In the shops and supermarket chains the checkouts play that song again. The notes ring in, ring out the change-laughing all the way to the Stock Exchange. The music keeps us happy as we choose the products that we cannot afford to use. The tokens on the packets, the percentages that drop, and the ringing and the singing from the ceiling never stops. "Buy the product and be free! Live a life of luxury!" And it says so on TV every quarter of an hour. Consuming all the facts makes you feel you can relax. Comes neatly wrapped in packs, with ingredients on the back. So when you're sick from plastic snacks, you'll know precisely why. While you uphold the Megastores (buy paying for what you cannot afford) the man who runs the shop next door remembers how it was before when personality meant something and customers would laugh with him they'd smile, or nod as they came in and adverts didn't mean a thing! But now the Supermarket Chains are around your neck and purse. They sell the products to the strain of some long-forgotten dirge, just loud enough to wash away the headaches from outside. Another shopping paradise where God is on your side. They channel mediocrity as life's essential quality. You're buying two to get one free, it's something that you'll never need, but greed and curiosity makes you consume and let them feed.
Break into a Run
Why life appears to be a series of ups and downs I'll never know. And I've a feeling that if I find out, then everything will turn to stone. The lifeless boring routine block of all things neither good nor bad. To break that rock and destabilize is risky, but I'll take that chance. Just to know that every up and down must balance out somehow. And there's a smile to end a conversation that was full of frowns. And here's a Major Chord to lift the minors up and dance around. And if the song seems far too long then tune it in to another sound. Of course the opposite is true, the rain must sometimes hide the sun. And you can't escape the feeling that there is more to life than having fun. But it's better to go crazy and just break into a run then to grow old always being told how things should be done. So take the path of most resistance and feel good when you arrive, cause the other is straight downhill and never asks you 'why?' Experience the Reap and Sow and feel the strengths of High and Low. Who can dictate how far to go? There are no limits set, so let's go!
The last time was forgotten in remembrance of the first. We carried on in ignorance, not knowing it was worse. And all the sinking standards were related to the past, so when the end came up again we really had a blast. We're counting on this memory, and not counting too fast. Cause everything is still happening, so I guess it is going to last. Its easier to minimalise the present point of view cause memories desensitize the bad things we go through. But when all that was happening we remembered just the same. So presently we've come to see that for rainbows you need rain.
How much do you want? How much do you need? How wide is the gap between possession and greed? Anyone in particular thinks in terms of how much more he needs to earn to afford the dubious luxury of being able to boast that he could do it for free. But it all takes a very long time indeed to reach the achievements set. By the time he possesses all that he wants-he'll have forgotten what he set out to get. How much is enough? Do you need a bit more? How wide is the gap between now and before? There's not much difference in the way he lives and the empty satisfaction that possession gives. Storing it all up for a sense of success when he's got time to look back, if there's any time left! Cause it all takes a very long time indeed to amass all the needs to be met. Unless you consider that all you really need is: something to eat; something to breathe; something to be there when you leave; something to drink; something to say; something that says, "I went this way!"
Small Scale Wars
Everything we do on a personal scale, taking "we" to mean everyone who ever existed, is the basis for everything wrong in this world, and of course everything right as well. But the list of wrongs that offend the soul, like the chance of being killed before we get old, is far far longer than the list of rights. Falling in love won't stop the war, but hating other people might start some more. You blame the politicians for making all the wrong decisions, which are just the same as ours, but we haven't got that power that enforces domination. So we take out our frustration on the weaker opposition, reinforce our egotism, in our small-scale wars on the disco floors, against the man next door. You can blame the politicians: small-scale war. You can blame your television: small-scale war. You can blame your education, cost of living and inflation: small-scale wars. But the basis of everything wrong in this world is the way that people behave. When you scorn the system, but fight each other you're behaving exactly the same. If we thought a bit more before starting the war, then maybe the structure would change, sooner or later.
Granny is starting to look pretty costly, at anywhere up to £500 a year. So even though she is capable, happy and lovely, it's out of the house because it won't be so dear. And into the poll-tax-free state-run environment, waiting for death is a small cozy room. We can visit her then and she'll make lots of friends. They'll be queuing for places, so we'd better book soon. Charlie is 18, there is no point in waiting, forget all that learning and get a job fast. And a flat of your own, because the money is all blown. The Family Unit is a thing of the past. Well then my darling you'd better start working cause husbands are meant to pay tax for their wives. You could be an inspector, or a Poll Tax collector. The only jobs open are the ones we despise. And the baby is due, maybe we should consider abortion, adoption or changing our name. Because for each extra head there is a mouth to be fed, and the Poll Tax eats more than we've managed to save. By the year 1999 all these old friends of mine will be in prison, or gone far away, for the tax's evasion, unable to pay them, or just for the wanting of somewhere to stay. With Thatcher replacing the tiles on our roof with demands for money than we've ever got, we'll look back and wish we'd known more and resisted. The Poll-Tax, Student Loans, more cuts in benefits, all got together and said, "Fuck the lot of it!"
