Re: Pete

Photo of Peter and friends on the Remutakas
Welcome to Re: Pete, an album of songs which have autobiographical or personal themes, about places I went, people I met, and experiences I had from 2019-2021. The photo above is of me and some friends at the start of the Remutakas near Featherston, which begins this musical journey into my recent past... .

Up The Remutakas

In 2019, I spent a year living and working in the Wairarapa in the lower part of the North Island of New Zealand where I wrote this song about the perilous journey between there and Wellington.

If you live in Masterton and you need to know
How to get to Wellington first you have to go

Chorus: Up the Remutakas and down the other side
Up the Remutakas and down the other side

Make your way to Featherston on State Highway Two
And you'll find the Remutakas right in front of you
On top it's often raining and the wind can blow
In winter it is icy and sometimes it can snow
Be careful on the hairpin bends and watch for roadworks too
Speeding drivers and the debris that can fall on you
There are many hazards and you're lucky if
You reach Upper Hutt without falling off a cliff

Precious Daylight

At the end of 2019, I found myself transported for a time from New Zealand into the depths of a northern hemisphere winter in Oxfordshire in the UK (I intended working and living there, but somehow things didn't work out, and fortuitously returned to New Zealand just before the pandemic hit). In the weekends I would go to sit on a park bench in a local park, where I would eat my lunch, and bask in the weak winter sunshine.

Precious daylight
It's dark when I get up in the morning
It's dark when I get home at night
I'm counting every single moment of my precious daylight
Precious daylight, precious daylight
Sitting on a park bench in the cold, sun's low in the sky
I turn my face to catch the very last ray of my precious daylight
Precious daylight, precious daylight
I'm not used to wintertime, living in these northern climes
Precious daylight
If you get my message send me some of your bottled sunshine
If I take a drop of it every day it should last till summertime
Precious daylight, precious daylight

Song For Rienk

Photo of Peter and Rienk
Some friends are like apples and bananas: they may appear different on the outside, but underneath the peel, they share lots of good, sweet stuff in common.

You shake your head at my jokes and I groan at yours
I can see your imperfections and you see my flaws
But after 40 years or more I know I can depend
On the fact that I will always have you as a friend
I don't share your interest in fixing up old cars
But at least we share a love of music and guitars
And after 40 years or more I know I can depend
On the fact that I will always have you as a friend
In spite of all my highs and lows and my ups and downs
You are always pleased to have me hanging round
I'm critical of nearly everything you say and do
But underneath it all I think the world of you
And after 40 years or more I know I can depend
On the fact that I will always have you as a friend... .
I will always have you as a friend and you will always have me as a friend

The Pinnacles

Photo of the Pinnacles
Visits to these unusual geological formations on the southern edge of the North Island of New Zealand in 2019 and 2020 inspired this song.

Take me down to the Pinnacles cause I'm feeling tired and cynical
We can find a hidden valley there with columns stretching into the air
Chorus: At the Pinnacles, at the Pinnacles
We can fossick round and explore fossils raised from the sea floor
Go for a bush walk up the hill or down to the shore
I'll be so happy if you're there with me
We should take sun screen and supplies, insect repellent for the sandflies
Have a picnic by the river: the good times will last forever
At the Pinnacles... .

In A Factory

Photo of Peter working in a factory
2021 has been a year of working in factories and warehouses in Christchurch which is the inspiration for this song.

I don't know why I pretend to be someone that I am not
I'm not really sure who I am or perhaps I just forgot
I can feel my life slipping away from me
Working 5 days a week in a factory
In a factory
At night I dream of all the places I would rather be
But then I wake up and have to face the grim reality
I don't know of any other way to make ends meet
So I work until I've got bleeding fingers and aching feet, in a factory
Once I had dreams and more, but that's gone out the door
And now all I've got for sure, is in a factory
Weariness and apathy long ago replaced the rage
I once felt for working like a slave for minimum wage
I've got no time to dwell on what might have been
Cause my soul is shackled to a machine, in a factory... .

Hokianga Harbour Blues

Photo of Peter with ernest duncan prize certificate
This is the only photo I can find of myself in 2020, where I spent a year living and working in the Hokianga, a remote region in the far north of New Zealand. The closest town to where I lived in a cabin in the bush was Kohukohu (known to locals as "Koke"). The quickest way to access the next closest town (Rawene) is by taking a ferry across the Hokianga harbour. Every day, I would go out running over the hills above the Hokianga harbour and see the ferry in the distance below - why did I not take a photo? But at least I have the song! Oh, and the certificate, if you're interested, is for a prize I was awarded by the New Zealand Maths Teachers Association for Excellence in Classroom Teaching of Maths! The photo was a selfie I took in my cabin.

Well, my woman lives in Rawene and I live in Koke
I want to go and visit her but I'm stoney broke

Chorus: I'm stuck on the wrong side of the Hokianga harbour with the
Stuck on the wrong side of the Hokianga harbour blues
Stuck on the wrong side of the Hokianga harbour blues

Well, I asked the ferryman if he'd let me on for free
But he just shook his head and said, we ain't a charity
I'd drive around the long way but my truck is broken down
I'd try to swim across but with my luck I'd drown
Now my woman's texted me to say she need's a steady bloke
So she's leaving me for the ferryman from Koke... .

