Amused To Death
Full Transcript

Revision 1.01a

Compiled by Charles Dee Rice (cdrice@eos.ncsu.edu)

Converted to HTML by Uziel


Key:

Ballad of Bill Hubbard [4:19]

// crickets fade in //
// dogs barking //
// switch TV channel //

Man:
Woman:
Man:
Woman:
Man:
Woman:
Man:
// switch TV channel //

Man:
// switch TV channel //

Woman:
// switch TV channel //

Man:
// switch TV channel //

Woman:
Man:
// dog barking //
// growling //

Man:
// switch TV channel //

Man:
// snarling //
// switch TV channel //

Alf Razzell (Royal Fusiliers):

Two things that have haunted me most are the days of (?) when I had to collect the paybooks, and when I left Bill Hubbard in no-man's-land.

I was picked up and taken into their trench. And I'd no sooner taken two three steps down the trench when I heard, "Ho Hello Razz, I'm glad to see you! This is my second night here," he said "I'm feeling bad." And it was Bill Hubbard, one of the men we'd trained in England, one of the original battalion. I had to look at his wound, rolled him over. I could see that it was probably a fatal wound. You could imagine what pain he was in, he was drippin' with sweat. And after I'd gone about three shell-holes, traversed that, had it been... had there been a path or a road, I could have done better.

He pummelled me, "Put me down, put me down, I'd rather die, I'd rather die, put me down."

I was hoping he would faint. He said, "I can't go any further, let me die." I said, "If I leave you here, Bill, you won't be found. Let's have another go." He said, "All right then."

The same thing happened. He wouldn't... he couldn't stand it any more, and I had to leave him there. In no-man's-land.


What God Wants, Part I [6:00]

/* In the CD liner notes, credit is given to the London Welsh Chorale. It is assumed that they were used to generate the sounds of the crowd singing. Those parts are denoted below by the heading "LWC:" */

// switch TV channel //

Young person's voice:
// switch TV channel //
// simian distress screams //

LWC:
// cheering //
// knock-knock //

Voice:
What God wants God gets God help us all

Voice:
// knock-knock-knock //

LWC:
Voice:
// birds //
// bricks/concrete blocks being moved //

What God wants God gets God help us all

// creaky door opening //

LWC:
// dog barking //

What God wants God gets, God help us all

// snarling //

LWC:
// cheering //

What God wants God gets
What God wants God gets
What God wants God gets

// cheering //

The kid in the corner looked at the priest
And fingered his pale blue Japanese guitar
The priest said
God wants goodness
God wants light
God want mayhem
God wants a clean fight

What God wants God gets
What God wants God gets

Don't look so suprised
It's only dogma
The alien prophet cried
The beetle and the springbok
Took the Bible from its hook
The monkey in the corner
Wrote the lesson in his book

What God wants God gets

LWC:
What God wants God gets

LWC (mixed):
God wants peace
God wants war
God wants famine
God wants chain stores

What God wants God gets

God wants sedition
God wants sex

// cheering //

God wants freedom
God wants semtex

What God wants God gets

LWC (mixed):
Don't look so afraid
I'm only joking
The alien comic lied
The jackass and hyena
Took the feather from its hook
The monkey in the corner
Wrote the joke down in his book

What God wants God gets

LWC (mixed):
What God wants God gets

LWC (mixed):
God wants borders
God wants crack
God wants rainfall
And God wants wetbacks

LWC (mixed):
God wants voodoo
God wants shrines
God want law

// fade in cheering //

God wants organized crime
God wants crusade
God wants jihad
God wants good (LWC: "Good" mixed in)
God wants bad (LWC: "Bad" mixed in)

LWC:
// switch TV channel //

Perfect Sense, Part I [4:15]

/* In the normal direction, the following reversed message ends just before the lyric "The monkey sat on a pile of stone" begins. For whatever it's worth, the last faint utterance just before the lyrics begin is the word "Julia" in reverse. In the phrase "we have decided TO INCLUDE a backwards message, it sounds like a woman's voice is mixed in for the words "to include". Her voice can be heard (as gibberish, of course) in the normal direction. Also, the word "book" could be "gook", as was suggested by another transcription of this message. It rhymes with "nuke", but after careful listening, it sounds more like it begins with a "B" sound, and "book" makes more sense to this transcriber. */

