And So the Fish Gave Away the Hook

by Tomas Bird & The Madman's Cabaret

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A brief synopsis of how I approached this project as written documentation is absolutely key for remembering creative endeavours in later life; the game of drink is the chief corruptor of all things memory related.

So, as it has become custom now – well, at least in 2016 anyway – that any period of time longer than a few days spent away from work is utilised within in a recording studio; the 13th – 23rd of August was no different.

The basic premise – which as always, was devised a short while before actually heading in to start tracking – was to write four songs loosely based on Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and The Sea and also scribe and record an original poem to go along with it.

To add to the randomness of this project, I asked the four lads from Fife band, Moonlight Zoo to each pick a page from The Old Man and The Sea, as it would be these pages from where I would draw inspiration from for each song.

From there, I decided that each song would be titled – to some extent anyway – after a fish and that each song would have its own tuning. To challenge myself, I created a brand new tuning – well, brand new to anything I’ve tried before – and gave each tuning the same title. This led to the following:

Albacore – Eb F C Eb Bb F
Crushed Dolphin – E B D C A E
Dentuso – F F F F F F
Dead Mako part 1 – D D D E A D
Dead Mako part 2 – D E A D D D

NB: The reason there are two parts for Dead Mako is that the full song itself is in two parts, thus two tunings…plus, as above, there are at least two ways to get the word DEAD in a tuning and these two instantly worked; Dead Mako part 3 is still up for grabs to anyone reading this.

Finally, to bring the overall piece into context with the title, I decided that each of the songs main hooks would then feature in between each track to provide the ambient vibes for me to recite a stanza of the poem over. For everything to work as I wanted, I bastardised the Pantoum poetry form

Tomas Bird


released April 1, 2017

Tomas Bird - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Mandolin, Bass, Keys and Percussion

Sean Harkins - Drums (tracks 2,3 & 5)

Magnus Collie - Additional Keys, Guitars and Bass

Produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by Magnus Collie at Monosonic

All songs written and co-produced by Tomas Bird



all rights reserved


The Madman's Cabaret Scotland, UK

Vision - A World where everyone inspires selfless good every day.

Mission - To create and Share; To Relate and Care; To be known as a man who made a positive difference.

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Track Name: Crushed Dolphin
Crushed Dolphin

A dozen times, I fill my lungs,
Throughout the wondrous day.
Circling, questioning;
Lost hope comes suddenly

For it’s better to be strong
Than to be fearful
Of peaceful stranger floating tides.

Can shoulders of a crouching man
Bear great weights of confidence?
Heading east, as I think at least
My true work it now begins.

Doesn’t matter if there’s pain
For next comes healing
Of feelings; floating on peaceful tides.
Track Name: Albacore

Feeling the end with a shiver;
My blues turned to gold as I died.
Kindness was called for in the sunlight;
As the reason it left both my eyes.

Shuddering, quivering;
Under the shade of the stern.

Stealing a glimpse of my saviour;
Who’ll live from my life that he took.
Blindness won’t come in the storm bound night;
Well at least I have been some use.

Almost silent, almost still;
Under the shade of the stern.

And now it is over,
This life in the ocean; alone.

All I am thinking is swimming the river back home.
Track Name: Dead Mako
Dead Mako

There’s no hatchet for the door.
Just a lonely set of keys.
Try to lash them to an oar,
On the sea.

I’ll welcome terrors in the night,
For there are lions in my dreams,
I won’t fight life till I die;
On the sea.

What if I’m already dead?
For I cannot feel the pull
Of the ocean in my head;
What should I do?

Try and take it in my stride.
Feel the pressing of my palms.
I won’t fight life till die;
My sea is calm.

I’ve said all my prayers,
And I’ll say them again
On the moro and so forth so on.

There’s no place to buy luck,
But that don’t make men
Turn to good men; that comes within.

So I’ll say all my prayers…
Track Name: Dentuso

Moving steady from the demons.
Travel slowly into nowhere;
There are many things to do.

Oh how I wish I’d fed the hungry,
From my full and wealthy belly;
Instead of breaking backs for good.

And now I cannot look my family,
In the eyes for mine are empty;
Still there are many things to do.

Stop the beads of blood from jumping,
All across the desert ocean;
Give my broken back for good.

Rob Tear


Who the hell do you think you are?
What would Cicero tell you to do?
Where do I fit into all this confusion?
When do you expect this world to end; or has it already ended?
Why do centuries repeat themselves and whip us up into a tortured frenzy?
How? How? How much will you give for this all to be over?

I’ll bruise your time.
I’ll punch your face
With fists made from brine;
Don’t dare dry me up.

For I cleanse the grime.
And I leave no trace,
To this world of swine;
With eyes sewn shut.


The past is a song you often sing.
So softly, you never hear me call:
Till I hang off your lash,
And weave down your cheek,
To lay on your lips;
And salt your tongue.

At last your heart’s awakening.
So slowly, it now begins to crawl:
And in between gasps,
And through breathing creaks,
I say life’s not a ship
That should be sunk.


Instead, foresee what you soon could maybe hold.
The secret is for you to truly believe,
And hold on to that lone thought,
That one day you will call me from too much smiling.

Hold on to that lone thought,
That one day you will call me from too much laughter.

Hold on to that lone thought,
That one day you will call me for you’re in love again.

And you’ll be called baby,
They’ll say my little hummingbird;
Let’s build a home.

From Spider-silk,
With the other,
The other mountain-gems.

Drinking nectar,
In the sunny, sunny afternoon.

Teaching others of your songs filled with joy,
Of your songs filled with joy;
Oh with joy.

And with the setting of the sun,
Your heart rate will slow.
Slow, real slow.
You’ll fall asleep happy.
Slow, real slow.
Slow, real slow.
Real slow.