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A

© Ian Anderson 1980


Crossfire

Spring light in a hazy May
and a man with a gun at the door
Someone's crawling on the roof above--
all the media here for the show
I've been waiting for our friends to come
Like spiders down ropes to free-fall
A thirty round clip for a visiting card--
admit one to the embassy ball

Caught in the crossfire on Princes Gate Avenue
In go the windows and out go the lights
Call me a doctor. Fetch me a policeman
I'm down on the floor in one hell of a fight

I'm just a soul with an innocent face--
a regular boy dressed in blue
conducting myself in a proper way
as befitting the job that I do
They came down on me like a ton of bricks
Swept off my feet, knocked about
There's nothing for it but to sit and wait
for the hard men to get me out

Calm reason floats from the street below
and the slow fuse burns through the night
Everyone's tried to talk it through
but they can't seem to get the deal right
Somewhere there are Brownings in a two-hand hold--
cocked and locked, one up the spout
There's nothing for it but to sit and wait
for the hard men to get me out


Flyingdale Flyer

Through clear skies tracking lightly from far down the line
No fanfare, just a blip on the screen
No quick conclusions now-- everything will be fine
Short-circuit glitsch and not what it seems
Flyingdale flyer-- you're only half way there
Green screen liar-- for a second or so we were running scared

On late shift, feeling drowsy-- eyes glued to the display
Dead cert alert, lit match to the straw
One last quick game of bowls-- we can still win the day
Fail-safe; forget the thing that you saw

They checked the systems through and they read A- O.K.
Some tiny fuse has probably blown
Sit back; relax and soon it will just go away
Keep your hands off that red telephone


Working John, Working Joe

When I was a young man (as all good tales begin)
I was taught to hold out my hand
And for my pay I worked an honest day
and took what pittance I could win
Now I'm a working John and I'm a working Joe
and I'm doing what I know
for God and the Economy--
Big brother watches over me
And the state protects and feeds me
And my conscience never leaves me
And I'm loyal to the unions
who protect me at all levels

And as I grew, the winds of fortune blew
and the bank smiled down upon me
And mortgaged to the hilt I threw
the winds of caution behind me
Now I'm a working John and I'm a working Joe
and I'm good at what I know
And God and the Economy
have blessed me with equality
Now I'm equal to the best of you
And better than the rest of you
who would criticise my success
in times of national unrest

Now I own my horseless carriage
in its central-heated garage
And I commute eighty miles a day--
up at seven to make it pay
I direct ten limited companies
with seeming consummate expertise
two ulcers and a heart disease
a trembling feeling in both knees--
I'm a working John and I'm a working Joe


Black Sunday

Tomorrow is the one day I would change for a Monday
with freezing rains melting and no trains running
and sad eyes passing in windows flimsy
and my seat rocking from legs not quite matching
Got passport, credit cards, a plane that I'm catching
Black Sunday falls one day too soon

The taxi that takes me will be moving too quickly
My suitcases simply too full for the closing
of pants, shirts and kisses all packed in a hurry
Two best-selling paperbacks chosen at random--
no sign of sales-persons to whom I might hand them
Black Sunday falls one day too soon

And down at the airport are probably waiting
a few thousand passengers, overbooked seating
Time long suspended in transit-lounge traumas--
connections broken and Special Branch waiting
conspicuously standing in holiday clothing
Black Sunday falls one day too soon

Pick up my feet and kick off my lethargy
Down to the gate with the old mood upon me
Get out and chase the small immortality
born in the minute of my next returning
Impatient feet tapping and cigarette burning
Homecoming one day too soon

And back at the house there's a grey sky a-tumbling
Milk bottles piling on door steps a-crumbling
Curtains all drawn and cold water plumbing
Notepaper scribbles I read unbelieving
Saying how sorry, how sad was the leaving
...one day too soon


Protect and Survive

They said protect and you'll survive-- (but our postman didn't call)
8lbs. of over-pressure wave seemed to glue him to the wall
They said protect and you'll survive

E.M.P. took out the radio-- (and our milk-man didn't call)
Flash blinded by the pretty lights, didn't see his bottles fall
or feel the warm black rain arrive

Big friendly cloud builds in the West (and our dust-men haven't called)
They left the dual carriageway at a hundred miles an hour--
a tail wind chasing them away

And in deep shelters lurk below, sub-regional control
who sympathise but cannot help to mend your body or your soul
Self-appointed guadians of the race with egg upon their face
When steady sirens sing all-clear they pop up, find nobody here

And so I watch two new suns spin-- (our paper man doesn't call)
Burnt shadow printed on the road-- now there's nothing there at all
They said protect and you'll survive


Batteries Not Included

Six o'clock in the morning
Wake up by the bed
There sits a Japanese toy
And I like it
See the name on the wrapping
Can't read yet but I know
it's meant for me (lucky boy)
And I want it
Lights that flash, wheels that go round
Digital display
Fresh silicon chips to enjoy
And I need them
Sitting silent and empty
Wish I could breathe life
in my new friend who's terribly still
And I like him
Just like me. P'rhaps he's hungry
Six volts make him smile
And twelve volts would probably kill
How I like him
Daddy, where's the batteries
I can't find my batteries
Seven o'clock in the morning
They find me by the bed
with my friend the Japanese toy
I am with him
Mummy, Daddy-- can't see you,
hear you. Batteries not
included in this little boy


Uniform

See black, see yellow with little notebooks drawn
See grey stripes bowling down the street
Silver streaks and T-shirts so precisely torn
Strange foreign chaps in white bed-sheets
Uniforms

See golden halo'd men of high renown
prance to the politicians beat
Well-tailored in unswerving elegance
with shoes by Gucci on their feet
Uniforms

How do you know who the hell you are?
Wake up each day under a different star
Dressed to the nines, meet yourself going home
like a clone, smartly dressed in your pressed uniform

White battle dress on green pitch, proud eleven
Beneath the swelling box so neat
the teeming millions of the future fly--
the spinning cricket ball to cheat
They're all uniform


4.W.D. (Low Ratio)

Met a man just the other day--
said his name was Jim. Boy, won't you take a look!
Got a car for you-- it's a real steal.
Cleaned it right down-- new brakes, clutch and here's the hook
Yes, it's a 4.W.D. (low ratio)

Cash to Jim. I took it home
through the deep mud. Plugged happy as a boy in sand.
Fitted wide tyres, spotlight, a winch as well
and some brush bars up front to complete the plan
Now it's really a 4.W.D. (low ratio)

Take you down to the edge of town.
Where the road stops, we start to hold the ground
Well, I'm blessed! Got traction in a special way
Hold the roll bar, slide back, feel me pull it round
Let me show you my 4.W.D. (low ratio)


And Further On

We saw the heavens break and all the world go down to sleep
and rocks on mossy banks drip acid rain from craggy steeps
Saw fiery angels kiss the dawn
Wish you goodbye till further on
Will you still be there further on?

And troubled dynasties, like legions lost, have blown away
Hounds hard upon their heels call to their quarry-- wait and play
Before the last faint light has gone
Wish you goodbye till further on
Will you still be there further on?

The angry waves grow high-- cut icy teeth on Northern shores
Brave fires that flicker, cough-- give way to winds through broken doors
And with the last line almost drawn
Wish you goodbye till further on



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