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John Wesley Harding

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John Wesley Harding

One Night Only

He got shafted in Bradford for his out of date routines up there
And the trouble he ran into Brighton was more than his share
He's been running for thirty years, he would have settled down
But each town he appears in puts a red nose on the clown

You can buy the old showbills and frame them, they're nearly antiques
You can trip up on his big clown shoes as you're starting to speak
He squirts the flower, hurts your hand, it'll always catch you
And his tears are etched so deep that they might just be tattooed

The one man circus is coming to town
Put the banners up, take your trousers down
Paint on a smile, wipe off the frown
Heaven knows he won't hurt us
The loose, the lovely and the lonely
One night only

He said 'I played Chaplin for Hitler in March 44
Been a black and white minstrel before that whole thing was outlawed
And I've dragged it on every pier in every seaside town
But there aren't any dances today, the pavilions have all been pulled down

I came over straight after the war and they hijacked my name
I waited for so many years but my wife never came
I've been learning these lines every day since 1945
And I'll recite them everyday I wished I was alive'
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The one man circus is coming to town
Get the dogs out, tear the posters down
Paint go home on the walls til he is elsewhere bound
Don't you know he could hurt us
The loose, the lovely and the lonely
One night only

He's tripping over backwards, taking off his clothes
And no-one helps him, everyone knows
We laugh at the misfortune of others

Everytime the glass empties, the lions they all get set free
On a town full of unsuspecting tourists who scream when they're happy
And the scarecrow's on probation just for making faces in a mirror
The past put a hand on his shoulder and drowned him in tears

Now he ushers and watched the movies where children don't age
And the dancing horse stole all the keys and took charge of the stage
And the freaks are on the razzmatazz, they're all fuelled on coke and gin
And the cast-out's on the street and we've already let him in

The one man circus