Holland Park

by Spearmint

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  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Includes unlimited streaming of Holland Park via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • test pressing - double 10” vinyl with 24-page lyric book
    Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    test pressings of the (soon to be) classic new Spearmint album, on double 10"

    Includes unlimited streaming of Holland Park via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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1.
These songs can make you happy, they can make you sad, my friend They can make you feel euphoric, I just hope they never end They call us Stupid and we say “Yes, that’s our name.” We had a kind of lightning, beauty at the height of Prog We got to play the Roundhouse, got a deal thanks to Whispering Bob They call us Stupid and we say “Yes, that’s our name.” They call us Stupid and we say “Yes, that’s our name.” They used to rehearse opposite us, down in the basement, opposite us Crowds of hippies on our street, the neighbours appalled on our street That’s what makes the world go round - hearing those unearthly sounds The vastness of the States soon began to take its toll They broke us trying to break us onto College Radio They call us Stupid and we say “Yes, that’s our name.” This has made us happy, this has made us sad, my friend It only lasted five years and then it had to end They call us Stupid and we say “Yes, that’s our name.” They call us Stupid and we say “Yes, that’s our name.” Adam was wild, taboo at the time… a single mother, the neighbours frowned They didn’t approve, filled with hate, except my mother, she thought you were great That’s what makes the world go round, in our lovely Northern town…
2.
When something seems so wrong, it probably is wrong, so hold onto that feeling Hold onto your outrage – it tells you who you are Try to leave this place before it leaves you changed, before you lose your self Toxic masculinity is running free… Johnny don’t lose your money (Johnny, no) Johnny don’t place that bet (please don’t go) You’ve got to get out of this town (Johnny, no) Before you start to forget (please don’t go) Forget who you are, the things that make you special Johnny don’t get distracted (Johnny, no) Don’t be tempted to wait (please don’t go) The sun it is so bright and there’s hardly any night - it’s no wonder folks seem strange And they’re drinking all day long, and they end up in a rage It’s clear you don’t fit in, but do you want to change? And become just like them Or hold onto your self, if you can Bowie stole your look, stole your hair, stole your clothes And I don’t think that the credit was ever yours Johnny don’t lose your money Johnny don’t place that bet (please don’t go) You’ve got to get out of this town (Johnny, no) Before you start to forget (please don’t go) It took a bullet to your head to make you feel at home here Johnny don’t get distracted (Johnny, no) Don’t be tempted to wait Please don’t go Johnny, no Please don’t go…
3.
My dream and the future are not likely to end up together Being told you’ll never be a star is like being pushed from a moving car I’ve wanted it since I was a child, but now I’ve been exiled Maybe just the dream will do, I don’t have to live it too And it just might feel good to walk away from Hollywood… What do you do when you don’t know what you can do? I lost my twenties to a dream, now I’m starting again I’m coming to real life late… but I’m starting to appreciate Maybe just the dream will do, I don’t have to live it too I’m feeling old but I can see I’m the youngest I will ever be… And if I can’t play in a band then I could turn my hand To selling hats, shoes or flowers, what are the hours? I couldn’t breathe the air, I hated driving everywhere Maybe just the dream will do, I don’t have to live it too And it just might feel good to walk away from Hollywood…
4.
Since Bowie died It’s all been a blur We didn’t realise How lucky we were In the world we grew up in We didn’t know it then… Since Bowie died Everything’s changed Those days seem impossible now From a different age It opened the floodgates Well maybe he knew… Since Bowie died We’ve been on our own It’s time to go on now Into the unknown It will be OK Just different is all Since Bowie died…
5.
Elvis never met the Colonel Brad and Janet just drove on Ian Hunter never kept a journal Marc and Mickey didn’t ‘Get it On’ No-one ever shouted “Judas!” Ringo never got the call Nothing was bigger than Jesus The Sixties never started at all No ‘Blackboard Jungle’ No ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ There never was no future Rock’n’Roll never was… Brian never played the ‘Pinball’ Mark never had the Fall Bill Nelson just ‘Quit Dreaming’ And Stupid never formed at all Ritchie never got on the ‘plane There never was any ‘Purple Rain’ No Bikini Kill, no Comet Gain There was no ‘Train in Vain’! No bored teenagers No Punk Rock record stores No way to express anger Rock’n’Roll never was Bob never sang he wished he didn’t know now What he didn’t know then because Nothing ever happened Rock’n’Roll never was…
6.
Is there anywhere that’s left To rest your skin? To take comfort And begin to live I’ve seen things that I wish I’d never seen Atrocities On a TV screen It’s like the world’s on fire It’s like the world’s on fire Burning futures The world’s on fire Is there anywhere that’s left To rest your skin? Take comfort And begin to live I’m so weary I am disarmed Nations and religions Bring nothing but harm It’s like the world’s on fire It’s like the world’s on fire Burning the future The world’s on fire It’s like the world’s on fire It’s like the world’s on fire Burning futures The world’s on fire…
7.
Lazy Susan 02:35
