Ship Of Fools

The captain's in a coma, the lieutenant's on a drunk;
the owner's in his cabin with his special friend, the monk;
the midget's on the bridge, dispensing platitudes
and junk -
those wild and special places,
those strange and dangerous places,
those sad, sweet faces,
it's a Ship of Fools.
The nurse in black seamed stockings, she's already on
for fake fur starlets panicked by the watering-hole;
everybody's waiting for the drama to unfold
in those cold and treasured places,
those old and degenerate places;
those posed, posed, empty faces
it's a Ship of Fools.
Run, rabbit, run, you're the only one
that can do it;
turn, baby, turn, there's a ring of fire
and you've got to go through it.
Fun, baby, fun, when the sands have run
to the limit
turn, baby, turn, there's a ring of fire
and you're in it.
Looking for logic and adventure
down the dark end of the street,
open city, open season, open lips that gleam so sweet
offer kisses like piranhas
to the soft flesh of your feet,
and any man's poison is every man's meat
in those mad and special places,
those sad and desparate places,
those sad, sweet soul embraces,
it's a Ship of Fools
Those strange and special places
those wild and dangerous places,
those dead, dead, dead faces....
It's a Ship of Fools;
no rules.

Still Life

Citadel reverberates to a thousand voices, now dumb:
what have we become? What have we chosen to be?
Now, all history is reduced to the syllables of our name
- nothing can ever be the same:
now the Immortals are here.
At the time, it seemed a reasonable course
to harness all the force of life
without the threat of death,
but soon we found that boredom and inertia
are not negative, but all the law we know,
and dead are Will and words like survival.

Arrival at immunity from all age, all fear and all end...
Why do I pretend?
Our essence is distilled
and all familiar taste is now drained,
and though purity is maintained,
it leaves us sterile,
living through the millions of years,
a laugh as close as any tear....
Living, if you claim that all
that entails is
breathing, eating, defecating,
screwing, drinking,
spewing, sleeping, sinking ever down and down
and ultimately passing away time
which no longer has any meaning.

Take away the threat of death and all you're
left with is a round of make-believe;
marshal every sullen breath and though you're
ultimately bored by endless ecstasy
that's still the ring by which you hope to be engaged
to marry the girl who will give you forever
- that's crazy, and plainly
that simply is not enough.

What is the dullest and bluntest of pains,
such that my eyes never close without feeling it there?
What abject despair demands an end
to all things of infinity?
If we have gained, how do we now meet the cost?
What have we bargained, and what have we lost?
What have we relinquished, never even knowing
it was there?

What chance now of holding fast the line,
defying death and time
Everything we had is gone?
Everything we laboured for and favoured more
than earthly things reveals the hollow ring
of false hope and of false deliverance.

But now the nuptial bed is made,
the dowry has been paid,
the toothless, haggard features of Eternity
now welcome me between the sheets
to couple with her withered body--my wife. Hers
hers forever,
hers forever
in still life.

Last Frame

Pretty keen - yes, my hobby keeps me busy;
and if I talk to myself, what's the crime?
In the darkroom I am a dealer in space and time...
when all memory is mellowed,
when the photograph is yellowed,
still it never lies.

There you are, your eyes laced with secret pleasure,
saying that you're on the way to change,
devouring in inordinate measure
every diversion that's arranged.
For every appetite, a cruel attraction,
but there's a panic in your actions;
oh, I never saw you look so strange.

Fixing memory chemically,
holding time on the stop-clock,
hanging back from that last frame
just in case it didn't show you
in the way I used to know you...
I thought you'd always stay the same.

The red light, the silver,
the black and the bromide;
the silence, the waiting for overview....
The past seems under-exposed, low tide,
but still the images ghost through.
And you're there in the bath,
which is all this has led to,
and I can't say your path
is a right one to choose....

But then
I only have a negative of you.

Mirror Images

If I'm the mirror and you're the image
then what's the secret between the two,
these 'me's and 'you's, how many can there be?
Oh, I don't mind all that around the place,
as long as you keep it
well away from me.

