Biography

Mary cooks noodles

Johnny grooms poodles

Eliza gets by on her pension

The shops are all shut

But the dogs' hair gets cut

There's a palpable feeling of tension

After decades of helping

Bake bread and sweet fancies

A daughter is silently crying

Because round at the hospital

Just off Geneva street

Freddie the baker is dying

Freddie left school

He was only fourteen

At sixteen he married his sweetheart

They managed four children

Two still born, one slaughtered

In a war that ripped whole worlds apart

Freddie kept baking

His wife took a lover

Things could never be normal again

The daughter stayed loyal

To her heartbroken father

She was lonely but stayed all the same

Mary cooks noodles

Johnny grooms poodles

Eliza gets by on her pension

The shops are all shut

But the dogs' hair gets cut

There's a palpable feeling of tension

She didn't have boyfriends

She didn't have children

She didn't acknowledge the loss

Then when she was forty

She gave in to her longing

And slept with her shit of a boss

He sacked her the next week

He said she was lazy

And told her to clear her desk

She could have been broken

But she put it behind her

She knew he'd have sacked her for less

Now at the bedside

She watches the monitor

And the signal that's slowly flatlining

When the nurses come running

She steps out of the way

And knows that it's she who is dying

Mary cooks noodles

Johnny grooms poodles

Eliza gets by on her pension

The shops are all shut

But the dogs' hair gets cut

There's a palpable feeling of tension

An observation of a life, with its twists, turns and dead-ends, and the way in which life can be derailed. When I was a child, we had a neighbouring family made up of adult daughter and her elderly parents. The story was that this spinster lady had opted to stay at home to care for her parents, thereby putting her own life on hold. To us kids, the parents were a miserable pair who would do things like stab your football if it went into their backyard or, as a minimum, refuse to give it back. The daughter, on the other hand, was gentler and seemed to me to be wreathed in grey sadness. Even as a child I wondered what would happen to her when her parents died. I think the lyric for this song emerged from my swampy memory of that.

Ron