My mother was the Time-Check Girl, Some kind of celebrity When I asked her what time it was, She’d say “At the third stroke, it will be…” She worked nights, I’d be home alone, I’d ring the Speaking Clock just to hear her voice When they asked her why she worked two jobs, she’d say “Some people have no choice…” She’d sing “Shoobie-doo”… They called her Lazy Susan, Because she moved so fast She had the perfect marriage She never thought it wouldn’t last She always kept composure Her dignity and her pride So people didn’t know that She was dying inside And to hide the way she felt She sang “Shoobie-doo”… You can ring the Speaking Clock Just dial 1,2,3 I don’t call it any more It’s not the same to me It’s no longer my mother’s voice In fact, Mum’s not around at all And I’d do anything to be able To make that call And to hide the way she felt she sang “Shoobie doo”…
8.
Five a.m. again Off to the streets of Harlesden Laverne and Shirley played round here Back when we were just starting Pushing envelopes On the streets of Harlesden They filmed some of ‘Spaced’ round here Of that I’m pretty certain… Mr City Fox On the streets of Harlesden He is making his way home Slipping through people’s gardens Out in the snow again But I won’t get disheartened I’ve been walking round for days On the streets of Harlesden Five a.m. again Off to the streets of Harlesden If I ignore you, in a daze Then I beg your pardon I dream of being asleep But I won’t get disheartened I’ve been walking round for days On the streets of Harlesden I’ve been walking round for days On the streets of Harlesden…
9.
Holland Park 12:12
They made a film about us. It started at the end, in that big house in Holland Park. Then it went back to the beginning: Yorkshire in the sixties. I was into football when I was growing up, but from the age of twelve, I became music mad. I never bothered with football again. On a Saturday, I’d go into the market building in town. Down in the basement they had a record store in the round. They had listening booths, so if you’d read about an album, you could hear it properly. Then hurry home clutching a twelve-inch paper bag. Get home, put the kettle on, make a cuppa, peel off the sticker very, very, carefully, sit down with your tea and biscuit and listen to it properly for the first time. Sit there reading the sleeve notes. In truth I’d always be slightly disappointed on the first listen, but by the time I got to the third, those albums got me good and proper. They’d crawl in through my ears and live in my brain. I’d be walking to school and they’d be going round and round and round in my head. They’re still there now to tell the truth. When I was fifteen Dad drove me to Leeds and bought me an acoustic guitar. That was it, I was off trying to write songs. I’d known Bugs from school. He met David at technical college, and we advertised in the market building for a drummer. That’s how we met Mole. We ended up rehearsing in the basement of my girlfriend’s house. We were in the shadow of the 1950’s really – everything was a reaction against it or an echo of it. Nigel was one of the few who’d engage with us right from the start. He’d always come up and say “Hello” after gigs. He kind of became our manager and he’s the one who got us a showcase gig in London. That first time we drove down to London, it was such a shock, like hopping onto a moving walkway. Everything was so much ‘more’ than we were used to. We were lucky – somebody quite famous was at the gig and championed us. It all happened quickly. Suddenly three record companies were competing to sign us. We went with the one with the best international connections. International meant the States. We were over-joyed: they said we reminded them of Pink Floyd. We signed the deal in the record company office, a big mansion in Holland Park. We stayed in a pokey hotel in walking distance of Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove, Latimer Road. We couldn’t believe all the different cultures, the different sounds, different rhythms, different voices speaking different languages. We had to step up, stay awake, keep our wits about us. We loved it. Don’t notice me I’m hiding in the city Please don’t notice me If you look at me I might just run away I don’t know where So don’t notice me Don’t notice me I’m hiding in the city Please don’t notice me I’m so overwhelmed I can’t tell what is real or anxiety So please don’t notice me I feel alien Everybody else seems to know The speed to walk and what to say What to do and where to go Don’t notice me I’m hiding in the city Please don’t notice me If you look at me I might just turn too stone or disappear So don’t notice me… The record company folk were funny. It was all or nothing – one minute it was folk rock, then glam rock, then prog rock. They’d just drop the last thing and move on. It did cross my mind what would happen to us when a new thing came along. Making our first album felt like a dream. I remember we drove down from Yorkshire to the manufacturing plant in Hayes to pick up the finished album. We were so excited. We got a box and drove off, then stopped as soon as possible and got it out of the boot and opened it up. We couldn’t really believe that they’d have managed to get it right – to get the right music on the right side with the right labels. But they had. We pulled open the box and took out an album. I remember holding the record between my palms in the sunlight: black vinyl – the most beautiful thing I ever saw. The first trip to America blew our minds – we had to hold on for dear life. New York in the 70s: a frothing broth of humanity. Everything brighter, everything louder. Again, we were hearing sounds we’d never heard before, trying to keep up. We went to see what they called a midnight movie back then: Ted Kotcheff’s Australian film with dear old Gary Bond trapped in the Yabba. A few years later Bowie took Bond’s whole look for the ‘Let’s Dance’ album. I reckon they even made the video in the town they used for the Yabba. I loved it so much I started writing songs about it. They would have eventually been on our third album, but as it turned out, that never came to be. We did five long tours of the States in three years – completely exhausting. We started off as innocents, determined to stay true to what we believed in. But by the third trip, we barely knew what we were doing or who we were. Wake up You’re going to miss it, If you don’t live it at all. Wake up Don’t sleepwalk through it, It’s only a short time after all. My relationship at home lasted that long, and then it just fell apart. It was impossible. I