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Monday, 1 November 2010

orange room (completed)

you showered in the orange room as I lay there
and unselfconsciously naked, towelled your hair
over your shoulder, head to one side
like a woman does

lost in your reverie, I’d slipped your mind
we were just two people passing through one space and time
a random collision, no reason, no rhyme
like a ricochet

the world spins another day and on we go
all intimacy passes, this much we know
but a lingering image, lithe, slender and bare
abides with me

you showered in the orange room…

Monday, 25 October 2010

resolute love: review

someone has had kind words to say about the new cd;

'Only the finest artisans are dubbed ‘Master’ by their peers. Those that comprehend the expertise, knowledge and understanding needed to ply their chosen trade. Those that take their art to the highest level. The designation also recognises the dedication, time and effort required to learn the craft; that and the subconscious ‘feel’ that knows how to use the skill to apply the knowledge gained. That is why Simon Hopper richly deserves the epithet ‘Master English songwriter’ – and his latest album with Andee Price is a prime example of the master at work.'

read the rest of the review;

it's available to buy direct;

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

songwriting technique: racism and violence. what do you think?

dear person who is interested in what i'm doing,

here's the thing; i want to write a song about an experience i had. i was in a bar and a couple of acquaintances began swapping racist jokes.

i believe that the atmosphere in which racist acts can occur is created, at least in part, by such casual racist exchanges - whether it be an incidence of street-violence or something on a greater scale all the way up to the holocaust - and the use of language to mark a group as 'other/inferior' is despicable because of this. the fact that there are those who don't understand this doesn't make it less so.

i want to link my experience to this thought and express it in terms of a song.

here lies the problem that i'd like your view on. and one that you might, in any case, like to muse on. if an artist presents their audience with something too awful to behold, the audience will turn away and the artist's intention is thwarted. if the artist wants to make the audience think on a difficult matter, they must present it in such a way that the audience can bear it in order that they can then think on it. if, on another hand, the statement is too obvious, the audience is not caused to see more than they knew in the first place and the song is pointless anyway.

in the first draft of my song 'joke' i wrote the following (for the rest of the text, see elsewhere in this blog);

fly a plane into a tower
rape as a tool of war
exterminate by gassing
locked in behind an air-tight door

the question; is this too full-on? is this too harsh on the listener's imagination? is it, indeed, too much of a statement of the obvious, too ham-fisted in its stating of its message?

you see, i got into a discussion with a friend of mine - a songwriter himself whose abilities i respect, who thought it was too stark, too obvious and too much strayed from the personal.

what do you think?

leave a comment here or email me on


Wednesday, 13 October 2010

join me at the festival of two cities - nov/rochester

i'll be playing at the good intent pub in rochester as part of a day-long folk event in the good intent pub - well-known for its commitment to music. i'll be on at 3.00. it's free. trio or duo tbc. come along.

Saturday 20th – FESTIVAL OF TWO CITIES – 3.00 p.m.
(All day event 11.00 - 11.00)
Duo or Trio tbc
The Good Intent, John Street, Rochester, Kent, ME1 1YL
Entry: Free
The Good Intent

Saturday, 9 October 2010

House Concert

Fancy a private concert in your home?

House concerts are one way I get in front of audiences. They're quite special. I've done them in England, Sweden and Germany - and they always seem to work. The atmosphere is special and intimate and the after-party is usually fun, too! Here's a monatge of one we did in 2011.

I'm happy to play for a collection, but some hosts/esses have preferred to make a charge. I'm easy either way.

Food and Drink
I wouldn’t ask hosts to provide refreshments (though they often do). A b.y.o. approach on the part of audience seems to work

The bulk of the audience usually comes from the friends of the host/ess, but we sometimes have followers of the music turn up.

Concert Atmosphere
For the gig to work, the audience has to see the event as a dedicated musical occasion - a concert - not a party with music. But the after-party can be great, too.

We ususally have a win-win situation. I get to play in a friendly environment to a friendly audience. The host/ess gets to have some real music played by real musicians in their own home. It's usually a great evening.

