“we shall return one day”



Clay Pipe Music is a record label, (is that what we still call them?), run by the illustrator Frances Castle to allow her to “release the music she loves – and indulge her passion for design and illustration”, and although that sounds like a reasonably straightforward idea I’ve rarely seen it delivered so successfully.

I stumbled across the wonderful Clay Pipe Music through the work of Darren Hayman earlier last month so I’m mightily pleased to have been able to pick up a copy of their latest release, Tyneham House – a record, (in a number of senses), around the sacrifice a small Dorset village made towards the ending of the Second World War.

Tyneham House is actually a joint release with Second Language, (another label I need to investigate further plainly), and strictly speaking it’s a reissue but work with me eh? Limited to just fifty copies I was sufficiently quick off the mark to become the new owner of copy number six of fifty.

Arriving in a Gocco printed box, (don’t worry I had to look it up too), was a compact disc, (you probably still remember them), containing fourteen mainly instrumental tracks, a cassette, (I’ll have lost some of you here), containing containing two further longer tracks featuring music, speech and field recordings and a beautifully illustrated booklet detailing the note left on the church door by the villagers forced to leave their homes in Tyneham :

“Please treat the church and houses with care; we have given up our homes where many of us lived for generations to help win the war to keep men free. We shall return one day and thank you for treating the village kindly.”

Given the very limited nature of the release you’ll perhaps not be surprised to learn that this latest reissue has already sold out, I’ve no idea whether Clay Pipe Music and Second Language will reissue it once again however until they decide to do so you can buy the album digitally over here. Not nearly the same I have to admit but it’s a solace of sorts.


I knew a little of Tyneham before Tyneham House was added to the Weir HQ collection although not as much as I should so I had a scout around the interweb and ended up buying a copy of Patrick Wright’s expansive history of The Village That Died For England from a popular auction website. I’ve only just started to read it so can not yet proffer much of an opinion, other than to state that it has a terrific cover designed by Pentagram no less. I can though leave you with following somwhat begrudging review from a Major General Mark Bond, that sits on the books inside cover, which appeared in Dorset Life when the book was first published in 1995 :

“The Roman historian, Tacitus, had it right, as much for the British Army of today as for the Roman Army nearly 2000 years ago, when he said: ‘Ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant’ : ‘They make a desert and they call it peace!’

This is a book which will revive an old debate and the sharpness of some of the comments is likely to make the debate a lively one. It is rather too long and at times lacks balance, but it is well worth reading.”

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