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The song of the sewer

Written By: - Date published: 3:20 pm, September 5th, 2009 - 17 comments
Categories: youtube - Tags:

An old favourite came around on the playlist. It sounded like the ostriches that occupy the sewer and appear here for our entertainment… So I tracked down a live performance by Leonard Cohen.

The Man from Uncle version with the studio soundtrack is pretty funny as well.

Lyrics over the page…

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died

Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that you’ve been faithful
Ah give or take a night or two
Everybody knows you’ve been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows

And everybody knows that it’s now or never
Everybody knows that it’s me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah when you’ve done a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe’s still pickin’ cotton
For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows

And everybody knows that the Plague is coming
Everybody knows that it’s moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past
Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there’s gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows

And everybody knows that you’re in trouble
Everybody knows what you’ve been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach of Malibu
Everybody knows it’s coming apart
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows

Oh everybody knows, everybody knows
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows

17 comments on “The song of the sewer ”

  1. RedLogix 1

    I always loved this one above all his works. It is Cohen’s most politically scything song, every line slices and dices… no-one is spared…because, well everybody knows.

    • lprent 1.1

      Yeah. Acidic lines dripping with cynicism

    • Sonny Blount 1.2

      I love Leonard, my favourite song of his has always been Tower of Song in which he pays homage to the true master of singer-songwriters, Hank Williams. Who also happens to be the caricature of what most lefties hate, a conservative country and western singer from the southern USA.

      • lprent 1.2.1

        Bullshit. That is simple-minded and rather pathetic

        There is a bloody great big Hank Williams section in my song library, along with other good country music that has effective lyrics. Emmylou Harris for instance has developed into a hell of song-writer. For instance Bang the drum slowly (it is a crappy bootleg) which for me expresses the feeling I always talking to the veterans of my grandparents generation about WW2.

        However I’m not sure that I’d rank Hank Williams over a group like Placebo (try Slave to the wage – different style, and I’ve felt like that a more than a few times). My biggest hassle with Hank Williams is that he was singing about a different world to any that I’ve ever lived in or had contact to. For me, it was more like getting a picture into history.

        • Sonny Blount 1.2.1.1

          OK,

          What were Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Van Morrison, Neil Young and all thinking with their unashamed adoration of Hank Williams?

          Nobody, flat out nobody, sings of loneliness and the longing for love like Hank Williams. Dylan, Leonard, Joni, S Cooke, Mahalia, R Charles, N Drake, R Johnson, K Carpenter, none of them come close.

          The only world different to the one Hank was singing about is one without a heart.

          • lprent 1.2.1.1.1

            Yep.. Except ALL of those were of my parents generation and sang for their generation. There was quite a break from the prior generation who’d experienced the depression and WW2 with all of the to those who grew up during the 50’s.

            Bob Dylan’s first album (which is great) was something that I got out of the Mt Albert library in 1975 and weaned me off classical music but that was created in 1961 when I was 2 years old. But the music he was making was not closely related to the life that we saw around us.

            Music tends to reflect the generations growing through it. It is just different. I grew up with folk and punk which tends to bias what I listen to. The punk and new wave bands I listened to almost all looked to the nihilism of The Doors (eg The End or this ‘>live version)

            But there is always new music being released that affects the way I think. For instance the 1990’s for me always feels like Medication by Garbage as the right-wing ideologues attempted to destroy society in the pursuit of efficiency and I was looking at the effects on kids

            • Sonny Blount 1.2.1.1.1.1

              “Yep.. Except ALL of those were of my parents generation and sang for their generation. There was quite a break from the prior generation who’d experienced the depression and WW2 with all of the to those who grew up during the 50’s.”

              It makes no difference to me when the music was made, the human experience is topical to any time in history. In the same way Dostoevsky is still a great read, it doesn’t matter that it is over a hundred years old (and another conservative of great artistic merit, in fact he helped shake me out of that left wing stupor that it is easy to leave uni with).

              “The punk and new wave bands I listened to almost all looked to the nihilism of The Doors”

              Hhhmmm, inspired by the Doors? not very encouraging for me.

              “But there is always new music being released that affects the way I think. ”

              Yes, such as Godspeed You Black Emperor! whose rumored mini tour of nothing but Hank Williams covers a few years ago I would have loved to have seen. I’m sure you’d like their politics also.

              Google my login for someone who I think is politically fascinating to probably both the left and right. He embodies to me to spirit and joy of human creativiy that is the essence of classical liberalism.

            • lprent 1.2.1.1.1.2

              Hummm, I went the other way. Started conservative and heavily into the idealistic simplicities of liberalism with a strong business bent.

              Became reluctant socialist as I realized the short strategic time frames of the business orientation (about 5 years if you’re lucky), and realized that there are things that the market was incapable of doing effectively because the ROI was too long. Imagine a market being capable of setting up and running something as basic to public health as comprehensive vaccinations (as a very simple example).

            • Sonny Blount 1.2.1.1.1.3

              I just don’t expect the market to be perfect. I have been in business with several idiots who have dramatically afftected my life, the market doesn’t get rid of them immediately but it does stifle them until (if) they learn they should be elsewhere. I think that the same as you might consider ‘lock em up and forget em’ as not the whole picture, I expect the less than ideal people to still be around somewhere.

              And my view of freedom is that I expect to be sharing this world with people who I consider distasteful, I think that creating wealth in society gives peoples more options to choose not to invlove themselves with what they find distasteful. Democracy is ugly to the individual, because the average is Britney Spears rather than our friend Leonard, and because we tend to love humanity but often can’t stand people.

              I am accepting of socialism by choice and mutual agreement. I think it is a privelage that was afforded by many generations who went before us without it. Microsoft is often touted as one of the best work environments today but I bet Bill and Steve didn’t have all the meal breaks, OSH rules, training etc they can offer now until they had grown a certain size.

              I am comfortable for society to provide for the least able in society and ask nothing back, but I believe that we need to be mindful of what the capacity for this is, 5% might be doable but 15% and we’re all screwed.

              I think the most useful thing about capitilsm is dealing with failure, these must be removed quickly with the least pain, this is what it offers over socialism and to me it is vital for our health.

              I believe the good outcomes take a long time and will only reflect the people and that failure is always a possibilty. The greatest impact you can have is just to be true to yourself and trust yourself.

        • Sonny Blount 1.2.1.2

          Some references for my assertion:

          I couldn’t find ‘When You’re Tired Of Breaking Other Hearts’ on youtube which IMO is his best.

  2. BLiP 2

    Life’s about film stars and less about mothers
    Its all about fast cars and cussing each other
    But it doesn’t matter cus I’m packing plastic
    And that’s what makes my life so fucking fantastic

    I am a weapon of massive consumption
    And its not my fault its how I’m programmed to function

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Linky no worky 🙁

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1

        An interesting song. Can’t say it resonates with me but I do understand it.

        • BLiP 2.2.1.1

          I really enjoy how its actually quite clever politics dressed up in girly sing-a-long pop, a parody of its own medium if you like. No where as visceral as, say, Cohen, and nor does it appeal to the hard drinking, drug imbibed but speaks directly to the little Miss Consumers who confuse the latest gadgets and fuck loads of diamonds with real wealth.

          Well, that’s my 10 cents worth.

  3. BLiP 3

    Ooops – double post

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