His guitar strap is sorely splashed
With a punter’s blood
But he wears it like he always has
Since those days before the flood
And the hammers down and the speakers drown
The questions he won’t ask
Like who shed it? Who spilled it?
And who gave somebody a night and then just killed it.
13 years and 13’s still so unlucky for some
And the birthday boy she was waiting for
Who couldn’t wait to come
Then the spirit sprang from the bottle-neck
And he couldn’t pour it back
He couldn’t hack it, he couldn’t will it
So he gave somebody a night oh yea then he just killed it
He just killed it.
We give so much, we give so much
And get so little back
And every turn we take
Is into someone’s cul-de-sac
But we can’t live out on islands
So who else can we trust
When night comes in and your tinder skin is ready
Ready to combust?
So get the gore guitarist gone
With the birthday-ruined girl
And tear apart their oyster hearts
That just might yield a pearl
And hide your eyes with alibis and don’t go looking back
There’s a void there you couldn’t fill it
So you gave somebody a night
It was a rare and tender night
Such a rare and tender night
Oh you gave somebody a night
And then you just killed it-
Oh you just killed it
You gave somebody and then killed it
A rare and tender night
And then just killed it.
I think it was originally written at the time of the Latin Quarter album ‘Bringing Rosa Home’, around 1995. I remembered it for this album after Ricardo and I were discussing rhythms we like and I realised that this song could be fitted to one that we both like very much.
This song begins with the image of a guitarist arrogantly and even violently strutting his stuff on stage before an adoring audience (one kind of one-night-stand) and then becomes a reflection/memory of unhappy, disappointing sexual encounter (other kinds of one-night-stands.) At times the meaning – as with many Mike Jones lyrics – is opaque, but for me lines like ‘Dry your eyes with alibis/And don’t go looking back’ are brilliant to sing and of course resonate with meaning. Many relationships are abusive, not in the strict (and terrible) physical sense but precisely because we search for alibis and not honest reasons for what we do.