Ovid In Exile

(Record Store Day, 2014. 500 copies, vinyl only.)

Produced by Scott McCaughey

Recorded by Tucker Martine at Flora, Portland—11/10/11

Artwork by Abbey Stace

All songs written by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Music Ltd/ASCAP) except When I Knew, Stare At The Sun and Other Girls, written by Eleanor Friedberger and Wesley Stace (EF Debris/Plangent Visions Music Ltd/ASCAP).

We Will Always Have New York

Walking down Fifth Avenue in 1988
A glimpse through the buildings of the Empire State
From a listed interior of uncertain date
To the wrong address, of course
And it’s Union and Washington and Madison Square
It's a long way back but a short way there
We fell in love, I got scared
I kissed you on West Fourth
We will always have New York

Homeless in the Library, washing in the stalls
Meet me at the Strand where hand in hand we will recall
All the books from many years ago that no one reads at all
Steal but don't get caught
And the F train wait for the G train slow
And the C won't move until the A train goes
September ghosts never say hello
Now they want to talk
They will always have New York

Oh, your blazing lights and your flaming lips
And your full moon shining on my lunar eclipse
And the sound of vinyl when the needle skips
The scratches on my back
A twice-told tale and an ice skating rink
I couldn't keep my food down but I held my drink
And I might as well write in invisible ink
Rain on sidewalk chalk
We will always have New York

A Woody Allen movie played beneath the stars
To 7,000 people who laughed one laugh
I wasn't even there, but I got his autograph
Memories have walked
From the dead dog park where the sick dogs go
Nipping at your ankles from the undergrowth
Thank you for inviting me, enjoy the show
It's my last resort
And your Pink Teacup and your Bottom Line
And Mercer Books on a glass of wine
My piano has a broken spine
Needs your tuning fork
But we will always have New York

I'm on one hell of an Acela ride on someone else's dime
One day, they'll put your picture in the New York Times
Now you call me Mr Stace, and I'm running out of rhymes
I do what I ought
Now I live in a different town
I'll put on one hundred pounds
But I won't write another song, no I won't make a sound
I won't talk at all
Now you never write to me, now you never call
I’m in Philadelphia, it's no distance at all
And you still hold the fort
But we will always have New York

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

When I Knew

I could see the tops of her white socks
Just beneath the desk
Her pants didn't reach
All the way down her legs
And you know what happened next
I said hi politely
And we went out for coffee
That was when I knew
That was when I knew
I was wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong
That was when I knew, that was when I knew

They said we liked weird music
And she played me Soft Machine
And lent me a record that badly warped
Which screwed up everything
I was broke, just fifteen
I scoured London for a replacement
Found one cheap in an Oxford Street basement
That was when I knew …

I met her in my bedroom
At a party, Halloween
She was wearing a pair of dungarees
So I sang "Come on Eileen"
(I was being slightly mean)
And it just made her smile
Which made me feel childish
That was when I knew …

We played her song from scratch that night
And when she'd done with singing
She just took off stage right
Left us winging it
The band went down swinging
As she made her exit, arms in the air
I caught her eye, I was unprepared
That was when I knew …

She picked me up at the hotel
In an old red Mustang
And took me to a demonstration
Of Strumm and Drang
She listened, I sang
And we drove to Dallas rather than flying
Because we didn't feel like dying
And I couldn't get her out of my head
So I got her out of hers instead
I couldn't get her out of my head
So I got her out of hers instead
I couldn't get her out of my head
And we ended up in bed

She glided by on antique roller skates
Overtook our car
I watched her disappear
From where we parked
It was just south of Market
In the Castro sun, she glistened
And when she spoke, I listened
That was when I knew …

I said I'd cook a curry
Which got me in her kitchen
But her friend turned up by chance
And my spice seemed less bewitching
(Which left me feeling itchy)
She stayed for one whole bottle of wine
But we played it cool, we’d bide our time
That was when I knew
That was when I knew

By Eleanor Friedberger and Wesley Stace (EF Debris/Plangent Visions Music Ltd/ASCAP)

Lydia

You think I smell like an ashtray
Smoke like a chimney
Yeah, maybe I do
But Lydia, it's all because of you

You think I drink like a fish
Never clean up my dish
And I wish that wasn’t all true
But Lydia, it's all because of you

You think that I’m always ill
That I’m writing my will
Thanks for the review
Lydia, it's all because of you

When we first met
I was happy and healthy
Strapping and wealthy and wise
One lick of you
And I had found my parasite

You think that I never sleep
But it’s you who’s been keeping me
Up the whole night through
Lydia, all because of you

You think my timing is bad
That I like to be sad
And my sense of myself is askew
But Lydia, it’s all because of you