Friday, 8 October 2010


sitting in a bar with two friends

when the first one turns to me

the second laughs as he tells a joke

which paints a black man as a thief

lying in bed in the half-light

world service by my side

quietly tells of steve biko

and the tale of how that black man died

a word becomes a notion

and a notion is a seed

which may grow to an attitude

and give rise to a deed;

fly a plane into a tower

rape as a tool of war

exterminate by gassing

locked in behind an air-tight door

sitting in a bar with two friends

when the first one turns to me

the second laughs as he tells a joke

which paints a black man as a thief

Thursday, 7 October 2010

a private folk music concert in your home?

new cd is out and available, musos thoughts turn elsewhere... must book gigs...
why not arrange a quality folk music event in your own home? check out the website with the house concert blurb;

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

new cd 'resolute love' available online

dear all,

the new cd is ready for order. eight songs recorded 'as live' by the simon/andee duo - two instruments, two voices, one song (at a time). 'up' and (mostly) optimistic. as close to party music as i get. eight tracks inc p&p for £8.50. see below for track listing. go to to order a copy online.

here's what it says on the website (so it must be true); 

Before I went on the duo tour of the north England and Scotland in the summer of 2010 with Andee, it was her idea that we should get in the studio after the tour to record 'as live' the unrecorded* songs that we played on the tour; no overdubs, no studio trickery - and just the duo, two voices and two instruments. Resolute Love was the result. Named after the piece that has become our no.1 encore song, it is a collection of mainly upbeat (at least musically) songs - an antidote to The Beautiful and Cruel, you might say. Great credit should be awarded to Andee for being a force behind the recording and for her playing and input into arrangements. No musical contribution here from Trowbridge, but, as ever, his canny design work is displayed on the sleeve. This is the first album I've recorded without guitar; mandolin and mandola only. (All these songs can be heard on my myspace site - see navigation bar above.)

(*Two in the Margins was an exception to the 'previously unrecorded' criteria. This version, featuring Andee's double-bass bowing, was so distinct from the Malmo-recorded version [sans Andee] that I felt we should commit it to disc.)

TRACKS: Resolute Love : Solid Ground : What You Do : Oh Sally Ann : Everything : The Cherry Blossom Song : Black Birds : Two in the Margins
cd cover and lyrics are available elsewhere on this blog. all the songs can be heard on

buy one and tell me what you think. (you're not allowed to do the latter if you haven't done the former...)

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

borrow one, borrow all

Miguel moved up from Mexico, Paco from Peru
Tex lived on a trailer park, his granddaddy did, too
Like all good Americans, they longed for their own home
But when you earn ten bucks an hour you can’t afford the loan
But where there's profit to be made, the money men come round
Don’t bother with the small print, though; it’s written to confound
So borrow one and borrow all, lie to them if you must
But when the shit comes tumbling down you won’t see them for dust

Some of them took ninja loans and some got one percent
Which lasted for the day it took to get the money lent
Some of them colluded, but some were just naïve
And predatory lenders are so easy to believe
Serial defaulters and the unemployed queued up

Regulators watched them drinking from the poisoned cup

So borrow one and borrow all, Greenspan doesn’t care
So long as US trade survives the 9/11 scare

Now the steel jaws of the interest rates are closing with a snap
And the hapless victims who were lured into this honey trap
Watch as their homes are auctioned at a fraction of the price
They paid on the day they took the money men’s advice

So what does a money man do with a book of toxic loans? 
Secured against the value of a million worthless homes
He’s true unto his ethics, as everyone can see
He packages and sells them on ‘til they and with you and me

And a black hole is created as the house of cards implodes

Sucking in liquidity from all around the globe
Borrow one and borrow all, they set the demon loose
A thousand poisoned pigeons are all coming home to roost

Monday, 27 September 2010

resolute love: new cd cover

i thought you might like a peek at the new cd cover - so here it is. an example of trowbridge in typically fine form...

Saturday, 25 September 2010

resolute love: news of the new cd

re the cover design; the cavalry (in the form of one leigh trowbridge) arrived over the hill just as the injuns were closing in and about to claim a scalp or two... fortunately for the history of music cover illustration, leigh found time to design the artwork. hurrah! and a jolly good job he did, too. i'll let you see it when possible.

meanwhile, in another part of musicville, mastered cds are winging their way through the snailmailosphere, digipaks are being ordered, labels are being printed and lyric sheets being prepared. soon, my pretty ones, soon...

watch this space.

