Y10week5 A Set Square and a Pen.

The Sunday Songwriters club is a stretching exercise for your mind. Arpeggios for the brain cells, so to speak. After all, writing is like playing - to get better, you have to practice.
Post Reply
User avatar
Guitarnoise Denizen
Posts: 1285
Joined: February 20th, 2004, 2:13 am

Y10week5 A Set Square and a Pen.

Post by straycat. » December 4th, 2011, 5:05 am

Pretty shamelessly imitated one of my favourite songs... :oops:

A Set Square and a Pen.

The fire, it started spilling onto the trousers on my legs. There was a spark of recognition, so I got out of there.
And to my relief the street was deep with darkness bare
so accommodating and whispers of sleepers sleeping in air-conditioned rooms.
Me, I pulled my hood down and ran then, away from the smoke that loomed
but everything felt different from what I had assumed
the walls, the stairs, gutter, asphalt, even my signature tune
and each person I encountered, turned into fume.
Then I bumped into a lawyer who appeared to lack self-confidence
I said “(I'm dreadfully sorry but) there is nothing I can do for you
(that) you can't do just as well.”
He said “Oh, yes you might, just stay on my side, I think that that would help”
So I stayed with him till morning and then I enquired how he felt.
He said, “I think I'm better. No, really, I'm convinced
that I shall be okay for the next few days. Thank you, my friend.”
Well, that's how I caught up with the facts: everyone's an island, yes,
or an ice berg, if you will, and no one can ever stay
as the tide comes in and leaves again, we all drift away
but, some nights, when you resign to darkness, someone else might seek it out to hide.
And if you lose your paperclips, Becky, and every sheet and to-do-list should form a giant wave
don't worry, I will stand by you and together we will sink or swim
and we'll keep running through dark streets though we know we won't escape
the logic of Murphy's Law and that of gravity
but if the night could remain within the frame of space we offered it to take
then I think it'd stunt our lungs and we'd constantly guard our newly-fixed sense of proportions
with a set square and a pen.


P.S.: This is the orginial, and quite representative of what I love about the artist's style in general: http://youtu.be/XUym7n7fJTQ
"oh, eventually it will break your heart" - anders wendin

Junior Member
Posts: 61
Joined: June 19th, 2011, 6:28 am

Re: Y10week5 A Set Square and a Pen.

Post by pearlthekat2 » December 4th, 2011, 8:40 am

that was great but i really think that there is about five songs in all those ideas you have :D going

Guitarnoise Addict
Posts: 2665
Joined: August 3rd, 2004, 4:57 am
Location: Western Mass.

Re: Y10week5 A Set Square and a Pen.

Post by Celt » December 4th, 2011, 11:07 am

All and all I would have liked to have seen more of you
and less of Bright Eyes in the end product.
That must mean you did an excellent job
with the assignment


My SoundClick Page


" It's easier than waiting around to die" Townes Van Zandt

User avatar
Posts: 9694
Joined: June 17th, 2002, 11:04 am
Location: Alexandria, VA USA

Re: Y10week5 A Set Square and a Pen.

Post by Nick » December 4th, 2011, 11:17 am

Wow, that's a lot of words. I think you could refine it a bit, which may give you the feeling of being more your work.

For example, the first line seems backwards to me from a cleverness standpoint. A spark starts a fire, so if you could make it the spark of recognition set your trouser leg on fire instead of the other way around. Know what I mean?

one other place I stumbled.."and ran then"

I liked the iceberg and drift away lines especially.

Well done.
Click below for all my guitarnoise articles and reviews


My songs (Some not suitable for minors)


Guitarnoise Addict
Posts: 2882
Joined: November 22nd, 2008, 4:53 am

Re: Y10week5 A Set Square and a Pen.

Post by jamestoffee » December 4th, 2011, 4:42 pm

Hi Straycat,

Good effort :D Without the link, I wouldn't have a clue how it was working out. With the link heard, you did and excellent job of playing "Mad Libs" with the song. I particularly like the idea of replacing island with iceberg :wink:
....It would seem this assignment could be helpful in putting together some new ideas that you might be able to incorporate in other works later on as well.

.....as far as the title and the overall meaning I couldn't follow....sorry :oops: .....so I am open for a spoiler if you are willing to spell it out.



User avatar
Guitarnoise Denizen
Posts: 1285
Joined: February 20th, 2004, 2:13 am

Re: Y10week5 A Set Square and a Pen.

Post by straycat. » December 6th, 2011, 1:51 am

Thanks, everyone, for commenting!
that was great but i really think that there is about five songs in all those ideas
:D I think that's something Bright Eyes do a lot, which does make their lyrics a bit difficult to follow sometimes but also intriguing (for me at least) and very rewarding if you listen to their songs over and over again.

And just for the purpose of figuring out what Mr Oberst does exactly I was quite content to just follow his style & it was great fun to mad lib :lol: Though I did try to say something a bit different from what he was saying with his song.
So, James (here go the spoilers), Conor Oberst uses the imagery of a dream as a trap, not recognising one's environment and a chance meeting with a doctor whose hand the singer held to make him feel better .. and, then, goes on to conclude from all this that everyone's alone but that he has the singee's back..
whereas I followed the structure but used slightly different imagery (a fire (i.e. a relationship, a friendship.. somebody getting too close.. until the singer recognises the danger and runs away), slipping from clinging to a wall to crouching on the asphalt, a lawyer (I thought lawyers always need to take sides and defend someone but maybe this lawyer wants someone to take his side for once.. so really the same idea as Conor's doctor - someone who made it his profession to help others craves some help himself)). And, yes, I do go on to basically say that everyone's alone and that the singer's promising to stand by somebody, too, but I tried to find my own imagery (glad you liked the iceberg, Nick!).
But I added the bit about the night .. that things are perceived differently by different people (some might want to escape the darkness, some might want to hide in it) but that the singer will stand by her friend even if they differ on some issues (singer has resigned to the night and starts to appreciate it, singee Becky wants to escape the night... and the singer tries to make Becky see that if darkness was controllable it would make the world less exciting.. put in very banal words :lol: darkness standing for whatever you like).. and then Murphy's Law you're surely familiar with - that everything that can go wrong will go wrong. :wink:

Oh and Nick, you're right "and ran then" does feel awkward :roll:

"oh, eventually it will break your heart" - anders wendin

Post Reply