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I began writing a song on Saturday but by Sunday it was writing itself. As with a lot of my work I’d had the hook-line and a few of the lyrics sitting quietly in my notebook for a while. I was convinced it was going to be a throwaway number, good for a dance but not close scrutiny; it has a pretty simple groove and no particularly clever changes. In other words a song to nod one’s head to, perhaps inspiring the odd smirk for the more gleefully cruel metaphors.

Writing vicious little anti-love songs was always my specialty. The first Bedlam Six album is full of them (with lines like “the day you became my bride I died a little bit inside”) but the older I get and the more places I visit and the more people I meet, the less inclined I am to poke fun at loneliness and desperation or, indeed, the way we as a species so often settle for less than complete fulfillment. This doesn’t mean I’ve stopped turning the thumbscrews on lazy sentimentality but these days I endeavour to flesh out the subjects and objects beyond merely good people and bad.

This song was really supposed to be a zippy little rock number with a simple hook and a hummable melody. It has, however, led itself down a different path, ending up as something rather more melancholy, featuring people with a tragic understanding of their own cheapness. Indeed, by the end, I think the two characters become rather admirable, though sadly so.

Here are the lyrics for anyone interested (still not sure about rhyming “up” with “teacup” – that line is currently on probation).

“Last Chance Romance”

by Louis Barabbas (24/02/2013)

I was rigid with drink
On a day without a name
Gazing into the distance
As the horizon backed away
Locked up in a happiness
That left truth out in the cold
Living within the artifice
Of an indifferent world

Through the haze emerged a form
In sure and sharp relief
A woman with that shop-soiled look
Of the habitual divorcee
I saw the sculpt of her hips
And no visible tattoos
I know this isn’t love
But it’ll do

I like my coffee black
And my little lies white
I like to keep my potential intact
And out of sight
But she possessed all the miseries
That come with imagination
She was as open and inhospitable
As a railway station

I’ve never known my own mind
But I suspect it’s now made up
And though the stars may not be aligned
Or our fates written in a teacup
We’ve been searching for affection
And it’s been leaving us all these clues
And though this isn’t love
It’ll do

I don’t want nobody but you
No, no other body will do
But believe me
A little bird told me
There’s never been no one and only
I just want someone to hold me
How did I ever get so lonely?

Time hasn’t been kind
But then neither have I
You can’t put an end to hurricanes
By pulling the wings off butterflies
So let us not be explained
Or we might be explained away
Don’t wear protective gloves
If you want to seize the day

Because to remember love
Is still to love
Just as the blind, in dreams, still see
But I must admit these little rituals
Look all the same to me
So accept my usual promises
Though you know they won’t come true
This isn’t love
But it’ll do

I don’t want nobody but you
No, no other body will do
But believe me
A little bird told me
There’s never been no one and only
I just want someone to hold me
How did I ever get so lonely?

Our memory begins still born
Though the concept of it grows ever stronger
In our hearts and minds
People don’t live on
Their deaths just echo for longer
Now the time has come for fiction
And we must play out all our parts
No rules and no restrictions
Just a couple of broken hearts
So come take my hand
It’ll just be me and you
We know this isn’t love
But it will do.

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