Michael Nyman

McAlmont & Nyman - The Glare

“the chemistry clicks instantly on this bejewelled union..”
**** UNCUT

“sumptuous, memorable melodies” **** Hi-Fi Choice

Get your copy of McAlmont & Nyman: The Glare from mnrecords.com

the glare

“cannot be faulted for ambition or execution” Times Playlist

“Grab The Glare quick... one of the better LP’s of 2009”
4 Stars Garry Mulholland, Observer Music Monthly

About the Glare

Michael Nyman and David McAlmont first met at the Freud Museum in London in the summer of 2000. They had both been invited to the launch of Nose Book: Representations of the Nose in Literature and the Artsby the author Victoria De Rijke. David had been a student of Victoria’s at Middlesex Polytechnic and the score of Michael's Nose-List Song(1985) was included in the book.

Michael and David talked and discovered that they were signed to the same record label, Virgin, at the time. Years before, David had become 'utterly entranced' by Nyman's soundtrack to Peter Greenaway’s film The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Loverand soon after he acquired the box set of Nyman's soundtracks became a huge fan. In the years following the Nose/ Freud meeting it was often mentioned on the grapevine that Michael might be interested in working with David but this was all hearsay until 2007 when David, in a state of creative frustration, decided to join Facebook. Nyman contacted him within a week. They recollected their first encounter and quickly began plotting a collaboration.

Michael mentioned that he was totally unable to write his own song texts and David realised that he had become bored with 'the navel-gazing futility of writing love songs about his own feelings' and at 40 wanted to create something more worthwhile with his lyric writing. At this point Géricault’s painting The Raft of the Medusaemerged as a subject of interest to both musicians as David indicated that he had become fascinated with the life of the 19th century French painter - especially his determination to create documentary canvases based on contemporary life: battle-field injury, asylum inmates and shipwreck memoirs.

But this project was soon replaced by the current project where David wrote new songs based on contemporary news stories over pre-existing Nyman compositions. McAlmont's subject matter explores pertinent subjects as varied as 21st century piracy (Going to America), trafficked prostitution in Europe (City of Turin), sexually-charged world leaders (In Rai Don Giovanni), assisted suicide (Friendly Fire), reality television (The Glare), African orphan migration (Fever Sticks and Bones), banking errors (Take the Money and Run)and drug mules (In Laos). David felt strongly that the songs were most effective if written from the first person point of view of the individual characters discovered in the researched reports to create an emotional engagement with the subjects that is lost by the time their stories emerge in the glare of the 24 hour news media. This process of course caused initial concern for McAlmont because he was taking already brilliant compositions, adding to and adjusting them. But fortunately, Michael Nyman was delighted with the result.

David McAlmont’s voice is one of the most praised instruments in British music. He has been favourably compared to Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Philip Bailey and Curtis Mayfield by The Daily Telegraph; The Guardian writes that he is “Both an extraordinary soul singer and one of British pop’s most chameleon-like performers”. As a collaborator he has worked not only with film composers such as Craig Armstrong, David Arnold and now Michael Nyman, but he has also performed and recorded with Courtney Pine, Terence Blanchard, Cyndi Lauper and Guy Barker. Most famously he created two memorable top 40 albums as one half of McAlmont and Butler, a partnership that yielded the unforgettable songs Yes, You Do and Falling. He has also had success as a songwriter writing for himself and Bernard Butler, and with Gary Clarke, Boo Hewerdine, Tommy D, Pascal Gabriel, Craig Armstrong, Jools Holland; and with David Arnold and Don Black for KD Lang, the song Surrenderfor Tomorrow Never Diesand more recently for Shirley Bassey.

David McAlmont 2009

Lyrics

Take the Money and Run

Take the Money and Run

Maybe maybe you should sit
It's a shock and it hit me for six
Is it a trick?
Baby we could be rich
Somebody made a mistake
If we're quick we can change our lives
Right now I need you to think
'Cause the chances are slim
What are the odds?
Can we drop everything and just leave?
Can we pull it off?
Shouldn't we come clean?

