Workers Playtime

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’s bad timing and me
We find a lot of things out this way
And there’s you
A little black cloud in a dress
The temptation
To take the precious things we have apart
To see how they work
Must be resisted for they never fit together again
If this is rain let it fall on me and drown me
If these are tears let them fall

Chorus:
Must I paint you a picture
About the way that I feel
You know my love for you is strong, girl
You know my love for you is real

It took a short walk and a talk
To change the rules of engagement
While you searched frantically for reverse and them claiming
That virtue never tested is no virtue at all
And so I lost my ignorance
And now the bells across the river chime out your name
I look across to them again

All your friends said come down
It will never fly
And on that imperfect day
We threw it all away
Crisis after crisis, with such intensity
This would never happen if we lived by the sea

Most important decisions in life
Are made between two people in bed
I found that out at my expense
And when I see you
You just turn around and walk away like we never met
Oh we used to be so brave
I dreamt the world stopped turning as we climbed the hill
I dreamt impossible dreams that we were lovers still

What will you do when the war is over, tender comrade
When we lay down our weary guns
When we return home to our wives and families
And look into the eyes of our sons
What will you say of the bond we had, tender comrade
Will you say that we were brave
As the shells fell all around us
Or that we wept and cried for our mothers
And cursed our fathers
For forgetting that all men are brothers

Will you say that we were heroes
Or that fear of dying among strangers
Tore our innocence and false shame away
And from that moment on deep in my heart I knew
That I would only give my life for love

Brothers in arms in each other arms
Was the only time that I was not afraid
What will you do when the war is over, tender comrade
When we cast off these khaki clothes
And go our separate ways
What will you say of the bond we had
Tender comrade

My friend said she could see no way ahead
And I was probably better off without you
She said to face up to the fact that you weren’t coming back
And she could make me happy like you used to
But I’m sorry to say I turned her away
Knowing everything she said was true
And that’s the price I pay for loving you the way that I do

There’s something inside that hurts my foolish pride
To visit the places we used to go together
Not a day goes by that I don’t sit and wonder why
Your feelings for me didn’t last forever
Girl I love you so much that sometimes it’s such
I’d walk a mile with a stone in my shoe
And that’s the price I pay for loving you the way that I do
That’s the price I pay for loving you the way that I do

So keep that phone out of my way for the things I must say
Are empty if you don’t believe they’re true
And that’s the price I pay for loving you the way that I do
That’s the price I pay for loving you the way that I do

I love you so much that baby it’s such
I’d walk a mile with a stone in my shoe
And that’s the price I pay for loving you the way that I do

One of them’s off her food
And the other one’s off his head
And both of them are off down the boozer
To drink a toast
To the one that he hates most
And she says there are no winners, only losers

Well if there are no winners
Then what is this he thinks
As he watches her complete a lap of honour
And he sits in the stands With his head in his hands
And he thinks of all the things
He’d like to bring down upon her

Revenge will bring cold comfort in this darkest hour
As the juke box says ‘It’s All Over Now’
And he stands and he screams
What have I done wrong
I’ve fallen in love with a little time bomb

In public he’s such a man
He’s punching at the walls with his bare and bloody hands
He’s screaming and shouting and acting crazy
But at home he sits alone and he cries like a baby

He holds your letters but he can’t read them
As he fights this loneliness that you call freedom
You said this would happen and you were not wrong
I’ve fallen in love with a little time bomb

I stood before the Judge that day
As he refused me bail
And I knew that I would spend my time
Awaiting trial in jail
I said there is no justice
As they led me out of the door
And the Judge said, “This isn’t a court of justice, son
This is a court of law.”

They first sent me to Windsor
And then to Stoke on Trent
In a holding cell in Liverpool
Three days and nights I spent
My solicitor can’t find me
And my family don’t know
I keep telling them that I’m innocent
They just say, “Come on son, in you go.”

