Several months ago I wrote that I had been reflecting on the activity of writing songs and had decided I needed to rethink how I was approaching it. That thinking has continued but I have decided to keep most of my main thoughts to myself until I have something worth saying.
Monday 17 April 2023
The phrase "the good enough mother" was coined by the British pediatrician and psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott in his famous book Playing and Reality.
On the Road Going Nowhere, my latest attempt at song writing, probably belongs, for me anyway, in the category of a good enough track.
I’m not yet certain that the sentiments expressed will prove to be ‘true’ but at the present time they feel that way. I have recorded several versions but am undecided about making any of them available.
Being on the road to nowhere is not meant to be a hopeless sort of place to be in. There are millions of us on the road of not going anywhere special or anywhere in particular and who are just glad to have enough money and be well enough to get on with the tasks of ordinary everyday living.
As for all that goes on around me separate from the song writing it’s impossible not to be profoundly saddened - partly because it seems impossible to do anything significant about it- that the unrelenting and overriding drives of greed and grift which have infected so many continue to make such basic aspirations for so many others so incredibly hard to achieve. I should probably have said impossible.
As regards what writing songs can do about it. That’s a question I have repeatedly asked myself without ever getting a satisfactory answer. And yet for a very long time I have kept writing them. On the Road Going Nowhere may be a spur to some fresh thinking.
Tuesday 21 March 2023
It is mostly about the songs which were written during my time of living on Haida Gwaii - referred to then as the Queen Charlotte Islands. I intend to include some comments about their content and the context in which they were written. They all belong to a particular place and time but they are also representative of one of the earlier phases of my interest in writing songs.
Then as now writing songs happened only occasionally and in no set or determined way. But perhaps it did become more of a habit when I was on the islands. And my way of working may well have been heading in that direction from its beginnings in Glasgow through a relatively brief stay in Alberta.
Sunday 22 January 2023
The words for this track came from a news item which I just happened to see the day before Amber McLaughlin was executed. The words were a way of dealing with the shock I experienced the following day on reading that it had taken place. Much of my response is in the words but I did honestly think it would not happen. I foolishly felt sure such a barbaric act would be stopped.
I can't ever recall feeling as shocked as I did on reading the news item about Amber's death and the decisions which were made. There was a vulnerability in her face in the photograph I had seen in the newspaper and her final words have stayed in my head.
It’s not much good being upset about what happened but I wanted to make others aware of the awful way in which Amber's life ended.
There is a free download of the words on Bandcamp on the following link https://sheilakcameron.bandcamp.com/track/in-the-cold-light-of-day
Friday 25 November 2022
I’m working on a song that undoubtedly came from my own circumstances but they are nothing compared to what others are experiencing about the place they belong.
I’m not sure yet whether it will receive the kind of arrangement which will make it more likely to get heard. But I have been once more neglecting this site and thought this song was worth a mention.
The title is THE BACK THERE BLUES. And I expect to have more to say about it soon.
Wednesday 12 October 2022
There was a link to this blog on the home page of the web site at www.sheilakcameron.com. It used the original image which was a collage of SO SAID THE SAP . But the home page was looking a bit cluttered so it will soon be found on its own page on the site. And that page may need to get dressed up a bit with some further information.
Thursday 1 September 2022
The words were written and recorded with some of it sung and much of it spoken. I got it mastered by genius Geoff Allan as an acoustic only track but also put it out to be worked on. It was worked on by Brian J McNeill formerly of China Crisis and is available to be listened to on BANDCAMP and on my web site at www.skcsongs.com. It has been played by Iain Anderson on his Radio Scotland program and is on the playlist of RADIO SIX INTERNATIONAL
The pleasurable times are those which come with completing the words and getting a nearly complete idea of how the song might sound. All the rest is unsettling - verging on the excruciating. But now it is finished and out there I have not yet tired of it. That’s a good sign for me. I hope others will listen several times and feel the same.
Friday 13 May 2022
Today May13th 2022 I uploaded a very small selection of spoken words to one of my main sites at www.skcsongs.com. Two of the tracks are about sadness and loss and I make no apology for that. It is saddening to wake each day to hear and know more about all the awful things that are happening in the Ukraine.
The fourth track is more hopeful and I may re-record it sometime soon. It is entitled GOOD REAPS GOOD. The four tracks are free to download.
Tuesday 28 December 2021
Friday 21 May 2021
Saturday 30 January 2021
As I was preparing the ebook companion to the double CD The Unknowable Next I became suddenly engaged with the words which began with the line A child took my hand. Without hesitation I copied them into a separate document, printed it and took it to the room where I have my main recording equipment.
