Don’t Try This At Home

I’ve always been impressed with a girl
Who could sing for her supper and get breakfast as well
That’s the way I am, heaven help me
He said, “We don’t like peace camapigners ’round here”
As he nailed another one to the wall
And that’s what gets me in trouble, heaven help me

Goodbye and good luck to all the rubbish that you’ve spoken
Goodbye and good luck to all the promises
you’ve broken
Your life has lost its dignity, its beauty and its passion
You’re an accident waiting to happen

There you are standing at the bar
And you’re giving me grief about the DDR
And that chip on your choulder gets bigger as you
get older
One of these night you’re gonna get caught,
It’ll give you a pregnant pause for thought
You’re a dedicated swallower of fascism

Time up and time out
For all the liberties you’ve taken
Time up and time out for all the friends that
you’ve foresaken
If you choose to waste away like death is back in fashion
You’re an accident waiting to happen

And my sins are so unoriginal
I have all the self-loathing of a wolf in sheep’s clothing
In this carnival of carnivores,
Heaven help me

I put on my raincoat to make it rain
And sure enough the skies opened up again
I dreamed of you as I walked to the shops
You were dancing with the wallies on Top Of The Pops

Once in a while
Gennady Gerasimov drops his smile
And you can see that his aim’s
A portfolio pregnant with gains

He’s been up all night
Moving the goalposts

Like a jackdaw with a fiery brand
Spread the news all over this land
Robin Hood and his Merry Men
Are never, never, never coming back again

I don’t believe that love should be pain
So could you please rub my back again
I think it’s safe to leave tham in the park
Let’s blow out the candles and kiss in the dark

Heavens above
Can this sticky stuff really be love!
Don’t get dressed yet
Not yet

We’ve been up all night
Moving the goalposts

Dig in boys for an extended stay
Those were the final orders to come down that day
Waiting to be saved in the Philippines
You’ll wait forever for the young Marines

Now I believe to be here is right
But I have to say I’m scared tonight
Crouching in this hole with a mouth full of sand
What comes first the country or the man

Look at those slanted eyes coming up over the hill
Catching us by surprise, it’s time to kill or be killed

Over here, over there, it’s the same everywhere
A boy cries out for his mama before he dies for his home

All my life I wanted to be
As clever and strong as my best friend Lee
We grew up together along Half Moon Bay
Lee was Japanese, born in the USA

When Tommy was fighting Jerry along the River Seine
Me and Lee wanted to do the same
Then they bombed Pearl Harbour at the break of day
I was headed for these islands while Lee was hauled away

They said look at his slanted eyes, he’s guilty as guilty can be
Sent here as enemy spies to sabatage the Land of the Free

I never got home, my platoon was never saved
That little fox hole became my island grave
Lee got out of jail but a prisoner he remained
Till he ended his own life to lose that ball and chain

And they said Oh Little Slanted Eyes can’t you forgive and forget
And he said, Oh Mr Friendly Ghost
Can you catch water in a net?

Blue velvet America
Half glimpsed in the headlights between the trees
Who punctured the beauty
And invited monsters such as these
The pig faced boy, the corrupted clown
The grotesque figure who never comes into town

Something broken, something stained
Something waiting for the worms to claim
And you can never go there again
Except in nightmares
The voyeur who dares not come near
Knows excitement is merely the beginning of fear

My shadow came this morning
And left some candy in my shoe
They’re always watching me
Watching the things I do
Cindy of a thousand lives
Cindy of the Stepford Wives

I’ve looked at all the photographs
But Cindy, which one of them was you?

