England, Half English – Billy Bragg and The Blokes

Monday and the afternoon is bearing down on me
I’m watching the clock and the clock is watching me
Don’t have to be cool but you know I am
Don’t have to be here but you know that

I’m a hard worker but I ain’t working on a Monday
I’m a hard worker but I ain’t working on a Monday
A hard working fellow but I ain’t working on a Monday
St. Monday’s still the weekend to me

Two dozen enquiries are on hold for me
My shift supervisor is staring hard at me
Nobody can say what the matter is
I’m trying to recharge my batteries

I’m a hard worker but I ain’t working on a Monday
I’m a hard worker but I ain’t working on a Monday
A hard working fellow but I ain’t working on a Monday
St. Monday’s still the weekend to me

Somewhere out on the road, I just wanna be free
I don’t wanna do as I’m told
Don’t wanna work 4, 5, 6 days and turnaround
Want to get high on life but first I got to get me back home

Nobody can say what the matter is
I’m trying to recharge my batteries

Jane Allen took me by surprise said she heard I was a married man
Might have known she’d wanna find out exactly how married I am
She took me the wrong way home to get me on my own
Jane Allen had a bunch of stuff from the old days she wanted to deal with
How come the things that we had done had left her with a mess of feelings
She took me the long way home, no signal on my phone

Jane Allen took me to a place where she thought I’d be defenceless
I had to let her down gently to bring her to her senses
She took me the wrong way home

I know I should have told you I guess I did not understand
That you might need convincing too, that I’m a faithful family man

Jane Allen went to her bed smiling but without me
I don’t know how to tell you this without that you should doubt me
You’d take it the wrong way I know, you just wouldn’t let it go
It was over a long time ago – believe me I love you so.

Everyone knows that there’s no place like home
But I’m just seeking refuge in a world full of storms
Washed up on a distant shore, can’t go home anymore

The natives are hostile whatever I say
The thing they feel most is that I might want to stay
By their side on a distant shore can’t go home anymore

I escaped my tormentors by crossing the sea
What I cannot escape is memory
Washed up on a distant shore can’t go home anymore

My mother was half English and I’m half English too
I’m a great big bundle of culture tied up in the red white and blue
I’m a fine example of your Essex man
And I’m well familiar with the Hindustan
Cos my neighbours are half English and I’m half English too

My breakfast was half English and so am I you know
I had a plate of Marmite soldiers washed down with a cappuccino
And I have a veggie curry about once a week
The next day I fry it up as bubble and squeak
Cos my appetites half English and I’m half English too

Dance with me to this very English melody
From morris dancing to Morrissey,
all that stuff came from across the sea

Britannia, she’s half English, she speaks Latin at home
St George was born in the Lebanon, how he got here I don’t know
And those three lions on your shirt,
They never sprang from England’s dirt
Them lions are half English and I’m half English too

Le-li Umma le-li-ya, le-li Umma le-li-ya,
Le-li Umma le-li-ya, bledi g’desh akh! le-li-ya

Oh my country, what a beautiful country you are

I grew up in a company town
And I worked real hard ‘’til that company closed down
They gave my job to another man
On half my wages in some foreign land
And when I asked how could this be
Any good for our economy?
I was told nobody cares
So long as they make money when they sell their shares

Can you hear us? Are you listening?
No power without accountability!

I lost my job, my car and my house
When ten thousand miles away some guy clicked on a mouse
He didn’t know me, we never spoke,
He didn’t ask my opinion or canvass for my vote
I guess its true, nobody cares
‘Til those petrol bombs come spinning through the air
Gotta find a way to hold them to account
Before they find a away to snuff our voices out

Can you hear us? Are you listening?
No power without accountability!

The ballot box is no guarantee that we achieve democracy
Our leaders claim their victory when only half the people have spoken
We have no job security in this global economy,
Our borders closed to refugees but our markets forced open

The World Bank says to Mexico,
We’ll cut you off if you don’t keep your taxes low
But they have no right to wield that sword
‘Cos they take their orders from the chairman of the board

IMF, WTO,
I hear these words just every place I go
Who are these people? Who elected them?
And how do I replace them with some of my friends?