I do occasionally record an idea on my iPhone and have several portable recorders but this is where I go if I am seriously intent on trying to get a ‘good recording’. Good in that it might be a track I will choose to get mastered or will ask someone to arrange for me.
On this occasion I became very focused and wanted to both record the words and find a tune. And I stayed with the task until I had a track which came close to what I wanted. The outcome was in no way special but it gave me enough of what I wanted for me to leave it alone – for a while anyway. No changes were made to the words I had printed.
Once the song had been arranged - and I hope I am right about this – I thought it might be worth sharing as it expresses something of that loss we all know when we have to let go of a dream Or when we are having to accept that a dream we had is no longer likely to be realized.
The song can be found on my web site at www.skcsongs.com and on BANDCAMP at https://sheilakcameron.bandcamp.com/track/and-a-longing-goes-to-rest
Wednesday 20 January 2021
And we nearly did.
On arriving in Masset on Haida Gwaii (known at that time as The Queen Charlotte Islands I met with a man who offered his hut as a place to stay until a room at a hotel could be negotiated. With a friend we acccepted and began cleaning the place to make it habitable for the night. The Principal of one of the schools heard we were planning to stay there and came to rescue us.
Saturday 19 December 2020
Presently being worked on as an ebook: it can best be described with the introduction below - which has just been completed
The words in this book were also recorded on a double CD with the same title. The book is meant to be a companion to the CDs.
About the words: they consist mostly of thoughts and ideas which at the time they occurred I had chosen to write down. They were usually written in lines and rhymes because at sometime or other - although I can’t remember exactly when - it had become a habit to do that.
Most of them began as one line with the prospect that they might become a lyric. And some of them are lyrics. Others wandered away in a different direction to become what they now are.
Only a few of the words had previously been worked on and in preparing the book I wanted them to remain that way. I knew from experience that once the process of making changes has begun it can be hard to stop and there is always a risk that what was initially written down can become something unrelated to the originally expressed thoughts or ideas.
The reluctance to get drawn into making changes to the words has informed the eventual content of the book and two issues in particular.
Several years had gone by since the recordings were made and I was unable to locate an exact copy of the text which was used at the time. As a consequence the recorded words are not an exact match with the printed words. No attempt was made to remedy this,
Also there are several duplicates, mainly as a result of some rushed editing and having used two different kinds of title i.e. first line and made up.
The most obvious remedy was to remove them and this could have been easily achieved with the written words. There was however no easy way of making changes to the already published CDs. I have opted instead to explain the situation and apologize for any confusion this might cause.
The track lists from the recordings are being used for the indices in the book and although the playing times of the recordings may not be of interest to the reader they have been retained for any interested listener.
The recorded words are on two CDs: DISC ONE and DISC TWO and the printed words are in two parts PART ONE and PART TWO.
Written or spoken there are seventy seven items in nine sections. The titles for both have been kept the same.
DISC ONE: PART ONE
1. The Inescapable Road
3. On the Road to Sundrie
4. The Bay and Beyond
5. Out There Somewhere
DISC TWO: PART TWO
1. If it Had Not Been So Dark
2. So Said the Sap
3. Clown in a Pram
4. The Unknowable Next
There is a separate concluding track entitled Some Last Days of Fun
A selection of the recorded words can be heard and downloaded from Bandcamp at
Friday 11 September 2020
And it could be called a SAP SCAN.
I have been scanning the documents from an old folder. They began with my first letter to the BBC in which I was requesting an audition. I had been encouraged to do this after meeting with several people who worked at the Glasgow Drama College. But the person who guided me in what to say in the letter was the Secretary.
It did result in a few radio performances but this post is more about my overall impression of all I had tried to do as a singer, a songwriter and then - as it became apparent in the last few documents - as a writer.
And the words which have stayed with me are that throughout this endeavour I had been asking the wrong questions of the wrong people. And I’ll leave it there for now.
It’s good to be back on the Sap site. There is a strong feeling of belonging which I am thoroughly enjoying.
Monday 6 April 2020
The newest news is that I am working on a selection of words which were written over (I think it was) about two days and because they all happened during that time frame I am assuming they are associated with each other - although the association, as I work on them, is best described as loose.
The selection is entitled NINE RHYMES: on getting back in line and I hope to have more to say about it soon.
Tuesday 12 November 2019
Also from now on I think that I will be using that newly made page to post the kind of information which usually appeared here - although I may cross reference it
A printed sheet of some words entitled THE SAP AND OLD FAITHFUL was lying around on my desk as I decided to do this so this task may have been in the making - with my thoughts only catching up this morning
The plan is to record those words soon and to use them on the new page - and probably on here
Thursday 16 May 2019
The remaining 100 will be mine to distribute most likely to friends and charity shops. A few may be purchased on Bandcamp.
