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Not Nor Mal

by Mal Webb

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Give It Up 04:42
Give It Up (for John) It’s been a long day It’s been a long year I could’ve gone home, but I came here Listen to some music, check out the bands But the guy with the microphone seems to like only making demands And I’m thinking now, c’mon, c’mon c’mon now If you’re gunna play a song, play a song I’ve got an eager ear and I’m here to hear My tastes are broad and my patience long Don’t get me wrong, but I’ve gotta make this clear, you hear? I don’t wanna sing along I don’t wanna put my hands up I don’t wanna make some noise, or go “woah oh, woah oh oh” I won’t clap or cheer or dance or even sway. No chance! No way! I wouldn’t go “Woo” in a pink fit Ooh, and I don’t wanna give it up, unless giving it up is the ‘it’ Give up the ‘give it up’ bit, unless giving it up is the ‘it’ we’re giving up Call me a grumpy git I don’t give a damn, not a hoot, not a bit, nooo ... But having said that, I hope you don’t think That I’m not happy here, sipping my drink And listen to the music, eventually And respond in a way that on the day feels right to me It may be kinda subtle, just a tap of the toe Or a turn of the head It might not even show I’m gunna stay po-faced and proud I’m not easily wowed But if you’re really great, I might talk to my mates a little less loud Well, I know you’re just trying to build the vibe, unite us like a team or a tribe And if all the rest seem keen to roll with that For sure, have a ball, you don’t need my bat But I suggest I’m not the sole surly soul in here Who longs to hear a song sometime this year Skip the trite hype, corny, ham and cheese When you say “Give it up”, I say “Please!”... You may be amazing, no doubt, you could go far But stop raving about how good you are ... When you say “Hello GlasONBUry!” Don’t expect me to cheer ’til I hear you pronounce it correctly ... When you say “How’re you feeling?”, I may frown Knowing you don’t really wanna know how I feel deep down If it were amusing or original I’d join in gladly But sadly it’s the same old schtick done badly … ©2011
Well, I propose a toast to the mitosist with the mostest She’s a ghost who can boast from coast to coast in every HeLa cell She’s more cultured than Chanel, Cartier or YSL But she’s tired of being quite so huge and dizzy from the centrifuge She’s quick frozen, colour-fast Her prison cell is built to last Dear Henrietta Lacks Did you know your coffin’s final nail Is bigger than a blue whale? A zillion artefacts Grown as long as cell biologists keep peering at your private bits ’Cos it’s a grand humiliation Showing now across the nation Mutation on a huge scale Bigger than a blue whale ... Dear Henrietta Lacks Did you know that bit you left behind may help to cure its own kind? So many saintly acts May claim a little perch in every church for contributions to research Well, back in '51, you see, m’lady had a malady A cervix abnormality that led to her fatality Her cells went for a biopsy that showed up the malignancy But also a propensity to multiply so rapidly The scientists went on to see what other uses there could be for her expansive quality They shared her ’round extensively to every good laboratory Her fame was spreading globally ’Til nowadays she’s said to be the biggest lonely clone there’ll ever be Arabidopsis and Drosophila may have advice to offer her On how it’s best to keep your cool when you’ve become a research tool Dear Henrietta Lacks Did you know your flock of little vultures divide and conquer lesser cultures? Not much one to relax It parties even left out on the shelf Immortally beside itself Dear Henrietta Lacks Did you know that part you left to science is now a giant among giants? And for a grand climax Your omnipresent question bids the answer God’s a black woman’s cancer …
Plague 01:33
