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Read (Discography): 25 October 1978 Bradford University

(Please note: lyrics taken from studio albums. Live versions may vary.)

Indirect Enquiries

You gained respect as we passed
Not a wave, a gestured wink
I was forced to think
I couldn't ignore
I've seen you before

Joking aside, face to face
It's the one I cannot place
A hint might enlarge your imprint
I think I've had a taste of a savoury
Denial would be a waste

Lying prone
Hiding in a column, between SALE and ZDRK
Sky, sand, and moorland, shepherd's delight
But not in the sun
Which stops you from walking

I might find you
But I lack the patience
Passed a corner, you'd been stolen
Ate a meal, you'd been defaced

Men 2nd

Sailing under a false flag
We're crossing the IDL
Becalmed where no creature lives

Lost, forsaken, cursed

Holed below the water line
A shift in the plimsoll line
Pumps in the engine room

Women and children first

Hysterical, no humour
Sabotage, a rumour
Captain-less and captionless

Injury, hunger, thirst
Reptile, prehensile, servile, editorial, gentile, fatal


The time is too short but never too long
to reach ahead, to project the image,
which will in time become a concrete dream.

Another cigarette, another day,
from A to B, again avoiding C, D, and E,
'cos E is where you play the blues.
Avoiding a death is to win the game,
to avoid relegation, the big E.

Drowning in the big swim, rising to the surface

The smell of you
That's the lowdown

On Returning

You'll be sorry when the sun has roasted you to
Lobster red, nothing said
When yellow has turned green to brown, divide by four
Multiply by nine, describe your divisions, anatomical derision

Lobster head and lobster feet
On arriving with a third language
Tucked into your briefcase, next to your toothbrush
Along with a copy of the Nouvelle Observateure

While your sons and daughters who registered nought
Under intensive electronic scanning
You regard your body with regard to events
Which with nothing planned

Never lacked a sense of theatre
On returning with the tan you've gained
A head of world service, the best of your culture
An evening of fun in the metropolis of your dream

Being Sucked In Again

A dorsal fin breaks the water
Salted meat a sudden relapse
Inference drawn from every word

Being sucked in again

Feeling numbed from anaesthetised flesh
Avoid disgrace, ideas still fresh
The gaping mouth, a fish-wive's dream

Bound and gagged your labour's saved
The cost minute, the rules are waved
No hand, no step, your labour's in vain

I Feel Mysterious Today

Always cause for concern
When you're feeling quite bright
And your filament burns

I feel mysterious today
Everything is humming loudly
I feel mysterious today
Everything is coming this way

Is it ever appealing
To stand on a ceiling?
Observe the tension grow

Going walking abroad
Minus hat before dawn
Bats in profusion there

Did you ever conceive
That you too can leave
Exactly when you like?

The Other Window

He took his seat on the foreign train
He thought it pleasant to travel again
Mindful of the journey's end
He read again the letter from his friend

Time passed as it often does

The seat was hard, the carriage fetid
He was dressed for summer, but still he sweated
It was better than being home
Feeling the cold, and living alone

Time passed slowly

Around him people spoke in French
Despite schooldays it made no sense
Occasional stares caught his eye
He was tempted to smile, but

Being shy, time passed

When he looked through the window
For the thousandth time
He saw a black horse fighting for its life

In a barbed wire fence
Fatally tangled
The more it struggled
The more it was strangled

Time sped up

He turned away
What could he do?
The other window
Had a nicer view

Time passed painfully

A Mutual Friend

As a mutual friend it was difficult to pretend
That I was anything less than concerned

Hearing of your troubles
Has forced me to double
My interest in your current affairs

It's no use despising a new unknown horizon
Now your son has set his sights on the moon

So precipitous a decision has clouded your vision
And altered the pitch of your tune

Please don't turn a deaf ear to the noises you hear
While savagely your love you prune
For he might replace the old with the moon
He might replace the old with the moon

In March, April, May, and June
July, August, September, soon
He might replace the old with the moon
It could be October
November, or even December
So in January and February, remember

He might replace the old with the moon
He might replace the old quite soon

Former Airline

When you reach the point
Is it different enough?
Tell me what it's like when you reach the point

When you draw the line
Is it straight enough?
Tell me what it's like when you draw the line

When you go too far
Is it near enough?
Tell me what it's like when you go too far

When you've seen too much
Is it almost the same?
Tell me what it's like when you've seen too much (jump in the flames)

When you know it all
Is it really there?
Tell me what it's like when you know it all

When you've had enough
Is it just the start?
Tell me what it's like when you've had enough


Crooks lay in a weighted state
waiting for the dead assassin
while the rust pure powder puffs,
a shimmering opaque red.
Papers spread, no-one driving,
we hurled direct ahead

the windows dark-green tinted,
the hearse a taxi instead.
Snow storms forecast imminently
in areas Dogger, Viking,
Moray, Forth, and Orkney.
Keeping cover in denuded scrub,
the school destroyed raised the club,
panic spreading with threat of fire.

