"Scattered Black And Whites" as written by and Guy Edward John/potter Garvey....
Been climbing trees, I've skinned my knees
My hands are black, the sun is going down
She scruffs my hair in the kitchen steam
She's listening to the dream I weaved today
Crosswords through the bathroom door
While someone sings the theme-tune to the news
And my sister buzzes through the room leaving perfume in the air
And that's what triggered this

I come back here from time to time
I shelter here some days

A high-back chair, he sits and stares
A thousand yards and whistles
Marching-band (Boom-ching)
Kneeling by and speaking up
He reaches out and I take a
Massive hand.

Disjointed tales
That flit between short trousers
And a full dress uniform
And he talks of people ten years gone
like I've known them all my life
Like scattered black 'n' whites

Lyrics submitted by bmerz, edited by ttoaloe

"Scattered Black and Whites" as written by Guy Edward John Garvey Craig Lee Potter

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Scattered Black And Whites song meanings
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  • +6
    General Commentge1 has it best.
    when my dear old grandad ted (last of the men in hats) was near the end i did a shift looking after him in the care home. he was a storyteller and that evening he jumped mid tale(due to a coughing fit) between child hood and his army years. the two stories both involved the words "best friend" and it made me realised that story telling is a way of keeping memories alive. the author jonathan franzen used the phrase "hard-wiring neural connections"
    when i was stuck for something to write i used to throw a bunch of photos at the floor. see people from different circles or even eras stood next to each other. this song keeps grandad ted alive as long as people like your good selves want to know more.
    lots of love. guy garvey x
    munroekellyon July 14, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentNo one else compares to Elbow when it comes to creating beautiful imagery, amazing band, love them to bits.
    Mr Jacksonon March 10, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentbeeeeeeautiful.
    odalisqueon November 14, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwow, never considered it in so much detail but now I totally agree, faded memories. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
    incoherentloveon December 11, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwhat I love about so many of elbow's songs is that they can ring true to everyone. Even though I've never been a drug addict or never attempted suicide or anything as drastic as that, they take the emotions down to their essence, the things which we all experience at some point. With this song I love the way everything seems so personal to him, and you really get an insight into him; childhood memories are intimate things to share. At the same time I think a lot of us can relate to how he recalls small things which mean so much, the smell of perfume or the crossword, these things don't mean anything to anyone else but have great personal significance. There's an empathy and understanding there which makes their songs so amazing.
    incoherentloveon June 03, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentGuy Garvey has such an incredible talent for creating beautiful imagery like this.
    Cazzdevilon May 20, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentamazing song. its so subtle in style but it really does bludgeon you with emotion.
    ulokoeon March 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI believe this song is about child visiting a grandfather in a care home. The child is comparing his vivid visulisations of life with the faded memories of his grandfather. This is where the child goes to escape, or perhaps the child as an older version.

    I think that this song is genuinely beautiful, incredibly evocative, and it makes me cry.
    tomslungon May 03, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenttotally agree...i cried when i heard this song on my minidisc walking through town. The 'full dress uniform' indicates a veteran grandfather or parent....very vivid and sentimental.
    jonboyon August 30, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song, it's absolutely beautiful.

    I'm not sure it's about a child visiting his grandfather, so much as Guy Garvey revisiting his childhood memories.

    "And my sister buzzes through the room
    Leaving perfume in the air
    And that's what triggered this"
    - smell is regarded as the sense most associated with triggering memories. Later in life he smells the same pefrume smell, which sets him off thinking of times past.

    So he sits looking through "scattered black and whites" (photos) and remembering the security & simplicity of his childhood & family life.

    His memories are the place where he shelters from time to time.
    Hokusuteruon January 19, 2005   Link

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