The world’s got a fever And we’re the disease It’s gunna sweat it out ’Til the frogs and the bees are down on their knees We’re a plague, we’re a plague We make the rats and rabbits seem vague Dutifully deluded by the doings of the deities Chronic economics say the rate’s great the way it is Breeding believing our innate ape imperatives Don’t get me wrong, I think kids are grand It’s all just a little out of hand Why be so negative? It’ll be OK Nature’s a mother, she made us this way Any shortfall can be fixed by technology Surely it’s folly to be at odds with our biology Let’s be a plague together Forever we’ll conquer the world Be happy and vague, whatever Have faith in our fate as our future’s unfurled The world’s got a lurgy And more is not the answer We think we’re pretty smart But our oversized brain’s both the chemo and the cancer We’re a plague, we’re a swarm, yes We make the toads and locusts seem gormless Don’t get me wrong, I think kids are great I just long to leave the world in a decent state. ©Mal Webb 2010
Brick 03:24
There’s an exhibition of my inhibition Showing in a cupboard in the room down the hall Hopes of selling out have come to no fruition Probably ’cos the paintings are all face into the wall But I find her so appealing that I can’t make my appeal And you can’t say what you’re feeling when you don’t know how you feel It’s no fun being in love with a brick Maybe if she got to get to know me better She would see it’s me that her life really lacks Maybe I should try to write it in a letter But then I wouldn’t get to see the way she reacts ... Maybe I’ve just got a dodgy transmitter My kisses and hugs seem to bite her and hit her And that leaves me feeling all worthless and bitter But maybe she’s just got a dodgy receiver She says that she cares, but I don’t quite believe her ’Cos each time I leave her it seems to relieve her There’s an exhibition of my inhibition But I doubt that I’ll ever get a red dot Due to recent showings, it’s in poor condition ’Cos inhibitions hate being stared at a lot ... © Mal Webb 1994-2012
The Lot 00:47
As I look through the menu at a takeaway shop I think, “The one with the lot, that’s the shot”, but wait, stop! There’s also ‘the lot with extras’ “What?!! That’s insane!” I exclaim with nomenclaturic pain And the lady says, “Please explain?” “Well, ‘The Lot’ should be one with everything, the Dalai Lama So these ‘extras’ are high drama, semantically It’s a culinary grammar calamity! ’Cos if it’s called ‘One with the Lot’ that should be what it’s got Every possible option in the shop, piled up on top Nothing dropped, nothing cropped, nothing lopped ’Cos if it were ‘a lot’ that’d be passable, but you’ve used the definite article So any extras are farcical It’s either ‘One with the Lot’ or it’s not”. ©Mal Webb 2013
Fun Detector 04:01
You’re out having lots of fun You’re not hurting anyone But someone says, “That can’t be done” Well, that’s a fun detector Oh fun detector, fun detector Lower your brow and raise your finger All these people are having fun Something must be done The mirth monitor’s on a raid Thinks they oughta be obeyed Come to rain on your parade That’s a fun detector Someone’s trembling at the lip They’re about to let it rip Going on a power trip That’s a fun detector You’re a wet blanket With a rulebook head and a heart of lead You’re a wet blanket You mustn’t’ve been breastfed ... ©Mal Webb 2000
So Over You 04:36
I was on the rebound when we met, my heart so freshly broken And there you were, unspoken for, not quite all I was hoping for But my mind conspired to fix you up, selective sense avoiding Your faults had some embroid’ing done ’Til you’d become my number one But time has made the colours fade The shroud has frayed away And now the real you is standing there as plain as day Well, I’m afraid I have to say That I’m so so so so so over you It’s time that you finally knew You’re no longer who had at first enchanted me How dare you not be all that I imagined you to be So I’m so ... I thought that you ought be told Now my love’s run cold, let me hold somebody new ’Cos I’m oh so over you But, of course, you’ll hear no word of this I’ll just say, “You’re a bastard! You lied to me so dastardly You cad, you’ve seen the last of me!” My friends all try to dry my tears And help me to be strong But can’t resist the urge to say they knew it all along You were always Mr Wrong/ Now I’m so ... You’re cast to the past, it’s true My creative mind had me blind, but now I see You’re not a patch upon the catch I’d built you up to be/ So I’m so ... Here it ends and we shan’t be friends While my poor