About Bloody Time

by Zatopeks

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02:27
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02:58
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02:32
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03:21
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02:26
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02:07
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02:57
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03:01
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03:09
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released December 11, 2013

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Track Name: One Evening
ONE EVENING
adapted from the poem by W. H. Auden (1907-1973)

As I walked out one evening
I walked down Bristol Street
The crowds upon the pavement, they were fields of harvest wheat
And down by the brimming river I heard a lover sing
Beneath the railway arches
‘Baby, love has no ending’

He said
I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you
‘Til China and Africa meet
And the river jumps over the mountain
And salmon will sing in the street

The years shall run like rabbits, girl
‘Cos in my arms I hold
The flower of the ages and the first love of the world
Oh, but all the clocks in the city
They began to whirr and chime
‘Oh let not Time deceive you, son, you cannot conquer time’

I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you
‘Til China and Africa meet
And the river jumps over the mountain
And salmon will sing in the street

I’ll love you ‘til the ocean is folded and hung up to dry...

Plunge your hands in water, plunge them in up to the wrist
Stare into the basement, mate, and wonder what you’ve missed
Oh now look, look in the mirror, baby, look to your distress
Life remains a blessing although you cannot bless

I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you
‘Til China and Africa meet
And the river jumps over the mountain
And salmon will sing in the street

In headache and in worry, vaguely our lives leak away...
Track Name: Alert!
ALERT!

No es sueño la vida. ¡Alerta! ¡Alerta! ¡Alerta!
Federico García Lorca*, Brooklyn Bridge Nocturne

Alert, alert, ‘cos life’s no dream...

She sits around smoking Polish cigarettes
Playing with her hair and taking bets
On the date of the end of the world
Stare up at the stars instead
But light pollution’s glowing red
There’s nothing, baby, nothing up there at all
Stuck beneath the New York sky tonight
Dig Lorca in the shadows kiss the hangman
In the gallows of my mind

I stared up at the harbour lights
Watched an angel jump from Brooklyn Bridge last night
Taking all of us, all of us, all of us down...

Alert, alert, ‘cos life’s no dream

Hudson-side, New York’s a glowing mess
Chain-smoke black market cigarettes
In this dive bar on the edge of the world
7-Eleven stop, we sup this piss-weak beer from coffee cups
There’s nothing, baby, nothing in there at all
Stuck beneath the Brooklyn sky tonight
Dig Lorca in the shadows kiss the hangman
In the gallows of your mind

Alert, alert, ‘cos life’s no dream

*Federico García Lorca (1898-1936), Spanish poet and dramatist.
Track Name: The Romance Of A Bus Stop In The Rain
THE ROMANCE OF A BUS STOP IN THE RAIN

Nearly 17, sat in Ealing Broadway
The pictures on the screen doing nothing for me
Don’t know what to do, my heart was just dropping
Thinking about something and it ain’t fucking shopping

Beneath a star-strangled sky in the Tesco car park
The world we found was funny strange and funny ha-ha
Cometbus our laureate, isolation the dictum
Learning fast that fact can be stranger than fiction

Familiarity is just a lie
To kill the wonder in our minds

The romance of a bus stop in the rain
This dye’s leaked from my hair into my brain
Nothing’s ever boring, nothing’s plain
I’ll never see the world that way again

Zone 3 into Soho with the same old faces
The Intrepid closed at 11 but those nights were endless
Bus home through the streets of our suburban wasteland
It’s like the driver’s driving just for us alone

The romance of a bus stop in the rain...
Track Name: Politics
POLITICS
“Fret di satt and sup di dick and hul dien Mul von Politik” (Low German proverb)

I watch the darkness from the inside of this under-heated train
And see these villages I promised I would never see again
My family used to till this soil, well now they lie beneath
Catch my reflection and I wonder what the hell they’d make of me
Wrought-iron bridges, Kiel Canal, well they’ll outlive us all
We’re just shadows trembling softly in the calm before the storm

My grandfather was a chess player and an honourable chap
And he worked hard and he was wise, with an exquisite taste in hats
Oh and he once told me how they’d toast in dialect
Just like a king who is on the black square and he knows that he’s in check

Drink it up and fill your gut, but politics
Son, keep your trap shut

All these villages I’ve walked before, the mudflats and the lanes
And the greyness and that sea air that does something to your brain
I guess I’m just a humanist, humanity’s OK
But I cannot keep my mouth shut
Man, I wasn’t made that way

Drinking in that pub the minute we were almost grown
Not grown enough to realise I was no Sly Stallone
‘Cos punk rock wasn’t popular with the local Nazi fools
I fled the punches and ended up hiding in the flowers behind the wall

Drink it up and fill your gut, but politics
Son, keep your trap shut
Track Name: Acetate
ACETATE

