How Long

Album: Have You in My Wilderness (2015)

Songfacts®:

  • This song finds Holter channelling Sally Bowles from Christopher Isherwood's The Berlin Stories, as she wanders around the German city and asks a stranger for a cigarette. The singer told The Guardian that she enjoys using fictional characters to express herself, rather than writing anything specifically biographical. "I feel like your soul will come through anyway, so for me it's more fun to find other stories," she said.
  • The Berlin Stories is a book consisting of two novellas by Christopher Isherwood: Goodbye to Berlin and Mr. Norris Changes Trains, which were published in 1945. The two short novels are set in Berlin in 1931, just as Adolf Hitler was moving into power.

    The English cabaret singer Sally Bowles is probably the best-known character from The Berlin Stories. Although very young, she is sexually experienced.

    Elements concerning Sally Bowles were the starting point for the John Van Druten 1951 play I Am a Camera, which in turn went on to inspire the stage musical and film versions of Cabaret.

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