heart mends, let me tend to someone new Now I’m oh so over you/ Well, I’m queen of denial, delusion and dejection Bumbling from flower to flower for fear of rejection I’m riding on a vicious cycle, vexed by my own hexes It’s why I never get along with any of my exes But, of course, you’ll hear no word of this I’ll just leave in a huff And fly into the arms of my next blind romantic’s bluff But it’s never quite enough ’Cos I’m so ... Then again, given time, who knows? When this heartache goes, I may see you as before Recalling I adore you, God knows, maybe even more But I’m so ... Back away, form an orderly queue ’Til I’ve thought this though, let me hold somebody new ’Cos I’m oh so over you. ©Mal Webb 2008
Oblivious Man, he’s the guy When trouble’s at hand, he walks on by Up in the air and down on the ground He’s unaware of all that’s around Mr Oblivious Captain Oblivious Oblivious Man’s never fussed With head in the sand, he’s non-nonplussed Hints miss completely, his skin is thick Even the subtlety of a brick ... How is it he came to be this way? A falling coconut? A dodgy pie? A cosmic ray? Was he born so free of gorm? Could this be how he’ll stay? Oblivious Man, he’s the best When crap hits the fan, he stays unstressed Signs never seen and words never heard So unperturbed by all that’s occurred And he’ll never know that he’s got a song! Oblivious Man has no vice If you need a hand, he won’t think twice Chats to the bad guys, bores them to tears Gross halitosis adds to their fears ... See him blithely stride into the fray The bad man’s plans don’t stand a chance with OM in the way Evil’s inadvertently averted by feet of clay Oblivious Man’s not alone His unwitting clan of clones has grown Random abandon, roaming unfazed Age, race and gender, equally dazed Mr Oblivious/ Sister Oblivious Lord King Oblivious Grand Dame Oblivious General Obliviousness. ©Mal Webb 2007-2012
TLA 03:32
When Grandad was a young man in St Kilda, you could bet he Would take Grandma strolling summer evenings out along Brooke’s Jetty Though all was hot and sweaty, that cool breeze was just in reach When perched above the lapping waters off the crowded beach Oh, Brooke’s Jetty, bayside lovers held you dear Singing your sweet counterpoint to St Kilda pier But now you’re just a drain and nothing more You were meant to be maintained by Parks Victoria But without a thought for all those who adore ya They let you fall apart then tore ya down But the good folks of St Kilda are demanding they rebuild a jetty equal in renown Our voices will resound As a tribute to the joy you brought to St Kilda town They said, “It’s unsafe”, but nothing’s safe when folks lack common sense They said, “It’s of no use or historical significance” But a century ago, it was a thriving boating club And ever since it’s always been a vibrant social hub ... To sit upon Brooke’s Jetty’s end with dangled feet and setting sun To curse at jet skis, gaze at clouds and waves as ukuleles strum To watch the fun and frolics on the foreshore, pure St Kilda bliss From such a tranquil vantage point, to dwell, to dream, to reminisce ... Fred Brooke must now be tumbling in his grave At this disrespectful underhand behaviour And the tears and pain of those who tried to save ya It’s sad you’re gone, but we won’t let our hopes drown ... ©Mal Webb 2016
Rooster Tree 03:41
When wending north of Melbourne town along the great M31 Avail your eyes horizonwise to see some free-range freeway fun At almost of four k’s short of Broadford, kind of Kilmore latitude A growing crowing slowly showing swells your heart with gratitude, when Heading up the Hume, at signs for Clonbinane My eyes behold a sight that quite delights me once again High on yonder hill, it cheers me up no end To see the Rooster Tree, my friend around the bend For yonks I thought this fine faux fowl affair was mine and mine alone But then a flock of fans in Wang informed me how this love has grown My private roadside scene, ‘Road Island Red in Green’, has flown the coop Hume Highway Hilltop He Hen Tree Huggers now have a Facebook group ... Initially I called it Chicken Tree but gender reassigned And utter nutters see a Squirrel Tree, but we don’t like their kind When from afar it’s singular but closer view shows more