Is it a once in a lifetime flash?
We got millions in cash
When they clock the cock up
All the options are off
We could be miles away
Taking a long holiday in Honkers or Seoul
If nobody knows we can slip away
Leave the ute in the terminal park
And the authorities in the dark
Stashing the cash off-shore
What are we waiting for?

Baby you know how it's been
We've got fading dreams in a tourist town
And the numbers are down
I've got you working for free and a daughter to feed
And the pumps are slow
The house won't sell
They call it the bay of plenty when there's nothing here
But tomorrow is nothing to fear
If we take our chances now

Let's leave it all behind
Get her out of school
The Kid'll love an adventure
Bring your sister too
And my mother must
And my brothers as well
The mortgage and the businesses can all go to hell
'Cause we did our best
But now the fates came through to give us a chance
So don't you wanna take a bite?
This is the ticket.
Let's take the flight.

We've got to take the money and run

Secrets, Accusations and Charges

Secrets, Accusations and Charges

It was not a dismissive glance
It was the shame
Something happened when they led me down
I couldn't look your way
Although I heard you when you said my name

I didn't want you in the same room as the secrets
Didn't want to share you with accusations and charges

I was careful every single time
I must've found a way
To complicate my simple style
I didn't want to live this way
What good are millions in diamonds
Hidden away?

I didn't want you in the same room as the secrets
Didn't want to share you with accusations and charges

City of Turin

City of Turin

I can't go home
I hate it hear
The wind gets through
The flimsy things they make me wear
Nobody hear wants to hear
The truth of how it's been
For a girl on the street
In the city of Turin

After dark in Valentino Park
They took away my passport
And left a scar
And my friend died
Because she couldn't lie
Truth is a sin on the street
In the city of Turin

They make me rent the spot on which I stand
They make me pay for this clothing and
I feel abandoned in this foggy land
In this city called Turin

I wave at cars
To get inside
Just to keep warm
I let him treat me like a wife
If I remember just how I have survived
I can take it in, in a car, in a street, in the city of Turin

Days in the desert without water and
Crammed in a truck and dragged overland
We numbered more at the beginning than
Since we reached where the rivers meet
In the city called Turin

Friendly Fire

Friendly Fire

Didn't want to end his days in a vegetative state
High on morphine causing his family so much pain
He couldn't do it. No. He said
"I can't shrivel up like a fallen leaf and blow away"
So he offered me a few thousand to do something quick.
He couldn't be dissuaded so I said that I would handle it.
Together we made a simple plan and waited until the room-mate went
away.

And when he was gone we smoked on a bong
And he took a strong barbiturate.
The very last time that I saw him awake.
Then I switched the lights and the TV on
I wiped everything down and I emptied the gun
I got into a car and I drove way beyond
The city limits to where it was dark
Then I burned everything that I had on
And I drove beyond there to another spot
And I threw the cheap handgun into a lake.

In Rai Don Giovanni

In Rai Don Giovanni

I have had enough
He is powerful and rich
Bu he is lewd and he is old
And it’s time for me to go
On to better things
I don’t need to wear his wealth
Like a noose around my throat
I’m not a goat

His hair is not his own
And although surgeons fixed his eyes
He never sees how vulgar he’s become
I laugh and then I cry
He thinks that he’s become the king
He’s still a shameless playboy pimp
I cannot love a man with floozies
Younger than his kids

They love him for the cash
When he flashes it at the trash
Whatever anybody thinks of him
He controls the press
That I ever loved him was
My very own foolishness
Because he only wanted what he could see
But he’s never really seen me

At the mansion in Milan
He makes me feel like I’m a piece
Always running around with presidents
Or with his football team
And now I’ve heard everything about
The skinny blonde model down in the south
If it isn’t on the BBC
He won’t tell me

In Laos

In Laos

I had a second, a single chance
To let the cameras see my face.
I hoped then that I would make the news
And I prayed that you'd be tuned in
I cannot know what you have heard
In a cell I imagine the worst
So I wanted to send a simple sign
Somehow convey that I'd be fine
It's ok, It's ok the guns will not be drawn
And maybe the child will be born

Here in Laos....

