The Magpie's Campaign (home recording)

by Nat Johnson

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Sven B. Schreiber It's always a delight to return to and pick something from the archive of a sincere and reliable singer-songwriter like Nat Johnson. There are lots of goodies to be found here - like this witty all-acoustic allegory about national politics.
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This election is depressing the hell out of me. But out of misery often comes music.

I’m fond of the magpies who live in a tree at the bottom of my garden; I’ve watched them make their nest these last three Springs; they move a little bit each year. They’re very territorial though, magpies, and aren’t very friendly when smaller birds come hopping about; the blue tits, the blackbirds, the robins. I put some crusts out the other day and watched as a little blackbird helped himself to a bit, until one of the magpies swooped down and chased him off. The magpie then collected the bread for himself, now and again flying around in the direction in which the blackbird had scarpered, making sure he didn’t come back. Sometimes the magpies seem to be just strutting, really smugly, around the lawn. It looks like they’ve got their hands behind their backs and are going ‘yes yes, this is all mine.’

So I fancied that the birds were putting on a play for me, with the magpies playing the part of the tories (sorry magpies), and the little birds being, well, the majority of us. And every time the magpies flew back to their nest I thought perhaps they’d just returned from doorstepping the local flora and fauna, promising if they get reelected to their tall tree they’ll continue to keep the nasty little ones down; misdirecting the electorate by badmouthing and blaming the poor blackbirds for all the problems whilst making themselves seem harmless and sensible.

“The Magpie’s Campaign” (not to be confused with Newcastle Utd’s season), was written and recorded at home today, 3rd May 2015.


“So I go shaking hands with ferns:
‘Leaves to meet you, I don’t know if you’ve thought about how you’ll vote?

“You’ve seen me around? Well see that tree - yeah that’s me. I’ve moved a few branches but I’ve been here most my life.

“This is your chance now, Flora Fern - let’s hear your concerns.
I’ll tell you mine first.

“You see from my tree I see them all - hungry and small
Come looking for stuff - I chase them off.

“They should learn to live on less
They only need a little nest
They’re vicious too; they’ll peck at you and they’re moving in next door
And bigger birds with clever words - and pretty ferns - deserve more.’

“All the shiny things I keep, keep me warm and help me to sleep
Trust in me, you know right is right
Just like me it’s all black and white.”

Oh there are monsters in our midst
Smiling and pointing, sleight of hand
Pushing our whole heads in the sand


released May 3, 2015


all rights reserved



Nat Johnson Sheffield, UK

“A treat for fans of PJ Harvey and Alela Diane” – Subba Cultcha

Singer-songwriter., ex-Monkey Swallows the Universe / Nat Johnson & the Figureheads.

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