I heard the notes all fade away leaving memorial stones. Yesterday's thoughts have come to stay, until they decompose. A picture paints a thousands words, with nothing much to say. What last night seemed had to be heard is left unsaid today. So when you said you understood, I couldn't understand. I was looking at an empty beach, as you saw the grains of sand. I was counting views from windows when you looked in from outside. The light was blurred and distant and several cities wide. So I turn up the volume to hear the notes so dim. You said you couldn't hear it, so I asked you to come in. Then you held up a mirror and I saw my face congeal. I was thin and getting thinner, and I dreamt it was for real.
Talk is Cheap
Talk is cheap and it is easy to shout. If we spent all our time working things out, would it change anything? Words are cheap and anyone can sing. So let's sing a song about all the wrongs. Complaining and straining this is where it belongs, or so someone said. It must have been something I read. But while I was reading the ethics lay bleeding. Stab the back of the hand that feeds you. We fall apart in the "Basic Human Nature" excuse. It's the heart of the gig that bleeds from the endless soul self-abuse. Tied to the bar in the hope of reviews, from the obvious to the obtuse. The critics who sound so profound about the new mystical 'underground'. But talk is cheap, the words of wisdom put you to sleep, and you don't even read the cuttings you keep, just following trends. The trail never ends. When all the solutions are just around the bend. You're upholding ideas that you'd never defend. In this endless search you cannot comprehend. There's nothing that wonderful in worshipping trivial ego material. Because music sells papers, who sell you the feeling as if it was missing. "Ahhh", yeah, really! Talk is cheap 'til you put it in print. Sing as you read the words all fit. Now we're learning the words, obscure or absurd, it makes no difference, it never gets heard. No, it never gets 'in'. But you really want to win. When there's nothing to be, you say, "Look at me!" and it works! Yes it works! Cause talk is cheap, but shouting is free!
Lots of them, you know there's lots of them. There's reasons. Everyday changes my mind like the seasons. I'm asking for answers, I'm looking in mirrors, ripples in rivers. Face just drifting away. Where's the reasoning? Yes and No are neither good enough. Give me some of that spontaneity stuff. Blink before you think to hard. Saw your smile in a passing car. Borrowed your pen. I want write like you do. Again and again and again and again. Riots in the uniform of peace, a couple of big ones up your sleeve. Ten to Nine and it's shut down the factory. Pull up the floorboards and build a bonfire in your head. Having a party in your head. Sniff this geezer! And got to bed! Turned off the lights, stayed up all night. Blown to bits! Shriveled up opened out and exploded. Where he usually sits. Go to it youth. Discover the truth. Don't bottle it up, cause it is 99% proof.
No! No, it's not how old you are. Not the blushing brides and the propped up bar. After the bells have rung and the next perspective has begun. Not the corner of some foreign field. Not the name engraved on stainless steel. Not the Thank You note for inventing the wheel, but an innocence dressed in knowing too much. Never scared to be as youthful as I am. Oh to be as manic as you ar. Oh to be as worried in our happiness, but never will we be so near, yet look so far. Beyond the social attitudes that narrow the path and distort the view. Complacency defies energy and the other way round. We grow as fast as time is slow. Enough to keep our heads to the ground. For youthfulness is a louder sound than age-that turning of the page-can make you a force resemblance of getting old. Left the majority feeling cold. Forgot that energy never gets old. We grow with what we'll always know, and feel the sense of experience.
Flesh and Blood
If animals are animals, and animals have brains, then we are no more than cannibals that refuse to see the pain. The meat you eat is wrapped up neat; you didn't see it bleed. And what you kill does not fulfill your dietary needs. Take a look from this direction, save yourself the indigestion. Our guts are geared to vegetation, and its healthier as well. Open your eyes and face the facts. Meat costs a lot and gives your heart attacks, which kills you. Now, a lot of people think (quite wrongly) that vegetation lacks vitamin B12. If you really think that's going to make you ill, then get a bottle of vitamin pills! You could be more healthy, maybe it doesn't really bother you, but can your conscience bear the strain of all the pain that makes your food? You could feed a lot of needy people with the grain they feed to cows, but can you comprehend the end results or can you not allow yourself to break the old tradition, the false conception of nutrition? "Well they all eat meat on television", except those little starving children. Would you ever eat the meat from another human being? Flesh and blood is animal, is you and me. Animal is suffering.
