Des de Moor

Diamonds on the Dam Click here to visit the Downloads page for an MP3 file of this song. MP3 available
Testing Times From Testing Times
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Des de Moor
Julia Doyle
double bass
David Harrod

I'm sure every chansonnier eventually feels the urge to write a song about the city of Amsterdam. Here's my attempt to join the ranks of Jacques Brel, Friedrich Hollaender and the rest.

I was delighted when, in 2005, University College London's Department of Dutch included extracts from the song, along with a discussion of the lyrics, on their Amsterdam Represented cultural studies website. Read the article.

Once Amsterdam was all our dreams:
A paradise with open door
To stoners, loners, perves and queens
Where coppers told you where to score.
But these days things just aren't the same:
The tourist shops sell fake dope plants,
The squatters who fought on Damplein
Now run arts festivals on grants.

But Amsterdam you were a sham,
You were not ever what you seemed.
We couldn't see for orange
While we faredodged on the tram
For you were always Heineken
And diamonds on the Dam

The piss Brel's sailors pissed's long dried,
The songs they hollered made them hoarse.
Hippies moved in as dockers died,
Becoming yuppies in due course.
The leather bars where fantasies
Came true now look like last year's ads
And in amongst the clogs and cheese
There's Delft tiles of kissing lads.

And Amsterdam you were a sham,
Not ever what you seemed.
We couldn't see for mayonnaise
So long as we were high
For you were always Royal Dutch Shell
And corpses in the Ij.

Now Amsterdam your refugees
Keep heads down while they fry your frites.
There's deportations, beatings, sleaze
And yes, there's beggars on your streets.
But hey, we're all gezellig here
And liberal on drugs and sex.
We made the waters disappear,
We're up in smugness to our necks.

But Amsterdam you're still a sham
Although you got more greened.
We missed out your museums
With their swag from Surinam
For you were always AMRO Bank
And diamonds on the Dam.

Written: Deptford, London, 30 June and 4 July 2000; Wingham, October 2000; Edinburgh, August 2001

Des de Moor

Des de Moor

© Copyright Des de Moor 2002

Currently unavailable except on a live version on this site. To be recorded on the forthcoming album Testing Times (see left).

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Diamonds on the Dam
Stupid People
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