Songs for Modern Loving

by Helen Arney

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    A collection of all the best songs from Helen Arney's 2009 and 2010 Edinburgh Fringe comedy shows, bundled together for your listening pleasure. Downloadable PDF songbook also available, featuring 6 of these songs plus others with words and chords:
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Praise for Helen Arney and the Edinburgh Fringe shows that these songs appeared in:

"Champion of musical whims" (Evening Standard)
**** "Charming, witty and warm, with great one-liners" (The List)
**** "Harnesses the spirit of Ben Folds and the Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon… delightful" (Chortle)
**** "High-class musical comedy with soul, intelligence and wit" (Broadway Baby)

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released August 1, 2010

Helen Arney: vocals, ukulele and piano, with: James Hingley: guitar, bass, thumb piano, SFX / Rhodri Marsden: musical saw / Michael Legge: shouting / Stewart McCarthy: Drum looping wizardry & extra production. All other instruments played by Helen Arney

Tr 1-9 recorded in Helen’s bedroom, July ’10
Tr 10-17 recorded/mixed Oct ’09 by James Hingley

All music and lyrics © Helen Arney
Except Tr 9, from an original poem by Bec Hill

Artwork by Alex Brenner


all rights reserved



Helen Arney London, UK

"Geek Songstress" Helen Arney is the UK's finest purveyor of comedy songs with a scientifically verified twist.

"Champion of musical whims" Evening Standard
One of Dave TV's "Top 10 stand-ups to see in 2011"
**** ”Harnesses the spirit of Ben Folds & the Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon… delightful” (Chortle)

Also one third of Festival of the Spoken Nerd and author of "The Element In The Room"
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Track Name: Indie Song (Jonah and the Snail theme)
LYRICS - Indie Song

This is my indie song
It’s got 3 chords and it’s 2 minutes long
It sounds like a tune you already know
Because they used it to advertise a Nokia phone

Uh huh, ah yeah, I only know 3 chords
Oh yeah, uh huh, I’m a full-grown adult but I ride a skateboard

I’ll tell you how to get a record deal
Cover Britney Spears on the glockenspiel
All my songs sound a little bit samey
Cos I play them on an out of tune ukulele

Oh yeah, uh-huh, I’ve stolen Laura Marling’s fans.
Uh-huh, a yeah, I’ve got a large collection of cardigans

Some people ask me what this song is all about…

It’s about girl–slash–boy meets boy-slash-girl
There isn’t any other type of song in the world
But I gotta keep my indie credentials up
So let’s rock it with a mini harmonica

Some people ask me how I’m going to end this song…

I’ll repeat a phrase until it sounds meaningful
Repeat a phrase until it sounds meaningful
Repeat a phrase until it sounds meaningful
Repeat a phrase until it sounds meaningful
And then we'll end on a minor chord
Track Name: Stoke Newington
LYRICS - Stoke Newington

Waiting for the bus, the number 73
I get a creepy feeling someone's staring at me
Cos I haven’t got a baby
I’m a failure, well, maybe

Going down to the shops I pick some bread from a shelf
Someone “tuts” because I haven’t knitted it myself
They think I’m lazy
I think they might be crazy

You can see why middle classes are attracted to the
Village in London’s heart
There are still a few real people hiding behind the vintage
Shops and bohemian café bars

But for some it’s the next best thing to living in Surrey
You can still pop down to Brick Lane for a curry

Stokie is a heaven – or for some a living hell
Of tofu-reading, Guardian-eating young professionals
It’s obligatory
To not vote Tory

I like Stoke Newington but it don’t like me
And that’s Hackney
Track Name: My Dad is a Morris Dancer
LYRICS - My Dad Is A Morris Dancer

My dad is a Morris Dancer
He’s an English country prancer

We never did the normal things that families like to do
Like watching Strictly on the box or going to the zoo

Instead we drive to Berkhamstead
And he dances round in a horses head
Me and my brother have to help
By sewing on bells till our fingers bled
Our mother thinks that he should get
A proper job instead
I wish I was dead

His uniform is whiter than white
He trains for hours every night
Cos he's a major Morris-Man, he's not a Morris Minor
We think it's a stupid dance, he thinks there's nothing finer

Thank hankies, sashes, bells and sticks
The kids at school all take the mick
The bullies always try to nick
My lunch money it makes me sick
Even the teachers call him a freak
And say he's wrong in the head
I wish they were dead

