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Old blog post 5 – March ’14

Tom Waits Week – Day 5

March 28th 2014 – Day 87

A vast proportion of Tom’s work is focused on the people and places in our societies that we often forget or chose to ignore. Even though Tom’s work may have a beautiful sense of irony and elements of sarcasm, the words he writes never fail to strike home the fact that while we live our comfortable lives, there are others who are not always so lucky for what ever reason.

Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis

Hey Charlie I’m pregnant and living on 9th Street
right above a dirty bookstore off Euclid Avenue
and I stopped takin dope and I quit drinkin whiskey
and my old man plays the trombone and works out at the track

he says that he loves me even though it’s not his baby
he says that he’ll raise him up like he would his own son
and he gave me a ring that was worn by his mother
and he takes me out dancin every Saturday night

and hey Charlie I think about you everytime I pass a fillin station
on account of all the grease you used to wear in your hair
and I still have that record of Little Anthony and the Imperials
but someone stole my record player now how do you like that?

hey Charlie I almost went crazy after Mario got busted

I went back to Omaha to live with my folks
but everyone I used to know was either dead or in prison
so I came back to Minneapolis this time I think I’m gonna stay

hey Charlie I think I’m happy for the first time since my accident
and I wish I had all the money we used to spend on dope
I’d buy me a used car lot and I wouldn’t sell any of em
I’d just drive a different car every day dependin on how I feel

hey Charlie for chrissakes if you want to know the truth of it
I don’t have a husband he don’t play the trombone
I need to borrow money to pay this lawyer and Charlie hey
I’ll be eligible for parole come Valentine’s day

Tom Waits, 1978

Namaste.

Old blog post 4 – March ’14

Tom Waits Week – Day 4

March 27th 2014 – Day 86

House Where Nobody Lives

There’s a house on my block
that’s abandoned and cold
Folks moved out of it a
long time ago
and they took all their things
and they never came back
Looks like it’s haunted
with the windows all cracked 
and everyone calls it
the house, the house where
nobody lives.

Once it held laughter
Once it held dreams
Did they throw it away
Did they know what it means
Did someone’s heart break
or did someone do somebody wrong?

Well the paint was all cracked
It was peeled off of the wood
Papers were stacked on the porch
where I stood
and the weeds had grown up
just as high as the door
There were birds in the chimney
and an old chest of drawers
Looks like no one will ever
come back to the
House where nobody lives

Once it held laughter
Once it held dreams
Did they throw it away
Did they know what it means
Did someone’s heart break
or did someone do somebody wrong?

So if you find someone
someone to have, someone to hold
Don’t trade it for silver
Don’t trade it for gold
I have all of life’s treasures
and they are fine and they are good
They remind me that houses
Are just made of wood
What makes a house grand
Ain’t the roof or the doors
If there’s love in a house
It’s a palace for sure
Without love
It ain’t nothin but a house
A house where nobody lives

Without love it ain’t nothin
But a house, A house where
Nobody lives.

Tom Waits, 1999

Namaste.

Old blog post 3 – March ’14

https://youtu.be/YH4KM1uYPq8

Tom Waits Week – Day 3

March 26th 2014 – Day 85

The album “Heartattack & Vine” has always been one of my favourites, and to me the whole thing is a work of poetry; from the slow groove of the opening title track to the heart-wrenching sadness of the final ballad, it is a masterpiece.

But when I first heard the album I was just getting into blues, and there is one song that stands out the most for me as an anthem for all the raw street imagery of urban-blues. It is like a cross between Charles Bukowski and Elmore Leonard, with a small trippy slice of William Burroughs thrown in.

Mr Siegal

I spent all my money in a Mexican whorehouse baby
cross the street from a Catholic church
and I wiped off my revolver
and I buttoned up my burgundy shirt

I shot the morning in the back with my red wings on
told the sun he better go back down
and if I can find a book of matches
I’m goin to burn this hotel down

you got to tell me brave captain
why are the wicked so strong
how do the angels get to sleep
when the devil leaves his porch light on

well I dropped thirty grand on the nugget slots
I had to sell my ass on Fremont Street
and the drummer said theres sanctuary
over at the bagdad room

oh and now thats one for the money two for the show
three to get ready and go man go
I said tell me mister Siegel
how do I get out of here

Willard’s knocked out on a bottle of heat
drivin dangerous curves across the dirty sheets
he said man you ought to see her when her parents are gone
man you ought to hear her when the sirens on

I said tell me brave captain
why are the wicked so strong
how do the angels get to sleep
when the devil leaves the porch light on

don’t you know that ain’t no broken bottle that I picked up in my headlights
on the other side of the Nevada line
where they live hard die young
and have a good lookin corpse every time

well you know the pit boss said: I should keep movin
this is where you go when you die
so I shot a black beauty
and I kissed her right between the eyes

oh well Willard’s knocked out on a bottle of heat
drivin dangerous curves across the dirty sheets
he said when the bitch is wound up and her parents are gone
man you ought to hear her with the siren on

I said tell me brave captain
why are the wicked so strong
how do the angels get to sleep
when the devil leaves his porch light on

I spent all my money now in a Mexican whorehouse
cross the street from a Catholic church
and then I wiped off my revolver
and I buttoned up my burgundy shirt

I shot the morning in the back with my red wings on
I told the sun he’d better go back down
and if I can find a book of matches
I’m goin to burn this hotel down

well it’s one for the money two for the show
I said three to get ready and go man go
I said tell me mister Siegel
how do I get out of here

Tom Waits, 1980

Namaste.

