The Lonely Hunter

Lonely hunter, lonely hunter
Lonely hunter, lonely hunter

I’m a lonely hunter a hungry ghost
When you call a passion you must pay the host
Look upon me as I plunder
I wonder if you wonder
How it feels to be…

The lonely hunter, lonely hunter
Lonely hunter, lonely hunter

The wind blows clouds across my cheek
My collar’s up and my coat is sleek
Look upon me as I plunder
I wonder if you wonder
How it feels to be…

The lonely hunter, lonely hunter
Lonely hunter, lonely hunter

Lonely hunter, lonely hunter
Lonely hunter, lonely hunter

Lonely hunter, lonely hunter
Lonely hunter, lonely hunter

 

Lyrics © John Foxx.

Thoughts on the text © Martin Smith and translated from birdsong.
Link to the post by all means, but please don’t reproduce the content without permission.

 

Lonely Hunter sits in contrast to the album’s three heavyweight tracks (I Want To be A Machine, Life At Rainbow’s End and The Wild, the Beautiful & The Damned) simply in terms of its relative simplicity. It’s a short song, with short, relatively straightforward lyrics and composed in a significantly different style more like progressive Blues. I bet it’s the least played and least known track. Perfect – just like the man it’s about.

Foxx, as The Lonely Hunter of the title, presents a melancholy, wandering soul despite the outward appearance of arrogance that such aloof individuals can portray. He parallels a fox in its natural environment – solitary hunters – one of the Wide Boys, patrolling the city streets hustling and dealing. But always alone, answerable to no-one. Held in reverence and fear by other night creatures, cruising from one deal or street corner encounter to the next. Dressed to kill, with a menacing presence.

But hollow, lonely and lost behind the facade of his ‘sleek coat’. Drifting as per the vocal delivery of the repeated chorus. Unfulfilled and ‘hungry’ – both for the next petty crime, and for a significant relationship. No friends; casual empty lovers. A dangerous appeal.

The loneliness is expressed in a characteristic colloquialism. To ‘call a passion’ is to confess a fancy for someone, to declare an allegiance or an admiration for a third party. But, in the protagonist’s experience, such declarations are seldom honoured – he is never ‘paid’ with the affection and loyalty he craves. Instead, he has to hunt, to plunder. To threaten, possess and casually discard.
The vocabulary here is interesting too – it may be a simple emotion expressed in a straightforward song, but the lyric is eloquently expressed and scans beautifully. It’s those internal rhymes again…

Notice that Foxx calls to be ‘looked upon’ rather than, for example looked ‘at’. He is pleading, almost pitifully for respect and attention.
Consider me, don’t just watch. Think about what you are seeing. Give me some time.  How do you think it feels? Could you care for me, even love me. Show some compassion for my lonely, soulless state…?

There is further reference to the situation of the urban fox, a country dweller drawn to the city where the pickings are easy and its relatively warm, adapting and surviving well in a different kind of environment. Encapsulating his own experience, and indeed one of the many factors that lead Dennis Leigh to assume the persona of ‘Foxx’ in the first place.

A short piece about one of the characters observed in the city of the dead one Saturday night. An interlude, to cleanse the palate.
Just a glance, and he’s gone, back into the shadows.

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