imagesI am a writer living in Scotland still fighting for recognition of my work with Dire Straits. My schooling is so erratic that by the age of five, I’d been to three primary schools in Gilmerton Edinburgh. I then went to Tollcross Primary where I won a scholarship for poetry, my other schools were Portobello High, Musselburgh Grammar Balgowan in Dundee where I had a trial in football for Lockee Harp.

I joined the Infantry Junior Leaders Battalion, Royal Scots when I was fourteen the youngest soldier in the British Army. I was part of a drill display in 1962 at Edinburgh Castle during the Tattoo. During the Cuban Crisis I was attached to the Paratroop Regiment, and after intensive training with them joined my regiment at Berwick on Tweed the Royal Regiment.

On leaving the Army I worked in Duncans chocolate factory, washed cars in a five minute car wash, laboured in many trades, worked aboard a Trawler as a cook. Trained to be a Able Seaman on the SS Vindacatrix?, in Bristol, became a Undertaker for some reason. I was a coal miner at Bilston Glen Colliery on the supply line and actually worked at the coal face and all before I was 21 years of age.

I was a Bus Conductor on the number 11 bus from Dalston Garage London, became a driver and drove most of the routes around London including the number 19, that my Conductress who was Irish became part of the lyric Wild West End, She Was A Honey.

On my return to Edinburgh I worked as a Bouncer in the world famous brothel in Danube Street, where Dora Noyce the famous Madam had her house of ill repute that was frequented by many notable and famous faces seeking pleasure from what she described, “As her girls”. I was there when Dora died and until the house was finally closed by the police, as there were rumors that a Glasgow gang had their eyes on the business. It was said that Dora as a young woman had traveled the world without once having to put her hand in her purse, unless it was to put money in it?.

Back in London I pushed a barrow laden with Hot Dogs and Burgers, with over priced soft drinks in and around Soho, that in those days was illegal. Today its a striving business that the local councils make large revenues from, in my day it was hassle after hassle from the police.

And of course I have done my time for Her Majesty the Queen, all part of what it takes to write Poetry lyrics or write a Novel, experience. Im the Edina Burgh Poet, and was given a Arts Council Bursary for my Novel Edinburgh. I had two plays written by me performed during the Edinburgh Festival of 1982. I wrote the lyrics for the Dire Straits Album, and most of what was used in Brothers in Arms that I have not been payed for. Im a Bastard to mess with, and I do not like being ripped of by a couple of Faggots, and when I tell the truth I do not expect arseholes who dream of going to bed with any of the Knopflers, if that is their names, to put spam on my blog without letting me read what their poor minds are saying, sitting writing shite to no one but their sad selfs because Mark Knopfler did not write the lyrics on two of the Dire Strait Albums. And for a reason known to Illsley and Knopfler wont share in the wealth that I through my writing of the Dire Strait lyrics brought to them.

12 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Guyard Xavier-Ferdinand on January 31, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    dear sir,

    i would simply like to have few informations about the song “Brother in Arms”.
    I don’t fully understand its meaning, as the last lyric is “We’re fools to make war / On our brothers in arms”
    i’m french so i might have misunderstood the lyrics, but i don’t see how the brothers in arms are in war to each others, since they are fellows! or is it more universal, pointing out any soldiers from any army ?

    best regards

    xavier-ferdinand Guyard


    • You’re right, it’s universal. Having been a soldier myself, and during what was described as the Cuban crisis, that happened when I was actually in the army. Where a nuclear explosion would have wiped out the population, and most of the armed forces, I had a feeling that just before the destruction of the bomb exploding, enemies would become friends, and a Brother in Arms. This lyric was written by a soldier to all soldiers.


  2. Thanks for finally talking about >Aboit | Diree Straits Story <Liked it!


  3. Posted by The Sleuth's Drouth on July 29, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Here is a big laugh – “Songfacts” and a massive tissue of lies, about how Mr Knopfler had supposedly came up with the words to various songs, and a fantasmagorical misrepresentation of the truth. Still it is fascinating to see what a tangled web of bullshit is being written about the “songs of Dirk”, and his “Freuderian slips”, haha.


    Sultans Of Swing

    Brothers In Arms

    Laugh #1
    “This song is about the Falklands War,
    which was going on when Dire Straits lead
    singer Mark Knopfler wrote the song.”

    Laugh #2
    “Song was inspired by Knopfler’s father remarking
    We shouldn’t be making war on our brothers in arms.”

    Laugh #3
    “This song specifically refers to the Yom Kippur War.
    Knopfler is Jewish, although of Hungarian descent,
    and this song seems to speak to the hopelessness
    of war, and the struggle of Israel to find peace.”


