CALIFORNIA

Sitting in a park in Paris, France
Reading the news and it sure looks bad
They won’t give peace a chance
That was just a dream some of us had
Still a lot of lands to see
But I wouldn’t want to stay here
It’s too old and cold and settled in its ways here
Oh, but California
California I’m coming home
I’m going to see the folks I dig
I’ll even kiss a Sunset pig
California I’m coming home

I met a redneck on a Grecian isle
Who did the goat dance very well
He gave me back my smile
But he kept my camera to sell
Oh the rogue, the red red rogue
He cooked good omelettes and stews
And I might have stayed on with him there
But my heart cried out for you, California
Oh California I’m coming home
Oh make me feel good rock’n roll band
I’m your biggest fan
California, I’m coming home

CHORUS:

Oh it gets so lonely
When you’re walking
And the streets are full of strangers
All the news of home you read
Just gives you the blues
Just gives you the blues

So I bought me a ticket
I caught a plane to Spain
Went to a party down a red dirt road
There were lots of pretty people there
Reading Rolling Stone, reading Vogue
They said, “How long can you hang around?”
I said “a week, maybe two,
Just until my skin turns brown
Then I’m going home to California”
California I’m coming home
Oh will you take me as I am
Strung out on another man
California I’m coming home

CHORUS:

Oh it gets so lonely
When you’re walking
And the streets are full of strangers
All the news of home you read
More about the war
And the bloody changes
Oh will you take me as l am?
Will you take me as l am?
Will you?

CALIFORNIA

Sitting in a park in Paris, France
Reading the news and it sure looks bad
They won’t give peace a chance
That was just a dream some of us had
Still a lot of lands to see
But I wouldn’t want to stay here
It’s too old and cold and settled in its ways here
Oh, but California
California I’m coming home
I’m going to see the folks I dig
I’ll even kiss a Sunset pig
California I’m coming home

I met a redneck on a Grecian isle
Who did the goat dance very well
He gave me back my smile
But he kept my camera to sell
Oh the rogue, the red red rogue
He cooked good omelettes and stews
And I might have stayed on with him there
But my heart cried out for you, California
Oh California I’m coming home
Oh make me feel good rock’n roll band
I’m your biggest fan
California, I’m coming home

CHORUS:

Oh it gets so lonely
When you’re walking
And the streets are full of strangers
All the news of home you read
Just gives you the blues
Just gives you the blues

So I bought me a ticket
I caught a plane to Spain
Went to a party down a red dirt road
There were lots of pretty people there
Reading Rolling Stone, reading Vogue
They said, “How long can you hang around?”
I said “a week, maybe two,
Just until my skin turns brown
Then I’m going home to California”
California I’m coming home
Oh will you take me as I am
Strung out on another man
California I’m coming home

CHORUS:

Oh it gets so lonely
When you’re walking
And the streets are full of strangers
All the news of home you read
More about the war
And the bloody changes
Oh will you take me as l am?
Will you take me as l am?
Will you?

An old man asked me for a dollar at the bus stop yesterday, phrasing it in such a way that I imagined he might be a distracted genius, and that a buck was all that stood between him and the makings of a perfect day, so I gave him a handful of change and he was so happy; it made me feel absurd. Everyone else stared at me, like how dare I give money to a bum. “God bless you,” he said before vanishing into the Saturday shoppers, and I thought how I was already blessed to have a pocket full of change I could give him.

When I was younger I used to sit on crowded buses imagining my presence was the only thing stopping everybody from getting up out of their seats and tearing each other apart. Everyone looked so desperate. I was the bus warrior. Fortunately, I never had to think about what happened after I got off, cos where the bus stopped was the end of line, both coming and going.

I remember as a child of about 3 or 4, sitting on the floor in my parents’ house and watching them argue, and being aware of myself as a very old person, thinking how terrible and unbeautiful, the two them, not being able to imagine a better way of dealing with whatever the problem was. Precursor to the bus warrior - the infant moralist. But then I’m a Virgo, so what would you expect?

And what’s so wrong with being ‘sensitive’, anyway? As an only child (my sister was 12 years older than me), I often felt I was single-handedly holding out against the cruel realities of life. Back then, the cruel realities of life were personified by an immense army of tiny marching ‘germs’ that were fixated on pursuing me, and that would - if I stayed in one location long enough - eventually catch and kill me. Fortunately my Dad’s job meant that we pulled up stakes and moved every two or three years, and not just to the other side of town either, but to the opposite end of the country. I always breathed a sigh of relief when we moved cos I knew it bought me a little more time. The germs, being that small, traveled very slowly.

- Billy Marshall Stoneking

I hate to be the one to break the news, not that it should be news, but predictability breeds predictability. You can’t plan for surprise, or freshness, or originality. You can’t consciously choose those things either. The choice is not to be or not to be; the choice is to dance or not to dance. And when it comes to dancing (read: the adventure of finding a story and its characters), the best choices are hardly ever the result of conscious decision-making.

Billy Marshall Stoneking

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