Bayonne Bayonne Bayonne

Ah Bayonne…. This was one of the more accidental songs on the album which I wanted to release as a single (before being told it wasn’t a single, whatever on earth that means: “don’t get me wrong I think it’s a great song, but just not a single” – I’m flummoxed by the illogic of the music industry sometimes, this took the biscuit almost as much as the radio plugger [a job which is entirely fictitious in nature anyway… like a radio station should care WHO brings them a song, let alone someone who is being PAID to tell them they think it is “aamazing yah”] who told us to change the drum sound on Worry…. Yeah, think we’ll just leave it as it is haha).

It all came about suddenly, a little groove that meandered more and more as me and Mickey added the guitar layers. Just before calling it a day for the evening I had this idea for a vocal part – high and breathy, the syllables Bay and Onne being nominally attached – it was only on the walk home from Mickey’s (we live at opposite ends of a hill, a handy metaphor for our relationship in a optimist v pessimist sort of way) that I thought…. Bayonne is definitely a place in France, I can look it up on Wikipedia and write a song about it (any excuse to get on Wikipedia)… When I got in, I discovered Bayonne was quite a non-descript (in the loveliest possible way) place…

We asked George from a band called The 1975 to record the drums in Mickey’s kitchen… we’ve recorded quite a few tracks for them so knew his style of playing would really suit this song – laconic, behind the beat, lovely hi hat work etc etc and it ended up working very nicely.

After that it was onto the lyrics…. normally when I sit down to specifically work on a song through necessity it can be a real chore and the lyrics come slowly but painfully – with Bayonne the experience was very different…. It took a solid week but I really enjoyed the process – it was time consuming but not a task I recoiled from…. I wanted to incorporate three strands into the lyric, which would fit into an overarching story of a young couple in a state.

Firstly, the idea of a relationship in which emotions are beyond intense: I remember at the time there seemed an inordinate amount of tragic stories abounding regarding fathers and mothers being found dead along with their children due to some unknown circumstance, but all inflicted by family members. This made me really think about the fine line between total love, devotion and complete destruction… I mean, to be able to do something like is beyond thought really…. the line: “fate dances on a pliable line that keeps love apart from all that enmity could bear” tries to encapsulates this amongst others…

In the story of “Bayonne” the reaction to this extreme is to escape… I’ve always thought that to truly escape you’d have to head somewhere beyond the reach of linguistic influence: I don’t speak French (without wanting to paraphrase a Girls Aloud song) well enough to be able to understand passing conversations when I am there, so I adopt the romantic notion that every person is involved in precise dialogue involving a subject of great importance… not like in this country where the understanding of the language depicts (largely) a society obsessed with the banal…. To truly escape, ignorance is bliss… “and so I carry on, to Bayonne”…..

Sorry if this sounds a bit anal, but I really want to try and explain what this song means – it took me a long time to craft it so I suppose I am particularly passionate about the subject matter.

The final part is the middle 8, which we really love playing live – because the time signature changes it feels like a real release and the harmonies are nice to sing…. plus lyrically it is quite a personal line. We often get told by people we don’t know that they are delighted to see us, this fakery can be quite a drawback to our industry so it is nice to reference it in a song which concerns honest emotions laid bare.

Haha, that’s it. Sorry for the bizarre length of this explanation and the first paragraph but I’ve just been for a run so the endorphins are circling. Also, we’re just going to leave the chorus out of the following lyrics…. You can guess it, REM style. Michael Stripe et al.

He wears commitment
Like a coat of arms
A fragile weight
For him to bear
It’s in the stricture
Of her nascent charm
That hangs between
Them everywhere

You slip

Fate dances on a pliable line
That keeps love apart
From all that enmity could bare
He feels the ache of her effulgent heart
And so resolves to disappear
And so I carry on
To Bayonne Bayonne Bayonne
Where my anatomy
Can sooner find alacrity
To set me apart
From it all
For feeling far
Too much
Too young

You slip

Always be suspicious
When they put their
Arms around you
And they tell you
They’re delighted
To see you.