‘Two Magpies’ is the second track on The Fireman’s third album Electric Arguments.
The song was influenced by the nursery rhyme ‘One For Sorrow’: “One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy. Five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret, never to be told.”
I’m not generally a superstitious person. Probably the only thing I’m superstitious about is magpies.
Living in the country, I see a lot of them. If you see one for sorrow, you’re supposed to salute him or you spit. I happen to spit. And I just love it if you see two for joy.
I don’t shoot or catch them like a lot of people. They’re not supposed to be good for other songbirds and a lot of keen gardeners don’t like them, but I do. I’ve got lots. To me, it’s double joy or triple joy. I’m very inspired on a spring morning if I see a crowd of eight.
I’ve always liked them. It’s a theme of mine. There’s ‘Blackbird’, ‘Bluebird’ and ‘Jenny Wren’. They’re symbolic of freedom, of flying away.
As a kid, I was a keen ornithologist and had a little pocket book, the Observer’s Book Of Birds. I lived on the outskirts of Liverpool and, by walking just a mile, I could be in quite deep countryside.