(and, as an aside, purely for reasons of cd preparation, i had a little listen; it's good, you know. yes, i'm quietly pleased. how un-british of me!)

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

the ballad of the suffolk five - live on bbc radio

i was just reminded of this, so thought i'd put it out to the blogo-tweetosphere

the studio recorded version was played on bbc national radio, too and you can read the comments of the presenter on that occasion on my myspace site

orange room

you showered in the orange room as i lay there
and unselfconsciously naked, towelled your hair
over your shoulder, head to one side
like a woman does...

lonely lady

i lay on a bed in berlin, i was naked and you were there too, fully clothed

and you spoke to me carefully, choosing your words with precision, it was what i
was owed

i listened with patience and pain as you told me at length that your feelings had changed

but as you were talking with tears in your eyes, i knew you meant they had stayed the same

lonely lady, lonely girl...

Resolute Love

the 'as live' songs collection will be entitled 'resolute love' and is nearing manufacturing.

i'm designing the sleeve (eek!) because leigh is too busy. he's very good, though and i'm anxious that i won't do as good a job as him. i threatened him with me doing it thinking he might throw up his hands in horror at the idea and do it himself, but no. so, i'm doing it.

i'm hoping it'll be done by end oct...


i've started to write several songs this summer but can't finish any of them. strange; my muse keeps flirting with me but slipping away before full consummation can take place. a sort of compositus interruptus.

there have been songs on: the difficulties of being a young adult in these straitened and compassionless days; relationship difficulties (would you believe!); relationships ending and why they might (wyb); the beauty of an intimate and poignant moment; being at a folk-singing event - and a song entitled something like 'the winners write the histories'. and a song with a four-line verse (aabb) the final line of which is 'but whether my heart's waiting, well, i don't get to choose'.

i went to see chris wood a couple of weeks ago and he was very, very good. note to self; don't make comparisons. i've finally accepted that i can't be as good as dylan and mitchell, so why put more hurdles in the way?

Monday, 13 September 2010

rupert murdoch is a bad person and will kill the bbc if we let him

don't let murdoch kill the bbc! he will if he can and him and his cronies [rebeccah wade, for god's sake!] will fill the space with their bile and poison.


if you don't already know - you can follow me on twitter at ...

Sunday, 12 September 2010

lyrics to 'as live' recordings (with andee price sept 2010)

Resolute Love
Well, I’ve loved, maybe not too wisely
And I’ve loved, maybe too well
And I’ve left behind one who will despise me
And one who loves me like she newly fell

But I’m weary, weary, weary, weary, weary
Navigating down this twisting trail
And I’m hoping, hoping, hoping, hoping, hoping
That I’ll find resolute love will prevail

I recall the words my momma told me
Son, be faithful, Simon be true
There’s no longer any need for her to scold me
For I know that I will now I’ve met you

And I’m weary, weary, weary, weary, weary...

Solid Ground
Solid ground, solid ground
Well, I've had silt beneath my feet
But I'm moving on to solid ground

I've walked on sand, I've walked on shale
In tunnels dark and shadows pale
Now you're the light that draws me on
My terra firma you've become

I slowly step for I'm unsure
Because of where I trod before
So I move forward gingerly
Eyes fixed on where I want to be

Solid ground, solid ground...

The path ahead I tried to find
But I have stumbled many times
This twisting trail, revealed to me,
Could lead me to stability

What if it takes me by surprise?
Perhaps it's right before my eyes
I must learn how I can be sure
Of that which I've not seen before
Solid ground, solid ground...

What You Do
My love she is not moved by pretty promises I make
By sweet talk or by whispered, perfumed words
By symbol or by sign
By chance or by design
She doesn't set her store by what she's heard

She knows it's only known by few
It's not what you say, it's what you do

My love she doesn't speak she knows that talk is cheap
But the words she keeps inside I understand
So she can not abuse
The language she won't use
Still I comprehend the way she holds my hand

She learned it as she grew
It's not what you say, it's what you do

And here's that bird that flew
It's not what you say, it's what you do

My love is close to hand in the light and in the night
Her touch possesses eloquence to spare
And when she strokes my skin
I can muse within
On the knowledge that she chooses to be there

It's clear as sunlit dew
It's not what you say, it's what you do

Oh Sally Ann
Oh Sally Ann, Oh Sally Ann 
Won't you be my woman, can I be your man?
Oh Sally Ann, Oh Sally Ann
Won't you be my woman, can I be your man?

