PETER HAMMILL : (IN THE) BLACK ROOM [1973]

Ένα κομμάτι του Peter Hammill από τα middle ’70s. όχι από τα πιο γνωστά του, αλλά από τα πιο σημαντικά, με όλη τη σημασία της λέξης, για μένα.
Από το “μνημειώδες” άμπουμ του
Chameleon In The Shadow Of The Night.

A piece written by
Peter Hammill in the mid ’70s. Not one of his best known, but one of the most important, with the full meaning of the word, to me.
From his “monumental” album
Chameleon In The Shadow Of The Νight.

I – In the Black Room (I)
I was thinking about thinking
but it really didn’t get me very far,
so I thought I’d throw a Tarot,
but I only got the Priestess and the Star.
There’s a shadow cast on my future
Past the room and I agree to buy some time….
The cards don’t tell truth nor lies,
only options and cusp lines:
the furniture in the black room.
I’ve been thinking about acid,
but, it seems, there’s not a reason to believe.
I don’t make a vital breakthrough
and it walks me like a dog upon a lead.
It’s all unreal and, the way I feel,
I’d like to try and make it on my own….
Going to the feelings is fine:
I really have me a good pleasure cruise.
But, deep in my mind,
I’m no better or worse, just open to the walls.
Paint peels in the black of my room.
I’m only talking about myself, ordering my treasure shelf,
documenting present feelings as the future sets me reeling….
What I’ll be is what I am,
I’m simply trying not to sham or fake.
Use vision as sense and not as crutch!
It doesn’t matter all that much;
in the end we will all survive,
I’m trying not to pawn my life.
When I’m (maybe) old and strait-laced,
shall I then deny all that I feel?
In words of bitter compromise,
re-smelt the wrath that’s in my eyes like steel?
Be a hermit then?
Or be a miser?
Be a man who hasn’t managed yet to write his rules?
The Fool?
The future holds my hand in the room….
Well, then, my ghosts shall steer down through the years
and lay a hand upon my soul
like ice.
 
II – The Tower
So: onto the familiar top steps!
In cloud-scud moonlight glow
the Tower reels.
Am I, the blind man,
feeling for a path I know…
don’t you know that I’m only feeling for how to feel?
Rats run.
Snakes coil.
Fathers
stare out at the whispering night;
rub mud on their arms.
Spiders.
Mud boils.
Children
whimper in the human vortex;
faces glow of worms.
 
III – Thunder
Thunder…
Silence.
Omens….
I think it’s coming,
all signs are very near, all signs are that
pain shall come
and change shall run
down through my heart
and shake my knees
and now it is coming,
all around is the humming
of the World.
Too late, with my balance gone,
dead-eyed doll,
I’m falling, falling
back to where I began….
 
IV – In the Black Room (II)
I’m feeling like a kid again,
I’m feeling like I just walked in the door,
and with my head on fire
I wrote this song – I don’t know who it’s for.
Hands held fast in camera,
I’ll swear I heard the Stammerer exclaim:
“I am a traveller, unraveller,
I only live through pain, and shame, and change!”
In my room, the secret tomb, I can see
future forms, space-time storms:
they’re all me,
and I’ve only got to choose!
In my head I am dead, if I fall
in the trap,
the subtle lap,
a safety’s pall….
but I’m living while I choose….


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3 Comments

  1. Resa April 6, 2022 at 10:50 pm

    Adore this! Very Zappa-like at moments. Still holds its own uniqueness!

    Reply
    1. Oannes April 6, 2022 at 11:10 pm

      Inventive like Zappa’s finest stuff, but with a unique sense of drama which is this guy’s trademark. Peter Hammill is my “idol” since I was 15.
      Thank you for this!

      Reply
      1. Resa April 7, 2022 at 12:01 am

        …and I thank you!

        Reply

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