Tuesday Afternoon Music: Robert Wyatt’s Shipbulding

I don’t really want to prolong the picking over the bones of the Thatcher legacy, but since the American right seems desperate to exploit her passing to defend its post-Thatcherite concensus, as embodied in Reaganomics and all the other worldwide fallout from her time in office, I wanted to post this song, written by Elvis Costello and Clive Langer in response to the Falklands War, and sung by a one-time member of the Communist Party with the voice of a weary angel.

A lot of very vibrant, overtly angry music and art came out of the Thatcher years—along with a lot of biting satire. There’s plenty of anger and despair behind this song, but it proves that if you have the heart and you’re skilled enough, you can transmute those emotions into wry, timeless, deeply human beauty that stands on its own.

If you like, you can use this thread to continue boggling at the ludicrous claims being made about Maggie’s Farm by those who never experienced it in real life, suggest some other songs or clips from that era (and I’ll post them if they can be embedded), or talk about anything else whatever.

Update: New Youtubidity from the comments after the fold!

Big Bad Bald Bastard and zombie rotten mcdonald have been on a Mekons kick at their own blogs. This bouncy little ditty was a new one to me:

Carlita Carrota suggested “Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher”:

The video EP of “The Final Cut,” did you say, Oregon Beer Snob? Alrighty then:

I’ll add this clip from yesterday’s comments. Satire doesn’t get much darker than this:

As a follow-up, here’s Pulp’s “Last Day of The Miners Strike”:

Posted by YAFB on 04/09/13 at 11:14 AM • Permalink

Categories: I Don't Know Much About Art, But I Know What I LikePoliticsWar In ErrorYouTubidity

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Lovely! But no Chet Baker.

I have tried to find my way into liking Soft Machine, Kevin Ayers et al. No dice so far, but I ain’t giving up!

The Big Bastid and I traded Mekons songs at our respective joints, but really, any Mekons songs are perfectly relevant; the Mekons, after being abandoned by Virgin while still in their “don’t know how to play our instruments” punk phase, did some woodshedding, learned to play their instruments so they could take part in some events supporting the striking miners, and eventually released the epochal “Fear and Whiskey”.

If Thatcher hadn’t forced the strike and then worked to break it, the Mekons would never have gotten back together.

From the musical Billy Elliot came a wonderful song called Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher. You can find it on youtube.

If Thatcher hadn’t forced the strike and then worked to break it, the Mekons would never have gotten back together.

So we can blame her for the Mekons too?  Excellent. (The zombie knows I kid!)

My punk phase was mostly Dead Kennedy’s and Black Flag and Bad Brains and such, and I don’t remember paying much attention to the lyrics.

What I did pay attention to was Pink Floyd (usually stoned, natch).  Even though The Final Cut wasn’t most folk’s favorite I liked it.  And they did a pretty good (at the time anyway) Video EP that’s probably applicable here.

I like The Final Cut very much. Pros And Cons Of Hitchhiking too. I’ve never seen that video EP. Thanks!

OBS is gonna get hisself a ZOM NOM NOM NOMming.

I always loved Costello’s “shipbuilding”.  I knew it was about war, but since I lived in a western Colorado backwater at the time, I didn’t know it was about the Falklands war.  Thanks for the history lesson. 

I’ve been this close to induging a Costello fest lately; time to give in to it!

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