Week 44 – Sleeping With A Memory

First, a disclaimer. If you’ve watched this video (thank you!) and felt it was full of flippant cutaways and more clowning around than usual – we had no choice!

Ideally, we’d have liked to record everything in a single take, but it was past 3am on a Friday and everything seemed to be going wrong.

It took us literally dozens of takes before we finally got something decent – BUT the camera decided to mysteriously stop recording about halfway through that one and only good take! It’s happened before and boy, we need to straighten out that camera…

So, we spent another hour shooting random videos to fill the gap – basically everything you see after 1:40. Plus, the camera kept going out of focus, but at 4am, we were too tired to care!

Forget the good things I said about Windows Movie Maker earlier – it sucks big time. It could barely function when we tried to edit multiple high-definition videos (at around 5am). In the end we gave up and I went home.

Fortunately, Carol’s Macbook has iMovie ’09 installed and it worked so, so much better with the video – which I only got down to editing today. The only thing that I couldn’t add were effects like sepia, soft focus and things like that, but I’m certainly not complaining.

Lessons learnt: Fix the camera (or get a higher-capacity SD card because I suspect it ran out of space at the end), and use iMovie, or a better video editing software from now on.

Okay, back to the song…

“Sleeping With A Memory” is a song about loss.

It’s about someone you are no longer with, but you just can’t stop thinking about her – so much that you keep dreaming about her.

You can’t bear to wake up because you don’t want the dream to end.

Sleeping With A Memory

The hands of night
Cover my eyes
I imagine you are there
Next to me
Can almost feel you
Wide awake but dreaming
Sleeping with a memory

CHORUS
Dreaming
Spend my life dreaming
Stay in bed all day
Just to be with you

Wake up
Don’t want to wake up
Sleeping with a memory
Is all I wanna do

I keep thinking
It was a moment ago
When the sun set
And we parted ways
It’s been so long
My heart still beats your name
Your face is so clear
In my mind

CHORUS
Dreaming
Spend my life dreaming
Stay in bed all day
Just to be with you

Wake up
Don’t want to wake up
Sleeping with a memory
Is all I wanna do

I remember loving
Holding your hand
We shone like stars beside
The dimly lit moon
Those sweet parades
Are now just a haze
Oh, how I wish it was just yesterday

CHORUS
Dreaming
Spend my life dreaming
Stay in bed all day
Just to be with you

Wake up
Don’t want to wake up
Sleeping with a memory
Is all I wanna do

Week 35 – Made With Love

A song can be inspired by pretty much anything. A book, a poem, a life-changing experience, all of them can trigger emotions that can be expressed in music. 

If you’re lucky like Paul McCartney was, a song could even come to you in a dream. That was how the melody for “Yesterday” came about, by the way.

Sometimes, an idea is born just by observing someone. And that’s the story behind this week’s song.

I was at a Starbucks one evening (it’s where I usually go to write), and beside me there was a girl who was busy making something. On the chair next to her was a bag full of coloured and patterned paper. On her table were about a dozen polaroid pictures of her and her boyfriend (I’m assuming).

Opened in front of her was a scrapbook with thick black pages, and on the corner of one page she had stuck little pink hearts.

Then, she cut out a pattern from the decorative paper, and attempted to create a border for one of the pictures, which she planned on pasting next to the hearts.

It looked like she had been at it for some time, and she was putting in a great deal of thought and effort into that scrapbook.

I thought to myself: “Wow, she really must love that guy a lot.”

As I packed up to leave, I caught sight of the words “Made With Love” printed on a paper bag. Apparently that’s the name of a scrapbooking store, probably where she bought all her materials.

Well, that’s how this song was born. I added a few touches, of course. A grandmother’s hand-made scarf, and a husband’s foray into the kitchen to surprise his wife… It’s the effort that counts, right?

I decided to just do an audio recording this week. The guitar and vocals were mixed with Cubase LE4, and the video was done in iMovie. Made with love… Enjoy!

Made With Love
©Music and Lyrics by Marcel Lee Pereira, 31 Dec 2010

She’s 79 and her sight is failing
Her fingers bent, wrinkled and shaking
Still by lamplight she knits
All through the night
Weaving warm and coloured presents
For her grandchild, her joy and pride

A young girl sits at a corner cafe
She’s been there an entire Saturday
Precious pictures of her and her man
One by one, stuck in a book
Filled with pink hearts cut out by hand

CHORUS
It’s for you, she said, I know it’s not much
And I hope it’s enough ’cause
It’s made with love, made with love
With all my love

He’s home early, his arms filled with bags
A cookbook he got right off the rack
He fumbles like a child learning to walk
Fixing a three-course meal for two
Before his wife gets back at six o’clock

CHORUS
It’s for you, he said, I know it’s not much
And I hope it’s enough ’cause
It’s made with love, made with love
With all my love

It’s something I’d do for you
Only for you
With all my love
With all my love

And I hope it’s enough ’cause
It’s made with love, made with love
With all my love

Week 26 – Save Me (A Song of Hope)

Recently, the John Lennon Songwriting Contest announced a special competition in honour of Lennon’s 70th Birthday.

They sent out a call for songwriters to submit songs of peace, love, political activism and free expression, all in the spirit of the man himself. What’s more, the winner will be selected by none other than Yoko Ono!

I just knew I had to take part, despite the US$30 entrance fee.

I spent a bit more time and effort on this song than I usually do. I was trying to think of a message that would be true to the spirit of John Lennon, something that called for change but was not overtly preachy.

I also wanted to record it properly at home (with the limited equipment I have) instead of doing my usual video of me and the guitar. What I did was record the guitar track on Garageband, and add some drum loops and effects. Then I recorded my voice over the track and mixed everything together on Cubase.

I decided to write from the point of view of the people who needed us, and the words “save me” came to my mind. My intent was not for the song to be a forlorn cry for help, but rather a rallying call by the oppressed to you and me, the people who are able and willing to help them.

This song is a cry of hope, and my hope is that it will inspire people out there to do something for the less fortunate among them.

Save Me
Music and Lyrics by Marcel Lee Pereira, 2010

I am the one who sleeps on the streets
I am the one who has nothing to eat
I am the prisoner of my neighbour’s hate
I am here because my skin seals my fate

I am the one who cannot use my eyes
I am the one who’s never learnt to write
I am sent to war for a stranger’s sins
I am down but hope lives within

Chorus
Save me
Save me
Give me something to believe
Hang a star up there for me

You are the one who can heal my heart
Only you can get me back on my feet
You hold my hand, I feel your love
Teaching me how to forget and forgive

Chorus
Save me
Save me
Give me something to believe
Hang a star up there for me

Bridge
Why do I see violence
Why do I shed tears
No I won’t sit in silence
I won’t give in to fears
Stop breathing in possessions
They make you lose direction
Fill your wallets with pictures
Instead of notes
I am a friend and not a foe

Chorus
Save me
Save me
Give me something to believe
Hang a star up there for me