This Sporting Life

by This Sporting Life

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    Includes two bonus tracks: Autumnal Adventure and Cold Snap.

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about

This Sporting Life began out of a dream to make ambitious, dramatic music; of great swooping productions and to touch upon something out of the ordinary whilst living ordinary lives.

It became clear early on that we would have to do this independently on a next-to-nothing budget. We recorded in our homes and in rehearsal studios at various locations in London, bit-by-bit, piece-by-piece, using cheap home recording equipment, laptops, plug-ins and quantities of stress, lapsed deadlines, tardiness, overworking, bad luck and arguments.

Now, after a year of writing and five years of recording we finally release our debut album.

The songs are set over the grand imperial backdrop of strings and theremins, vintage synths and sleigh bells, bass and drums, multitrack vocals, even a Trautonium. They vividly touch upon 1930s Brighton, the Beeching Report, Amy Johnson, staring at the stars, tattered copies of Penguin Classics (orange, green AND blue), the mournful branchlines, the joy of the city and of the country, the tedious netherworld of the town, Edmund Hillary, taking the sad road to the sea and mixing cocktails for your friends, all in under 60 minutes.

The album includes all of our former releases as well as three previously unreleased tracks. We have also remixed and remastered Sadness of the Peaks, Time On My Hands and Romance of the Skies.

credits

released October 21, 2013

Produced by Andrew Small
All songs composed and arranged by This Sporting Life.

Recorded and mixed between Winter 2008 and Summer 2013 in several London flats and Z1 Rehearsal Studios, Camden.

This Sporting Life are:

Andrew Cooper : the bass guitar - keyboards - shaker on 'Peaks' - acoustic guitar on 'Bow' - piano on 'Romance' and 'Affairs'

Matthew Hopkinson : the voice - other voices - sleigh bells on 'Peaks' - synthetic organ on 'Hangover' - acoustic guitar on 'Affairs' - guitar solo on 'Hare' - keyboards on 'Dissolution'

Andrew Small : other voices - piano - keyboards - electric guitars - the bass guitar - drum and sequencer programming - synthetic orchestrations - acoustic guitar and percussion on 'Dissolution'

Mastered at Abbey Road
Paintings by Matthew Hopkinson
Sleeve Design by Jenny Doggett

Copyright © 2013 This Sporting Life – Andrew Cooper, Matthew Hopkinson, Andrew Small. All rights reserved.

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Track Name: We Have Everything to Gain by Leaving
We’re afraid of becoming them
We’re afraid of being like them
Afraid of living their lives
We have hopes that we’ll be something more
With the fear that we’ll be nothing more

We’ll leave this place tonight
I don’t know where we’ll go but it has to be better
We can leave this place tonight
Or live out our lives... in terror

As the train speeds away
Beyond the limits of the town
We see the houses tumble
And turn into rolling hills
Then we look in each other’s eyes
And see a nervous smile arise
'Cause I'm here with you and you're here with me

Leaving the town in search of the city
Leaving the town in search of the countryside

We arrive in the city
See the scale and the splendour
The crush of the people
The rush of a new life
Trains towards new lands
Of Britain
Of Europe
Can we live among them?
Yes, we are not dead
We are not dead

Now life is so much better
We can forgive all the pain of our lost years
And as the sun is beating down
Reflected in the river
There's something to be said for
The hills and the fields

There's no escaping the things that we've seen
But we'll fight for this life and we'll live 'til we're dead
Track Name: Romance of the Skies
I wasn’t paying attention
To the droning of your intentions
I was a thousand feet above Lands End
I was battling with the crosswinds

I’m in the rattling and the tension
Between gravity and the engines
Flying even closer to heaven
It’s beyond all my comprehension

All the boys are sailing and they’re never seen again
They’ve gone diving for the sirens in the waves
All the boys are sailing and they’re never seen again
You can keep the silver pennies for my eyes

Now I see the Thames, its glistening
The sky is slowly falling in

Another continent drifts below me
A compass points to my destination
I never thought that I’d feel this lonely
I never thought I’d feel so alive

Amy of the Skies

Now I see the Thames it’s glistening
The sky is falling down
Track Name: Belle of the Ball
How much time will I waste on you tonight?
Waiting at the side of the room
With all the other fools
Hoping once you’ll meet my eye
Like that time before
When the band struck up
You and I danced across the floor

I’ve pictured the moment so many times
How you meet my eye
Oh, the restless nights I’ve spent
Straining in the sheets

We’re waltzing
My hand slips down your waist
You don’t even notice
You just love the dance

When we’re spinning across the floor
I don’t know which way is down anymore
And I’m consumed by the belle of the ball

I’ve been standing under streetlamps for hours outside your house
I don’t think you’re home
I don’t presume to know
The yellow fog sprawls about the town
And I wander for hours
I keep practicing my steps