defy anyone to hang onto themselves under those conditions. And we spent so long trying to break the States that we neglected things back home. The band not only ended up hating what we were doing but hating each other. We lost Nigel along the way too. A lot of things I regret… we weren’t really in control, and it’s only as you get older that you realise you were wrong when you were younger. I certainly never thought it would end as suddenly as it did. It literally stopped overnight. Punk came along and just blew the whole thing away. The world was suddenly a different place. We found ourselves being called back to the mansion in Holland Park to be told we were dropped. We were destroyed - they said we sounded too much like Pink Floyd. If I’d known it would end so soon, I’d have appreciated it more while it was happening. And the labels went on to saturate the planet with Disco, until everyone had had enough of it and they dropped that like a stone… but Disco didn’t suck, there was some really great music in there. I know lots of bands got stuck in ongoing legal battles, but it was easy for us: it just ended. They said that the songs we’d starting recording for the third album were lost in a fire, but I’m not sure that’s true. They made a film about us. In a big house in Holland Park, mosaic all over the walls. They used in in ‘Secret Ceremony’ and I think they filmed ‘Peeping Tom’ round the corner, so I was happy. They got my son to play me – his name’s Shirley. Well, that did seem like a good idea at the time. He’s in a band too, not my cup of tea, you understand… funny music… he’s well into it though, just as obsessed as I was. His band plays our band: silly wigs and 70s clothes – all slightly off. It always seems to me that it’s obvious what’s going to happen in a film when you’re watching it. If it’s so obvious to me, then why can’t the people in the film tell? But I lived it and I didn’t see what was coming. It was like being dropped back to earth from a great height. Back to Yorkshire, no money, no band, no dream, no relationship, nothing. I went to see my mum and she said I should be grateful, “You’ve had this wonderful experience Billy, and you can always keep playing music as a hobby… but now, you’re going to have to find a proper job. I mean, what would you have done if rock’n’roll never was?” I ended up coming back to London. We got the band back together a couple of years ago. It was just the same… but it just wasn’t the same. We talked about making that third album, but it didn’t happen, with one thing and another... and now, now that Mole decided to check out, I don’t see it ever happening. Becoming a postman was the best thing I ever did. I get my space and the music’s in my head as I walk round Harlesden. The idea of music being reduced to a hobby is all wrong. What did Cocteau say? “Don’t think of it as a distraction, but as a religion.” That’s how I feel even now. I still write the songs, it’s just that now I don’t play them to anyone else. That was never the bit that mattered anyway. In the end it was such a small space in time – six years in all, such a small part of my life. My generation were inspiring and eloquent, utopean and optimistic… quixotic really, meaning idealistic but unrealistic…. ultimately naïve and hedonistic, foolish and disappointing. Well, the past may be ours, but the future is yours now.
10.
Black Vinyl 02:16
11.
Mole 03:18
All the Saturday afternoons I spent alone as a child All the music I found back then It seems that I need it now I’m so tired of being the odd one out The only one who thinks this way Tired of trying to communicate Not knowing if you understand what I say It was clear that we’d had our moment We almost flew close to the Sun When the music was good then I was good But when it’s not… We all knew how this would end We grew up in a golden age We didn’t know it at the time But if you really look at those photographs Then you can see the future in my eyes You were the one who’d encourage us Back in the early days One of the few who’d come to the show And you’d always come and say “Hello” It was clear that we’d had our moment We almost flew close to the Sun When the music was good then I was good But when it stopped… We all knew how this would end We all know how this will end…
12.
We all have times when something Suddenly seems too much I won’t try to fix you… I can’t solve your problems And I shouldn’t try But I can listen to you If you like… I can’t stop you tripping Though I’ll happily break your fall I’ll be right beside you After all… When something gets right to you Throws you out your tree I won’t try to fix you I will sit beside you I will listen to you If you like…
13.
She says she wants to save the pigs And when they ask her why She says “If we can show the best of us Then the rest will follow” She says she wants to save the world “But if it’s OK, please Can we start with the pigs cos they’re smarter than dogs But they seem to get the worst of it” She says she wants to save the pigs… She says she wants to save the world And this is the first step To stop tearing to pieces such lovable creatures When there really is no need at all She says she wants to save the pigs…
14.
Albion 05:25
To know you was to love you We were lucky to have time with you Running to me in the mornings, running to me in the night And I know we will always think of you Albion… you always knew the right thing You knew what needed to be done Albion… you always knew the right thing You could always see the signs You always knew when it was time You changed me and I miss you It was magical to have met you But life just seems to carry on even now that you are gone And I know I’ll never forget you You climbed up on the wall The highest point you could balance on You looked back at me… And then you were gone You were damaged when we met you My heart went out when we lost you The only thing I could think to do Was write a song that remembers you And I know we’ll never forget you Albion… you always knew the right thing You knew what needed to be done Albion… you always knew the right thing You could always see the signs You always knew when it was time I guess you just knew it was time…