It was just me and you, arguing about Camus*
By the fountain in the centre of the town
And it was fair to construe from all the looks that we drew
That we would never be invited back around
It was too close to call, you said the laughter in The Fall
Sums up a problem that we never will escape
I muttered something vague about morality in The Plague
And then you kissed me, I saw everything your way

So I commit my voice to acetate
Let’s hold that thought forever
A love letter sent ten years too late, I know
Is still better late than never

Now that you’re gone, which implies you’ve moved on
To push your rock like Sisyphus up your own hill
I hope you kept the absurd and you’re still digging Albert’s words
‘Cos I dug them, I dug you and I always will
It was too close to call, I said the laughter in The Fall
Sums up a problem that we never will escape
You muttered something vague about morality in The Plague
And then you kissed me, and then you kissed me

So I commit my voice to acetate
Let’s hold that thought forever
A love letter sent ten years too late, I know
Is still better late than never

*Albert Camus (1913-1960), French writer and philosopher.
Track Name: Neu-Isenburg
NEU-ISENBURG

Hanging out beneath a bloodshot moon
At a bus stop on a side street in a suburb of a city
I know it’s a long, long way ‘til dawn
Just a battered-up copy of Catch 22
A six-pack and a Walkman, it’s always seen me through
Electric lights roll on and on

Last train’s gone, man, the temperatures are dropping
This place is one big mall, but there ain’t nobody shopping tonight
So all dressed down and nowhere to go
I see a mohawk silhouette through the Nightliner window
As the band rolls out of town
I see the band roll out of town

And I’ve seen them rise
I’ll watch them fall
I wrote their lyrics on the car park wall
And I’ve seen you come
I’ll watch you go
One night in Neu-Isenburg for that gig twelve years ago

Forward wind a dozen years or so
I find a bus stop on a side street in a suburb of a city I know
It’s a long, long time ago
I see that battered-up copy of Catch-22
The six-pack and the Walkman, man they always saw me through
Electric lights roll on and on...

And I’ve seen them rise
I’ll watch them fall
I wrote their lyrics on the car park wall
And I’ve seen you come
I watched you go
One night in Neu-Isenburg, I fell in love twelve years ago
Track Name: Wait For The Fall
WAIT FOR THE FALL

The Lowlands are aglow with mist and lantern light
Rain is crackling in the drains past silhouettes of passersby
Amsterdam gripped at the throat by the fog
As I whistle two bars of an unwritten song
Evening is ringing like laughter across the canal
As I wait for the fall
This city’s been ghostwritten, and it’s just as well
A wiser man than I found here the seven rings of Hell
Bikes drifting past black like funeral swans
Red lights on the river, the list could go on
Cross over the bridges, you’ll feel half indigenous now
As you wait for the fall

When the clock has stopped for me and I’m in my grave
I was never a friend to Jesus, he’ll have one less soul to save
Redemption is going for a song

Pretty girls are transient, they pass and joke
I light a cigarette, let this whole scene go up in smoke
I’ll tell you once and I’ll tell you no more
Follow your heart, man, that’s the only law
And waiter, please cater to flawed human nature tonight
As we wait for the fall
Track Name: Chequerboard
CHEQUERBOARD
Adapted with alterations from the Edward Fitzgerald (1809-1883) translations of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyám (1048-1131), Persian philosopher and polymath.

It’s a chequerboard of nights and days
Where destiny with men for pieces plays
And here and there moves, and mates, and slays
And one by one back in the closet lays

When I was young I did frequent
Doctor and saint for argument
Around and around forever more
We came and went through the same damn door
And lately through the tavern door agape
Came stealing through the dusk an angel shape
Bearing a casket on his back and he bid me taste
He bid me taste and it was - the grape!

Some we loved and we loved the best
Who nature’s vintage from time has pressed
They drank their cup a round or two
And one by one they crept to rest
So make the most of the time you spend
Before you too into dust descend
Dust to dust and under dust to lie
No wine, no songs, no singing...
Track Name: Exile Blues
EXILE BLUES

My home was nothing fancy, just a room and a half
A worn communal kitchen, a bookcase and a bath
In a requisitioned apartment that used to be a ballroom
I wandered through the cafes and the milk bars and the nights
Threw my words off countless bridges, let them swim against the tide

One day they came to get me, took me from my city home
I dream it from afar amidst the din of foreign tongues
A world of coffee and neon, heavens torn asunder
Standing mute on unknown bridges, I watch their rivers and I wonder

Will I ever see my city’s streets again?

