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Simon's Ghost
http://simonsghost.co.uk

official site of the music of Chris Smillie and friends


Breathe' EP now out!

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Join the band!
Fancy joining Simon's GhostCurrently, we are interested in a guitarist, bassist and female vocalist, as well as some keys.  If you like the music and can join us for rehearsals in Central Scotland, get in touch.

Feel free to share the music of Simon's Ghost in your blog, fanzine etc.  The only provisio is that you clearly credit us with its creation and you provide a link to us (our website, facebook page, bandcamp presence etc.).

Simon's Ghost will be releasing it's music through a series of four-track EPs, each with a cover version of one of my favourite songs. The latest single, Breathe, a slice of spiky indie rock a la Joy Division's 'Transmission' or 'Shine On' by the House of Love, features a lesser-known classic of Morrissey, ably assisted by the genius that is Vini Reilly and Stephen Street.

The first album, A Sea of Stars was a collection of home-recorded songs on tacky guitars and cheap keyboards released in 2009.  Having moved on from those lo-fi days, Simon's Ghost released the electronic single Resonance.


Downloads and Discography
ARC3 Breathe EP (click for lyrics/notes) VIDEO
October 2017: A combination of spiky post-punk with indie sensibilities, complete with understated Morrissey cover. Genuine comments from listeners:

They remind me of Joy Division. interesting and complex. The band reminds me of Deathcab for Cutie...I get kind of an 80's goth vibe...which is cool really good, avant garde sound has a 1980s/90s vibe. Sounds like a combination of the Talking Heads and the Doors...post punk, nearly gothic, Joy Division, but could be Nick Cave...maybe some Devo thrown in...a little menace and perhaps paranoia...

ARC2 Resonance VIDEO
April 2015: Described as a 'neat line in understated electronics', Resonance is Zeina-T's introduction to Simon's Ghost. A lack of any musical training meant a shifting sand of beats and bass as the opening salvo. Soaring strings and intense vocals were then layered on by Chris, bringing together the first new Simon's Ghost release in five years.
ARCH1 A Sea of Stars (click for lyrics/notes) VIDEO: A City Under The Stars
2009: This album of cheap keyboards and distorted guitars was recorded on a low-range 4-track. A little primitive, so some songs will be revisited.

Tracks: 1. My World for the Moon; 2. A Moth Around A Candle;
3. Looking To The Light; 4. Love Of My Life;
5. A City Under The Stars;  6. Broken Picture Frames (instru.);
7. Starstruck; 8. The Ship of Loneliness (instru.)

ARC0 Early Demos INFO
 

 

COMING SOMETIME

 

1980/90s: Recorded on a 4-track, Instinct and Hindsight was literally the first time Chris had ever picked up an electric guitar.

Tracks: 1. Instinct and Hindsight; 2. Almost

These demos will be made exclusively available on this website.

They are a bit rough'n'ready to share, so for fans only.

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About Simon's Ghost
I'm Chris Smillie aka Simon's Ghost.  So, if you're here, I guess you're wondering where I came from, how I got here and why? Well, firstly I'm Canadian-born but Scottish-bred. Simon's Ghost, however is derived from a rather fine track by Manchester's own Crispy Ambulance - a band from the Factory Records stable.

Really Factory have been a big part of my life since hearing Blue Monday by New Order. It didn't take too long to reach Joy Division, then after that, nothing was quite the same since. That led me on to being a dedicated John Peel listener - that guy was just as important as any band.

Another important band to me was The Band of Holy Joy. Manic fairground music that swirled and swooned with incredible lyrics. I must have listened to 'What The Moon Saw' for months on end. Indeed, if you listen to my first album, A Sea of Stars, the dual influence of New Order and The Holy Joy come shining through. Naturally, I listen to a lot more as the Spotify feed demonstrates.

As the page for A Sea of Stars reveals, this album was very lo-fi. Living in a little Highland village didn't leave too much room for collaboration in the pre-internet days, so it's very rough'n'ready. Some more professional versions do exist however, so we'll see what happens to them.

