The Tick of the Clock, the Beat in the Chest

by Felix Obelix

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about

Felix Obelix is the songwriting/compositional project of Wendy Spitzer. Her music is a jerky blend of rocksy whatnot, avant-garde whosit and old-fashioned multiple-meter mathematical moxie: the twisted hits from unpopular Big-Note piano books that never were. Equal parts pop, experimental and classical, this is a cross-genre cocktail mixed by a barmaid with adventuresome taste. Song topics lie squarely in the land of dread. The inevitable march of time, finding meaning in life before death, the sticky mess of memory – these are all handled with a wry ear for irony, but with ample heart too. Felix Obelix is the idea that you can’t go home again and wouldn’t want to if you could, and if you did, you’d find it had been razed to the ground with a Gulp-N-Go built in its place, where you’d buy your slushee and marvel in its sweet goodness, because hey you’re thirsty, and you always hated that house anyway.

Released in February 2010 on the Pox World Empire label (Durham, NC), The Tick of the Clock, the Beat in the Chest was/is Felix Obelix's debut album.

credits

released February 23, 2010

All songs written and arranged by Wendy Spitzer. All tracks recorded by Jay Cartwright and Greg Klaiber, and produced by Jay Cartwright with Wendy Spitzer, except Cyanide Smile, recorded and produced by Alex Lazara, and Dead Name, recorded and produced by Wendy Spitzer. Mastered by Jeff Carroll, Bluefield Mastering, Raleigh, NC. Wendy Spitzer: vocals, bass, organ, oboe; Jay Cartwright: accordion; Dylan Thurston: xylophone, vibraphone, glockenspiel, drums; Billy Sugarfix: Theremin; Colin Booy: trombone; Phil Cook: vocals on See the Stain Come Out with Lye; David Jordan: clarinet; Terry Lonergan: drums; Emma Nadeau: French horn; Nate Osborne: trumpet; Wylie Pamplin: charango; Wes Phillips: drums; Stuart Robinson: trumpet; Aaron Smithers: French horn.

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about

Felix Obelix Pittsboro, North Carolina

Felix Obelix is the avant-pop project of Wendy Spitzer. Her music is a blend of rocksy whatnot, avant-garde whosit and multiple-meter mathematical moxie: the twisted hits from unpopular Big-Note piano books that never were.

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Track Name: The Heart Monitor
We are only human beings
Fumbling with our moral leanings
Soil is soft, the rock is hard
Bury your granddad in the backyard
Tock tock tock the clock is ticking
Illness without, illness within
Sight of sorrow, sight unseen
Granddad’s breathing through machines



If you had an hourglass
Turned upside down the moment you were born
Would you want to see it?
And know how many years you had left to weather the storm
And if you had a mirror
That showed you in your final days
Would you want to see it?
And wonder how you could ever be that, ever be that age


We are just overgrown children
Playing house and playing nation
Granddad in the war once shot a man
Was it really simpler then?
Granddad hates the Japanese nurses
We all fight our parents’ curses
How will this storybook end?
With a letter we’ll never send



If you had a time machine
That took you back to your worst regret
Would you choose things differently?
And risk losing all the good things that came of it
And if you had a body
That did not need a moment’s rest
Would you feel a little sorry?
That you couldn’t solve a problem just by falling into
Falling into bed


a white-coated doctor
comes out of the room where
granddad has been sleeping
for over a year now
on his face is a mask
but his eyes they deceive him
we know what they’re thinking
what do you expect me to do here?


But he’s got a machine
To monitor his heart
What I wouldn’t give for a machine
To monitor my heart


The machine it marks the stops and the starts of your heart
Your heart
It monitors your heart
The machine it marks the beating of your faulty heart
Your heart
It monitors your heart

It sees the tears of your broken heart
Your heart
It photographs your heart
It sees the tears of your broken heart
Your heart
It photographs your heart

The machine it marks the stops and the starts of your heart
Your heart
It monitors your ---
Track Name: See the Stain Come Out with Lye
How do you do?
We’ve been over this before
In this very room
Twenty-four hours ago
Since then I’ve been
Whistling this tune
And mopping the spills from the
Floor

