Salt Lyric Blog
This is probably the saddest song that we’ve ever had to write and also lyrically the most difficult to finish. It concerns the impact of the death of Daniel Pelka – a boy tragically killed by his own mother and her oft abusive partner.
The initial impression left upon me by this story was total numbness, especially in the light of now being a dad myself – my little boy has heightened my emotional senses to so much, everything I see or hear is now interpreted through a potential impact on him. Upon hearing about another little boy who was forced to eat salt, constantly beaten, made to sit in cold baths and completely neglected made me feel close to tears. I had no intention of writing a song about this – the horrendous details just stuck with me.
We had recorded the music for Salt and due to space restrictions I was working on lyrics in the same room as Mickey – he was tapping away at the drum parts whilst I was trying to settle on a subject matter – Mickey had the verse section on repeat and I began mumbling the line “let them bleed me, feed me salt under the table”. I remembered the death of Daniel Pelka and the serious case review that had followed and set about constructing a song about how the authorities had let down this child, whilst beginning to read the case review. It certainly changed track from this point.
I had never seen such a document before and was really left empty reading about the catalogue of abuse that this little boy had suffered, and the missed chances by police, doctors, teachers and social workers to identify the problems – but mainly the amount that this child suffered, and the non-emotional language used to describe it. I also read a very interesting review by Elieen Munro on the changing picture of social work, and other literature on the community care website.
Following this reading the song really changed. Who was I to start blaming a profession for the failures involved in one case, simply from reading a case review (themselves a contentious issue) and a few newspaper articles. The issue is far more complex than three verses and a chorus – increased pressure on social systems made vulnerable by budget cuts, falling living standards placing greater strain on the family unit, the inability of social infrastructure to implement a joined up approach with regards to domestic abuse, the quality of the review itself, the nuances of this very case and my own emotionality.
I suppose this is a confused and emotional song: if nothing else it simply tries to draw attention to the fact that if this can happen to a child, are we doing all we can – from a government making swingeing cuts to the work of local authorities – to make sure that it cannot befall another little boy like Daniel Pelka.
Pick up on my nuanced groans
Rip apart my soiled interior walls
Given I’m a sack of bones
Maybe you should have excoriated home?
The system that I need to cope
Shatters me with every idiom
Suffering a cope to hope
Silent at the time I needed it the most
Let them bleed me
Feed me salt
Under the table
Miss a bit
Miss a bit out
Miss a bit
Miss a bit out
Keep me as a prescient ghost
Watching over the familial
Speak of me in loud, clear tones
I’m the boy who was invisible to all
And if grief can’t reach you
Then lamentable it is to your home
What if grief can’t teach you?
Then I’m powerless to leave you alone
From these walls