John Cale
Fear Is A Man's Best Friend - John Cale


Wrong Way Up

Wrong Way Up

  1. Lay My Love
  2. One Word
  3. In The Backroom
  4. Empty Frame
  5. Cordoba (All the lines of Cordoba are taken from a textbook for learning Spanish)
  6. Spinning Away
  7. Footsteps
  8. Been There Done That
  9. Crime In The Desert
  10. The River

Lay My Love

I am the crow of desperation
I need no fact or validation
I spin relentless variation
I scramble in the dust of a failing nation
I was concealed
Now I am stirring
And I have waited for this time.

I am the termite of temptation
I multiply and fly my population
I am the wheel I am the turning
And I will lay my love around you.

I am the sea of permutation
I live beyond interpretation
I scramble all the names and the combinations
[I] penetrate the walls of explanation
I am the will
I am the burning
And I will lay my love around you.

I am the will
I am the yearning
And I will lay my love around you.


One Word

Night-time is falling on the Louvre.
It's been a lazy afternoon.
We walk to the house, the air is clear,
The water’s still moving in the pool.

You say
the same
One word;
we fight.
We're in
a game.
Let it all
fade away.

One word.
One sound.
It makes
the world go 'round.
You'll see
you can't win--
the same place
but not the same spin.
If it fades away,
I don't mind.

We were miles away, we were miles away,
We were miles and miles away.

Remember this oil by Augustus John?
These are the ones I found in Rome.
There are few things I keep for long.
When does your plane leave for Cologne?

I recall
the train --
People danced
One world
we're in.
We'll find
the same thing.
Never mind...
with time,
we'll dance again.
If it all fades away...

One word --
I saw --
that's all it took
to turn them around.
Strange world,
no sound.
The same things
are everywhere around.
You'll see,
with time
we'll dance again.
Let it all fade dancing away.

All the sounds I heard
on a summer night,
and the quiet words
we exchanged. I felt
she was pulling back
to emphasize --
I was falling
into Mona Lisa's eyes.
And she turned,
and she turned,
she was far away.
She was miles away.

One word,
I found,
that's all it took
to turn him around.
She watched.
He sighs.
He waits for
a touch of her eyes.
And then
she turns away.
She won't let him
touch her any more today.

She was miles away.
She was so many miles away.


In The Backroom

When Señoritas walk at night,
Habañeros on the move,
It's music to their ears in the backroom.
If there's money to be made,
And it's a hundred in the shade and in the backroom,
She's sentimental like the last
Of the foreigners running past her to the backroom.
And if things aren't sweet in Mecca
She'll be begging for forgiveness in the vacuum.

They're taking pains with California,
And they're guaranteeing boredom for the monsoon.
And apart from what was offered
There were mothers buying orphans at the auction
You're much better off in Twos
If you're coming to see the carnage in the backroom.
Doubled over on the table
I was concentrating harder in the backroom.
Weaving in and out of consciousness
Hiding out behind the entrance to the backroom.

It took longer than expected:
They had difficulty swallowing capsules.
We had a keener nose for trouble
Than the sniffer-dogs at Heathrow --
You'd be trousers down in no time in the backroom.
Almost nothing in the papers...
Told me it happened when they emptied out the backroom.


Empty Frame

So they rode the sea,
It went on and on
They were years away
Though it seemed so long
But the captain never told them what he knew
As the poor ship laboured on through the endless blue.

Oh the storm was strong
And the ship was so frail
But they stumbled on
Raising broken sails,
And they held the heavy sky on their open hands
And they dreamed of when their poor feet would touch the land.

Baby, we're going round in circles!
Where is this place we're going to?
Does anybody know we're out here on the waves?
And are any of our signals coming through?

We're going 'round in circles.
We have no single point of view.
And like the clouds that turn to every passing wind,
We turn to any signal that comes through.

At the edge of the sea
Were the signs of the dove --
But the wrong way out
And the wrong way up.
We pushed the empty frame of reason out the cabinet door,
No we won't be needing reason anymore.
Ooh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh, yeah yeah yeah, yeah yeah.



A man was sleeping under a tree.
He wrote to me from Cordoba.
After the theatre, we went to his house.
He's very generous Cordoban.
We waited at the door, but he didn't come.
According to his father, he's very ill.

