Permaculture: A Rhymer's Manual - Album

by Formidable Vegetable

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album


    The hard-copy, full-length, ridgy-didge CD album of Permaculture: A Rhymer's Manual. Comes with beautiful illustrated booklet of lyrics & ukulele chords.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Permaculture: A Rhymer's Manual - Album via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Digital Album
    Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Limited Edition 12" Vinyl
    Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    In true old-school 'appropes-tech' style, Permaculture: A Rhymer's Manual will be available for a limited time on 12" vinyl! Includes all lyrics and beautiful full size artwork on classic record-y sleeve!

    Includes unlimited streaming of Permaculture: A Rhymer's Manual - Album via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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Look Around 03:49
Everything you need is right in front of you When you learn to see good things come to you All you have to do is stop and take a look around Before you intervene don’t do anything Come to all your senses They’ll tell you everything First you have to learn to stop and take a look around. Take a look around Listen to the sound Why not take a whiff? You’ll see much better if you use more than just your eyes Take a step outside if you wanna know What your soil is like and what is gonna grow All you have to do is stop and take a look around Take a look around Get your hands into the ground Don’t be scared of the dirt it isn’t gonna hurt and if you’re braver, try the flavour! Take a handful of land and go on, squeeze it in your hand Then check out the display If it stays together, it’s clay and if it falls apart, it’s sand. Take a look, take a look, take a look read the landscape like a book Interact, low impact, get your feedback when you Take a look around abundance will abound The problem is the solution just depends on your perception gotta change yourself before the world Take a look around on the inside and the out cos when you observe yourself you see everything else Make good use of it now.
Energy 04:28
There’s one thing everyone needs And I am sure that you will all agree that In the end it comes down to energy If you’ve got some, put some effort in now ‘cause whatever it is won’t be hanging around Gotta put it in a bottle and store it any way you can. Catch and store energy every day, any way that you can with care Catch and store energy every day, any way that you can while it’s there. If the sun is shining down its rays then get outside and make some hay because you might just only have today to do it And when there’s more, don’t keep it all yourself Give some to a friend with room on their shelf Cos the best way to generate energy is to keep it moving. Catch and store energy every day, any way that you can for later on Catch and store energy every day, any way that you can before it’s gone Well now I’m young but it won’t be long Before I grow old n this energy will be gone So I’d better find a way to pass it on When you’re coming inside at the end of the season, Preserve all your surplus and save all your seeds and reserve as much as you can for later on
Yield 03:34 video
If you work all day from nine to five and come home feeling half alive, and never see your kids and wife, then I’ve got news for you There’s no point doing what you do unless it’s somehow good for you You’ve got to get a result or two in the form of something real If you’re feeling stressed and not the best and have trouble finding happiness well here’s one thing I will suggest: Obtain yourself a yield Obtain yourself a yield Sustain your energy Don’t drain yourself, maintain yourself Obtain yourself a yield See, money’s not the only yield, You could be making a bigger deal about what you eat for your next meal You can’t run on an empty tank Ignore the stash of cash in your pocket Just make a salad with home-grown rocket. You just have to go out back and pluck it No need to go to the bank. You gotta work your days for stuff that pays. in not just money, but in many ways It’s time you cleared away the haze and obtained yourself a yield. Obtain yourself a yield of something you can eat You can produce some things of use with your own two hands and feet. Obtain yourself a yield right in the here and now Make sure to earn something in return Here, let me show you how. If you’re feeling sleepy then go and have a sleep If you feel like there’s not enough air, then breathe in very deep If you’re thirsty then you oughta get yourself a drink of water and if it’s gonna be cold and your feeling bold you could shear yourself a sheep In any given moment there’s everything you need Just look around, it will be found then obtain yourself a yield. Obtain yourself a yield Take only what you need Life’s pretty fun when you’re getting’ some but there’s no need for greed. Obtain yourself a yield and one for others too Make sure to seal both ends of the deal of what’s good for both of you An easy way to do it is to give one to your friends because the good things you do come back to you and the yield just never ends.
Limits 04:57 video
Hi, I’m your planet, You might know me from such places as the one you inhabit I’m the air you breathe and the land on which standing the food that you eat but I’m getting a little bit dark on some of the ways you treat me. See I give you Everything you need Yet still you want more You’re falling over yourselves with greed, It is time I remind you to exercise restraint because if there’s one thing you should know it’s infinite, I aint. You better L.I.M.I.T What you take from me. Get to know the deal with my L.I.M.I.T You’ve been having a field day on my skin. Cutting it up, burrowing in, But I’m reaching for my skin lotion To take away the pain Better start to regulate your lifestyle of excess Cos I’m picking up my telephone and dialing up the pest control guy Get your L.I.M.I.T on Im gonna count to three Cos I’ve had it up to here So get your L.I.M.I.T on Cos I’ve got limits and I’m not afraid to use them With your bad habits, you do nothing but abuse them. I’ve got limits And I’m not afraid to use them If you keep going all your privileges you’ll lose them It’s time to check yourself and stop pointing fingers out, cos self-responsibility is what it’s all about. Stop relying on the top, cos it starts here on the ground Just get back to your gardens people, stop foolin around. Get back, get back to your garden Cos I’ve got limits And I’m not afraid to use them harsh consequences Well I’m about to introduce them I’ve got limits And I’m just about to use them Are you gonna listen now The future’s yours for the choosing
