Swiss Cottage Manoeuvres

Album: Bedsitter Images (1967)
  • On a Christmas cake day one Friday in August
    In a bookshop in Charing Cross Road
    I first set eyes on a girl and at once I did know
    She had eyes like a poet and hair like a rainbow
    Reflecting the lights that did glow
    And the sadness she kept in her eyes
    Struck my senses a blow

    And so as by chance at the touch of a glance
    We could find ourselves out in the road
    With no crush of time to defeat us and no place to go
    And I couldn't say how but the coffee bar crowd
    Had appeared through the silence that broke
    And she said, Oh my father's a judge in St Albans you know
    Oh well, then perhaps I could help you
    You know that St. Albans is miles away
    And I've got a room in Swiss Cottage in which you could stay
    She laughed, Oh I couldn't do that, for I've got
    To be up in the morning you see
    So I rang up to find out the first morning train she could take

    And so in the gloom of a candlelit room
    With spaghetti, two forks and a plate
    She said, Oh I really would like to be free and escape
    Oh well if it's like that
    You don't have to go back
    And you're perfectly welcome to stay
    But I've not finished school yet
    She said as she got into bed

    And so as she slept and the pure morning crept
    Through the windows to take her away
    I thought you can't make people be what you want them to be
    I could see my self nailed to a dormitory tale
    Of a holiday night's escapade
    And just yesterday she had seemed like a woman to me

    And so like a child with the sleep in her eyes
    Where the sadness of age had once been
    She left on the train with a see you again and a smile
    And I couldn't say what I had won or I lost
    Or even just what I had seen
    But when I'm alone I just think of her once in awhile Writer/s: ALISTAIR IAN STEWART
    Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 2

  • Adam from West Palm Beach, FlIf he did write a bad song, this one wouldn't qualify...not by a longshot.
  • Sean from Taunton, United Kingdom"If Al Stewart ever wrote a bad song, this is it."

    I cannot agree, sorry!

    I love this song, with its nostalgia and simple, economic story-telling. It's one of my favourite Al Stewart songs.

    It's a shame that you condemn it by quoting one line, oddly omitting to quote the following line which contextualises it. I doubt that you'd do the same with Clifton in the Rain's "A flock of salty ears".
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