Wandering into the Twilight
By crispyw, Jul 23 2018 05:07PM
Dan writes: The story behind the genuinely three way effort from Rob, Chris W and I was inspired by the brilliant Ted McDermott, who hit the news as the “Alzheimer’s carpool Karaoke star” singing “Quando, Quando, Quando” and “You Make me feel so young” despite being in the throes of dementia. I was moved and driven to write the verses and chorus lyrics to this song, wondering what my dementia carpool karaoke might be.
I came up with a Wombles theme. “Wombling into the twilight”. Rob and Chris took it away and came back with, respectively, a lovely 70s Glam rock tune and a heartbreaking middle 8 which threw a new darker light on the rest of the lyrics.
We recorded it and persuaded the legendary Cardiff songsmith Chris Ridgeway to sing it, his voice containing as it does just the correct amount of stubborn spikiness and vulnerable empathy to carry the song off.
We liked it, although I was aware that the ground we were on was somewhat dodgy taste wise. Because of this I sent it to Wombles Songwriter Mike Batt, seeking his approval. Sadly he, very politely, hated the flippancy of the song and was appalled by any association with his own Wombling work!
I was saddened and surprised at first but very quickly realised that he was right about the Wombles aspect, Wombles are fun children’s characters, it is not brave and challenging to mix them up with a serious song about dementia, just jarring and in poor taste.
Luckily a solution was at hand, just make the lyrics vaguer and sadder and whilst still referring to the glam music of my childhood and clear out all the rubbish about Wombles!
I Changed the central line to the much more effective “Wandering” into the twilight which fitted with Chris’s middle 8. We all like the Re-recorded lyrics better and are thankful that Mike was polite and understanding.
Dementia is a terrible curse for the elderly but I still don’t think it’s either off limits as a subject for a song or that you can’t find humour amongst the darkness, it was my intention to respect those who suffer from it. But if you are going that way you have to know why. I think “Wandering into the Twilight” has a sombre empathy that “Wombling into Twilight” doesn’t and I’m glad that I didn’t make an enemy of a man who so entertained me in my own childhood. I hope you agree we have dealt with it tastefully.
Rob writes : Dan had written the words for this for some time but he didn’t have a tune, so one quiet afternoon between Christmas 2016 and New Year 2017 I sat down with the words and a small sherry and worked out most of the melody on this track. Remember-member-member that at this point the song was tentatively called Wombling into the Twilight so that gave me a clue to what style might work but as I had been a Wombles fan when young, I regarded the tune here as an affectionate tribute. For the record, I did write a middle 8 but it was terrible and thank Great Uncle Bulgaria that Chris came up with this better one!
Chris writes: the middle 8 is a counterpoint mood-wise to the rest of the song, and the line about ‘standing frozen in the doorway’ came from direct experience of a family member who has been diagnosed with dementia. People with Alzheimers sometimes have difficulty crossing thresholds – different textures or types of flooring can cause momentary confusion – very like when you (well, me at least…) walk into a room and immediately forget why you’re there. So that added a bit of medical accuracy as well as underlined the poignancy that’s the intent of the song. I was sad to lose the wombles and never agreed it was in poor taste myself, but I respect Mike Batts opinion and can see how it could be misinterpreted considering it’s a big upbeat glam rocker. I do think now that the change has resulted in a better song though.
Should the song have any income in its own right outside the album we would all like to donate this to a dementia charity.