Diary – 1983


After the jangly jollity of ‘Cheer Up!’ things take a decidedly downbeat turn. The crude signposting of my ever increasing interest in politics gives an indication of the contents. I don’t know if I’d just acquired an acoustic guitar or if I was still using my sister’s extremely heavy action one. Either way, most of the songs on here are acoustically driven and a little melancholy in places. Still refusing to practice much, the tunes wallow in a simplicity I embraced through laziness.  Flying solo by now, I wasn’t in any group , music wise anyway, but I was in Militant – a branch of the Labour Party at the time. The naivety of the politics on display shows I had not progressed much further than the preface of ‘Das Kapital.’ I did give it a good shot, drunkenly debating dialectical materialism, but was distracted by real life and that. The first track here is an amalgam of two songs which I noticed used basically the same riff – the second part is a poem in ‘Burmese Days’ by George Orwell. Quite a few mushy songs left out of this one. Sometimes maudlin ballads can be too, er, maudlin. ‘Go Maggie Go’ was also omitted for cringey reasons.


Jumped Up Rich Man/John Flory (Remastered)

Bit harsh on Tony Benn here.

Here come the bolshy boys
Making the same old noise
They’ve waited for too long
Rebels without a song

Here come the boys in blue
They know what’s right for you
Rally round to the call
Give in or just conform

Smash up the system
Sit down and listen
Who do you think you are
Jumped Up Rich Man

Where are the heavy men
Churchill and old Stalin
Who sells their bodies now
To old bourgeois Tony Benn

Na na na na…
Do do do do do do…

He’s got a guilty mind
Sucks up the poor he finds
Hardship must be so vital
To someone who chucks their title

Born 1890
Died of Drink 1927

“Here lies the bones of poor John Flory;
His story was the old,old story.
Money, women, cards and gin
Were the four things that did him in.

He has spent sweat enough to swim in
Making love to stupid women;
He has known misery past thinking
In the dismal art of drinking.

O stranger, as you voyage here
And read this welcome, shed no tear
But take the single gift I give,
And learn from me how not to live.”

*by George Orwell

Original ‘Jumped Up Rich Man’ recording:


Original ‘John Flory’ recording:


D.H.S.S. (Remastered)

I was on the dole a few times in the early eighties. Can you tell?

Come prepared with tickets for the welfare state
But make sure you don’t turn up late
It’s so easy

Wait in line – you’ll get there, it just takes some time
Then autograph the bottom line
It’s so easy

Maybe you’ll be picked out for some ridicule
They’ll ask you to wait in the booth
It’s so easy

If you care, could you fill out this questionairre
They’ll ask you with a piercing glare
It’s so easy

Department of parasite-a-mol
Designed to make you feel two feet tall

Now and then they’ll make you feel like you are ten
Cos you’re a parasite to them

When you’re done, waiting for your giro to come
Don’t let them think that you are scum

Original recording:


It’s Only A Job (Remastered)

Contains gratuitous violence in the last line.

The application form has been in for ten days
You’re lucky to even get that, but the worst bit is the wait
When the reply arrives you know what it will say
Thank you for writing but no vacancies today

It’s really cold outside, I think I’ll stay indoors
And maybe phone some place I haven’t tried before
You tell yourself, at least I’m trying – keep the hope
But optimism fades after the hundredth note

Ridiculous feeling, I’m afraid, ashamed sometimes
It’s only a job I want, I need, it’s my lifeline

Try harder – that’s the way, but you just sink lower down
The more you grasp at nothing, the easier you drown
And if I had a gun I know what I would do
Shoot a hole in the head of the Tory point of view

Original recording:


Extra High Tension (Remastered)

A phrase I picked up during my brief stint as an apprentice T.V. engineer.

Extra high tension – a phrase that I mention
And I only say it to get some attention
I hope you can see I can cope with the pressure
Of extra high tension

Extra high tension – you get it whenever
Someone you just met slyly happens to mention
You don’t look too great, you could spit in their face
Cos of extra high tension

Extra high tension – I’m sick of the questions
That everyone asks and they’re so damn predictable
No, I have not got a job, will you piss off
It’s extra high tension

Original recording:


Winter Of Discontent (Remastered)

Ha! A popular political cliché of the time. Note the turn to absurdity by the end.

