At The Royal Witherspoon

by The Finks

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1.
It was just another day we circled the city Smiling indifferently Looking for some shitty excuse for a cause It wasn’t my idea it was yours to go back to yours Had it been another day you wouldn’t have wanted to You’d have found something else to do Found something else to aide your self-defence You’d have called her but you’re not that dense you’re not that dense It’s not like you’re not young There’s one thousand and one things You still haven’t done you’ll regret She’s just some skinny white girl you’ll forget Not always but sometimes not always but sometimes It’s not always I don’t mind Mondays Not always but sometimes not always but sometimes It’s not always why hate Mondays Now there’s no rule of thumb For the things left to come And I guess that she’s one you’ll regret She’s just some skinny white girl you’ll forget
2.
I didn’t know she didn’t know I should have asked her Instead I thought I’d stick around at her place after Took off my watch I put it down right next to hers when She went to get a drink I closed the curtain Anxiety it came to me as inspiration I held my hand I bit my tongue mid-conversation She turned her back to me and wished me goodnight And the rest is just exactly what it sounds like Fool am I fool am I I fell asleep I saw a thousand things and more there Driving along a bumpy road middle of nowhere The ghost of fingerprints all up and down the bonnet My mouth open just to hear the sound come from it Now she’s talking like she’s throwing up confetti She says I never look her in the eyes directly There’s some excuse but I just can’t seem to begin it The bed unmade and body-warm as we lie in it I should have known I should have known what I was missing That you can learn a lot by lying still and listening The moment cupped against my palm to slowly turn it If there’s a harder way by now I would have learned it Fool am I fool am I
3.
Twenty-Too 02:50
I was looking for a lover I was writing off another I was playing in my old band I was sleeping in the tour van I was quiet I was hungry In every town along the coast we Skipped breakfast straight to coffee I was young you didn’t know me That was then you didn’t know me We played outside a fish and chip shop We played a mall we played a truck stop We played for strangers played for family We played for favours not for money In each and every caravan park Waiting around for it to get dark We prayed for silence we got plenty We paid McDonalds for our coffee That was then you didn’t know me Just like you just like you just like you I was just like you Just like you just like you just like you Twenty-too
4.
What would you rather do tell a lie or let me down I grew up next to you on the richer side of town I came back not wanting to for the wedding of a friend You said it’s still home to you Not some mid-weekender all-day bender In your three piece suit Three piece suit three piece suit In your three piece suit Three piece suit three piece suit
5.
That winter I got a job making choc-tops at the local art-house cinema, The Royal Witherspoon. There were always two people making choc tops, scooping and dipping, so some days you’d have to scoop for hours and others all you got to do was dip. I worked with a guy named Sherwin; he must have been at least five years younger than me. Sherwin was real determined, a born scooper. He worked six days a week and would sometimes work a double when I didn’t show up. I guess I didn’t show up a lot. Eventually Sherwin got promoted to the candy bar and then straight to projectionist, skipping box office. Sherwin’s rise was rapid. Projectionist was pretty much the best job you could get starting out as a scooper and dipper, almost twice the pay and with credentials you could actually use. I read something once about projectionists, that two thirds of projectionists are serial killers. Either that or two thirds of serial killers are projectionists. I can’t remember which. I guess it doesn’t matter. Sherwin was a projectionist, and I stayed making choc-tops. I wasn’t like Sherwin. Sometimes I’d see him out the back between movies, huddled round a cigarette, his face looking like a face in a lost kitten poster. I learned to smoke by watching movies. Not old movies, where everyone smokes, but the new ones, where the only people who smoke are angry and determined. I learned to strike the match with my fist outwards, the match in between my thumb and index finger, each hand making a protective hollow against the wind. It’s like pretending to hold a tennis ball, like learning the right way to play the piano. I learnt how to smoke through my mouth and out my nose and how to light a cigarette in the rain, superfast. I smoked Benson & Hedges because that’s what my aunty used to smoke, which is dumb because my aunty died of lung cancer. Benson & Hedges are the only cigarette, she used to say. They’re what the Queen smokes. I used to ask her how she knew what the Queen smokes and she’d say they have a Royal Warrant; they’re the official supplier of tobacco to the Queen. I’d never thought much about it until I went to a friend’s house for a dinner party, years later. They had a bowl of salt on the table with a little spoon in it. The salt was all thin and flaky; apparently you were supposed to pick it up with the spoon and crush it in between your fingers. See this salt? My friend said. That’s what the Queen eats. I’d had this idea since childhood; I guess I always knew I’d end up smoking because I’d had this idea for as long as I can remember. The idea was that I’d always smoke with matches, not a lighter, and that I’d stick the adhesive-corrosive strip of a matchbox, the bit that ignites the match, on to the sole of my shoe. That way I could light safety matches off the bottom of my shoe, European-style. I bought a box of matches and cut it into strips and stapled the sides lengthways on to the sole of my boots, one on each boot, facing outwards at the back of the heel. The matches lit okay but I could never get them to my mouth fast enough, without rushing it, just the right speed so they’d stay lit. It was always raining and every time I went outside I’d have to buy another matchbox. Sometimes someone at the cinema would ask to borrow a cigarette – we worked in staggered shifts so you never had a break with the same person – but it always seemed to be when I didn’t have any left. Smoking became kind of a solitary thing, something I’d look forward to after having to work all day in a small room, alone except for Sherwin. I used to eat as much I could in the five minutes before break and then go outside to smoke myself dizzy, staring at the opposite wall and thinking up alternate histories for myself. What if I never applied for the job at the Royal Witherspoon? I thought. What if I was more like Sherwin? What if I wasn’t born in Dulcott, but somewhere like Zimbabwe or Tibet or Cambridge? What if I wasn’t born at all, if my parents decided they hated each other before they thought they loved each other? It was so cold that winter; I used to keep the oven on all night just to keep the house warm.
6.
I get up early I’m still wearing your shirt I pass your housemate on his way home from work You got a haircut You grew a shoe size or two You’re doing nothing like it’s something to do It’s a beautiful morning I get a shower I use all the shampoo I could go home but it’s cheaper living with you You caught a spider and slipped it under a cup And out the window Not knowing which way was up Daddy long legs Daddy long legs Daddy long legs

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MILK009

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released November 15, 2013

the finks are a figment of oliver's imagination

sarah farquharson: vocals on tracks three to six

sam cooper: vocals on track five

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The Finks Melbourne, Australia

The Finks play the songs of Oliver Mestitz. They are sincere but flippant, intimate but aloof, subtle but unpolished.

The Finks have released a steady stream of quietly uncompromising music via Milk! Records since 2012 – three EPs, two cassettes, four LPs and a handful of singles. Critics have described The Finks as “crushingly beautiful” and “perhaps the most underrated act in Australian music”.
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