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Read (Discography): On Returning


Saw you in a mag (smoking a fag), kissing a man

I got you in a corner (cottage), got you in a corner


It's So Obvious

It's so obvious, it's here, it's there
It's not just the colour, it must be more
At least 17+3 score
This is '77, nearly heaven
It's black, white, and pink, just think
There's more to come
Hum hum hum hum
It's so obvious

Well it's all right, just listen, can't wait for '78
God those RPM, can't wait for them, don't just watch
Hours happen, get in there kid and snap them

Mr Suit

I'm tired of being told what to think
I'm tired of being told what to do
I'm tired of f——ing phonies
That's right, I'm tired of you

No, no, no, no, no, no, Mr Suit

You can take your f——ing money and shove it up your arse
'Cause you think you understand, well it's a f——ing farce
I'm tired of f——ing phonies
That's right, I'm tired of you

And if you turn and walk out that door
And take your f——ing money, let me tell you what it's for
I'm tired of f——ing phonies
That's right, I'm tired of you

Three Girl Rhumba

Think of a number, divide it by two,
something is nothing, nothing is nothing.
Open a box, tear off the lid,
then think of a number, don't think of an answer.
Open your eyes, think of a number,
don't get swept under, a number's a number

A chance encounter you want to avoid, the inevitable,
so you do, oh yes you do the impossible

Now you ain't got a number, you just want to rhumba,
and there ain't no way you're gonna go under

Go under

Ex-Lion Tamer

There's great danger
For the loneliest ranger of all
No silver bullets
Tonto's split the scene

Next week will solve your problems
But now, fish fingers all in a line
The milk bottles stand empty
Stay glued to your TV set

There's great danger
At hand most caped crusader of all
No cloak of justice
Robin's flown the nest


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


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


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

Feeling Called Love

What is this feeling called love?
What is this crazy thing I can't explain anyhow?
What is this feeling called love?
What is this crazy scene I can't work out anyhow?

Maybe I should try it now
Or maybe I should be shy of it now
COs there's nothing you know that can explain it
And there's nothing you know that's worth the pain of it

What is this feeling called love?
What is this thing I can't work out no how?
What is this feeling called love?
What is this thing I don't understand no how?

Gimme love

I Am The Fly

Crawling, over your window, you think I'm confused
I'm waiting for the divergent wasp

To complete my current ruse

You use a plate-glass screen
To protect my chosen target

But there's an air-pellet hole
I can crawl through to you

I am the fly in the ointment
I can spread more disease than the fleas
Which nibble away at your window display
Yes, I am the fly in the ointment
I shake you down to say please as you
Accept the next dose of disease

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

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 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?


An unwilling sailor adrift from Arctic waters
As the water gets warmer, my iceberg gets smaller

As he pours more petrol on, he feels no fear
As the flames get nearer, his thoughts get clearer

A blue-white polar bear arrives at the end
Diverting his attention, his feelings froze over

I'm only a runaway AWOL at the logical start
Not present in the present, overboard with limited future

And I'm standing alone, still getting a thrill
While the ship is afloat, he's losing his boat

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

Outdoor Miner

No blind spots in the leopard's eyes
Can only help to jeopardise
The lives of lambs, the shepherd cries

An outdoor life for a silverfish
Eternal dust less ticklish
Than the clean room, a houseguest's wish

He lies on his side, is he trying to hide?
In fact it's the earth, which he's known since birth

Face worker, a serpentine miner
A roof falls, an underliner
Of leaf structure, the egg timer

A Question Of Degree

Once a question of degree
Now circumstances corner me
Demanding my attention
Leaving little choice
Posing several questions
Distilling in one voice
Confusion not in words

I didn't want a problem
I didn't simply fall out
I was thrown at great speed
From a passing car
I didn't touch the ground
Till I landed at your door
Oh don't touch my luggage

I can easily (surely) manage
To struggle inside

I hide my shaking
Thus protect my pride
I can surely manage
To tremble/struggle inside
Gathering myself
And spreading it around
Rivers are submerging
Flowing underground

Can I really manage
To survive outside?
Can I really manage
To survive outside?
Can I?
Can I?
Can I?
Can I?

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

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

40 Versions

I never know which version I'm going to be
I seem to have so many choices open to me

It's not hard to see another unique event
When you miss the beginning and you miss the end

I've got forty versions all dying to get the part
And so with a change of mind comes a change of heart

A total eclipse arrives now and Niagara Falls
No loss of blood yet and no further calls

I never know which version I'm going to be
I get the feeling my mind is deceiving me

In between are where only edges can be seen of the spaces

A Touching Display

With all the front
And more besides
Bitch, thrust, and parry
And a few asides
With considerable charm
You chose not to decide

I really like you
Becomes my massage
I really want you
Becomes my message

But how long can we sustain
Ourselves apart?
The pressure's increasing it
Squeezes my heart

I bought a ticket
You took a walk
So much to say
We're unable to talk
Suffering in silence
Our eyes give it away
So close as we part
A touching display
Colouring my thoughts
Predominately grey and

Fighting bravely
Will she save me?
From what or who
I do not know

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

Bonus tracks

Straight Line

My mind is unwilling and your flesh is so weak
Do my movements betray the secrets I think?
I always stand by walls and try to humour fools

Am I moving in a straight line?

Oh, it's unlust and the one-dimensional boy

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

Field Day For The Sundays

I wanna be a field day for the Sundays so they can f——k up my life
Embarrass my wife, and leave a bad taste
That striped toothpaste can't remove on Monday mornings

I wanna be a target for the dailies so they can show
Pictures of me with a nude on page three, so lacking in taste
Touched up near the waist, looking as limp as Monday morning


The race of champions, the pace the pace
The speed the need, the need to seed
The chance to die

Another dead don't cry, another dead don't cry
You've still got speed, you'll maybe bleed
But that's next time

Less time than before, more speed than before
You're rich not poor, what are you doing it for?
Want more, want more

Another dead don't cry, another dead don't cry
Indeed it's speed, to feed from speed

Doing it all the time

Dot Dash

Mist closing in, getting thicker
One drops out, becoming quicker
Lights grow dim, they glimmer
The chances smaller, the odds are slimmer

Dot dash, dim flash, don't crash

Loosening my grip
Be sure to tread carefully
Steering a passage
Finding a line

Crosses on fire, crossfire
Progressive acceleration, skidding but the expression
Remains pan, radiators for all
Radial, I'm still in control, I understand, a hand, a hand moved me

Driven by self-propulsion
Turning right across the stream
The risks increased with sustained leisure
Courting death, so ill at ease

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

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

Two People In A Room

Two people in a room
Facial movements betray
A private display
Of nervous disorder
And mutual torture

Two people in a room
Bloody image is conjured
But no one is injured
The weapons are chosen
But the action is frozen

Two people in a room
Positions are shifted
The ceasefire uplifted
The lighting is fierce
It's intended to pierce
Any cloak of deceit
And encourage retreat
And God they're so gifted
My God they're so gifted

Blessed State

Closing doors
Opens eyes
To the fatal gift
Of a well timed lie
Loved in the flesh
And (but) butchered in the mind
Oh what a pearl
What a well made world

Holy globe
Eternal home
Sacred sphere
So glad I'm here
Oh what a pearl
What a well made world