In The Black Room (II)
Manheim; rainy Saturday with no money nor friend,
only Tequila can end the boredom.
Try to reach London for a pocket of hope;
we're children, we grope in the dark.
Hugh spends his last Mark on coffee and cheese...
I feel just like a refugee...
Rathaus-keepers and traffic police,
middle-aged maids with rotting teeth
industrial magazines and old Sunday Times;
reading material/bleeding lines.
What are we doing here?
Memorial manace, eager for revenge,
has begun to bend our minds.
Shower-curtain imperative in the presence of acid;
now, feeling placid is death.
I try to hold my breath as the P.A. comes down...
here we all are in Ktown!
The Big Wheel never fails to grind around;
it drags me up/drags me down
Seven sentenses wonder 'Can this be real,
or am I become a performing seal?'
Why are we dying here?
I walk the streets alone, try to find a sign of love,
I've crushed the plaster-bone in the freaky clubs,
I have bit the fruit
but all I live for is to play
and I'm tired of the nights and the days
of airports, taxis and motorway showers,
grooping for a key in the afterhours.
David takes to travelling in the van,
He knows that we all can understand;
we're at the mercy of the Kosmos Tour,
making a pilgrimage to the German Lourdes...
but we're still crippled here.
Cathedrals spiral skywards, I think I'm getting vertigo,
I think I don't know what is real.
On a more sudden spotlight, one more madness is over...
I must not show a sign of fear.
Words echo round my ears, I think I'm going to laugh...
think I'll just go and take a bath, Guess I'll wash my clothes,
don't you know I'll grow to go and make my name,
maybe a servant in the Fame game;
stake my sane and rest my life on the line...
Now lay me asunder and rend my mind;
at the fall of the curtain let this be my ghost...
I saw your picture in the Evening Standard:
you were wearing your battle dress.
I really must confess
that I shed a silent smile for you -
it had really blown my mind,
I wonder, are you still so kind?
Are you still so pure?
There are other rhymes around here somewhere,
but I'm not sure how they fit...
Jenny, penny for your thoughts, I wonder how you're
I hesitate to visualise: our worlds are much too
that's a sign of the times.
Time was when I read your cards
and wrote the numbers in the dust;
I can't remember what they were, but anyhow,
I missed the cusp
so, so long, and so, goodbye
Do you think I'll recognise you by your hair
or by you mind now?
We start out together
but the paths all divide:
when there areno more crossroads
I open my eyes
and find I'm walking on alone
through the snowy cold...
I wonder if I'll make it through the night?
I'm an author and an actor too;
you're a model in the zoo...
I'm just thinking on which side of the bars
I'm looking through.
If I prophesied an avalance
would you wait and call my bluff?
If I gave you just a little song
would that be enough
to save your life
or is the knife already turning in my hand?
ROCK AND ROLE
Watch for the silent moments, only waiting to be saved.
Wait for the Liemaker; he comes again
and sinks his barbs through honesty;
roll him over with all possible speed!
Don't let him touch you with the candle of his need
or let him be, hysterically ravaging your grave.
You are emotion picture, re-run at single frame.
You are the instant playback, no chance to change;
smile and smile, living diary!
Roll you over before it's too late:
before you're exposed to the monochrome phase...
which can relate only fear and hate through the haze.
I am the automated arrow, homing on the heat of pain;
I am the Peacebringer... It is so strange,
I feed on grief and grieve through joy.
So roll me over and turn aside;
don't let me look into the mirror of your eyes
for fear that I
may steel the life
you gradly gave.
IN THE END
I promise you, I won't leave a clue:
no tell-tale remark, no print from my shoe.
Still a steady trail to the water's edge -
I will keep my pledge to the end;
I intend to go free
No more rushing around, no more travelling chess;
I guess I'd better sit down, you know I do need the rest...
Yes, it's time to resign with equanimity and placidity
from the game.
I can't explain;
I can't relate...
Have I done it all too late?
Now is the time for the commission to report;
till lately, I thought: I'd been planted.