You think I smoke lots of pot
But I guess you forgot
Who you’re dealing it to
Lydia, it’s all because of you

When we first met
I was set in my ways
Till you changed all the rules of the game
And tomorrow, for sure,
I hope that it's more of the same

You think all I do is write songs
And that isn’t wrong
But I’m not afraid of the truth
Lydia, it’s all because of you

I was once in my prime
Now I cry all the time
You were my Waterloo
Lydia, it’s all because of you

But you still like my eyes
It’s kinda surprising
They're tired and they’re bloodshot too
Oh Lydia … Lydia …

When we first met
I was high as a kite
On my flight to the top of the charts
The next time I see you
I’m worried I might fall apart

Well we made it through spring
My beautiful thing
I know you’re just passing through
Lydia, I did it all for you
Lydia, all because of you

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Excalibur

There you were
Handle glinting bright in the sunlight
You were the thing
That proved me once and future king
Excalibur, Excalibur
I will leave you where you are

"Take me up"
Engraved on one side of your blade
On the other, "Cast me away"
Who was I to disobey?
Excalibur, Excalibur
Excalibur, Excalibur
I should have left you where you were

Your bright light
Scorches enemy eyes like thirty torches
And it's lovely here on your back porch
Where no one else can see
You and me

Throw her in
She's worth more than the Earth can give
Hold your nerve
A decent burial's what she deserves
Excalibur, Excalibur
Excalibur, Excalibur
I will always love you as you were

A hand reaches from the water
And gives you back to me
Excalibur

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Stare At The Sun

In the back of the taxi, you turned off the TV
And read me a book on your phone
Here's the return of your skeleton key
Oh, Baby, the places we've gone
If that was goodbye$$$ $$$ Then I must be high
You know I'll be seeing you soon
If that was goodbye
It’ll snow in July
As it hailed in the middle of June

Give me your toothpaste, give me your ointment
Give me your body in bed
Keep this in amber, keep our appointment
Remember the things that we said
If that was goodbye
Then I must be high
You must be the sugar I need
If that was goodbye
Then I am a fly
The future is guaranteed

Because when I am with you, everything's treasure
I forget what it's like to be gone
Far from the town in the suburbs of your pleasure
I’ve been in exile so long
Trying not to stare at the sun
Trying not to stare at the sun
Trying not to stare at the sun

Co-operative coffee and synchronized showers
Try not to look at the clock
Goodbye to your castle, wave from the tower
Then drop me a line from the dock
If that was goodbye
You must be high
And maybe I'm losing the thread
If that was goodbye
The sea has run dry
So fill it with tears instead

Because when I am with you, everything's treasure
I forget what it's like to be gone
Far from the town in the suburbs of your pleasure
I’ve been in exile so long
Trying not to stare at the sun
Trying not to stare at the sun
Trying not to stare at the sun

By Eleanor Friedberger and Wesley Stace (EF Debris/Plangent Visions Music Ltd/ASCAP)

Carmen et Error

A song and a mistake
Carmen et error
That's what I'm in exile for
Out here on the Black Sea
With grey clouds above
Waiting for a taxi
Reading the Art of Love
Hoping to be called back home
To the pleasures of Rome

A song and a mistake
Carmen et error
That's what I'm paying for
I don't know what you heard, sir
It was worse than a song
Deadlier than murder
I got it wrong
And now perhaps I'll go mad
Among the nomads

And what do I long for
As I lay awake
I want to see you once more
Before I break
As I lay awake

Now I'm off duty
Please forgive my offense
I think of your beauty
The turn of events
That means I'm deprived of
Something that I love

I can't take my leisure
Thinking of you
I eat without pleasure
Read the reviews
Thinking of you

A song and a mistake
Carmen et error
That's what I'm punished for

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Old Man & The Bird

Sit at my window, pretty bird
Sing and let your song be heard
Maybe I will write some words
Sit at my window, pretty bird

Give me food and drink, old man
I can't sing the way I am
I'm tired and I don't understand
Give me food and drink, old man

Sit on my desk, pretty bird
Sing and let your song be heard
I won't say another word
Sit on my desk, pretty bird

I'm hungry and I cannot sing
I'm looking for a sign of spring
Just let me rest my head upon my wing
I'm thirsty and I cannot sing

Sit in this cage, pretty bird
There's water there and lemon curd
Sing and let your song be heard
Sit in this cage, pretty bird

Thank you but I cannot stay
Though sky is dark, clouds are grey
I know I have to fly away
Thank you but I cannot stay

But I’ll sing you a little song
You’ll hear it as I fly along
You’ll hear it long after I’m gone
I’ll sing you a little song

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Other Girls

The blonde who's in a band with his twin
Gives you a lift, idles the engine
Leans over and tells you how it's gonna be:
I know about him, does he know about me?
Or the long tall pony with his thick dark mane
Fourteen hands, four thousand names
You share his feed at the compound trough
And climb back on when he throws you off

And the spider you kissed in his stairwell
Where he demonstrates acoustics to ne'er do wells
Then spins his web and sells his spells
To others of his clientele
And the guy who writes songs and then insists
On playing them: he's persistent
How could any chick resist
A man with such a big setlist?