Crowding beneath a layer of foam,
refugees intertwined, alone.

Within the institution walls,
in pastel blue, clinical white,
slashed red lipsticked walls, mercy nurse tonight.

Seems like dark grey stockings
in the raking torchlight with 4 AM stubble,
a midnight transvestite.

Stepping Off Too Quick

Stepping off too quick
Not about to die
Stepping off too quick
Not about to die

It's just the facts
Can't weigh me down
I don't regret
What went before


There's something strange going on tonight
Something going on that's not quite right
Joey's nervous and the lights are bright
There's something going on that's not quite right

There's something going down that wasn't here before
Keep your eyes glued to the floor
No one's gonna save your life
Something strange is going on tonight

Another The Letter

Passed to hand, behind the curtain
The letter brings change, now things are uncertain
Hand to hand, the letter moves on
Like a series of shocks, but the contents are known

Oh faint heart, when the letter arrives
You suddenly find things getting life-size

Once the air rang with things unsaid
Now cruel outlines are easily read
Behind the curtain, in the yellow bulb light
The letter reads: I took my own life

Sand In My Joints

I've got sand in my joints
I'm counting the grains
And they're so sharp
I'm feeling the pain

I'm like King Canute's daughter
A lamb to the slaughter
My feet in the water
It's not what they think

It's not what it seems

French Film (Blurred)

I didn't understand your plea to live
Or the guy's wish to take or give
However, as backing away,
he fell and lay dead amongst the fireworks display

It's not quite the way to say your goodbyes
It's not quite the way to behave
Secured you a concrete grave beneath a motorway

Gold scissors cut the ribbon and set them loose
On the opening day the vibrations will shake your bones
I suppose that's just the disadvantage
Of not speaking a second language

(The problems of bad reception resulting in blurred perception)

I Should Have Known Better

In an act of contrition
I lay down by your side
It's not your place to comment
On my state of distress
For this is for real
I've tears in my eyes
Am I laughing or crying?
I suggest I'm not lying

I haven't found a measure yet to
Calibrate my displeasure yet so

To ignore my warning
Could be your folly
The judgement is harsh
I offer no plea

Valuing the vengeance which you treasure
I've redefined the meaning of vendetta

The procession's disordered
You protect your possessions
In light of your actions
I question your love

May I make an observation
Your bite is worse than my aggression

I should have known better
I should have known better
Than to become a target
Albeit a target which moves

No offer of terms or concessions
For statements or confessions
You don't feel warm, I pass close by

You shiver, I whisper
Excuse me, what's your problem?
Oh, I see
I should have known better

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice makes perfect, yes I can prove it
Business or pleasure, the more that you do it

Please dress in your best things, this course was unplanned
'Cos you see up in my bedroom I've got Sarah Bernhardt's hand

Practice makes perfect, I've done this before
Never for money, always for love

Please dress in your best things, and don't make a fuss
'Cos you see up in my bedroom Sarah's waiting for us


Our own correspondent is sorry to tell
Of an uneasy time that all is not well

On the borders there's movement
In the hills there is trouble
Food is short, crime is double

Prices have risen since the government fell
Casualties increase as the enemy shell
The climate's unhealthy, flies and rats thrive
And sooner or later the end will arrive

This is your correspondent, running out of tape
Gunfire's increasing, looting, burning, rape

106 Beats That

If he had a room, he'd paint it white,
survives the day, prefers the night,
build slight

Got a head for figures
No time for bicker(er)s
(Or so he says)
Prefers the company of a woman

Finds it more physical (that's an important word),
always seen first then heard,
such a rare bird

With praise he glows, with change he grows, finds that important, hates waiting, it's not stimulating, likes celebrating, I can't understand why that is so funny, that is sex