Henry's Songbook

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Scene From A Corner Café

  • (Allan Taylor)

    Annette and Charmaine check in at six, choose their pitch for the night
    Easy money, that's what they say, When you get your mind right
    Charmaine wanted to be an actress, she never made the grade
    Found it was not so much getting the part, more a matter of getting laid

    And there's Sandy, sometimes he's a girl, sometimes she's a man
    No problem, that's O.K., everybody understands
    Points out a drink with a cigarette, she's got a cool nonchalant air
    Flashing his eyes in a mirror, casually checking her hair, she doesn't care

    There's a whole world out there passing through
    I see it every day
    Watching me, watching you from a corner cafe'

    The rich kids come in from the suburbs, they're dressing down and hanging out
    Getting a taste of the street scene and taking a taxi out
    They're watching all the girls at the bar, they wonder how much they cost
    Laughing at the transvestite, she's looking lost

    Annette leaves with the fat man, he's got hairs on the back of his hand
    He says he'll make her a big star and find her a backing band
    He's old but he's rich so what does she care, life all round is hard
    No one's looking for real commitment, it's just love on a credit card

    There's a whole world out there passing through
    I see it every day
    Watching me, watching you from a corner cafe'

    Me I'm not that much different, hanging out and wasting time
    Yeah, I'm still missing you, but I'm doing fine
    I sit here watching the world go by, I'm on the lonely side of town
    I write songs for the people I see while they're still around

    There's a whole world out there passing through
    I see it every day
    Watching me, watching you from a corner cafe'

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1997:] It is easy to look down on the subculture which inhabits the bars of downtown areas and see the people as living out sordid and self- indulgent lives, but I have found [...] the preoccupations and opinions of such people living at such a fundamental level to be refreshing. Not for them the long- term view; the pension, the next house, the next car and so on. Their only concern is to get through the next week, the next day even, and the sense of living for the day and taking each moment as vital and precious I have found to be a humbling experience.

    The people in this song are real - I knew them all. The two prostitutes came to their profession via unrealised ambitions in other directions, (Charmaine an actress, Annette a singer), and rather than finding them sad rejects of society I found them to be perhaps more realistic about their social environment than people in so- called normal occupations. In their terms they were winning, because they were screwing society back for screwing them in the first place, and at least now they were in control. As for Sandy it seems he never had a chance anyway but he made his chances and found happiness for a while with a partner (whom he married in Amsterdam, as at that time in the 70s Holland allowed gay marriages). Sandy used to love coming into the club at the back of the bar where we played music and I can still see him in my mind's eye, smiling, his head tilted back slightly, occasionally drawing on his cigarette, closing his eyes and drifting off to who knows where. Whenever I went into the front bar, which was always full with transvestites, prostitutes, thieves and various nationalities of sailors, Sandy was a useful person to have with you because he had a fearsome reputation as a fighter. More than once he had been known to pull a knife on someone who had insulted him, and just before I got to know him he had been involved in a knife- fight with a jealous lover. He always stood with his back against the bar, nervous about someone attacking him from behind. I heard recently, and this is almost 20 years since I last saw Sandy, that he had been killed in a fight. I suppose he knew it would happen sooner or later. (Taylor, Songs 90)

Quelle: England

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aktualisiert am 16.06.2002