Trying hard to make it all come real,
permission to feel is ungranted.
But, now it's happening, I'd like to keep it private if I can;
last words, last look, make a final stand.
Now my number's come up on the Pools,
guess I'll board Titanic for a cruise...
Now is the time to make my status clear,
too late, I fear, and lonely,
as friends and enemies traverse the stage,
all in a rage disown me.
And all the pip-props shatter into dust about my ears;
memory and conscience, hope and fear.
As I crawl out further on the limb
something tells me I am crawling in
to unknown prophecies and lives -
the rainbow's end is hemmed around with knives...
As I stand on the boards and the stage lights grow dim,
shall I go out of doors, or shall I maybe go in?
Have I reached the point when I should take my cue
and follow you and your signs?
I can't remember my line
at the prompter cat calls
and the cards all fall
in the strike
All the pages are thin, all the corners are curled.
Does the starshine fall in through my window on the world?
or am I living our (the seeds of doubt) a chronicle of revenge?
The willow bends
as do my hands -
do your understand?
And will you still be my friend in the end?
......... When my mouth falls slack
and I can't summon up another tune,
shall I then look back and say
I did it all
WHAT'S IT WORTH?
What's it worth to be safe?
What's the way to be sane?
I could throw myself at the garden
on my hands,
prune the lawn and mow the roses,
but I never understand
how to go
to ber free;
in the end I only want to be me.
Winter days here are mine;
still, no bites, what's my line?
I could hurl myself to the bonfire
with all nerve,
clear the path and weed the dead leaves,
but I really just don't have the nerve
to be part
if that scene
is this just some kind of strange dream?
Think I'll walk to the sleeple, where the people
are so inquisite.
I could make it to the corner store and buy
a hoard of derivatives
Which way now... climb or coast?
Will my eggs ever poach?
I could throw myself in the frying pan
for the sake of my name;
hit the road or smile hermetically,
but it's really never quite the same;
every time a subtle twist,
I think I'll grab my plot
and simply exist
Or would that be
a subtle slash at my wrists?
EASY TO SLIP AWAY
My, friends, I never really thought you'd go,
but, then, we know that's the way it happens here.
Now time is like cat's cradle in my hands:
we gather up the strands much to slowly
The refugees are gone... they take their separate paths,
obliterate the past: figures in an ash shroud.
Susie, I guess you're on your way to be a star,
but I don't know where you are: the only time I seem
to see you is on T.V.
It's so easy just to slip away...
It's a year or two since I've seen you...
have dropped you a line if I'd had time
or the will.
It's my fault too; I play a hermit's role
of cars and stages, wages, supersoul
hardly ever seem to get outside these days.
So, dear friends, as we grow on we feel to grow away,
can only live in the hope that some day
it will all return.
It's so easy just to slip away...
DROPPING THE TORCH
We play games and every move
is noted down as a subsequent cause
and effectively chains our freedom and will to live:
we settle in to simple survival,
hanging on our pleasures grimly...
we must never let them go...
Our prison walls are slowly built,
stone by stone and day by day
no provision for escape,
entombed alive in safety
Time sets around us in killing frames,
black border round our names.
Our fingers lose their grip
and the torch slips.
The enemy for everyone
is everyone, inside -
I feel the hand of security
creep on me with ice-cold fingers
and crush my flower of freedom;
I've lost the course of my adventure,
all things I'm meant to do are lost.
There is only one flame each
to keep alive in the wind.
but finally we snuff them out
all by ourselves.
We set traps and, in the end,
fall into our own snares
and have nowhere to go.
Time ever moves more slowly:
life gets more lonely
and less real.
IN THE BLACK ROOM
I was thinking about thinking but it really didn't get me very far,
so I thought I'd throw a Tarot but I only got the Priestess and the Star.
There's a shadow cast between the future and the past:
the room and I agree to buy some time...
The cards don't tell truth nor lies,
only options and cusp lines
the furniture in the black room.
