Peter Hammill - pH7 1979

  1. My Favourite
  2. Careering (Don't Ask Me)
  3. Porton Down
  4. Mirror Images
  5. Handicap And Equality
  6. Not For Keith
  7. The Old School Tie
  8. Time For A Change
  9. Imperial Walls
  10. Mr. X (Gets Tense)
  11. Faculty X


    MY FAVOURITE

    In my time I've told a lie of two.
    I've been a deceiver, but believe me
    what I now say is true.
    There's no other way
    I can express what I'm thinking of:
    You're my favourite, you're the one that I love.
    
    It's a one-horse race,
    still I'm ready to place my bet.
    I'm a pretty slow starter,
    and I haven't quite caught up with it yet...
    It seems so extraordinary
    that you should care for me.
    You're my favourite - how lucky can any man be?
    
    You're my favourite - will you stay the course with me?
    
    You're my favourite of all time.
    You're my favourite, can't you see?
    You're my favourite of all time.
    Say you'll stay the course with me.

    CAREERING (DON'T ASK ME)

    I don't know, can't you see
    I'm just passing through, fast as you
        don't as me.
    Careering out of control
    disappearing down the Black Hole,
    careering - the white man's soul.
        Stands stark naked in the floodlight glare,
        stands stark raving on the strap...
    I've had the feeling the I've been there 
    but I can't quite believe it.
    I don't know, can't you see
    I'm just passing through, fast as you
        so don't as me.
    
    Careering, simply day to day,
    engineering everything I say.
    Careering for the work and the pay.
        I'm just a passenger passing through.
        I'm just an average chap.
    If I said I hadn't got a clue
    there'd still come the questions.
    I don't know, can't you see
    I'm just another case of wasted space
        so don't ask me.
    
    Careering, my apprenticeship no waves
    than my pension slip;
    Careering down the Cresta Run,
    I screw it up just like anyone.
    Careering - pointless anyway
    to do it just for the work and the pay....
    
    Look here: I don't know, can't you see
    I'm so near the end, get it straight, friend -
            don't ask me,
            don't ask me, 
            don't as me.

    PORTON DOWN

    Won't here a sound at Porton Down,
    the clear liquids keep their silence,
    buried underground at Porton Down
    the fast form of the final violence.
    
    Quite right to be worried about the proliferation
    of nuclear bombs and power stations,
    but there's a deterrent that's going to unearth us yet...
    
    Hurry on round about Porton Down,
    a quick glimpse of the future warfare
    hidden under ground at Porton Down;
    far too frightening to alter what you saw there.
    
    They got bacteria to drop us where we stand,
    they got diseases still unknown to man,
    they got the virus and the microgram's
        enough to do in a continent.
    
    The ultimate madness.
    
    Just one shattered test-tube to wipe out the world.
    It begins with the mustard gas,
    it proceed to Hiroshima;
    The culture moves on - now it's bacterial.
    Truly insane -
    Porton Down waits to fever the brain.
    
    Won't hear a sound at Porton Down,
    the clear liquids keep their silence
    buried underground at Porton Down,
    the fast form of the final violence.
    Hurry on round about Porton Down
    the quick glimpse of the future warfare,
    hidden underground at Porton Down,
    far too frightening to say what you saw there.
    
        No sound at Porton Down,
             from Porton Down,
            after Porton Down.

    MIRROR IMAGES

    If I'm the mirror and you're the image
    then what's the secret between the two,
    these "me"s and "you"s, how many can there be?
    Oh, I don't mind all that around the place,
    as long as you keep it
    well away from me.
                                
    I've begun to regret that we ever met
    between the dimensions.
    It gets such a strain to pretend that the change
    is anything but cheap;
    with your infant pique and your angst pretensions
    sometimes you act like such a creep.
                                
    And now I'm standing in the corner,
    looking at the room and the furniture
    in cheap imitation of alienation and grief.
    And now we're going to the kitchen,
    fix ourselves a drink and a cigarette,
    getting no closer to being the joker or thief.
                                
    Still, I reflect, this nervous wreck
    who stands before me can see as well,
    can surely tell that he's not yet free;
    he can turn aside, but can no more ignore me
    than know which one of us is he,
    than tell what we are going to be,
    than know which one of us is me.
    
    And now we're going to the kitchen,
    fix ourselves a drink and a cigarette,
    getting no closer to being the joker or thief.
    
    These mirror images,
    these mirror images
    won't stay, go away, are no help.
    
    In these mirror images of myself
    there are no secrets.

    HANDICAP AND EQUALITY

    All men are born equal at the moment they arrive...
    Check the limbs and senses we require to survive.
        But some come deaf and dumb and blinded,
        some have damage to their brains:
        parents constantly reminded
    that they'll never play the normal children's games.
    They may not be normal,
    but they're people just the same.
    
    If Christ had been born defective to fulfil the Father's plan
    would he be as easily accepted as God made man
        or does the human value alter
        in the crippled human frame?
        Though the tongue and fingers falter
    must we shut them out and shut them up,
    and shut the case and whisper 'such a shame...'
    That's how we shut them away.
    
    Most of us are lucky, free from accidents at birth
    but their victims share our right to the inheritance of earth.
        For all their grunts, their stumps,
        their tumours, their eternal wheelchairs,
        we're the freaks, we're the inhumans,
    if we close our eyes and turn aside, pretend
    that if we do they'll not be there....
    They've got to face it, so we've got to face it.
    Still they've got to live with it
    in a worlds we supposedly share.

    NOT FOR KEITH

    In Germany, his days finally caught him;
    I won't insult his memory with long-distance grief.
    Tears and wakes weren't his style: not him,
            not for Keith.
    