Winter of discontent
Fall on the government
Make the snow go away
Stop my hair going grey

I want to find some work
I want to roll in dirt
And when I get my pay
I’ll blow it all away

Nothing today’s secure
Who cares, I’m not mature
I don’t feel 23
Boo hoo, oh pity me

A Russian satellite
Fell on my roof tonight
It blew down all the trees
But I saved my Clash LPs

Original recording:


Another Crisis (Remastered)

Again, the tendency to waver way off the subject in evidence by the end.

Christ, another problem, oh no
Can’t you keep them to yourself, oh no
The only time the world expects a man to show his worth
Is when a crisis rears its head in marriage , death or birth

You waste your time
We all know that
Worshipping money
That’s a fact

Take me home, I’ll never love another girl again
You keep on asking me that
There, you see, I said it
Won’t you trust me now and then

Here comes Superman – he’s coming home
In his super van – and no-one knows
Why he drives that van – he just does
Cos he’s Superman

Original recording:


Stay In My Sight (Remastered)

Dodgy rhyme klaxon – morals/pals

Passion, glory, old morals
We will just stay just good pals

I will be with you
In mind tonight
We cannot always
Stay in our sights

Lovers, thinkers, old values
Plotters, schemers, are the news

I will be with you
In mind tonight
We cannot always
Stay in our sights

Original recording:


Living In Sin Again (Remastered)

More than a whiff of Michael Finnegan about it.

I’m living in
In sin again
I’m living in
The news

I’m giving in
I’m sick again
I’m giving in
To blues

There’s darkness in my eyes

Original recording:


Way Away (Remastered)

Forlorn reflection on the politics of ‘over there’

If you want to do some harm
You use the knuckle, not the palm
And if you want to make me think
You’ll have to buy me another drink

There are people relying on violence
To break their vow of silence
A Harrier, Vulcan or chartered plane
No militia, dictator or royal reign

We see starving children and bombed landscape views
We read about death squads, it’s blood that makes news
But, ah, don’t let’s think about it today
Anyway it’s way away

The liberals are screaming for wrongs to be righted
The generals want heroes with guns to be knighted
On the left they cry it’s all unfair
While the populace don’t really care

There might be a temporary kind of solution
By killing the middle class guards of pollution
It’s one way of seeing it – that’s what I say
Blow up the rich and we’re all way away

If I had money I’d like to think
That I could kick up a really big stink
But I have seen people abusing ideals
By buying their newly made friends classy meals

It’s a known fact that the more you get
Will turn your brain mushy and make you real wet
So celebrate your culture and take what you can
The end of a song and the start of a plan

Original recording:


Too Bad (Remastered)

Bordering on maudlin and slipping over.

I can’t remember when I last had
Something to trust in
Too bad

I can’t remember when I last had
Two friends to call up
Too bad

I can’t remember when I last had
Your whole attention
Too bad

I can’t remember when I last had
Some kind of future
Too bad

Original recording:


No Joke (Remastered)

Later updated as ‘Guy Pistov’ – the dogging footballer in 666 Great Junction Street, but left off the album. I did play it live at the Waverley Bar in the 21st century though.

I live as I want to I hope
I dream of a time I can cope
I stay and I pray I know
Love is no longer a joke

Though I can laugh when I need
I feel it’s just you that I need
Deeper than anything
I see you hurt and I bleed

With you, without you
I see everything pouring out from in me
Sometimes I might say some things the wrong way
I need you, say you need me

All that I feel deep inside
Is yours to take, I can’t hide
My inner thoughts, I’ll talk
Loving is stronger than pride

I finally realised loving is stronger than pride

Original recording:


Apologies for the horrendous design. The split nature was because the second side of this C90 was all cover versions, including The Clash, Velvet Underground, The Mekons, Bowie and many more. I might bung one up later. But I doubt it. A mixed bag of styles and sounds here, but nothing too outré apart from maybe ‘Kill A Hippy’ – the original of which I’ve incorporated into the remix. This album, I think, was recorded in another bedroom in the same town. I was still living with my mum and dad, but now in Caskieberran, not Macedonia. Still drifting in and out of jobs, so quite a few downbeat numbers, although usually tinged with snark and ambivalence. Sometimes the need to keep on smiling through appears a little forced, especially on ‘Happy Man’ but I’m pretty sure that was a result of being buoyed by my determination not to sink into complete cynicism. Pretty sure I’d left Third Light by this point, so I was flying solo with no real desire to play live or anything.


Bully Boy (Remastered)

About bullies in general (I think) rather than one protagonist.

