Reaching To The Converted


Shirley,
it’s quite exciting to be sleeping here in this new room
Shirley,
you’re my reason to get out of bed before noon
Shirley,
you know when we sat out on the fire escape talking
Shirley,
what did you say about running before we were walking

Sometimes when we’re as close as this
It’s like we’re in a dream
How can you lie there and think of England
When you don’t even know who’s in the team

Shirley,
your sexual politics have left me all of a muddle
Shirley,
we are joined in the ideological cuddle

I’m celebrating my love for you
With a pint of beer and a new tattoo
And if you haven’t noticed yet
I’m more impressionable when my cement is wet

Politics and pregnancy
Are debated as we empty our glasses
And how I love those evening classes

Shirley,
you really know how to make a young man angry
Shirley,
can we get through the night without mentioning family

The people from your church agree
It’s not much of a career
Trying the handles of parked cars
Whoops, there goes another year
Whoops, there goes another pint of beer

Here we are in our summer years
Living on icecream and chocolate kisses
Would the leaves fall from the trees
If I was your old man and you were my missus

Shirley,
give my greetings to the new brunette

If you hate me, why don’t you go?
And if you love me, why don’t you let me know?
But you just won’t give me an inch, so
You just sulk

Why do I want to hide whenever you show up?
You know your moods just make me want to throw up
Why don’t you just bloody well grow up?
You just sulk

All of the time,
Why don’t you pick me up or throw me a line?
All over the place,
Why don’t you tell me what you think?
Come on and tell me to my face

If you love me, why don’t you show it?
If you hate me, why don’t you let me know it?
Why don’t you just pick up something and throw it?
You just sulk

If you want to bend my arm,
Well you could do it with a little more charm,
But you just couldn’t bear to do me any harm
So you just sulk

And you tell me that you want to quit
And then you treat me like a piece of shit
And when I ask you, what’s that got to do with it?
You just sulk

Ad lib, and fade

I’ve always been impressed with a girl
Who can 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 campaigners ’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 shoulder gets bigger as you
get older
One of these nights 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 forsaken
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

Strange as it may seem, I once had my football dreams
But I was always the last one, the last to get chosen
When my classmates picked their teams

I guess that was the way it stayed in every game I played
Life just tripped me and clattered and kicked me
Till you picked me from the parade

Now I feel like I’ve won the cup every time that we
make love
Forty-five minutes each way, at halftime I hear a brass
band play

The boy done good, the girl done better,
The seasons turn and we’re still together,
The sky is still blue and tomorrow is another day

You weren’t that kind of a girl who likes her studs to
be covered in mud
Taking you to the pictures was a regular fixture
For one of life’s eternal subs

I tried hard acting tough, but I just can’t stand the
taste of that stuff
Like some macho park player I got in the way of
In some grudge match against his club
But I’m happier how I am today now I’ve put my
boots away
I guess I’ll never get picked to play my song on Match
of the Day

Sorry but no lyrics are available for this song.

I have a letter from her
When she worked for the “Woman’s Realm”
And all the things she promised me
She promised herself as well
She said, “I want my freedom”
And ran off along the beach
It’s hard to love a girl so near
Yet so far out of reach

She came back when the tide came in
And introduced her friend to me
She said, “Don’t ring while he is here”
And gave me back my poetry
She expected me to understand
As she’s always done this before
And now she asks me
“Why don’t you send me poems anymore?”

And she steals more than she buys
You can see it in her eyes
And she’ll come back as soon as she’s ready
She’s a bad penny

Then she comes back and asks me
To sing all her favourite songs
As if she’s never been away
As if she’s done nothing wrong
But I’ve come to the conclusion
That she doesn’t realise a thing
And she probably still thinks I love her
And she doesn’t know that it’s a sin

You don’t need my Christmas cards
You already have my heart
This has been a holiday romance
Right from the very start

For we know how to spend the time
Who cares about the weather
We’ll dance in the town till the sun goes down
And push our beds together

From the Land of the Midnight Sunglasses
To the Mountains of the Moon
You could never stay a day too long
Nor never come back too soon

And you know what a fool I am
With my short attention span
Flying in the rainy season too,
Nothing can keep me away from you

She said it was just a figment of speech
And I said, “You mean figure?”
And she said, “No, figment”
Because she could never imagine it happening
But it did.

