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I Saw The Signs

from by Gary Miller

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Comes in a gorgeous deluxe book-format packaging, including approximately 100 pages featuring lyrics to all 50 tracks, additional interlinking text, a host of beautiful pictures and illustrations throughout, as well as a comprehensive list of credits and acknowledgements. This wonderful and unique presentation, designed by Helen Temperley at has been a true 'labour of love' and is a fascinating and real work of art in its own right.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Mad Martins via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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In 1821, John exhibited one of his most popular and successful oil paintings, ‘Belshazzar’s Feast’. Amidst great public excitement, he went from being a painter of promise to being famous, literally overnight. The ‘European Magazine’ called the painting “a poetical and sublime conception in the grandest style of the art”. Meanwhile, ‘The Magazine of Fine Arts’ described it as a “most dazzling and extraordinary work… and one of the most original productions of British Art. The principle of this painter’s work differs from those of all preceding artists.” Despite such general public and critical acclaim at the time, however, his work did not always meet with universal approval. The writer and essayist Charles Lamb, for example, described ‘Belshazzar’s Feast’ as “vulgar and bombastic”.



I was a thirteenth child,
put out to nurse,
afraid of ghosts and goblins.

I drew on doors and school walls.
I sketched in sand on the riverbank.
I grew, and grew famous.

I slipped off to the City.
I saw the signs
and painted them,
all ways.

In London with Boniface,
I mixed paints with Lords.
I raged and thundered
warnings in my work.

I became a Radical,
hissing at anthems;
a snake of a painter
in oils, in awe.

And all the while
remained a child
alive on Barcombe Fell:

a child of Science,
a child of Reason
ahead of my time,
head filled with wonder,
wondrous dreams.

I died a beautiful man
on the Isle of Man,
on the Plains of Heaven:

a tranquil death,
last glorious breath,
hands still in the madding dawn.

(Words: Keith Armstrong / Tune: ‘Tweedside' Trad. arr. Ann Sessoms)


from Mad Martins, released October 10, 2017
Keith Armstrong - Spoken Word
Ann Sessoms - Northumbrian Pipes


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Mad Martins England, UK

Mad Martins is a unique project by songwriter Gary Miller with poet Keith Armstrong, producer Iain Petrie, & Friends, with artwork by Helen Temperley, featuring original songs, poetry, narration & illustrations depicting the extraordinary life and times of the notorious Martin brothers, William, Jonathan & John, who were born in the late Eighteenth Century in the South Tyne area of Northumberland. ... more

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