Welcome to The Fugitive Muse!

I created this blog with a dual purpose in mind. Firstly: as a diary of the song-writing experience so that any budding songwriters out there might gain an insight into this unique creative process. I don't claim to be the best, but I hope at the very least a fellow musician will read it with a sense that they are not alone in thinking how frustrating songwriting can be sometimes!

Secondly, this blog is an attempt to pull myself out of the post-graduation funk that I imagine many of my peers are also wallowing in right now. When I was making my graduation film, Innocence (innocencefilm.blogspot.com), I found that having a blog motivated me enough to actually create things to put on it. In this case, music. Enjoy!

Sarah Coloso Gillespie
19 July 2011.

P.S. Some of my previous attempts can be found at www.myspace.com/sarahcoloso (apologies for the out-of-date information, my MySpace is officially broken).

Thursday, 20 October 2011

New song!

Finally! After having frustrating bits and pieces of songs floating about, it's nice to have something that's... well, if not quite perfect yet, at least FINISHED enough that it can be played from start to end.

The origins of this one are somewhat unusual... I was playing a gig at an RAF barbecue in Leuchars, which had been organised by the lovely Cpl. Mark Dalton, an engineer. During my break he took me to see some of the new aircraft he had been working on (extremely expensive, and very cool).

When we were there, he mentioned that there were pilots whose role was simply to sit in the planes on alert for hours at a time, just in case of a sudden, unexpected attack. It was a hangover from the Cold War period, really - but all the same, it got me thinking what it would be like to be one of those pilots ordered to sit and wait in reserve while their colleagues got to go and play the hero in Libya or Iraq or Afghanistan. So this is the almost-finished song - working title "Airspace" (a bit rubbish I know, you are welcome to suggest a better one).

Draw in the mist as the hours slide by

Blink off the crust baked over my eyes

My uniform pressed and a shine on my shoes

I sit like a bishop and wait for my move

I hope to be heard

Before I die on the teeth of the world

Heroes' hopes are crushed

Missiles turn to rust

I will change nothing and nothing will change

But I wait, I wait, I wait…

When will I fly?

Sitting in wait bristling with guns

Buttons that kill and buttons, buttons that stun

Armed to the teeth I believe my time has come

A time eclipsed like the moon over the sun

Shout it out loud

What I want most in the world is to make you proud

Heroes' hopes are crushed

Missiles turn to rust

I will change nothing and nothing will change

But I wait, I wait, I wait…

When will I fly?

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Great Expectations

None of my own stuff in this blog post - just one of the most beautifully crafted lyrics I think I've ever heard, and it's been inspiring me lately. It's called Great Expectations, by the band Elbow, and according to frontman Guy Garvey, is about "a wedding that took place on the bus." Some people have said that this is a wedding that takes place in his mind with a woman on the bus he has fallen in love with from afar, but I prefer to think it actually happened.
And if it rains all day
Call on you, I'll call on you
Like I used to

Slide down beside and wrap you in stories
Tailored entirely for you
I'll remind you

We exchanged a vow
I love you, I always will

A call girl with yesterday eyes
Was our witness and priest
Stockport supporters club kindly supplied us a choir
Your vow was your smile
As we move down the aisle
Of the last bus home
And this is where I go
Just when it rains

Blinking and stoned
Rain in your hair
You only smoke
'Cause it's something to share

Singing, bring on the night
To have and to hold
The sodium light turning silver to gold.

Spitfire thin and strung like a violin, I was
Yours was the face with a grace from a different age
But you were the sun in my Sunday morning
You were the sun in my Sunday morning

Telling me never to go
So I'll live on the smile
And move down the aisle
Of the last bus home

And if you're running late
This is where I'll go
Know I'll always wait


In defence of the cliché

Hello there fellow bloggers.

It has always been a bad habit of mine to overcomplicate lyrics - using five words where one will do in the fear that people won't get what I'm trying to say - and yet in most lyrics, economy is key. Besides, we need only look at SongMeanings.com to see that fans love an obscure lyric - some of the debates on there get pretty vicious! So I put pen to paper and wrote a fairly sparse lyric very quickly.

Stretched out in the sun
You are here
We are one

Safe in your arms
With the trees as our witness

Lie in the grass
My husband to silence

In our house of earth
No one can hurt us

We hide from the world
And bury our secrets

My love
The ground is taking our shape

In the dying light
You held me so tight

As usually happens when I ditch the self-conciousness component of my writing - a few clichés crept in. In fact I've written close to twenty songs since I first started writing and I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've used the word "love" in any of them. With that in mind, I suppose it's time I let myself off the hook. After all, in the words of the legendary Tim Minchin:

"The weirdest thing about a mind
Is that every answer that you find
Is the basis of a brand new cliché."

I suppose that at some point, phrases like "we are one" and "hold you in my arms" were genuinely original at some point in history - someone had to be the first to write that down. And I guess that in the end, clichés are all about context - one line saying "we are one" is fine as long as it doesn't sit in the same verse as "you make me complete," or the creatively suicidal rhyme of "fire" with "desire" or "higher." Or, the classic: "down on my knees, beggin' you please"...

So, there you go. For one song only, I am embracing the cliché. So I shall stick my radio on, hope the DJ plays my favourite song, and keep dancing... all night long.

