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Songs: Holdalls Is The New Name For Midland Mainline Lost Property

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If you've lost your bag on the
Railway don't be sad
'Cause there's a major innovation
That will increase levels of serenity

For the sake of all of our
Customers we've decided
That we're gonna try rebranding
What you think of as Lost Property

And Holdalls is the new name for Midland Mainline Lost Property

We've got a brand new logo and
Headed letter paper so that
If we write to tell that your handbag's gone forever
You won't mind

And if you ask any staff on the
Platform where to go to
Report lost luggage, well they'll
Probably tell you that it's closed

But it's Holdalls, the new name for Midland Mainline Lost Property

They call it Holdalls - get your bags in at
Holdalls, and Christmas Wrapping at
Holdalls, the new name for Midland Mainline Lost Property

And when we've done with that there's only
One thing left that we can
Mess around a bit with, instead of
Actually doing any work

Yes - the toilets have been sorely
Disregarded in terms of branding
We apologise profusely and hope you understand
That this will be remedied

Like Holdalls, the new name for Midland Mainline Lost Property

We're gonna call them Slash.Com
Did you hear that? Slash.Com
Yes it is really clever, be impressed
That took us nearly half an hour

And if you think that's all be warned
'Cause there's much more - GIRD yourself, see
The gents will be Forward Slash with
Backslash the new name for the Ladies

And Holdalls is the new name for Midland Mainline Lost Property

They call it Holdalls - get your bags in at
Holdalls, and Christmas Wrapping at
Holdalls, the new name for Midland Mainline Lost Property

These privatised urinals'll charge you twenty pee a piss
The staff will still look down on you like you're a piece of shit
The food will be indedible, the prices will still hurt
The tanny's still inaudible, and the ticket machines won't work

But we don't give a shit
You'll still put up with it
There isn't really any choice
You know it and baby so do we
And Holdalls is the new name for Midland Mainline Lost Propery

Published by Wipe Out Music Publishing

Not exactly an ELUSIVE subject matter here - Holdalls IS the new name for Midland Mainline's lost property office. For the sake of LOVE, also of ROCK, I have spent quite a lot of time on Midland Mainline trains, often using them almost weekly, and I must say they're usually Jolly Good. They're clean, they're pretty punctual, and they give you as much "free" coffee as you can carry.

However, when they go wrong they go VERY VERY WRONG INDEED. When I did my mini-tour to try and promote the "Church Hall Of Sound (revisited)" EP a couple of years ago it happened to coincide with the entire rail network collapsing - a train had derailed, I think, so the train companies thought that the best way to prevent this happening again was to cancel all trains going anywhere. THUS I turned up at St Pancras one morning to find only two members of staff on the platform, one of whom FLED when he saw me. The other was fairly chipper, and happily said "Oh no, there's no trains today", and smiled as if that was FINE, and who needed silly old trains anyway eh? Another time the Love Of My Life and I were held on the train for nearly an HOUR just five minutes outside Leicester station, with no explanation whatever. When we finally got going an announcement came over saying "This train was re-timed shortly after leaving London. Unfortunately you were not alerted to this, but it does mean that this train is now arriving early." The HOWLS of anger were echoed by many others when we got to the station, as an awful lot of trains had been "re-timed" that day. Funnily enough, I've never heard them use it since - it was a Sunday evening, so I guess they were trying it out to see what happened.

Anyway, in a similar strain of pointless twattery to the "re-timing" nonsense, Midland Mainline have also rebranded their Lost Property Office as "Holdalls". Let's face it, the name and corporate identity of the place you go to if you've lost your wallet is the one thing that's going to make you choose to use a railway company over any other - you might be thinking of going to Coventry, but the fact that Central Trains don't have a branded Lost Property Office will probably make you choose to go to Sheffield instead, right? (sarcasm)

The aforementioned Reason For My Being and I couldn't believe it when we saw the signs, and talked about it Fairly Often thereafter, and as ever with me this led to it becoming a song. The bit about Christmas Wrapping is completely true, as, mysteriously, the corporate rebranding hasn't caused loads more Forgetful People to use Midland Mainline, and so the staff there have time to raise a few extra pennies by doing people's Christmas Wrapping. The bit about rebranding the toilets isn't true, or at least it isn't yet, but it surely IS the next logical step isn't it?

The song FERMENTED for a while, and was the third song to be completed during the GRATE SONG BUNG DEBUNGING of October 30th 2001. The end bit was taken wholesale from the end of another song, "Hell On Earth (Birmingham New Street)", which had originally been written after Tom and I had had a miserable morning in Birmingham New Street Station being treated like SCUM for wanting to use the trains. Brilliantly, Birmingham New Street Station timetables don't bother to show you timetables on a Sunday, because they "change" so much. I hate Birmingham New Street Station, it is absolutely the bleakest, most soul destroying place in this country, it is an INSULT to humanity. Ugh. I wouldn't mind it so much if you ever just went through it, but the companies who run most of the trains out of there (Virgin and Central) are also the bloody WORST, most unreliable bunchs of feckless gits running train companies in this country, so you always end up spending HOURS waiting around there. ESPECIALLY on a Sunday - maybe they are Fundamentalist C of E?

Although the song was fuelled by RIGHTEOUS ANGER the original demo version I did sounded more like George Formby but when I lay it down before The Mighty Rhythmn Section they took it to a whole other place, with Rob especially doing a BRILLIANT bass line. We'd had a practice of it several months before we came to record it, so although we knew it had had a brilliant bass line nobody could remember how it went. I nipped to the loo, and when I came back was ANNOYED to find Rob and Tim JAMMING some obscure ROCK CLASSIC I'd never heard of (NB they do this quite a lot). "For heaven's sake!" I thought, "We need to get on with it, there's no time for FUN!" I was FLABBERGASTED to find that this wasn't some slice of Alternative Genius that had passed me by but in FACT our new song, and took quite a bit of persuading afterwards that it wasn't just ripped off. The drumming's GRATE too, and that bit at the start when the guitar comes in slightly off the beat, that's genius that is. I MEANT to do it that way.

Similar praise should be paid to Emma for being able to sing the chorus, despite long held FEARS that she wouldn't be able to. Also of note is the fact that Tom plays keyboards on this because his wrist was still knackered - he had been intending to make "Train Noises" but I think it turned out better this way. And finally witness the MIGHT of the Production Skills right at the start of the song, firstly for going along with another one of my GRATE IDEAS, and secondly for making it work - I'd originally written out the station announcements to try and make them all fit together, and we recorded them to try and make them all end at the same time, but it took Kev an hour or so's DILIGENT TWEAKING to make it work, and then he put the Station Announcement Effect on, and a Little Bit Of Magic was created.

You can hear the station announcements from Leicester station when Kev has the window open - he'd originally offered to hang a microphone out of the window and record them for us, but I'm glad we did it IN HOUSE instead. We had FUN.

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