I was picked up on suspicion of something I haven’t done
Here I sit in ‘F’ wing waiting for my trial to come
It’s a cruel unusual punishment that society demands
Innocent till proven guilty, rotting on remand

I ended up in this jail
Built in 1882
When one man to one prison cell
Was a Victorian value
Now three of us are squeezed in here
And you can’t escape the smell
Of that bucket in the corner
And we eat in here as well

They let me out of this cage
To slop that bucket out
To get my food and bring it back
And if I’m lucky, get a shower
Apart from one hour’s exercise
I’m locked in here all day
You don’t turn criminals into citizens
By treating them this way

Is the price of law and order the stench of Wormwood Scrubs
With judges quick to sentence more down from above
It’s a cruel unusual punishment that society demands
Innocent till proven guilty, rotting on reman

Some day boy you’ll reap what you’ve sown
You’ll catch a cold and you’ll be on your own
And you will see that what’s wrong with me
Is wrong with everyone that
You want to play your little games on

Poetry and flowers pretty words and threats
You’ve gone to the dogs again and I’m not placing bets
On you coming home tonight anything but blind
If you take me for granted then you must expect to find
Surprise, surprise

Valentine’s Day is over, it’s over
Valentine’s Day is over

If you want to talk about it well you know where the phone is
Don’t come round reminding me again how brittle bone is
God didn’t make you an angel the Devil made you a man
That brutality and economy are related now I understand
When will you realise that as above so below there is no love

For the girl with the hour glass figure
Time runs out very fast
We used to want the same things but that’s all in the past
And lately it seems that as it all gets tougher
Your ideal of justice just becomes rougher and rougher

Thank you for the things you bought me thank you for the card
Thank you for the things you taught me when you hit me hard
That love between two people must be based on understanding
Until that’s true you’ll find your things
All stacked out on the landing, surprise, surprise

I hate the arsehole I become
Every time I’m with you
You know you’ve got me on the run
But let me make it clear to you
It’s taken two fools such as we
To make love deaf, dumb and blind
Now you’re upset ‘cos I can’t read your mind love
You’re upset Cos I can’t read your mind

I hate the arsehole I become
Every time I’m with you
I get the feeling looking in your eyes
That somehow I should forgive you
I know that I’m guilty but I don’t know what I’ve done
You’re not about to let me join in the fun are you
You’re not about to let me join in the fun

I hate the arsehole I become
Every time I’m with you
I hate the way you try to give me back
All the things I give to you
I know when I leave the room
They say what’s up with him
But love is not a game you play to win girl
Love is not a game you play to win

If that face of yours could only talk
The stories it could tell
The chase is always better than the kill, love
The chase is always better than the kill

Sometimes when you lose your way to me
I think you don’t care at all
If you don’t get here soon
I’ll tear that clock down from the wall
Your family and friends don’t understand
They treat me so strange
The book you said to read
Well I have read but nothing’s changed

The clocks go forward the clocks go back
Yet here I sit as if I were the only one
And oh you cannot hear me
Oh you cannot hear me
Can anybody hear me out there

He’s up on his high horse again
You’re down in the park
I’m left to fight my impulses alone here in the dark
The chain that fell off my bike last night
Is now wrapped round my heart
Sometimes I think that
Fate has been against us from the start

I long to let our love run free
Yet here I am a victim of geography
And oh you cannot hear me
Oh you cannot hear me
Can anybody hear me out there

She said kiss me or would you rather
Live in a land where the soap won’t lather
And oh…
You know you are the only one
Yes you are the only one
Yes you are the only one

Between Marx and marzipan in the dictionary there was Mary
Between the Deep Blue Sea and the Devil that was me
If ever anyone could help me with my obsession with
The young Suzannah York
It was Mary

In my pink pyjamas she asked me for something
I gave her the short answer
She read our stars out loud
And I knew then that we should have gone sailing
But we stayed home instead
Fighting on the waterbed
Like the honeymoon couple on drugs
Me and Mary

What happened in the past
Remained a mystery of natural history
She should have been the last
But she was just the latest
If she wanted to be a farmer’s wife
I would endure that muddy life
I would dig for victory

And the sound of happy couples
Coupling happily in the dark
While you and I sat down to tea
I remember you said to me
That no amount of poetry
Would mend this broken heart
But you can put the Hoover round
If you want to make a start

All my friends from school
Introduce me to their spouses
While I’m left standing here
With my hands down the front of my trousers
I just don’t know what’s to be done
I wonder sometimes how did Dad meet Mum
And how did they conceive of me
Tell my Mary

The boys who came to the shop
Always made her laugh much more than I did
When I told her this must stop
She didn’t bat an eyelid
She said you know honey it’s such a shame
You’ll never be any good at this game
You bruise too easily
So said Mary

Her two brothers took me out
Of circulation for the duration
So we went our separate ways but does she still love me
She still has my door key
Like a bully boy in a Benetton shop
You’re never happy with what you’ve got
Till what you’ve got is gone
Sorry Mary

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

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© Billy Bragg 2019