Still Looking For A New England

Double promo disc for William Bloke
CD1 – Upfield/The Space Race Is Over/Brickbat/ Billy Bragg Talks To Himself
CD2 – A New England/St Swithin’s Day/Greetings to the New Brunette/Levi Stubbs Tears/Walk Away Renee (version)/She’s Got A New Spell/Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards/Accident Waiting to Happen/Sexuality/Sulk

CD 1

I’m going upfield, way up on the hillside
I’m going higher than I’ve ever been before
That’s where you’ll find me, over the horizon
Wading in the river, reaching for that other shore

I dreamed I saw a tree full of angels, up on Primrose Hill
And I flew with them over the Great Wen till I had seen my fill
Of such poverty and misery sure to tear my soul apart
I’ve got a socialism of the heart, I’ve got a socialism of the heart

I’m going upfield, way up on the hillside
I’m going higher than I’ve ever been before
That’s where you’ll find me, over the horizon
Wading in the river, reaching for that other shore

The angels asked me how I felt about all I’d seen and heard
That they spoke to me, a pagan, gave me cause to doubt their word
But they laughed and said: “I doesn’t matter if you’ll help us in our art
You’ve got a socialism of the heart, you’ve got a socialism of the heart”

I’m going upfield, way up on the hillside
I’m going higher than I’ve ever been before
That’s where you’ll find me, over the horizon
Wading in the river, reaching for that other shore

Their faces shone and they were gone and I was left alone
I walked these ancient empire streets till I came tearful to my home
And when I woke next morning, I vowed to play my part
I’ve got a socialism of the heart, I’ve got a socialism of the heart

I’m going upfield, way up on the hillside
I’m going higher than I’ve ever been before
That’s where you’ll find me, over the horizon
Wading in the river, reaching for that other shore

When I was young I told my mum
I’m going to walk on the Moon someday
Armstrong and Aldrin spoke to me
From Houston and Cape Kennedy
And I watched the Eagle landing
On a night when the Moon was full
And as it tugged at the tides, I knew deep inside
I too could feel its pull

I lay in my bed and dreamed I walked
On the Sea of Tranquillity
I knew that someday soon we’d all sail to the moon
On the high tide of technology
But the dreams have all been taken
And the window seats taken too
And 2001 has almost come and gone
What am I supposed to do?

Now that the space race is over
It’s been and it’s gone and I’ll never get to the moon
Because the space race is over
And I can’t help but feel we’ve all grown up too soon

Now my dreams have all been shattered
And my wings are tattered too
And I can still fly but not half as high
As once I wanted to

Now that the space race is over
It’s been and it’s gone and I’ll never get to the moon
Because the space race is over
And I can’t help but feel we’ve all grown up too soon

My son and I stand beneath the great night sky
And gaze up in wonder
I tell him the tale of Apollo And he says
“Why did they ever go?”
It may look like some empty gesture
To go all that way just to come back
But don’t offer me a place out in cyberspace
Cos where in the hell’s that at?

Now that the space race is over
It’s been and it’s gone and I’ll never get out of my room
Because the space race is over
And I can’t help but feel we’re all just going nowhere

I ought to leave enough hot water
For your morning bath, but I’d not thought
I hate to hear you talk that way
But I can’t bring myself to say I’m sorry

The past is always knocking incessant
Trying to break through into the present
We have to work to keep it out
But I won’t be the first to SHOUT it’s over

I used to want to plant bombs at the Last Night of the Proms
But now you’ll find me with the baby, in the bathroom
With that big shell, listening for the sound of the sea

I steal a kiss from you in the supermarket
I walk you down the aisle, you fill my basket
And through it all, the stick I take Is worth it for the love we make

I used to want to plant bombs at the Last Night of the Proms
But now you’ll find me with the baby, in the bathroom
With that big shell, listening for the sound of the sea
The baby and me

I stayed in bed, alone, uncertain
Then I met you, you drew the curtain
The sun came up, the trees began to sing
The light shone in on everything
I love you

The sun came up, the trees began to sing
The light shone in on everything
I love you

CD 2

I was twenty one years when I wrote this song
I’m twenty two now, but I won’t be for long
People ask when will you grow up to be a man
But all the girls I loved at school
Are already pushing prams

I loved you then as I love you still
Though I put you on a pedestal
They put you on the pill
I don’t feel bad about letting you go
I just feel sad about letting you know

[Hook]
I don’t want to change the world
I’m not looking for a new England
I’m just looking for another girl
I don’t want to change the world
I’m not looking for a new England
I’m just looking for another girl