As I wait for sleep to drag me under
In the evening gloom I sit and wonder
The words I should have said to you
The things I always meant to do
The bad dreams that all came true

Chorus:
You woke up my neighbourhood
Night after night we would row
You woke up my neighbourhood
Things are pretty quiet round here now

When I think of how we were together
I know we couldn’t be like that for ever
Beneath the Seven Sister stars
The night we let it go too far
I slept out in the car

Chorus

I remember skipping on the porch tilll it grew cold
I remember feeling like I was eight years old

Somersaults across the lawn
Singing dancing up till dawn
Every now and then we’d have a row
You woke up my neighbourhood
Things are pretty quiet round here now

Chorus (repeat)

He’s already been inside me
And he really didn’t say
And I really didn’t ask him
I just hoped and prayed

He’s already been in side me
And I really don’t feel well
I keep looking in the mirror
But it’s hard to tell

Will he stay by me and take my hand
And hold me till I sleep
Or will he crumble and fall to the floor
And weep
Oh feeble man, Oh evil man

He’s already been inside me
Would he have told me if he cared?
I know I ought to find out
But I’m much too scared

He’s already been inside me
And I know it can’t be good
Nothing feels
The way it should

Will he hold me in his arms again
And wipe away my tears
Or has he already taken
My best years
Oh evil man, Oh feeble man

God’s footballer hears the voices of angels
Above the choir at Molineux
God’s footballer stands on the doorstep
And brings the Good News of the Kingdom to come
While the crowd sings ‘Rock of Ages’
The goals bring weekly wages
Yet the glory of the sports pages
Is but the worship of false idols and tempts him not

God’s footballer turns on a sixpence
And brings the Great crowd to their feet in praise of him
God’s footballer quotes from the Gospels
While knocking on doors in Black Country back streets
He scores goals on a Saturday
And saves souls on a Sunday
For the Lord says these are the Last Days
Prepare thyself for the Judgement yet to come

His career will be over soon
And the rituals of a Saturday afternoon
Bid him a reluctant farewell
For he knows beyond the sport lies the spiritual

At night the Baby Brotherhood and the Inter City Crew
Fill their pockets up with calling cards
And paint their faces red white and blue
Then they go out seeking different coloured faces
And anyone else that they can scare
And they salute the foes their fathers fought
By raising their right hands in the air
Oh look how my country’s patriots are hunting down below
What do they know of England who only England know

From the stands of the Empire Stadium
Come the heralds of the New Dark Age
With the simplicities of bigotry
And to whom all the world’s a stage
These little John Bullshits know that the press
Will glorify their feats
So that the general public fear them
And the authorities say give ’em all seats
And the wasted seed of the bulldog breed
Is shouting here we go
What do they know of England who only England know

Our neighbours shake their heads
And take their valuables inside
While my countrymen piss in the fountains
To express our national pride
And to prove to the world that England
Is just as rotten as she looks
They repeat the lies that caught their eyes
At school in history books
But the wars they think they’re fighting
Were all over long ago
What do they know of England who only England know

And the society that spawned them
Just cries out Who’s to blame?
And then wraps itself in the Union Jack
And just carries on the same
Oh look out, my country’s patriots are hunting down below
What do they know of England who only England know

I’ve had relations with girls from many nations
I’ve made passes at women of all classes
And just because you’re gay I won’t turn you away
If you stick around I’m sure that we can find some common ground

Chorus:
Sexuality – Strong and warm and wild and free
Sexuality – Your laws do not apply to me

A nuclear submarine sinks off the coast of Sweden
Headlines give me headaches when I read them
I had an uncle who once played for Red Star Belgrade
He said some things are really left best unspoken
But I prefer it all to be out in the open

Sexuality – Strong and warm and wild and free
Sexuality – Your laws do not apply to me
Sexuality – Don’t threaten me with misery
Sexuality – I demand equality

I’m sure that everybody knows how much my body hates me
It lets me down most every time and makes me rash and hasty
I feel a total jerk before your naked body of work

I’m getting weighed down with all this information
Safe sex doesn’t mean no sex it just means use your imagination
Stop playing with yourselves in hard currency hotels
I look like Robert De Niro, I drive a Mitsubishi Zero

Sexuality – Strong and warm and wild and free
Sexuality – Your laws do not apply to me
Sexuality – Come eat and drink and sleep with me
Sexuality – We can be what we want to be

The Reverend Mother went and got me a drink
She came back and said to me “Well what do you think?”
I said “I’ve made myself a fool
For the prettiest girl in school”

How can I deal with this hurt I feel inside?
I tell it to the mother of the bride

