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Ghosts of England

Creative Research


Sound Recordings

The City that Fell off a Cliff (acoustic)Artist Name
00:00 / 05:01
Everybody Wants to Rule the World (vintage Synthesizer)Artist Name
00:00 / 02:48
Yesterday/The City That Fell off a CliffArtist Name
00:00 / 04:36

Old English translations

'Told in the laments of an old locksmith'Artist Name
00:00 / 01:12
'he beckoned me hither, and he plaintivly spoke'Artist Name
00:00 / 02:36
Everybody Wants to Rule the WorldArtist Name
00:00 / 00:56

'Everybody Wants to Rule the World' - sung In Old English

Everybody Wants to Rule the WorldArtist Name
00:00 / 01:21

Text and Lyrics

There was a city that fell off a cliff. Told in the laments of an old locksmith. He beckoned me hither and he plaintively spoke. He told of his story; from that morning he woke. To the sound of dawn chorus, townsfolk had stood. And looked on an ocean permeated by mud. Amidst the salt spray of the fret and the wind They witnessed their lives from a land now unpinned. A tempest had stolen the bones of the church The roots of the greenwood, the oak, and the birch The sails of their windmills now drifting on waves Their loved ones now ebbing through watery graves. The primrose and blackthorn from meadows had gone. An unsent love letter and written thereon Declaration of feeling, and intimate yearning Lost tears and deceptions, lost loins deep in burning. And who before dawn, wouldst conjure to think, Of the last breaths of livestock, before they should sink? Of a child on a hill, and a mother adrift Dragged down to seabed, for its merfolk a gift. And where did their futures they talked about go? Whence the gods snatched them to fathoms below Once all has been taken, what will the earth give? When the soul is uprooted, where can one now live? The remains on the ground are foraged and gathered. There is shelter nearby, or so they hath heard. And as dusk beckons in, they bury their sorrow. Exhale, dry their eyes, and plan for the morrow. ANTHONY LO-GIUDICE

Yesterday holds on to me. He clings to me like the Clever. He bites my thighs like the Stinging Nettle. He seeps into my clothes like the Night Scented Stock, and he marks my arms like the Hogweed. Yesterday calls to me. He flutters past my ear like the Foxmoth. He whispers secrets to me like the druid of the wetlands. He permeates my eardrums like the barn owl. He shrieks like the wolf of 1680, and he sings like the walls of a monastic ruin. Yesterday inhales beside me. He pleads for my life to the fennel and the cloves. He sniffs on my tracks like the kings hunting dog. He recounts our redolent evenings in the fields of wild garlic. He chokes me with fumes like the child in the mine, and he exhales and he sinks like the dying swan. Yesterday observes me. He prowls on my wanderings like the highwayman. He scratches my retina like a late spring breeze. He observes me, unblinking like the cadaver of Canterbury, and he rises and blinds me like a summer solstice. Yesterday still lingers on my tastebuds. He salivates me with the bitterness of freshly ripe brambles. He rots me with sugar like the Good Queen Bess, and he torments my thirst through a sea water quaff. ANTHONY LO-GIUDICE

I am the half wolf dancing mad in the moonlight. But I am in the September of my years. I am the centaur defending the wild mountain pass. But I have sold my bow and arrow to feed my foal. I am the ghost of the manor house, suspended in longing. But the demolition men are marching toward me. I am the Dragon who lives up on the moorland heather. But The Lapwing and The Brown Hare no longer visit. I am the Mermaid who lures sailors into the merk. But now I tremble in the fish tank of a roadside circus. I am the Saint who sings with Sea Birds and Otters But now I wail for the bodies on the shore. I am the boggart on the marsh, stomping with wrath. But the rich man laughed as he took it all from me. For I am the Adder waiting for danger to pass. And I am the Badger on the side of the road. I am the Fox taking her final breath. For I am the Green Man. And I am Sheela na Gig. I am England. ANTHONY LO-GIUDICE

In his years of first arriving in England, Jonah had read almost every book he could find on the ancient lore and craft of magic of his new home. He had scoured numerous pages in search of the invisible agencies and powers undetectable by the conventional explanation, and when he could find no more, he’d distill sage, bathe in it, gather crystals from (questionable) ‘hippy’ shops, and wander every wild place he could find, seeking deeper meaning, deeper connection and deeper reasons why fate had brought him here. Jonah was gorgeous. He wore the changes of the English Seasons beautifully. In may ways, the tonal shifts of the climate here were kinder to him, more so than his other home. He enjoyed the rain, the sludge of wet mud, and the smells of sheep shit on the dewy meadow. These were some of his favourite things about these Northern. Everything hung on to the temperance of the elements. ANTHONY LO-GIUDICE

'…worlds gone mad. You know, a man once told me that change is good, and that it exercises the imagination. But I don’t know if I believed him. He was a bastard. Hit me over the head once with William Blake’s ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Hell’. When it fell to the floor, I remember it opening to the lines that read ‘The Man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind’. I wanted to change the world once. And I wanted to murder him. Now I just want a cigarette. Do you want me to talk to you about dying? Because I once met a man who killed a whale. It was a terrible thing. But there is a myth in this story that I’m yearning to decipher. Myths manifest out of simple things that you do not notice unless you have a sensory organ for the mythological. Do you? Legend has it, there was once a boy who had sailed the ocean under many moons in search of a new home. One night, his boat was eviscerated during a terrible storm, and as he hurtled overboard, through the lightning strikes and into the crashing waves, he was swallowed up by the gargantuan mouth of a Sea Monster. Fate, however, had been cunning with the boy, and had not yet fully revealed itself. For unlike the other creatures that prowled these waters, this beast was different. She was a great and wise Whale. The news of the tempest quickly caught the attention of a fisherman on the land and being learned in the ways of the North Sea Storms, he knew that the waters here would soon be bountiful, and yet despite being told that these waters needed time to rest and pro-create due to overzealous fishing, the man perused. Lured by personal greed and his passions for riches outweighing his sensibility, the man sailed upon the billows of the storm’s afterglow and chased the ghostly lure of fragmentary silver shapes darting under the waves. He raised his harpoon and struck the water repeatedly with such force and ferocity, that silver turned to red, and waves became blood. The fisherman hauled the body of a great whale onto his boat, and as that whale took her final, sighing breath, he struck a fatal blow to her belly. When he cut her open, to his horror and astonishment, there, slivered and slumped onto the deck of his boat, fell a sleeping boy. The whale had kept her captive alive, wrapped within a veil of blubber and fed on the gatherings of krill. She had been nursing the boy back to health. In fear, the fisherman threw the boy overboard, and leaving him for dead in the red waters, sailed back to the shore. That night, he entered his home and went into the bedroom of his son to kiss him goodnight, but the boy was gone. And he never returned… Maybe that fisherman was trying to tell me that we reap what we sow, or something like that? I don’t know. Maybe England is dying, because the land and sea of England is dying from our exploitation? Was the whale the national health service? Maybe it’s that were all more connected to this place than what we think? Maybe it’s just a story from a fisherman. I don’t know.' ANTHONY LO-GIUDICE

Rehearsal Footage

Engagement Activities

Cup and ring marked stone, 4000-2500 BC, sandstone, found at Gainford, County Durham. Cour

Cup and ring marked stone, 4000-2500 BC, sandstone, found at Gainford, County Durham. Courtesy of The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle

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