Murderers, The Hope of Women

With this knife I cut the cake
Who will be my bride today
Sweet Fanny Adams
Watch her climb the step ladder
A present from her step father
Sweet Fanny Adams
See her reaching out and stripping down the muslin drapes
A cover for her nakedness, a veil for her face
With curtains for your wedding dress
You must take your place amongst
The Proper Little Madams
And now because I love you
I must take my place too

Amongst the...

Murderers, The Hope of Women
Death in every new beginning
I must take this woman for my sentence of life
And she must take my knife

I will buy a ring of gold
And you will practise birth control
Sweet Fanny Adams
Like a queen upon a throne
Of oestrogen and progesterone
Sweet Fanny Adams
This is where your misery starts
This is where your mystery stops
We'll rent a television
To replace Pandora's Box
And I will wear a business face
And you will learn your proper place
From those Proper Little Madams
And in my world of cut and thrust
I will learn that my place

My place must be with the...

Murderers, The Hope of Women
Death in every new beginning
I must take this woman for my sentence of life
And she must take my knife

In my pipe and slippers
Do I look like Jack The Ripper
Sweet Fanny Adams
But I poisoned you with every kiss
Smothered you with domestic bliss
Sweet Fanny Adams
Underneath the suntan from the sun lamp that we bought
Your face is paler than the pale face of a corpse
And from the seventh floor of our bungalow
You flung yourself down to where they stood below
Those Proper Little Madams
But in white hair, wrinkles and false teeth
I escaped detection by the police

One of the...

Murderers, The Hope of Women
Death in every new beginning
I must take this woman for my sentence of life
And she must take my knife

What Will Death Be Like?

Death will be unlike...

the night-times when we lie awake thinking of death
the Spanish maracas that rattle inside the last breathe
the Mexican festivals, skeletons wearing top hats
the Brownstone apartments that dynamite or dereliction collapse
the Mandolin the hangman relaxes by playing
the Hound of the Baskervilles, chilling the moors with its baying
the Curse of the mummy that turns the explorers to stone
the British museum, its bodies from peat bogs and bones
the great roller coaster, a plunge from a boast to a scream
mahogany coffins great pianists play in their wildest strangest dreams
a garden in autumn where poets can sit and compose
the granite memorials where memories wither in rows
the charge of the Light Brigade Alfred Lord Tennyson rhymed
the thin piece of paper that Reagan and Gorbachov sign
the hospital bedside with Novocain needles and cards
the great day of judgement when god the headmaster presents the awards
the marriage that bickers till death us do part
the dreams of the young man who sang 'Love will tear us apart'
TV documentaries showing us life from outside
the Buddhist nirvana the moth seems to seek in the light
the Cities of crystal they build on in a few grains of smack
the long picture window the coffin look through to a widow in black
a room full of spiders all clinging together and crying
the wedding guest's story, the ship drifting lost and the dead sailors sighing
the din in the steeple when cholera poisons the village
the Illumination that Tolstoy provided for poor Ivan Illych
the Wrinkling sea children glimpse through the chinks in the boardwalk
the magical land of 'The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe'
the treacherous virus that murders the lovers with AIDS
the phantoms of freedom that lead the crowd over the barricades
the night thoughts of 'Late Call' when ministers stop being cosy
'The Pit and the Pendulum' co-starring Bela Lugosi
the bulge of the mouse inside the boa constrictor
that drunkard the phoenix, so tight on the moonshine of golden elixirs
the bankrupt, handing over the keys to his house
the last day of summer, when insects grow stupid and swallows fly south
the skull of a merchant that slants through the portrait by Holbein
that strange proposition on silence, the Tractatus of Wittgenstein
the hands of the clock, coming together at midnight
the grim amputations of medical students larking on rag night
the hijacker's voice in the heads of air traffic controllers
the sea as it thunders on Liv Ullman vanishing under the rollers under the rollers
the abbey the pilgrims all saw when they prayed
the unholy land at the end of the Children's Crusade
the hell in Huis Clos Mr Sartre informs is just other people
the travelling salesman who woke up one morning transformed to a beetle
2001, the room at the end of the ride
the wrath that Charles Bronson let loose on the Lower East Side
the House of the Shades the dog Cerberus guarded for Hades his master
that lesson on Infallibility, the Chernobyl disaster
the empty career of the temp's vacillations gone permanent
the unlucky omens the clairvoyant reads in the meaningless firmament
In the meaningless firmament

