07. Clutching at Straws

Hotel Hobbies

Hotel hobbies padding dawns hollow corridors
Bell boys checking out the hookers in the bar
Slug-like fingers trace the star-spangled clouds of cocaine on the mirror
The short straw took its bow

The tell tale tocking of the last cigarette
Marking time in the packet as the whisky sweat
Lies like discarded armour on an unmade bed
And a familiar craving is crawling in his head

And the only sign of life is the ticking of the pen
Introducing characters to memories like old friends
Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines
A fever of confession a catalogue of crime in happy hour

Do you cry in happy hour, do you hide in happy hour
The pilgrimage to happy hour

New shadows tugging at the corner of his eye
Jostling for attention as the sunlight flares
Through a curtains tear, shuffling its beams
As if in nervous anticipation of another day

Warm Wet Circles

On promenades where drunks propose to lonely arcade mannequins
Where ceremonies pause at the jeweler’s shop display
Feigning casual silence in strained romantic interludes
Till they commit themselves to the muted journey home

And the pool player rests on another cue
Last nights hero picking up his dues
A honeymoon gambled on a ricochet
She’s staring at the brochures at the holidays

Chalking up a name in your hometown
Standing all your mates to another round
Laughing at the world till the barman wipes away the warm wet circles
The warm wet circles

I saw teenage girls like gaudy moths
A classroom’s shabby butterflies
Flirt in the glow of stranded telephone boxes
Planning white lace weddings from smeared hearts and token proclamations
Rolled from stolen lipsticks across the razored webs of glass
Sharing cigarettes with experience with her giggling jealous confidantes
She faithfully traces his name with quick bitten fingernails
Through the tears of condensation that’ll cry through the night
As the glancing headlights of the last bus kiss adolescence goodbye
In a warm wet circle

Like a mothers kiss on your first broken heart, a warm wet circle
Like a bullet hole in Central Park, a warm wet circle
And I’ll always surrender to the warm wet circles

She nervously undressed in the dancing beams of the Fidra lighthouse
Giving it all away before it’s too late
She’ll let a lovers tongue move in a warm wet circle
Giving it all away and showing no shame
She’ll take a mother’s kiss on her first broken heart a warm wet circle
She’ll realise that she played her part in a warm wet circle

It was a wedding ring
Destined to be found in a cheap hotel
Lost in a kitchen sink or thrown in a wishing well

That Time of the Night
(The Short Straw)

At that time of the night
When streetlights throw crosses through window frames
Paranoia roams where the shadows reign
Oh, at that time of the night

At that time of the night
Your senses tangled in some new perfume
Criticism triggers of a loaded room
Oh, at that time of the night

So if you ask me
How do I feel inside
I could honestly tell you
We’ve been taken on a very long ride
And if my owners let me have some free time some day
With all good intention I would probably run away
Clutching the short straw

At that time of the night
When questions rally in an open mind
Summon all your answers with an ice cubes chime
At that time of the night

At that time of the night
Pretend you’re off the hook with the telephone
Your confidence wounded in a free fire zone
Oh, at that time of the night

So if you ask me
Where do I go from here
My next destination even isn’t really that clear
So if you join me and get on your knees and prey
I’ll show you salvation
We’ll take the alternative way
Clutching the short straw

If I had enough money I’d buy a round for that boy over there
A companion in my madness in the mirror the one with the silvery hair
And if some kind soul could please pick up my tab
And while they’re at it if they could pick up my broken heart.

Warm wet circles

Going Under

Is it wrong to talk to myself even when there’s nobody else
I’m just checking out that I’m not gone under the water
Thrown on the beach like a seal ready for slaughter

Can’t you understand that the way things were planned
It never worked out so I just went crazy
I took to the drink, like something says its “maybe”

I ain’t got no excuse and that’s really the news
Got nothing else to say, that it’s my way, it’s always my way
I seem to be running away so often

I’ll try anything once and that’s the way we should be
But it’s always the same getting caught up again in a habit
A habit I just can’t shake off the way it always turned out

Can you understand it’s the way I choose to be
Everything seems so easy this way but I’m going under fast
Slipping away
Am I so crazy

Just for the Record

Many’s the time I’ve been thinking about changing my ways
But when it gets right down to it it’s the same drunken haze
I’m serving a sentence to write life’s sentences
It’s only when I’m out of it I make sense of this

Just for the record I’m gonna put it down
Just for the record I’m gonna change my life around