about

London-based Spearmint return this year with the follow-up their acclaimed 2019 album ‘Are You From The Future?’: the ambitious, uplifting new album ‘Holland Park’.

Often referred to as ‘Britain’s best kept secret’, Spearmint have been making great albums for a couple of decades now: this will be their ninth album proper. Still the same line-up: Shirley Lee (singing, guitar), Simon Calnan (singing, keyboards), James Parsons (guitar, bass) and Ronan Larvor (drums). This album is also the 57th release on their own hitBACK label.

‘Holland Park’ explores what it’s like to be in a band, what it’s like to have walked away from being in a band, what music means to all of us, and how it feels to lose your heroes. The spirit of Bowie hangs over the album. Singer Shirley says “What would the other members of the Spiders From Mars say now about their lives if we tracked them down? I don’t mean Bowie’s band, I mean Ziggy’s band.”

Re-united with producer Rhodri Marsden (Scritti Politti), and with contributions from Rhodri and Andy Lewis (Paul Weller), the band feel that this record is their best yet.

The album tells the story of Shirley’s father’s prog band in the early 70s:
“They never made it, and there’s nothing online about them, so it’s down to us to tell the story.”

‘Holland Park’ is released on 17th September digitally, on CD, and on limited double gatefold 10” vinyl with 24-page lyric book via WIAIWYA records.

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released September 17, 2021

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