Oh Sally Ann hear my heart beat
When you come walking down the street

Oh Sally Ann, give me the day
I'll do all the things you say

Oh Sally Ann, give me the night
I'll be good and I'll treat you right

Oh Sally Ann, if you say goodbye
You'll break my heart and I will cry

Perhaps she is my circling sun 
Perhaps she is my moon 
Maybe she is the earth to me
My midnight and my noon

Can’t understand the geometry;
The alignment in the sky,
I only know my core is moved
Whenever she floats by

But she arose and she eclipsed
The ones who went before
She’s all of them, she’s unsurpassed
She’s everything and more

The stars were made to set her in
To bask her in their rays
And I feel all the planets’ force
Each time I meet her gaze

So see, she pulls me into her
Her satellite commands
Spinning falling planetwards
But not always to land

But she arose and she eclipsed...

The Cherry Blossom Song 
The blossom comes, the blossom goes
The minutes fly, they never slow

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide
The blossom comes, the blossom goes...

Now, of my threescore years and ten
Twenty will not come again
And take from seventy springs a score
It only leaves me fifty more
The blossom comes, the blossom goes...

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

The blossom comes, the blossom goes...

Black Birds 
The rookery is wheeling, wheeling
Unsure of which way to go
Full of awe and wistful, watching
A man is rooted down below

Whither will you wander, wander
Southern cross or northern star?
Drawn contrarily by forces
That will determine where you are

Black birds, black birds
Black birds, black birds

Sign of doom, portent of mourning
Starling, raven, rook and crow
Fly away, carry our burden
It’s too heavy for us now

Raucous voices calling, calling
Soundscape of a country scene
Solitarily I’m standing
All alone, the rook and me

Black birds, black birds
Black birds, black birds

Two In The Margins 
Two in the margins where natures are fused
Endings, beginnings, we’re moved and bemused
The past and the future are merged where we stand
And Janus is watching, between sea and land

Time, sea, land, love
Two in the margins they’re blessed from above
Love, land, sea time
Two in the margins will you remain mine?

The sea-spray encroaches as fortunes collide
The nebulous pathway between track and tide -
Untested by footfall, protecting the gate -
Begging the question; will this bear our weight?

Time, sea, land, love…

And over the sand in the grey and the rain
She offers assurance, he welcomes the same
Parallel footprints, friendship and care
Meld in the margins where destinies blur

Time, sea, land, love…

the cherry blossom song

this song is a poem by a. e. houseman that i set to music. it's a long-time favourite of mine and i thought i should write a song with the same message. i got as far as a refrain; 'the blossom comes, the blossom goes / the minutes fly, they never slow'. now, i thought, i need some verses. then i realised that houseman had done the work for me and presumed to put a melody to his words.

i hope he'd have liked it.


welcome to hoppersongs

welcome to the start of hoppersongs.

this blog will be a way of looking at what's going on in the songwriter's mind and of reading lyrics, learning the stories behind the songs and finding out what's going on at hoppersongs h.q.

feel free to send feedback.

after our summer tour (2010; northern england & scotland) andee and i went into quantum leap studio in kent to record 'as live' (see below) the original songs we played on the tour that weren't already on disc (and one that was). we recorded eight; resolute love, solid ground, what you do, the cherry blossom song, oh sally ann, everything, black birds and two in the margins. the latter song is also on the beautiful and cruel, recorded in malmo last december, but the version i played with andee in the summer (she didn't play on t.b.a.c.) was so different that i decided i should have a second version.

these songs can be listened to at

the cd will be available in the next couple of months and is provisionally entitled resolute love.

(re 'as live'; we recorded as close to a live performance as a studio environment allows. marcus, the engineer - who regularly does sound for the folk festival in broadstairs - was great at helping us to recreate the live sound. there were few overdubs. the cd has a live vibe and was aimed at reproducing the energy of a live performance.)

this is the first set of recordings i've done without playing a guitar. my lovely paul hathway-built ( mandola (what you do, solid ground and the cherry blossom song) and mandolin (the rest) being my rhythm instruments for this set.