... Fire Engine


A B-Y of Deserters Tunes

Banned Practice

Originally recorded as snippets of conversation and tunes from an Inverbeg band practice, this track was later edited together with Makkie’s Rhythm for ‘The Album That Never Was‘ to form a new piece.

Boring Things

Deals with a long list of things which could be considered ‘boring’. Two versions of this song were recorded – one lasting only few seconds, the other several minutes.

Brain Drain Rap (I Hate Computers)

A tirade against the onslaught of the computer age, with alternate verses being sung by the band and a computer voice. The song ends with a ‘breakdown’ of the electronic instruments, and the band continue with acoustic guitar and mandolin.

Chappie in the Nappie

The first song written by Boris McDonald, this was the song which gave the band their first taste of public interest. Lyrically, the song shows the first example of McDonald’s stream-of-consciousness style of lyric writing. Unrecorded to date.

Complete 1978 Song

This song started life as a homage to the biker’s life, but by the time it was actually recorded it had transformed into a view of Lizzie Borden. Sparse rock guitar backs the grim story of murder, sung by Lee Newe.

Drevulon Poseiden II

A song of lyrical depth dealing with living in a dark society, backed by moody synth textures and strong distorted guitars.

Eye of the Walrus

Based on ‘I am the Walrus’, this was McDonald’s first stab at mutating existing songs to fit the style of the Deserters. Recorded with sampled percussion and reversed messages, this was an extension of the Beatles’ original, never released.

Fire Engine Disco Remix (Part 2)

The combined might of the Deserters instrumentation playing variations of the Nee-Naw theme. This was remixed for ‘The Album That Never Was‘. Part 1 was simply the original theme, as played by George, the Bedford Fire Engine (and several thousand other fire-fighting appliances!)

(New Age Version) This was a lengthy piece which took a moody synthesised background and overlaid it with treated samples from Part 2.

Fireman’s Lift

Latest of the many fire-fighting themed songs favoured by the band, written by Bordet. This concentrated on the actual fireman himself in a song full of double-entendres about hoses, helmets, etc. Includes a short fire-hose duet with great effect.

Generation of Fear

Poem written by Newe, later recited over an atmospheric synth and eerie guitar backing. Subject matter covers the latest set of fears held (in the eighties) including environmental apocalypse.

Goldfish Song

A song about the life of a goldfish, and all life’s goldfish, sung by Jenna Yasdnil. First song to make use of the ‘Bubble-tank’ for authentic aquatic effects.

Gostik Sobo

B-side of first single, this was a solo yobstick piece, written and played by McDonald. Short and to the point.

Heavy Metal Ballad

Somewhat vitriolic attack on a contemporary of the band, written in the late eighties – lyrics by Newe, music by Bordet. The subject of the song could be any spotty youth of choice, really.

Infinite Greenhouse

Largely solo improvisation by Bordet on the (then) recently acquired Farfisa organ, recorded in ‘down-time’ during the ‘…Fire Engine‘ album sessions.

Inverbegnac (An Advert)

30 second advert written for a new drink which was developed by Newe and Bordet, called Inverbegnac (a sort of brandy/whisky hybrid).


An experimental instrumental piece written and recorded by Bordet, with a Japanese feel to both the melody and the instrumentation.

La Grande Finale

A suite of songs of similar structure, these started with “La Grande Finale” itself, followed by “La Grande Finale Numero Deux” and “La Grande Finale De Noel” – all written to the same basic formula:-


Makkie’s Rhythm

Short instrumental piece played by Montepalde Pentel on the Farfisa organ as b-side to ‘Banned Practice‘, later edited together with that track for ‘The Album That Never Was‘.

Mick’s Astonishing Megamix

Ongoing instrumental opus by Bordet which began in the ‘…Fire Engine‘ album sessions with Part 6, which was another solo Farfisa-based instrumental. This was followed by a grouping of Parts 1 to 4 on a subsequent album, which were much more complex pieces, ranging in style from experimental ambient sounds, through a minimalist-inspired section to a tribal-rhythm-based section, written over an eight-year period.  Part 5 has yet to be completed.