What will death be like?
Death will be like -

Eleven Executioners

Eleven top hats
In the club vestibule
Eleven gentlemen's cloaks
Hanging up by the black swimming pool
Eleven gentlemen dancing
Each in a style of his own
One is discreetly conversing
On a cordless telephone

And the first he kills only the wicked
And the second kills only the good
And the third he kills people more handsome than him
And the fourth kills the misunderstood
And the fifth kills the women who've loved him
And the sixth kills the couldn't-care-less
The seventh kills people who fill questionnaires in
The eighth kills the deeply depressed
And the ninth kills the twentieth century
And the tenth waits to kill you and me
The eleventh kills only our fear of the tenth
The best executioner he

At some ungodly hour in the morning
The predictable quarrels begin
The first gentleman without warning
Slugs the second one square on the chin
And the third says the fourth is too ugly
And the fifth warns the sixth not to start
And the seventh stops dead in his telephone call
A stiletto has punctured his heart
And the eighth is sick in the cistern
And the floodwaters fuse all the lights
And the ninth drops his copy of 'Jane's Defence Systems' on the floor
In an act of sheer spite
And the tenth drums his fingers and swings his feet
Because somebody's stolen his scythe
Till an expert in brinksmanship brings him complete
A medium range nuclear device

And now chairs will be placed on the dance floor
And now lights will be trained on the bar
And a puppet will sing a morality
While an idiot plays a guitar

While the gentlemen sit with erections
You perform in a transparent skirt
A climax without satisfaction
And a murder in which you're not hurt

And me, I sit where the gentlemen sit
And we love you
Yes we love you
I assure you we do


Rattle tum a gypsum gypsum... Plainy
Rattle tum a gypsum gypsum... Clappy
Rattle tum a gypsum gypsum... Rolly
Rattle tum a gypsum gypsum... Backy
Rattle tum a gypsum gypsum... Left Hand
Rattle tum a gypsum gypsum... Right!
Rattle tum a gypsum gypsum... Touch your heel
Rattle tum a gypsum gypsum... Touch your toe
Rattle tum a gypsum gypsum... Touch the ground
Rattle tum a gypsum gypsum... Big Burlio!

The Gatecrasher

He shows up at the party in a pair of dark glasses
His grandfather wore in the war
Saying nothing to no-one, just drinks as if that's
What God gave him his ugly mouth for
And he doesn't make passes at the girls in the corner
In their Bolshevik glasses and black
When they giggle a little and look at him funny
The gatecrasher only looks back

He takes in the faces, never quite placing them
Squinting his short-sighted eyes
And each one reminds him of someone he's known
Or someone he faintly dislikes
And he can't understand the naive curiosity
Forcing two strangers to talk
When language is always and everywhere language
And people are like cheese and chalk

So he lifts himself out of his squatting position
And gets up for something to eat
But the ham is too pink and the turkey is cardboard
And the plate is as floppy as meat
So he fills up his glass with a bottle of vodka
Snatched from some new arrivals who stare
As he tips back his head like a man seized with laughter
And spits the drink into the fire

And he looks so appealing with eyes like a bloodhound
And hair like the 'Quatre Cent Coups'
With the holes in his trousers designed to arouse us
He looks like he'd know what to do
On the rims of his eyes there's a trace of infection
Or maybe the mark of a tear
Is it mascara or is it bacteria, there where the white disappears?

And which of those girls isn't scared of him
And which of us isn't the same
And maybe that's why, of the four of them,
No one remembers the gatecrasher' s name

Absentmindedly licking the tip of a finger
He's just used for scratching his ear
He wrinkles his nose at the taste of the wax
Which, like him, is acidic and sour
And just for a second something comes back to him
Something so real and remote
That he flings back his vodka to blank out the thought
And he grins as it scorches his throat

Maybe he thinks of his mother, how she kicked out his father
When he'd pushed her around once too much
And how he'd pretended to sleep as she hugged him
And how he'd been calmed by her touch
Or he's sad with nostalgia for a little Italian
Who worked in a bar in Milan
While they swept up the glass on Piazza Fontana
He knew she'd be thinking of him
She'd be thinking of him

Or he wonders why Hitler liked lemon verbena
And whether he loved Eva Braun
Or maybe he thinks of his cheap bed and breakfast
On the far side of town


The territorial drums a waltz on a loaded gun
The viper flexes, coiling on the vine

