My poor girlfriend. The moment David opened his mouth at the gig in February 2014 she gazed at me in horror and then went to sleep on the pews at the church where Current 93 were performing. Just as his singing voice is an acquired taste, so are his lyrics. This volume contains near all his lyrics from the start of Current 93 to the end of his band’s last album “I am the last of all the field that fell” and frankly I’ve been so awed by it that it makes me realise what a poor writing I am. From very early on his approach is to entangle great subjects – the apocalypse, the battles between the angels and demons of human nature – in imagery that takes time to tease out, ideas that at first seem tangential or unclear but soon build into a welter of piled on visions. Many lyrics look ridiculous written down – they gain their power through their vocal delivery, the style, the swagger, the poignancy invested in their phrasing. Tibet most certainly need have no fear of his words losing their heft when converted to paper form – it makes clear that he’s been a poet from the start. I’m still trying to understand whether Tibet’s mind simply works the way his lyrics appear – like the last battle is playing out before the eyes of a spectator who is trying to capture the full sweep of events from the furthest horizon to the smallest scrap of visible earth before him, while ducking and dodging dangers at every turn. There’s a kinetic energy to everything here, you read them with the words out loud in your head, sentences rising to bellowed peaks or mighty whispers. The confinement of poetry is that it tries to show not tell, to pare back to concise revelation – there’s barely an unnecessary word here. If this is how his mind works – then he’s brilliantly mad. If this is a skill, a thought out action he’s developed, then he’s brilliantly talented because I can’t fathom how one can maintain such great threads when every single line breaks, folds, divides and separates into still frames, snippets and bare seconds. This is the first time I’ve read a book of lyrics and felt it gave as much (sometimes more) on the page than it did as music.