The Stories Behind the Songs

Shelf Indulgence Theme

This is a jingle I composed for the absolutely lovely Shelf Indulgence team. They are book enthusiasts who created a podcast on Microbrew Radio to discuss the books they’d read. More info below.

What Wendy of Shelf Indulgence requested was musical segues to introduce regular sections of the podcast, but once I discovered the name of their podcast I was keen to create a jingle as well.

Many years ago, I created an a cappella song on my multi-track cassette machine called ‘Self Indulgence’. It was a song that stayed with me, as it’s a particularly strong ear-worm. With some lyrical updates the song was ready to perform.

See No Bounds Theme

Networking is an integral part of any business, and so it proved to be when I met Jamie and Charlott. I met Jamie on a zoom call during an online networking event. He and Charlott had set up a networking directory called See No Bounds, and being a positive opportunist, he offered me the chance to join for the price of a jingle.

Every week they interviewed and promoted one of their members and wanted to enliven the introduction. After talking with them I knew what mood they wanted to capture and that it needed to align with their 30 second video countdown.

It was a delight to create. I really enjoyed the challenge of providing an uplifting mood that gradually built towards the end to set up the beginning of Jamie and Charlott’s show.

As for See No Bounds, it was an excellent investment and has grown into a valuable, trusted community.

Overwhelm of These Days

When looking for inspiration for a song, ended became swept up in the news, and These Days reflects that sense of overwhelm. It’s important to see the light and hope, and I wish you all a positive day, no matter what is going on.

Winter crisis is coming,
Climate crisis has come.
Leaders keep profiteering,
But Earth’s profits are none.

What are we here for?

Water floods Pakistan,
Russian tanks flood Ukraine,
China threatens Taiwan,
Europe’s desperate for rain.

How long are we here for?

I know you don’t think it’s right,
I know, cause I feel the same.
Don’t know when the ends in sight,
But I hope that we’ll remain.

It may be a chink of light,
But I’ll sail there anyway.
If one day, they ask me ‘why’?
I don’t want to be to blame…

For these days.
They deserve much better,
Then these days.
We must help each other,
Through these days.

Photos used during the verse are from BBC and CNN websites. The two photos of hope in the chorus are by Marc-Olivier Jodoin and Nick Fewings on Unsplash.

Community Shop

I had just started creating cover songs for my Networking groups when Elaine, my wife, pointed me in the direction of a Facebook post from local shop, Cousin Normans. This shop is special to us because of the community spirit the owners have constantly shown. During Covid lockdowns, they ran online raffles and started delivering cooked meals to the doors of customers. They also have refills for laundry and washing up liquids as well as running clothes swapping events to promote re-use, especially for school uniforms. 

In this case, Cina was just making a fun comment about customers referring to the shop as “Norms”. 

The song itself is a slice of eighties electro-pop cheese. It’s catchy and allows the lead singer to reach her target audience, teenage boys. I tailored the lyrics to fit the many virtues of the shop. Rather than a call to action to have a good with boys, this was a call to shop at Cousin Normans. Happily, ‘Norms’ has many virtues, including excellent gifts and very tasty coffee!

The timing was perfect. I was looking for activities and Cina put out a comment about a theme tune, to Sanita’s ‘Boys, Boys, Boys’. Something I’m learning is that you’ve got to be open to fulfilling someone else’s wish, and this one was in my gift to do. Cina really enjoyed the song, and it gave me a bit of publicity as well. Plus, Cina gave me a free latte when I was next in the shop!!

To bring more of a party sound to the mix, I persuaded my friend Miranda, a singer and long-time collaborator, to sing backing vocals on this project. With her lovely, bright sound the song has a fuller tone and is truer to the original. The best compliment I had was Cina telling me that after she promoted the song, a customer shouted across the street “life is greener, with Mike and Cina!”. That made me so pleased!!


I Wrote a song in tribute to #FoxOfTheDay, which is a hashtag used by many people on Twitter and championed by Wildlife presenter and conservationist, Chris Packham. It has been a brilliant, positive way of reminding everyone just how wonderful foxes can be, and cheering up my newsfeed no end!

As usual, the lyrics came first. After I had written the first couple of lines to give the song context, the mellow jazz style felt very natural. The rhymes are playful and a casual musical style complements it. The final twist in the last verse is that Chris Packham actually wrote “I could think of comfier spots, but then again I’m not a fox”. A fun natural rhyme such as this had to be used!

All Is Forgiven

Twitter is an enjoyable Social Media tool because I tend to fill it with joyous tweets. I find it balances out the news stories and political updates. Aside from the pictures of artwork and cute videos of animals, the most inspiring tweets I get are from writers such as Gordana Biernat. Their wisdom and positivity shine off the screen.