I put on my suit and smile for the big day
But I couldn’t watch as her dad gave her away
And as they solemnly said “You’ll do”
Her mother said “That should have been you”

At the mercy of the moon
The boy who spoke too soon

She married him and destroyed all my hopes
Of a two-up, two-down, two point five
and a dish on the roof
For the soaps
I saw them at the hardware store
He looked boring she looked bored

It’s nice to know that someone was on my side
Best wishes to the mother of the bride

Kiss me goodnight and say my prayers
Leave the light on at the top of the stairs
Tell me the names of the stars up in the sky
A tree taps on the window pane
That feeling smothers me again
Daddy is it true that we all have to die

At the top of the stairs
Is darkness

I closed my eyes and when I looked
Your name was in the memorial book
and what had become of all the things we planned
I accepted the commiserations
Of all your friends and your relations
But there’s some things I still don’t understand

You were so tall
How could you fall?

Some photographs of a summer’s day
A little boy’s lifetime away
Is all I’ve left of everything we’ve done
Like a pale moon in a sunny sky
Death gazes down as I pass by
To remind me that I’m but my father’s son

I offer up to you
This tribute
I offer up to you
This tank park salute

Sometimes I think about
Saturday’s child
And all about the time
We were running wild

I’ve been searching
For the dolphins in the sea
And sometimes I wonder
Do you ever think of me

This world may never change
The way it’s been
And all the ways of war
Won’t change it back again

I’m not the one to tell
This world how to get along
I only know that peace will come
When all our hate is gone

This world may never change

I went out drinking with Thomas Paine
He said that all revolutions are not the same
They are as different as the cultures
That give them birth
For no one idea
Can solve every problem on Earth

So don’t expect it all to happen
In some prophesied political fashion
For people are different
And so are nations
You can borrow ideas
But you can’t borrow situations

In Leningrad the people say
Perestroika can be explained this way
The people who told us
That two and two is ten
Are now trying to tell us
That two and two is five

We’re living in a North Sea Bubble
We’re trying to spend our way out of trouble

You keep buying these things but you don’t need them
But as long as you’re comfortable it feels like freedom

My American friends don’t know what to do
But they’ll wait a long time for a Beverley Hills coup

War! What is it good for
It’s good for business

There are soldiers marching on the common today
They were there again this evening
They paced up and down like sea birds on the ground
Before the storm clouds gathering

I must buy whatever tinned food is left on the shelves
They are testing the air raid sirens
They’ve filled up the blood banks and emptied the beds
At the hospital and he asylum

I saw a man build a shelter in his garden today
And we stood there idly chatting
He said: “No, no I don’t think war will come”
Yet still he carried on digging

Everything in my life that I love
Could be swept away without warning
Yet the birds still sing and the church bells ring
And the sun came up this morning

Life goes on as it did before
As the country drifts slowly to war

There’s a girl sleeping in my bed
And I’m singing unwritten songs in my head
She provided bittersweet company
I confided how much you mean to me
And this time
It’s gonna take a train to pull me through
Some brief distraction from your memory
Is all that I hoped that she might be
And as I let her warm her feet on me
Wish you were her

That I wanted you to be my wife
Is the worst kept secret of my life
Everyone knows, even my friend here
I’ve just whispered your name in her ear
And this time
It’s gonna take a train to pull me through
Some brief distraction from your memory
Is all that I hoped that she might be
And as I ask her how she takes her tea
Wish you were her
Her
I wish you were her

Chorus:
I will cross this body of water
If you promise you won’t try this at home

You’re where you want to be
Where am I, I’m up a tree
I had a hurt attack
Rolled away, now I’m bouncing back

Forgive me for feeling sick
I think I just got up too quick
Is this the consequence
Of an out of bed experience

Where I’m from the sun don’t shine
We keeps the light on all the time
I walk upon the ground we dream about
You finding out about it now
But you are clever never to be found

Summer could take a hint
Seeing you in a floral print
Oh, to become a pearl
In the wordy world of the Cornflake Girl

Share:
© Billy Bragg 2019