Permaculture: A Rhymer's Manual - Album

by Formidable Vegetable

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

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  • Limited Edition 12" Vinyl
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    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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03:34 video
04:57 video



"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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Track Name: Look Around
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.
Track Name: Energy
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
Track Name: Yield
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.
Track Name: Limits
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
Track Name: Oil
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

(funeral march)
Track Name: No Such Thing as Waste
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.
Track Name: Patterns
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:

Like that.
Track Name: Get Together
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.
Track Name: Small & Slow
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

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

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.

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
Track Name: Many Many
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
Track Name: The Edge
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
Track Name: Change
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.