Reversed message:
/* At this point there is a descending-pitch "rant" that appears at the beginning of the track. In the normal direction it is, of course, a rising-pitch "rant". In either direction, at both normal and slowed playback speeds, it was not clear to this transcriber what was being shouted. In fact, in the normal direction, it sounds vaguely more intelligible as "It's just what I said (?) (? alright! ?)". Perhaps it is an attempt at shouting in reverse in an attempt to create a "reversed-sounding" message. */

The monkey sat on a pile of stone
And he stared at the broken bone in his hand
Strains of a Viennese quartet
Rang out across the land

And the monkey looked up at the stars
And he thought to himself
Memory is a stranger
History is for fools
And he cleaned his hands
In a pool of holy writing
Turned his back on the garden
And set out for the nearest town

Hold on, hold on soldier
When you add it all up
The tears and the marrowbone
There's an ounce of gold
And an ounce of pride in each ledger
And the Germans killed the Jews
And the Jews killed the Arabs
And the Arabs killed the hostages
And that is the news
And is it any wonder
That the monkey's confused
He said Mama, Mama
The President's a fool
Why do I have to keep reading
These technical manuals
And the joint chiefs of staff
And the brokers on Wall Street said
Don't make us laugh
You're a smart kid
Time is linear
Memory is a stranger
History's for fools
Man is a tool in the hands
Of the great God Almighty
And they gave him command
Of a nuclear submarine
And sent him back in search of
The Garden of Eden

Perfect Sense, Part II [2:50]

Can't you see
It all makes perfect sense
Expressed in dollars and cents
Pounds shillings and pence
Can't you see
It all makes perfect sense

Little black soul departs in perfect focus
Hold on, Soldier
Prime time fodder for the News at Nine
Hold on, Hold on soldier

Darling is the child warm in the bed tonight

Marv Albert (sportscaster):
Can't you see
It all makes perfect sense
Expressed in dollars and cents
Pounds shillings and pence
Can't you see
It all makes perfect sense

Marv Albert:
Emery (sportscaster played by Patrick Leonard):
Marv Albert:
Emery:
Marv Albert:
// explosion //

Can't you see
It all makes perfect sense
Expressed in dollars and cents
Pounds shillings and pence
Can't you see
It all makes perfect sense
Can't you see
It all makes perfect sense

// crowd sounds //

The Bravery Of Being Out of Range [4:42]

// crowd sounds //

You have a natural tendency
To squeeze off a shot
You're good fun at parties
You wear the right masks
You're old, but you still
Like a laugh in the locker room
You can't abide change
You're at home on the range
You opened the suitcase
Behind the old workings
To show off the magnum
You deafened the canyon
A comfort a friend
Only upstaged in the end
By the Uzi machine gun
Does the recoil remind you...
Remind you of sex
Old man what the hell you gonna kill next
Old timer who you gonna kill next

I looked over Jordan and what did I see
Saw a U.S. Marine in a pile of debris
I swam in your pools
And lay under your palm trees
I looked in the eyes of the Indian
Who lay on the Federal Building steps

And through the range finder over the hill
I saw the frontline boys popping their pills
Sick of the mess they find
On their desert stage
And the bravery of being out of range

Yeah the question is vexed
Old man what the hell you gonna kill next
Old timer who you gonna kill next

// crowd sounds //

Hey bartender, over here
Two more shots
And two more beers

// TV sounds //

Sir, turn up the TV sound
The war has started on the ground /* "ground" mixed from TV */

// missile roar //

Just love those laser guided bombs
They're really great
For righting wrongs
You hit the target
And win the game from bars
3,000 miles away
3,000 miles away
We play the game
With the bravery of being out of range
We zap and maim
With the bravery of being out of range
We strafe the train
With the bravery of being out of range
We gain terrain
With the bravery of being out of range

We play the game
With the bravery of being out of range

Late Home Tonight, Part I [4:01]

// chirping birds, dripping tap, mooing bovine //

Standing at the window
A farmer's wife in Oxfordshire
Glances at the clock it's nearly time for tea
She doesn't see
The phantom in the hedgerow dip its wing

// moo //

Doesn't hear the engine sing

// moo, jet airplane //

Radio Voice:
But in the cockpit's techno glow
Behind the Ray Ban shine

Radio Voice:
The kid from Cleveland
In the comfort of routine
Scans his dials and smiles