Don’t want to go home to my small room
Covered with pictures
With pictures of you

But when we’re spinning across the floor
I don’t know which way is down anymore
And I’m consumed by the belle of the ball
Track Name: Sadness of the Peaks
Hand over hand we climb
Into the sky above,
No one to welcome us, no cheering crowds to see;
Just the clinking of bells, the sound of our breath,
Laboured and forlorn we watch the sun setting

Watching TV; a fat man with asthma has climbed the same peaks as me
Seemed so easy
No one knew what we knew; now there’s nothing to cling to

Hand over hand we climb
Nothing up there, just an inhuman sky and a chill in the atmosphere

Now everyone knows there’s no reason to rise from your chair
or go looking for the sadness of the peaks
There’s nothing up there but the clean and frozen air
On the dreary streets, it’s hard to get around now that I’m older
Track Name: Time on my Hands
Skyline over the rooftops is the colour of milk
The calm of an early evening
Watching planes slide through the sky
You wear a floaty dress
I’m lounging in my workshirt
We can sit like this for hours before the cold drives us away

One of us is going to have to leave
When nature runs its course,
I’ll leave you with a houseful of car boot bargains

Let’s not talk about it now
Let’s not talk now

All the things that we do
With all this time on our hands
Keep busy mixing cocktails for our friends
And waiting for the spring to rush through us again
So we can dance like we’re animals at the disco
And you can write your novel while I comb my hair
And I can sings my songs into the mirror
Or else we spend our evening staring blackly into the fire

Maybe it would make it easier to part right now
We’ve got our lives ahead of us
Lots of time to get used to being alone

With all the things that I’ll do
With all this time on my hands
Keep busy mixing cocktails for my friends
And waiting for the spring to rush through us again
So I can dance like I’m an animal at the disco
And you can write your novel while I comb my hair
And I can sings my songs into the mirror
Or else we spend our lonely evenings staring into the fire
Track Name: A Night at the Observatory
We said our goodbyes, to all the things that used to trouble us
And finally I got to feeling good about that,
But now they start to creep back in again.
Right here
Right now
You keep your eyes down, oh but we know
These things will worm back to our lives
So on we struggle
Won't turn away
And I'm not sure we'll run this time.

The idle day passed away
They lay on beaches bleached by the sun
On this hilltop,
Through the still night
Our eyes grow red and sore
A night at the Observatory

Into the infinite we fly
Beyond the moon and back in time
Back to the place we left behind
On all those nights with the television
Into the infinite we fly
Beyond the moon and back in time
Back to the place we left behind
Back to the place we left behind

Lost on the high street, drifted so far from our old lives
We shuffled 'round with our eyes tied to the ground
And now we watch another library close
It's a win
For the marketplace
When we were young, we dreamed of something beautiful,
It faded with routine
So on we struggle
Out on our own
But we can't run away this time

As the last rays of light
Take their leave of the town
While they sit there
Watch the wrong stars
Our eyes grow red and sore
When there's a life in the observatory!

The nights all alone
The nights with the mirror
The beauty before you
The knowledge of sinners
Away from the darkness
Of poor received wisdom
Away from the nights
When time just drags on and on...
Track Name: Men of Affairs
I sent you letters by facsimile
It was cheaper
Paid for our luncheons with the petty cash
So much neater
I lie to the wife like she’s my client
Dazzle with promises
Let’s feign some work and then it’s play

All the times that we spent in Paris – Champs Elysees
All the grand imperial lines
Reflect my love for you
Confound my trust in you
We will last as long as the bubbles rising up inside our glasses of champagne

I am a master of the universe
These things I understand
I’ll sell you my love like a treasured brand
I’ll have your loyalty
Just leave your details with my secretary
What could be simpler?
We’ll leave our problems in hotels

All the times that we spent in Berlin - Potsdamer Platz
All the glass and the polished lines
Reflect my love for you
Confound my trust in you
We will last as long as the bubbles rising up inside our glasses of champagne

We sit above them in the royal box
How it suits us
The music bores us but the wine tastes nice.
You’ve never dressed finer
No one suspects us but word gets around
Don’t get them started
A minor issue I must solve
Devolve
Convenient resolve

All the times that we spent in New York – Madison Square
All the glass and the polished lines
Reflect my love for you
Confound my trust in you.
We will last as long as the bubbles rising up inside our glasses of champagne

Now the money has been spent,
The way that money’s always spent.
The end of the affair
The end of us
Track Name: March Hare
You’ve got your boxing gloves on
And your fighting shirt
If no one comes to take you away
Someone’s going to get hurt

You see the moon is lit up
Like a silver plate
And you see faces everywhere

You’re ready to fight them
If they get too close
And baby that’s the way these things occur

It’s just the thrill of the springtime
It’s just the pull of the moon
Another drop in the ocean
Another flower that’s in bloom

We all know that seasons will change
And this burning madness will fade
But oh, the sun it shined down once
Between the rains
On your parade

Now you’re up on your hind legs
And you're boxing clever!
We love it when you show some sport

The origin of the species
It gets us every time
Cause we’re excited by the sight of drawing blood

It’s just the thrill of the springtime
It’s just the pull of the moon
Another drop in the ocean
Another flower that’s in bloom

And Newton's apple will fall...