I've begun to regret that we ever met
between the dimensions.
It gets such a strain to pretend that the change
is anything but cheap...
with your infant pique and your angst pretensions
sometimes you act like a creep.

And now I'm standing in the corner,
looking at the room and the furniture
in cheap imitation of alienation and grief.
And now we're going to the kitchen,
fix ourselves a drink and a cigarette,
getting no closer to being the joker or thief.

Still, I reflect, this nervous wreck
who stands before me can see as well,
can surely tell that he's not yet free;
he can turn aside, but can no more ignore me
than know which one of us is he,
than tell what we are going to be,
than know which one of is me.

And now we're going to the kitchen,
fix ourselves a drink and a cigarette,
getting no closer to being the joker or thief.

These mirror images,
these mirror images
won't stay, go away, are no help.

In these mirror images of myself
there are no secrets.

A Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers

a. Eyewitness

Still waiting for my saviour,
storms tear me limb from limb;
my fingers feel like seaweed...
I'm so far out I'm too far in.
I am a lonely man, my solitude is true
my eyes have borne stark witness
and now my nights are numbered, too.
I've seen the smiles on dead hands,
the stars shine, but they're not for me.
I prophesy disaster and then I count the cost...
I shine but, shining, dying,
I know that I am almost lost.
On the table lies blank paper
and my tower is built on stone
I only have blunt scissors,
I only have the bluntest home..
. I've been the witness, and the seal of death
lingers in the molten wax that is my head.
When you see the skeletons
of sailing-ship spars sinking low
You'll begin to wonder if the points
of all the ancients myths
are solemnly directed straight at you...

b. Pictures/Lighthouse

(Eddies, rocks, ships, collision, remorse)

c. Eyewitness

No time now for contrition:
the time for that's long past.
The walls are thin as tissue and
if I talk I'll crack the glass.
So I only think on how it might have been,
locked in silent monologue, in silent scream.
I'm much too tired to speak
and, as the waves crash on the bleak
stones of the tower, I start to freak
and find that I am overcome...

d. S.H.M.

'Unreal, unreal' ghost helmsmen scream
and fall in through the sky,
not breaking through my seagull shrieks...
no breaks until I die:
the spectres scratch on window-slits -
hollowed faces and mindless grins
only intent on destroying what they've lost.
I crawl the wall till steepness ends
in the vertical fall;
my pain has sailed into the sea:
no joking hopes at dawn.
White bone shine in the iron-jaw mask
lost mastheads pierce the freezing dark
and parallel my isolated tower...
no paraffin for the flame
no harbour left to gain.

e. Presence Of The Night / Kosmos Tours

'Alone, alone' the ghosts all call,
pinpoint me in the light.
The only life I feel at all
is the presence of the night.
Would you cry if I died?
Would you catch the final words of mine?
Would you catch my words?
I know that there's no time
I know that there's no rhyme...
false signs find me
I don't want to hate,
I just want to grow;
why can't I let me
live and be free?
but I die very slowly alone.
I know more ways,
I am so afraid,
myself won't let me
just be myself
and so I am completely alone...
The maelstrom of my memory
is a vampire and it feeds on me
now, staggering madly, over the brink I fall.

g. (Custard's) Last Stand

Lighthouses might house the key
but can I reach the door?
I want to walk on the sea
so that I may better find a shore...
but how can I ever keep my feet dry?
I scan the horizon
I must keep my eyes on all parts of me.
Looking back on the years
it seems that I have lost my way:
Like a dog in the night, I have run to a manger
now I am the stranger I stay in.
All of the grief I have seen
leaves me chasing solitary peace;
But I hold experience in my head...
I'm too close to the light
I don't think I see right, for I blind me...

h. The Clot Thickens

Where is the God that guides my hand?
How can the hands of others reach me?
When will I find what I grope for?
Who is going to teach me?
I am me / me are we / we can't see
any way out of here.
Crashing sea - a trophied history:
Chance has lost my Guinevere...
I don't want to be one wave in the water
But sea will drag me deep
One more haggard drowned man...
I can see the lemmings coming,
but I know I'm just a man;
Do I join or do I founder?
Which can is the best I may?

i. Land's End (Sineline) / j. We Go Now

Oceans drifting sideways,
I am pulled into the spell;
I feel you around me... I know you well.
Stars slice horizons where the lines stand
much too stark;
I feel I am drowning... hands stretch in the dark.
Camps of panoply and majesty,
what is Freedom of Choice?
Where do I stand in the pageantry...
whose is my voice?
It doesn't feel so very bad now:
I think the end is the start.
Begin to feel very glad now:
All things are a part
All things are apart
All things are a part.