// clicks //

Radio Voice:
Secure in the beauty of military life
There is no right, no wrong
Only tin cans and cordite and white cliffs
And blue skies and flight... flight... flight

Radio Voice:
The beauty of military life
No questions, only orders and flight

Radio Voice:
Only flight

// jet airplane //

What a beautiful sight in his wild blue dream
The eternal child leafs through his war magazines
And his kind Uncle Sam feeds ten trillion in change
Into the total entertainment
Combat video game
And up here in the stands
The fans are goin' wild
As the cheerleaders flip
When you wiggle your hip
And we all like the bit when you take
The jeans from the refridgerator and
Then the bad guy gets hit
And were you struck by the satisfying
Way the swimsuit sticks to her skin
Like BB gun days
When knives pierce autumn leaves
But that's okay, see the childern bleed
It'll look great on the TV

// dripping tap //

And in Tripoli, another ordinary wife
Stares at the dripping tap her old man hadn't
Time to fix
Too busy mixing politics and rhythm
In the street below

/* While Waters sings, a woman is shouting in the background in Egyptian Arabic... */

Wife:

And then what !!!! why don't you ever help me? You all the time leave me alone at home and go join your fat friends in your endless useless discussions...

I work for you and your family from dawn to dusk, and you don't give a damn!

I badly need to rest, I just wish the devil's angel will soon come and take me with him...

/* Then the beating drums start, and here everything is very chaotic. There are different voices in the background. A TV (or radio) commentator is talking, but what he's saying is not clear and at the same time there is a crowd shouting slogans in arabic. Also, a baby is crying. */

Accouncer:
Crowd:
/* Possibly some kind of a demonstration of fundamentalist muslims. */

/* At the end of the beating drums, right before the missile explosion... */

Announcer:
// explosion //
// heartbeat tone/noise signal, muffled jet sound //


/* It was suggested that Roger got these arabic phrases from an egyptian movie and mixed them into his song. The arabic is egyptian arabic and not lybian arabic as it was meant to be, since this song is supposed to be about the bombing of the Lybian capital, Tripoli. */

Late Home Tonight, Part II [2:13]

// birds chirping //

Hark, the wire service sing
Clear the satellite link
Check the fax machine
Hold the lead story, boys
There's some great pictures coming in

Now the pilot's heartbeat slows
Palms dry out
No questions, only orders
And the F-1 glides in nose-up
Through the cloudbase and the
Ground crew cheers as he puts down
His landing gear

// jet landing //

Hey boy, you're a hero
Take this cigar
And back home in Cleveland
All the papers and the local TV stations
Will be calling your ma

And the farmer's wife
Shoos the cat off the chair

// cat meow //

She says sit down my dear
Was the milking all right
Our American friends are late home tonight

Too Much Rope [5:47]

// hoot //
// switch TV channel //


Man's Voice:
// switch TV channel //

// chopping, howling, horse neigh & sleigh bells //

// horse & sleigh bells passes by //

When the sleigh is heavy

// horse neigh //

And the timber wolves are getting bold
You look at your companions
And test the water of their friendship
With your toe
They significantly edge
Closer to the gold
Each man has his price, Bob
And yours was pretty low

Now history is short, the sun is just a minor star
The poor man sells his kidneys
In some colonial bazaar
Ce sera sera
Is that your new Ferrari car

// sports car roars by //

Yes... But I think I'll wait for the F50

You don't have to be a Jew
To disapprove of murder
Tears burn my eyes
Moslem or Christian, Mullah or Pope
Preacher or poet, who was it wrote
Give any one species too much rope
And they'll fuck it up

And last night on TV

// whistle //

A Vietnam vet

// gong //

Takes his beard and his pain
And his alienation twenty years

// crowd sounds //

Back to Asia again
Sees the monsters they made
In formaldehyde floating 'round
Meets a gook on a bike
A good little tyke

/* The album lyrics include the line "A nice enough guy" here. */

With the same soldier's eyes

What does it mean
This tearjerking scene
Beamed into my home
That it moves me so much
Why all the fuss
It's only two humans being
It's only two humans being