I've been thinking about acid, but, it seem there's not a reason to believe.
I don't make a vital breakthrough and it walks me like a dog upon a lead.
It's all unreal and, the way I feel,
I'd like to try and make it on my own...
Going to the feeling is find:
I really have me a good pleasure cruise.
But, deep in my mind,
I'm no better or worse, just open to the walls.
Paint peels in the black of my room
I'm only talking about myself, ordering my treasure shell,
documenting these present feelings as the future sets me reeling...
What I'll be is what I am,
I'm simply trying not to sham or fake.
Use vision as sense and not as crutch!
It doesn't matter all that much;
whatever happens we'll all survive.
I'm only trying not to pawn my life.
When I'm (maybe) old and strait-laced, shall I then deny all that I feel?
In words of bitter compromise, re-smelt the wrath that's in my eyes
Be a hermit then?
Or be a miser?
Be a man who hasn't managed yet to write his rules?
The future holds my hand in the room...
Well, then my ghosts shall steer down through the years
and lay a hand upon my soul
So: onto the familiar top steps!
in cloud-scud moonlight glow
the Tower reels.
I, the blind man,
feeling for a path I know...
don't you know that I'm only feeling for how to feel?
stare out at the whispering night;
rub mud on their arms.
whimper in the human vortex;
faces glow of worms.
For pain shall come and change shall run
down through my heart
and shake my knees
and NOW it is coming,
all round is the humming
of the World.
Too late! With my balance gone,
dead eyed doll,
I'm falling, falling
back to where I began...
IN THE BLACK ROOM (II)
I'm feeling like a kid again,
I'm feeling like I just walked in the door,
and, with my head on fire,
I wrote this song - I don't know who it's for.
Hands held fast in camera,
I'll swear I heard the Stammerer exclaim:
"I'm a traveller, unraverller.
I only live through pain, and shame, and change!"
In my room, the secret tomb, I can see
they're all me,
and I've only got to choose!
In my head I am dead if I fail
In the trap,
the subtle lap,
but I'm living while I choose......
(CASCD 1067 1973)
Recorded om Febriary and March, 1973
at Sofa Sound, Sussex
Engineer and factotum: Rodney Sofa
and Rockfield Studios, Monmouthshire
Engineers: Ralph "Newport" Down, Pat Moran
Mixed at Trident Studios, London W.1.
Engineer: David Hentschel
THE UMBRACEOUS ENSEBMLE:
PETER HAMMILL: Vocals and tesseraschizoid warbling, acoustic and electric
guitars. electric and grand pianos (bar leapfrog), one flight
of mellotrons and some Gothic harmonium
GUY EVANS: (a) Drums and cymbal
(b) The Thundering Horseman of the Darkest Dawn
DAVID JACKSON: Acoustic and electric tenor and alto saxophones, flute, screams
in the night and icy waterfalls
HUGH BANTON: Bomber, banshee, organ and leapfrog piano, foot and hand bass,
NIC POTTER: Bass and Cortina
All "Songs" by PETER HAMMILL (courtesy of Panel Enterprises)
Cover by PAUL WHITEHEAD (in contact with subject, Endeavour (B.M.A.) and
Photography: O.D. TROELLER (Sussex and Scacchi)
BETTINA HOHLS (Hamburg foliage)
CONDUCED by JOHN ANTHONY and PETER HAMMILL
(Mr. Anthony's costume: Fab Creations (Millinery) Ltd.)
ANCILLARIES: The Tin, dogs, socks, the Beaufort Arms,
Antipodeanism ("The tape is rolling"), pink champagne,
General Hospital, Nationwide and Subbutio (Poland 3 Scotland 2).
German Overalls (Jaxononsax)
Rock and Role (Nic "Killer" Potter, Randolph (a), The Honker)
In the End
What's it Worth (Mellifluteous David)
Easy to slip away (Ni ..... and Davi .....)
Dropping the torch
(In the) Black Room (Sandwiching)
The Tower (Electrostatic Retrospective)