Get Off the Phone
Someone phoned and said "Hello?" and for about, I don't know, a few split seconds, I thought, "Oh no! I know that voice!" So I said real slow, "Uh, yes?" Who could it be? Of course it turned out (there was no room for doubt) it was you all along. It's just that your voice was covered in noise that didn't belong. You said, "Don't mention my name, I got something to say. The police came around about ten minutes ago. They got my address book, and you ought to know they were asking me questions about what I believe and reading my fanzines and your record sleeves." I said, "Get off the phone! I don't think we're alone. I keep hearing these noises; they're tapping my phone. They're searching your house and now they'll search mine. They'll pull us all in, if they get enough time." If you've done nothing wrong, they'll make up a crime. They'll say you're unbalanced because you went out of line. There's no freedom to move, unless it is forward or back and you can't speak your mind cause your phone's being tapped. But we know all these things so we have to react. They're not defending our freedom; it's blatant attack. They take all our freedom and give nothing back.
A zillion miles into Outer Space is a very, very, very big telescopic lens. Someone labeled "alien" is looking at this place, checking out experimental women and men. Several million years ago they planted human beings on a planet called Earth. Sent in a few biologists to make sure that it would grow, who ended up in Speilberg films, or crucified, or worse. Lots and lots of time went past until what we know as "recently" was when it all went wrong. Technology ran the human race, the humans finished last. They were spending less on medicine and more and more on bombs. The layers in the atmosphere were open wide, and no one out in Outer Space liked what they saw inside. Animals in slavery where forests used to be, starving people eating hamburgers and catching heart disease. What to do with the toxic waste? The ocean floor is filling up and those drums will rust away. "We could try dumping all this rubbish into Outer Space" but the aliens were listening to everything we say. A zillion miles into Outer Space is a very, very, very big telescopic lens. And when an alien experiment starts messing up the place, it's left to self-destruction; clear the mess and start again.
How to Write Ultimate Protest Songs
You have to use your imagination to get across a situation. You can simplify or overstate to make it easier to relate. You can go right over the top with a list of things you want to stop, or you can concentrate on just one wrong to make it easier to sing-along. But if you say, "I don't like this", (or that or the other in a big long list) then people will write you off as a pessimist, providing not alternatives. Or if you decide to simplify, use four-letter words and spit in the sky then they'll chant the slogans and won't even try to understand the reasons why. So perhaps the only way to make clear the views you'd like everyone to hear is by taking a piece of everyday life and looking at it closer in a different light. Let's take an example: the way we eat. Sat at the table, and its all so neat. Now you can understand that, cause that is how it is done. It has probably happened to everyone. Having caught the attention you now decide how far to push your thoughts outside. There are loads of angles, like dining out, or the hunger of the old man whose cash ran out, or the money made by corporations selling bombs, not food, to starving nations. You see there's a worldwide scope of affiliations depending on how far you want to stretch imaginations. Insert a little optimism now and then before complaining becomes a trend. Repetition defeats the point in the end, it numbs imagination until it cannot comprehend. So walk the line between humor and gloom. Amongst the debris there is just enough room to keep your mentality growing strong and create some ultimate protest songs.
As the Charity Department at the Treasury dispenses licenses so you can do one too, the Ethiopians are running out of weaponry, so their leaders stock it up instead of food. And charity begins at home, so get out on the streets and help the refugees. And the manager of EMI Technology seems reluctant to discuss his business deals, because the weapon sales are paying for his meals. He'll go to wuthering heights to keep it out of sight. Profit! Weaponry doesn't fee refugees. It's a hit! McCartney's saying please on TV's royalties to feed the world with guns. Wembley Stadium forever on the video, and a million spent the raise that sixty more. Nothing ever quite as big as this before and it broke our hearts as it topped the charts. But when the overkill exploited the reality, we forgot the facts and reveled in the noise. We didn't see that while we had the voice companies and laws were pulling vocals chords. If the Western World was less obsessed with property and the need to keep it safe with threats of war, then the Third Worlds wouldn't need a War Economy that we're supplying at a cost they can't afford. So we buy up all their crops and grain and sell it back again when there ain't no rain. Have a big campaign, using famous names. And as the Penny drops into the oxfambox, take off the V.A.T. then call it "charity." And the public thinks the government is wonderful for promoting our assistance to the poor, but their profits are a whole lot more. They create the need to feed the refugees and then delegate the guilty feeling to the public eye via pictures of starvation on TV. Let's get the public conscience back out on the streets with the empty tins and little flags on pins. Then call it "charity." Let's call it "charity." Ha, make it pay!