Then one day it happened
The thing no-one imagined
A space ship full of aliens landed in our town
Not friendly ones but ugly ones with teeth and massive mouths

They started wobbling down the street
Looking for something good to eat
They thought the postman tasted sweet
But the butcher tasted of rotten meat
They ate them all but left the feet
I think we’re going to end up dead
I’m hiding in my bed

Things are looking bad
But we hadn’t counted on my dad
Cos he’s endowed with special powers that we never knew he had
He grabbed his bells and sticks and dressed in white he headed out

To the sound of an accordion
He danced towards the aliens
Fearless, brave without a gun
Hankies waving in formation

The aliens screamed and turned to run
Back to their space station
And blasted off towards the sun

He saved us from the attack
Maybe my dad’s not such a prat

So now there are no more days off
For human/alien face-offs
My dad’s a hero – yeah that’s cool
But I still have to go back to school…
I wish I was dead
I’m hiding in my bed
I think I’ll send my dad instead
Track Name: Statistically I Love You
LYRICS - Statistically I Love You

I’ve looked at this empirically
And I think you’re the one for me
Plus or minus three

You’re my man
And I want you to understand
How it feels when I hold your hand
So I’ll draw a Venn Diagram

Statistically I love you
Mathematically I need you
Graphically I want you
And on average, I’m going to make you mine

You’re beautiful
My love for you is irrational
It’s constant, it’s recurring and you can use it to calculate
The circumference of a circle of any known diameter
Maybe that’s not love, maybe I’m just thinking of pi

Statistically I love you

If you were a logarithm I’d be your exponential
When you grasp my arithmetic I find it rather sensual
Give me your raw data and I’ll show my conclusion
Give me a new equation and I’ll name a biscuit after you

Statistically I love you
Therefore logically I need you
Rhetorically do I want you
Theoretically – you are already mine
Track Name: Modern Love
LYRICS - Modern Love

I wanted to be Justine Frischman
lead singer of Elastica
I wanted to be Damon Albarn
Just so I could get close her
But I didn’t want her clothes, her hair
Or to get in Damon’s underwear
All I wanted was to be
23 not age 13
Experience what made her write those songs
Songs of Modern Love

I wanted to be Ben Folds
So much that it made me sick
I wanted to be in his band
The four of us would have been Ben Folds Six
Not because I wanted to
Play the piano like an utter loon
But cos he made me think I might not
Be a girl for the rest of my life
But a woman who can write all of her songs
Songs of Modern Love

I wanted to be Neil Hannon
Of the Divine Comedy
I had everything he wrote
On tape cassingle and then CD
Every day I would obsess
About turning into frog princess
So I could live like Generation
Sex, Promenade & Liberation
Casanova, Regeneration
Victory & A Short Album

Now it’s turned into a list
Of everything he put on disc
But I didn’t think the new one would fit
Cos nothing useful rhymes with it
But listening to Bang Goes the Knighthood
Makes me think that maybe I should
Spend the rest of my life writing songs
My songs of Modern love
Track Name: Strongwoman with a Broken Heart
LYRICS - Strongwoman with a Broken Heart

Did you hear about the act at the circus?
Tonight she’s trying a new part
You’ll be on the edge of your seat with her amazing feat
She's a Strongwoman with the Broken Heart
The Strongwoman with the Broken Heart

She fell in love with a handsome clown
And they began a glorious affair
But life can be cruel and not all fun
Ironic when you live at the fair

The woman who was mightier than 20 men
Was slowly falling apart
But she had been taught "On with the show!"The Strongwoman with the Broken Heart
She’s the Strongwoman with the Broken Heart

The pain in her chest grew intense, in tents, and
She booked in a doctor to treat her
He said: "Your heart is just a muscle like all others
Don’t let this set-back defeat ya"

So she took his advice and began training
Cos she needed somewhere to start
Remembered the saying, “No pain, no gain”
The Strongwoman worked-out her heart
The Strongwoman worked-out her heart

Every time she used her heart, it grew and grew
She learnt to laugh again at clowns
Lifted weights while she juggled dates
Toned up her smile and lost her frown

Did you hear about the act at the circus?
Tonight she’s trying a new part
She’s mightier than 20 men - plus one
The Strongwoman with a strong heart.
The Strongwoman with a strong heart.

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