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A song by Scottish band Belle and Sebastian. A b-side on the Jonathan David single, released in 2001.

For the benefit of those who don't know what a carriage clock is, it's a small, usually gold coloured, oblong clock a few inches tall with a little round analogue clock face in the front. They are often given as a retirement gift to people leaving a company, which is the context of this song.

The song talks of a mans resentment that he has toiled for many years at a company that doesn't really care about him, and is now saying goodbye to him with only a carriage clock as any sign of gratitude beyond whatever salary they've paid him in the past.

The song is incredibly powerful, but not in a Rage Against The Machine screaming fashion. The music is slow and calm. It is simple and controlled, with soft guitars and a string section. The vocals are equally gentle. The songs power comes from the lyrical content, and in this area the gentleness of the delivery is what really gives the songs it's force. It's powerful in the same way that Thom Yorke can be at his most threatening when he's at his calmest, say on Exit Music (For A Film), but that's another song and another node.

Anyway. Here's two of the verses to give the gist of the content. The first one kinda sets the scene, and the second gives the man's closing response. The lyrics alone don't do justice to the song though, so I recommend you pick it up somewhere and enjoy it in all it's glory.

For years and years he's done nothing but bow down
And put up with all their demands
She sits like a viper and offers the clock
Without giving a damn

He takes it


"Night after day after night I've been working
In spite of you fucking us all
Now I'm gonna die, I don't care if you cry
Just please leave me alone"

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