Momus – The Gatecrasher

From the album ‘The Poison Boyfriend‘ (1987).


He shows up at the party in a pair of dark glasses
His grandfather wore in the war
Saying nothing to no-one, just drinks as if that’s
What God gave him his ugly mouth for
And he doesn’t make passes at the girls in the corner
In their Bolshevik glasses and black
When they giggle a little and look at him funny
The gatecrasher only looks back

He takes in the faces, never quite placing them
Squinting his short-sighted eyes
And each one reminds him of someone he’s known
Or someone he faintly dislikes
And he can’t understand the naive curiosity
Forcing two strangers to talk
When language is always and everywhere language
And people are like cheese and chalk

So he lifts himself out of his squatting position
And gets up for something to eat
But the ham is too pink and the turkey is cardboard
And the plate is as floppy as meat
So he fills up his glass with a bottle of vodka
Snatched from some new arrivals who stare
As he tips back his head like a man seized with laughter
And spits the drink into the fire

And he looks so appealing with eyes like a bloodhound
And hair like the ‘Quatre Cent Coups’
With the holes in his trousers designed to arouse us
He looks like he’d know what to do
On the rims of his eyes there’s a trace of infection
Or maybe the mark of a tear
And is it mascara or is it bacteria, there where the white, where the white disappears?

And which of those girls isn’t scared of him
And which of us isn’t the same
And maybe that’s why, of the four of them
No one remembers the gatecrasher’s name

Absentmindedly licking the tip of a finger
He’s just used for scratching his ear
He wrinkles his nose at the taste of the wax
Which, like him, is acidic and sour
And just for a second something comes back to him
Something so real and remote
That he tips back his vodka to blank out the thought
And he grins as it scorches his throat

Maybe he thought of his mother, how she kicked out his father
When he’d pushed her around once too much
And how he’d pretended to sleep as she hugged him
And how he’d been calmed by her touch
Or he’s sad with nostalgia for a little Italian
He met in a bar in Milan
While they swept up the glass on Piazza Fontana
He knew she’d be thinking of him
She’d be thinking of him

Or he wonders why Hitler liked lemon verbena
And whether he loved Eva Braun
Or maybe he thinks of his cheap bed and breakfast
On the far side of town

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