Oil 03:11
We’re running out of oil It’s going to be hard to live if we don’t find some alternatives to oil Because pretty much everything we do uses oil Let me list some of the things made with oil There’s computers, light bulbs, toothpaste, cat food, dog food, our food, microwaves, umbrellas, blankets, glasses, crayons, fridges, pharmaceuticals, houses, trucks and boats and planes and clothes and roads and phones and shops and farms and your auntie’s underpants If we don’t find a solution we won’t have them anymore Because pretty soon will be no more oil. We don’t need cars Well, maybe now we sort of do but we could also walk, use bicycles and ride horses Instead of oil and coal and uranium Use clean, renewable resources. Like the sun It has heaps of energy Beaming down for free Feeding plants and trees Make use of these kind of natural forces And use clean, renewable resources Why mine gas when you can make your own from the comfort of your throne with a methane digester? The future of energy is in predominantly biological processes So be a clean, renewable investor Use and value clean, renewable, clean, renewable, clean, renewable services and resources. Once again…! Time to do away with fossil fuels and just get back to the soil ‘Cause let’s face it it’s the end of oil. Yes, let’s face it it’s the end of oil. We might as well face it It’s the end of... Oil. (funeral march)
When I was a little boy, I liked to catch the rain while people all around my town watched it flow right down the drain But because our little shed in the bush wasn’t on the mains the only water we had to use was in a tank caught from the rain Cos there’s no such thing as waste, Only stuff in the wrong place There’s no such thing as waste, Misusing water’s a disgrace Moved to the city, rented a house, on my way to buy a bed Saw one lying on the side of the road so I took that one instead. I also found a fridge, a couch and a big old plasma screen in the biggest pile of thrown out stuff that I had ever seen But there’s no such thing as waste Only stuff in the wrong place Yeah, there’s no such thing as waste That old landfill is a disgrace. Down the track, I found out that diesel cars can run on veggie fat Bought a truck and hit the road, smelling like fish & chips I rescued piles of wasted oil from the back of restaurants I’d be a fool if I bought my fuel when there’s oil nobody wants There’s no such thing as waste Only stuff in the wrong place No, there’s no such thing as waste That old idea’s got to be replaced Now we gotta refuse, reduce, reuse, repair, recycle Refuse, reduce, reuse, repair, recycle. Now I get my things out of garbage bins, I compost every crumb, I save my seeds and eat my weeds and feed the leftovers to ya mum Gonna build a house from the rubbish tip, gonna keep this planet clean Reuse ideas that have been round for years to live within its means. There’s no such thing as waste, woah no Only stuff in the wrong place, scooba doo beeooden dip I said there’s no such thing as waste, yeah Only opportunity to be embraced.
Patterns 03:40
I wake up every morning Every night I go to bed Like everybody, I was born and Like everybody, someday I’ll be dead Like the sun arising and the sun going down It’s all working to a pattern that keeps the whole thing going round Always in patterns that keep coming around, around, around It’s the way it happens They keep going around, around, around Gotta see the bigger picture before looking at the small If you can’t see the forest for the trees then you’re not really seeing at all Before you do anything gotta know how it’s done Work from a pattern to the details you’ll be halfway there before you’ve even begun Around, around, around They’ll tell you what you need to know from what the weather’s doing, if there’s rain a-brewing to how to make your garden grow We can rely on patterns and you can learn them faster Train your brain to retain them. Become a pattern master Like a tessellated tamarillo or a spiral full of herbs or Fibonacci geometry in broccoli or all of these rhyming words It really blows my mind The way it’s all designed Oh no, I’m not religious but it’s prodigious All these patterns in this world of mine. Everythings in patterns In a dynamic relationship with the answers at your fingertip Life is just one big mobius trip Woah, if you can disprove patterns well I’ll eat my hat and make my habitat into a room full of padding in downtown Ballarat and just talk in scat: Scoobeedoobeedoobee… Like that.
Get Together 04:15
I see you there, on your own And I don’t know what you’re doing all alone There’s not enough time in this life To be wrapped up in your own thing, just doing your own thing. wrapped up in your own thing, thinking bout your own thing. I‘ve got an idea of things to do But they’d be ten times better if I did them with you Come over here, we’ll make it happen With some inspirational collaboration Lets get together. All my people in the neighbourhood You’ve lived here so long, what’s going on? Don’t even know your names, or what you do. But with a little bit of effort, we could make community. With a little bit of effort, we could make community Lets get together. Lets get together. One and one makes more than two functions we need to make the connection shed the illusion of separation Everyone living on this land We could make light work if we give each other a hand Doesn’t matter where you’re from Or who you are We need some integration, no more segregation Yeah. we need some integration, no more segregation. Let’s get together.
Small & Slow 03:51
