Ten Things Which Aren't Love

by Pale Bird

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released November 3, 2017

Written, performed and produced by Martin Austwick, with additional production by Andy Goddard and tuba by Sam Pay. "Hourglass" is based on an original idea by Jim Footner.

"You've Got A Lot of Teeth" inspired by drawings by Daley Walton/Consumer Revolt


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Pale Bird Austwick, UK

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Track Name: I Thought I'd Find a Friend
Martini glass
I catch the eye of some young power couple
Upper class
A cocktail bar in the Antarctic
Icebergs gliding past
I thought that I'd found friends

But they only want to know about the people I killed

The glow from your infernal summer is going nowhere fast
The lights are fading down
This isn't my first time around
The serious man, the frivolous woman
They just want to chat
Every ear in the land
Is popcorn-flavoured ash
I thought I'd find a friend

But they only want to talk about the people I killed
They only want to know how many people I killed
They only want to count how many people I killed
They only want to talk about the people I killed
Track Name: Superviolent
Do you really want to hurt these men?
There's so much I can't tell from your expression
And everybody's monologuing
Like we're at a supervillain convention

Do you need a costume change?
Well I could cover that with a distraction
Can you hear the sound of male tears falling
I know that’s your call to action

She’d throw a man out of a window
Looking out of the 15th floor
And in the blinking of an eye
He wouldn’t be winking anymore

Your nights are full of solitude
Your days are spent in bitter contemplation
Waiting for your enemies to be degraded and fall into the ocean
Saying “I don’t care at all” is just my way of saying that I’m frightened
I hope you never find your quarry
You won’t need a sidekick if that happens

She’d throw a man onto a bonfire
Push a man into a busy street
If she didn’t like his tone
And men are men, they never ever moderate their tone

She’d throw a man into a lift shaft
Push a man down a flight of stairs
If he didn’t show respect
And men are men, they never ever show respect
Track Name: The Bats and the Bears
Every single bird in the wood was taking something from me
Every day
So I knew that I was on the right track when those feathery fuckers took my breadcrumbs away
To spell out a message up ahead on the path
That said "Dead Men Tell No Tales - ha ha ha ha"

I'd taken myself for a walk
hoping that there would be
Some kinds of animals to see
But all of the interesting ones -
All the bats and the bears -
They were still asleep

All the ones that were left had personality flaws
Full of bitterness and malice to the tips of their claws

If these creatures knew hope, long ago they forgot
Won't you listen to me, I've become
Apologist laureate

I suppose I should have sat them all down, told them how terrible they are, they'd have believed every word
But instead I said to each "you are loved" because that seemed a kinder thing to tell to a bird

Yes you're the reason that I lost my way
But that's not the biggest thing I've lost, no
Not even today
And I'm not in it to win it so losing things is ok
Track Name: You've Got a Lot of Teeth
When I think of you, I don’t think of your eyes
I think of your lips and I think of your smile
Because you’ve got a lot of teeth

When I built my kingdom, I filled it with vegetables
Because even in fantasy you have to be sensible
And you’ll need something to eat
Or you’ll find something to eat

But there’s nothing to fear
Unless you’re afraid of all the things that terrify me
Like people goodbye-ing, or turning aside
Or smiling so wide with a mouthful of teeth

If I have a tittle, I want a hat
And a crustacean army
With a chitinous clatter
And something to help me to breath

A servile companion to help me remember
And a trusted companion to help me forget
The ivory flash of your teeth

But there’s nothing to fear
Unless you’re afraid of all the things that terrify me
Two letterbox eyes, each one hungry for news
And a skull full of teeth
Each one hungry for you

I am a frog who’s been kissed more than once
At least
Once more than once
And maybe that’s not enough
To transform something like me

But when I think of you I think of your style
And I think of your laughter
And I think of your smile
Because you’ve got a lot of teeth
Track Name: I'm a Fan of You
I don’t think that you are boring
Even when you’re doing nothing
Please try harder to be boring
I’m a fan of you
Track Name: Your Fridge is on Its Way
Courage, oh courage
What will you make me do when you finally come to me?
I can’t stop imagining
All those young, handsome, well-tailored men
Dead in a ditch
Cold hands grasping a compatriot’s sleeve

My life’s dressed up so nicely
That I can’t look it in the eye
My fear has taken the form
Of a vaudeville street gang
Clinging to dry land
Promising a hand
To the thousand
Thrusting hands

Well I’m glad that you’re happy
But it’s not as if you’ve won some fucking competition
“We can deliver your prizes direct to your grave -
Your fridge is on its way”

My world’s grown to a size
Where I can’t look it in the eyes
Without standing precariously
On the shoulders of a
Shabby folk band
Holding my hands
Out either side
Like a gormless Gormley
Track Name: There's Going to be Rain On My Window Tonight
I was quiet
To an uncomfortable degree
Staring at the water
You wondered what was wrong with me
But I was trying to see
To the bottom of the lake
And everything I saw
It just went on and on

