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Thrills & Bills

by Faithful Johannes

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Big Break 03:31
Try to stand out wear a loud shirt Or a white suit like Tom Wolfe Make sure it's flameproof There's no rules to it anymore Ask Tipper Gore Second best wins and makes L Bush FLOTUS Elmo's mouth's gotta be worked by someone I'm someone and I'd go back to college Learn how to work a muppet Fuck it I'll say marionette I can dream of it while slurping my vanilla briquette or ice cream sundae Yeah someday I could be the next Jim Henson Cash in the pension Move to LA Punch and Judy shows outside the movies Who is Judy anyway? And what year is this? The smell of summer nights drifts through the window The smell of summer nights wafts through the back door You say you're sure you saw my face before I doubt it, I mean I don't really get out much You're probably mistaking me for your neighbour's grandson She thinks he's handsome I'm not so certain Most nights this week I've sewn my own curtains Buttoned-backed, blackout fabric and tab tops It's usually a conversation stopper Now I've read 57 books this year Most with big pictures read out loud to my nephew and niece Rhys and Bernice Distilled truths told by animal families Ignoring the fallacy they'd be each others' dinners A crocodile taught me about sharing A dinosaur expanded my vocabulary A dog sold me a lie about how he could fly and still The smell of summer nights drifts through the window The smell of summer nights wafts through the back door This could be my big break Maybe she'll up her own place Advance tickets to Kings Cross In Camden Town I got lost But this could be my big break This could be my big break Set up some meetings Put off the bill for the heating This could be my big break This guy called Neil reckons he can get me a publishing deal Needs some cash in advance for the work though But he loves my rhymes and unusual flow Says it sounds a bit shite and that's what he likes And this could be my big break Maybe she'll give up her own place This could be my big break
At Large 02:26
The grass is always greener when the sun shines The charcoal's white hot and ready Eagerly pouring effervescent wine in pleasant company No one here knows you're legendary At the last job left the bike behind But a decade's passed and you've still not been found Demand notes handed over silently then walked out with the money Life was extraordinary and secret You'd keep just what you needed In case the notes were sequential You're a lot shorter than your description on the tele Cos you stood up tall walking out those doors with no panic at all A desk job Disappointing annual performance reviews These don't suit you Play squash on a Wednesday but never get the win Cos you keep missing the lobs and you've got weak drives Never told your wife But thought about it twice A deathbed confession won't work if you die alone Keep your story in audio on your mobile phone Still in wanted in Mansfield, Harrogate, Kelso and Leith Daventry, Peebles, Linlithgow and Dumfries Sought by the Halifax in Halifax and the Clyde Bank in Clydebank Northern Rock's gone to the wall But that was hardly your fault at all Ulster Bank was a ferry too far But you took ten grand from a branch in Stranraer Still wanted in Seahouses, Inverness, Nelson, Burton-on-Trent Colwyn Bay's Handelsbanken called your bluff So you held up the petrol station Maybe this year you'll tell someone
It's weighing down on me Pressure on the thin beams of the house effecting my sleep Swear I can hear my memories twitching about up there Took that box of VHS's to the recycling centre Only for Chris to fetch them back Saying they'd caught her eye while disposing of her cathode ray tele And that there's loads of films I'd like in there So I popped it back up the ladder Behind the spare Christmas decorations Crackers with card gone soft Unusable Yo-yos, paper hats Jokes still so bad they'd unite dinners in groans I've got a cache of worn out mobile phones Keep them to stop the mining of my data And as touchstones back to when we were dating I could send texts without looking on my Motorola Flip Phone Snake keeping me awake on my thirty-three ten I've got ghosts in my attic That I'm sentimentally attached to It's becoming a fire hazard I know it sounds over dramatic I don't want to see them But I can't ask them to leave I put a lock on the hatch And it rattles when they dance But today I'm clearing it out Tuck trousers in socks to enhance bravery with spiders Why does this box contain earwax candles Two thousand