This song is based on an old actors’ joke, about being so poor that you need to find parts with eating scenes. I can't play the piano, but found this descending riff that I liked with one finger.
Riding the Fairbanks to fly (pulling up the scenes)
Tights in the washing machine (struggling to get by)
Cracking the Monica bell (R.A.D.A. course engaged)
Steps on the Charring Cross Road (no work on the stage)
We dream in concert – What should an actress do?
Now their robots hunt down men on the streets of Waterloo
Short hair and in Lincoln Green (the punters’ drinks won’t annoy)
Fishnets and silvery screens (you’re our principal boy)
Robots are stuntmen of course (in Alexandra Park)
Struggle for my rent in frost (after it gets dark)
No jobs to speak of now - How can a girl survive?
With a practical pie laid out and a wine glass in act five
On every wall (in every hall) the symbols of a rising star
We never said that we’d let you make up your own mind
* Fairbanks – A theatrical pulley system used to move scenery. It’s often ridden by stage hands, as a short cut into the rafters
* Tights in the washing machine – Tights are the English word for nylons/stockings. Would an actress wash her tights, or just throw them away and buy new ones, I wondered… I now know that girls do wash their tights
* Cracking the Monica bell – In Victorian music halls, a bell called the Monica was rung between acts
* R.A.D.A. – The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London
* Steps on the Charring Cross Road – In the film Withnail and I, Uncle Monty complains about his acting agent on the Charring Cross Road, who had a huge staircase with never a job waiting at the top of them
* Dream in concert – An unused title for the second Elevenses album
* “Robots hunting men” – The original lyric to this song featured a War of the Worlds-esque story about sinister robots. I decided that I didn’t like the idea enough for a full lyric, but that it could be the play that my actress character was working on. The song was originally called, “Crescent Horns,” (which would have been the sinister symbol painted on the robots’ chests)
* Waterloo – An area of south London, featuring a large train station. It’s the train station I use when visiting my parents in Poole (and on my childhood day trips to London)
* Lincoln Green – The shade of green used for Robin Hood’s costume (and so potentially worn by an actress in a pantomime)
* Punters’ drinks – A, “punter,” is English slang for anyone paying money for a show or product. Actors routinely hang around theatre bars, to see if the punters offer to buy them drinks
* Fishnets – A type of tights, which resemble a fishnet. Presumably they don’t require much washing!
* Silvery – a good band from London (circa 2007) and also the name of a brilliant, unreleased Cardiacs song
* Principal boy – In English pantomimes the, “principal boy,” is the main, male character (always played ironically by a pretty girl)
* Alexandra Park – A park in London
* Practical pie – The name of a pie, when used as a stage prop