Peter Hammill og anekdotene

Er det noen tekster som er myteomspunnet, så er det Peter Hammill sine. Anekdotene florerer om denne «gale» mannen som er mangeårig frontlanterne i Van Der Graaf Generator. Sær, eksentrisk og original, men sprøyte gal, det er vel å ta vel hardt i? Tja, les og studere selv, så kan du gjøre deg opp en mening!

Fra albumet «Good Bluff»:

The Undercover Man:

Here at the glass – all the usual problems,

all the habitual farce.

You ask, in uncertain voice, what you should do

as if there were a choice

but to carry on miming the songa

and hope that it all works out right.

Tonight it all seems so strange –

my spirit feels rigid,

my body deranged;

still that’s only from one point of view

and we can’t have illusion between me and you,

my constant friend, ever close at hand –

you and the undercover man.

I reflect: ‘It’s very strange to be going

through this change

with no idea of what it’s all been about

except in the context of time…’

Oh, but I shirk it, I’ve half a mind

not to work it all out.

Is this madness just the recurring wave

of total emotion,

or a hide for the undercover man,

or a litany – all the signs are there

of fervent devotion –

or the cracking of the dam?


It’s cracked; smashed and bursting over you,

there was no reason to expect such disaster.

Now, panicking, you burst for air,

drowning, you know you care

for nothing and no-one but yourself

and would deny even this hand which stretches out

towards you to help.

But would I leave you in this moment

of your trial?

Is it my fault that I’m here to see you crying?

These fantom figures all around

you should have told you,

you should have found out by now,

if you hadn’t gone and tried to do it all by yourself.


Even now we are not lost: if you look out

at the night

you’ll see the colours and the lights seem to say

people are not far away, at least in distance,

and it’s only our own dumb resistance

that’s making us stay.

When the madness comes, let it flood on down

and over me sweetly,

let it drown the parts of me weak and blessed

and damned,

let it slake my life, let it take my soul

and living completely,

let it be who I am.


There may not be time for us all to run

in tandem together –

the horizon calls with its parallel lines.

It may not be right for you to have and hold

in one way forever

and yet you still have time,

you still have time.


Scorched Earth:

Just one crazy moment while the dice are cast,

he looks into the future and remembers

what is past,

wonders what he’s doing on this battlefield,

shrugs to his shadow, impatient,

too proud yet to kneel.


In his wake he leaves scorched earth

and work in vain;

smoke drifts up behind him – he is free again,

free to run before the onslaught of a deadly foe,

leaving nothing fit for pillage,

hardly leaving home.

It’s far too late to turn, unless it’s to stone.

Charging madly forward, tracks across the snow,

wind screams madness to him, ever on he goes

leaving spoor to mark his passage,

trace his weary climb.

Cross the moor and make the headland –

stumbling, wayward, blind.

In the end his footprints extend as one single line.


This latest exponent of heresy is goaded

into an attack,

persuaded to charge at his enemy.

Too late, he knows it is, too late now

to turn back,

too soon by far to falter.

The past sits uneasily at his rear,

he’s walking right into the trap,

surrounded, but striving through will and fear.

Ahead of him he knows there waits an ambuscade

but the dice slip through his fingers

and he’s living from day to day,

carrying his world around upon his back,

leaving nothing behind but the tell-tale

of his track.


He will not be hostage, he will not be slave,

no snare of past can trap him,

though the future may.

Still he runs and burns behind him

in advanced retreat;

still his life remains unfettered –

he denies defeat.

It’s far too late to turn, unless it’s to stone.

Leave the past to burn – at least

that’s been his own.


Scorched earth, that’s all that’s

left when he’s done;

holding nothing but beholden to no-one,

claiming nothing, out of no false pride,

he survives.

Snow tracks are all that’s left to be seen

of a man who entered the course of a dream,

claiming nothing but the life he’s known

– this, at least, has been his own

Fra albumet «Pawn Hearts»:

Lemmings (including Cog):

I stood alone upon the highest cliff-top,

looked down, around, and all that I could see

were those that I would dearly love to share with

crashing on quite blindly to the sea…

I tried to ask what game this was,

but knew I might not play it:

the voice, as one, as no-one, came to me…


‘We have looked upon the heroes

and they are found wanting;

we have looked hard across the land,

but we can see no dawn;

we have now dared to sear the sky,

but we are still bleeding;

we are drawing near to the cliffs,

now we can hear the call.


The clouds are piled in mountain-shapes,

there is no escape except to go forward.

Don’t ask us for an answer now,

it’s far too late to bow to that convention.

What course is there left but to die?


We have looked upon the High Kings,

found them less than mortals:

their names are dust before the just

march of our young, new law.

Minds stumbling strong, we hurtle on

into the dark portal;

No-one can halt our final vault

into the unknown maw.


And as the Elders beat their brows

they know that it’s really far

too late now to stop us.

For if the sky is seeded death

what is the point in catching breath? – Expel it.

What cause is there left but to die

in searching of something we’re not quite sure of?