Hi, hi bully boy
What you found, what’s your new joy?
Look right, jailbird son
I’m coming round to spoil your fun

Fear, dread, bully boy
Don’t be smart, don’t be so coy
Run, run, Mr Fist
I’m coming round to slap your wrists

There’s my bully
Oh, there’s my bully
There’s my bully
Bully boy

Search and destroy
Bully boy
Get out and enjoy

Crumbs, crumbs, kick them out
Never mind that little doubt
Building up inside your brain
Will I be the same again?
Will I ever be the same again?
Will I be the same again?
Will I ever be the same again?

Will I ever?
Bully Boy

Original recording:


Tomorrow’s Big Surprise (Remastered)

Quite the epic. Bit dirge like, but mildly hypnotic.

What’s in tomorrow’s big surprises?
What do we have lined up tonight?
What’s in store, can you wait to find out?
What is tomorrow’s big surprise?

What’s for the boys and girls
Wide eyed and new
I’m tired of wondering
What’s for me and you

Out there to give for some reason
Out there to share in it all
Out there no matter what the season
I’m cold but I will not fall

Original recording:


Piece Of Nonsense (Remastered)

Just what it says on the tin.

Well, what is it then, it’s
It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s
Your skin next to mine
Well, what is it then, it’s
It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s
A thought we both share

To think that we try to explain why
Naturally it’s all a waste of time

I don’t even know what
I am saying
It does not make sense
What the hell is love, eh?
It’s, it’s, it’s a
Piece of nonsense

All the crap in the world makes me want to cry
All the strength in the world explains why

Original recording:


Passing Phase (Remastered)

Coping with a mild bout of depression.

Don’t forget all your treasures
Force out the hope that’s inside
Deep down in all the blackness
There shines one big bright light

It’s only a passing
Only a passing
Only a passing
Only a passing

So let’s not be morbid
Think positive now
It might do you some good to wallow
It’s useless, pull yourself out

Self doubt is so easy
Hope needn’t be hard
A bright future awaits you
Who are you kidding now?

It’s only a passing
Only a passing
Only a passing
Only a passing

Original recording:


Isn’t That Hard (Remastered)

Another revenge song. What a bitter little soul I was.

I’ll remember that one
And I’ll get you back
I can be real spiteful
And don’t you forget that

It’s not that I bear grudges
For a very long time
But my memory smudges
You out of my mind

Isn’t that hard
Isn’t that hard
Isn’t it so damn hard that you’ve nothing left to ruin

Sweet revenge, I’m grateful
You gave me a chance
To get my own back on you
You’re squirming in your pants

I will leave you begging
I will say goodbye
You abused my kindness
I’ll leave you behind

I won’t give you money
Won’t give you the time
I won’t give you anything
Just get out my life

Isn’t that so damn hard you’ve got nothing left to ruin
So damn hard you’ve got nothing left to ruin

Original recording:


Another Stupid Fable (Remastered)

My hatred of clichés and platitudes arises. Again.

I suppose it’ll be alright
Another stupid fable
Everything’s alright tonight
Another stupid fable
Look up, look down, look left, look right
Another stupid fable
Paint the whole world brand new white
Another stupid fable

Let’s get up and let’s get down
Another stupid fable
Twist and shout and turn around
Another stupid fable
How are you, well I am sound
Another stupid fable
Lift the mask, bring in the clowns
Another stupid fable

Come on, let’s face it, rock and roll
Another stupid fable
A silver spoon and a crock of gold
Another stupid fable

Original recording:


Over The Hill (Remastered)

Am I being turned down for jobs cos I’m too old already, or just nuts?

Spare time for the raving nutter
Spare time for the way we are
Spare sweat for your bread and butter
You’ve no chance, you reach too far

Over the hill

Take heed now before we shut down
No one needs a fallen boy
Remember we need some muscle
Young bucks we need to employ

Original recording:


Seriousness (Remastered)

Bemoaning a sense of humour bypass it would appear.

There’s the young girls dancing round
With serious expressions
Sucked in cheeks, yes they know all the words
They read last week’s Smash Hits
Hey! hope the DJ
Plays it cos we want to mime the words

And it’s abuse, abuse, abuse, abuse
And seriousness never loses
Views and viewers vying for their lives
Choose and choose and choose and choose
And this one product never loses
Men get fun out of abusing wives (isn’t that hard)

Every single thought is thought in syncopation
No time for error, perish the thought
Every dance step learned is down to observation
The only humour they have got is bought

It might take a miracle to make you laugh, girl
But I know bitching is much more fun
Did you see the way she walked into the room – uuuurgh!
Who does she think she is, number one?

Original recording:


Kill A Hippy (Remastered)

Extremist absurdity. The original is woven into the update here.

