5. Nadir’s Big Chance

Nadir’s Big Chance

I’ve been hanging around, waiting for my chance
to tell you what I think about the music that’s gone down
to which you madly danced – frankly, you know that it stinks.
I’m gonna scream, gonna shout, gonna play my guitar
until your body’s rigid and you see stars.

Look at all the jerks in their tinsel glitter suits,
pansying around; look at all the nerks
in their leather platform boots, making with the heavy sound…
I’m gonna stamp on the stardust and scream till I’m ill –
if the guitar don’t get ya, the drums will.

Now’s my big break – let me up on the stage,
I’ll show you what it’s all about; enough of the fake,
bang your feet in a rage, tear down the walls and let us out!
We’re more than mere morons, perpetually conned,
so come on everybody, smash the system with the song.

Smash the system with the song!

The Institute of mental Health, burning

It was the first day of July;
no wind breathed in the sky
when a pin-striped suit
saw that the Institute of Mental Health was burning.

He stood upon the corner
where the sun was warmer…
looking across the street,
he moved the shackles on his feet
as the Institute was burning.

Flames were roaring, singing like a thunderstorm;
smoke was pouring straight up to the sky;
windows smashing, Gothic doors and lintels fall;
timbers crashing and we both know why.

Nobody else came by to stare;
you see, they didn’t really care.
Can’t call the fire brigade –
none of them had been paid
and so the Institute was burning.

Throughout the city, people say it isn’t pretty,
everyone agrees, and everyone feels glad;
doctored brains celebrate and everyone waves their chains…
It’s a pity they’re all mad.

The Institute of Mental Health
spontaneously killed itself.
Ashes to ashes
and dust to dust:
my chains began to rust
as the Institute was burning, burning, burning.

(Chris Judge Smith)

Open Your Eyes

I was sitting in the dance-hall,
but my mind was far away
so when the usherette walked over
I didn’t know quite what to say.
I tried to look cool
but I knew that I blew it somehow.
Her fishnet tights took me quite by surprise…
I had to open my eyes.

I told her I was dancing
but she didn’t seem to hear;
she asked if I wanted to learn judo,
then she threw me out on my ear
before I’d even had time to take a bow.
I landed on the street, all dishevelled my disguise
but I really opened her eyes.

So if you’re leaning over the balcony
or hanging around the floor
these are the last of the days of the Locarnos–
there really are no more.
And the usherette smiles,
but she’s not telling all she knows….
But there’s time in the end for us all to get wise
if we only open our eyes.

Nobody’s Business

Look out through your dark hair,
tell me the colour of your eyes when they’re cool;
look out through the dark ages
and tell me what’s covert, transfixing you.

Oh, you’re nobody’s business,
oh, you’re nobody’s business
and the patterns of your life
are suddenly twisted and torn
and gone are all the clothes that you’ve worn.
Just like yesterday’s papers
you’re tired and forlorn
and you’re no-one.

Look back at the photos you’ve saved,
dead mementoes of your modelling days;
I look through all my cuttings of you,
but they all seem so lost, so dead, out of phase.

Oh, you’re nobody’s business….

I think back to the girl that I knew –
she doesn’t seem so very much like you:
she used to care about her smile and not her face…
that’s before it was her fortune and took over her soul’s place.

Oh, you’re nobody’s business….

Papering yesterday’s pages,
tapering off in the storm,
you’re no-one.

Been Alone so Long Przekład

Been alone so long
that I’ve forgotten what it’s like
to feel somebody next to me
and hear her breathing peacefully
when I wake up at night.

Been alone so long
that I’ve forgotten what to say –
if I meet somebody who
might easily resemble you
I smile, but look away…
I look away.

Been alone so long
that I’ve forgotten what to do:
how to make the whole thing right
and how to help if she’s uptight
and when to run and when to fight…
how to make her stay the night –
that’s if I ever knew.

Been alone so long
that I’ve forgotten what it’s like
to feel somebody next to me
and hear her breathing peacefully
when I wake up at night,
wake up at night

(Chris Judge Smith)


The golden dream, the seat of all decorum,
a satellite to match the light of Rome;
its silver children chatter in the Forum,
the bath-house, and the brothels, and their homes
about the latest fashions for their clothes.
Across the Tyrrhenian Sea comes drifting
a song that none of them have ever known.

The golden dream that holds back all the hours
for the ladies in their Dionysian rites,
blonde heads all garlanded with flowers,
wine and love and laughter through the night
in constant masque and pageant, constant flight.
The ground below them whispers in a murmur
of passion which is hotter yet than white.

The golden dream, the city of all cities,
its towers piercing into azure sky,
whose hand is dealt, regardless of all pity,
condemned to martyrdom, but not to die.
Two lovers look up from their hidden bower.
The wine has stood too long and it turns sour.

I see the tall and bending of your streets
but now they echo only leather tourist feet
and waking, ashen, grey-blue blinding death
your sudden winding-sheet.

Shingle Song

You can see in the last light that’s graced as dawn
that there’s nothing in my heart but pain
as I stand, facing sea, knowing that you’re gone…
all the elements rage to explain
that I should really be on my way
but there is something
which ensures I must stay.

Beneath the roar of the seething surf,
beneath the caterwaul of scattered call wind
thoughts and gestures unspoken, unheard
and now the dance of rapture begins
as the waves rush along across the beach –
like you, like your love
forever out of reach.

