Spike lyrics

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...This Town...

That Charlie Sedarka was a-playing the piano like he was pawing a dirty book
He bit a hole in his big bottom lip and gave his very best little boy look
It was a song with a topical verse which I'm afraid he then proceeded to sing
Something about the moody doomed love of the Fish-Finger King

(Chorus:)
You're nobody in this town
You're nobody in this crowd
You're nobody till everybody in this town knows you're poison
Got your number, knows it must be avoided
You're nobody till everybody in this town thinks you're a bastard

Mr. Getgood moved up to Self-Made Man Row
Though he swears that he's the salt of the earth
He's so proud of the "kick-me-hard" sign that they hung on his back at birth
He said "I appreciate beauty, if I have one, then it's my fault"
"Beauty is on my pillow, beauty is there in my vault"

(Repeat Chorus)

The girl with the eternity rock went down on her bookie to buy some stock
Now all the signs in the shopping arcades
Say "The corporation thief is the new Jesse James"
Her clothes and her attention were scant
Her eyes were everywhere, her eyes were like absinthe
The little green figures that dance on your screen
Say everything you want to hear and nothing they mean
They made love while she was changing her dress
She wiped him off, she wiped him out and then she made him confess
A little amused by the belief in her power
You must remember this it was the fetish of the hour

(Repeat Chorus)

You're nobody in this town...


Let Him Dangle

Bentley said to Craig, "Let him have it, Chris"
They still don't know today just what he meant by this
Craig fired the pistol, but was too young to swing
So the police took Bentley and the very next thing
Let him dangle, let him dangle
Let him dangle, let him dangle

Bentley had surrendered, he was under arrest
When he gave Chris Craig that fatal request
Craig shot Sidney Miles, he took Bentley's word
The prosecution claimed as they charged them with murder
Let him dangle, let him dangle
Let him dangle, let him dangle

They say Derek Bentley was easily led
Well what's that to the woman that Sidney Miles wed?
Though guilty was the verdict, and Craig had shot him dead
The gallows were for Bentley and still she never said
Let him dangle, let him dangle
Let him dangle, let him dangle

Well, it's hard to imagine it's the times that have changed
When there's a murder in the kitchen that is brutal and strange
If killing anybody is a terrible crime
Why does this bloodthirsty chorus come 'round from time to time?
Let him dangle

Not many people thought that Bentley would hang
But the word never came, the phone never rang
Outside Wandsworth Prison there was horror and hate
As the hangman shook Bentley's hand to calculate his weight
Let him dangle, let him dangle
Let him dangle, let him dangle

Well, it's hard to imagine it's the times that have changed
When there's a murder in the kitchen that is brutal and strange
If killing anybody is a terrible crime
Why does this bloodthirsty chorus come 'round from time to time?
Let him dangle

From a welfare state to society murder
"Bring back the noose" is always heard
Whenever those swine are under attack
But it won't make you even, it won't bring him back
Let him dangle, let him dangle
Let him dangle, let him dangle

Let him dangle, let him dangle
Let him dangle, let him dangle
String him up...


Deep Dark Truthful Mirror

One day you're going to have to face a deep dark truthful mirror
And it's going to tell you things that I still love you too much to say
The sky was just a purple bruise, the ground was iron
And you fell all around the town until you looked the same

(Chorus:)
The same eyes, the same lips
The same lie from your tongue trips
Deep dark, deep dark truthful mirror
Deep dark, deep dark truthful mirror

Now the flagstone streets where the newspaper shouts
Ring to the boots of roustabouts
And you're never in any doubt, there's something happening somewhere
You chase down the road 'til your fingers bleed on a fiberglass tumbleweed
You can blow around the town, but it all shuts down the same

(Repeat Chorus)

So you bay for the boy in the tiger-skin trunks
They set him up, set him up on the stool
He falls down, he falls down like a drunk
And you drink till you drool
Well, it's his story you'll flatter
You'll stretch him out like a saint
But the canvas that he splattered
Will be the picture that you never paint

Deep dark, deep dark truthful mirror
Deep dark, deep dark truthful mirror

A stripping puppet on a liquid stick gets into it pretty thick
A butterfly drinks a turtle's tears, but how do you know he really needs it?
'Cos a butterfly feeds on a dead monkey's hand
Jesus wept, he felt abandoned
You're spellbound baby, there's no doubting that
Did you ever see a stare like a Persian cat?

