Mercredi 5 janvier 22

Pendant ces dix jours d’isolement, où 2021 se prolonge, j’ai écouté cet album miraculeux des retrouvailles d’Arab Strap en boucle. Et aujourd’hui où il s’achève, je ne peux m’ôter cette chanson de la tête.

Un dernier voyage hypnotique dans « le train en marche » de la vie, un retour de nuit qui n’est qu’un aller, plein de signes, de symboles, de rencontres ratées mais poignantes, et le diable, peut-être, pour vous accueillir familièrement dans le wagon bar.

A whistle blows
The doors slide shut
I store my baggage overhead
The train hisses a goodbye, the station scrolls by
I fold my coat to make a bed

I can’t afford a cabin, I can barely pay for this
I envy fellow travelers in their bunks
I look around the carriage and see familiar faces
The dejected, the deserted and the drunks
So I decide to join them, I walk into the club car
The barman says tonight my drinks are free
He says he knew that I was coming, he’s an old friend of the family
I might not know him but he knows me
Our first stop’s at midnight, we scrape into a station
The platform pristine and glowing white
A nuclear family sits waiting, the children behave
Mom and dad hand in hand, they all smile and wave
I ignore them, we push further into nigh

Keep on rolling
Just keep rolling
Now I must be gone

I fall in and out of sleep
Unseen scenery flies by, hidden in the darkness, behind glass
The window is my mirror, I look into my eyes
Watching for the light I hope will pass
I go back up to the club car but nobody’s there
The barman’s gone, his work must be done
He’s left a gift on the bar
A six-pack with a tag that reads
« I thought you might need these, have fun »
The next station’s almost empty, there’s just a lonely busker
He’s singing an old song I think I wrote
But he’s singing the wrong words above his empty hat
And his rhythm is wrong too and he’s singing it so flat
He appalls me with every awful note

Keep on rolling
Just keep rolling
Now I must be gone

One last stop before my final destination
We slow into a tunnel and arrive
All is quiet, there’s no one around
Not a soul, not one thing alive
There’s a statue on the concourse
An old father of the town
A paragon of virtue with cold eyes
He turns those eyes to me and sadly asserts
« The sinner’s life decides his demise »
And then the lights are cut, the station turns black
And once again a face is all I see
I study its creases, the crow’s feet and laugh lines
I’m not even sure that it’s me

Keep on rolling
Just keep rolling
Now I must be gone
Keep on rolling
Bells are tolling
Now I must be gone

Now this is my last chance to turn and go home
Only seconds left before the doors close
I stand in the doorway, my bag left behind
I look for light, a whistle blows