Diary – 1984


The last of the tapes. The end of an era. The positivity of the cover suggests I was in a pretty good mood at the time. Or I was just having a sarcastic swipe at deodorants. Of the 32  tracks on the original cassette, I’ve managed to trim it down to the best 13.  An acoustic instrumental and an attempt at jazz were expunged for aesthetic reasons, while my interpretation of ‘Last Train To Clarkesville’ was left out on the grounds of being unnecessary. Another track omitted was later updated as You’ll Always Be In Our Hearts while the song ‘The Butcher‘ is already out there on the ‘Dislocation Dislocation‘ album, as well as being updated to ‘The Citizen‘ on the ‘Recklesses‘ album. So at least some of these old tunes have been revived throughout the years, having been lodged somewhere in my increasingly evaporating memory.  It’s been fun revisiting and redoing them and I could have spent even longer lovingly restoring them, but I felt that retaining the lo-fi atmosphere would be better (and easier). The sheer volume of material means I might just condense them all down to a single Best Of compilation. Stay out of tuned.

Competition Time (Remastered)

The 80s eh? It was all about dog eat dog eat dog….

Take away my liberty
Ease into nothing, ease into nothing

Take away my privacy
Ease into nothing, ease into nothing

Take away my pride and pain
Leave me with a little shame
Hold onto your pinch of grain
In competition time

Pushed aside and left to rot
Ease into nothing, ease into nothing

The prize is greater at the top
Cool competition, spared for admission

Original recording:


Bright Spark (Remastered)

Later updated to ‘Michael Cade‘ for 666 Great Junction Street

Killing time for someone else
Hoping they will see
All my effort’s not in vain
It’s meant to be a token of esteem

Listening to the idle chat
Of people who should know
Better than to become trapped
Inside a system where you can’t say no

Speaking out in benefit
Of being heard by one
A little spark inside your brain
Could be turned into fire and then some

Original recording:


Marking Time (Remastered)

I like how the tide will wash away your worried brow rather than just wash over it. Brutal.

My hair is badly needing washed you know
I’m like a devil on a cross to go
And there is someone over there you know
He’ll show you how to have a pleasant time
And overcome
You won the line, you own the gun
Your face contorts
It almost speaks
You’re there I know
You’re out of reach
And marking time

We will go down into the sea you know
And come up smelling even cleaner though
The tide will wash away your worried brow
And you can think again
That someone close is always here
To help you brush away the tears
The way you say that you need more
I try to give
So don’t ignore me
Marking time

Getting used to the routine
And all the familiarity
It doesn’t have to be so staid
All of our dues have not been paid
We’re marking time

Original recording:


Heaven On Earth (Remastered)

Another diatribe against the middle mass

It seems that people are invariably happy
Stuck with their lot and know their station in life
As long as everybody knows their own limits

It’s heaven on earth, depends on the price you pay
Heaven on earth if some people get their way

You’re very comfortable in your own surroundings
This is my house and I have paid for the walls
You’re oh so smug with your new middle class grounding

It’s heaven on earth, depends on the price you pay
Heaven on earth if some people get their way

Do you have to grab for every inch of the land to be happy?
You satisfy your killer instinct and greed to be happy

Trapped in a snug abode, is this what you worked for?
A car as well? Well, aren’t you doing just fine
These are the things that you still worry about nights

It’s heaven on earth, depends on the price you pay
Heaven on earth if some people get their way

Original recording:


Right (Remastered)

The Thatcher years digging in hard.

