Nothing we can see by
In turn we live by touch
Blind as our first moments
All white and flame
Become the darkness -see too much
Glows warm behind us
Casts a shadow limp as sleep
It goes on forever –or it seems that way
The words unspoken
The line uncrossed
Those dark eyes conceal their light within them
Buried secrets the flesh won’t keep
Only motion makes him and he grows more still
A stronger impulse
Sinks more deep
And the sky grows white above us
Our love a fact like any other
Like a muscle pulsing in a seabird’s wing
These welcoming doors close above us.
Evaporation by Shriekback
And here are some notes from Barry Andrews, one of the band’s founders, about the genesis of the song:
It was 82 and Viv and I were living at Burghley Rd (Carl and Jo upstairs).
The basement was inhabited by Mr. Paul Scrivens (a very old man indeed – with an old man’s name – a watchmaker and heavy smoker). Mr. Scrivens had been finally moved out to some place where they could keep an eye on the poor old sod. He’d started pissing on the bedroom floor because his legs were too dicky to make it to the toilet down the corridor. Viv – a keen collector-of-things – wanted to get down there upon his leaving and I was curious about his set-up down there. Neither of us was disappointed: there were many objects recalling Paul’s non Old-Bloke past – long locks of his ex-wife’s hair laid on the mantelpiece – a book of Shelley with a sexy (for 1940) dedication..all his watchmaking gear – he was a skilled geezer – oh loads of stuff. The local squatters kept up a steady ant-like procession through the back windows for a week or so after. We got some nice little crystal bottles; a few books. And there he was gone. He was precarious at the time – there’s no way he’s still alive. It was a moment of Looking at It: Death. Love. Loss. All that. I had a night job dismantling shelves up in Hendon and while Viv slept and I organised myself to go to work at midnight I stooped over the cassette machine playing the groove from the studio (working title: ‘quizzical little bastards’ because we thought the toms sounded like curious prairie dogs in a wildlife doco) and I wrote ‘Evaporation’ full of Mr. Scrivens’ life and death and lost lovers – the huge vacuum beneath us in his vacated flat, which you couldn’t help but picture yourself in at some much later date. The night, the empty rooms – only dust and rubbish left, really now. It doesn’t take long to disappear. That was it.
I’m still really pleased with that tune ~
Lee Perry was the presiding spirit, of course (Dub that you can’t dance to – you can only lie down to) and the tune could be Ecclesiastical or Celtic – killer combination. And the smouldering vocoder which flickers around the voice and allows me to sing a melody I’d otherwise be embarrassed to sing. We played it to Groucho Smykle, the Reggae producer who did Jam Science and he turned it up on the big speakers at Island so you could really feel Dave’s huge bass-line (all the huger for being so gentle) and he said approvingly ‘dis ya Bad Music’. Bad and Sad, I thought. That’s the human condition for you..
~Andrews (6 April, 2001)