Happiness Is The Road - Introduction

Introduction:  Album fifteen is another double album, produced by the band & Mike Hunter. The first CD is a concept album entitled Essence.

Essence is partly based on ideas from a new age/self-help book recommended to Steve Hogarth during the Somewhere Else tour, called 'The Power of Now' by Eckhart Tolle and concerns the notion of embracing the moment rather than dwelling on the past or future.

Dreamy Street

'That monkey inside o'me Gone skulkin away'
A possible reference back to h’s solo track The Evening Shadows and its opening line, ‘I have an animal inside me’.

Other references to monkeys and apes exist on this album. Human beings, monkeys and apes all share a common ancestor, of course. Genetically, we may not have a monkey inside us, but we certainly share a lot of the same DNA!

This Train is my Life

'Distant lights from the wrong side of the tracks'
The wrong side of the tracks is a term meaning someone who comes from a bad or less prosperous part of town. The phrase arose because train tracks would often delimit neighbourhood boundaries, particularly where there was a racial divide.

Essence

'Choose life, Choose living'
Possibly intended as a parody of the famous speech by the character Renton in the book Trainspotting by Irving Welsh, especially given the previous line 'The book, the film, the faithful depiction'.

Wrapped up in Time

'Told backwards down this rod of light… …Long extinct'
The stars in the night sky are light years away from us, meaning that by the time the photons have travelled from the star to our retinas, spans of time have passed. 
 
A light year is literally the distance light can travel in a year, so if you’re looking at something a light year away, you are seeing how it looked one year ago when its photons were first emitted and started their journey through space to your eye. 

Woke Up

'Woke up in a city that doesn’t sleep'
If Sinatra is to be believed, that city is New York.

Trap The Spark

'I've opened the box and I've touched the treasures of the earth'
A deliberate echo of the line from Genie on Marbles..?

 'They're buried on the island far away'
A reference to the island from Fantastic Place on Marbles..?

Happiness Is The Road

Introduction: The lyrics to the song Happiness Is The Road were inspired by h’s trip to a doctor in Utrecht when he was ill on the Somewhere Else Tour.

'Man, there's a book you have to read'
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. The book is a new age/self-help book which essentially says, 'living for the moment is the best way to be happy and fulfilled’ and apparently advocated forgetting about the past and future.

Worth reading the polarised reviews on Amazon and choosing according to personal prejudice…

Half Empty Jam

Introduction: Mark Kelly said on the MOLF, "It's a jam that some members of the band felt didn't belong with the finely crafted material that makes up the rest of the album... so as a compromise we stuck it on the end of disc 1 with a 1 minute gap before it starts. The 1 minute gap has it own ID, so the iPod users can delete the silence (something I always find annoying with hidden tracks...TSE springs to mind)."

Thunderfly

'The little corn flies are messing with my nerve endings'
The Free Dictionary says: “A small fly which, in the larval state, is injurious to grain, living in the stalk, and causing the disease called "gout," on account of the swelled joints. The common European species is Chlorops tæniopus.

“A small fly (Anthomyia ze) whose larva or maggot destroys seed corn after it has been planted.”

The Man from Planet Marzipan

'I am the man from the planet Marzipan'
A play on the name of the planet Mars, presumably intended to imply tragicomedy to the aforementioned man through the use of the word 'marzipan', a confection of ground sugar and almonds, often used to cover cakes.
The line first appeared in the lyrics to The Wound, on Somewhere Else.

Asylum Satellite #1

'It said in the paper that 90% of the universe went missing this morning'
 90% of the universe is made up of what’s known as ‘dark matter’. It is inferred from the gravitational effects exerted on visible matter in a number of different ways that all support its existence, yet does not give off electromagnetic radiation that would allow us to detect it in the manner of the visible matter.

Older Than Me

'Over the hill, And far away'
'Over the hill' is an idiomatic expression indicating that one has passed the mid point of one’s life and is heading towards the grave.

“Over the Hills and Far Away” is also a song title in common usage, with Led Zeppelin, Gary Moore and The Mission all having different songs with that name. However, the expression probably originates with the traditional English folk song of the same name, which dates from at least 1700. Several different versions of the lyrics exist.

Perhaps the best known these days is the version used in the TV series Sharpe, by John Tams, based on the 1706 version by George Farquhar.

Threw Me Out

'Two's a crowd'
Rich Harding pointed out this line is based on the popular idiom, 'two's company, three's a crowd': a group of two people is comfortable; a group of three is not.

'No more trouble No more strife'
'Trouble and strife’ is Cockney rhyming slang for ‘wife’. Cockney is a working class dialect from the East End of London.

'Opening drawers'
Rich also made the point that 'drawers' means the storage device but is also also an anachronistic term for a lady's underwear, typically of a long shorts style in silk, and may therefore be an admission of adultery, fitting in with the theme of the piece.

Especially True

'I gazed upon you from the bleachers'
Bleachers is a US English term for tiered bench seating, as seen at sporting events, such as baseball.

David Dyte has also pointed out that the rhyme refers to 'Bleacher Creatures' - the regulars in the cheap seats at the New York Yankee's Yankee Stadium. They have achieved notoriety for their rowdy songs and intimidation of nearby on-pitch members of the opposing team.

'I never knew much... ...quick with the US cliché'
Two people wrote to me and suggested baseball clichés that meant the exact opposite! Rich Harding suggested it might derive from the baseball-inspired euphemism "to score a home run" meaning to have had sex with someone, whereas Reece Page suggested it might be "to strike out", which euphemistically means to have failed to pick someone up, deriving from the baseball rule of a batsman retiring from the field of play if he fails to strike a valid pitch three times.

'The Major League rules get me so confused'
Major League is the professional baseball game, and it’s rules are known to be of Byzantine complexity.

'Central Park after dark, is safe these days'
Central Park, in Manhattan, is busy during the day, but at night, it was historically known as a bad place to be, with gangs of youths, drug users and prostitution. However, since the late 1980s, considerable efforts have been put into ensuring the park is a safe place to be.

Nothing much more than common sense is required to be safe in Central Park these days, I am informed.

'America. House of Blues'
House of Blues is a well-known concert and restaurant chain owned by the Hard Rock Café owner and actor/comedian Dan Ackroyd.

'America. Shock and awe'
'Shock and Awe' is a post-Cold War tactic best known from its usage in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It is a tactic by which an invading force attempts to overwhelm its enemy by 'overwhelming power, dominant battlefield awareness, dominant manoeuvres, and spectacular displays of force to paralyze an adversary's perception of the battlefield and destroy its will to fight'. (Source: Wikipedia)

Real Tears for Sale

Such a pretty girl [...] you shaved your head, pulled a face'
Although Britney Spears may be the most recent pop star to shave her head, h has stated the inspiration for the song was Irish chanteuse Sinead O’Connor.

'The horror show when you were young'
O'Connor has stated that her childhood was characterised by abuse from her emotionally unstable mother.