What cause is there left but to die?

… I really don’t know why …


I know our ends may be soon

but why do you make them sooner?

Time may finally prove

only the living move her and

no life lies in the quicksand.


Yes, I know it’s

Out of control, out of control:

Greasy machinery slides on the rails,

Young minds and bodies on steel spokes impaled…

Cogs tearing bones, cogs tearing bones;

Iron-throated monsters are forcing the screams,

Mind and machinery box-press the dreams…


… but there still is time …

Cowards are they who run today,

the fight is beginning…

no war with knives, fight with our lives,

lemmings can teach nothing;

death offers no hope, we must grope

for the unknown answer:

unite our blood, abate the flood,

avert the disaster…


There’s other ways than screaming in the mob:

that makes us merely cogs of hatred.

Look to the why and where we are,

look to yourselves and the stars and in the end

What choice is there left but to live

in the hope of saving

our children’s children’s little ones?


What choice is there left but to live?

to save the little ones?


What choice is there left but to try?



The killer lives inside me: yes, I can feel him move.

Sometimes he’s lightly sleeping

in the quiet of his room,

but then his eyes will rise and stare through mine;

he’ll speak my words and slice my mind inside.

Yes the killer lives.


Angels live inside me: I can feel them smile…

Their presence strokes

and soothes the tempest in my mind

and their love can heal the wounds

that I have wrought.

They watch me as I go to fall

– well, I know I shall be caught,

while the angels live.


How can I be free?

How can I get help?

Am I really me?

Am I someone else?


But stalking in my cloisters hang the acolytes

of gloom

and Death’s Head throws his cloak into

the corner of my room

and I am doomed…

But laughing in my courtyard play the pranksters

of my youth

and solemn, waiting Old Man

in the gables of the roof:

he tells me truth…


And I too, live inside me and very often

don’t know who I am:

I know I’m not a hero, well,

I hope that I’m not damned.

I’m just a man, and killers, angels,

all are these:

Dictators, saviours, refugees in war and peace

as long as Man lives…


I’m just a man, and killers, angels,

all are these:

Dictators, saviours, refugees

Fra albumet “Still Life”:


Sometimes you feel so far away,

distanced from all the action of the play,

unable to grasp significance,

marking the plot with diffident dismay,

stranded at centre stage,

scrabbling through your diary for a lost page:

unsure of the dream.

Kicking a stone across the beach,

aching for love and comfort out of reach:

the way ahead seems to be so bleak,

there’s no-one with any friendship left to speak

or show any relation

between your present and future situations…

lost to the dream.

Away, away, away–look to the future day

for hope, some form of peace

within the growing storm.

I climb through the evening,

alive and believing

in time we shall all know our goals

and so, finally, home;

for now, all is secret –

though how could I speak it,

allow me the dream in my eye!

I’ve been waiting for such a long time

just to see it at last, all of the hands tightly clasped,

all of us pilgrims.


Walking in silence down the coast,

merely to journey – here hope is the most,

merely to know there is an end;

all of us – lovers, brothers, sisters, friends

hand in hand.

Shining footprints on the wet sand

lead to the dream.

The time has come, the tide has almost run

and drained the deep: I rise from lifelong sleep.

It seems such a long time

I’ve dreamed but now, awake,

I can see we are pilgrims and so

must walk this road,

unknown in our purpose,

alone, but not worthless,

and home ever calling us on.

We’ve been waiting here for so long,

all of our hands joined in hope,

holding the weight on the rope

all of us pilgrims.


La Rossa:

Lacking sleep and food and vision,

here I am again, encamped upon your floor,

craving sanctuary and nourishment,

encouragement and sanctity and more.

The streets seemed very crowded,

I put on my bravest guise –

I know you know that I am acting,

I can see it in your eyes.

In the harsh light of freedom I know

that I cannot deny that I have wasted time,

have frittered it away in idle boasts

of my freedom and fidelity

when simpler words would have profited me most…

…it isn’t enough in the end,

when I’m looking for hope.

Though the organ monkey screams

as the pipes begin to spit

still he’ll go through the dance routines

just as long as he thinks they’ll fit,

just as long as he knows that it’s dance,

smile – or quit.


Like the monkey I dance to a strange tune:

when all of these years I’ve longed to lie with you,

I’ve bogged myself down in the web of talk,

quack philosophy and sophistry –

at physciality I’ve always baulked,

like the man in the chair who believes it’s

beyond him to walk.

I’ve been hiding behind words,

fearing a deeper flame exists,

faintly aware of the passage

of opportunities I have missed.


But the nearness and the smell of you,

La Rossa from head to toe….

I don’t know what I’m telling you,

but I think you ought to know:

soon the dam wall will break,

soon the water will flow.

Though the organ-monkey groans

as the organ-grinder plays

he’s hoping, at the most,

for an end to his dancing days…

still he hops up and down on his perch

in the usual jerky way.

Though this might mean an end to all friendship,

there’s something I’m working up to say.


Think of me what you will:

I know that you think you feel my pain –

no matter if that’s just the surface.