    He'd have laughed in my face if he saw it get mournful,
    he'd pull me up short and say "Life carries on"
    in that gentle way of being cruelly scornful...
            now he's gone.
    
    "I want to see it all, and eat it"
    was as close to ethos as he came;
    though he knew he couldn't beat it,
    he never gave of himself anything less than best
            in the game.
            Oh, one of the game...
    
    I never did say, I never quite found time:
    he taught me a lot, and I carry it still.
    Never thanked him at all for his friendship
            and now I never will.
    
    The diaries we write are those that we crave for,
    we never put the P.S. at the foot of the final page.
    He deserved more time, but he never was made for
            middle age,
            not for middle age.
            Not for Keith.

    THE OLD SCHOOL TIE

    Oh the bright young man in the tight-buttoned suit
    the light beams out from capped smiles to the shines
            on their lick-spittle boots
    Oh these sharp young sparks with their fresh rosettes
    Yeh, the artful ways that they promise the earth
            to all suffragettes -
    What they won't promise we don't know yet.
    They say they're build - and shaping society
    but we know they're just saving for their own
        Safe home in politics
        Anything goes: look at them run.
    
    Come from every side, noses Pinocchio clean;
    Lock in synchromesh, oil the wheels and the gears
            of the party machine.
    And the final goal is a cabinet seat...
    in the trappings of power, the presumption to speak
            for the man in the street.
    Once they move in, they're in for good;
    Yeh, once they get that bed made it's a
        safe home in politics.
        Jobs for the boys: look at them run.
    
    There's just one thing none of us should forget:
    a political man is just in it for the power
            and the smell of sucess.
    Sure, some start out as idealists - 
    pretty soon they all cop for ideal careers and
        a safe home in politics,
        a cusky job in politics;
        look at them run.
    
    The politicians fight it out on the couning tower
    but they all agree not to rock the boat.
        A safe home in politics
        It's built on your vote.

    TIME FOR A CHANGE

    (Chris Judge Smith)
    Time for a change:
    I felt bad, things looked strange.
    Home, home on the range...
    Yes, it's time for a change.
    
    "Well, young man, when you grow up
    what do you want to be?"
    "Please, sir, if that's alright
    I'd really rather like to learn how to be me."
    
    Switch on the light,
    getting late, almost night.
    A shilling puts you right,
    you can switch off the night.
    
    The world was looking stretched and tight,
    it's an overblown balloon.
    I've got the feeling something big
    has got to happen soon.
    
    Oh, time for a change,
    out of reach, out of range.
    Go and tell Doctor Strange
    that it's time for a change.

    IMPERIAL WALLS

    (Anon; 8th century Saxon)
    Strange to behold
    Is the stone of this wall 
    broken by fate
    
    The strongholds are buroten
    the work of giants decaying
        the roofs are fallen
        the tower are tottering
    mouldering palaces roofless
    weather-marked masoury shattering
    Shelters time - sacred tempest - marred
        undermined of old
    
    Earth's grasp holdeth
    its mighty builders
    tumbled, crumbled,
    in growel's harsh grip
    till a hundred generations
        of man pass away

    MR. X (Gets Tense)

    The current affair gets to be my business
    I heard the news on the radio
    The sun on earth... what is this?
    Is that the way that the crazy goes?
    
    Attention tuned to the satellites,
    looking down for an overview.
    In the chapel of space we are acolytes.
    In the battle of time we're all soldiers too
        and the relative choir
        push the energy higher
    Under fire.
    
    The sliding show in the macroscopic
    finger on the button pointing to progress.
    The apparatus roll, no-one here can stop it,
    too bus learning more - always knowing less.
    Soon turkey - wrapped in the spaceman blanket
    we'll offer up lame duck apologies
    and settle down for the final banquet,
    the gourmet dish of technology,
        cryogenic device
        catches all human life
    Under ice.
    
    The current affair gets to be all out businness.
    It's filtered in through the T.V. screen.
    The norm, the average... what is this,
    when it goes blank what does that all mean?
    And what's the drive of each individual?
    And what's the way that the story ends?
    Is it Mr. X left as the last residual
    holder of the flame, causcience of all men?
        But he's so tense to expire
        he throws himself on the wire
    Under fire.
    
    Is this the way the world ends?
    Under ice
    Under fire
    Has there been some mistaken design?
    Under ice
    Got to find the human voice.
        Lord, deliver us from Babel.

    FACULTY X

    Hope by and by, hope by and by -
    motes in the eye, portcullis is shut,
        a skull isn't much
        of a castle to live in
    when the change is going to come,
    the change has got to come.
    
    Explosions in the brain attest to it
    Evolution down the drain - let all the rest do it...
    
    Oh yeah, the only result is cumulative drek
        It won't be the drug
        it won't be the sex
        it's got to be the Faculty X
    
    Looking for a method, I play a straight bat,
    throw away the chances to slip.
    Yeah, you talk about the average -
    I don't care about that
        and my words are only giving me lip
    
    When I know that the change has got to come
    Or what am I living for? or why am I here?
    I running, I give in more,
    far away from the near
    
    Go meta-physical world, the sign that protects
        It wasn't the last
        it won't be the next
        It's Faculty X
    
    Reading seeks, sages. prophets and obocurantist tracts,
    draining the elixir to the dregs...
    active yeast in the bottom is on the attack
    and it leaves me without any legs to stand on
    
    Still I hope that the change will come
    
    Meanwhile I don't know
    I think I'll have to go
    
    Yeah, go for the governing body my consciousness elect
        It won't be so clear, it won't be direct.
        it's all that I fear, it's all I suspect
        and I'll disappear in Faculty Ex -
    
    I pluck all these characters out of thin air,
    I push them down into the lungs;
    I infuse them with meaning as much as I dare.
    Stretch out for the shoreline and wait
            for the wave....
    


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