A chasm full of stars
Far beneath the feet
Of those lazy trees - lazying around
Why will no one tell them
Don’t you know one day you’re going to get struck down?
But no one said a word

And this was just a little thing
Probably shouldn’t mean that much to me
But there’s going to be
Rain on my window tonight

And I’m such a great magician
I conjured a void of meaning
And all kinds of thoughts and feelings
Were drawn towards its centre
And I’m such a great inventor
I invented a device
To read all the thoughts and feelings
You had and never voiced
And that is how I heard
About all the things which aren’t love
But they have the same shape and taste
And they have the same sting
Because love’s a word you use
So you don’t have to choose
Love’s a word you throw around
Over everyone and over everything
Both minuscule and huge

And this was just a little thing
Probably didn’t mean that much to you
But there’s going to be
Rain on my window tonight
Track Name: He Doesn't Have A Soul
I want you to listen carefully
I’ve met someone who’s just like me
He has my face, and hair, and teeth
But he doesn’t have a soul

Now, I know you don’t believe
In this vague spirituality
But I’ve observed him closely
And he doesn’t have a soul

He doesn’t have a soul
He’s every bit as handsome
But he doesn’t have a soul

His buddies call him “Marty”
He’s lots of fun at parties
He doesn’t like “Love, Actually”
And that’s proof enough for me
Because no-one is that perfect
We all love awful things
Of this fact I’m certain
Or I wouldn’t have the friends

Who sometimes call me “Marty”
And tolerate my thinking
Not going to a party is a way to spend an evening

But he doesn’t have a soul
He’s very kind and thoughtful
But he doesn’t have a soul

He doesn’t have a soul
He’s full of joy and merriment
But he doesn’t have a soul

He doesn’t have a soul
I’m singing you this song
Cos one day he will come for me
And I want you to notice when I’m gone
Track Name: Hourglass
She's an hourglass with a wide, wide waste
I don't think you understand that you're the same
Smirked, scrabbler, sandsifter
You took in her inspiration and statistics
And then you took her name and gave it back defaced
Ridiculed and twisted

You took her inspiration and her spirit
You gave her Dot Cotton poise
Pitiful and twisted
An underwritten life
But she was the silence once the noise had passed
The swirling at the bottom of the glass
The words after your voice had died

You made the world a really awful place
You mocked and bullied people who were frightened
Too scared to go outside
I think that you need more opportunities
For imaginative play
Do you think an hour a day
Is something you could set aside?
Track Name: What Do You Think Of When You Don't Think Of Me?
You’re used to taking the things I only look at
A charcoal drawing of my sanity
I think you’ve known the shape of sorrow in your mouth
What do you think of when you don’t think of me?

If you stopped smoking, you might live forever
Japanese woman with a cigarette in her teeth
Skinny slice of street sadness gone electric
What do you think of when you don’t think of me?

You’re no bigger
Than your sister sphere of sadness
That you push away from your chest
Elbows braced and fingers
Fingers laced
Your hands are big enough to hold it

You’ll never give yourself to being romantic
Because what is romance but suspension of disbelief?
Apart from all the world and everyone within it
What do you think of when you don’t think of me?
Track Name: We Walked Together Through a Landscape of Improbable Ideas
We walked together through a landscape of improbable ideas
Made tangible by fear
You held on with a strange reluctance to my trembling hand
When the dust had settled
And the shape of this abysmal place was clear

If a cloud crosses the road
Passing through an empty desert
That’s just too much company for me

A single lonely footprint
Planted in a distant corner of a long-abandoned city
That’s more people than I ever want to see

Why would you say these words out loud
Your lips lingering at my ear?
Maybe it was just because
We were walking through this landscape of improbable ideas?

You helped me figure out the mechanisms of this terrible machine
We’d all suffered at its hand
And, yes, it operated on a constant flow of salty human tears
But, given what we had expected
This didn’t seem so bad

And maybe if we stayed
Your resolve would melt
You’d reach out your hand
Just glad to have me near
Because after all
We are in a landscape of improbable ideas
Made possible by fear
Track Name: Now That I'm Not In Love With You
You asked if we could meet
At an impossible location
Somewhere that’s between
A desert and a street

You talked through your affairs with me in a derelict hotel
Counting each one out
One the fingers of your hands

‘Till complicated feelings fell
To the thrill of trespass
To knowing what it means
To recount these things again
Now that I’m not in love with you

You found a frozen eyeball
Lying in the snow
And you put in the finger of a glove and took it home
You should feel stretched and swollen
You feel bright and hopeful

Now the sun isn’t my friend
Nor the mountains or the sea
Or the man-made places where the sight-lines lead to me
Now that I’m not in love with you

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