and six diaries and calendars A stack of letters from my sister's French penfriend Who I always regretted not running away to age twelve Pages covered in hearts She never knew I was all nervous false starts We'd run down hill just for the fun of it Wanted to tell her but I couldn't pronounce it Now why to we have five tents and twenty dried out paint cans And why didn't I ask her to dance Next to the soiled breadmaker A cylinder of photo slides with no projector Neglected transparencies of childhood holidays on the seven seas Waterfalls and Disney character breakfasts An expectant family on a Dordogne campsite Who only come alive when you hold them up to the light I've got ghosts in my attic That I'm sentimentally attached to It's becoming a fire hazard I know it sounds over dramatic I don't want to see them But I can't ask them to leave I put a lock on the hatch And it rattles when they dance
You know you're getting old When there's trees younger than you But taller than your house I mean deciduous not evergreen I was a clever teen but lazy Now the brain's fogged and hazy Fingernails grow at two millimetres a month That's three full sets a year A planet scattered with clippings That might not decompose for millennia It's a myth that nails grow on corpses Neither does hair It's a morbid trick played by a shrinking skin A fallen fortress Final convulsions then zinc, iron and glucose stop pulsing Through veins, valves and ventricles Capillaries softly stilled The heart's just a muscle Despite what they've told us In hundreds of languages On screens and pages But I feel love in the forearms And the aches of my legs Long drive South The A1 a swamp of grief and sadness Impossible Soul played over and over Emptying houses Who decides what's junk The smell of metal on grayed fingers Romantic letters in a trunk Chuck moldy groceries Pick out the best crockery Read a letter from the notary Sat in the rockery Throw a penny in a well that's only decorative Just an inch deep Wishes rejected Leave the coin in the lawn Should I be more forlorn? Have simpler dreams? A log cabin by some water? Skip martydom like St John Do nothing fancy Make no one a fiance The heart's just a muscle Despite what they've told us In hundreds of languages On screens and pages But I feel love in the back of my neck The arch of my feet and behind these tired eyelids
Messages 01:27
When we first fell through the skies It was the greatest thrill of my life You and me only The G Force holding us tight Felt like my first time on a horse At the age of eight The smell of hay The smell of fresh air A loss of control My fear of heights The wind in my hair Claire was never sure about you I thought that she was just bitching But when we got hitched she still came down And she's the one sitting here now in jodhpurs As I'm lying in my hospital gown Terminal velocity Terminal relationship Church chapel wedding Crown court ending Tears on my pillow With no one to wipe them I couldn't move my arms For a week and a half You said her perfume was a new Eau De Cologne But you lost the sample bottle You drove me down her street CD blasting Engine at full throttle Craning your neck to check if her light was on They made a plaster of Paris cast of my impression In the damp damp damp soil It's in a gallery on the Left Bank and you're the artist This is your invention I drank too much wine at the freefall convention My liver's still bruised But it's mine to choose Before the cables were cut You tried to blow me up but weren't able I smelt the gas as I stepped in from the stables I'm erasing all the things you meant to me I've ripped out your shoddy carpentry Your pool table Your bagel maker Our bed frame and your surname The Power of Love was our favourite song First it made me sing and now it makes me weep Last week I jumped again with Denise One twenty mph to peace When the chute released
When my cat got sick Last October He couldn't tell me what was wrong That's how I felt when trying to explain Why I ran out Used strong words Took the higher ground Yeah I'm sure it was something deeper I'm not the kind to quarrel over packing a freezer But the tiny things spark it Could be defrosting the car Buying reserve cutlery Deciding how to cook eggs Your reluctancy to buy a new coat From a charity shop But why did I pick fights You said I could make a conversation about me in two moves I guess you're right But how d'you think that makes me feel? I'd never seen so many stars Couldn't understand why everyone was inside watching a Matthew Broderick flick Although Election is a great movie and he's always good value