No time to Die - A Lyric by Me

I have this odd (and quite recent) tradition where, whenever the title of a new James Bond film is revealed, and before the final product is released, I try to write my own lyrics for a possible theme song.

Mad, I know.

I thought I did fairly all right for Skyfall, managing to predict some of the themes in the Adele final-product.

My attempt at ‘Spectre’ was a bit of a clusterfuck but at least I realised that the movie title would not work in the song. I went for something called ‘A New Threat Arises’ because I reckoned Spectre would be seen as a new threat. Sam Smith obviously had an advantage over me because he saw the script and knew there was some writing on a wall in one of the final scenes. I didn’t bloody know that, did I? The most amazing thing I did with my attempt at a Spectre lyric was to come up with a last line that goes; 'Now it's time to die." 

Spooky or what?

Anyway, this new one has been a bit tough. It sounds like the title should feature in the song but to harp on about there being no time to die through the whole three minutes would just get a bit boring. So I thought the lyric should contemplate death for a while and then conclude that there is just no time for it. That’s a Bondian type of sentiment, to my mind.

Then, when I got to contemplating death myself (for the song), I thought about who might have done this before me. I came up with everybody’s favourite spy killer ‘Hamlet’.

So, keeping in mind the rousing Judi Dench speech in Skyfall, which used part of Tennyson’s poem Ulysses, I thought “I can do that too.” So I rifled Hamlet’s most famous soliloquy and bastardised it for my new lyric.

Here then, as tradition dictates (and nobody else cares about) is my lyrical attempt for ‘No Time to Die’ with apologies to Will Shakespeare.

It’s shite. 

But, hey, it keeps me off the streets.  

No Time to Die

To sleep, and dream, and dream again
To bear the whips and scorns of ancient time
To take up arms against a sea of pain
To take what’s yours alone and not is mine.

To die. To die and say we end
A wish for which we can still only yearn
To end the thousand heartaches and transcend
The shocks that mortal flesh can only earn.

And in that sleep of death what dreams may come?
In what undiscovered country can we lie?
There is no going-to or coming-from
For in this life there is no time to die.

No time. No time to lose again.
When conscience makes a coward of us all.
The dread of what lies waiting in the end
Will lose the Name of Action when we fall.

To be or not to be, my friend
This is the question facing you and I
No living thing can stop us in the end
For in this life there is no time to die.


1 comment:

Jim Murdoch said...

It’s been ages since I wrote song lyrics. I thought when I got the keyboard I might but nothing’s come to me but you know as well as I do that could change tomorrow. I can easily hear music that would fit with these lyrics, Ken. And a male voice, maybe because Hamlet was male—except when he was Maxine Peake or Frances de la Tour (now that I would’ve liked to have seen)—and I can’t help thinking back to some of the early songs like Matt Munro’s ‘From Russia with Love’ and Tom Jones’s ‘Thunderball’ before all the women took over—there’ve been a lorra lorra women over the years—besides it’s got a bit of a ‘My Way’ vibe going on.

My only thought is: Where’s the chorus? I would’ve probably referenced Ecclesiastes 3. You know the one: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die” etc etc.

      A time for love
      A time for hate
      A time to act
      A time to wait.

      A time for truths
      A time for lies
      A time to live and let live
      But no time to die.

Doubtless if you spent more than two minutes on this you could come up with something cleverer.