In the future When there’s no more fossil energy How we gonna feed the masses? Have enough for you and me? Life today seems pretty good like we came out on top But I wonder how we’re gonna get down. Gotta be careful we don’t drop Take it slow Make it small and slow To avoid the confusion Use small and slow solutions Yeah... Mmm... In your front yard you can grow most of your food in a space the size of your driveway Doesn’t have to be huge Plant a seed, watch it grow It’ll feed ya, just let it go Don’t want the pain of too much to maintain So stay inside the right size. and take it slow Make it small and slow Who needs the green revolution? When you’ve got small and slow solutions Yeah... Mmm... When we quit our oil addiction how we gonna get around? Well I think there’s a small and slow solution, people in this technology I've found It’s called your feet and they’re pretty good for getting from A to B. It takes a bit longer but your legs come out stronger and there’s lots of nice things to see If we take it slow Make it small and slow Don’t create no pollution with small and slow solutions. Yeah... Mmm... Bigger isn’t always better Faster don’t make you stronger If we keep going the way we’re going we won’t be around for much longer So instead of running towards a brick wall why not walk instead and save your head? The bigger it is the harder it falls so keep it small, keep it small and… Take it slow 'cause the dream of unlimited growth is just a popular delusion so use small & slow solutions Yeah... Mmm...
Many Many 03:31
If you mix every colour under the sun, in time you’ll find that you just have one. Better give them all a chance to shine cos otherwise you end up with the same thing. It’s a delicate balancing act, and that applies to you and me 'Cause the only way we stay intact Is with a big fat dose of diversity. Our bodies are a billion organisms made into one There’s no telling where the last one ended or where the next tiny little bacterium begun You see, diversity is your friend and If your food only had one flavour If everything that you said was right it really wouldn’t work to your favour Variety is the spice of life. 'Cause there’s many, many, many, many different kinds and many, many, many, many different places Many, many, many, many different times many, many, many, many different faces Many, many, different varieties, many, many, people in society Many different opinions on the way to do things many, many, many, many songs to sing If you like everything to look the same just open your mind and try to get past it 'cause it really does make you stronger when you don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The more functioning connections the better You never know what it will become Mix it up but keep it together Make your differences work as one. 'cause there’s many many… Mix it up, mix it up, mix it up Bring it back, bring it back, bring it back
The Edge 04:17
Some people tell me that I’m crazy 'cos I do things that don’t fit in with the rest of society Like my love of small spaces My room aint too large I just live in a box underneath the house in the corner of my garage But the edge is where it’s at and it’s easy to create and my mama always said if you’re not living on the edge then you’re taking up too much space. Been looking to settle down Find some place nice where I can get my hand on some marginal land and turn it into paradise The smaller the better and I don’t care if it’s bad I guess I’m the kind of fella who’ll always be a fringe dweller Just do the best I can with what I have. Because the edge is where it’s at and it’s the most productive place and my mama always said if you’re not living on the edge then you’re taking up too much space I might wind up in the desert with whipping wind and sun Well, I’ll just plant a hedge and I’ll start my edge and I’ll have sorted two things with one Oh, but if the rain is a-falling and washing everything away I’ll just slow down that water with a convoluted border and everything's gonna be ok. Because the edge is where it’s at I’m gonna work that interface 'cos my mama always said if you’re not living on the edge then you’re taking up too much space Make a pledge to acknowledge the edge Grow some veg and stack it on a ledge Wherever things come together you’ll find it getting better You’ll fall so in love with the edge you’ll wanna write it a love letter Just broaden your range at the place of exchange You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain There’s every single colour sittin between white and black A well-beaten path ain’t always the right track Because the edge is where it’s at and we’re on the edge right now Yeah we’re gonna see some change, see some things get rearranged Moving on cos there’s no going back Yeah the edge is where it’s at and there’s no more time to waste and my mama always said if you’re not living on the edge then you’re taking up too much space
Change 03:56
One thing’s for certain and that’s that nothing’s for certain You never know what’s around the bend In whatever you’re dealing just accept what you’re feeling There’s no point in believing it will never end 'Cos it’s changing, constantly changing In every situtation the only thing that remains the same is change. Like a change in the season change is there for a reason. Can’t stop ourselves from moving around the sun There’s no point in complaining if it’s stormy and raining Just go and get an umbrella and play in the rain with someone Cos it’s changing every moment changing Sometimes there’s nothing you can do and no matter who you are you’ve just got to be cool with change Change is there make the most of it Might as well use it for your benefit If your food’s bad, better compost it When there’s no planes, build a pirate ship and sail the seas! You can do as you please but only if you know you’ve got to improvise your way through change Even if you keep very still be guaranteed that nothing else will Don’t sit around wondering what to do If you don’t make change, it’ll happen to you We’ve got small change & big change and loose change slow change and fast change and a wind change We’ve got sea change and tree change and climate change you change and me change and a key change... Change is all the rage, turn the page away from this strange age of the deranged. Time to engage with rearranging our brains from insane to sane. Step out of your cage worrying about your wage or the Asian stock exchange. Just drain your main vain of the pain, take to the stage and become an agent of change.