Kill the hippies, watch them burning
Kill a hippy, watch him dying
It will make you feel much better

Happy hippies need a lesson
Oh so risqué, fuck the hippies
Stub a joint out in their eyes

Original recording:


Reach Me (Remastered)

Solid chugger, later updated to ‘Leith Walk’ on 666 Great Junction St.

Oh come away, come away
Oh come away, come away
Won’t you be my Roman galley slave
Won’t you be just like me for a day

Oh come away, come away
Oh come away, come away
Let’s pretend we don’t care, not at all
Let’s run off right now and sod them all

Original recording:


Happy Man (Remastered)

Ode to joy, inspired by the Iggy Pop song of the same name. I later changed this to ‘Orang Utan’ when performed live.

I like swinging from the trees
And I like sitting on people’s knees
I like doing the best I can
Cos I’m a very happy man

I like listening to Iggy Pop
And I like dancing until I drop
I like doing the best I can
Cos I’m a very happy man

Happy man, happy man

I like making a terrible noise
Sometimes I even like playing electronic toys
I like doing the best I can
Cos I’m a very happy man

I’m a very happy man

Original recording:


The title is a quote from Orwell’s ‘1984.’ Whittled down from 21 tracks to 13. Now embedded in factory life, my anguish symbolised by a spanner through the heart, most of these songs reflect my new work-a-day existence.  The world of overtime, drudgery and industrial relations looms large. I was a shop steward at one point, as evidenced below, and what an unappreciated slog that was. Witnessing corruption within the union also disillusioned me big time. Such is the prosaic nature of ‘Boss’ that I later recrafted it into a song about a potter, narrated by one of the craftsman’s disfigured figurines, making the line ‘How many people have you fired today and how many of them are broken?’ much better.  The ‘Shop Steward’ song I later rewrote as ‘Match Steward’ about a character in ‘666 Great Junction Street.’  I’ve left out ‘Redundancy’ as it was just getting too depressing, and a few other tunes which I couldn’t bear to re-record. I must have recognised the whole weariness of the political posturing as the last line of ‘Fists Up’ says, ‘Revolutions are very un-chic today.’ Even the Glitter Band homage of ‘Punk Rock Pts 1 &2’  is mired in unnecessarily premature nostalgia.


Fists Up (Remastered)

‘The future will not be as bleak as some say’ – Optimist to the last.

There’s a lot to be said for
Sticking to your guns
And I wish more people would
Be loyal or something close

And the times that you look round
And see nothing but hate
Well, how would you change it
You’d wait, I know, I know, I know

Put your fists up and go
Put your fists up and go
Put your fists up and go
Tell me it is right and tell me it is good

And the future will not be
As bleak as some say
Cos eventually someone
Will lead the way, I know, I know

Makes me right, makes me wrong
Makes me glad we are strong
I pray one day the chains that bind us will snap

And V.I. Lenin said
If we all unite
We could overcome greed
And the fight would start
And we would win, I know

Revolutions are very unchic today

Original recording:


Bonus (Remastered)

God, I really hated overtime.

The pen and the wrist
Or the spade and the fist
Take your choice, do the twist
I am sick of you – sick!

You work hard or lose
Your bonus – you choose
You’ll have to get used
To being abused

So don’t go slow
Bust a gut and go

Time and a half
Is waiting – don’t laugh
You follow the path
You end up half daft

Your bonus will kill
Your fire and your will
It might make you ill
The overtime pill

Original recording:


Boss (Remastered)

Not a lot of subtlety here. The later rewrite as ‘Joss ‘- the clumsy pottery man, made the chorus much funnier.

Boss – are you quite proud
Of all you’ve done
You don’t seem to care
It’s out of your hair

How many people have you fired to date?
How many of them are broken?
Does it upset you to know what you’ve done?
I hope you find something to choke on

Boss – why did you get
To where you are
Don’t forget who paid for
Your company car

Boss – if only you
Would try to be true
You might gain respect
But not from me

Original recording:


Shop Steward (Remastered)

My negotiating skills were somewhat lacking, both with the boss and the workers.

I am not going to go very far
I am not going to swing on a star
And ambition will never be
My number one priority

A shop steward’s fate is infamy
His bad mistakes are legendary

And the people you represent are
As trustworthy as an old car
And you know they never will
Swallow the bitterest pill

You try your best but it is hard
To retain trust after the last card
And you promise you won’t compromise
But you’re still the one the workers despise

Original recording:


Face Away (Remastered)

The latest in the continuing saga of that enduring double act, Apathy and Disillusionment.