We all know that seasons will change
And this burning madness will fade
But oh, the sun it shined down once
Between the rains
On your parade
Track Name: Hangover Square
Drinking to the depths of despair
Where was I?
Adrift in Brighton
Nothing beats the sting of the waves
Nothing beats the sting of the waves

Do you think we could go somewhere remote?
I don’t like it here, I’m frightened
I I don’t want to drink anymore
Why raise a glass to abject failure

Hangover Square is where you’ll find me waiting for you

Why must you be so inhumane
All I’ve ever done was for you
In a cottage, together in the country
And nothing but the sun in our eyes

Why do you keep bringing me here
I don’t like these types you cling to
Your friends look through me drinking my gin
Oh what’s the point? So raise your glass to

Hangover Square is where you’ll find me waiting for you

Walking to Hove
The feel of death in my bones
Needing some warmth
The rain is cold and cruel
Her laughter brings on the tears
Abused for too many years
How could this have happened
When my intentions are pure

I climb the stairs broken and cold
To the room on one would visit
I hatch a plan to make it all right
That wretch and friends will pay their debts in
Hangover Square
Track Name: Sad Road to the Sea
We took the side road to the sea
You didn’t speak and hardly breathed
While I listened to the sounds of the road you made patterns in the steam
We lit a fire by a fisherman’s boat
And sat down to watch the sea
I still hoped for a change in the weather but you wanted just to leave
Well, that’s you and me.

Stay for tea tonight,
We won’t be back here again some other time.
And you can say just what you like
And then we’ll float away upon the tide
Why don’t we stay at home tonight
And then we won’t be alone this final time
After all we’re not machines eating coals and breathing steam

Stopped at a café, read a dirty magazine,
These things once learned will soon enough become routine
We couldn’t fade away into the sand and salty sea
Lost little robots from the city
Well that’s you and me

But stay for me tonight,
We won’t be back here again some other time.
And you can say just what you like
And then we’ll float away upon the tide
Why don’t we stay at home tonight
And then we won’t be alone this final time
After all we’re not machines eating coals and breathing steam
Track Name: His Last Bow
Vain little man, hours at the lathe,
In the shed at the foot of the drive,
Weeping to the sound of the gas,
Yet again.

What is in his mind, thinking of the times,
After school, so long ago,
When nothing seemed to fit
Behind the bikeshed – no one came,
He went

On the mournful branchline, Bradshaw in hand,
No one saw his last.

Working in vain on a new idea,
Whose zeal only houseclearers will see,
Rummaging for goods,

On the mournful branchline, Bradshaw in hand,
No one saw his last bow.

A shamefaced meal in a frowsy room;
Irish stew.
Standing for hours behind the bikesheds,
The one thing he remembers at this time.

On the mournful branchline, Bradshaw in hand,
No on sees him, no one understands.
On the mournful branchline, Bradshaw in hand,
No one saw his last bow.
Track Name: Dissolution of the Railways
Behind us the branch lines are closing fast,
They leave scars across the country where they wade knee-deep in grass
The roads were crammed with tired men who used up all their chances
We stole aboard the carriage to indulge in this romance.

Through the glass things are peaceful;
nothing seems as hard, but when we’re home at last
We will sleep in fits and starts and wake up tired
It’s always better when you’re leaving
Always smiling back at something
Objects in the mirror getting smaller and more rosy tinted.

Cranes rise through the dusty sky
Like hogweed on the riverside -
But you and I are happy as the train flies through the summertime;
Past oceans, trees and factories, we're basking in the peoples' glee
On daytrips to the reservoir we're lunching in the buffet car.

The endless lines of city blocks;
The ticking of the mournful clock -
They fade into the pictures of our sleep
And they’re lost under the silence of our dreams.

As the train rolls past another town
of redbrick, ashes, tears and frowns
you and I we sleep, while young girls till furrows in the ground -
They're dreaming of a place they'll never see,
Like mudlarks scrounging on the estuary.

All those foolish dreams,
Well we don’t really believe in them
But we hear the hiss of steam,
And the shadows on the platform wait for us

Birds of Oxford,
Birds of Gloucestershire.

And all those things we left behind
Falling in love and wasting time
We leave shadows on the branch lines
That won't know this life again.