Cloak And Dagger Days
About Trudi Brunskill
At 10 the girl next door showed me THE three chords on my Xmas guitar and by morning I was strummin’ and singin’ Leaving on a Jet Plane. Uncle Richard played me Joan Baez and I was off...from Joan to Judy Collins, then Joni and Bonnie Raitt, CSNY, John Martyn and Van to Nic Jones and the tradition. At 17 I sang bvs on Martyn Simpson’s new album.
At university I played solo and in various combos and performed in the revue group: at the Fringe we won the ‘best revue’ and I turned down an audition from Biddy Baxter...the first of few of ‘no thank yous’ I now regret. By then I was into Barbra, Aretha, Ella, Nat and co as well as Sandy Denny and the folk gangs.
In 1980 I won a competition run by Metro Radio and as part of the prize, played support to Lindisfarne once and then had an agent who found me gigs. Later in London I did bars and bistros and agency work singing jingles.
Then guitar under the bed for 30 years until ... in 2018 at 60 I crept back to the folk club.
In May 2019 I bought my new guitar- I wrote my first original that day and haven’t stopped since.
My lyrics would not exist without many rich living years. I hope my love of language and poetry in particular can be felt in my songs.
No fame..but interesting musical adventures. Recently I have sung with a free-form improvisation band … These gigs are wild and dangerous. I love that!
The songwriting competition has opened a new chapter for me: I embarked on a songwriting marathon which has led me to this very time and place. And not a moment too soon...not too late for new musical adventures. I hope.
Cloak And Dagger Days - LYRICS
It’s a deep dark rabbit hole at the best of times
But right here and right now
It’s way beyond dismal, when you face the finish line
And your pretty pretty girl, she’s missing now
She’s busy busy somewhere in the house looking for her own mind
In these cloak and dagger times
It’s a bitter road for all of us nowadays, one we did not design
But you know I can’t help but admire your dedication
To fight it out between self-destruction
and the flag-waving finish line
Hey mister mister I admire your determination to keep on staying alive
You see you see you see you’re not really in a position
In your condition, to walk on the risky side
You can you can still drink me underneath the table
Though they say it’s not advisable, for such an old, old man
In these cloak and dagger times
You lived a charmed life, back in the olden days
You met a lovely lovely wife, then the trouble came,
the trouble trouble and the strife
When she lost her way, lost her say
Hey lady lady I admire your decision
to keep on sticking around
I’m so sorry sorry I can’t help you with your searching
In the lost and found
You see you see I’m not in any kind of position
In this sad situation
To follow you down the rabbit hole
To the deep dark underground
It surely surely surely is a deep dark rabbit hole at the best of times
but right here and now
It’s way beyond dismal, when you reach the finish line
And your handsome handsome man man seems to be missing now
He’s missing now, in these cloak and dagger rhymes
Cloak and dagger, Cloak and dagger times
The Story Behind The Song
My elderly parents have lived with me now for almost six years, a decision made what seems like a lifetime ago, when mum was beginning to struggle too much with the misery of the Alzheimer’s condition and my dad, an ‘old school boy’, proved unable to help or even accept much about what was happening.
For the last two of those years I have taken to song writing, and from the start have written about my parents and the attendant issues of ageing: badly, in our case. There is now quite a collection of songs which incidentally chart the movement (can’t use the word ‘progress’) of this situation, and to some extent, they act as a diary of sorts. This song, from January 2021, has now been superceded by others, recording the decline and loss of language and a dimming of hope and a reaching towards the end of the tether, though there have been funny moments and times of joy.
So, a dark song, about dark days but people have connected with these songs and we must remember we are not alone, mustn’t we?