It's an ordeal, It's unreal I'd give anything
Just to be aboard an outward flight
Because it's hell in this cell
It's just 4 by 4, six of us asleep on a wooded floor
We get water for 2 hours a day
And no one cares if you complain
At least there's 5... 500 grams of sticky rice
To keep me and an unborn child alive
But it's ok, I'll keep my head down
Maybe solutions will be found

Here in Laos....

Going to America

Going to America

I am going to America
As a prisoner, as a number
Yesterday I was a leader
on the Arabian sea
Back in Somalia
At 17 we're men
We are not teens
I was going to help my family
Get my momma a little luxury

You hear about the men with the guns and boats
When they're tracking down the ships east of the coast
'Til they bring 'em in and make American money
When you've got nothing they make promises
That they want you to believe
So I'm going to America but it's not the way I dreamed

We were a team
Now it's only me
On the wrong side
Of the powers that be
The reality is frightening me
FBI agents and Navy Seals
I try to tell myself that it isn't real
With a stab wound and a bandaged hand
I'm chained in a plane under US command
And there are overalls all over me.

You hear about the men with the guns and boats
When they're tracking down the ships east of the coast
'Til they bring 'em in and make American money
When you've got nothing they make promises
That they want you to believe
So I'm going to America but it's not the way I dreamed

Fever Sticks and Bones

Fever Sticks and Bones

Is it a river
Is it the ocean
Are there crocodiles or sharks
I know it's not a dream
Where I am hidden
I'm a shadow in the dark
Of a long night's hope
Waiting for a signal from a border post
To guide me to the other side
I'm trying, I'm trying hard to hide
From the thieves that always find
And take everything from me
My skin's aflame with mosquito bites
I dream of leopards stalking me
Vultures circling

If it's time to go
I don't feel any safer
The water isn't slow
The muddy bank is soft
But I'm walking onto splinters
Like these fever sticks and bones
I can't swim or run across this river
But I'm holding on to someone
Who lost his one and only son
He's praying and I'm praying
That this chain is gonna keep survivors safe
Squeeze my hand we mustn't break
Don't let the undertow take away
The hope that is wading
Keep on wading, wading.

A Great Day in Kathmandu

A Great Day in Kathmandu

Let me go, let me go
To the monsoon rains.
Let every citizen in Kathmandu
That can come hear me say
"We did good"
We did better daddy.
We haven’t erased the memory.
We prevailed enough for decency.
It was a good day,
O such a great day.

Even though
It’s raining and it’s thundering in Nepal
It’s where I want to go.

O it’s a good day
For making it known
From the roof of a car.
Let me breathe in the garlands
Of the golden marigolds around my throat.
O it’s a good day
For shouting in the street;
They are walking miles and miles for days and days
From all the foothills.
We really enjoy the warmth of the hand-woven silk.
On this a good day. This is a great day

Even though
It’s raining and it’s thundering in Nepal
It’s where I want to go.

Underneath the Hessian Bags

Underneath the Hessian Bags

I still get the bus from the university
I read in the sun
I stop when it's gone
I miss electricity
We can hear dogs in the dark
Terrorising the sheep
And the roar of F16s
It's difficult.

Sparrows and pigeons are nesting in the shack
The bedrooms are gone
We make a bed
With blankets spread on sacks
When we get too tired
Of chasing away the rats
That hide in the rubble holes
Underneath the hessian bags

I just want to do well
And get a degree
I just want to teach
Geography
Home is on the border
What will be will be
the light at the tunnel's end
Is hardly ever seen

The Glare

The Glare

I've done what you suggested
And the world has paid attention
To my belief but I'm still alone
So millions think I'm ugly now
But it's the same old story
Until I sing the song and I sense you close

I believe you are watching
When I act foolishly
I believe that you are smiling
That knowing smile at me
That's what I believe
I believe when I'm shining
In the spotlight's rarity
I believe that you are standing
Silently applauding me
That's what I believe

So I've done what you suggested
And the world has paid attention to my belief
But I'm still alone.

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