Just a revolutionary with a pseudonym
Just a bar room dancer on my final fling
Just another writer paying off my dues
Just finding inspiration well that’s my excuse

Just for the record I’m gonna put it down
Just for the record I’m gonna change my life around

Just another empty gesture with an empty glass
Just another comic actor behind a tragic mask
But I’ve got no discipline got no self control
Just a little less painful here when my back’s against the wall

It’s too late, I found, it’s too far, I’m in two minds
Both of them are out of it at the bar
When you say I got a problem that’s a certainty
But I can put it all right down to eccentricity
It’s just for the record it’s just a passing phase

Just for the record I can stop any day

White Russian

Where do we go from here?
Where do we go from here, where do we go from here
Where do we go from here, where do we go from here

They boarded up the synagogues, Uzis on a street corner
You can’t take a photograph of Uzis on a street corner
The DJ resigned today they wouldn’t let him have his say
Surface scratched where the needles play, Uzis on a street corner

Where do we go from here

Terror in Rue de St. Denis, murder on the periphery
Someone else in someone else’s pocket
Christ knows I don’t know how to stop it
Poppies at the cenotaph, the cynics can’t afford to laugh
I heard in on the telegraph there’s Uzis on a street corner

Where do we go from here, where do we go from here

The more I see, the more I hear, the more I find fewer answers
I close my mind, I shout it out but you know it’s getting harder
To calm down, to reason out, to come to terms with what it’s all about
I’m uptight, can’t sleep at night, I can’t pretend everything’s all right
My ideals, my sanity, they seem to be deserting me
But to stand up and fight I know we have six million reasons

They’re burning down the synagogues, Uzis on a street corner
The heralds of the holocaust, Uzis on a street corner
The silence never louder than now, how quickly we forgot our vows
This resurrection we can’t allow, Uzis on a street corner

Where do we go from here, where do we go from here

We buy fresh bagels from the corner store
Where swastikas are spat from aerosols
I sit in the bar sipping iced White Russian
Trying to score but nobody’s pushing
And everyone looks at everyone’s faces
Searching for signs and praying for traces of a conscience in residence
Are we sitting on a barbed wire fence
Racing the clouds home, racing the clouds home

We place our faith in human rights
In the paper wars that tie the red tape tight
I know that I would rather be out of this conspiracy
In the gulags and internment camps frozen faces in nameless ranks
I know that they would rather be standing here besides me
Racing the clouds home, racing the clouds home

You can shut your eyes, you can hide it away it’s gonna come back another day
Racing the clouds home, are we racing the clouds home
Racing the clouds home

Incommunicado

I’d be really pleased to meet you if I could remember your name
But I got problems of the memory ever since I got a winner in the fame game
I’m a citizen of Legoland travellin’ incommunicado
And I don’t give a damn for the Fleet Street aficionados

But I don’t want to be the back-page interview
I don’t want launderette anonymity
I want my hand prints in the concrete on Sunset Boulevard
A dummy in Tussaud’s you’ll see

Incommunicado, incommunicado

I’m a Marquee veteran, a multimedia bona fide celebrity
I’ve got an allergy to Perrier, daylight and responsibility
I’m a rootin’-tootin’ cowboy, the Peter Pan, the street credibility
Always taking the point with the dawn patrol fraternity

Sometimes it seems like I’ve been here before
When I hear opportunity kicking in my door
Call it synchronicity call it deja vu
I just put my faith in destiny – it’s the way that I choose

But I don’t want to be a tin can tied
To the bumper of a wedding limousine
Or currently residing in the where are they now file
A toupee on the cabaret scene
I want to do adverts for American Express cards
Talk shows on prime time TV
A villa in France, my own cocktail bar
And that’s where you’re gonna find me

Incommunicado, incommunicado

Sometimes it seems like I’ve been here before
When I hear opportunity kicking in my door
Call it synchronicity call it deja vu
I just put my faith in destiny – it’s the way that I choose

Incommunicado, incommunicado
It’s the only way

Torch Song

Read some Kerouac and it put me on the tracks to burn a little brighter now
Something about roman candles fizzing out, shine a little light on me now
Found a strange fascination with a liquid fixation, alcohol can thrill me now
It’s getting late in the game to show any pride or shame
I just burn a little brighter now, burn a little brighter now

Doctor says my liver looks like leaving with my lover, need another time-out now
Like any sort of hero turning down to zero still standing out in any crowd
Pulling seventeen with experience and dreams, sweating out a happy hour
Where you’re hiding 29 you know it ain’t a crime
To burn a little brighter now, burn a little brighter now

Dr. Finlay: “And my advice is if you maintain this lifestyle you won’t reach 30”

Torch: “Christ – it’s a romantic way to go really, it’s part of the heritage, it’s your round i’n’it?”

