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The Parson In The Parlour

by Papernut Cambridge

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Written and recorded 16th August 2020 for Gina Arnold's 'The Raymond Chandler Project', a collection of short stories and songs inspired by a list of unused Raymond Chandler titles.

The original idea was to do it as a poem, recited over some kind of backing in the style of Johns Betjeman or Cooper-Clarke, but it has ended up as this song, and a musical meta-nod to Robyn Hitchcock’s “Raymond Chandler Evening”.

Go to ginaarnold.substack.com to read & hear more........


The parson in the parlour
The vicar in the loft
And in the second bedroom
The Dean of Lowestoft

Archbishop in the garden
Reverend Mother in the hall
It’s beginning to get difficult
To keep track of them all

It started off last Thursday
Things moved on the kitchen shelves
And pages in my diary
Seemed to write things by themselves

I couldn’t get the heating warm
Although it was full on
And shadows followed me upstairs
But when I turned they’d gone
And voices told me awful things
Of memories in the walls
Then one voice said “An exorcist
Will quickly cure it all”

And now the place is full of them
A priest at every door
All chanting in portentous voice
Luke 11: 24

I offer them some earl grey tea
Some sandwiches or toast
As they sprinkle holy water
Like Dettol but for ghosts

But they don’t ever answer
Or even look at me
Just stand there in tweed jackets
Cassocks, robes and finery
And some look quite familiar
Though I can’t be sure of course
But there’s a crimson-mantled cardinal
Saying something about a divorce
The verger from “Dad’s Army”
Is fussing with some towels
Trying to squeeze past Robert Mitchum
(playing Reverend Harry Powell)

The parson in the parlour
The rector by the bed
All attempting consecration
Of the spectres in my head

And how I wish they all would leave
They’ve only made it worse
Their showering of blessings
Has just multiplied the curse

And one of them’s just whispered
To confirm my biggest fear
That I’m seeing clergy everywhere
But no one's really here.


released August 25, 2020


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Papernut Cambridge Folkestone, UK

Kent based project formed by Ian Button - formerly guitarist with Death In Vegas, Thrashing Doves and many others, now prolific underground producer/writer (Go-Kart Mozart etc...) and co-founder of Gare du Nord Records in 2013.

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