[Verse 2]
I loved the words you wrote to me
But that was bloody yesterday
I can’t survive on what you send
Every time you need a friend

I saw two shooting stars last night
I wished on them but they were only satellites
Is it wrong to wish on space hardware
I wish, I wish, I wish you’d care

[Hook]
I don’t want to change the world
I’m not looking for a new England
I’m just looking for another girl
I don’t want to change the world
I’m not looking for a new England
I’m just looking for another girl
Looking for another girl
Looking for another girl
Looking for another girl

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

[Verse 2]
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

[Verse 3]
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

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 ice cream 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
Shirley, give my greetings to the new brunette
Shirley, greetings to the new brunette
Shirley, greetings to the new brunette
Shirley, greetings to the new brunette
Shirley, greetings to the new brunette

With the money from her accident
She bought herself a mobile home
So at least she could get some enjoyment
Out of being alone
No one could say that she was left up on the shelf
It’s you and me against the World kid she mumbled to herself

Chorus:
When the world falls apart some things stay in place
Levi Stubbs’ tears run down his face

She ran away from home in her mother’s best coat
She was married before she was even entitled to vote
And her husband was one of those blokes
The sort that only laughs at his own jokes
The sort a war takes away
And when there wasn’t a war he left anyway

Norman Whitfield and Barratt Strong
Are here to make everything right that’s wrong
Holland and Holland and Lamont Dozier too
Are here to make it all okay with you

One dark night he came home from the sea
And put a hole in her body where no hole should be
It hurt her more to see him walking out the door
And though they stitched her back together they left her heart in pieces on the floor

When the world falls apart some things stay in place
She takes off the Four Tops tape and puts it back in its case
When the world falls apart some things stay in place
Levi Stubbs’ tears…

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
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 fun fair
The sort you want to get off because its scary
And then as soon as you’re off you want get straight back on again

But all love is strange
And you have to learn to take the crunchy with the smooth I suppose

She began going out with Mr. Potato Head
It was when I saw her in he car park
With his coat around her shoulders that I realized

I went home and thought about the two of them together
Until the bathwater 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, “Yeah. That’s why I can never understand any of those silly letters you send me.”
And then one day it happened
She cut her hair and I stopped loving her

What is that sound
Where is it coming from
All around
What are you running from
Something you don’t understand
Something you cannot command

Chorus:
That’s how I know
She’s got a new spell
Yes, that’s how I know
That she’s got a new spell

What’s going down
Who’s moved this room from round me
Where has it gone
I fear this night will drown me
So I lie awake all night
‘Cos I can’t sleep with something I can’t fight

The laws of gravity are very, very strict
And you’re just bending them for your own benefit

One minute she says
She’s gone to get the cat in
The next thing I know
She’s mumbling in Latin
She cut the stars out of the sky
And baked them in a pie

She stole the scene and scenery
The script and the machinery

It may have been Camelot for Jack and Jacqueline
But on the Che Guevara highway filling up with gasoline
Fidel Castro’s brother spies a rich lady who’s crying
Over luxury’s disappointment
So he walks over and he’s trying
To sympathise with her but he thinks that he should warn her
That the Third World is just around the corner

In the Soviet Union a scientist is blinded
By the resumption of nuclear testing and he is reminded
That Dr Robert Oppenheimer’s optimism fell
At the first hurdle

In the Cheese Pavilion and the only noise I hear
Is the sound of someone stacking chairs
And mopping up spilt beer
And someone asking questions and basking in the light
Of the fifteen fame filled minutes of the fanzine writer

Mixing Pop and Politics he asks me what the use is
I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses
While looking down the corridor
Out to where the van is waiting
I’m looking for the Great Leap Forwards

Jumble sales are organised and pamphlets have been posted
Even after closing time there’s still parties to be hosted
You can be active with the activists
Or sleep in with the sleepers
While you’re waiting for the Great Leap Forwards

One leap forward, two leaps back
Will politics get me the sack?

Here comes the future and you can’t run from it
If you’ve got a blacklist I want to be on it

It’s a mighty long way down rock ‘n roll
From Top of the Pops to drawing the dole

If no one seems to understand
Start your own revolution and cut out the middleman

In a perfect world we’d all sing in tune
But this is reality so give me some room

So join the struggle while you may
The Revolution is just a T-shirt away
Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards

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

Sexuality

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 best left 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

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

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

Sulk, sulk

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© Billy Bragg 2021