There's snakes beneath me and the winter ghost of a hummingbird in the trees Orientate my internal biography around tennis results The night he hit the tape We'd just got her own place That loss in Monte Carlo Was when you said I was shallow There was drama under the lights in Rome Tears at home Waking up cold You hit me a lob I didn't even run for Chased a ball out wide and gashed my thigh Fell back over-dramatically like a dropping chandelier It's scraping frost from the car Or folding the laundry Me clipping my toenails Or talking with a mouthful of oatmeal Could be the summer market shop Or the veg shop Who forgot the tote bags? It'd have been feeding the fish If we'd owned fish Or cleaning out the tank God knows minor decorating decisions Aren't like choosing a religion So why did I pick fights?
I'm taking classes at night French and Photography It's all about the right light, obviously A candle in a bottle of Bordeaux, oh Pick the wax not my scabs Developing fluids and progressing my vocab Je ne t'aime pas comme ça Où sont les autres? Je regrette ce que j'ai dit Noticed something unusual on the way back from my oral exam With Sam we cut through the back way Squeezed passed discarded mattresses Cans of pop and blood-stained bandages At the house at the bottom, the back gate is open From the shadows we can see straight in the living room There’s two people shouting He spouting, says he’s a grown man, she says start acting like one Creep nearer so we can hear clearer The accents more Thames than the Wear here It’s getting nasty I run and hammer on the door, as he puts his hands round her throat So it turns out they were just watching Eastenders on a giant TV in the living room Just an old couple sat with the volume cranked up, shovelling dinners from trays on laps The shock of a bang on the door, from behind They’ve got a 5 to 1 system but it’s louder than surround sound Causes them to jump up, fling spaghetti bologonese up the wall Floral crockery smashed on the floor We exchange stares for a second, my pointing finger trying to explain Then I just turn and run, Sam's long gone Gash my knee as I’m upturned by the grandkids trampoline Get home my hands smell like gasoline You can’t intervene When it’s on a flat screen
No Reserve 02:13
Put my past lives on Ebay With no reserve But they won't sell It's what they deserve But I'll relist With more hyperbolic specs lists Photoshopped pics with the mistakes brushed out None optional but free Personal delivery An hour of anecdotes on your sofa With the careless previous owner Choose from a wide selection of anxieties and rejections Misplaced best friends unintended consequences Fashion sense that's off trend or causes accidental offenses And for those looking for a more positive tip I can offer some purely fiction alternatives Like antarctic explorer who saw so many Aurora Australis Made a Spotify playlist themed on frostbite and the Southern Lights You were a hero to a great nation Performed self-digit amputation And you're still down there now Like Frankenstein's monster Out wandering the tundra
Sometimes it's easier when you cry Cos we can both let it all out I know I can push you to it with my silence My subconscious self is a total prick Warp and gnarl and twist and screech These arms that bind me close to thee I'm so totally alone Even my friends say I'm hotheaded I'm an egotistical Raskolnikov-like piece of shit I sank for a day before I could see the bottom And from the bottom the fathoms block out all the light But I know I take it for granted all the time The way your touch and your smile Make me feel So alive


Debut album of spoken word electronica from Durham City.

NARC. Magazine - 'Ten tracks of sentimental spoken word poetry and barely-rap over homemade lo-fi 80s-inflected disco beats.....'Thrills & Bills' is an oddly matter-of-fact record about the crushing realities of life and moments of joy that make it all worthwhile'.


released October 11, 2019

Words, music and all recordings by Faithful Johannes

Mixed and Mastered by Sam Grant at Blank Studios Newcastle

Artwork by Oli Heffernan


all rights reserved



Faithful Johannes Durham, UK

Someone once told Faithful Johannes that his live show was like watching a man forced to rap at gun point. He took this as a compliment at the time, but is not so sure anymore.

He makes spoken word songs & the accompanying electronic music.

He lives in Durham City in the North East of England.

He takes his ironing board to his gigs. It has been mistaken for a surf board. Johannes does not surf.
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