The North Star Song

A painting to accompany the song by Jo Bloor. Full image. (Acrylic on canvas, 2020)

Hear the North Star Song by clicking on the link at the top of the page. To enjoy at its best, listen through headphones.

Read on for more info about the song...


Lyrics by Tom Bloor.
Music by Tom Bloor and David Fitzpatrick.

Vocals, acoustic guitar, bass, keyboard and percussion – Tom
Lead guitars – David
Spoken vocal – Louise

Recorded in a loft in Stockport, Greater Manchester, throughout 2019.

Original art work by Jo Bloor.

More of Jo's art can be seen on Instagram (jobloorart).

Influences include John Cooper Clark, Ian Dury, Ghost Poet, Tom Waits and many others. There are direct references to other songs, such as The Ruts final single from 1980, West One (Shine on me), and I suppose Pink Floyd's Shine on you Crazy Diamond. Certainly the epic length of The North Star Song, together with Dave's glittering guitar solos, show something of a Prog rock sensibility. But there is also, I hope, something of the home-made, head-on quality of a two-minute Punk 45 there somewhere, too. The spoken word elements, provided by Louise, were inspired by two recordings in particular; Kim Deal's voice on The Pixies' mighty Debaser, and an uncredited (I think) female vocal on a song called Poor Napoleon from the LP Blood and Chocolate by Elvis Costello. There's also a famous quotation from Shakespeare's Hamlet, Horatio's farewell to his dying friend, “Goodnight sweet prince, may choirs of angels sing thee to thy rest.” Not sure why we put that in, but it seemed to somehow fit the mood.

The verses describe a train journey from London, Euston to Manchester, Piccadilly, and thence via the old Roman road to south Manchester. Informed in part by our own recent relocation from London to Stockport, the narrator, nevertheless, is not me. Somewhat ambivalent about the move, he is a character inspired by stories - whether true or not, I'm never sure – that tell of well-to-do southern council authorities addressing their homelessness problems by giving rough sleepers free one-way train tickets to Manchester. There's history here too, from the towers of London, past and present, to the Roman auxiliaries of Mamucian, and the warring Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of eighth century Britain. The chorus, which builds and gathers in three accumulative rounds, takes the form of a heart-felt prayer to the gods of the north, personified here as Polaris, the North Star, to take to their bosom yet another waif and stray, carried to the shelter of northern skies by fortune's winds. Oh, Polaris. Lift me up and take me in...

TB. January 2020

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