If we made love now would that change all that ahs gone before?

Of course it would, there’s no way

it could ever be the same…

one more line crossed,

one more mystery explained.

Now I need more than just words,

though the options are plain

that lead from all momentary action.

If we make love now it will change all

that is yet to be…

never could we agree in the same way again.

One more world lost, one more heaven gained.


La Rossa, you kow me,

you read me as though I am glass;

though I know it

there’s no way in which I can pass –

though it means that you’ll finish my story

at last I’d trade all the clever talk,

the joking, the smoking and the quips, all the midnight conversations, all the friendship,

all the words and all the trips

for the warmth of your body,

the more vivid touch of your lips.


All bridges burning behind me,

all safety beyond reach:

the monkey feels his chains out blindly,

only to find himself released.

Take me, take me now and hold me deep

inside your ocean body,

wash me as some flotsam to the shore,

there leave me lying evermore!

Drown me, drown me now and hold me down

before your naked hunger,

burn me at the altar of the night–

give me life!


My Room (Waiting for Wonderland):

Searching for diamonds in a sulphur mine,

leaning on props that are rotten,

hoping for anything, looking for a sign

that I am not forgotten.

Lost in a labyrinth of future mystery,

tracing my steps, all mistaken,

trusting to everything, praying it can be

that I am not forsaken.


I wait by the door, wondering

when you will come and keep me warm;

I pray for the end of the night,

hoping the light will still the storm

which presently entraps me:

helpless sea-monster stranded on the shore,

marooned in an ecstasy of waiting,

I yearn, although knowing that I shall dive

no more in the tide already racing.


My lungs burst to cry: “Finally

how could you leave me here to die?

I freeze in the chill of this place

with no friendly face to smile goodbye –

how could you let it happen?”


How could you let it happen?

Dreams, hopes and promises,

fragments out of time,

all of these things ahve been spoken…

still you don’t understand how it feels

when I’m waiting for them to


Still Life


Citadel reverberates to a thousand voices, now dumb:

what have we become? What have we chosen to be?

Now, all history is reduced to the syllables of our name

– nothing can ever be the same:

now the Immortals are here.

At the time, it seemed a reasonable course

to harness all the force of life

without the threat of death,

but soon we found that boredom and inertia

are not negative, but all the law we know,

and dead are Will and words like survival.


Arrival at immunity from all age, all fear and all end…

Why do I pretend?

Our essence is distilled

and all familiar taste is now drained,

and though purity is maintained,

it leaves us sterile,

living through the millions of years,

a laugh as close as any tear….

Living, if you claim that all

that entails is

breathing, eating, defecating,

screwing, drinking,

spewing, sleeping, sinking ever down and down

and ultimately passing away time

which no longer has any meaning.


Take away the threat of death and all you’re

left with is a round of make-believe;

marshal every sullen breath and though you’re

ultimately bored by endless ecstasy

that’s still the ring by which you hope to be engaged

to marry the girl who will give you forever

– that’s crazy, and plainly

that simply is not enough.


What is the dullest and bluntest of pains,

such that my eyes never close without feeling it there?

What abject despair demands an end

to all things of infinity?

If we have gained, how do we now meet the cost?

What have we bargained, and what have we lost?

What have we relinquished, never even knowing

it was there?


What chance now of holding fast the line,

defying death and time

Everything we had is gone?

Everything we laboured for and favoured more

than earthly things reveals the hollow ring

of false hope and of false deliverance.


But now the nuptial bed is made,

the dowry has been paid,

the toothless, haggard features of Eternity

now welcome me between the sheets

to couple with her withered body–my wife. Hers forever,

hers forever,

hers forever

in still life.


About Ulf Backstrøm (7127 Articles)
Mitt hovedfokus er musikk som er basert på progressiv tenking. Jeg er på ingen måte ensporet innen musikksmak, i likhet med intensjonen bak prog. Sjangerbegrepet er egentlig temmelig uinteressant annet enn til å gi en pekepinn om hva slags musikk det er snakk om i en anmeldelse. Jeg søker god musikk for å utfordre meg som lytter. God musikk til å trigge mine musikalske smaksløker, og til å sette i gang mine refleksjoner. Da er sjansen stor for at jeg utvikler meg og lærer, noe som bør være drivstoff for et hvert menneske. Fordi det å lære og utvikle seg er noe som tilfører livet en nødvendig porsjon "krydder". Slikt krydderet finner man blant annet i musikk. Ikke overraskende mener jeg at progressiv musikk har den fineste "smaken". På den annen side kan musikk med eller uten progressive elementer være godt nok til hverdags. Til fest derimot holder bare rendyrket prog! Må jo også få med at jeg rimelig kritisk, og jeg mener at det lages mye prog som er i beste fall uinteressant, og faktisk mye som er pinlig dårlig. Heldigvis oppveies dette av ekstremt dyktige aktører som for eksempel: Flower Kings, Mostly Autumn og White Willow, for å nevne noen tilfeldig valgte.
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