Can you hear us? Are you listening?
No power without accountability!

Never saw a meaningful tv advert, I don’t think shopping is a metaphor for life
Don’t waste my time at the gym in the morning, try to keep trim by living my life

Wanna feel the wind blowing in my hair,
Wanna hear the waves crashing on the beach
I’m not seeking easy answers or inner peace
I’m just looking for some release

I want to help to make the world better but I can’t do it all on my own
Try to keep the lid on my disappointment ‘cos cynicism’s such a cop out I know

Watch the shadows of clouds moving on the hill
Open my eyes and drink my fill
On those days that I feel dejected
I come up here for a bit of perspective

Gonna follow the path that climbs up through the trees
Walk along the cliff top and gaze out to sea
I feel free when I come up here
And if it’s clear some days I see the point

Standing, standing up for the first time
Baby Farouk is here
Walking, walking all on his own
Baby Farouk draws near
Join us now in celebration
To each child a generation!

Climbing, climbing over the wall
Baby Farouk is high
Dancing, dancing out in the hall,
Baby Farouk can fly

Bringer of joy and tribulation
To each child a generation

Sleeping, sleeping sound in his cot,
Baby Farouk he glows
Plant a seed of love in my heart,
Baby Farouk, it grows

To each woman and man a child,
To each child a generation.

Take down the Union Jack, it clashes with the sunset
And put it in the attic with the emperors old clothes
When did it fall apart? Sometime in the 80s
When the Great and the Good gave way to the greedy and the mean
Britain isn’t cool you know, its really not that great
It’s not a proper country, it doesn’t even have a patron saint
It’s just an economic union that’s passed its sell-by date

Take down the Union Jack, it clashes with the sunset
And ask our Scottish neighbours if independence looks any good
‘Cos they just might understand how to take an abstract notion
Of personal identity and turn it into nationhood
Is this the 19th century that I’m watching on tv?
The dear old Queen of England handing out those MBEs
Member of the British Empire – that doesn’t sound too good to me

Gilbert and George are taking the piss aren’t they?
Gilbert and George are taking the piss.
What could be more British than here’s a picture of my bum?
Gilbert and George are taking the piss

Take down the Union Jack, it clashes with the sunset
And pile all those history books, but don’t throw them away
They just might have some clues about what it really means
To be an Anglo hyphen Saxon in England.co.uk

Crawling round on all fours
I was looking for a lover or a just cause
But she turned out to be another kind of Judy

She took me down to the Cherry Tree
She drank me back to puberty
But she turned out to be another kind of Judy

I was 35 going on 17
I was missing in action on the local scene
But she turned out to be another kind of Judy

I made her part of everything I did
I really loved her and I loved her kid
But she turned out to be another kind of Judy

Judy comes and Judy says If you won’t ever mend your ways
Then nothing’s gonna change

She filled my head with the awful noise
Of her disappointment and the Pet Shop Boys
But she turned out to be another kind of Judy

Judy comes and Judy says If you won’t ever mend your ways
Then nothing’s gonna change

I made her part of everything I did
I loved her truly and I loved her kid
But she turned out to be another kind of Judy

Drop dead gorgeous and the rest
Resurrected his interest
Clouds so swift the rain won’t lift
He’ll wait for you when you change your shift
And he’ll go down and he’ll drag you on the ground

He’ll panic you into attack
He’ll tape your calls and play them back
And the next thing you’ll be knowing
Your desperation will be showing
And he’ll go down and he’ll drag you on the ground

He’ll offer you pretty balloons
They’ll burst before they’ve played a tune
Please don’t wear that satin dress
And don’t give him your home address
‘Cos he’ll go down and he’ll drag you on the ground

He plays a high fast mighty game
It always ends up just the same
Your welcome will be worn out
Your suspicions will be borne out
And he’ll go down and he’ll drag you on the ground

Horses, hounds and humans all sitting on an underground train
That fox that lives in the Mile End Road is gonna get chased again
Sir Thomas Stanford Raffles and his mate Sir Richard Van Dyke
Are following on behind the hunt on a two-stroke motorbike

Who would have thought it?