Tears burn in my eyes
What does it mean
This tender TV
This tearjerking scene
Beamed into my home
And you don't have to be a Jew
To disapprove of murder
Tears burn my eyes
Moslem or Christian, Mullah or Pope
Preacher or poet, who was it wrote
Give any one species too much rope
And they'll fuck it up

// switch TV channel //

Woman:
// rifle being cocked and fired //

// screaming children - (Jessica & Jordan Leonard) - begin //

Man:
// rifle being cocked //

Man:
Woman:
Man:
Woman:
// switch TV channel //

What God Wants, Part II [3:41]

/* In the CD liner notes for WGW-2, Patrick Leonard is credited for the choir arrangement. Those parts are denoted by the heading "Choir". */

Gospel singers:
Televangelist:
Choir:
Televangelist:
Choir:
Televangelist:
Choir:
God wants dollars
God wants cents
God wants pounds shillings and pence
God wants guilders
God wants kroner
God wants Swiss francs
God wants French francs

Man:
God wants escudos
God wants pesetas
Don't send lira
God don't want small potatoes
God wants small towns
God wants pain
God wants clean up rock campaigns
God wants widows
God wants solutions
God wants TV
God wants contributions

What God wants God gets God help us all

Choir:
What God wants God gets God help us all

Choir:
God wants silver
God wants gold
God wants his secret
Never to be told
God wants gigolos
God wants giraffes
God wants politics
God wants a good laugh

// TV sounds //

What God wants God gets God help us all

Choir:
God wants friendship
God wants fame
God wants credit
God wants blame
God wants poverty
God wants wealth
God wants insurance
God want to cover himself

What God wants God gets God help us all

Choir:
What God wants God gets God help us all

Choir:
What God wants God gets God help us all

Choir:
What God wants God gets God help us all

Choir:
What God wants God gets God help us all

Choir:
// vocals fade out to crickets //
// diesel locomotive horns //

What God Wants, Part III [4:07]

// dog barking //
// switch TV channel //

Man:
// ping //
// ping //

Don't be afraid, it's only business

// ping //

The alien prophet sighed

// ping, sighing //

The vulture and the magpie took
The cash box from its hook

// ping //
// screech //

The monkey in the corner
Wrote the figures in his book

Crazed, the checkout's lady fingers
Flash across the till
And the captain posts
The menu of the day
And in banks across the world
Christian, Moslem, Hindu, Jew
And every other
Race, creed, color, tint or hue
Get down on their knees and pray

The racoon and the groundhog
Neatly make up bags of change
But the monkey in the corner, heh
Well, he's slowly drifting out of range

Christ, it's freezing inside!
The veteren cries
The hyenas break cover
And stream through the meadow
And the fog rolls in
Through his bottle of gin
So he picks up a stone
That looks like a bone
And the bullets fly
And the rivers run dry
And the fat girls sigh
And the network anchor persons lie
And the soldier's alone

// phone ring //

In the video zone
But the monkey's not watching
He's slipped out to the kitchen

// phone ring //

To pile the dishes
And answer the phone

// phone ring //
// phone ring //
// picks up phone //

Man singing:
/* "Wait Till The Sun Shines Nellie", by Harry von Tilzer circa 1920 */

// hangs up phone //

Watching TV [6:07]

// switch TV channel //

Woman:
// piano music //

// switch TV channel //

// siren //

Man:
// switch TV channel //

Car Salesman:
// switch TV channel //

Woman:
// glass jars hitting together //

// switch TV channel //

Woman:
Man1:
Man2:
Man1:
Man3:
// switch TV channel //

Man:
We were watching TV

// switch TV channel //
// running water //

Watching TV

Man (translated from Chinese):
/* The translation "Ministry of the National Affairs" may be not exact. Anyway it's the ministry managed by the Prime minister of Mainland China. During the Tiananmen Square Affair, the Prime minister was Lee-Pong, who was believed to have given the order to fire guns at the students in Tiananmen square. It was most likely recorded from the TV news of Mainland China's Central Broadcast Station, during the Tiananmen Square affair in 1989. */

We were watching TV

Man:
Watching TV

Man:
Woman:
// switch TV channel //

Man1:
Man2:
// switch TV channel //
// jet plane //
// machine guns //

In Tiananmen Square

// TV turned off //

Lost my baby there

// chimes //

My yellow rose
In her bloodstained clothes
She was a short order pastry chef
In a Dim Sum dive on the Yangtze tideway
She had shiny hair
She was the daughter of an engineer
Won't you shed a tear
For my yellow Rose
My yellow rose
And her bloodstained clothes
She had perfect breasts
She had high hopes
She had almond eyes
She had yellow thighs
She was a student of philosophy