Cold, the next album, is a slicker affair and a far more guitar-orientated album but far from devoid of keyboards. What can I hear in this? Certainly, still the Factory-influence but I'd also say artists, such as The Waterboys, House of Love, Trembling Blue Stars and The Sisters of Mercy to name a few. I can't say I'm influenced by these in any obvious manner. I pick up a guitar or hit a few keys and this is what comes out. There's no plan behind it.

Any other questions, just drop me a line.

Chris

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My Top Tens
Factory Records Artists/Best Songs
  1. New Dawn Fades: Joy Division

  2. All That Love and Maths Can Do: Durutti Column

  3. Lucinda: A Certain Ratio

  4. Dreams Never End: New Order

  5. Not What I Expected: Crispy Ambulance

  1. The Trouble With Girls: Revenge

  2. Brighter: Railway Children

  3. Tart Tart: Happy Mondays

  4. Getting Away With It: Electronic

  5. Moves Like You: Cath Carroll

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Breathe EP     lyrics and notes
Breathe (C. Smillie)

Just where do I become content?
These sins surrounding me.
This distraction, a heart-strung reaction
Open hands and fractured smiles.
Oh, the veils, veils, veils
All the time, surrounding me.
I'll never be hurt this way again,
Ridding myself of niaive content.

It's nothing, my feelings
Inside.
It's something, I've known
Inside

I could almost hear her breathe
You could feel her breath upon you.

And so it had to end
A ghost, a pill, a forgotten friend.
It's just Like Mother said,
Read it once then leave again..

 

Eilean (C. Smillie)

Despite living in the Highlands, I struggled to see the beauty in the landscape. I could rationalise what was attractive but it never quite connected for me. Then, one day, I stood looking over the Moray Firth and the Black Isle (Eilean Dubh in Gaelic) when, suddenly, it all made sense! I could see myself on the face of the world. Life affirming.

I've been called away by my own name
In another's tongue, somehow familiar
One moment of beauty
Looking at land and sea
I lost my identity
Found stillness within me

Unguided by Man but by the distant seas of fate
The love of the Earth in this special place
But there's so much more to the land
when the spirit sees
The whole world within me
 

I Know Very Well How I Got My Name (Morrissey)

Most people seem to want a Morrissey-Marr reunion. Me? I'm hoping for Steven to get back with Vini Reilly, the only true genius in pop music.

A child in a curious phase
A man with sullen ways
Oh, I know very well how I got my name

You think you were my first love
You think you were my first love, but you're wrong
You were the only one
Who's come and gone

When thirteen years old
Who dyed his hair gold ?
Oh, I know very well, I don't need to be told

You think you were my first love
You think you were my first love, but you're wrong
You were the only one
Who's come and gone

You were the only one
Who's come and gone

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A Sea of Stars     lyrics and notes
My World for the Moon (C. Smillie)

This is inspired by a variety of Egyptian sayings. A loved one wants the Moon but that's impossible of course. What can I give? Ask for her hand in marriage? But life isn't all stars'n'weddings. Is she ready?

My love wants the Moon but the Moon is high in the sky
I offered my hand. I still don't think she understands.

My love wants the stars but stars only shine for the night
I would have given her my world but she wasn't that kind of girl

My love felt lost in the world.
Knew nothing of guilt, pain and love.
My love felt lost in this world.

Knew nothing of sex, death and love.

   
 

A Moth Around A Candle (C. Smillie)

A song about the desperateness of love. Y'know how you can read some people. Know everything they think or feel without words? And yet, this person comes along where you can't understand them at all. Everything you do seems wrong as though the rules have changed but no-one's let you know. I just don't understand you!

'How's Life', I asked her, she said 'Why's he such a bastard?'
She says 'It's me that's the fool. I'm the one who stays.
I'm the one who can't walk away.'
'Well, maybe you just need some time on your own.'
'Oh, but I don't think I can cope alone' she says
'It's him I love. It's him and he knows it.
It's him and he bloody knows it.'