Did I mention that it's Wednesday night and I'm feelin' alright?


Friday, 2 September 2011

What on earth rhymes with "mouth"?

...aside from "south"? I hate words that seemingly have no rhymes. Could be worse - could be "purple."

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Bleaching Pigeons

Do not confuse
obsession with love
bleaching a pigeon
does not make a dove

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Houses of Stone

We all build our house of stone
Brick by brick
Safe from harm
We never suspect the ground
...will open up
We all fall down

Something I'm working on. Can't decide whether it's a bit too predictable.


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Have a listen...

Hey folks,

Spent the last couple of days recording an acoustic demo of "How To Hold A Gun" on my 8-track. It's now up on my BandPage, and you can listen to it here:




Saturday, 13 August 2011


...or at least it is until I play it live at Tonic tomorrow and probably go back and re-write half the song. For me, lyrics tend to go through two re-writes:

1) is brought about by that moment when the lyrics go from being written down to sung out loud to myself; nine times out of ten this triggers an embarrassing "that sounded far better in my head" moment...

2) happens when I play a song live for the first time, triggering an even more embarrassing "that sounded far better when I played it to myself in my room" moment.

For now, the song is called "How To Hold A Gun," and is something of a rant about religious extremists/terrorists.

How To Hold A Gun

All are parasites
Feasting on the host
Father, Son and Holy Ghost

Take them while they're young
Teach them how to hate
Teach them how to hold a gun

We dug an earthen grave
And buried reason deep
Though she tried to fight
She soon fell fast sleep
We filled it up again
And marked it with a cross
And never paused to contemplate
The weight of what we'd lost

Father, look this way
Trust in me your might
Teach me how to win the fight

Take me not in vain
You shall hold your tongue
Lest I kill your first born sons

We parted wide the sea
And reason followed in
And when we had escaped
We drowned her for her sins
There is no turning back
From ripples of deceit
And so we journey on
The serpent's at our feet

Be you not afraid
Gospel shall abide
Keep the iron faith
God is on my side

Monday, 1 August 2011


Since my previous post, I got to thinking about the meaning behind that rhyming couplet plucked from the dusty corners of my subconscious. A biblical reference... and bugs. Hmm...

I got the sense that I was being "pointed" in a certain lyrical direction by this, so I continued my write-the-first-thing-that-comes-into-your-head exercise, whilst intermittently consulting the Holy Bible, Sam Harris' "Letter to a Christian Nation," and numerous articles on the Norway massacre. The result was several sprawling pages of... mostly crap, but there was the occasional nugget in there that could be prised out, and formed into something that vaguely resembled a verse.

This is it so far:

All are parasites

Feasting on the host

Father, Son and Holy Ghost

Take them while they're young

Teach them how to hate

Teach them how to hold a gun

We dug an earthen grave

And buried reason deep

Though she tried to fight

She soon fell fast asleep

We filled it up again

And marked it with a cross

And never paused to contemplate

The weight of what we'd lost


I don't think the lyrics will necessarily occur in that order - but it's a start.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Stream of Consciousness...

...or, as most creative people know it, the Flood of Unintelligible Rubbish (97% of the time).

For the first time in a creatively barren eighteen months (musically speaking), I'm finally starting to feel the first stirrings of that elusive muse (which was going to be the name of this blog, but unbelievably it is already the name of an Academy-Award-nominated documentary. And I thought I was being so clever...).

I'm sure many songwriters, poets, etc. get this feeling when looking at some of their previous, best work - that feeling of "How on earth did I write that well before?" It's not a particularly egotistical feeling, to be clear - it's more a longing for that crystalline, lightning-flash coalescence of time and space and mindset that enabled you to write those perfect lyrics you'd been searching for for so long. It only lasts half an hour at most, and when it leaves you it's like a comedown from some internal drug - you can't remember it. At all. All you've got for evidence is that perfect rhyming couplet, or chorus, or verse - normally scribbled so fast you can barely read it - that really makes the song.

I should add, this little mini-rant was inspired in part by a link sent to me by my great friend, Miss Sarah Dargie (one of the most creative people I know). I feel it refers more to film and art, so I thought I'd put my own lyrical slant on it, but it's a truly inspiring letter for anyone creative, written by Austin Madison of Pixar: http://friendswelove.com/blog/persist-austin-madison/

Anyway, I decided to "persist" through uninspired times by writing a stream of consciousness: that is, literally taking anything that came into my head and going with it. I find it tends to repeat itself if I keep at it for sustained periods of time, so this time I tried it in short bursts. It's a well recognised songwriting technique, and the first time I came across it was on an old Radiohead website, where Thom Yorke writes words heedless of spelling or grammar:

you run away scared outOfyourWits

thats is a heavyle load so you can't run so fast

sanctury you find ina n the dream of anearly grave and a few forlorn words

a million and one pinpricks in the one youloVe HOPIng she ll
give up on yu so youd r e a l l y hav someone tobLame

you hav got to get your house in

(plenty more where that came from at http://www.radiohead.com/Archive/Site1/elsewhere.html.)

So I tried something like it, and this is what came out:

Parasites feasting on the host

Father, Son and Holy Ghost

No idea what it meant, but it was surprisingly not bad - it even rhymed! Then I tried it again.

Wraith? Ghost, ZOMBIES!!

Wellll... one out of two ain't bad.