Seconds from pajamas I must
first open all the doors and the windows
and invite the vampire in to be one of us.

Then, in the guise of cool air,
in the softer hours, he's there,
sitting, talking, in the voice of your mother
about leaving one good party for another,
and the night of a thousand missteps
and the loss that made him dogged
or it could have been the doggedness that caused the loss in the first place, I guess.

Crazy daisies and wooden stars,
the threat of oxygen on Mars,
marching armies in the night,
smiling strangers riding by on bikes,
Children smoking, sloganeers on mics,
just a few things most vampires don't like.

Before the dawning's first light I must
first close up all the doors and the windows
and try to trap that cool air in to be one with us.

I'm discovering uses for you I thought I'd never find,
I could've made chancellor without you on my mind.


Lyrics submitted by Stony Lonesome

Chancellor song meanings
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3 Comments

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  • +1
    My InterpretationI think "Chancellor" is about dealing with one's own life-sucking eruptions of temper and paranoia. That sort of thing can destroy relationships. Think about "that's when the hornet stung me" in "Ahead by a Century." Clearly, Gord had some temper problems that he was honest enough to accuse himself of, and gentle enough to feel remorse about. It's why I loved him as an artist: he was so complete and so generous with every part of who he was, both the enormous good and the bit of bad. So sometimes, he speaks of a version of himself as if this were another person entirely (as Leonard Cohen does in "Famous Blue Raincoat"---"my brother, my killer"). So the vampire is, I think, a version of Gord himself, even though he speaks of him in the third person. Just before bedtime, he suddenly freaks out irrationally about some small provocation, feels claustrophobic, "feverish," opens the windows and sits there analyzing himself. Chancellor is the highest, most dignified office at a university, as Gord certainly knew very well from attending Queen's University. But Chancellor is also an empty sort of position, a figurehead who doesn't actually do much of importance. I think it's used here as a sort of joke. If I hadn't had you (the damn vampire) leaping out, I might have been a big, important somebody, like a chancellor. But instead, I find all sorts of uses for you, vampire, by channelling you, my dark side, into my songwriting and performing.
    Kingstonianon November 20, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCoke Machine Glow is such an excellent album. Some of Gord's best lyrics ever. I love the list of things vampires don't like. Such a strange a beautiful song.
    DevastatorJr.on November 06, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI think it's about Insomnia (vampire, all the subconscious ramblings in the middle, etc) but my brother thinks it's about Adolf Hitler (chancellor, "the loss" of art school, etc). In my opinion, both meanings seem to work but I wonder what Gord Downie was really thinking when he wrote this...
    HedonisticHermiton February 18, 2013   Link

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