Dreadbelly come running over the hill and he cried out “I be cursed!
Before it get it out of my system I’ve got to get some in there first”
He threw himself at her dainty feet and he begged her for an answer
She said “You’re a much better fishmonger than you’re ever gonna be a clog dancer”

The strong man Egyptologist, he couldn’t return her gaze
But she won him over with her tight pullover and her
wonderful turn of phrase
She said “Clear piss and hard shit is all you need to make
You’ll find in life that everything else is just icing on the cake”

I’m down but I’m not out, but Lord, I’m hurting
I’m down but I’m not out but I feel blue

I sold all my vinyl yesterday
At a boot sale out on the highway
And now my room is full of fresh air

I’m down but I’m not out, but Lord, I’m hurting
I’m down but I’m not out but I feel blue

Somebody owns all my albums now
They probably don’t even wonder how
My name got written on the sleeves

So I’m down but I’m not out, but Lord, I’m hurting
I’m down but I’m not out but I feel blue

I opened the window, I let in the sun
My record collection has ended
For someone else it’s just begun

So I’m down but I’m not out, but Lord, I’m hurting
I’m down but I’m not out but I feel blue

Bonus Tracks:

There’s a chill tonight on the Yarra
Winter is creeping in
While far away my loved ones
Wake up in England’s spring

And although delights await me
All the way to Flinders Street
It’s that little piece of heaven
With which they must compete

When The Saints take on The Magpies
Some day too far away
I barrack for St. Kilda
In that funny game they play

But my heart’s not really in it
My mind wanders to a town
Where The Hammers sing “I’m forever blowing bubbles”
And the rain comes pouring down

Yes, it’s still raining in England
Guess that’s why I like it here
There’s a brolly in my hotel room
For when the skies aren’t clear

‘Cos it never rains in Sydney
And it never rains in Perth
Adelaide’s a desert
And Brisbane’s just scorched earth

So excuse me please such days as there
And send me to the town
Where the children sing when St. Kilda win
And the rain comes falling down

So wake me up tomorrow
And send me home again
To where The Hammers sing “I’m forever blowing bubbles”
In the pouring London rain

I know sometimes I’m not the man you married
I’m like some lame lead singer in a tribute band
And just as I snatch victory from the jaws of my defeat
You pull the carpet out from underneath my feet

Well I never forget that I’m someone’s Daddy
But I guess must be careless with my time
Cos just when I think that I’ve got my weekend plans complete
You pull the carpet out from underneath my feet

I ain’t never been no follower of fashion
But just like you I’ve got my sense of style
So why is it whenever we’re together on the street
You pull the carpet out from underneath my feet?

It’s not like you don’t love me anymore
You just like to send me sprawling on the floor

Just like Caesar had a slave to keep him mortal
I guess I’ve got you to cut me down in size.
Cos there’s just no one else who can knock me off my feet
Or pick me up when I’m feeling down

I know sometimes I’m not the man you married
I’m like some lame lead singer in a tribute band
And just as I snatch victory from the jaws of my defeat
You pull the carpet out from underneath my feet

Well I never forget that I’m someone’s Daddy
But I guess must be careless with my time
Cos just when I think that I’ve got my weekend plans complete
You pull the carpet out from underneath my feet

I ain’t never been no follower of fashion
But just like you I’ve got my sense of style
So why is it whenever we’re together on the street
You pull the carpet out from underneath my feet?

It’s not like you don’t love me anymore
You just like to send me sprawling on the floor

Just like Caesar had a slave to keep him mortal
I guess I’ve got you to cut me down in size.
Cos there’s just no one else who can knock me off my feet
Or pick me up when I’m feeling down

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© Billy Bragg 2019