There are other girls too
But don't let it worry you

And that brute in the suit with the bad tattoo
Who once sent you a postcard of the Louvre
It sits there on the door of your fridge
Amidst the ones he sent of the Pyramids
And the one you whisper to when he calls
He's taller than a basketballer
I saw you both on deck before the wreck
You'll either drown or crick your neck

There are other girls too
But don't let it worry you

And that sometime star of stage and screen
Who had a bit part in a film back in his teens
I'm not saying he wasn't great
Perhaps he planned to be upstaged by the Empire State
And the one who smokes your cigarettes
He might pose the biggest threat yet
When no-one else can intercede
He's got the stuff you think you need

There are other girls too
But don't let it worry you

I've seen them come and I've seen them go
Through the big swing doors at the old Chateau
When they quit calling, texting, knocking
I will be there for the lock-in

There are other boys you see
But I don’t let it worry me
There are other girls too
But don't let it worry you

By Eleanor Friedberger and Wesley Stace (EF Debris/Plangent Visions Music Ltd/ASCAP)

The Buzz

I'm on the street, talking with friends
In the middle of the show until the cigarette ends
Drink a little whiskey back inside
Drink a couple more till we're slightly fried
When the curtain falls, it's a fair cop
Welcome to the adrenaline drop
I love the buzz, I love the buzz
Just because I love the buzz
Who doesn't? I know who does
I love the buzz, I love the buzz

I'm at a party, breaking the law
I always want just a little bit more
More conversation, better friends
Fools go to bed before the nighttime ends
When the dawn comes round, it's time for bed
Unless you wanna get food instead
Chorus

I'm on your steps, scratching the door
Looking for a cat-flap I used before
You got somewhere to go? Something to eat?
I wish sometimes that we were both in heat
And when you shut the door, take off your dress
If you’re wondering, the answer’s yes
Chorus

Take me to the field where you keep your bees
Bring smokes, some booze and a ton of weed
Set up the speakers in the blue moonlight
Please press play and we'll dance all night
When it couldn’t feel better to be alive
That's when I'll stick my head in the hive
I love the buzz, I love the buzz
Just because I love the buzz
Cue applause, don’t call the fuzz
I love the buzz, I love the buzz

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Only Thing Missing

Walking on the porch
Smoking a cigarette
Looking at the red light on the minarets
Listening to the woods
Drinking up the moon
Watching the kids run round the sitting room
From outside
This is my home, this is my life
Those are my kids, that is my wife
And I'm standing in the shadows
When I see
The only thing missing is me

Put out my cigarette
Flick it away
Go inside and join the fray
It's all mayhem
The tickling of feet
The picture is complete
There’s no-one’s outside
Left to see, except you,
Looking in at me and my family
And you're standing in the shadows
In my shoes
The only thing missing is you

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

I Wanna Be With You

You know what I want
You know what I need
And there's a whole world of difference
And a life between

You know what I like
You know what I hate
And you knew it when we went out
On our very first date

And nothing has changed since then
I'm still the same as when
We sat in a restaurant
Near your place
Walked to the park
Steps retraced
And went to bed
That's when I said I want to be with you.

You know what I hope
You know what I fear
Oh and there's something kinda heady
In the air up here

You know what I do
You know what I don't
And I never do something
If I say I won't

And nothing has changed since then
I'm still the same as when
I cooked you dinner
And the dog came in
Tarragon Chicken
And a wedding ring
We went to bed
Again I said I want to be with you

I still want to be with you

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Seeburg VL-200

Abbey gave me
A jukebox for my birthday
45 RPM
And friends sent singles
All the records I
Associate with them
Scott gave me The Beatles
Eugene gave me Phil Ochs
Some gave seven inches they had made
And others made jokes
Now it's something to be proud of
When the playroom rocks
There's nothing I don't like
On my jukebox

Abbey gave me
A jukebox for my birthday
45 years old
That antique is only
Eight years older than me
Truth be told
Kurt gave me Focus
Chris gave me The Kinks
Songs we discovered
Over many a long drink
And there's nothing I'll get rid of
yeah, there are no nasty shocks
And everyone I love is on my jukebox

And sometimes I wanna play the same record over and over again
But only a hundred seems way too little every now and then

Put your coin in
Get three spins
Yeah you know what to do
And don't let my daughter
Fill it up with quarters
Like she wants to

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)