than two It’s like a grand arboreal syzygy that lines up right on cue ... It seems that even heathens like myself can’t stop the dropping jaw Indeed the least religious still prodigiously have sacred awe for it But plant poultry idolatry may sway you from your path Distracting leghorn-leafed belief can leave a tragic aftermath, when hurtling ... Though threat of bushfire and imprudent pruning fuel my brooding fears This plucky hilltop topiary’s stayed clucky, luckily for years May its herbaceous gallinaceous grace embrace these times of doubt So future generations get the chance to say, “Hey, check that out” … Hooning ... ©Mal Webb 2009
Ad For Beer 01:37
Rainbow Hotel gigs for me were none Chick, the owner, was so sincere “I love your music, it’s clever and fun, but it’s not a good ad for beer” “Thanks a lot, Chick”, I declared with glee, “Your phraseology makes it clear There must be apter venues for me I don’t wanna be an ad for beer” Pat a dog, smell a flower, ride a bike Try eating brussels sprouts and the like Have a sing, be nerdy, sail a boat They’re the things I prefer promoting Now I play schools, halls and festivals Bring the family, have no fear See and hear clearly and, best of all I don’t need to be an ad for beer Pat a flower, ride a dog, smell a bike ... I don’t mean to be a pious git You do what you like, I’ll be here Playing my music in places where it doesn’t need to be an ad for beer ... ©Mal Webb 2008
Load 03:58
I love trains, I always have For rail, a high esteem I’ve always had It seems I got it from my Dad And so indeed I’m sad to see so many train lines closing And increasing rows of trucks imposing woes upon our roads It makes no sense! I’m so incensed! Thus hence, I must compose this ode Get the load off the road, get it back on track Our transport system’s out of whack Rail is three times, 3 to 1, triple the efficiency in fuel and upkeep Go bike and train, then boat, then plane Bus, truck and car only when needed Global warnings ought be heeded Progress unimpeded Hear that pleasing squeal of steel to steel That woo woo, that clicketty clack Get the load off the road, get it back on track Let’s retrain our brains and ride more than we drive and fly I’m sure it can be done in the long run Kind open minds combined can find a balance Utilise the talents of each transport mode Transfer the load, so it’s most appropriately stowed And if the way is wonky, get a donkey or a yak ... Trucking has its place for sure, but the law of door to door is sorely flawed in the long haul I’m afraid of that great weight of freight, borne on worn-out tyres by tired drivers, wired day and night Those umpteen wheelers hack and crack and smack the tarmac Belt the asphalt and beat it blue and black ... Sleepers wake! We’ve been derailed! Stuck in a rut! Quick! Get the jack! ... That truckin’ cardiac attack will drive us all to ruin and rack ... Less freighting over all would be ideal, of course Seek out a local source, and buy less stuff Don’t feel the lack, change tack Make and grow your own and share your stack, I dare you ’Cos if we all get the knack, it’s not a one-way cul-de-sac ... ©Mal Webb 2015
Picture 02:56
If my heart could paint a picture of my love for you You’d find my palette flying through the air And landing in a boggy swamp somewhere It was thrown in desperation of pigmented imitation I could waste a thousand Derwents on your eyes alone A million beetles long to line your lips Your hair is lost in soft acrylic drips Even trying to catch the magic of your voice in gouache is tragic And the falling stars and wells ignore my wish Dali thinks I should involve a fish I watch my still life dance around the frame As my pastel masterpiece bursts into flame And now my studio is like a shrine to you The pot plants in the window shun the rain They’re watered by my tears of joy and pain As the brokers try to sell you, I will wash my hands and tell you If my heart could paint a picture ... © Mal Webb 1989