We burn a little brighter now

Read some Kerouac and it put me on the tracks to burn a little brighter now
It was something about roman candles fizzing out, shine a little light on me now
Found a strange fascination with a liquid fixation, alcohol thrill me now
Getting late in the game to show any pride or shame
Burn a little brighter now, we burn a little brighter now
We burn a little brighter now

Slainte Mhath

A hand held over a candle in angst fuelled bravado
A carbon trail scores a moist stretched palm
Trapped in the indecision of another fine menu
And you sit there and ask me to tell you the story so far
This is the story so far

Shuffling your memories dealing your doodles in margins
You scrawl out your poems across a beer mat or two
And when you declare the point of grave creation
They turn round and you to tell them the story so far
This is the story so far

And you listen with a tear in you eye
To their hopes and betrayals and your only reply
Is Slainte Mhath

Princes in exile raising the standard Drambuie
Parading their anecdotes tired from old campaigns
Holding their own last orders commanding attention
We sit here and listen to all of the story so far
This is the story so far

Take it away, take it away, take it away
Take me away, take me away, take me away

From the dream on the barbed wire at Flanders and Bilston Glen
From a Clydeside that rusts from the tears of its broken men
From the realisation that we’ve been left behind
Is to stand like our fathers before us in the firing line

Waiting on the whistle to blow
We stand here waiting on the whistle to blow
They promised us miracles, and the whistle still blows
Broken promises but the whistle still blows
Waiting on the whistle to blow
We stand here waiting on the whistle to blow

Sugar Mice

I was flicking through the channels on the TV
On a Sunday in Milwaukee in the rain
Trying to piece together conversations
Trying to find out where to lay the blame

But when it comes right down to it there’s no use trying to pretend
For when it gets right down to it there’s no one here that’s left to blame
Blame it on me, you can blame it on me
We’re just sugar mice in the rain

I heard Sinatra calling me through the floorboards
Where you pay a quarter for a partnership in rhyme
To the jukebox crying in the corner
While the waitress is counting out the time

For when it comes right down to it there’s no use trying to pretend
For when it gets right down to it there’s no one really left to blame
Blame it on me, you can blame it on me
We’re just sugar mice in the rain

‘Cos I know what I feel, know what I want I know what I am
Daddy took a rain check
‘ Cos I know what I want, know what I feel I know what I need
Daddy took a rain check, your daddy took a rain check
Ain’t no one in here that’s left to blame but me
Blame it on me, blame it on me

Well the toughest thing that I ever did was talk to the kids on the phone
When I heard them asking questions I knew that you were all alone
Can’t you understand that the government left me out of work
I just couldn’t stand the looks on their faces saying, “What a jerk”

So if you want my address it’s number one at the end of the bar
Where I sit with the broken angels clutching at straws and nursing our scars
Blame it on me, blame it on me,
Sugar mice in the rain, your daddy took a rain check

The Last Straw

Hotel hobbies padding dawns hollow corridors
A typewriter cackles out a stream of memories
Drying out a conscience, evicting a nightmare
Opening the doors for the dreams to come home

We live out lives in private shells
Ignore our senses and fool ourselves
To thinking that out there there’s someone else cares
Someone to answer all our prayers

Are we too far gone, are we so irresponsible
Have we lost our balls, or do we just not care
We’re terminal cases that keep talking medicine
Pretending the end isn’t quite that near

We make futile gestures, act to the cameras
With our made up faces and PR smiles
And when the angel comes down, down to deliver us
We’ll find out that after all, we’re only men of straw

But everything is still the same
Passing the time passing the blame
We carry on in the same old way
We’ll find out we left it too late one day to say what we meant to say

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the water
Those problems seem to arise the ones you never really thought of
The feeling you get is similar to something like drowning
Out of your mind, you’re out of your depth, you should have taken soundings
Clutching at straws, we’re clutching at straws

And if you ever come across us don’t give us your sympathy
You can buy us a drink and just shake our hands
And you’ll recognise by the reflection in our eyes
That deep down inside we’re all one and the same

We’re clutching at straws
We’re still drowning
Clutching at straws

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