    For loads more laughs about the songs that “Dirk” is
    meant to have written, and the bullshit interpretations
    put on these lyrics, by himself and various others, see
    this massive list of lyrics which he claimed to have written.


    • Knowing who had written the lyrics, it was no surprise to me that Mark Knopfler was reluctant to discuss in depth about their content. However this reluctance was seen by his fans and the press as someone who didn’t like to boast or brag about their talent, a quiet Mister Nice Guy and amazingly its stuck. I’ve watched numerous interviews with the Knopfler’s Illsley and Pick Withers, its always about the next album and never about the first, and by this lack of information about the lyrics and a smile or look rather than a verbal answer to a question about them, the myths were created.


    • Thanks for the advice, and a nice bit of Private Investigations, the lyrics of Communique are also interesting, I wonder who he was trying to Communique with.


  4. Posted by vince on March 11, 2018 at 11:22 pm

    Unbelievable information on this forum.. Who is Bill Wilson and does he have a role in any of this? I feel for you,, truly feel for you and hope proper restitution is in order.
    As a fan I feel betrayed although I cannot begin to imagine your pain and anger.
    Some stuff is starting to make sense, wow,, hard to believe this..
    Good luck..


    • Thanks Vince, if John Illsley hadn’t been so blinkered and Mark Knopfler so misguided by his bass players take on this situation this blog would not have been needed. We would have met as friends for that was what I thought we were, and yea I’m angry, and in truth myself the Knopflers Pick Withers and Illsley should be the happiest people for the success Dire Straits has become. This idiocy of having your dirty washing put out on the web is obviously suiting someone and its being caused by Illsley and is being used as a weapon against a band member and I honestly think that person is Mark, for going solo. Even David has changed his thoughts on what went on in the past, now that he knows he was being left out of knowing who had written the lyrics for the D.S. album, and its about time. A promoter.


  5. Posted by vince on March 14, 2018 at 12:57 am

    Thank you for your prompt reply but in your honest opinion “Is MK writing his own material today”? I shudder to think otherwise but this info has me as well as others in shock. You are called a “Ghost Writer” so I would assume there many others as talented as you who also go unrecognized. Some one once said, “I don’t know how he does it, writes, sings, tours, performs etc, someone has to help him?.. As a fan for over 35 years this forum got me completely blindsided. This is fake success and such a disappointment yet uplifting and hopeful for you, the universe has a strange way of balancing people out in life.


    • Hi Vince, every writer has their own style of writing, a master bricklayer can look at a course of bricks and know which of his men laid them, its the same with writers a expert can see the differences. This seems to have been overlooked by the many D.S. fans when Communique was released, I write about what I see in life and try and paint a picture in words, and with Marks music it became the Dire Straits so believe me it blew me away, it was new and definitely in the late 70s where the music was stale needed.However though Ive listened to all the D.S. albums Marks lyrics are not based on anything I’d write about, Les Boys made me laugh, but lacking substance, though it certainly got the fans he wanted, or were they just holding on for another Sultan of Swing. Remember D.S. made its reputation in Europe, and I was told I write like Brecht so that doesn’t surprise me the Germans got into the act. Now Vince you asked me about Marks solo career,and I actually went to see him in the Albert Hall,Sailing to Philadelphia, I’d have thought was written about a event long before I was born, so I wont answer your question, but have a look at who was the master at the event at the Deptford unveiling, the head man of P.R.S. for music and he was retiring and guess who his successor was a family member of Guy Fletcher, and theres riches in those forgotten vaults. Sorry to be so unhelpful Vince, if my mother was alive today and I’d told her what I’d let myself in for, she’d have belted my ears, so it makes me wonder what type of family the Knopflers and Illsley come from to allow themselves to be part of a fix. Knopfler is a world class guitarist and didn’t need dragged into the murky world of conmen, if he’d called I’d have come running. Robert


      • Posted by VINCENT PALMISANO on June 3, 2019 at 12:10 am

        Thank you Robert I apologize for the long delay as I didn’t check back on this forum in quite some time..
        Sometimes it difficult in life, to know who to trust…
        May your contribution to music and life come to you as soon as possible..

  6. Posted by Michael Hackethal on June 17, 2021 at 12:32 pm

    Hey Robert, thanks for letting us know about the lyrics. I’m from Germany, used to be a big DS fan mostly because of Mark’s beautiful playing and your deep lyrics. I knew right away this was no bullshit lyrics but something lyrical, poetical, written by someone with an eye and a heart for people and the world around him. I write short stories and novels (not very successfully though) and could always relate to your lyrics. The media / music business is full of people with big ego and no conscience. That’s where they thrive. Keep going, man, don’t let it get at you. – Michael


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