On all my birthdays, you compose for me a little poem So witty, sweet and guaranteed to always scan and rhyme But now’s my turn to burst with birthday verse for you, Mama With some slight trepidation; gosh, I hope it’s up to par But if you think it’s rubbish If it makes you wince or sob Of course, you’ll just forgive me; you’re my mother, that’s your job! My birthday treat of lambs’ brains, you would cook with Highland pride If only I could write a song so yummy, crumbed and fried! May all the birds sing for you All the frogs and insects too May every voice rejoice with boisterous glee, the day you came to be Born to this fond family throng Warmly warbling all life long A hundred hugs, bilione baci barely begin to show How we love you so You’ve been a keen birdwatcher since the days you wore a nappy Your sisters had to test you bird by bird ’til you were happy Binoculars and field guides make the blood rush in your veins It’s fab you found a fella who’s more into birds than trains Adept at clarinet and rather handy on piano A voice so sweet and lilting, yes indeed, I’m quite a fan, oh! But when you play harmonica, I’m chuffed down to my shoes It’s such a hoot to hear you toot and NEVER play the blues ... You might’ve noticed that the chorus doesn’t use your name The second-person pronoun might seem just a little lame But you are known as Susan, Sue and Mum and Granny too Susannah Boardinghouse as well, your sisters swear it’s true They also told me of a poem you wrote when young of age Oft quoted by your family, it was really all the rage It came in handy in a fix, when spirits failed or faltered So here it is, sung jauntily, but otherwise unaltered Laugh and you’ll get there ×2 Which way is it to London? Question Laugh and you’ll get there ×2 Answer. I don’t know how to laugh. Question Laugh like this: Ha ha ha ha ha. Answer Like this? Ha ha ha? Question No! Laugh and you’ll get there ×2 Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha pom pom! You learnt Italian to enhance your social work’s effect But how annoying was it when they all spoke dialect You taught us all compassion, empathy and social skills But John and Cath weren’t up for that with bully boy Paul Mills You used to sing a lullaby, a song called Barbara Allen I’d nod off by the second verse, “When green buds they were swellin’” I wished I’d stay awake a little longer just because I’d wake up later dwellin’ who this Allen woman was ... © Mal Webb 2009
Roadworks 04:28
As I was driving up the highway with 500 k’s to go I saw a sign for roadworks lurking up ahead As it was quite a quiet day I thought, “OK, a short delay” But nay, the queue was curiously long instead And from a side road on the right, more drivers joined to further blight my plight My fate to wait for life to pass me by But crawling ’round the corner inch by inch, I glimpsed the distant workers Then a vision clad in fluoro caught my eye She held a sign that said ‘slow’, but my heart would not obey Then when she turned it ’round and looked my way I felt my whole world stop Twirl that lollipop Oh no, don’t ever let me go To think such practical apparel could appear so appealing Garish yellow vests would never seem the same Right from her sun hat to her steel-cap boots she truly worked that workwear While her smile put those reflector strips to shame As I drew nearer, she grew clearer I could hear her laugh I dreamed I’d be the one she stopped I’d ask her out for soup I’d meet her mates on day-glo double dates We’d say, “I do”, the earth will move We’d do it in a front-end loader scoop ... I then moved on from pining onto priming, trying to suss the timing And with just four cars to go, it sure looked good That she might spin the sign and stem the traffic’s tide So timed that I’d be halted by her side ... oh, how I wished she would The call to stop us came though on her two-way right on cue But at that very moment, some guy shouted from nearby “Hey, do youse want some lunch?” She held fast to that slow sign So I drove past hearing her reply “Yeah, thanks, I’ll have a pie” She held a sign that said slow as I slowly drove away Her image sank into the rear-view depths But my despair soon turned determined, thinking, “No, it mustn’t end this way” I checked the map and just like that, I found a route that looped back ’round A little road off to the right in half a k Excitedly I switched my indicator on, as I approached the turn-off But a sight then filled my heart with dread A row of other cars all turning right, all single guys I sighed and flicked my blinker off and drove on, straight ahead She’d held a sign that said ‘slow’, but my heart had not obeyed Oh, if she’d spun that sign, I could’ve made her mine But probably not Delusion’s all I’ve got I know I oughta let it go ... ©Mal Webb 2012
