Wide Awake At Midnight
The longest song on the album and possibly my favourite as well but it was a right royal pain in the arse to write. There are songs that fly out of the sky and land fully formed in your head and others which take months and months to grind out of the musical sandstone. ‘Wide Awake’ very much landed in the latter category but it was well worth it in the end. The unsung hero of this tune has to be our bass player Paul because however much I love Jim’s brilliant melody lines and Rob’s very intuitive lyrics, Paul’s bass playing just knocks me over every time I hear him perform. He’s a subtle but very effective player and so much of what I love about this track in particular involves his work. He was also the man behind naming of DJ Hugo Stax, the small hours radio lounge lizard that features in the middle of the song.
I remember listening to Dennis Wilson’s wonderful solo album Pacific Ocean Blue around the time of adding the lead and backing vocals so they have a distinctly Beach Boys lilt to them. We also threw a little Pat Metheny into the mix as well just because we could. Personally, I think this song contains a little bit of everything that is best about Tinyfish as a band.
As to if this song is part of The Big Red Spark suite or not; I haven’t decided!
“Write about something ordinary for a change” said Simon. So I wrote about insomnia. Except our narrator gets kidnapped and taken away to the fairies who ‘laugh and are glad and are terrible’. Bit like Tinyfish. But I jest. Is it all hallucination brought on by lack of sleep as he roams the deserted night-time city? Is it purely his own masochistic wish-fulfillment? Who can say? And there's a slight tip of the hat to ELO who used to write stuff about mysterious things happening to mysterious people in mysterious places. Like Birmingham.