When we first met I played the shy boy
And when she spoke to me for the first time
My nose began to bleed
She guessed the rest

The next day we went on a bus ride to the ferry
And when nobody came to collect our fares
Well, I knew then this was something special
I couldn’t stop thinking about her
And every time I switched on the radio
There was somebody else singing a song about the two of us

It was just like being on a fast ride at the funfair
The sort you wanna get off because it’s scary
And then as soon as you’re off
You wanna get straight back on again

But our love is strange
And you have to take the crunchy with the smooth I s’pose
She began going out with Mr Potato Head
It was when I saw her in the car park
With his coat around her shoulders that I realised
I went home and thought about the two of them together
Until the bath water went cold around me

I thought about her eyes and the curve of her breasts
And about the point where their bodies met
I confronted her about it.
I said, “I’m the most illegible bachelor in town.”
And she said, “Yea, that’s why I can never understand
Any of those silly letters you send me.”

And then one day it happened
She cut ‘er hair and I stopped lovin’ ‘er

The wind sways the trees and the raindrops on the leaves
Tumble down, down my neck in the breeze

Yes, it’s true I hid out in the shadow of your doubt,
And this medal that I wear is not for bravery, I’m afraid

And we’re both going to have to accept
That this might be as good as it gets
As our love for each other respects
Neither rule nor reason

The Queen on her throne plays Shirley Bassey
records when she’s all on her own
And she looks out the window
And cries

What should I do? Scratch off all of my tattoos?
And forget those girls’ names?
But you’re not about to let me do that, are you?

And we’re both going to have to accept
That this might be as bad as it gets
As our love for each other respects
Neither rule nor reason

And we’re both going to have to accept
That this might be as big as it gets
As our love for each other respects
Neither rule nor reason

The party that became so powerful by sinking
foreign boats
Is dreaming up new promises because promises
win votes
And being resolute in conference with the
ad man’s expertise
The majority by their silence shall pay for days like these

The right to build communities is back behind
closed doors
‘Tween government and people stands the right arm
of the law
And shame upon the patriot when the mark of the
Bulldog Breed
Is a family without a home and a pensioner in need

Those whose lives are ruled by dogma are waiting
for a sign
The Better Dead Than Red Brigade are listening on the line
And the liberal, with a small L cries in front of the TV
And another demonstration passes on to history
Peace, bread, work, and freedom is the best we
can achieve
And wearing badges is not enough in days like these

Sorry but no lyrics are available for this song.

Scholarship is the enemy of romance
Where does that leave me? Alone in the rain again
What happened to the weekend I planned with you?
We didn’t even get upstairs this time

I never missed that end-of-term kiss
But where did it go, miss? I don’t know, miss

Take me to the fair and hold me close as we fly
through the air
Then suddenly on Sunday, it all just melted away
And when it had gone, between patches of yellowing grass
I found a coin and lost what I was looking for

I never took the advice in that book
Oh you should look, sir, you might learn, sir,
You might learn, sir

On Monday I wished it was Tuesday night
So I could wish for the weekend to come
On Tuesday I wished that the night would pass
So I could call you on the phone
Now a man can spend a lot of time
Wondering what was on Jack Ruby’s mind
And time is all I have without you here

On Wednesday when you hung up
It was as much as I could do
To stop from wishing Thursday
Would pass so quickly too
They’re out there making history
In the Lenin Shipyards today
And here I am in the Hammersmith Hotel
Wishing the days away

There’s always room for one more soul
Down in the Human Zoo
I don’t want you to come here though
I want to come home to you
Somebody’s knocking at the door
Its later than I think
And its time to put on these stinking clothes
And get out there and stink

On Friday I wished there was something more
To be seen in the letters you send
On Saturday I wished it was Sunday
Oh will this torment ever end
Sometimes I get a notion to put a torch
To the tools of my trade
Here I am in the Hammersmith Hotel
Wishing the days away

Sorry but no lyrics are available for this song.

Sorry but no lyrics are available for this song.

Sorry but no lyrics are available for this song.

What was that bang? It was the next big thing
Exploding over our heads
And soon the next generation
Will emerge from behind the bike sheds
What are we going to offer them?
The exact same thing as before
But a different way to wear it
And the promise of a whole lot more

Oh, pity the pressures at the top,
The tantrums and the tears
And the sound of platinum cash tills
Ringing in their ears
Money maketh man a Tory
Don’t fire that assumption at me
I like toast as much as anyone
But not for breakfast, dinner, and tea

So don’t saddle me with your ideals
And spare me all your guilt
For a poet with all the answers
Has never yet been built

I see no shame in putting my name
To socialism’s cause
Nor seeking some more relevance
Than spotlight and applause
Neither in the name of conscience
Nor the name of charity
Money is put where mouths are
In the name of solidarity

We sing of freedom
And we speak of liberation
But such chances come
But once a generation
So I’ll ignore what I am sure
Were the best of your intentions
You are judged by your actions
And not by your pretensions

There is drudgery in social change
And glory for the few
And if you don’t tell me what not to say
I won’t tell you what not to do

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© Billy Bragg 2019