The Sleepwalkers

At night, this mindless army,
ranks unbroken by dissent,
is moved into action
and their pace does not relent.
In step, with great precision,
these dancers of the night
advance against the darkness -
how implacable their might!
Eyes undulled by moon,
their arms and legs akimbo,
they walk and live,
hoping soon to surface from this limbo.
Their minds, anticipating the dawn of the day,
shall never know what's waiting mere insight away
- too far, too soon.

Senses dimmed in semi-sentience,
only wheeling
through this plane,
only seeing fragmented images prematurely
curtailed by the brain,
but breathing, living,
knowing in some measure at least
the soul which roots the matter
of both Beauty and the Beast.
From what tooth or claw does murder spring,
from what flesh and blood does passion?
Both cut through the air with the pendulum's swing
in deadly but delicate fashion.
And every range of feeling is there in the dream
and every logic's reeling in the force of the scream
the senses sting.
And though I may be dreaming and reality stalls
I only know the meaning of sight and that's all
and that's nothing.

The columns of the night advance,
infectiously, their cryptic dance
gathers converts to the fold -
in time the whole raw world will pace
these same steps
on into the same bitter end.

Somnolent muster now the dancing dead
forsake the shelter of their secure beds,
awaken to a slumber whose depths they dread,
as if the ground they tread would give way
beneath the solemn weight of their conception.
I'd search the hidden corners of all this world,
make reason of the sensory whorl
if I only had time,
but soon the dream is ended.

Tonight, before you lay down
to the sweetness of your sleep
do you question your surrender
to the drop from Lover's Leap
or does the anaesthetic darkness
take hold on its very own?
Does your body rise in service
with not one dissenting groan?
These waking dreams of life and death
in the mirror are twisted and buckled,
lashes flicker, a catch of breath,
skin whitening at the knuckles.
The army of sleepwalkers shake their limbs
and are loose
and though I am a talker, I can phrase no excuse
not to rise again.
In the chorus of the night-time I belong
and I, like you, must dance to that moonlight song
and in the end I too must pay the cost
of this life.
If all is lost none is known
and how could we lose what we've never owned?
Oh, I'd search out every knowledge
that I could find,
unravel all the mysteries of mind,
if I only had time,
if I only had time,
but soon my time is ended.

Pioneers Over 'C'

Left the earth in 1983,
fingers groping for the galaxies,
reddened eyes stared up into the void,
1000 stars to be exploited
Somebody help me I'm falling, somebody help me,
I'm falling down
Into sky, into earth, into sky, into earth .....
It is so dark around, no life, no hope, no sound
no chance of seeing home again ...
The universe is on fire, exploding without flame.
We are the lost ones; we are the pioneers;
we are the lost ones
We are the ones they are going to build a statue for
ten centuries ago or were going to fifteen forward ...

One Last brief whisper in our loved ones' ears
to reassure them and to pierce the fear
standing at controls then still unknown
we told the world we were about to go
Somebody help me I'm missing, somebody help me
I'm missing now
touch with my mind, I have no frame,
touch with my mind, I have no frame ...
Well now where is the time and who the hell am I,
here floating in an aimless way?
No-one knows where we are, they can't feel us
precisely ..

There is no fear here.
How can such a thing exist in a place where
living and knowing
and being have never been heard of?

Doomed to vanish in the flickering light,
disappearing to a darker night,
doomed to vanish in a living death, living
anti-matter, anti-breath
Somebody help me I'm losing, somebody help me,
I'm losing now
people around, there's no-one to touch,
no people around, no-one to touch.
I am now quite alone, part of a vacant time-zone,
here floating in the void,
only dimly aware of existence, a dimly existing
I am the lost one, I am the one you fear,
I am the lost one,
I am the one who went up into space, or stayed
where I was,
or didn't exist in the first place ...