Pash Crush 04:37
I’m melting, I’m melting, your thermonuclear hug’s my drug My ice has turned to steam to flow with the stream of the tides, the waves collide I’m diving, I’m diving Into your deep blue ocean The devil’s nowhere to be seen But we’re in between with our gods to play the odds A smile so inviting, incisively enticing my lips to sink into the bliss But who needs to breathe when I’m drowning in your kiss I’m floating, I’m drifting The sand is barely shifting, I’d cross the desert on a snail For you in a crush so plush I want to pace the rush ... ©Mal Webb 2000
Win 02:56
I don’t like being competitive I only like to win To lose is just a place in France It’s Leeds that I’ll be in But it gets lonely at the top And so I’ll form a team I’ll find a fine like-minded mob Whose eyes all share the gleam But victory is not enough We’ll win without a fuss The losers will feel honoured That they got to lose to us No cheating, drugs or teasing thugs We’ll play the model role With charm and grace we’ll win the race One love will be our goal But triumph’s really just the start Our quest will never rest ’Til all the winners of the world Agree that we’re the best But still we’ll strive for greater glory History will concur For ever more they’ll all recall How great we really were The universe! Eternity! No boundaries in our way This plan is good and now I should Decide what game to play. ©Mal Webb 2008
Follicle Drive (for Dad, RIP) The things I really loved That I’ll miss the most about my Dad Are the things that could also drive me mad He was a full-on guy with a bursting brain And a thirst for how and why, sustained by a heart like a steam train His ingrained sense of justice drove him on Relentlessly he strove to champion what’s right and fair And all this with a gentlemanly air And his voice, above all, would resound Facts and stories would abound Right into his anecdotage Telling tangential tales related unabated He was vaccinated with a gramophone needle So he often stated His many favourite phrases stay with me Like music in my mind, they linger While I picture that triumphant pointing of his finger “Aahh! That’s fixed it, as good as a bought one Aahh! You crumb! That’s a wizard idea If dropped naked on a desert island, I would survive/ Follicle Drive” ‘Follicle Drive’ is the name Dad gave to the subject of the research paper he was writing when he died His colleagues are continuing with his work Whether trains, lacrosse, genetics, fishing, rowing Yes, whatever the endeavour he was keen as mustard Truly an enthusiast Infusing others with his eager educative passion For doing stuff He loved lists and labels, fixing things, he hated waste Post office red rubber bands on footpaths would invariably end up in his pocket And I’ve ended up the same I grew up helping with repairs Soaked in brake fluid, acetone and Araldite Holding torches for him, with him saying “Shine it on my hands, not on my face!” And all this to the soundtrack of the Goons His science, I never understood But I knew that it was good The sheer breadth of his intellect So vast it brought us all to unexpected paths of thought ... At the age of five, to help me to explain my lack of red hair He taught me how to say, “It’s a recessive gene”, and I did He taught me sooo much And in return, I taught him how to hug And creative ways of eating something green His legendary high diaphragm never really held him back And that crumb still had hair on his head When he sailed over the horizon ... ©Mal Webb 2015


released September 2, 2016




Mal Webb Melbourne, Australia

Vocal adventurer, multi-instrumentist, looping beatboxing songwriter Mal Webb sings his songs about all manner of stuff, using all sorts of vocal techniques (like sideways yodeling) and plays guitar, bass, mbira, slide trumpet, trombone, chromatic harmonica, bass and piano. He's like Bobby McFerrin, Aphex Twin and Cole Porter playing scrabble. Ani DiFranco said to Mal: "You're a freak!"
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