Peter Hammill - "None of the Above" 2000

  1. Touch and Go
  2. Naming the Rose
  3. How Far I Fell
  4. Somebody Bad Enough
  5. Tango for One
  6. Like Veronica
  7. In a Bottle
  8. Astart


    Touch and Go

    Between the light and the shadow, 
    out of the corner of my eye
    I saw your feathers all ruffled, 
    anticipating the sky....
    You've got no reason to stay, 
    day by day your impatience has grown.
    I'm caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, I know.
    I'm reaching out
    but we are touch and go.
             
    Making a meal of the moment
    I might cook up a story or two,
    but the dish of the day's getting colder
    and I know that, pretty soon, 
    you'll pick up your bed and walk,
    open your wings and fly away from me
    across the leaden, hammer-headed sky
    while I can't breathe a word,
    no matter how I try.
             
    So scared
    it shows 
    that we are touch and go.
             
    I never brought myself to tell you
    how you kept all my demons at bay
    but my silence came out as indifference
    and now my diffidence has driven you away.
    You'll be the one with the wings,
    I'm going down in flames,
    still mouthing out the mystery, my angel, of your name.
    How touch and go our tenderness became.
             
    (So scared to show
    I know we're touch and go)
             
    So touch and go, 
    so much I can't explain.
             
    (So much is unexplained.)
    

    Naming the Rose

    He had worked on this for years
    since they know they'd be childless:
    to hybridise a thornless 
    and deep-scented damask rose.
    She was always by his side
    in the lengthening shadows...
    this case is closed.
             
    Ena Harkness, Constance Spry,
    Emily Grey, Margaret Merrill,
    Zepherine Drouhin, Aimee Vibert and Blanche Moreau -
    all these spirits still survive in the act of the grower
    (in peace and compassion he's...)
    naming the rose,
    naming the rose in the memory of sweetness.
             
    Dedication to the call
    and he offers up the hope
    that love conquers all.
             
    It's not easy to explain
    how he felt at her passing
    the very day on which
    the most perfect bloom was full-blown;
    tender cruelty that she'd
    never share in this moment,
    naming the rose.
             
    He takes her ashes to the seed-bed 
    and works them in gently
    so that her soul will rise like sap
    in the plants as they grow
    and then whispering her name
    writes it out on the label,
    naming the rose,
    naming the rose
    for the sake of her sweetness.
             
    Naming the rose
    in the memory of sweetness.
    

    How Far I Fell

    (Here's the old man and his not-so-childlike bride;
    here's the humbling of us all, delusion never dies;
    here's the story: anyone can fall at any time at all.
    We're born to be fools in life.)
             
    I was the king of the mountain,
    I had everything that money couldn't buy:
    at the summit of ambition I was ready for the sky.
    I viewed the world from this, my citadel...
    oh, how I fell.
             
    Silent and sleeping, the volcano,
    so I thought that I stood square upon my feet.
    I ignored the warning tremors in my hubris, I repeat -
    I never saw you coming, Jezebel...
    oh, how I fell.
             
    As I look back now on the tears I was to cry
    I am holding on to the vestiges of pride,
    I am holding on, but I will never be the one to tell
    how far I fell.
             
    (Here's the old man and his not-so-childlike bride;
    here's the humbling of us all, delusion never dies;
    here's the story: anyone can fall at any time at all.
    We're born to be fools in life.)
             
    A fool and his money are soon parted
    and there's nothing like an old fool, so they say:
    once the plastic had been melted quickly you were on your way,
    leaving me drowning in the wishing-well -
    oh, how I fell.
             
    You'll never know how deep you cut me,
    although anyone can see the state I'm in.
    So I pay the price of such unoriginal sin...
    but I will never bring myself to tell
    how far I fell.
    

    Somebody Bad Enough

    I keep your picture in the back of the book
    as index to my hidden pages;
    a secret life
    is where we meet
    and I'll not let you go.
             
    I know you think that I'm a bit of a creep
    but I will grow on you in stages
    until you recognise that we're both in so deep
    that it's contagious.
             
    And if you love somebody bad enough
    I believe in the end they will offer you in their lives.
             
    I keep the website stocked with pictures of you;
    I love to scan your shocked expression.
    I know that you're the only one
    who really understands
    all about possession.
             
    And if you love somebody bad enough
    you will follow their footsteps wherever they're going in life;
    and if you love somebody bad enough
    I believe in the end they let you in their lives.
             
    And if you love somebody bad enough
    you will follow their footsteps wherever they lead you in life;
    and, yes, I love somebody bad enough
    I believe in the end you will let me in your life.
    

    Tango for One

    And every time you call me
    I wait to hear what favour you require of me this time....
    The object of your own desire,
    not everything's about you,
    I'm not exactly hanging on your words,
    this audience is restive,
    perhaps you've not observed
    because it's me, me, me with you
    and what I feel means not a lot.
    No, I don't need this,
    you're welcome to what you've got.
             
    Not everything's about you,
    my world does not revolve
    around whatever problem you want solved;
    perhaps you might do better with a fresh resolve.
    But it's always me, me, me with you
    and I have had it up to here;
    no, I don't need this -
    you're welcome to yourself, my dear.
             
    You're welcome to the party,
    so glad your guests have all arrived.
    They're all reflecting your brilliance in their adoring eyes.
    You're welcome to this moment,
    everybody's here for you...
    but you'll be dancing by yourself before the night is through.
             
    Not everything's about you,
    not everything's about you,
    not everything about you's true.
             
