Monday, March 1, 2010

Wish I could pray

So I'm guilty of being one of those people who turns up to gigs on the strength of one song. The only song I knew of Ralph McTell's was "Streets of London" . It's very famous and has apparently sold the most copies of any sheet music. I think I got the tickets bought for me as a bit of a joke really, I'd played in an orchestra in the same bill as Mr McTell, which also played on local radio. My claim to fame!

So we were the roudy ones at the back of a sedate seated gig, clamouring for the only hit we knew, probably getting "tsked" by the other people there. But this only lasted for a short while and then we were amazing by the abilities of the man, and his warmth and his humility. It was just him and his guitar and piano: no warm-up act and no gimmicks. He told many stories of his amazing life learning the guitar and his songs reflected his life experiences.

One in particular spoke to the heart of me, as it's something which I'd been feeling myself and it seemed to encapsulate the feelings in a much calmer way than they had been brewing inside me. I'm disappointed that I can't find a recording of it anywhere to include, but here are the words:


When I was a child I thought as a child,
We sang hymns at the close of the day,
But now I'm a man I think like a man,
But sometimes I wish I could pray.

Just to thank someone when the danger is past,
When returned to your family and friends,
Or for comfort when you are tired and you're scared,
Or got problems that seem will not end.

Sometimes I wish I could pray,
Sometimes I wish I could pray,
Most of the time I'm doing ok,
But there are sometimes I wish I could pray.

Just to thank someone for the stars and the sun,
For the cry of a baby at birth,
To believe there's a home way up in the sky,
When our journey is done on this earth.

To believe everything has been planned in advance,
By one who keeps watch and is pleased,
Or to lift up your eyes and to thank someone,
When you're humbled and brought to your knees.

Here's one which you might recognise (the theme tune to Billy Connolly's tour of Australia):



  1. beautiful!!! Both songs...wish I could have joined you for the concert!! Love you! Janine XO

  2. Hi Janine. Yes I think you would have liked it, the man has a gentle soul.

  3. what we had in childhood, and what we lose... Me, I wish I could still wish.

  4. File, you just did...

    I know what you mean though, it's hard to find something positive to fill the place where wonderment used to live.

  5. sorry Pinks, forgot to check the 'notify me of comments box'.

    "something positive to fill the place where wonderment used to live." - well, there's the martini and other sundry mood adjusters, and sex and motorbikes, of course, but, you know, somehow... I'm struck by a sudden flash-back memory of my initial fascination with a potato masher (of all things, well, all things!), guess I must have been about 5. These days the $41 million lottery prize I saw here the other day doesn't even pause before flitting straight through my clay head.

    The auld adage "When I grow up I want to be a child" is looking increasingly like pie-in-the-sky ambitionism (unless you count incontinence of course, which I don't).

    Anyhoo, any news on the driving test?

  6. File, you do make me laugh! Mashing potatoes still thrills me, in fact mashed potato is my favourite food! I'm presently experimenting with lime chicken as I ran out of lemons... let's see how that turns out!

    The driving test (hopefully the one and only, but which might be the start of many) is booked for 6th May (but keep that quiet!!)

  7. I also like mash potatoes, but that they "thrill" you reveals an intriguing intensity of experience not hitherto encountered! (There may still be a little "wonderment" left after all :)

    Good luck with the limey chicken, we've got shepherds pie tonight (crucial information for you I'm sure).

    I shan't tell a soul about the test date, but appendages will be crossed.

  8. Just want you to know that I'm thinking of you! Sending you much love, Janine XO