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Songs: Looking At My Hands

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I was looking at my hands
They were the hands of an old man
Somewhere there's a pensioner running round with wrists that are not his
Oh Lord and in the name of love
Return to me the contents of my gloves

I was looking at my face
Looming like the warlike planet deep in deepest space
With martian canal lines, a hint of polar ice
When did the planet go cold?
And when did it get so old?

But, that said, I like being thirty
All right, I like being in my thirties as I'm not quite thirty now
Oh yes, I like
Knowing what my mind is, and knowing that I'm right

I was looking at my clothes
Where did my days as a Dandy go?
I'm dressed as if I'm going to a Parent Teacher Barbecue
I used to cut a rug across the discotheques of Britain
I stood proudly bequiffed but now most of my quiff is missing

But then
I thought about my friends
I've got to say these days, they're all bloody GRATE
I used to hang around with a right bunch of arsey pillocks
I don't see them much nowadays but I can't say I miss them

Oh yes, I like being thirty
I like being in my thirties as I'm not quite thirty now
I feel deeply satisfied
Knowing what my mind is and knowing that I'm right

When I was 24
I was pretty sure that I knew the score
A snappy answer for each eventuality
I thought I had it sorted but actually
I didn't have a clue what to do with my life
I still don't but now I don't mind
I'm feeling good, I'm looking groovy
You dare to doubt it? So sue me

I was looking at my mind
Glistening with fitness from the fountain of my life
Still undergoing training in biography's gymnasium
Every day in every way
I'm becoming more applaudable than even I was yesterday

And that's why
It doesn't really matter if my hairline gets too high
It's only making space for enlargement of the brain
If my back aches it's 'cos I'm carrying
The equipment of a stallion

Oh yes, I like being thirty
I like being in my thirties as I'm not quite thirty now
I feel contented and free
In a mental landscape where I'm happy being me

Published by Wipe Out Music Publishing

This song is mainly the result of glaring into the harshly lit mirror in our toilet at work on several mornings and thinking "oh God but I look rough." That mirror's like the infra-red lights at the disco I reckon, it highlights grey hairs. One day I looked down at my hands, back up at my face, and forced myself to remember that I wasn't just a near cadaver stumbling close the edge of doom, actually life was pretty good.

The song from then on is a selection of some of my favourite Things I Say In The Pub. For instance, I've always liked the idea that The Validators look more like a bunch of parents lurking at a barbecue than a stereotyped ROCK band. Also, as so many of my friends have passed into their thirties there's been much discussion of how being old enough to have a clue what you're on about enables you to have lot more actual fun than being clueless in your twenties. Similarly you've usually got a bit more cash and less debts by that point, so can actually afford to do the things you could only hope to do before.

Most of all is the fact that these days I'm extremely grateful to have such an excellent bunch of friends. I've got to the point where everyone I hang around with is someone I really WANT to hang around with, rather than someone who I just bump into down the pub or at gigs, where we tolerate each other. It's fantastic.

The final verse is generally the sort of thing I tend to bellow outside the pub after a particular good night talking about the above with the aforementioned excellent friends.

The song arrived at a Validators practice sounding pretty normal and then was significantly roughed up by the band. Wherever possible we try to find a better way of playing it than the indie chug which is my default setting, but we were all especially thrilled to come up with the forceful strum of this one. "We've never played anything like this before!" we remarked, for LO! we hadn't.

I especially like the stops after each chorus. When we first started playing together Tim refused to do these, largely because we couldn't do them properly, so it's nice to know we can carry them off, and I especially like the one after the middle bit, where our esteemed producer slipped in what I believe is called a "Clearmountain Pause" in production circles. I think it's me complaining about cocking up the vocals, played backwards, but I'll leave that for you to check yourself.

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