The Election Section #4

Ok, so time for some impartiality. Every song so far has been anti-Tory, so let’s see what we can find that is a) pro-Con (which seems a contradiction in terms, but never mind), and b) a decent tune.

Hmmm….

Er…….

Nope.

I’ve drawn a blank on that one. I wonder if we should read anything into that……?

Let’s skip along.

The Lib Dems. Ah yes, we have a song which perfectly describes the public perception of them:

Lush-Hypocrite-114500

Lush – Hypocrite

Okay, I may as well be honest. All of the rest of the posts will be anti-Tory, so we may as well squeeze the rest of the parties in now.

SNP? Here you go:

the_proclaimers-letter_from_america_(band_version)(2)

The Proclaimers – Letter From America

You don’t need me to tell you what its about…

Plaid Cymru? Have this:

The-Alarm-A-New-South-Wales-170067

The Alarm – A New South Wales

I genuinely love that record. I think it’s the male voice choir. You can’t argue (well you can if you like, but you’re wrong and lalalala I’m not listening)¬†but there’s something about¬†a Welsh Male Voice Choir (note the capitals) which means I love this¬†(and for that matter this)¬†more even than I love this. (And I love¬†this¬†quite a lot indeed too). I Can’t Explain.

Mike Peters from The Alarm (usually said in the same breathy tones as JimKerrfromSimpleMinds) has long since been a vocal activist in Welsh politicism and for me, this record is bang on the money – for the time it was written, back in the 80s. Since then, South Wales – and Cardiff in particular – has been regenerated beyond belief. Folks tend to be a lil sniffy about visiting Wales, but I would urge you to do so: it’s one of the most fantastic, beautiful¬†places I ever visited, let alone lived in.¬†Cardiff, wonderful as it is, is just the hub. A mere stone’s throw away¬†are such beauty spots as the Brecon Beacons and The Gower and …ohhh…so much more…..

Ahem. I appear to have come over all Rhod Gilbert in those “Come to Wales” adverts.

Ah, feck it.

As someone who lived in Wales for 20 years and loved (almost) every minute of it, I can maybe do better than that.¬†I’m going to get all adopted-Welsh on your butt. There is no finer sound for getting you all tingly and setting your hairs on end than¬†hearing¬†the crowd at the Millenium Stadium (or Cardiff Arms Park, back in the day)¬†than this: Wembley 1999

The crowd don’t seem particularly engaged, do they? Trust me, by the end they were singing, alright.

Those two old looking geezers in the line up (not dressed in uniform) are Tom Jones, who’ll you’ll recognise and need no introduction to, and Max Boyce, who you might not recognise and will need an introduction to. Reader: Max. Max:¬†Reader.

Max Boyce was, frankly, massive in the late 70s and early 80s, coming up as he did from the folk circuit in the same way that Billy Connolly and Jasper Carrott did around the same time. Billy and Jasper are touted as the fore-fathers of alternative comedy, doing observational stuff which didn’t involve mother-in-laws, wives being really fat, or black people called Chalky.

The very odd thing is that Max seems to have been air-brushed out of the¬†accepted populist history of comedy around this time, and I can’t help but wonder if Max hadn’t been Welsh whether he’d have got such a rough deal¬†in the annals (double n, innuendo seekers move along) of history.

I think it’s about time that was put¬†right.

Even though his act was predominantly about Welsh Rugby – or rather, about Welsh men and their rugby¬†(and affectionately, cheekily,¬†anti-English in a way that only a rugby fan could get away with),¬†Max still managed to find favour with many outside of Wales. The even odder thing is that the fact he was popular¬†outside of Wales never seemed to be appreciated or understood¬†by those inside Wales. When I lived in Cardiff, my friends were often gobsmacked that I knew the words to Hymns and Arias and¬†Sospan Fach¬†(not 100% accurately I’ll admit, but still, I had a go…)

I have to concede, I had a leg-up here. On Saturday afternoons when I was a kid, we’d have to drive over and visit the grand parents. I believe I’ve mentioned this before, so I won’t bore you with it again. Suffice to say, Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash were the staple diet of the car’s cassette player, but Max Boyce got a fair look in too. My dad owned copies of “Live at Treorchy” and “We All Had Doctor’s Papers” and they would be played as much as anything else. (My great grandmother,¬†deposited in the car on one such occasion, announced “I have no idea what he is saying, but I’m sure it’s quite rude!”. And yes, she did sound like Lady Bracknell)¬†My dad even burned¬†copies of both these albums for a former flat mate of mine, so desperate was he to prove his non-existent Welsh links.