And the irises are sinking in the rain
Idiots drown the sound of a distant train
The blind man plays his instrument and sings
In the Irish Sea the ichthyosaurus swims

The Reverend Ian Paisley grabs his god and shouts
The Pope sits in the Vatican and doubts

The generous American is loosening his belt
Savouring his childhood in an after-dinner mint

And the rosebuds are sinking in the rain
Radios drown the sound of a distant train
The blind man's bow leaves resin on the strings
In the Irish Sea the rattlesnake swims

On the feast day of St Patrick, like the poet Valery
A soldier pours a glass of blood red wine into the sea

The sun can never shine through the censorship of clouds
In this city of open secrets and sudden shrouds

And the astors are sinking in the rain
Automatics drown the sound of a distant train
The blind old man's accordion is torn
In the Irish sea the adders swarm

And in a Ballymena farmhouse a widow goes to bits
And sometimes she remembers him and sometimes she just sits

And as for the troubles, don't count us out
Sometimes we're unbiased observers, sometimes louts

While the tiger lilies crumple in the rain
Television drowns the sound of a distant train
The blind man pours the spit from an old trombone
In the Irish Sea the tapeworms twist and turn

The moon is a sergeant major who rises and recruits
In the terraces of Belfast, in the back streets of Beirut

Sitting on a bed while I watch you from behind
Skinny as a child, guilt-free, your face unlined

And the violets are sinking in the rain
Videos drown the sound of a distant train
The blind old man has smashed his violin
In the Irish Sea the vipers swim

Could've been your conscience but I guess that never works
So treat me like an equal till it hurts

I violetti piangono per te
I canali la Torre de Babel
I violini piangono per che
Io sto morendo in questo hotel

Islington John

This part of town is all flatfish tramps
Beautiful women becoming mothers
All night long the piano grinsI sit drinking sweetheart stout
Hey lonely you with the negro face
Say lonely what time does the music start?
Suddenly the actress belly laughs
And I put my hand on hers

Islington John, time you were gone
Look at the clock, it's a quarter to one
And when it strikes the hour
I will steal your poppy flower

I get a nosebleed under the blue lamp
The actress goes up to the ugly man and they kiss
The wind ruffles the polythene
On a woman drunk on powdered milk and gas
Me and the actress meet a crowd walking backwards
Football fans attacking gypsy caravans
Someone hits my head from the back
As I'm peeping at cookery down an extractor stack

Islington John lifted the nylon
Lay amongst the broken antiques and smiled
Reeking of coffee and piss
Sober enough just to say this:
'I will pay for the fire extinguisher
The sand bucket and case
If you will let me pay for this man's face'

Three Wars

The first war, the war of 14 to 18
Begins with an uprising of adrenalin
The first war begins with the testicles descending
And desire assassinating the child that you once were
The war begins at school when you rebel against the maths teacher
Who touched you up behind his desk
And ends when you've failed your final maths exam
And had your first success with sex
The war brings new discoveries
How to make dog fights with your thyroid and pituitary glands
How the Zeppelin can fly at your command

And a generation lays down its life
When after all they've done for you
The good parents die
Resurrected as your enemy
And when the girl you've started wanting
More than all you've ever wanted says no
She is your enemy too
But you survive

And from the trenches of your newly found opinions
Quickly dug, quickly abandoned
The white flag waves for an armistice on Christmas Day
Then your voice rings round the family front room
Like a drill sergeant's in front of his platoon
Broken too soon
But you survive

The second war, the war of 39 to 45
Begins when you identify your own inner Third Reich
The second war begins with a sudden hypochondria
A visit to a doctor who waves a piece of paper and says
'This time it's just a false alarm'
The war begins at work with some intoxicating news
When the letter comes that offers you promotion
And ends when you decide to let them offer it
To younger men with more ambition
The war brings new perspectives when you suddenly see through
The politics of power which possessed you
Through all your working hours

And a generation lays down its life
When the whizz kids of the industry
Slow down and die resurrected as your enemy
And when the woman who accepted you
When all the rest rejected you goes
She is your enemy too
But you survive

And at weekends you get custody of an only child
Already adolescent and unreconciled
Who laughs at you, you and your new-found piety
And his laugh rings round your faint desire for god
Like an order from an inner firing squad
Breaking the ties of blood
But you survive

But the third war is the war that never comes
The war that never comes to everyone
Begins the second after next by accident
Ends everything except itself
The war brings nothing, the unimaginable
That the old imagine all the time
Imagine imagination dying