Ignore me when I try
See the stain come out with lye
Too tired for regret
See your favorite sweater’s not been ruined yet
Have you ever really listened to me?
What’s that I can’t hear you over the
Dinner’s ready get dressed
See your favorite sweater’s not been ruined yet


You fell asleep, to Mister
Lehrer’s newsy hour
Should have stayed in school
But you robbed me blind of all my power
Go smoke in the
Garden again
I get dizzy from the smell of the
Flowers


I won’t tell you how I’m filled with doubt
We’re overdrawn in the checking account
I wish I had just one good friend
I’ll ask the neighbors if they’ve any money to lend
No pill could fully kill this pain
Well I’d buy some for you if we had any
Money/my knee’s been acting up again
But the hole in the sweater wasn’t a problem to mend


What time is it?
I’ve been offered a new job
Pays a little more
But we’d have to move ourselves abroad
Fine with me I’ve got
Wandering feet
and we’ve been in the town far too
long


It’s a marriage no one can see
Inside to know if it’s working
Time she is a redeemer of
All things good and faulty-hearted



It’s a marriage no one can see Time she is a
Inside to know if it’s working redeemer of
Time she is a redeemer of all things good and
All things good and faulty-hearted faulty-hearted



I won’t leave you
You’re the only
Person I know
In this country




I won’t leave *you* I won’t leave you
You’re the only I won’t leave you
Person I know Person I know
In this country I
Track Name: Oh! Cadaver
Oh cadaver, oh cadaver
You never had her, never had her!
She sleeps in the morgue tonight
Lying on a sterile table
When the doctors cut her up
They’ll do it to the best that they are able


There’s a lady
From Poughkeepsie (New York! New York!)
She lost her legs in a farming accident
Now she walks around with hers
Didn’t you dream about them wrapped around your head?

c-a-d-a-v-e-r, c-a-d-a-v-e-r


You shook her hand once at a Christmas party
It was alabaster white and thin and dainty
But now it’s grafted to the forearm of a foreman in Nantucket
And it sickens you to think of what he does with it

Singing oh cadaver, oh cadaver
You never had her, never had her!


No she never traveled much, never much reason to leave
Now she lives in eight different states and four foreign countries
If you could get her back you’d tell her she made a big mistake
You’d have taken her anywhere, but she ignored you, she ignored you


Her eyes they were the softest sea-green blue
You looked at them and you looked again
And once they looked back at you
But now they’re sitting in the sockets of a boy blind since birth
So wrapped up in their beauty you couldn’t see what they were really worth


Oh cadaver, oh cadaver
c-a-d-a-v-e-r spells
r-e-g-r-e-t-s spells
d-i-s-g-u-s-t spells
s-a-c-r-i-f-i-c-e

Oh cadaver, oh cadaver
You never had her, never had her!
Track Name: Dead Name
You have a dead person's name
He has a grave, but there's no one there
He died in a camp, with his four-year-old boy
How does it feel to have such a dead name?
Track Name: The Saddest Affair
See the salesman, door to door
Hauling his encyclopedias
Hasn’t made a sale today
He’s losing a
Forgotten war


Operator standing by
Patch the cables to connect you
Even for her there came a day
When only silence
Filled the line


They found gold up on the hill
Built the town around to mine it
When the earth ran dry of ore
The town no more
And all was still


The passage of time makes a man disappear
His hopes and his works and his sorrows and fears
So write a letter, fold it up and
Place it in a plastic bottle
Bury it six feet beneath the bomb shelter’s stairs


The dinosaurs were tall and long
And big and dumb and ruled the planet
Then fell to earth a giant stone
Now all that’s left of them are bones
Assembled wrong

The hospital where your son was born
Sits on bricks rotting and sinking
They’ll knock it down two months from now
Its stories gone
In a flash and wink

The passage of time is the saddest affair
To be remembered after death is rarer than rare
So write a letter, fold it up and
Place it in a plastic bottle
Bury it six feet beneath the bomb shelter’s stairs

The mimeographs are gathering dust
In the cellars and the attics
The adding machines and the
Filmstrip screens’
Cogs inside have clogged with rust


The sackbut and the chalumeau
Crumhorn and ondes martenot
Waves of electroniums
Can no longer hammer on our
Auditory bones


