Bragg 1984

Brewing Up With Billy Bragg

It says here that the Unions will never learn
It says here that the economy is on the upturn
And it says here we should be proud
That we are free
And our free press reflects our democracy

Those braying voices on the right of the House
Are echoed down the Street of Shame
Where politics mix with bingo and tits
In a strictly money and numbers game

Where they offer you a feature
On stockings and suspenders
Next to a call for stiffer penalties for sex offenders

It says here that this year’s prince is born
It says here do you ever wish
That you were better informed
And it says here that we can only stop the rot
With a large dose of Law and Order
And a touch of the short sharp shock

If this does not reflect your view you should understand
That those who own the papers also own this land
And they’d rather you believe
In Coronation Street capers
In the war of circulation, it sells newspapers
Could it be an infringement
Of the freedom of the press
To print pictures of women in states of undress

When you wake up to the fact
That your paper is Tory
Just remember, there are two sides to every story

The love of a woman
A fear of the phone
A secret message to a happy home
I’ve never been so scared
I never knew you cared
Love gets dangerous
Love gets dangerous
There’s a fear that comes from being in danger
Being in love with a total stranger
Putting our futures in jeopardy
When love is a secret, fear is the key
When we meet in the street
My terror is complete
Love gets dangerous
Love gets dangerous
Like a drug that threatens to take my life
Lust is a cancer, love is a vice
When she holds me I understand
Respect and fear go hand in hand
No need to act tough
It scares me just enough
Love gets dangerous
Love gets dangerous

I woke up this morning
To find that we have outlived the myth of trust
You woke up this morning
To the fact we’ve lost the things
We took for granted between us
And I grew up in awe of the girl next door
And the boy that never cried
And I was dreaming of those Elizabethan girls
While you were working in the market
To earn ourselves
And when you found out what happened yesterday
While you were away in this land of Cain
We were upstairs in the bedroom
Dancing disgusting
And flushing our babies down the drain
And the apple that don’t want to get eaten
Will still fall off the tree
When you’re in as deep as we are honey
It’s so easy to get washed out to sea
For the facts of life are not man and wife
But Man and Woman sadly
And the apple that don’t want to get eaten
Will still fall off the tree
I woke up this morning
To find that we have outlived the myth of trust

She said “Do these seats fold down”
I said “If you pull that handle”
All the time she’d been waiting for
Something with a little more
And all her mates on the new estates
Were walking out in confetti and sunshine
Her mother read her mail
And her Dad was a Policeman
Which I must say worried me
But some things have just got to be
So we passed very fast like ships in the night
Or cars in a contraflow system
Some people say love is blind
But I think that’s just a bit short-sighted
Some people just want it now
It doesn’t matter where or how
Satisfaction takes a second place
So long as they can get excited

I’ll never forget the first day I met her
That September morning was clear and fresh
The way she spoke and laughed at my jokes
And the way she rubbed herself
Against the edge of my desk
She became a magic mystery to me
And we’d sit together in double
History twice a week
And some days we’d walk the same way home
And it’s surprising how quick
A little rain can clear the streets
We dreamed of her and compared our dreams
But that was all that I ever tasted
She lied to me with her body you see
I lied to myself ’bout the chances I’d wasted
The times we were close
Were far and few between
In the darkness at the dances in the school canteen
Did she close her eyes like I did
As we held each other tight
And la la la la la la la la means I love you
She danced with me and I still hold that memory
Soft and sweet
And I stare up at her window
As I walk down her street
But I never made the first team,
I just made the first team laugh
And she never came to the phone
She was always in the bath
I had to look in the dictionary
To find out the meaning of unrequited
While she was giving herself for free
At a party to which I was never invited
I never understood my failings then
And I hide my humble hopes now
Thinking back she made us want her
A girl not old enough to shave her legs

Digging all day and digging all night
To keep my foxhole out of sight
Digging into dinner on a plate on my knees
The smell of damp webbing in the morning breeze
Fear in my stomach, fear in the sky
I eat my dinner with a weary eye
After all this it won’t be the same
Messing around on Salisbury Plain
Pick up your feet, fall in, move out
We’re going to a party way down South
Me and the Corporal out on a spree
Damned from here to eternity
I hate this flat land, there’s no cover
for sons and fathers and brothers and lovers
I can take the killing, I can take the slaughter
But I don’t talk to Sun reporters
I never thought that I would be
Fighting fascists in the Southern Sea
I saw one today and in his hand
Was a weapon that was made in Birmingham
Pick up your feet, fall in, move out
We’re going to a party way down South
Me and the Corporal out on a spree
Damned from here to eternity
I wish Kipling and the Captain were here
To record our pursuits for posterity
Me and the Corporal out on a spree
Damned from here to eternity

