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Robb Johnson, A Break in the Clouds

Man Walks Into a Pub


Man Walks into a Pub (MP3, 3.5MB; YouTube video)

Man walks into a pub,
You’ve heard this one before,
I know it’s not that funny
Or that clever anymore,
But he sits down like a sailor
Who’s been shipwrecked quite a while,
Man walks into a pub, and smiles.

Man walks into a pub
And you can see the little boy,
With his pockets full of sixpence
In a sweet shop full of toys,
Back before the smoker’s cough,
The beer gut and the piles,
Man walks into a pub, and smiles.

The lads are watching football
On the pub’s big silver screen,
And until that final whistle
You can forget what might have been,
The chances never taken, the numbers never dialled,
Man walks into a pub, and smiles.

And it isn’t just the football,
And it isn’t just the beer,
Me and Dave are smiling too,
We’ve got this big idea,
And if it comes to nothing, that’s because
Next day we can’t remember what it was….

Man walks into a pub,
Leaves his troubles at the door,
Shakes his old head wisely
At the lads still trying to score,
There’s the pint of compensation
For the final homeward mile…
Man walks into a pub, and smiles.

This is the oldest song on the album, written maybe in 2007; it hasn't been officially released before simply because it didn't really seem to fit on any of the recent albums.

I clearly remember how it got started: I was in the Beehive in Brentford, and this old boy tottered in, made it to the bar and hauled himself safely onto a barstool, like a ship making harbour. The bit about "me and Dave" in the middle-eighty section is me and Dave Floyd, singer with original west-London punk legends Riot Clone, planning a joint tour of Germany that of course never happened, one night in the Cross Lances in Hounslow.

I recorded the song twice for the album; the first time it seemed a bit slow and maudlin, plus there were some noticeable tuning problems with the Thornbory bottom string. I thought it needed to be a little more positive, so I did a new version with a capo and the Brook guitar, which is the version on the CD. I usually try to avoid using a capo, but I thought, for this album, maybe I should make a bit of an effort and do the songs in the optimum key for the vocal/effect I was hoping to achieve.

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