Thanks for nothing, Ephraim Clutterbox

Words and Music by David Harley, copyright 1970

This may be the most positive song I’ve ever written. Which isn’t saying much, but at least it’s in a major key. Dedicated to David ‘Mex’ Higgen, who believed it to be written about him (which wasn’t altogether the case…) Mex was actually an excellent electric guitarist with whom I played from time to time when I was at university at the end of the 1960s. The ‘beautiful Ephraim’ line is a sideswipe at Jim Morrison, who is certainly past caring.

Curiously, it’s slightly reminiscent of Peter Buckley-Hill, which is curious given that is written a good ten years before I ever heard him.



This recording was actually taken from a work/demo cassette I recorded in the 80s. Probably using a Fostex X-15 recorder and mixed down to my ghetto blaster. I’ve used it to replace the more recent demo recording that was originally here, as my voice was in better shape on this version.

I used to think that life was for living
I was grateful for each and every day
I thought if we all tried a little harder
The world might be improved in some small way
But then you deflated my illusions
And made me see the error of my ways
You made me realize there is no black or white
Just a mediocre shade of grey

So thanks for nothing, Ephraim Clutterbox
You made me see the writing on the wall
You’ve rid me of so much of my foolish make-believe
That now I don’t believe in you at all

I used to be a gullible romantic
With a vague belief in beauty, truth and right
And a taste for lullabies and good intentions
With a sporadic urge to fight the good fight
But you told me it was all a social fiction
And I was too naive to disagree
When you exposed my neurotic motivation
And unhealthy craving for security

I’ve had enough of you, Ephraim Clutterbox
Your belief that it’s all lies and you can’t win
Your rational, so logical indifference
To anything that’s worth believing in
So this is the end, beautiful Ephraim
But I want you to know before you leave
I can kid myself your kind can be safely ignored
If enough people start to believe

2 thoughts on “Thanks for nothing, Ephraim Clutterbox

  1. dave higgen

    I am gobsmacked to be referenced about a song I (think) I never heard? Trying to remember who and when this could have been. Were you possibly the guitar player we called ‘Fred’ (was it?) when we all used to hang around in the Curved Lounge in Bangor students’ union? With Fiona Meiklejohn & a few others? Sigh, many of us ended up as computer programmers because the money was pretty good. But some of us did keep writing and recording music, me included…

    1. David Harley Post author

      Hi, Mex. Sorry, Dave… How the hell are you? You may not have heard it, but you definitely saw a copy of the words because I remember a conversation of sorts about it. 🙂 Yes, you have the right guy, but the name I often went by was Bert. In recent years, though, I’ve managed to leave it behind: even Sally (Stephenson-as-was, singer I played for in those days) calls me David. I too spent some time coding, but finished my career in IT primarily as a tech writer/editor/general consultant for an antivirus company. I’ll drop you an email in a minute, in case you feel like a bit of a catchup. 🙂


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