And a generation lays down its life
When it refuses the creation of new ways to live
And when the great invention falls apart
Ripping through the atoms of your heart
The third war will start
Which no-one survives

Flame Into Being

Now the weight of the books has crushed my delicate fingers
I'm not trying to be Paganini any more
All I dream about these days is sex with strangers
Rats in spats and bowler hats on the dance floor
Some days my head is the turret for a machine gun
And the world is torn apart by a hail of words
In tongues of fire the rookie priest reads the lesson
And I would like to quote him chapter and verse

I'm in love with everyone who knows it's hard
To build a way of seeing
Who knows that nevertheless that's the only way
To flame into being

I was always the sucker that got led into temptation
When I didn't have a job and couldn't pay the bills
But stretch me out on your tasteless warehouse sofa
And there or somewhere else I'll do your will
Maybe I'll come out clubbing on a rainy night in Soho
So many clichés have sentimental truth, don't you find?
You be Judith and I'll be Holofernes
Living with a beautiful woman
I'm jealous all the time

So take me to the people who'll gratify my ego
Because under the swagger I don't know who I am
Caesar beware the ides of adolescence
Here comes some new Brutus in black 501s
From the pores of his skin you can smell the cappuchino
And his avaricious eyes are shining like the sun
Black bat night come down from your roost now
And cover me with your wings
Under my eyes I shall wear your blue engagement rings

But as soon as I decide that this is not the place for me to stay
I feel currents that buoy me up and bear me away
And burglars or writers will carry this love away too
Don't regret this, just forget me, let me release you
And as soon as I decide I'm more fertile or just more sober
Maybe I'll think of you like a touching American film
How I left you washing the face of our baby
How whenever I live alone
My hands and eyes work again

Situation Comedy Blues

What's a laugh?
The sound of common-sense falling apart
What's common-sense? A million unthinking hearts
At the end of the working day
And who am I?
Call me the barman standing waiting for the workers
To drink their work away

I'm the man who serves the laughter
To the drunkards of disaster
After they've got plastered on the news
And I've got the situation comedy blues

What's the situation?
This man has been abandoned by his woman
What's the reason?
He's lost his sense of humour
This man is sober
And so he s gone to bed with another writer's scripts
And his wife has had to move in with her mother

And the man who serves the laughter
To the drunkards of disaster
After they've got plastered on the news
Has got the situation comedy blues

He's been devising a new series
Where the first man to appear is
Pakistani and the second is a queer
Who rings the bell in tights and biker's gear
And he tells them that he's sorry to disturb them
But the sari that the wife had on today was out of sight
And could he maybe borrow it tonight?

And the man who serves the laughter
To the workaholics after
They've got drunk on the disasters of the news
Has got the situation comedy blues

So the Paki asks the queen in to his brilliantly-lit kitchen
Where he demonstrates his do-it-yourself tools
He's the type who doesn't gladly suffer fools
But he electrocutes his finger in his biggest Black and Decker
When his wife appears in towel and rubber hat
And the bath she s running floods the neighbours' flat

I've been sitting here unhappily
Trying to write this comedy
When I hear a sudden laugh in the next room
And thinking it's my woman who's come home
I call her name expectantly and,  glad that she's come back to me,
I throw away my trivialising pen . .
And then the television laughs again |~

Marie come back to me ]

Sex For The Disabled

Before the accident you were just a square
And I was a Hell's Angel in leathers and long hair
Before the accident you were a fanatic
And I was a motorbike mechanic

And which of us was stronger then
And which of us was stranger
A woman pumping iron or a liberal Hell's Angel?
Before the accident when my somersaulting Triumph
Entered the gymnasium of the female Goliath

And I don't know if you felt for me
Or if you shared my dreams
But when my speed machine hit your weight machine
I know you heard my screams

And across my leather jacket it says 'Sex for the Disabled'
And across your macho breasts 'Get fit for life'

Before the accident you kept out of sight
Working behind curtains till your body shape was right
The only man you touched was your tutor in karate
I fucked every eligible party

And which of us was crippled then
And which of us more painful?
A woman pumping iron or a liberal Hell's Angel?
Before the accident when I careered akimbo
Through your plate glass window

And as I lay in agony from a thousand savage cuts
You privatised the hospital and you wished me luck

And across my leather jacket it says 'Sex for the Disabled'
And across your macho breasts 'Get fit for life'