Won't you grieve with me
For my yellow rose
Shed a tear
For her bloodstained clothes

She had shiny hair
She had perfect breasts
She had high hopes
She had almond eyes
Sha had yellow thighs
She was the daughter of an engineer

So get out your pistols
Get out your stones
Get out your knives
Cut them to the bone
They are the lackeys of the grocer's machine
They built the dark satanic mills
That manufacture hell on earth
They bought the front row seats on Calvary
They are irrelevant to me

And I grieve for my sister!

Girl's Voice (translated):
/* (1) Should be: "Do remember, do remember"
(2) Should be: "The kids that struggled in those days"
(3) This was not audible to the transcriber.
It sounds like it's Xai-Ling's voice, who was one of the student's leaders in Tiananmen Square and escaped from Mainland China after hiding for several months. */


Did we do anything after this
I've a feeling we did...

We were watching TV
Watching TV
We were watching TV
Watching TV
She wore a white bandana that said
Freedom now
She thought the Great Wall of China
Would come tumbling down
She was a student
Her father was an engineer
Won't you shed a tear
For my yellow rose
My yellow rose
And her bloodstained clothes

Her grandpa fought old Chiang Kai-shek
That no-good, low-down dirty rat
Who used to order his troops
To fire on the women and children
Imagine that... Imagine that

And in the spring of '48
Mao Tse-Tung got quite irate
And he kicked that old dictator Chiang
Out of the state of China
Chiang Kai-shek came down in Formosa
And they armed the island of Quemoy

// missile roar //

And the shells were flying across the China Sea

// explosion //

And they turned Formosa into a shoe factory

//< missile roar //

Called Taiwan

// explosion //

And she is different from Cro-Magnon man
She's different from Anne Boleyn
She's different from the Rosenbergs
And from the unknown Jew
She's different from the unknown Nicaraguan
Half superstar, half victim
She's a victor star, conceptually new

And she is different from the Dodo
And from the Kankabono
She's different from the Aztec
And from the Cherokee
She's everybody's sister
She's symbolic of our failure
She's the one in fifty million
Who can help us to be free

Because she died on TV

Three Wishes [6:50]

And I grieve for my sister!

Woman:

I went and buy a... a gas bottle. At first I wanted to buy a big one, but then I hadn't got enough money. So I had to buy a smaller one. And I think if I bought a bigger one, then it would have been... the way I wanted it.

And then, er, we went down, and ahm, I put the children to bed and I tidied the flat and everything and then...and they were asleep and everything was a kind of at night. I made a bed in the bathroom. I carried them there and put on the gas bottle.

But today when I think a back peh.. about that if God did take me, then I would've been in hell because I wasn't right

Reached back for the bottle
And rubbed against the lamp
Genie came out smiling
Like some Eastern tramp

He said "Hey boy what's happening
What is going on
You can have three wishes
If you don't take too long
If you don't take too long"

I said "Well, I wish they all were happy in the Lebanon
Wish somebody'd help me write this song
I wish when I was young
My old man had not been gone"

Genie said "Consider it done!"

There's something in the air
And you don't know what it is
You see someone through the window
Who you've just learned to miss
And the road leads on to glory
But you used up your last wish
Your last wish
And you want her to come home
Home

Bring her home...

Genie said "I'm sorry
That's the way it goes
Where the hell l'lamp, suckah
It's time for me to go!
Bye!!!"

