Van der Graaf Generator - Do not Disturb 2016

  1. Aloft
  2. Alfa Berlina
  3. Room 1210
  4. Forever Falling
  5. Shikata Ga Nai
  6. (Oh No, I Must Have Said) Yes
  7. Brought to Book
  8. Almost the Words
  9. Go

  10. Aloft

    Whispers of a wind to lift you off the ground,
    the breath of air that'll take you where it will,
    this flight of fancy carries you until you know for sure
    there's no going back
    to where you were before,
    now you've lost the knack.
    With best-laid plans you once flattered to deceive,
    of fatted calf were intent to eat your fill.
    Perpetual motion carries you but still you know for sure
    that you can't keep track
    and you can't keep score
    there's no going back any more.
    You were tethered,
    eyes and ears peeled tightly on the ground,
    wondering whether
    what goes up is certain to come down...
    steady measures,
    learn to take the whole thing in the round.
    Keep on talking,
    for that's all that's keeping you aloft;
    it was awkward
    holding in your breath before the off.
    Now you travel, though you're not so eager to arrive.
    On the journey what respect you earn is token
    faith in progress
    goes unspoken
    and that's all that's keeping you alive.
    And you know it's not the going, it's the getting there,
    that'll slow you, so you really can't remember where
    you were heading when you started
    all was eloquence
    but now it's all hot air.
    Draw breath in apprehension,
    no safety features left in place,
    your sentence in suspension
    you're clinging on, a basket case.
    You didn't want to tell me
    about your secret passion.
    What dummy would you sell me
    with such unfashionable haste?
    Hold it steady,
    can't afford to let direction drift.
    Are you ready?
    The denouement when it comes is swift.
    Are you joking? Were you hoping for some jolly japes?
    Eat those words or spit them out before they choke you.
    Flailing progress,
    from this moment
    I don't see you making your escape.
    And you know it's not the going, it's the getting there
    that'll get you, that'll get you, no-one lets you
    know you're slowly in the process of forgetting where
    you were heading when you started
    all was eloquence
    or was it all hot air?
    So the pay-off's due,
    now you've told your tale.
    All the words you used
    are exhaled.

    Alfa Berlina

    In the fullness of time, when it's all waxed and waned
    and the cycle's complete maybe it'll make sense at last,
    all the strangeness explained, all the stories discrete.
    Maybe then it'll all be clear.
    I've got a lifetime's library of unreliable mementoes
    and I could show you one or two
    if it's of interest, it'd be an education
    for me to talk you through
    how I wore my innocence as some kind of novelty
    as if I didn't know
    between the devil and the deep blue sea
    lay the fire down below.
    All sense of caution was abandoned in the moment,
    our eagerness to claim the day.
    The dice we rolled would take us anywhere
    and there were no excuses left to stay.
    This was the time, this was the chance to go
    and do it in some style
    Just turn your face up to the summer sun
    and drive a thousand miles
    in an Alfa Berlina.
    I saw a wolf high on the mountain pass,
    the stars were tumbling end to end.
    I knew I'd never feel as free as this again..
    The sea below us like a looking-glass,
    we drifted through the hair-pin bends
    in the Alfa Berlina.
    So very long ago, so far away,
    it's all time out of mind
    but when I think about the way it was
    we were recklessly alive
    in the Alfa Berlina.
    In the fullness of time I can look back and say
    I first fell on my feet
    in the Alfa.

    Room 1210

    He kept to his own company last night
    lay upon the bed,
    drapes and blinds shut tight.
    He booked the wake up call
    his cases were all packed up by the door.
    All ready for it, then:
    goodbye Room 1210.
    He's taken a view
    and squandered a few moments here
    but no time's wasted when
    he's in Room 1210.
    Away from all the brutal noise outside
    he paces out the waiting time.
    Delaying at the threshold of the door,
    he's never going back to the party.
    A black and white film
    dubbed in a language
    he can't understand's
    been on the TV awhile.
    The night rush below,
    the sirens outside come and go -
    no-one can touch him when
    he's in Room 1210.
    Time and event disappear
    but every wall has ears
    and the stories accrue.
    Dimly, he notes spinning gears
    he's one among the ghosts
    whose lives have been spent in
    Room 1210.
    A place of safety all his own
    now he's not ever going home.
    Behind the door
    there's just one favour, he implores:
    do not disturb him
    any more.