So why the uncertainty.
There were two considerations. Uppermost was the feeling that I had not adequately acknowledged all that Wild Biscuit had brought to my songs and I thought that putting together the first selection of tracks they had worked on with the more recent selection would provide me with the means of doing that.
A small CD of only the more recent selection was a possibility but I thought combining the selections would make it a more representative item - and the cost would be the same. Also when MORE LIKE A RIVER was initially distributed it was to 50 stations only. This time the songs will go to 200.
Perhaps I’ll only know further down the line whether or not it was a good idea. As said, right now, I’m not sure. But what I can definitely say is that one morning I woke up with the words River to Sea in my head and I liked the idea of using that title and that set me off in this direction.
I also enjoyed deciding on the CD cover which will be posted on line in a while.
Wednesday 19 September 2018
Friday 31 August 2018
Much later in the year, sometime in November, they will be playing DEEP and REAL
Monday 23 July 2018
Monday 16 July 2018
The link is http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/natureuk/entries/188f15e1-f71b-431e-8999-43dc578b4cd4
And of those reasons I am choosing to post the following one This is partly because I have a spoken word track which includes a few words about growing feathers
'As we get into the end of the breeding season, a lot of your garden regulars will enter the moult. This is the time of year when many birds lose their feathers, and replace them with fresh new ones ahead of the winter. Many juvenile birds will lose their young plumage, ready to emerge as adults. Whilst necessary, this process puts a lot of pressure on a little bird. The energy cost to grow a new set of feathers is high, and losing a primary wing feather or two can really make a difference when trying to evade a predator. For this reason, a lot of the birds in your garden will lay low, skulking in bushes and hiding in hedges.'
The article may also help to explain more about my perceived close affinity with blackbirds- athough in my case a tendency to lay low and skulk is not restricted to any particular season
As for the 'growing of feathers': they belong in a selection of words entitled ON THE WAY TO SONG which I compiled months ago The words are
And where are the birds
In all this rain
The recordings were mastered and then foolishly uploaded onto Bandcamp Foolishly because as the title suggests they were on the way to becoming something - and were not yet there And this reflects another questionable tendency i.e an impatience to move too quickly on from an old task to a new one
However I am also not against going backwards and/or regressing (a bit) and I may reapproach On the Way to Song and decide what if anything I should do with it now
Friday 13 July 2018
It was particularly special because it happened around the time I had written some words about being a ‘shadow of myself’ There are a few related comments and images on my old web site at http://www.sheilakcameron.com/
But today, in a conversation about a different shadow - the one of the blackbird with the sultana - I was reminded again of this incredible photographer And having found her again I knew the best thing I could do with my time today was to share the video with anyone who might visit this site
The link is http://www.vivianmaier.com/
There are hundreds of other links about her and about her work but I think this is a good place to start
Thursday 12 July 2018
|This bird sings, flies and loves sultanas|
The image will probably be reluctantly moved from there when the next song entitled DO YOU WANT TO TELL ME AGAIN is ready
Meanwhile DON'T SIGH can be heard on the SKC site and on Bandcamp at https://sheilakcameron.bandcamp.com/track/dont-sigh-even-slightly-6
Tuesday 10 July 2018
However, there have been times when I (personally again) did not take sufficient care to stay on my feet Now admittedly streets covered with snow and ice was a factor but whatever the weather the advice in this song still applies
I had thought when writing it it might prove to be a useful reminded to others and have continued to think so - so here it is again - in a shortened and remixed version The lyrics matching those on the track are being made available but the image will remain the same as before
It was on Bandcamp and the new version has now replaced the old one and can be found at https://sheilakcameron.bandcamp.com/track/feet-feet-feet
Saturday 7 July 2018
encouraging comments which I am appreciating very much she recognizes the frailties of my work and mentions them in a way I experience as very real and thoughtful
I particularly liked the following ‘Brilliantly simple in its sophistication; this is not a technically perfect album. The singers voice is limited in range, the musicianship often apparently pedestrian. The power is in the integrity of the artist, and the belief of the listener’.
In a while - when I have taken on what she says - and enjoyed it some more - I will probably provide a link to the whole review on here and perhaps elsewhere
PS! The desire to keep it to myself while I continue to take on what she says - and enjoy it some more - has been overcome by the desire to show off a bit!
The link to Laura and the review is http://www.fatea-records.co.uk/magazine/reviews/SKC/
Thursday 5 July 2018
The link is https://www.mixcloud.com/tonyhaynes52/midweek-midnight-mayhem-4th-july-2018/