" ...and thirty years melt away. Those were two of the songs that we began writing, well, must be thirty years ago now and I'm extremely glad to be here to support Pete, if that's the word that I'm looking for -- I'll probably sabotage him, much more likely -- on this wonderful night in this most beautiful of theatres. I think you can safely assume through the night that when we started off I wrote the words and Pete wrote the music; so when you hear tonight the anguish of unrequited love, the jaded responses of a would-be Don Giovanni, and the angst of a collapsing civilisation, that's usually my bit; and when you hear a beautiful melody and a wonderfully precise singing delivery, that's Pete Atkin -- who's now going to sing one of the first songs we wrote.
"It's about a girl that I once saw on a train. Actually I probably didn't see her on that train. If I did see her on that train she wasn't reading a book -- it was a girl on another train who read the book -- when you write lyrics you tend to put things together in your head. The quicker-spirited among you will notice that the book she's reading on a train is by a French poet, Verlaine. There's a reason for this. Yes, its because 'Verlaine' rhymes, approximately, with 'train'. Actually it doesn't quite, in French, but when the French say 'train' they get that wrong too. Suppose she'd been reading a book by Brecht -- there is no English rhyme for 'Brecht'! So I had to leave that out. So I put in 'Verlaine'. Anyway that's enough explanation. Pete is now going to sing it and I'm going to sit down and try and control my floods of tears at the nostalgia involved."
What did I do yesterday? Well I'll tell you in brief Ten quid from the bank and I got out of town with relief And slowly but surely my life came to flower again Falling head over heels for a beautiful girl on the train She was reading a book, taking in every word the man wrote And there in the margin she made the occasional note And I couldn't deduce why she didn't once blink with surprise As fathom by fathom I gradually drowned in her eyes But she kept on the job of improving her single-track brain Ploughing steadily onward through obsolete Monsieur Verlaine While no further than seven-foot-six from her fabulous mouth Sat the leading young poetic hope of the whole planet earth Well apart from the chance of the driver accepting a cheque For crashing his loco so I could be brave in the wreck To boldly encounter this creature was not in my power And so my heart mended and broke in the course of an hour Well at last we pulled in and as straight as a three-sided knife She got up and walked like a princess away from my life And unless she remembers the day she was reading Verlaine In a second-class coach on her way through the fields in the rain She won't know it's her that I sing to again and again Again and again
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