I met Max once. I was working in Boots the Chemist on Queen Street in Cardiff and I spotted him and hovered around the tills when he got served. He went to one of the prettier, younger ladies who did the till stuff, then looked up at him:

“It’s you, isn’t it?” she said

“Erm…yes…” Max Boyce said, modestly.

“It’s Max, isn’t it?” she said

“Yes, yes I am” said Max Boyce, modestly.

“Max….Bygraves!!” she exclaimed

“Am I fuck!!” said Max Boyce, angrily. “He’s in his fucking 80s!” said Max Boyce not very happily.

So anyway, from those two albums, I give you these:

5007334903_f958619b4d

and

Max-Boyce-Live-At-Treorchy-374318

But, in an effort to drag this back to something vaguely political, Max wasn’t just about the funnies. Listen to Rhonnda Grey which, to these Anglicised ears, is sadder¬†and more¬†poignant than “A New South Wales”, and paints a picture of the Merthyr, Pontypridd and Caerphilly area I remember from when I first moved there oh so many years ago. Sad and beautiful, see?

Ok so moving on, who’s next?

The Green Party. This seems appropriate:

swedish-house-mafia-save-the-world

Swedish House Mafia feat. John Martin – Save The World

UKIP. Oh, just fuck off, will you? I’m not even going to grace you with a song. We all know what you are.

More utterly biased stuff soon.

The Election Section #3

51AeCeu-UELLife's_a_riot

Yup, I had some booze and listened to the stuff on the last post. Busted. So here we are. Welcome back.

That Charlie Brooker one doesn’t really work without¬†visuals too, does it? Well, you can judge for yourself¬†here.

So, anyway¬†here’s the next instalment in the political strand.

It would, of course, be impossible to talk about political records without mentioning Billy Bragg.

Now, I have a confession to make here. I love Billy Bragg (that’s not the confession). In my mind, he is one of the finest lyricists, if not one of the finest singers, of our age. His lyrics are usually witty, pithy, sensitive, touching, direct and educational (just one more, and I’d be able to rename the seven dwarfs. Although “Touching” sounds like one to avoid). For example, his second best known song (after A New England, which is more famous for the lovely and much missed Kirtsy MacColl’s version) has to be this, again kissed by the magic that was MacColl. And…er…by Phill Jupitus.

No, my confession is that¬†I much prefer his love songs to his political songs. Listen to this and tell me that ain’t just beautiful. And this, one of the most poignant yet funny unrequited love songs you’ll hear this side of Jilted John. And yes, that’s Johnny Marr playing¬†guitar in that way that only Johnny Marr can.

Sometimes his songs encompass both¬†politics and love,¬†like this: the greatest Billy Bragg song that Billy Bragg didn’t write.

But it is his political stuff that he is most known for, and I have to admit that listening to Billy when I was approaching the age to vote¬†definitely had an effect on my own political persuasion, and, in defiance of those¬†folks who say you get more right wing the older you get, I’m proud to report that almost 30 years later, I haven’t budged.¬†Even if Tony Blair did turn out to be an illegal¬†war-mongering lapdog to the Americans, at least he was OUR¬†illegal war-mongering¬†lapdog to the Americans.

Now¬†let’s be honest, I could do several posts a day from now until the election and beyond and I wouldn’t¬†run out of political Billy Bragg songs¬†until the election comes around again in five years time.¬†I’ve already posted four (well, three and a bit) and I haven’t even scraped the surface.

So which one to choose? I’m afraid I can’t narrow it down to just one. So, given that¬†our rulers at the time of writing are a bunch of shiny faced Eton poshos intent on seeing their millionaire buddies are alright while the rest of us are “all in it together”, I give you two which seem appropriate:

  1. Billy Bragg – Ideology
  2. Billy Bragg – To Have and To Have Not