(Repeat Chorus)

Deep dark, deep dark truthful mirror


Veronica

Is it all in that pretty little head of yours?
What goes on in that place in the dark?
Well, I used to know a girl and I would have sworn that her name was Veronica
Well, she used to have a carefree mind of her own and a delicate look in her eye
These days I'm afraid she's not even sure if her name is Veronica

(Chorus:)
Do you suppose that waiting hands on eyes, Veronica has gone to hide?
And all the time she laughs at those who shout her name and steal her clothes
Veronica
Veronica
Veronica

Did the days drag by? Did the favours wane?
Did he roam down the town all the time?
Will you wake from your dream with a wolf at the door, reaching out for Veronica?
Well it was all of sixty-five years ago
When the world was the street where she lived
And a young man sailed on a ship in the sea with a picture of Veronica

On the "Empress of India"
And as she closed her eyes upon the world
And picked upon the bones of last week's news
She spoke his name out loud again

(Repeat Chorus)

Veronica sits in her favourite chair, she sits very quiet and still
And they call her a name that they never get right
And if they don't, then nobody else will
But she used to have a carefree mind of her own, with a devilish look in her eye
Saying "You can call me anything you like, but my name is Veronica"

(Repeat Chorus)


God's Comic

I wish you'd known me when I was alive, I was a funny fella
The crowd would hoot and holler for more
I wore a drunk's red nose for applause
Oh yes, I was a comical priest
"With a joke for the flock and a hand up your fleece"
Drooling the drink and the lipstick and greasepaint
Down the cardboard front of my dirty dog-collar

(Chorus:)
Now I'm dead, now I'm dead, now I'm dead, now I'm dead
And I'm going on to meet my reward
I was scared, I was scared, I was scared, I was scared
He might of never heard God's comic

So there he was on a waterbed, drinking a cola of a mystery brand
Reading an airport novelette, listening to Andrew Lloyd-Webber's "Requiem"
He said, before it had really begun, "I prefer the one about my son"
"I've been wading through all of this unbelievable junk
And wondering if I should have given the world to the monkeys"

(Repeat Chorus)

I'm gonna take a little trip down Paradise's endless shores
They say that travel broadens the mind, till you can't get your head out of doors

I'm sitting here on the top of the world, I hang around in the longest night
Until each beast has gone to bed and then I say "God bless" and put out the light

While you lie in the dark, afraid to breathe
And you beg and you promise and you bargain and you plead
Sometimes you confuse me with Santa Claus
It's the big white beard, I suppose
I'm going up to the Pole, where you folks die of cold
I might be gone for a while if you need me

Now I'm dead, now I'm dead, now I'm dead, now I'm dead
And you're all going on to meet your reward
Are you scared? Are you scared? Are you scared? Are you scared?
You might have never heard, but God's comic


Chewing Gum

With their cardboard hands by their sides, here's a naked man and lady
And they're yours to cut out and keep and you can dress them up maybe
They don't know just who they are, or who they're supposed to be
You can make them happy or sad or assume their identity

So here they are in the departure lounge, it's the "Gateway to the East"
She is just another mail-order bride, she doesn't know he's a kinky beast
Now he gives her a picture of Maradona and child
She wants to "roll and rock"
As he spills his beer over her
Bumps and he grinds as he repeats "Bang-Cock"

(Chorus:)
There must be something that is better than this
It starts with a slap and ends with a kiss
Begins with you bawling and it ends up in tears
Oh my little one, take that chewing gum out of your ears

She might as well be in the jungle, she might as well be on the moon
He's away on a business trip in Dusseldorf, but she's becoming immune
To the lack of glamour and danger in the West-German city today
The nearest she comes to the "Dynasty" life he promised her
Is a Chinese takeaway

(Repeat Chorus)

Though he only taught her three little words
It doesn't matter if they're dirty or clean
He can only control what they look like
He can never possess what they mean

So he wants to whisper in her ear
All the shrinking nothingness
But something always comes between them
I wonder if you can guess

(Repeat Chorus)


Tramp The Dirt Down

I saw a newspaper picture from the political campaign
A woman was kissing a child, who was obviously in pain
She spills with compassion, as that young child's face in her hands she grips
Can you imagine all that greed and avarice coming down on that child's lips?

Well I hope I don't die too soon, I pray the Lord my soul to save
Yes, I'll be a good boy, I'm trying so hard to behave
Because there's one thing I know, I'd like to live long enough to savour
That's when they finally put you in the ground
I'll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down

When England was the whore of the world, Margaret was her madam
And the future looked as bright and as clear as the black tarmacadam
Well I hope that she sleeps well at night, isn't haunted by every tiny detail
When she held that lovely face in her hands all she thought of was betrayal

And now the cynical ones say that it all ends the same in the long run
Try telling that to the desperate father who just squeezed the life from his only son
And how it's only voices in your head and dreams you never dreamt
Try telling him the subtle difference between justice and contempt
Try telling me she isn't angry with this pitiful discontent
When they flaunt it in your face as you line up for punishment
And then expect you to say "Thank you", straighten up, look proud and pleased
Because you've only got the symptoms, you haven't got the whole disease
Just like a schoolboy, whose head's like a tin-can
Filled up with dreams then poured down the drain
Try telling that to the boys on both sides, being blown to bits or beaten and maimed
Who takes all the glory but none of the shame?