I dissect other people’s stanzas for the girls sat in the crowd
They’re like the ones I used to run with but they seem so young and proud
I guess I’m just getting older
My exile heart still beating here a thousand miles away
And all the riches and the prizes just can’t keep these blues away

I curse the politicians and their bureaucratic slaves
Who separate me from my home with cold Atlantic waves
I close my eyes, I see the domes, the courtyards and the bay
My old mates tell me ‘welcome back’
I never went away
Track Name: Baltic Moon
BALTIC MOON

Staring out the window of the bus, I watch the limits fall away
Dig the lights of the Volkswerft Stralsund come alive on the blackening sea
The name might mean nothing to you, it meant nothing to me
But I’ve got Rostock to the south of me, there’s no place that I’d rather be

Fishing boats are stranded off the coast, their blinking lights send warnings home
There’s a campfire somewhere miles along the beach but I’ll just dig this scene alone
Tonight might mean nothing to you, it means something to me
I’ve got Poland to the east of me, there’s no place that I’d rather be

And our world full of hypocrisy I will cast into the bay
The Baltic moon shines down on all that’s lost to me
The tide carries it away

Things I dug back when I was a kid tonight just chill me to the bone
Stars weigh heavy on my awkward heart, the tide is calling me back home
The world might mean something to you, it means nothing to me
I’ve got darkness straight ahead of me, there’s no place that I’d rather be

And the world tonight is lost to me, just a reflection in the bay
The Baltic moon shines down on our hypocrisy
The tide carries it away
Track Name: Mechanised
MECHANISED

“Beware the hours of darkness, when the devil himself lights the streetlamps in order to show everything in a false light.” (Nikolai Gogol, Nevsky Prospekt)

I’ve got a Mayakovsky* headache going right now
Watch a Vasilyevsky** busker singing Tsoi***, I’d sing along, I don’t know how
Love, hope and daily bread
Or half-baked dreams inside my head
The bastard son of chronology
The past, the present, the future gave birth to me
Under the Neva**** and on to Nevsky***** now
Stare through Gogol’s glowing eyes into the shadows and the basements of his town
The modern city killed the night, embalmed it in electric light
The futurists just wrote the last rites
In the Russian night there’s one thing on my mind, it’s on my mind

Mechanised, left out on our own
Tom, when’s God coming home?
We’re enlightened and alone
And that’s why I sit here tonight
In this cheap basement cafe
Where third-hand gold spills from the lanes
Nikolai, your devil lights the lamps
I’d rather stay inside

I saw Bulgakov****** in a dream the other day
He told me “manuscripts won’t burn, but dig my glowing pipe tobacco fade to grey”
The river runs this whitest night past windows lit by candle light
The dreamless spires of industry
The ghosts of old St. Pete are haunting me
‘Cos the clocks won’t stop for no-one in this town
They run their course like Peter’s horse******* and stamp our sacred days into the ground
Dark clouds, horizon’s end, ink spilled from dead writers’ pens
Down the smoke-filled basement steps
And then the Russian night unfolds beyond the screens
Where nothing’s as it seems...
__________________________
*Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930), Russian Futurist writer.
**Vasilevsky Island in St. Petersburg, Russia.
***Viktor Tsoi (1962-1990), singer from the Russian band Kino.
****Neva River.
*****Nevsky Prospekt, the main street in St. Petersburg.
******Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940), Russian writer.
*******‘The Bronze Horseman’ statue of Peter the Great, which comes to life in the Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) poem of the same name.
Track Name: Life Is Elsewhere
LIFE IS ELSEWHERE

In a generic chain hotel room, all dressed up like a bridegroom
Doing crosswords torn from cafe copies of The Times
Sixteen down: ‘verbose invective’, Oxford Dictionary’s defective
Nothing fits, nothing works, nothing’s right
They call me Mr Saturday Night
So four across says it’s a synonym for lost, ‘misplaced’
When staying home is saving face
From the eyes of friends and strangers you’ve been meaning to avoid
It took me years ‘til I could see that there’s no us, no them, just we
Now this third person makes me feel like royalty
Tonight we’re here alone, ‘cos we’re just me

I get the feel life is elsewhere tonight

So here we sit alone again, East Berlin winter’s kicking in
Hot coffee in my hands and all these questions in my heart
Self-improvement’s just a compound verb
To drag ourselves above the herd
Of ragged average shadows on the streets
Who mutter as they shuffle to the beat of city madness that -

I get the feeling life is elsewhere tonight
Beneath these twitching neon signs we carve new Mason-Dixon lines across our minds
I get the feeling life is elsewhere tonight
For all the pulses in the park who sit around, wait for the darkness to subside

Conclusion’s drawing nearer, ‘three words - novel by Kundera*
They must be psychic, must be nuts, must be reading my bloody mind
Four storeys down and one to go
I head out ‘neath the falling snow
To join the other strangers in the night
Isolated but together, we’ll be right, we’ll be fine...

Sunday morning, 4 a.m., room trapped in the window pane
And the lamplight ushers in distorted doubles of a nocturne scene
Sunday morning 4 a.m., room trapped in the window pane
And the lamplight ushers in distorted doubles of a nocturne scene
Sunday morning 4 a.m., room trapped in the window pane
Teapot squat on the sill contains lukewarm dregs of the night’s remains
__________________________

*Milan Kundera (1929-), Czech-French author of the novel ‘Life is Elsewhere’