Sounds of Solidarity: Importance of Delay

Martin with Chris, Fergus, Iain & Lisa, / 12 May 2021

Part 3 of the ‘Sounds of Solidarity’ series, exploring and sharing learning from our remote songwriting experiments. For more information, read this introductory post by Alison Urie.


Although I’m not much of a runner, the best way I can think of to describe the experience of co-creating the ‘Importance of Delay’ is it being like a 4×4 400m hurdle relay race. Each person on the team brought their own skills, opinions, experiences and personalities etc to help mould the team and the song into what it became. I felt like I was the new guy on the team, with little knowledge or experience of the process and my fellow runners, but I had at least spoken to one of them beforehand (Fergus) and I think this helped when it came to doing things as a group.

I joined the group with nervous excitement, wondering who’d be in my team and what kind of song we would write. Unsure of how things would work and pan out, Lisa introduced herself and helped me integrate into the team and overcome any difficulties I had (especially with Zoom).

When I found out what the subject of our song would be (‘solidarity’) I must say I was a bit disappointed but also very surprised. However, given the current situation maybe it should’ve been obvious. I think I felt that I didn’t have much experience of it: Solidarity wasn’t something I’d thought much about before co-creating the song but Chris (the musician) gave us tasks to help get us thinking about it. Using photos was really effective as it got you to think about what solidarity means to you.

Even though we used texts and email to exchange ideas in the beginning, using zoom brought us all together and from our first meeting onwards things seemed to go pretty well and we got over any hurdles with ease. As we progressed, handing over the baton wasn’t an issue as everyone was free to speak and share their ideas and opinions. Ian came up with a lot of the lyrics which I added to. I think it was my image and lyrics of a river and Iain’s lyrics about trees that helped us all find a way to show what solidarity means to us.

Using WhatsApp also helped us. It allowed us to chat and share songs we liked, as well as images or videos, and to get feedback on them relatively quickly. Fergus shared a film he made on his phone which we all agreed was perfect for our song. Chris then took everything we’d done lyrically and, taking into account what we’d all said about how the music might sound, he created a brilliant song and lyric video.

Overall I’d say the experience was positive and really enjoyable and any issues were dealt with easily. I had my doubts about writing a song about solidarity but these were shown to be unfounded. I look forward to the next opportunity to do this again or something similar, with the extra benefit of everyone potentially being in the same room.

The shape of things to come

Unfaltering and faulted

The sum of all as one

As blurry at the edges

As cloudless at the core

From one twist to another

The sum of one as more


The willows do not weep

For the wildness and wet

The banks don’t break

For the river flows yet


The carpet of our leaf-fall

A blanket for the seeds

That feasting on last year’s losses

Giving everything they need

The old man stands by the river

Watching the young at play

He wonders and their dancing

He watches as they sway


As birds break into song

Banks burst into bloom

Beside the shimmering silver

We wait for time and tune


Todays a day of sunshine

And taking in the rays

Tomorrows a day of teaching

The importance of delay

Importance of delay



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