As I was thinking of what to create music for, I read Gordana’s latest tweet about grief and felt compelled to adapt it to music. The quote explains how we can learn to let go of unexpressed emotions once it is too late to tell someone how much we love them. It’s both both a sad topic and a beautiful one.

For the music, I let the words guide me, the chords and melody finding the rhythm of the verse. It was an enjoyable, very visual experience, as Gordana’s words are so positive and spiritual. Finally, I added instruments, playing with percussion, piano and bass. This version has a latin grove that picks up in the middle section, but it could just as easily be left with just a piano. As for harmonies, it didn’t feel right to add any. I just let the words speak for themselves.

Song for Julia

I created this song as a gift for a client’s wife. He wanted it in time for her birthday, but the lyrics and the song choice (John Legend’s All of Me) meant that it turned into a very romantic piece. Serendipitously, her birthday is the same week as Valentine’s Day!

I wasn’t given a great deal of information on Julia at first as my client was only briefly available and wrote in direct messaging on social media. This meant that every bit of information was so valuable. I knew where they where they met, that Julia was a big fan of The Notebook movie, and that exciting events were happening in her daughter’s life. So that’s what I chose to customize. Oh, and that she sometimes affectionately says “love you to the moon and back”, so I had to use that!

All of Me is a wonderfully accessible song. Even though John Legend wrote the original with his wife in mind, the lyrics speak the language of love and transcend its original context to apply to anyone who feels love for their partner.

Wellerman Fantasy

If one song encapsulates the 2020-2021 blur, it has to be the Wellerman. This folk song was performed in 2021 by Nathan Evans and took the world by storm.

At the same time, I was finding solitude from the world at large with YouTube videos and podcasts. I enjoy passive listening, so chatter about football, music or board gaming is very peaceful to me. The other big topic though that keeps my interest is roleplaying, especially Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). I really enjoyed spending time with two groups in particular; the cast of Critical Role and the cast of The Guild. The latter had reunited during lockdown to play D&D online with a guest Dungeon Master.  

While watching an episode of The Guild Plays D&D with guest DM @ThatBronzeGirl, I found myself rhyming lines of the plot to the Wellerman. I enjoy summarizing and this seemed a fun challenge. The result is ‘Baldev’s Son’.

The Repair Shop

This is a tribute to the BBC’s inspirational program, The Repair Shop and its many talented craft experts that mend precious personal artefacts for people.

During the  COVID lockdowns, we happily consumed many, many episodes of The Repair Shop. We delighted in the stories of the objects owners, and how the crafts people always found a way to bring their objects back to their former glory.

Because so many people provide their skill and talents to the show, I created a series of mini-songs dedicated to each of the regular repair shop specialists. Coming up with the style and lyrics for each was a fun challenge.

My Partner, who loves the show just as much as I do, wrote a blog article about life lessons that we can take from the show.


Lionesses Bring It Home

I created this song to celebrate England Women Football Team’s triumph in the Euro 2022 tournament. It is the first time England has the won a major footballing tournament since 1966 and the first ever time for the women’s game. This is my tribute to the Lionesses’ incredible achievement.

I created the music and lyrics.
I do not own the copyright to the photos used in the video.

Verse 1:
While we were frying in July
In prowls the Lionesses
Fighting with the best and brightest
European sides

The stage is set, the games begin
Say, can you hear the people sing?!
The stadium’s roaring
With a Continental din.

Then why, can this Lioness pride fly?
What takes their game above ‘just try’?
Who lifts their eyes towards the sky?


In Wiegman we trust
In Wiegman we’re treated
Cause under Wiegman we’re undefeated Earps is/Mary’s a must
And Mead’s golden-booted
England, it’s coming home.

Verse 2:
In Game 1, Austria, they had a go
But the England team said, no!
Mead scored the only goal
And Stanway ran the show

In Game 2, Norway couldn’t close the door
The England forwards wanted more
Beth Mead bagged a hattrick
Eight nil the final score

In Game 3, Northern Ireland, tried to survive
But Russo took her chances
Another win as England scored five


Verse 3:
In the Quarters, Spanish passing was sublime
One goal down, but Bright denied them any more
And Stanway’s screamer won the tie

In the Semis, Sweden kept it at stalemate
Until Mead turned on a plate
Kirby was top class
And Russo’s flick so great

Got Bronze, and now they’re for the gold
Taking on the best of foes
Will they play or will they fold?!


Verse 4:
In the Final, Germany were without Popp But that didn’t stop their team
From slowing England in their tracks.

Walsh was the architect supreme
When Toone’s super-scoop succeeded
Kelly scored the winner
Completing the dream!

And now, that the tournament is won
What next for Wiegman’s girls?
Well, hold on,
Cause they’re taking on the world!