Old blog post 2 – March ’14

Tom Waits Week – Day 2

March 25th 2014 – Day 84

When my wife and I got married, I borrowed these words from Tom to let everyone know just how much I love her. Thanks Tom.

A Little Trip To Heaven

Little trip to Heaven on the wings of your love
Banana moon is shining in the sky
Feel like I’m in Heaven when you’re with me
Know that I’m in heaven when you smile
Though we’re stuck here on the ground

I got something that I’ve found and it’s you

And I don’t have to take no trip to outer space
All I have to do is look at your face
And before I know it, I’m in orbit around you
Thanking my lucky stars that I’ve found you
When I see your constellation
Honey, you’re my inspiration and it’s you

You’re my North star when I’m lost and feeling blue
The sun is breaking through the clouds
Don’t you, don’t you know it’s true?
Honey, all the other stars seem dim around you
Thanking my lucky stars that I’ve found you
When I see your smiling face, honey
I know nothing ever going to take your place and it’s you

And it’s you, and it’s you
And it’s you, and it’s you, and it’s you
And it’s you, and it’s you

Tom Waits, 1973

Namaste.

Old blog post – March ’14

Tom Waits Week

March 24th 2014 – Day 83

Tom Waits has probably been one of the most influential artists of my life; and when I say artist, I mean in the whole sense of the word. He is a musician, performer, poet, and a complete work of art as a person. So, this week I celebrate his impact on my life with some of my favourite pieces.

Today is “Step Right Up”; I first heard this song (on the album “Small Change”, which we will revisit this later week) in 1986, and it sealed my admiration of him as a poet. This is a great live performance from 1977, the lyrics are below, and I hope you enjoy it.

Step Right Up

Step right up, step right up, step right up,
Everyone’s a winner, bargains galore
That’s right, you too can be the proud owner
Of the quality goes in before the name goes on
One-tenth of a dollar, one-tenth of a dollar, we got service after sales
You need perfume?
We got perfume, how ‘bout an engagement ring?
Something for the little lady, something for the little lady,
Something for the little lady, hmm
Three for a dollar
We got a year-end clearance, we got a white sale
And a smoke-damaged furniture, you can drive it away today
Act now, act now, and receive as our gift, our gift to you
They come in all colours, one size fits all
No muss, no fuss, no spills, you’re tired of kitchen drudgery
Everything must go, going out of business, going out of business
Going out of business sale
Fifty percent off original retail price, skip the middle man
Don’t settle for less
How do we do it? how do we do it?
Volume, volume, turn up the volume
Now you’ve heard it advertised, don’t hesitate
Don’t be caught with your drawers down,
Don’t be caught with your drawers down
You can step right up, step right up

That’s right, it filets, it chops, it dices, slices,
Never stops, lasts a lifetime, mows your lawn
And it mows your lawn and it picks up the kids from school
It gets rid of unwanted facial hair, it gets rid of embarrassing age spots,
It delivers a pizza, and it lengthens, and it strengthens
And it finds that slipper that’s been at large
under the chaise lounge for several weeks
And it plays a mean Rhythm Master,
It makes excuses for unwanted lipstick on your collar
And it’s only a dollar, step right up, it’s only a dollar, step right up

‘Cause it forges your signature
If not completely satisfied, mail back unused portion of product
For complete refund of price of purchase
Step right up
Please allow thirty days for delivery, don’t be fooled by cheap imitations
You can live in it, live in it, laugh in it, love in it
Swim in it, sleep in it,
Live in it, swim in it, laugh in it, love in it
Removes embarrassing stains from contour sheets, that’s right
And it entertains visiting relatives, it turns a sandwich into a banquet
Tired of being the life of the party?
Change your shorts, change your life, change your life
Change into a nine-year-old Hindu boy, get rid of your wife,
And it walks your dog, and it doubles on sax
Doubles on sax, you can jump back Jack, see you later alligator
See you later alligator
And it steals your car
It gets rid of your gambling debts, it quits smoking
It’s a friend, and it’s a companion,
And it’s the only product you will ever need
Follow these easy assembly instructions it never needs ironing
Well it takes weights off hips, bust, thighs, chin, midriff,
Gives you dandruff, and it finds you a job, it is a job
And it strips the phone company free take ten for five exchange,
And it gives you denture breath
And you know it’s a friend, and it’s a companion
And it gets rid of your traveler’s checks
It’s new, it’s improved, it’s old-fashioned
Well it takes care of business, never needs winding,
Never needs winding, never needs winding
Gets rid of blackheads, the heartbreak of psoriasis,
Christ, you don’t know the meaning of heartbreak, buddy,

C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon
‘Cause it’s effective, it’s defective, it creates household odors,
It disinfects, it sanitizes for your protection
It gives you an erection, it wins the election
Why put up with painful corns any longer?
It’s a redeemable coupon, no obligation, no salesman will visit your home
We got a jackpot, jackpot, jackpot, prizes, prizes, prizes, all work guaranteed
How do we do it, how do we do it, how do we do it, how do we do it
We need your business, we’re going out of business
We’ll give you the business
Get on the business end of our going-out-of-business sale
Receive our free brochure, free brochure
Read the easy-to-follow assembly instructions, batteries not included
Send before midnight tomorrow, terms available,
Step right up, step right up, step right up

You got it buddy: the large print giveth, and the small print taketh away
Step right up, you can step right up, you can step right up
C’mon step right up
Get away from me kid, you bother me…
Step right up, step right up, step right up, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon
Step right up, you can step right up, c’mon and step right up,
C’mon and step right up

Tom Waits, 1976

Namaste.

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