Well I hope you live long now, I pray the Lord your soul to keep
I think I'll be going before we fold our arms and start to weep
I never thought for a moment that human life could be so cheap
But when they finally put you in the ground
They'll stand there laughing and tramp the dirt down


Stalin Malone

(Instrumental)


Satellite

She looked like she learned to dance from a series of still pictures
She's madly excited now, she throws her hands up like a tulip
She looks like an illustration of a cocktail party
Where cartoon bubbles burst in the air
Champagne rolls off her tongue like a second language
And it should have been her biggest night
The satellite looks down on her as she begins to cry

All over the world at the very same time, people sharing the same sorrow
As the satellite looks down, her darkest hour is somebody's bright tomorrow

He pulled on a cigarette, in the crook of his first finger
Felt the static electric charge of her perfect hour-glass figure
As he undressed her with his eyes, her weakness was his talent
How could she know as she stepped through the lights
That her dress would become transparent
And with his face pressed to the screen,
He muttered words he'd never dare to say if she could see him

All over the world at the very same time, people sharing the same cheap sensation
The thrill of watching somebody watching those forbidden things we never mention

The satellite looks down right now and forever
What it is pulled apart, let no man tether his own body to his dream,
His dream to someone else
Oh no, oh no.

She went back to a pitiful compromise
He'd go back to his family
But for the matter of a thousand miles that separated them entirely
In the hot unloving spotlight, with the secrets it arouses
Now they both know what it's like inside a pornographer's trousers
And in a funny way it's anonymous
The satellite, it blesses us and makes these dreams come true

All over the world at the very same time
All over the world

The satellite looks down right now and forever
What it is pulled apart, let no man tether his own body to his dream,
His dream to someone else
Oh no, oh no
Oh no, oh no


Pads, Paws And Claws

She's a feline tormentor, not any vaudeville wife
With a drunk-town lament, he leads her a miserable life
But when he's full of that beer-champagne
She pads, paws, pads, paws and claws

And if he should wake up in some terrible dive
And he don't know if he's so-so, but he's so surprised he's alive
"Come on little honey, let me under your hive"
She pads, paws, pads, paws and claws

She pads, pads around the bedroom, practicing ways to flirt
He paws, pours another drink and anything in a skirt
Anything wearing a necklace
He thinks of claws scratching his back
He's going out there, he's not coming back

She's got spider-leg fingers, sharpened whenever he strays
And she carries a bird-purse with all of her womanly ways
While he's drinking hairspray, she knows that he never would dare
She could be in pictures if she wasn't all covered in fur

He's coming home now and here's the surprise
You wouldn't believe the lies that he tries
She cut him down to her favourite size
She pads, paws, pads, paws and claws
She pads, paws, pads, paws and claws
She pads, paws, pads, paws and claws
She pads, paws and claws
Oh yeah
Pads, paws, pads, paws, pads, paws and claws...


Baby Plays Around

It's not open to discussion anymore
She's out again tonight and I'm alone once more
She's all I have worth waiting for
But baby plays around

And so it seems I've always been the last to know
To hold on to that girl, I had to let her go
I wish to God I didn't love her so
'Cos baby plays around

I try to be strong, hold on to my pride
She doesn't even know it's wrong, how much I hurt inside
And heaven knows I've tried
But baby plays around, just a plaything
It's hard to reconcile the facts I'm facing

It's not open to discussion anymore
She walks those shiny streets
I walk the worn-out floor
She's all I have worth living for
Baby plays, baby plays around


Miss Macbeth

All the children testified that Miss Macbeth had a fishbone slide in her cobweb tresses
Her eyes were black as first foot coal, clutched as white as chalk-dust
Her fingers sweated India-ink and poison-pen letters
There is a hungry hanging tree just below your bedroom window
You can hear her take a broom to beat out a tattoo on the ceiling
Her bloodless face ran red inside but was she really evil, was she only pantomime?

Now the chalk on the wall says that somebody saves
That somebody's face has just been washed off the pavement
Into a puzzle where petrol will be poisoned by rain
Miss Macbeth saw her reflection as confetti bled its colours down the drain

(Chorus:)
And everyday she lives out another love song
It's a tearful lament of somebody done wrong
But how can you miss what you've never possessed, Miss Macbeth?

