It was back in 1990 that The Trash Can Sinatras released Cake, one of the finest debut LPs from any act ever to emerge from these parts.  It was a real head-scratcher that neither of the first two singles – Obscurity Knocks and Only Tongue Can Tell had failed to find favour with the record-buying public, but then again that was a hard thing to achieve when the songs weren’t getting aired on national radio, although the band did enjoy a reasonable amount of support from stations in Glasgow and West-Central Scotland.

And so in October 1990, Go! Discs made another effort with the release of Circling The Circumference. It was a remixed version of one of the songs featured on Cake, and while it did capture much of what brought the band to my attention (i.e. jangly guitars, clever lyrics and fine harmonies), it struck me as a wee bit of a strange choice as a single with its difficult to decipher lyric and a tune/changing tempo that was kind of reminiscent of some of those that even a band such as The Smiths had difficulty in turning into something other than minor chart hits.

mp3: The Trash Can Sinatras – Circling The Circumference (remix)

I thought it worth helping you out……when you just read the words on paper, you have to marvel at the superb job Frank Reader does in getting them all to fit into the tune.

All around the alphabet
To hide a sadder tale of someone sad at
Circling the circumference
Show me the way from the periphery

But everybody is wrapped in a warm embrace
With their arms around the answers
While I’m wrapped up
In my own rigamarole, because

I can’t have that in my life
But soon I’ll find
I won’t have that in my life

Right or righteous? – I can’t say
Another day, another dilemma
Don’t have the time, thirst, wish, itch or urge to fit
Or that’s my story and I am stuck with it, but

I can’t have that in my life
But soon I’ll find
I won’t have that in my life

You’re deep in conversation
Where you really swim
And in the shallow water
I’m the first one in

A straight-forward answer
Is out of the question
Why her whole body joins in
In the way she smiles,
But it’s all too much of a muchness for me, and

I can’t have that in my life
But soon I’ll find
I won’t have that in my life

I’m the man who missed a sitter
The pearly-gate crasher
The king’s new clothes hanger
Skeptic kind of sucker
Straight man gone solo
Drunk or canned laughter
I’m sorry
What was the question again?

It’s a song that, over the years, I have grown increasingly fond of, largely down to it being quite idiosyncratic.  It’s one that I am determined to air at the next Simply Thrilled night, should we ever get the chance to get such things going again post-COVID.

Here’s the b-sides and I make no apologies for again using the blog to feature the dreamy cover version of the theme tune from a 60s telly series.

mp3: The Trash Can Sinatras – My Mistake
mp3: The Trash Can Sinatras – White Horses



  1. Frank Reader is skilled at throwing in so many words, yet making it work. He’s a most under-rated lyricist.

    The 1st 2 singles make my definition of classics. The 3rd single less so.

    How any one could fail to dance to singles 1 and 2 is beyond me. I never did dance to single 3 – let’s see who’s game post-Covid?

  2. I never understood how “Cake” & “I’ve Seen Everything” didn’t chart high in the USA. They never released “A Happy Pocket” In the US…We didn’t know, and so we thought they broke up. What a shame. Many years later I finally heard “A Happy Pocket” . It’s fantastic. Last year before the Covid destroy concerts I saw the Trash Can Sinatras in Colorado. They played the entire albums “A Happy Pocket” , “Weightlifting”, and the hits. It was a tiny venue , and we stuck around . Frank Reader, Paul Livingston, and John Douglas came over to talk. Nicest guys in the world.

  3. FFF…..I didn’t say I had the intention of getting folk to dance to it! I usually get an early doors set and thus can play a few tracks that are geared towards getting a few appreciative nods more than anything else……

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