Bird’s Eye View

The Song

In 2007, I was asked to contribute to the Abbey View project by the artist in residence, Nicola Atkinson. This is a song from it. Abbey View is an area in Dunfermline, Scotland which was under redevelopment at the time including the demolition of groups of modern flats which must been built in the 70’s. The flats were in a semi circle around a large piece of greenery.

I couldn’t help but think of how idealistic it must have seemed at the planning stage, a brave new world full of space and fresh air. Of course the flats whilst they looked ok were actually shoddily made with cheap materials, the usual scenario with the whole thing falling to pieces within a few short years. Which is not to say that the residents didn’t take pride and care of their homes, they did. One of the inspirations was a piece written by Carole Lambie, another one of the artists Nicola had engaged, actually entitled Bird’s Eye View which describes conversations with one such resident. Some of the images came from photographs taken from inside one of the derelict flats by Nicola Atkinson.

Bonus Audio

The Players

Stevie guitars keys percussion vocals
Gary Thom bike, gloc

The Writers

Stevie Jackson / Nicola Atkinson / Gary Thom

The Words

What was old, once was new
What’s lying derelict once stood straight, proud and true
Taking a bird’s eye view, life goes on with a song
Well maybe with a lick of paint
You might not think my head is on straight
I would be lying if I told you the truth
What was old once was new, taking a bird’s eye view

What stands ugly and mean awaiting demolition day
Was once the start of somebody’s dream

Now the Sun shines through the broken glass
The bike for the birthday boy, he’s left it now, he’s gone away
And the lilac wall paper once brought home and hung with patience and care
Now there’s nobody there
What was old once was new, taking a bird’s eye view

On the draughtsman’s board this looked like a dream
Modern housing pitched like tents around a village green

What was old once was new, taking a bird’s eye view

Taking a bird’s eye view, I’ll pack my wings and get out of here
There’s nothing else that I can do
What was old once was new, taking a bird’s eye view