What a bloody waste
There’s people tearing us down
But no-one wants to know
They want to keep their job secure

Unions losing power
Hardly raising a frown
As long as there is work to do
No-one breaks ground

Face away, face away from it all

Settling for nothing
It’s a negative game
Workers keep the country going
But they just stay the same

Everyone can’t lose their jobs
It might seem that way
Accepting cuts in wages
Doesn’t make it OK

Who am I to grumble
Who am I to say why
People shouldn’t give up
And just lie down and die

It is not my problem
Is the common reply
What a bloody waste
No wonder nobody tries

Face the searing pain
And cry out again

Original recording:


Sanity Is Not Statistical (Remastered)

Sparser version than the one on 666 Great Junction Street

Everywhere I look
No-one’s reading books
Is your guarantee

Sanity is not statistical
Common sense is not predictable
Sanity is not statistical
Vanity is so predictable

Intelligence is out
Apathy’s the shout
One dissenting scream
Won’t even be seen

There seems to be lots
Of cliques tied up in knots
Sanity is fine
If you have the time

I’m surplus to requirements
Must try and keep quiet

Everybody seems
To treasure petty dreams
But there is a lack
Of logical attack

Original recording:


Hostile (Remastered)

Should’ve been more bombastic, but I got bored playing about with the drums.

Putting up with your tantrums
Smashing up your favourite albums

Why does it have to be hostile?

Arguing – it just fills the time
In between another all out fight

Cause a fuss, make it public too
Don’t save us god we’ve got more to do

Original recording:


Keep It To Yourself (Remastered)

Frustration, boredom, disappointment – you name it, it’s all here.

So you said
You wouldn’t break that promise
That you made
Before the truth was known
Build up hopes
And shatter them by saying
I forgot
To tell you it’s all off

So now I don’t believe
In putting faith in anything
The next scheme you think up
Just keep it to yourself

Thursday night
We’ll go out just by ourselves
Don’t forget
To wear your brand new shoes
And of course
By the time it’s Thursday
You’ve forgot
And we stay in again

Original recording:


Disaster (remastered)

Always on the brink, or just about to sink.

I’ve seen you walk away from
Disaster after disaster after disaster

I only hope I can share my manifesto with you
I only hope that my optimism rubs off on you too

My attitude is that we can share a positive outlook
And be brave and walk away from more disasters too

We are not so far away from living life anew
We are not so far away from doing what we want to do

Original recording:


Saving Up (Remastered)

Economics, prudence and sensibility versus Carpe Diem – the eternal struggle.

What’s the point in saving up for life
When you could be dead tonight
You say it’ll come in handy for a rainy day
But I want to go out tonight

Bills and final demands are all pouring in
The rent has been due for six weeks
You say you don’t want to sound too boring
But money doesn’t grow on trees
Money doesn’t grow on trees
People can’t do as they please

I swear I do try to appreciate
The value of your income
But maybe the insurance will turn up late
And we can go and have some fun
We can go and have some fun
Instead of sitting on our bums

Original recording:


Nothing To Say (Remastered)

Already, by 1983, I was sick of ‘eighties’ music.

I’ve looked around and I’ve seen what is new
And it’s certainly nothing to get in a stew about

Primeval drums do not count anyway
And sincere young synthists have nothing to say

All today’s pop stars with socialist views
Are trying to tell us that fun is the news

But it seems to ring hollow and strikes me as fey
Cos what they really mean is they’ve nothing to say

Original recording:


Punk Rock Parts 1 & 2 (Remastered)

Nostalgia at the age of 23 FFS.

Do you still recall
At the back of the hall
We used to take the piss out of everybody
We’d pogo all night
There was never a fight
Everybody took the piss out of everybody

Such a lot to do
Punk rock parts one and two
Whatever happened to you
Punk rock parts one and two

My hair was alright
Yours used to take you all night
And everyone would comment on the state of Johnny
We seemed to be in
About fifteen groups
We were deadly serious and deadly funny

Original recording:


Break Me Down (Remastered)

Awww. Simplicity itself. Nae messing.

I have such a gullible mind
Pick me up and drop me anytime
That’s why you change me that often
Break me down

Tear out all the poison from me
Show me what you want me to see
That’s why you change me that often
Break me down

What does it matter what’s in the air
Who cares what’s brewing, show me you care

I don’t want to make you feel bad
I am such an understanding lad
That’s why you change me that often
Break me down

Original recording: