Denny Sinnoh's "Akihabara Starlight"

Imperial Bedroom

ELVIS COSTELLO: “Man Out Of Time”.   I watched this on the David Letterman show in 1982.  The sound and video quality are TERRIBLE here (only 240 p), but it captures the artist at a wonderfully inspiring moment.  The album “Imperial Bedroom” had just been released.  It was a lyrical masterpiece.  To say that this song is brilliant is an understatement.  What imagery.  What wordplay.

It fell on deaf ears (the American public) of course.  To be fair, this song contains several British expressions, which only Anglophiles would want to appreciate.   That, and the fact that American songwriting and musical tastes at the time were vulgar, uncreative and embarrassing.  Denny was pissed.

LYRICS:

So this is where he came to hide
When he ran from you
In a private detective`s overcoat
And dirty dead man`s shoes

The pretty things of Knightsbridge
Lying for a minister of state
Is a far cry from the nod and wink
Here at traitor`s gate

`Cause the high heel he used to be has been ground down
And he listens for the footsteps that would follow him around

[Chorus:]
To murder my love is a crime
But will you still love
A man out of time

There`s a tuppeny hapenny millionaire
Looking for a fourpenny one
With a tight grip on the short hairs
Of the public imagination

But for his private wife and kids somehow
Real life becomes a rumor
Days of dutch courage
Just three French letters and a German sense of humor

He`s got a mind like a sewer and a heart like a fridge
He stands to be insulted and he pays for the privilege

[Chorus]

The biggest wheels of industry
Retire sharp and short
And the after dinner overtures
Are nothing but an after thought
Somebody`s creeping in the kitchen
There`s a reputation to be made
Whose nerves are always on a knife`s edge
Who`s up late polishing the blade

Love is always scarpering or cowering or fawning
You drink yourself insensitive and hate yourself in the morning

[Chorus]

———————————————————-

Mr. McManus himself comments in the liner notes for the 2002 Rhino records re-release:

“Disgusted, disenchanted, and occasionally in love, “Man Out of Time” was the product of a troubling dialogue with myself that continued through my more regretful moments. I recall looking at my reflection in the frozen window of a Scandinavian tour bus without any idea who the hell I was supposed to be. I was trying to think or feel my way out of a defeated and exhausted frame of mind to something more glorious.

This was resolved in song, one shivering, hungover morning in the manicured gardens of a remote Scottish hotel. The house which we were staying had played a very minor part in one of Britain’s most notorious political scandals, apparently serving briefly as a bolt-hole for one of the disgraced protagonists. I actually delighted at the thought of this sordid history; it suited my mood. I can’t say that the words and ideas that emerged from these experiences were exactly welcome news to some of the band members. Like I could give a damn.”

—————————————————————————-

Comments on: "“Who’s up late polishing the blade?”" (2)

  1. I just found this wonderful mash-up. Elvis aficionados enjoy.

    Like

  2. […] “Who’s up late polishing the blade?” linked here. […]

    Like

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