Before the accident before '79
Before the wheelchair that was such a difficult time
Every man an anarchist, we were all into 'Zen
And the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' then

And which of us were hawks and which of us were doves?
When you broke off peace talks and we broke off free love
Before the accident when you came to power
And the poor got on their bikes and we got off ours
And the Age of Aquarius changed overnight
To an Age of Economists serving the right
Our Triumphs turned to wheelchairs, don't times change?
Maybe we had nothing to lose but our chains
So now you're the angels, the thugs in authority
And we're just another castrated minority
And across our leather jackets it says 'No Sex for the Disabled'
And across your macho breasts 'Unfit for life' s

Closer To You

And maybe you're the Circle Line girl, trying so hard not to let on you know I'm looking at the way your toes poke out of your sandals, at funny angles to your feet, and how you know it turns me on
Or maybe you're the Spanish girl, playing with your hair as you wait for your friend in that wild octagon of mirrors the Tate calls a coffee shop . . . And oh, I can smell that hair from here, and I can see from eight different angles the way your nipples look through that thin black cotton top, reflected to infinity . . And O God it's places like that and purple-tipped prose like this, that's going to haemorrhage me girl . .

Ooh it's true:
Girl I'm only doing it to be closer to you

Or maybe you're the bay window girl in Wandsworth Town, in ripped jeans and open venetians, painting the difficult corner of an empty room white under a naked bulb, leaning across the bar at the top of your stepladder at the precise moment I'm passing on the steep street at the bottom of your garden in the gathering night . . . voyeur's delight

Ooh it's true:
Girl I'm only doing it to be closer to you

Or maybe you're the foundation painter at the Central School, looking so
fine-boned I could carry you home in your portfolio case, laced up gently
so you won't cry out on the bus on the way home, tied up lightly ,~~
because girl, how could I knowingly injure someone with your perfect lips
and wrists, your exquisite structure . . .Oh little acrylic painter, I can kiss
eggshells, I can be ginger, all the critics say I'm such a sensitive singer . .

Ooh it's true:
Girl I'm only doing it to be closer to you

And maybe you're listening to my voice now, on your Walkman or your bedsit
Dansette, letting my songs slip into you on this quiet night in with your pads of
doodles and your fingers full of pencils and low tar cigarettes . . . And the music's
light and pleasant so you hardly notice what I'm singing about in 'Paper Wraps ~,
Rock' and 'Murderers, the Hope of Women', my songs are just a sound that enters
you and leaves you just the same, and that's how I want it to stay, because . . .

Ooh it's true:
Girl I'm only doing it to be closer to you

But some of those are bitter records, records which accuse women, girls like you,
of using your attractiveness wantonly and wilfully to trap and to paralyse men
who want them and can never have them, men who sometimes feel the perverse
urge to trash the women they desire the most, who imagine they despise all those
immaculate visions... what adolescent crap, what kind of idiot would sing that?
Oh not me, because . . .

Ooh it's true:
Girl I'm only doing it to be closer to you

But you know sometimes I think that every man who writes, every man who
paints or composes, deep soul or symphonies, it makes no difference, all those
men are only making do with substitutes: Solomon, Confucius, Franz Kafka, they'd
never have done if they'd been as beautiful as you, sitting cross-legged there
with gentle music lapping around a promise, there where your thighs meet, of
fertility a million artists couldn't compete with

Ooh it's true:
Girl I'm only doing it to be closer to you

And all the time I see you there in the eye of my mind, and all that cheap macho
stuff about de Sade and misogyny vanishes in thin air and I'm moved to tears
just like any other sucker who's been bruised by all the things that weren't to be,
and yet who's ready to fall down on his knees in front of a woman and say
'Whatever you may do, whatever you may be to me, I want you to know that I
respect you, I accept you and I want you to accept me, I want to kiss you, kiss
your stockinged knee, accept the uniquely soft flesh on the undersides
of your hips

Ooh it's true:
Girl I'm only doing it to be closer to you

And when I've won you, when I've fallen down in front of you and said
'Damn Franz Kafka, damn the Thin White Duke, it's you and you alone I'm doing
this for'... When I'm through with heroes and pastiche, ('throwing darts in lovers'
eyes'), when you've let me make love to you the slowest deepest way that I
know how (when you do that for me baby) and it feels so good, that's when I'll
think of Paul Klee's epitaph: 'Here lies the painter Paul Klee, somewhat closer to
the heart of creation, but far from close enough'

And girl, here I lie, far from close enough to you...