"So infectious that the most ardent climate sceptic would have trouble staying still"- Sydney Morning Herald

Permaculture: A Rhymer's Manual is a practical wake-up call to action covering the 12 permaculture principles on a ukulele put to various radish beets.

Featuring the voice and 1940’s Parisian-jazz-style ukulele grooves of Western Australian permaculture troubadour, Charlie Mgee, alongside an all-star cast of Australian musicians including the likes of horn-playing vocal explorer, Mal Webb and 10 piece live electro-swing band Ensemble Formidable, the album is filled to the brim with tracks of truly grooveworthy proportions in various out-there styles ranging from ‘energy-descent electro-swing’ and ‘climate-change reggae’ to ‘peak-oil polka’ and ‘post-apocalypso’.

From the co-creator of permaculture, David Holmgren himself: "I didn't cringe once!"


released April 1, 2013

Produced by Charlie Mgee in Fremantle, Western Australia.
Mixed by Dan Carroll. Mastered by William Bowden.
Artwork by Charlie Mgee. All songs licensed under a Creative Commons 3.0 Unported License (BY, NC, SA) Charlie Mgee 2013.




Formidable Vegetable Fremantle, Australia

Permaculture funk-swing for a changing world.

With a wheelbarrow full of dirty electro radish-beets, crusty jazz ukulele, swingin' strings and hyperactive horns, Formidable Vegetable are here to sow the garden of your mind with seeds of future-resilience in the funkiest way possible.

"So infectious that the most ardent climate sceptic would have trouble staying still"- Sydney Morning Herald.
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