Map of the area to the south of Taunton, West Somerset, England. Corfe to Taunton is roughly 2 miles. The 3-word references (which are also found throughout this document in Bold) mark locations identified using the app What3Words. This app divides the planet into 3m square grids and assigns a different set of 3 words to each square. Somewhere on Earth there’s probably a square called Never Get Lost. I wonder where it is? Oh hang on a minute let’s check…. Looks like there isn’t one. But there is a Never Deft Lost. It’s in Southland, New Zealand just to the east of Rae’s Junction, between Roxburgh and Lawrence (there’s also a Never Debt Lost in the heel of Italy).
Don’t believe a word cos words can tell lies and lies are no comfort when there’s tears in your eyes – Phil Lynott
Jeepers I loved that song! 2 minutes 18 seconds of Pure Rock Perfection! With Brian Robertson’s electric guitar wah-wah- wrrrrrippin through its heart, shear-planing across Brian Downey’s drumming like a scythe of graphite, taking my guts along for the ride every time I heard it.
And I heard it a lot. Not just on my radio, TV, or crumby little Japanese-made cassette-deck (bought for one pound fifty from an old couple in the village – arguably the best value for money of any one material thing I have ever ever ever possessed – pre- ghetto-blaster it was just a flat-bed deck with one tinny inboard speaker, no stereo, no headphones, just pure C-90 double- album bliss...). I also heard the song in my head. I think it’s about being the girlfriend of a bad boyfriend or something like that, but none of that registered with me. I just heard the sounds of the words, never stopped to think about their meaning.
Here we are again. The old haunt. My first ever country walk – field stream wood hill, the local vicar leading the way, his faithful flock in a ragged colourful train behind him (the same vicar who nearly strangled me one day for some reason or another – I was a pretty annoying teenager after all...).
This walk became, for me, the beaten track. The weekly escape from the domicile. Cross the road at the end of the village, down Frog (!) Lane, then scrunching-n-g’rrrunching all over Mrs. Sword’s yellow-white flint-gravel (Jetliner Spray Scrum). Yep, that’s right, the right of way went right through her front yard, right past her tennis court, you could reach right out and tap her Range Rover right on its rear bumper if you really wanted to.
At the far corner of her front yard (Excellent Defenders Jeering), a gate and a fern-lined trickle over stones slippery with mud, leading steeply up through the woods of Adcombe Hill. In January 1976 this hill – along with the whole of the South-West of England – was blanketed with the deepest fall of snow since the Great White Winter of ’62 (when, I’m told, I spent my first Christmas and my first birthday in my grandparents’ sandstone bungalow (Loss Progress Treaty), cut off from the outside world for weeks-on-end...).
The snow lay high-drifted by the wind into great walls against the hedges. 76Me ploughed my way through, waist-deep in places, labouring uphill in the hem of the wood. Near the top there is an old hunting lodge (Empty Gent Flamingo). Just a stone single-roomed lofty building with one door, one window, and a fireplace in the room. No furniture. You climb in through the window. Maybe risk getting a fire going don’t want to get caught by the gamekeeper though... That day, in the snow, I approached the lodge – grey and bleak in the thinnest of midday suns – feet and legs numbed to the bone, gloves sodden, happiest of nearly-14-year-old boys with Thin Lizzy whirling round and round in my brain, missing out whole chunks of the second verse to get to that guitar solo, cross-fading the parallel thirds of the coda into the guitar-riff intro to start the whole glorious thing off again...
For years whenever I heard that song I was right back there at that hunting lodge, forging my way uphill through the snow. Actually to be more accurate (Minivans Weeds Bricks) I was just to the south-east of the hunting lodge on a path that I knew had to be there under the snow but couldn’t be seen. That’s precisely where I was whenever I heard Don’t Believe A Word.
Can I hear the song now? Now I’m here on the path to the hunting lodge 43 years later? No. Not really. I can sing it, guitar solo and all, but can I really hear it like I used to? Nope. Am I saddened by that? Not particularly. And listen to this: right here, right where the lodge is supposed to be, there’s just brambles and scrubby veg. No building at all. Not even the ruins of one. I’ve got this location right though I’m sure – because there on the other side of the path is the massive old beech tree that I remember being opposite the lodge. I sit here (Stuck Gymnasium Trek) on mossy seat of fallen trunk, unwrapping tin-foil for cheese sandwich, crunching apple at same time (delicious you should try it).
Don’t believe a word cos words can tell lies....
But no, I’m not really sad today. There are no tears in my eyes today. Old hunting lodges get demolished, old songs fade away, shit happens, fact of life. Anyway I should head for home. Don’t want to be late for lunch. Sausage and mash today I think that’s what Mum said she was going to make... Maybe some peas too... Probably have a nice little nap on the settee after lunch...
UK-born in 1962, Treefrog ‘David’ Sanders is a musician and artist with a peculiar interest in the piano and creative investigations into the world of fluid dynamics. Since 2009, David has exhibited works at venues including the NZ Academy of Arts, Thistle Hall and Ron Barber Gallery. David has also been a member of the Bayview Shelley Bay Arts Collective and the music theatre group, Amalgam. Solo painting shows include Demolition Series (2009), Surface Tension (2013) and Strange Attractors (2017). David lives and works in Wellington, NZ.