There was a long line of cars in front of me.
I came as soon as I could.
I left without paying, a suitcase under my arm.
I won't see you until Sunday.
I'll come as soon as I can.
I'll meet you alone in the shoeshop near the bakery.
By the two-storey house/very pretty/like a villa.
The lift stops between two floors.
You start to walk towards the station.
Walk towards the bus.
We'll have to wait at the station.
Leave the parcel on the top deck.
You start to walk towards the station.
I'll walk towards the bus.
You walk towards the station.
I'll walk towards the bus.
You walk towards the station.
I'll walk towards the bus.
You walk towards the station.
I'll walk towards the bus.


Spinning Away

Up on a hill, as the day dissolves
With my pencil turning moments into line
High above in the violet sky
A silent silver plane - it draws a golden chain

One by one, all the stars appear
As the great winds of the planet spiral in
Spinning away, like the night sky at Arles
In the million insect storm, the constellations form

On a hill, under a raven sky
I have no idea exactly what I've drawn
Some kind of change, some kind of spinning away
With every single line moving further out in time

And now as the pale moon rides (in the stars)
Her form in my pale blue lines (in the stars)

And there, as the world rolls round (in the stars)
I draw, but the lines move round (in the stars)

There, as the great wheels blaze (in the stars)
I draw, but my drawing fades (in the stars)

And now, as the old sun dies (in the stars)
I draw, and the four winds sigh (in the stars)



I'm a man of many colours:
Only yesterday I was blue.
Ten days from now, I'll be different
And so will you.
Written there in capital letters
So as not to be misunderstood
Making sure I'm clear,
Telling bad from good.

Two weeks ago in Tokyo,
A man from Islamabad:
Selling shells back to the rebels,
Shells they never had.
All is clear: I can see for miles and miles.
I can hear your footsteps in my heart.
Somebody make me an offer
I've got to get away from here, ooh, ooh, ooh.

Driving hard through the snow-drift
Like a moth to a naked light
To keep an appointment in Zurich
With a man who hears footsteps in the night.
Tired of what he's been doing,
What it's done to his life...
Getting most of what he needed
Has left him with less than he had.
All is clear: I can see for miles and miles.
All I hear are your footsteps in my heart.


Been There Done That

I was dreaming
It's a hundred and ninety degrees
We were crawling around on our knees
Till the sun came up at quarter to three

But the time we had
Dirty clothes and dirt on our walls
Swinging on the bathroom doors
Thinking we were having a ball
Until somebody said they'd
Been there, done that
Been there, don't wanna go back
Been there, done that
Been there, don't wanna go back

Yesterday I called you on the telephone
To tell you I was feeling alone
Where you been for the last few days?
I want you back
Put my feet back on the ground
I don't need the lost and found
I need somebody to tell me when I've
Been there, done that
Been there, don't wanna go back
Been there, done that
Been there, don't wanna go back

A broken heart
Won't get you much further than a cold heart
We're getting, getting better, we're running back
Running back, back to you and I'm feeling that
You're the money or the good times
When I've been there...


Crime In The Desert

Crime and punishment down in Tuscon
Back to normal in the sun
Playing Blackjack in the Drive-In
Shooting snake-eyes in the mud
And when the moonlight came out, we were gone, long gone.

They found a body on the race-track;
No identifying signs
In his pocket was a notebook
With a number inside
And Guadalajara's just a few miles down the line.

She adored the broken-hearted
And those who showed her a bad time
They didn't care for her body
They took advantage of her mind.
So they took her ideas and they left her behind.


The River

So deep in the water
Sleep, dark as the night
Somehow it seems it was all another dream
Soon dissolved in the light.

Oh, we were by the waterline.
Vague, the song of the night.
Innocent to all the peasant gods with you,
So, we drink to be renewed.

On the long, deep river
Where the moorhens cry
As the first sun quivers in the open sky...

Oh, she came down the river.
Soon, all the leaves were still.
The current was strong and the river was so long.
So, we drink to be renewed.

In the long cool evening,
Where the peacocks shiver
And the boat starts down the silver river way...

I remember you saying,
As her deep eyes opened,
In the first light seeing her,
"Here is someone new".

© 1999- Hans Werksman