Riding in a Pontiac

Photo of Peter and friends next to a Pontiac
On visits to see my friend in Featherston, I am sometimes lucky enough to be taken out for a ride in his vintage American Pontiac, which gave rise to this song.

Chorus: Riding in a Pontiac, down the road and back
Motown as we go, on the stereo

Heads are turning as we go past, wind's swirling we're going so fast
You're talking but I can't hear a thing for the sound of the engine roaring
Riding in a Pontiac, down the road and back
It's nice to see the silly grin on your face and the way you stare off into space
I wish we could go on and on. If I owned this car, man, I'd be gone... .

Oxford City Centre Blues

This is a song I wrote while spending the Christmas/New Year period of 2019/20 in a backpackers hostel in the centre of Oxford.

Staying at a backpackers waiting for New Year
The flooded waters of the Thames have washed me up here

Chorus: On my own at Christmas with nothing much to do
With a case of Oxford city centre blues

At night I lie awake unable to ignore
The way my fellow travellers grind their teeth and snore
The dreaming spires of Oxford are beautiful I'm told
But not when you are 58, tired, sad and old
On Christmas day I wandered down to church in Radcliffe Square
The vicar prayed for me but I found little comfort there
Chorus... .

Caroline (Don't Drive Your Car)

I wrote this song, ostensibly as a piece of tongue-in-cheek fun, for one of my fans, inspired by one of our online chats. In 2021, I got rid of my car because of concerns about my contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, so the message is also seriously intended. Everyone: Stop driving your cars!

Caroline, don't drive your car
It's warming the planet and won't get you far
You'd be fitter and healthier too, riding a bicycle like I do
Chorus: Caroline, don't drive your car anymore

You say the world is going to hell but you're contributing to it as well
Every time you put you key in the ignition, can't you see?
You want to know how I feel about you and your automobile
I can't love a person who emits so much CO2
So Caroline, please decide, between me and your favourite ride
It's just a heap of rusty junk, compared to this manly hunk
Chorus... .

Dead Possum

When I lived in the Hokianga I often found myself driving around at night-time (given the rugged nature of the back roads up there, it's enough to make anyone want to give up driving), which inevitably involves encounters with the nocturnally active possums (an introduced pest species in New Zealand that is highly destructive to native flora). I wrote this song after one particular encounter.

Death comes to all of us, no matter who we are
And it came to you last night in the shape of my car

Chorus: Dead possum lying in the road, there ain't no going back
One moment you were staring into my headlights, the next you were squashed flat

Death's not a joke so I won't treat yours as a comedy
Let this song be a meditation on mortality
I don't believe in an afterlife: Death's final and it's real
And what remains becomes, for birds of prey, a happy meal
Now you're a pest and it's best that your end was swift
But still I feel a twinge of guilt cause life's a precious gift
Chorus... .

Song For Yoselin

This is a song I wrote for another of my fans, the wonderful Yoselin, who works as an English teacher in Peru. One of the great pleasures and privileges of writing songs is it allows you to make connections with people from different walks of life all around the world.

A while ago you came along and told me you'd heard one of my songs
I replied thanks so much and ever since we've stayed in touch

Chorus: Yoselin, I have to say, you're far away
I don't know why I'm friends with you
Cause I'm in New Zealand and you're in Peru

You're much younger than me and prettier I can see
You're intelligent and you're kind
You're different to me but I don't mind
It always cheers me up when I'm on my own
To hear the messages you send me on my phone
In Espagnol all I can say is "la mujer" and "el hombre"
But your English is top of the line so we can communicate just fine
Chorus... .
I'm in New Zealand and you're in Peru
But I am glad that I'm friends with you.

Milky Way

When I was living in the Wairarapa, I blew the science department budget at the school I was teaching in on an enormous telescope that allowed me for the first time in my life to observe the rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter and many other wonderous celestial sights. It made me realize how ignorant in an observational sense I was of astronomy. Actually, contrary to the song, my explorations of the night-skies above the school grounds were solitary (and cold) affairs, athough it would have been nice to have company.

One night as we were staring up at the stars
You asked, is that a galaxy or a nebulla?
I still don't know exactly what I should say
But, I fell in love that night beneath the Milky Way
Chorus: Milky Way, beneath the Milky Way
I fell in love that night beneath the Milky Way
Beneath the Milky Way I fell in love with you

I recall a satellite or was it a plane?
I think the moon was waxing or perhaps it waned
Don't ask me for the details cause all I can say is
I fell in love that night beneath the Milky Way
I can't tell a comet from a meteorite
But when you kissed me I saw shooting stars that night
I don't know if any of the planets were aligned
On that night but if they were it must have been a sign
You know astronomy is not my forte but
I fell in love that night beneath the Milky Way
Chorus... .


While staying at the backpackers in Oxford I met the wonderfully vivacious, Viviana, who had come from Turin to explore the architectural delights of Oxford. I wrote this song at the time to say goodbye to her and what better way to finish off this album than to say "Arrivederci" to any listeners. Thank you for listening.

Arrivederci, arrivederci, it's the time to say goodbye
Arrivederci, arrivederci, it's the opposite of "Hi"
One day I will go to Torino but until then you and I
Must go our separate ways so let's just say
Arrivederci and goodbye
We'll go our separate ways so let's just say
Arrivederci and goodbye
photo of me and friends saying cheers in front of Pontiac