You got some shares in a speculative venture,
you got some stock in a gilt-edged bond,
you stretched out tight by the terms of debenture,
the game is on....
You chase the bulls in eternal corrida,
the thought of loss is more than you can bear,
you scan the index for a market leader,
a tip and a prayer,
You better see daylight:
night comes on the City so soon.
You say you are a christian capitalist,
but you dance to a different tune.

Jobs for the boys and dole for the shop-floor;
rationalize, strip the assets and run
If the contract stalls, then you've just got to cop more, ain't Monopoly fun?
You made some pretty deals along the way,
Judas and Faust are in accord.
When the revolution comes you may be blown away,
but I bet you'll end up on the board....

Only the money.
Only the money.

Sometime in the future you may realise that the day
you made your decision to follow money as a goal was
you darkest dawn--and that, since then, you have
venerated figures as deities; and, for you,
people are just pawns.

But that deal includes you:
you're just an asset like the rest,
and you, too, stripped naked, beg the Money-God
not to put you to the test
He's got no further use for you
Now, there is silence on the floor.

Clever money-computers chatter privately.
No people any more.

Only the money.


He's a blind man, crouching by the pavement,
only seeing with his third eye,
and clutching at the astral shadow
of every passer-by.

He's a wise man, trumping all the answers;
she's a wild girl, trying to keep his feet on the floor
in whispered physical litanies:
"Stay away from the door."

"Oh, but we're all in this together," he says,
"three-legged race across the floor;
if only you'd loosen the handkerchief
then I'd forget the door."

"Ooh, that feels so much better," he says,
"now you forget everything that I've said before
and sit there all by yourself
while I walk through the door."

They're a blind man, crouching by the pavement,
only seeing with his third eye,
and clutching at the astral shadow
of the door of a room
called 'I'.


Sometimes living for the moment
sometimes going with the flow
sometimes professing to be an exponent
of the quiet life
while night life
surrounds me I sit
and go crazy alone
too many people and too little action
too much exterior acting too little inside
yet I still feel that mani attraction
I've lived in the city for most of my life
and suppose
I'll be there when I die
still going through the same old motions
still qualifying everything I say
responding urbanely to every emotion
the city life freaks me
the city life feeds me
the city life blows me away


So you live in the bottom of the sea,
and you kill all that come near you ....
but you are very lonely, because all the other fish
fear you .....
And you crave companionship and someone to call
your own;
because for the whole of your life
you've been living alone.

On a black day in black month
at the black bottom of the sea,
Your mother gave birth to you and died
immediately ....
'Cos you can't have two killers living
in the same pad
and when your mother knew that her time had come
she was really rather glad.

Death in the sea, death in the sea,
somebody please come and help me,
come and help me
Fishes can't fly, fishes can't fly,
Fishes can't and neither can I, neither can I ...

Now I'm really rather like you,
for I've killed all the love I ever had
by not doing all I ought to and by leaving
my mind coming bad.
And I too am a killer,
for emotion runs as deep as flesh
and I too am so lonely, and I wish that I could
We need love,
We need love,
We need love ..........

Nadir's Big Chance

I've been hanging around, waiting for my chance
to tell you what I think about the music
that's gone down
to which you madly danced - frankly,
you know that it stinks.
I'm gonna scream, gonna shout,
gonna play my guitar
until your body's rigid and you see stars.

Look at all the jerks in their tinsel glitter suits.
pansying around; look at all the nerks
in their leather platform boots,
making with the heavy sound...
I'm gonna stamp on the stardust
and scream till I'm ill -
if the guitar don't get ya, the drums will.

Now's my big break - let me up on the stage,
I'll show you what it's all about;
enough of the fake,
bang your feet in a rage,
tear down the walls and let us out!
We're more than mere morons, perpetually conned,
so come on everybody,
smash the system with the song.

Smash the system with the song!

All lyrics by Peter Hammill
All titles © Static except 'Pioneers Over 'C'' & 'Killer': © Carlin/Stratsong