Look at the sky, but it’s empty now;
look at the sea, it holds nothing but despair.
I raise my eyes, but my head stays bowed…
I look to my side, but you’re not there.
And I can’t get you out of my mind,
no, no, no, no, I just can’t get you from my mind.


I stand on the tallest building
and stare down at the grey runway
and the tail-smoke of the Boeing jet
that’s taking you so far away.

Believe me, I don’t want you to leave me;
look in my eyes and you’ll see them
filled with pain.
Imagine just how sad I’ll be
in some future day when I turn
and no longer see your face.
All I can now cry is goodbye, love, goodbye.

In a week, in a month, in a year,
in a lifetime how I’ll feel none can tell.
All I know is now you’re going
there’s really no-one here to help.

Believe me….

Already it’s too late, you’re through the boarding-gate
and walking on the tarmac.
Already you are free, already you’ve left me
and cannot bear to look back, can you?

A brief taxi on the runway,
then up into the stilling night sky;
and I’m standing on the observation tower,
my eyes too dimmed by distance to cry.

Believe me….

All I can now do is walk away alone,
without you.

People you were Going to

Your father has just left your mother,
gone off to live with his latest lover;
she sits there, just staring.
So you get back to your own flat
because the atmosphere in there
is so bad you can’t bear it.
And the people you were going to America with
just left on the dawn plane
without you,
without you.

The people in the downstairs flat
are no longer there now because they left
the gas tap on, they’re all dead.
So you’ve no-one left to talk to,
you just lie there in melancholy,
half-naked on your unmade bed.
And the people you were going to Africa with
just left on the Southern Star
without you,
without you.

Yes, the haze that’s been forming round your window-panes
is now protracted and poisoned
and you cannot feel a portion of the world outside.

Can you imagine the way you’d feel
if all these things had happened to you
and the doctor says you’re dying?
That is the way that I feel now
on finding that your love belongs
to someone else and not I.
My chance of heaven has just blown away
upon a passing cloud and there is nothing that I can do
without you.

The people you were going to
have left, gone far away
and you’re lonely

Birthday Special

I’ve got something to say,
and it ain’t the usual sort of sob-story
that you hear every day.
I’ve got something to ask,
and I know that now’s the time,
now all the rooms of the party are dark.
Proffer me the candy,
yes, I understand is fine;
blow another candle out
and throw another line….
Birthday girl, I’ve got something for you,
there’s ice in the cauldron, look out now;
birthday girl, here comes a special
like Hansel and Gretel never had.

There’s parrots in the pantry
and there’s lizards in the loo;
there’s bloaters in the bathroom
and this party is a zoo;
I’m sitting in the kitchen
trying hard to talk to you
Birthday girl….

I just wanted to say
that I’d like to make this the happiest of all your birthdays
and if that means turning the key
then I’ll turn it with you and there’ll be no doubt
about the way I agree,
Birthday girl….

Two or Three Spectres

„Sod the music,” said the man in the suit,
„I understand profit and without that, it’s no use.
Why don’t you go away and write commercial songs;
come back in three years, that shouldn’t be too long…”
He’s a joker and an acrobat,
a record exec. in a Mayfair flat
with Altec speakers wall to wall,
a Radford and a Revox and through it all he plays
strictly nowhere Muzak.

„Hey, listen, baby, this band’s got a lot of soul…
if we can beat that out of them I see a disc of gold!
Give them an image, maybe glitter, maybe sex,
maybe outrage, maybe elegance –
how about as nervous wrecks?”
Signs up the product at two percent,
justified by vinyl shortage and the increased rent
on the yacht he has to hire to make his pitch at Midem
and all the press receptions for his business friends
who spill their Taittinger upon the floor
while the band sip English lager just outside the door.

Treble, alto, bass clefs on the page,
crotchets, quavers, minims all the rage
but you’ll never find a pound note in the score –
it’s there when it’s strictly merchandise,
through all the propagated lies about what the whole thing’s for.
He’ll make you a star, he’ll make you so famous
that all you desire is to be left nameless,
drained of all you felt you had to offer at the start.

Not without blame, either, are the gentlemen of the press:
you can talk about the state of music,
they will write about your dress.
Play them the new album, they will say it’s great (or not) –
when the articles come out, they’re all about
how many dogs you’ve got.
God to keep the human interest high,
and the hacks are only too willing to comply,
pander to the ego, build up frail men as gods –
but somewhere in the process, the prime purpose is forgotten.

Groupies offer their bodies, the hangers-on their coke;
it’s all very jolly – what a joke!
Fellini creatures cluster round the dressing-room,
the heavenly bodies all got to have their moons.
In the cult of the superman the music plays a supporting role
and far more important is the shape of his nose,
the size of his codpiece and the cut of his clothes…
soul and feeling always take second place
to the bump and grind of a Fender bass.
Frankly, most musicians bore me – but not as much as those
who chase the glory to bask in reflected light,
making the man much more important
than his arpeggios and mordants,
when it’s the other way that’s right.

On the values by which this world makes its heroes
then the best violinist ever was Nero,
because he had the most Press
and his fire gimmick was simply the best.

We got the live thing too,
the Human Zoo:
Ten thousand arms are raised, just like the Hitler Youth –
ten thousand peace signs mark the entry of the sax.
Ten thousand peace signs,
but they’re different from the back.

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