The Middle Eastern Western

Written by Bordet in a couple of hours during the start of the Gulf War, this piece takes a country and western backing, and overlays complementary soundbites from old westerns and newsclips of press conferences made at the start of hostilities. This accentuates the impression of the UN’s gung-ho attitude during the early days of the conflict.

The Mull Song

Based on the traditional song ‘One Man went to Mow…’, this song documents the band’s first ‘Happy Trip‘ to the Isle of Mull, including flooded tents, horrible food and torrential rain.

My Wee Green Buddy

A short instrumental written by Bordet, musically inspired by Frank Zappa’s ‘Jazz From Hell’, with a title taken from the Robert Rankin ‘Armaggedon – The Musical’ series.

Neville Screams the Blues

Small snippet of birdsong, included as a filler between tracks, provided by a psychotic parrakeet.

OMP (Orchestral Menagerie in the Park)

Title song from our first single, unavailable on album, an instrumental featuring the original collection of Deserters. Ends with a large crescendo of percussion, a feature which would become a trademark of several later songs.

Once Bitten…

An interesting project, this started life as a basic rhythm track which the 1992 band improvised to extensively, using vocals, guitar, keyboards, flute and percussion. Excerpts from these improvisations were then edited together, and further overdubs added to provide links where appropriate, before creating a final mix.

One Night in the Back of a Fire Engine

Although seemingly the title track from the album ‘All It Took Was One Night In The Back Of A Fire Engine…‘, this was not actually recorded until several years following the completion of that album. The lyrics by Newe detail the experience of coming of age in the back of a fire engine, and includes effects from George the Bedford Fire Engine. This song was included on the compilation album ‘The Songwriters’ Guild’ – a collection of songs by bands from across the World.

Rage in Dunoon

Newe and Bordet both spent many dull days of their youth in the seaside town of Dunoon, which had become run down as a resort, and was being maintained by the presence of a US naval base. This song by Bordet reflects some of the lows of the town, but finishes on a high note – it did provide happy memories.

Remembering the Juicy Berries

Another Bordet stream-of-consciousness style song dealing with the after-effects of alcohol, by referring to the by-product of Inverbegnac – the ‘Juicy Berries’ left over from the distillation process. One section of the music for this song was co-written by Scott Bisset.

Sweet Chick

Bordet’s song of rememberance of a brief affair with a young lady from Dover – practically as far away as possible from the band’s base.

Train of Thought

Newe’s rave song was recorded by the 1992 band live, including a range of bizarre samples, and retro synth solo with classical references.


An experimental piece composed entirely in a sampler, which took a single sentence, and broke it into small samples, using vowel sounds as instruments and consonants as percussive sounds. This created a very distinctive sound, quite unlike anything the band have attempted before.

Wibble-Wobble Down Under

Using yobstick and wobble-board accompaniment, this song takes ‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport’ as a starting point for an exploration of antipodean antics.

The Woman in Red

Newe’s lament to a mysterious woman in red (incidentally written long before either Chris De Burgh’s ‘Lady In Red’ or the film ‘The Woman In Red’). This was recorded by Newe and Bordet with just vocal and guitar in one take. Bordet then added some discreet stings and piano backing to complete the song’s emotional atmosphere.

The White Silk Suite

Three tunes dedicated to a past acquaintance of Bordet’s, seen fleetingly as a figure dressed in white in the distance. The 1st and 3rd tunes, “White Silk’s Lament” and “Elegy for White Silk” were simple, melodic instrumentals, whilst the second tune, “White Silk”, also had lyrics, sung by Jennifer Leigh.

Yet Another Granfalloon

An instrumental by Mick in three movements which was intented to be played by members of the Deserters, along with various guest performers.

The first is for a chamber group of guitar, mandolin, oboe, flute, violin and pianola (showing influences from Conlon Nancarrow). The second movement is a short piece for percussion and processed vocal samples. The third part being for four guitars – bass, acoustic, electric and e-bowed.

A ‘Granfalloon’ is a meaningless grouping of objects, a term coined by the author Kurt Vonnegut.