Well we all should have known when the children paraded
They portrayed her in their fairytales, sprinkling Deadly Nightshade
And as they tormented her, she rose to the bait
Even a scapegoat must have someone to hate

And everyday she lives out another love song
"You're up there enjoying yourself, but I know it's wrong"
But how can you miss what you've never possessed, Miss Macbeth?
Miss Macbeth

Sometimes people are just what they appear to be
With no redemption at all
We try to walk upright when we can't even crawl

Miss Macbeth has a gollywog she chucks under the chin
And she whispers to it tenderly, then sticks it on a pin
And it might be coincidence, but a boy down the lane
That she said "went white as he could do," then doubled over in pain

(Repeat Chorus)


Any King's Shilling

You're a fine one, oh yes you are
You're a fine one just like me
And we're friends now, oh wouldn't you say?
We've been friends now, oh haven't we?
Stay at home tonight if you know what's good for you
I can't say more, it would be telling
For if you don't what will become of you
Just isn't worth any king's shilling

I will answer when they make that call,
Pull upon this ragged uniform
Up 'til now I know it's been your trade
Spit and polish the potato parade
Stay at home tonight if you know what's good for you
I can't say more, it would be telling
For if you don't what will become of you
Just isn't worth any king's shilling

Please don't put your silly head in that pretty soldier's hat
You've done your duty, that's enough of that

I don't know if what I'm doing is right
I don't know if you should be forgiving
But for me it seems it means my life
While for you it could just be a living
Stay at home tonight if you know what's good for you
I can't say more, it would be telling
For if you don't what will become of you
Just isn't worth any king's shilling

Please don't put your silly head in that British soldier's hat
You've done your duty that's enough of that

You're a fine one, oh yes you are
You're a fine one, just like me


Coal-Train Robberies

Yesterday's coal train came to rest in the bitter cutting
And while the signals took an age to change, it was easy pickings
So you go to the movies where they smash it up
You want to feel your heart pumping, it makes you feel good
All through the karaoke, girls were squealing the hits
While another Mercedes-Benz gets blown to bits

While all the time in the camptown theatres of Piccadilly
They're going to throw a black-face minstrel show
For the barefoot children that they're always selling
They'll say "It's quaint" as the guilty ones faint
And claim they ain't underneath this paint
We interrupt these liberal saints with their whips and watermelon

Reports are coming in of a coal-train robbery
It's like another world, or it had better be

So we return to whitewashed pout of his committed lips
Since he was declared the long lost fountain of youth that drips and drips and drips
They'll be sending him round from door to door to sell you back what's already yours
"So many good deeds, so little time," say the advertising agency swine
When man has destroyed what he thinks he owns
I hope no living thing cries over his bones
If you don't believe that I'm going for good
You can count the days I'm gone and chop up the chairs for firewood

Reports are coming in of a coal-train robbery
It's like another world, or it had better be

Reports are coming in of a coal-train robbery
It's like another world, or it had better be
Reports, reports, reports, reports...


Last Boat Leaving

Hush my little one, don't cry so
You know your daddy's bound to go
They took his pride, they took his voice
Don't upset him now, don't make a noise
They said "You're lucky son, you've still got the choice"
Last boat leaving

Don't waste your tears
It's not as if I'm in chains
I don't want to go now
It would be better for you two
If you don't look back when we sail

Hush my dear, while I whisper it in your ear
We're not going to sail tonight, we're going to disappear
And it feels like a punishment, but I don't know what for
Take care of your mother, son, it's you that she adores
'Cos no matter how long we sail, we'll never reach the shore
Last boat leaving

So dry your tears
It's not as if I'm in chains
When you go to school, son,
You'll read my story in history books
Only they won't mention my name

So hush now, my darling, my sweet little one
I hope that you never have to do what I've done
Do you know what I've done?
Why I'm going away on the last boat leaving this stinking town?
Last boat leaving, it's the last boat leaving

You've had my innocence, you've had my heartbreak
You've taken the place where I once belonged
Now what more can you take?


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Spike
Spike album cover.jpg
studio album by
Elvis Costello
ReleasedFebruary 6, 1989
Recorded1988, Ocean Way, Los Angeles,
Southlake Studios, New Orleans,
Windmill Lane Studios, Dublin,
AIR Studios, London
ProducerElvis Costello, Kevin Killen & T Bone Burnett
LabelWarner Bros.
Length64:29
64:29 + 58:58 (2001 reissue)
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