    And every time you call me
    your self-obsession grows:
    you'll stew in your own juices, I suppose.
    I've had enough of listening, there's nobody at home;
    not everything's about you, everybody knows
    that everything about you's emperor's new clothes.
             
    You're welcome to the party,
    so glad that everybody came;
    oh, how they admire you as your worth is self-proclaimed!
    The spittoons fill up with vitriol
    while you're puffing up your name.
    Yes, you're welcome to this moment
    you perceive as your righteous fame;
    and if exhausting our patience
    has long been your chosen game
    you're a winner, you're a champion...
    in your own eyes you're a saint.
    Is that what you've become?
             
    Yes, you're welcome to yourself
    but when this one-off race is run
    not everything's about you.
    Not everything's about you,
    and getting on without you won't be hard,
    if of comfort that's a crumb.
             
    It's always me, me, me with you;
    surely it can't be so much fun
    to find you're dancing a tango for one?
    

    Like Veronica

    Wear your hair like Veronica Lake
    and he says you look ever so pretty
    as he brushes the tear from your cheek almost tenderly...
    soon he'll be home.
             
    Falling in love was your first mistake,
    with a heart that held no trace of pity.
    As you look in the mirror you wonder what face you will see
    when he comes home.
             
    Soon he'll be
    in through the door in a cloud of rage and impotence;
    calling you whore, his greeting is a Glasgow Kiss;
    down on the floor you raise your arms but there is no defence...
    he's only in love with his fists.
             
    Wear your hair like Veronica Lake
    and the bruises won't show where he hits you;
    safe behind the curtain, in private, in secret nobody will see
    how he comes home.
             
    Soon he'll be
    into your face in a spittle-stream of vitriol and abuse,
    filling the place with the stench of alcohol and piss;
    no saving grace, no comfort, no escape and no excuse:
    he's only in love with his fists.
             
    If this is all that there is
    isn't there somewhere to run to?
    Or do you think in the future he'll change his ways?
    Is that why you stay?
             
    He is not your heaven-sent protector, he is not an angel from above,
    he is not the man that you once married: now his fists are all he loves.
    He is just a weakling and a bully, he is not the devil in disguise;
    he is not the man that you once married, he only wants to see you cry.
    He only wants to hear you beg, he only wants to see you hurt,
    he only wants to see you bleed, he only want to make you cry.He is not your heaven-sent protector, he is not an angel from above,
    he is not the man that you once married: now his fists are all he loves.
             
    Oh, darling, darling, is that why you stay?
             
    His fists are all he loves.
    

    In a Bottle

    With the sense of anticipation burning on his skin
    and the train of consequences running at full throttle,
    before the touch, before the kiss,
    this moment just before their history begins,
    he'd give anything to put this in a bottle.
             
    No sense of time, no sense of place,
    in case of senselessness he'll swear to her alone,
    (He'll swear to her alone.)
    though he knows tomorrow this will be another face he's forgotten
    (No memory's quite his own)
    before the fire, before the fall, all this is magical,
    the future so unknown,
    he'd pay anything to get this in a bottle,
    (as if that's a thing he could ever own)
    he'd pay anything to get this in a bottle.
             
    Don Juan had been so careful but he let it slip
    that the elixir he craved was moist upon her faithless lips
    and in the hint of her perfume that lingered on his fingertips...
    distillation.
             
    Overstrength, this eau-de-vie.
             
    (What a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip finally....
    He got the bottle, he knocked back the eau-de-vie.)
             
    He's stripped of recollection, 
    he's left with no protection,
    this won't come again,
    although he always knew that he'd foresee
    much more than he'd ever remember.
    (This won't come again.)
    Losing the thread, losing the plot,
    it wasn't/not possible to stay on fire as he was then,
    he'd do anything to breathe life in these embers. 
    (But the secret stays untold...)
    He'd give anything to get life from these embers.
    (and the fire has grown cold, cold, cold.)
             
    Between the present and the past, his mouth agape
    and the elixir he drained has twisted essence out of shape;
    and with dark perfume he is wraithed
    now that the genie has escaped from the bottle.
             
    Sangrial, the eau-d-vie.
             
    (What a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip finally....
    eau-de-vie, eau-de-vie.
    Don Juan had been so careful but he let it slip.
    Don Juan had been so careful.
    Eau-de-vie...)
    

    Astart

    Always we're too young to understand
    that life is neither cruel nor fair,
    at random or well-planned.
    So we stride along the shoreline
    while our footprints in the sand
    are washed away and then
    say "Can I begin again?"
             
    But where you come from's who you've been
    and try as you may your debts all stay unredeemed
    (maybe that's why they seem)
    when all history's as distant as your dreams
    you close your eyes and count to ten,
    say "Can I begin again?"
             
    Every action, every passion,
    every rational retraction, every breath a start....
             
    Always we're too young to comprehend,
    nobody here will ever know the whole story,
    how it ends. 
    (Our lovers and our friends...)
    Holding them closely in the noblest of pretence -
    life's just got started when
    you find you can't begin again.
             
    (Every action, every passion,
    forms a little chain reaction, every breath astart.
    Every moment, lost or stolen
    forms the story, base or golden: go from where we are.)
             
    Always we're too young to understand....
             
    (Every action, every passion,
    forms a little chain reaction, every breath astart.)
    

    Lyrics and music by Peter Hammill


Russian Peter Hammill / Van der Graaf Generator Page
Sergey Petrushanko hammillru@mail.ru, 1998-2017