But if you want to go, go on walk out that door
My whole life's in a tangle.
I'm like a moth around a candle.
I'll burn alive if I stay, and yet, somehow...
I just can't keep away.

I asked, 'What do you want from everything?'
She responds 'A wedding ring! Or, I don't know...
Chocolates or flowers. Perhaps a phone call.
Just something to let me know I'm in his thoughts at all.'

But if you want to go, go on walk out that door
My whole life's in a tangle.
I'm like a moth around a candle.
I'll burn alive if I stay, and yet, somehow...
I just can't keep away.

Well, what is it that you want me to do?
Are you trying to drive me away? Or maybe insane?
It's just sometimes...sometimes you're so kind.
You're all I could want.

But lying in bed and wishing you dead,
I find myself thinking...
'What's the point of it all?'
 

Love Of My Life (C. Smillie)

Originally begun as a gothic rock song before morphing into a moody electronic number, LomL brings memories of late night loud music mixed with the iciness of the British night-time. Of course, one scratch and nothing's ever the same again. Every embrace is a combination of joy and suspicion. Is it love or just cold?

I don't want to listen to what you've said. Why should I want to wake up in an empty bed?
It's guilt when emotions become so base, nothing seems to come easy these days.
The pressure's too great. Do you tell me lies in your gentle movements and tender sighs?
Slow dancing to the story of my life. Would you understand, oh love of my life?
Slow dancing to the traffic of the night. Would you understand, oh love of my life?

The world relaxes as the nights grow shorter. Nervous smiles and embarrassed laughter.
I understood the words, still I don't know what you've said. Always told the truth. Always misled.
Reminds me of our first meeting. You, holding me, almost fainting.
Slow dancing to the story of my life. Would you understand, oh love of my life?
Slow dancing to the traffic of the night. Would you understand, oh love of my life?

What a question! How can you say 'why don't I just walk away?'
How can I bear to leave that kiss? You don't know how much I'd miss your gentle sighs.
But how many have heard before that slammed-down phone. The slammed-closed door.
Slow dancing to the story of my life. Would you understand, oh love of my life?
Slow dancing to the traffic of the night. Would you understand, oh love of my life?

Slow dancing. Oh love of my life.

 

Looking To The Light (C. Smillie)

Storming out of the house, the tears mix with the torrential rain. These are wretched times. How do you keep going when barriers and criticisms seems to be all around you? Only one thing. One of these days, we'll break free and leave it all behind. That's the rule of living.

One night by the road where you used to walk home
Think someone said 'It's the wettest July on record'
Isn't it always?

God, I hate this town! It really drags me down
And all the cunts that hurt trying to make it worse

But one thing I've learned - keep looking to the light
If there's one thing I've learned in life, it's to keep looking to the light...

 

A City Under The Stars (C. Smillie)

The song spits and sputs like rain on a pavement. It's an idea that being bitter isn't the way to be. Forgive and forget? No. Neither. Move on? I think you have to learn to take a portion of the blame and forgive yourself. Looking at the dark is so tempting. But only maths has a resolution. The rest of us have a train to catch.

Night time in the city.

I hate it when it rains around here.
The damp streets. The depressed atmosphere.
As the Moon comes out.

A small break in the clouds, as the Moon shines through.
A loneliness that reminds me of you.
You never look to the stars, my love. You never stretch out your hand too far.
As the stars come out.

It's not a problem with you, it's a problem with me,
What I remember most, I wasn't always this angry.
This is an ending. This is an ending.
This is a way of me saying goodbye.

As the rain falls down.

 

Broken Picture Frames (C. Smillie)

A ghost of someone long gone pitches up at a Highland gathering. What message from beyond the grave would they impart? The photo-frame beside your bed is broken. That's it?! Well, of course. What else matters?

 

Starstruck (C. Smillie)

There's nothing more beautiful, yet more sad, than stars. To see the universe is all I want.

No chance then...

 

The Ship of Loneliness (C. Smillie)

We've all sailed downstream at one point. Recorded on a one-track 1970s tape recorder in cottage in a Highland village. Well, what would you expect?

 

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