You can’t stop
The passage of
Time goes on
Whether you
Like it or
Knots in your stomach
Fear in your
Heart will stop beating
And the lungs will stop breathing
And you’ll be gone

The people you touched will be gone
The objects you touched will be gone
The things that you did
Places you lived
In the battle with time
There’s only one winner and that is him, him, him
In the battle with time
There’s only one winner and that is him, him, him
Track Name: Gleanings on Bee Culture
With the shrivelling leaves of the rotting tree
With the sibilant wheeze of the breathing machine
With the colony collapse of the honeybee

With the New Year’s ball drop countdowning
With the divorcee’s pawnshopped wedding ring
With the bee’s demise after the sting

With the junk car hauled to the scrapyard lot
With the job replaced by a better robot
With the bee’s wings torn by a petulant tot

With the jacked up rents of the tenement square
With the packed up tents of the carnival fair
With the hive ripped up by a grizzly bear

Hovering in place
Waiting to trace
The pollen from the pansy
To the knee
Perpetuating their insect race
Just like
Just like you and
Just like you and
Just like you and
Just like you and me

With the head of state fleeing after the coup
With the sad wife weeping after the woo
With the Queen’s quick splat under the shoe

With the missing limbs of the basketbase
With the knitting mill worker’s disfigured face
With the drone’s quick death and easy replace

With the miner’s fate of shoveling coal
With the salesman’s state of constant cajole
With the bee born and dying in his role

With the retouched ceiling of the Sistine dome
With the endless slave labor of the building of Rome
With the artless production of the honeycomb

Hovering in place
Waiting to trace
The pollen from the pansy
To the knee
Perpetuating their insect race
Just like
Just like you and
Just like you and
Just like you and
Just like you and

It’s so hard to look the bee
In his five compound eyes
Say that we aren’t that alike
When you both know it’s a lie

It’s so hard to look the bee
In his five compound eyes
Say that time she won’t destroy us
When you both know it’s a lie
Track Name: Pinprick
There was a time
swimming in the ocean slime of your mother
you were the size of a pinprick
then you were the size of a dime

You sported gills like a fish
when you grew legs, you did kick, kick, kick
you couldn't dream of a life outside
when you slipped out with a scream

You knew you knew nothing
when you were small
then, as a teen, you thought you knew everything
at sixty-two, you thought you knew a thing or two
but you died knowing nothing at all

You took your last trip in a seaplane
sprinkling your ashes in the Chesapeake bay
a minnow will feast and be nourished on a speck of you
lay its eggs and start it again
Track Name: Cyanide Smile
The stirrup, the anvil, hammer and the drum
The index, the ring, the middle and the thumb
These bendable parts, these small bits of bone
Are all that you need to answer the phone


It’s never been safe to call me here
They’ve tapped the phonelines again
You shouldn’t be seen with me, dear
They’ve put a camera in the oven


A solitary ant, far from its home
It follows an errant pheromone
It travels hard in search of food
As dogged in its tracks as it is confused


Don’t play pattycake upon my thick hips
They’ve got your prints in their files
Don’t bother with my dry, cracked and chapped lips
I’ve got a cyanide smile


Please cover your mouth with both of your hands
They’ve poisoned the air in the ducts
Leave now out the backdoor while you still can
To be with me you’ll need much more than luck


I’m a dangerous lady for you to know
But bugs can’t live in climates with snow
Go back to the safety of Sioux Falls
When I get there, I promise that I will call


I crouch in the kitchen listening to
The tick of the clock, the beat in the chest
Counting down the hours, the minutes, the seconds
‘til the bomb drops, the ant stops and I can rest
Track Name: The Sparrow and the Hawk
It’s a starting over
You’ve been lost down this road once before
But now you are older
And better at stomaching the cold


Broken body and a broken heart
You’re a wounded, stubborn bird
Is this the ending or the start?
From all of this what have you learned?


Autumn’s falling, winter grows dim
Crawl inside and wait for the spring
Where will you be this time next year?
Has your hope finally got the better of your fear?


Is this the ending or the start?
Day turns to twilight, turns to night
Are you the sparrow or the hawk?
Will you go easy or will you put up a fight?


This is the tale of the
Hawk and the sparrow
This is the tale of the
Sparrow and the Hawk