There's something in the air
And you don't know what it is
You see someone through the window
Who you've just learned to miss
And the road leads on to glory
But you've used up your last wish
Your last wish
And you want her to come home

// dog barking, dog howling //

Woman:
/* Based on the woman's accent, it was suggested that she may be from South Africa. Apparently, there is a fairly high incidence of "family suicides" and it is often brought about by economic hardship. In this particular instance, it is thought that her children died, but because the gas bottle wasn't big enough, she survived. */

It's A Miracle [8:30]

// various effects, bird-like sounds //

// children's voices //


Miraculous you call it babe
You ain't seen nothing yet
They got Pepsi in the Andes
They got McDonalds in Tibet
Yosemite's been turned into
A golf course for the Japs
The Dead Sea is alive with rap
Between the Tigris and Euphrates
There's a leisure centre now
They got all kinds of sports
They got Bermuda shorts

// splash //

They had sex in Pennsylvania
A Brazilian grew a tree
A doctor in Manhattan
Saved a dying man for free
It's a miracle
It's a miracle
It's a miracle
It's a miracle
Another miracle
By the grace of God Almighty
And the pressures of the marketplace
The human race has civilized itself

It's a miracle

We got warehouses of butter
We got oceans of wine
We got famine when we need it
We got designer crime
We got Mercedes
We got Porsche
Ferrari and Rolls Royce

// car zooms by //
// car door closing //


Yeah, we got choice
She said meet me
In the Garden of Gethsemene my dear
The Lord said Peter I can see
Your house from here
An honest man /* lyrics sheet reads "An honest family man" */
Finally reaped what he had sown
And a farmer in Ohio has just repaid a loan
It's a miracle
It's a miracle
It's a miracle
It's a miracle
Another miracle
By the grace of God Almighty
And the pressures of the marketplace
The human race has civilized itself
It's a miracle

We cower in our shelters
With our hands over our ears
Lloyd-Webber's awful stuff
Runs for years and years and years and years
An earthquake hits the theatre
But the operetta lingers
Then the piano lid comes down
and breaks his fucking fingers
It's a miracle.

// jumbled "A miracle" chanting //

// choir, birds chirping //

// TV switched on //

// struggle //


Man1:
Sergeant:
Man1:
// switch TV channel //

Woman:
Woman:

Amused To Death [9:07]

// switch TV channel //

Man:
Woman:
Man:
Woman:
Man:
Woman:
Man:
Woman:
Man:
Woman:
Man:
Woman:
Man:
Doctor Doctor what is wrong with me
This supermarket life is getting long
What is the heart life of a colour TV
What is the shelf life of a teenage queen
Ooh western woman
Ooh western girl
Ooh western woman
Ooh western girl
News hound sniffs the air
When Jessica Hahn goes down

// heh //
// ha ha ha //


He latches on to that symbol
Of detachment
Attracted by the peeling away of feeling
The celebrity of the abused shell the belle
Ooh western woman
Ooh western girl

/* A woman's voice (possibly Sally Jesse Raphael) is mixed in at a very low level and continues for several lines. Since this speech occurs in the background and is very difficult to hear, only a couple of words were clear enough to transcribe. */

And the children on Melrose
Strut their stuff

Woman:
Is absolute zero cold enough
And out in the valley warm and clean
The little ones sit by their TV screen
No thoughts to think
No tears to cry
All sucked dry
Down to the very last breath

Woman:
Bartender what is wrong with me
Why am I so out of breath
The captain said excuse me ma'am
This species has amused itself to death
Amused itself to death
It has amused itself to death
Amused itself to death

We watched the tragedy unfold
We did as we were told
We bought and sold
It was the greatest show on earth
But then it was over
We oohed and aahed
We drove our racing cars
We ate our last few jars of caviar
And somewhere out there in the stars
A keen-eyed lookout
Spied a flickering light
Our last hurrah
Our last hurrah

And when they found our shadows
Grouped around the TV sets
They ran down every lead
They repeated every test
They checked out all the data on their lists
And then the alien anthropologists
Admitted they were still perplexed
But on eliminating every other reason
For our sad demise
They logged the only explanation left
This species has amused itself to death
No tears to cry
No feelings left
This species has amused itself to death
Amused itself to death
Amused itself to death

Alf Razzell:
Amused itself to death

Alf Razzell:
Amused itself to death

Alf Razzell:

And I felt relieved. And ever since then I've felt... happy about it, because always before, whenever I thought of him, I was searching myself; "Was there something else that I could have done?"

Amused itself to death

Alf Razzell (from previous dialogue):
Alf Razzell:

And that always sort of worried me. But having seen him, and his name in the register; As you know in the memorials there's a little safe, and there's a register in there with every.. every name... And seeing his name and his name on the memorial.. It sort of lightened.. lightened my heart, if you like.

Woman interviewer:
Alf Razzell:
// switch TV off //

// crickets fade out //