Thinking back now,
I suppose you were just stating your views
What was it all for
For the weather or the Battle of Agincourt
And the times that we all hoped would last
Like a train they have gone by so fast
And though we stood together
At the edge of the platform
We were not moved by them

With my own hands
When I make love to your memory
It’s not the same
I miss the thunder
I miss the rain
And the fact that you don’t understand
Casts a shadow over this land
But the sun still shines from behind it.

Thanks all the same
But I just can’t bring myself to answer your letters
It’s not your fault
But your honesty touches me like a fire
The Polaroids that hold us together
Will surely fade away
Like the love that we spoke of forever
On St Swithin’s Day

Blues eyes fighting the grey eyes fighting the tears
Armed to the teeth for a war of words
Reaching all the years
I advanced across a poppy field
I saw the gleam as you raised your shield
And love screamed down
With the sun behind its back

Our Fathers were all soldiers,
Shall we be soldiers too
Fighting and falling like soldiers do

Nothing is clear in this tactical unclear war
I can’t be bothered to find out
What we are fighting for
No one can win this war of the senses
I see no reason to drop my defences
So stand fast my emotions,
Rally round my shaking heart

Our Fathers were all soldiers,
Shall we be soldiers too
Fighting and falling like soldiers do

Blue eyes fighting the grey eyes fighting the tears
Armed to the teeth for a war of words
Reaching all the years
I advanced across a poppy field
I saw the gleam as you raised your shield
And love screamed down
With the sun behind its back
I knew once again I was under attack
So stand fast my emotions,
Rally round my shaking heart

Our Fathers were all soldiers,
Shall we be soldiers too
Fighting and falling like soldiers
Fighting and falling like soldiers
Fighting and falling like soldiers do

Sandra met Raymond at the Race Relations
Much to the dismay of her family and friends
The love that we have is so important

The time that it takes to make a baby
Can be the time it takes to make a cup of tea
The love that we have is so important

He still goes dancing and she still cuts hair
They put the baby into Council care
The love that we have is so important

All winter long while I was locked in my room
Your face at the window and my hair on the floor
I was thinking of you
All winter long while I was locked in my room
Your face at the window and my hair on the floor
I was thinking of you
But the phone rang all night long
To tell me I was wrong
And I watched while the officer
Wrote all their ages down

Strange things happen
When you’re not around
Our love is so strong
It moves objects in my house
Strange things happen
When you’re not around
Those magical moments
Have found their way back home again

All winter long while I was locked in my room
Your face at the window and my hair on the floor
I was thinking of you
All winter long while I was locked in my room
Your face at the window
And that book of old spells
I was thinking of you
And all the spells we cast
Have lately come to pass
And the flowers in the garden have all fallen down

Strange things happen…

You and I are victims of a love
That lost a lot in the translation
When I think of all the time that I spent
Sitting on the edge of your bed in anticipation
Of you giving in and us living in sin

A hot day, the smell of hairspray
And the sound of a shower running softly
It’s things like this that remind me of how I felt
The first time you came back for coffee
The way you took it amazed me

Walking in the park, kissing in the dark
And my head against your pillow
Late at night a lover sings
Adam and Eve are finding out all about love
I say Adam and Eve are finding out all about love

There is no real substitute
For a ball struck squarely and firmly
And you’re the kind of girl who wants to
open up the bottle of pop
Too early in the journey
Our love went flat just like that

It doesn’t matter the colour of the car
But what goes on beneath the bonnet
Is there a flag that flies above your heart
And is my name writ there upon it
Wedding cake and toothache
Equals love and pain

Walking in the park, kissing on the carpet
And your tights around your ankles
Late at night a lover thinks of these things
Adam and Eve are finding out all about love
I say Adam and Eve are finding out all about love
Adam and Eve are finding out all about
Adam and Eve are finding out all about love
Teresa and Steve are finding out all about love

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© Billy Bragg 2019