Thursday, February 19, 2009
Cool Image and two more songs
( I am NOT Bernadette Devlin-McAliskey NOR am I connected to her in any way. I discuss naming it after her in the "notes" post)
The image I found on the web-site of Irish Anti-Fascist Action. Frank Ryan was an Irish Republican leader of the anti-Fascist foreign volunteers in the Spanish Civil War. The words are taken from a song by The Pogues, who seem progressive. (Blackshirts were Italian fascists who were in the Spanish Civil War)
Below are two new songs. They're both based on that crap I listen to. For more of an explanation, see this, and for the rest of the songs, see this (there are links to the remaining two lyrics posts on that post). The rest of the songs/poems can be found by clicking on the "lyrics" label (there are at least two pages worth of posts, so click on the "older posts" at the bottom of the first page).
"Always Stupid" based on "Always Near (For Ian Stuart)" by Brutal Attack, original lyrics are here.
In 1993 Ian Stuart (also known as Ian Stuart Donaldson) was killed in a car accident. He had been the leader of the world-wide Nazi skinhead music scene, and every year there are memorial concerts in his name. I've found three songs in his memory, there's probably more. There's another anti-song I did on one of the other lyrics posts.
1. I wouldn't say the skinhead scene was perfect before the Nazis became a big part of it in the late 1970s UK, but it certainly got worse with them, and if you first get rid of the Nazis, and then with the rest remove the fairly universal homophobia, common hostility towards immigrants, common hostility towards hippies, and probably a tiny amount of unjustified violence, the skinhead thing is kind of cool. It's about working-class pride, good music, friends, drinking, an interesting look, fighting when appropriate- there's nothing wrong with that.
2. I read somewhere about another fatal accident that took something like 3/4 of a Nazi band.
3. I'm not quite sure this was appropriate, but apparently I've developed a habit of referring to Seamus Costello in my songs about Ian Stuart. In this one I thought it'd be better to refer to Bernadette Devlin-McAliskey, but fortunately she's still alive. The instant she dies, change "Seamus" to "Bernadette."
4. Henry Rollins, who seems to have excellent anti-racist credentials, has said that Ian Stuart was a good singer, and I've heard other people say that minus the fascsim, Skrewdriver was a good band.
5. I'm not sure "crooner" is the right word.
6. The Starry Plough is the flag of republican socialism (it's shared by many Irish groups, the Irish Republican Socialist Movement is one).
7. The line about Nazis driving is inspired by a professional anti-Ian Stuart song by MDC called "Nazis Shouldn't Drive."
**8. 52% of this version is me, 48% is the original.
9. I give this song/poem two out of five stars.
Now I sit alone and as I write this song
I think about how everything you did was wrong
You screwed up the skinhead scene, and ruined lives
Fortunately for us, Nazis don't know how to drive
This happiness I feel is oh so great
The death of Ian Stuart is so very easy to take
Remembering all his shit oh so crystal clear
And I know Seamus' strength is always near
Now some say absence makes the heart grow fonder
But not with Ian Stuart, his talent he did squander
Why is life so unfair, why didn't he die years sooner
We would have been a lot better off without that crooner
Our hatred for you will never be allowed to fade
We will continue to smash the struggle on which your life was made
I don't know all the answers, but I will stand up true
In all my anti-fascist actions Ian, I will think of you
Now Seamus, inspire me like the starry plough you unfurled
So I do what is right while I fight for our world
Steer me safe along the path that's destiny
To the ultimate goal when we are all free
"Lanford" based "White Kid's Gonna Fight" by Bully Boys, original lyrics are here.
1. Lanford is the name of the large town in the late 80s/mid- 90s TV show "Roseanne." It's one of my favorite shows. It's hilarious, and it's about a working class family that's liberal across the board. "Roseanne" had one semi-main character who was gay, another who came out towards the end of the series, and a third that was in about 33 episodes. The show was also very anti-racist, and they had a fairly good attitude towards religion. Besides the politics, it was an amazing show. Also, the guy who played Mark is from Ireland.
