble my daily drops
Our spokesman swears we are well prepared

At risk?  God forbid it

But I was given a pack of ten hand wipes

And told to get on with it

 

I’m not what I’m used to

But I risk my own life for you
And while someone who’ll never see any of this, lines their pockets down the hall

 

I’m just happy

I’m just happy

I’m just happy

 

To work at all

7. The Wonder

Inside the zoom and gloom

Patiently she waits

For news of her credit

News of her fate

They asked her back to works

She doesn’t live alone
Thanks to one who’s compromised

She will stay at home

She looks inside the letterbox

Looks outside to check

No one in the street outside

She’s turning to the tech

 

Wait until sunset

We will awaken

Wait until sunset

We will awaken

 

He’s no one that matters much

Much to you and me

No one is everyone

Screaming to be free
He’s standing up for all of us

And lives to not be numb
He hasn’t got the strength to see

He’s not the only one

 

So bring on the wonder now

Can someone hold their heart?
Bring on the wonder now

Two meters torn apart

Bring on the wonder, the wonder

They’re running from the signs that warn

Bring on the wonder

They’re two meters torn

 

Locked inside a mind that burns

A picture of a key
That takes us to a secret path

To places they can’t see

It frees us from the emptiness

It’s good to be allowed
A tender soul at last escaped

The cruelty of the crowd

So bring on the wonder now

Can someone hold our hearts?
Bring on the wonder now

Two meters torn apart

Bring on the wonder, the wonder

We’re running from the signs that warn

Bring on the wonder

We’re two meters torn

 

Wait until sunset

 

We will awaken

 

The Wonder

8. Here Lies Liberty

There’s a flower

Growing forty floors high

In a tower

Beneath the Pisa sky

They won’t allow her
To step outside her mind
Invoke power
Love is not confined

 

Look inside to see

Look inside to see

Here lies liberty

 

There’s a teacher

Out in Tennessee

He can distinguish

Between the sound of every tree

But he can’t hear them
In this new reality

Invoke power

Hear the memory

 

Look inside to see

Look inside to see

Here lies liberty

There’s a dream

Growing wider by the week
All may meet there

To show and seek
The ship is sailing

The ancient cargo calls
Invoke power
Tear down all the walls

 

Look inside to see

Look inside to see

Here lies liberty

9. The Great Without

I’m thinking a lot about all our friends

Thoughts become words that say when

When will we close the screens and stand

Shoulder to shoulder again?

 

I can’t fly home to mama now

But we both like the sky this blue

She says

 

“Son, calm your karma now

‘cause nothing’s that bad.

No nothing’s that true”

We run into a hero’s myth

But we’re wiser in the grip of doubt

They say that life is easy with

Could it be better in the great without?

 

I’m thinking about our last goodbyes

But like one of those end of the world memes

It’s in my breakfast and my exercise
It’s even creeping into my dreams

 

So what don’t I understand?

Didn’t someone sing we’d live forever?
That must have been another century
Because life has changed and so have we

 

We run into a hero’s myth

But we’re wiser in the grip of doubt

They say that life is easy with

Could it be better in the great without?

 

Will we make it in the great without?

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