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What’s So Good About Your Town

From the Album  Silly Old Man

She never flew in an aeroplane
Never sailed across the sea
Never yearned to be in another place
Never wanted to be set free
Never wanted more than a happy home
And the work that she adored
Tomorrow was a gift to her
And she never asked for more

We fell in love on that island
A garden in the sea
A simple girl and a traveller
Who’d seen all you can see
I said I must show you the world
Trying to sound wise
But what she said as she held my hand
Took me by surprise

What’s so good about your town
That you want me to see
Does the sun shine almost every day
Are the people there more free
What’s so good about your town
That I’ll see when I arrive
Can a woman walk the streets at night
Without fearing for her life

I told her not to talk that way
That everything has a price
And if she wanted progress
She must take my advice
Travel opens up the mind
There’s so much we have to see
Then she kissed me sweetly on the lips
And said that’s all I’ll ever need

Don’t you want to improve your mind
Why why why
Aren’t you curious what you might find
Why why why
Don’t you want to see the Queen
Why why why


In 1995, I spent nine months working in Madeira and loved everything about it. The climate, the scenery, and most of all, the people, who despite earning very little, were always happy and intensely proud of their country.

The manager of the hotel was a very efficient and ambitious German who was driven nuts by the attitude of his staff. One day he came to me fuming because the barman had refused to work on his day off. He had just told the young barman that he was a good worker, and if he only put in more time and effort, he would be promoted and earn more money. Apparently, the barman had just shrugged his shoulders and said he was perfectly happy as he was, and what good was more money, if he saw less of his wife and children.

As for the inspiration for this song, I asked a waitress if she had travelled to any other countries. She looked at me as if I was crazy and said, “Why would I go anywhere else when I live in Madeira?”