2. The original is about demographic change in a small town, this version is about conservatives taking over a town and economic recession at roughly the same time, connected to a large degree. I suppose it's a large town or even a small city.
3. In general I don't like changing lyrics without a good reason. The original says Susan instead of Roseanne and I'm not sure exactly what it means. In my version, I guess it refers to Roseanne slightly breaking under the strain of the conservative nonsense that's taking over her town, which means that there's a lot of that nonsense, because it takes a lot to have that effect on Roseanne.
4. Considering that this is about a town being taken over by conservatives (and the rape line was already there, I didn't add it) I should say that it's probably not accurate to say that rapes would increase with an influx of conservatives, although it seems possible it would, more possible than with an influx of liberals. The main point though, is that, as evidenced by Sarah Palin and the rape kits (see this), and some other things I have heard, conservatives, including conservative women, are less likely than liberals to have the appropriate attitude about rape.
5. The darkened streets are the result of people not able to pay their power bills and/or the town/city cutting back on things like street-lights.
6. The words "porno store" were there with the original, but it almost makes sense the way I have it re-written for my version. Also, when I first read the original lyrics, I didn't know what a "porno store" was, a friend had to explain it to me, I had never heard of that kind of place.
7. In my version, the fighting is meant at least 99% non-violently. Also, although the quality isn't as great as I thought it would be, and I'm not sure how singable it is, it's possible this could be used to inspire people doing canvassing and get-out-the-vote efforts. UPDATE 2/23/09 I've changed my mind about the quality, and have been singing the altered version as I listen to the original, and it's awesome.
**8. 29% of this version is me, 71% is the original.
9. I give this song/poem five out of five stars.
1) The line about the porno store. I could have gone with the original and changed it to "Fred's old diner is now a gun store," but I'm pretty sure, based on some stuff in the show, that the Conner family on "roseanne" would have been more upset about the porno store closing than a gun store opening, and although it's close (I'm in the middle on guns) I would feel the same way.
2) Cops were portrayed pretty positively on the show, but it's fairly possible in a fairly liberal working-class town like Lanford that there could be no problem with police brutality (until the influx of conservatives) so that could explain why the cops were portrayed the way they were.
3) There was one tiny element that was also pro-prison.
4) Obviously I'm not a liberal, but I said "liberal" because it's more accurate to call the Conners liberal than progressive, and they certainly weren't socialist.
5) The last season, the family gets rich from the lottery, but that season also includes one of the most anti-capitalist elements of the show when Jackie and Roseanne use some of their money to help workers at a factory buy it- it becomes an employee-owned factory.
6) I think the cops, prisons, and the lottery wealth are the only elements that undermine the idea that it was solidly liberal.
This used to be where I belonged
Now where have all the liberal kids gone?
The working-class built this fucking town
Now the damn place is going down
Well, Roseanne's looking a little beat
The homophobes just moved onto Karl St.
The cops shot miguel at 8th and Main
And Kate got raped, but who's to blame
Darkened streets and smashed dreams
My hometown is torn at the seams
But I won't leave without a fight
I've got just one chance to make things right... fight!
The union hall is now all we've got
There's Republicans in every parking lot
The employers have declared class war
The Puritans closed down the porno store
I think I know just who's to blame
But I won't play their crying game
The GOP still wants to turn back the clock
I'm gonna fight this block by block
One last note: Even with the songs that are only about 10% me (and at the upper end, one is 75% me), I have a request, although I don't have strong feelings or expectations about this. First, I want credit for these songs. Second, I'd appreciate it if the notes follow the lyrics around the internet. If you modify the lyrics further, please either make some notes for the changes if you leave some of my changes, or just provide a link to this URL so people can see my version. Although I'm not sure how many people will like what I'm doing with the lyrics, to one degree or another (depending on how much I changed them) I'm proud of these songs- and at the risk of getting a little personal, if people like the songs, I could really use the extra boost of getting credit for them right now (or if you don't like them, they were all written by Sarah Palin- that fascist, what kind of sick person enjoys altering racist lyrics?).