    Forever Falling

    I reorganised the diary,
    I had pencilled in a window for us to meet,
    though I knew that you'd be dancing to a different beat
    when you showed up. I was ready
    for whatever psychodrama you'd got in store
    yeah we both knew thaty we'd been through this before..
    Check the time and motion,
    put a stopwatch on the story and don't look back
    as we lock in to our repetitious act.
    You're the eager beaver, keen to make a mark,
    I'm a true believer, whistling in the dark,
    building up the fever.
    Over and over we go through the motions,
    hold on the notion one day it might change.
    Try not to show it but we're lost in the moment
    meanwhile I try to hang on to the ghost of a chance,
    falling through my fingers.
    Season by season we seek an agreement
    beyond rhyme and reason, however estranged.
    Meeting and greeting, our time here is fleeting.
    Meanwhile we wheel around in an impression of dance.
    Falling through our fingers,
    it's all falling through our fingers.
    What d'you really want?
    Dare you ever say
    what you really want?
    Watch it slip away....
    And the moral of the story
    if there's one at all is, surely, to get a grip
    on what's forever falling through our fingers,
    forever falling through our fingertips.
    You're the eager beaver, keen to make a mark,
    I'm a true believer, whistling in the dark.
    What a pair of divas! What a pair of bright sparks!

    Shikata Ga Nai


    (Oh No, I Must Have Said) Yes

    I don't want to talk about the old days any more,
    I've set aside all the unsettled scores
    but nonetheless the past still casts a shadow on me.
    I could walk away without a second glance,
    the way things panned out down to random chance
    but nonetheless the logic's far beyond me.
    Oh no, I guess I must have said yes
    Oh  no, I must have said yes.
    So now I find I'm in a parlous place,
    repenting at leisure for what I did in haste,
    all my past promises are catching up on me.
    Oh no, I guess I must have said yes
    although I'm inclined to digress
    I know I must have said yes.
    And if blame's attached to anybody
    it'll be me,
    I'm the one who said that I agree.
    I apologise to everybody,
    what else can I do?
    Now I'll do my best to see it through,
    I've got no other option.
    No excuses, no stewing in my juices,
    denial is useless, holy cow,
    with precision my everyday decisions
    have led me tobe in the nere and now.
    I'll be right here and now for what it's worth
    hoist on my own petard as I am...
    yeah let's not talk about the old days
    except to say the consequences run,
    to be plain, what's over isn't done
    and you thought you were only having fun.
    Oh no, I guess I must have said yes
    although I was under duress
    I know I must have said yes.
    Though I don't know quite what happened to me,
    how the story went,
    somewhere on the way I gave consent.

    Brought to Book

    Named, the day and date,
    picked, the place and time to meet,
    set, the words I uttered in stone.
    To right the many wrongs,
    that I've done along the way
    now the ball's in my own court.
    Angels hide in the inglenook.
    Saints alive, I'll be brought to book.
    One false move was all it took.
    All the wicked thoughts will be brought to book.
    I'm not proud of what I did before,
    I acknowledge all my actions nonetheless.
    Undiminished, the returning score,
    I played my part in any sins I now confess.
    All that's done is done,
    and all that comes along the way
    lands up in the lap of the gods.
    One false step, one last look,
    under time and tide I'll be brought to book.
    I never thought I'd get to see this through,
    the cold documented case.
    One by one the arguments fall through,
    the past stares me in the face,
    never thought I'd see it through.
    Here it is, the self-obsession and surrender,
    here it is, it's right in front of me,
    here it is, the package gets returned to sender
    here, with interest, it comes back to me.
    I never thought I'd see it through.
    Finally wearing history naked on my face
    I'll disclose the truth of what I've done,
    reveal the lines I've spun in passing,
    I will face up to the music
    and with what breath's left in my lungs
    I'll settle up the score and bid farewell to everyone.
    Time to square the circle,
    time to dot the "i"s and cross the "t"s,
    time to keep on working
    to unspot the hand that did the deeds,
    to wash out the wounding,
    to effect a final remedy.
    In the last accounting
    all the sum of parts in threnody.
    I'm not proud of who I've been before.
    I've no pride in what I've done before.
    Time alone holds what's in store.
    I'm gathered in by hook or by crook
    all in due course I'll be brought to book.

    Almost the Words

    These are almost the words
    I intended to say,
    this so nearly makes sense.
    Although the cut's too close for comfort
    language goes eventually astray.
    There goes the neighbourhood
    under the flood
    and comprehension's culled and clustered
    round the sudden onrush of hot blood.
    And in imprecision
    we are all lost for words.
    All lost, alas, alack,
    all points alarm,
    sounding out the sweet sargasso
    sea of language we are all becalmed.
    So close, almost the words
    but nearly isn't clear and drains our
    understanding of the overheard.
    In incomprehension
    we are all lost for words,
    all at last lost for words,
    all at last's lost,
    we are all lost for words.
    At last you come round to believe what you heard
    as circumstance found you lost for words.
    The secret's unspoken, the sense is absurd,
    the safety net's broken, lost for words.


    There's the thing,
    hold it close.
    You had your fling,
    you laid your ghosts.
    Time to leave,
    close the door.
    You can't believe
    you wanted more,
    more or less,
    all for the best
    in the end
    it's all behind you.
    There's the thing,
    for all you know
    it's time to let go.

Russian Peter Hammill / Van der Graaf Generator Page
Sergey Petrushanko, 1998-2024