“The Bed Song” – Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra

Posted in Music Monday

Behind the Song:
From Amanda Palmer’s husband, author Neil Gaiman:
“When Amanda and I were first going out together we would spend a lot of time on the phone, talking about big real things. We don’t talk on the phone anywhere nearly as much any more, and when we do talk on the phone we’re more likely to be trying to figure out the logistics of where we are in the world and how we can warp space and time in order to be in the same place relatively soon than about our hearts or our lives. That’s just the way things are, and when we’re together, late at night, in bed, we still talk about all the big real things.

But we used to talk on the phone. One night I said something to Amanda about my life, and beds, and the sizes of beds, and she got very quiet. I thought she was crying on the phone, which seemed odd, as I’d not said anything (to my mind) about hearts.

A week or so later, she announced on Twitter that she was writing a song. She posted photos of herself after each verse. It seemed like the whole of Twitter was cheering her on.

I got to Boston a few days later, and she played me her song, on the huge grand piano in her cramped apartment. She’d taken a tiny fragment of my life and made it into something else, a story about a couple, from joy to death, exhibited, as in a legal case or at an inquest, as a sequence of beds. I cried when she played it.

She asked me to give it a title, because I had inspired it, and I didn’t want to give it a clever title, and so I called it ‘The Bed Song’, and the name stuck.”


Exhibit A
We are friends in a sleeping bag, splitting the heat
We have one filthy pillow to share, and your lips are in my hair
Someone upstairs has a rat that we laughed at
And people are drinking
And singing Van Halen and Slayer on a ukulele tear

Exhibit B
Well, we found an apartment
It’s not much to look at
A futon on a floor
Torn-off desktop for a door
All the decor’s made of milk crates and duct tape
And if we have sex
They can hear us through the floor
But we don’t do that anymore

And I lay there wondering, what is the matter?
Is this a matter of worse or of better?
You took the blanket, so I took the bed sheet
But I would have held you, if you’d only

let me…

Exhibit C
Look how quaint
And how quiet and private
Our paychecks have bought us a condo in town
It’s the nicest flat around
You picked a mattress and had it delivered
And I walked upstairs
And the sight of it made my heart pound
And I wrapped my arms around me

And I stood there wondering, what is the matter?
Is this a matter of worse or of better?
You walked right past me and straightened the covers
But I would still love you, if you wanted a lover
And you said
All the money in the world
Won’t buy a bed so big and wide
To guarantee that you won’t accidentally touch me
In the night

Exhibit D
Now we’re both mostly paralyzed
Don’t know how long we’ve been lying here in fear
Too afraid to even feel
I find my glasses, and you turn the light out
Roll off on your side
Like you’ve rolled away for years
Holding back those king-size tears

And I still don’t ask you, what is the matter?
Is this a matter of worse or of better?
You take the heart failure
I’ll take the cancer
I’ve long stopped wondering why you don’t answer

Exhibit E
You can certainly see how fulfilling a life
From the cost and size of stone of our final resting home
We got some nice ones right under a cherry tree
You and me, lying the only way we know
Side by side and still and cold

And I finally ask you, what was the matter?
Was it a matter of worse or of better?
You stretch your arms out and finally face me
You say I would have told you…

If you’d only asked me
If you’d only asked me
If you’d only asked me

Amanda Palmer: Learn more +
Official Site: Get more +
Videos: See more +

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