Angles, right turns and right mess
A new party and a new dress
More sharp shocks, it’s all for the best

Right on to the end of the road
Dashed to the side if you’re slow
The right way’s the wrong way to go

Original recording:


No Ball Games (Remastered)

An opportunity for word play and wild rockabilly

No ball games – the notice went up
I played in your courtyard at keepy-up
I hope it’s a temporary measure

Do what you want, it’s your patch of land
Don’t ruin my pitch, I’ll get out of hand
It’s come down to this finally, has it?
The ball’s in your court, kindly pass it

Do what you want, say what you will
You can’t keep me back from you

No ball games – your company’s getting much worser
All your no ball games – your company’s falling to pieces
With your no ball games – your company’s getting much worser
Now you’re no ball games

Ball and chains are wrapped all around me
The story went round, it’s easy to see
Why you got this bad reputation
For fouling up this situation

Ban me from playing ever again
All that I ask is, can’t we be friends
I’ll try not to be so demanding
I’ll try not to ruin your standing

Original recording:


Ammunition Waltz (Remastered)

1984 – a big year for war and tension

Pick me up, I’m dying
For an ammunition waltz
Pick me up, I’m crying out
For bullets for a cause

Seek me out, I’m trying
To be heard above the row
Someone out there’s dying
For a piece of land to plough

Keep the red flag flying
Keep the white flag for the schmaltz
Under fire for trying
For the ammunition waltz

Send you down for ever
For the sins that you have thought
All the oh-so clever
Are eventually caught

We were only talking

Original recording:


A Good Thing (Remastered)

Here’s me trying to be funky.

Go ahead and take everything that it takes
Do, do, do, do, do
Love is but a good thing

Go ahead and break everything, there’s no brakes
Do, do, do, do, do
Love is but a good thing

I gave up trying to understand
Just what you look for inside a man
For you

Do, do, do, do, do
Love is but a good thing

Original recording:


Moles (Remastered)

Looks like spying was also part of the general 1984 vibe.

There’s always someone trying to lay down the law
I wish I knew what all the scheming was for
Don’t bother rushing to the January sales, there’s always more

So don’t pretend that everything is rosy
We all know the bottom line is
Trying to keep you happy

There’s always cover-up jobs going around
Sometimes I think we should be underground
But there are lots of moles down there
So just stay here with me

Another spy was caught in England today
Everyone knew exactly what he would say
We knew he got his funds from C.I.A. America

Original recording:


Capital (Remastered)

Economics – Bo Diddley style!

How do you like living in the secret world?
How do you like being kept in the cold?
How do you like being told what to do?
You voted for this, no-one voted for you

Keeping in touch with the moron mass
Going back to the Charles Dickens past
Children with soot in their face and blood
Crawling from sewers to live in mud

The protestant ethic is still intact
The more you save, the more you get fat
The less you drink, eat and read and love
The more you treasure your capital

Here we are with no more goods to buy
Here we are with no more tears to cry

Over in Russia – hey, what’s it like?
Do you get to say just what you like?
Do you get force fed shit like us?
We get to shout and scream and fuss – wow!

Original recording:


Clueless (Remastered)

Mrs Media and obliging policemen no less.

As the country watches strikers fighting for their freedom
All they get is spat on in the press
The watchful eye of Mrs Media and obliging policemen
Assuring us they didn’t start this mess

To apathetic millions it’s another boring re-run
Who needs real life, you’ve got a VCR
Anaesthetic, photogenic actors having great fun
Spoiled for choice – a holiday or car

Daily Scum says win a million, it’s the new sensation
Who needs news when greed is all the rage
Fleet Street editors fight like brats to bribe the population
Money talks and screams from the front page

The airwaves are polluted with fun-loving night club zeroes
Intelligence won’t get you on the air
Here’s the latest shampoo smash from this year’s haircut heroes
Who don’t even pretend they ever cared

After swallowing the snippets of national information
Sacked Jack, fight back, don’t crack any heads
Is it any wonder that the clueless of the nation
Retire empty-headed to their beds

Original recording:


Smiling Casualty (Remastered)

Fatalism versus cynicism versus apathy.

Someone out there who hasn’t a care
You’ll always be happy
A clown or a fool, a teacher at school
You’ll always be happy

You’ll always have that cushion to fall back on
You can be relied on to be the smiling casualty

Here comes a bulletin you might have seen
Someone is suddenly branded as brave
Lying in a grave
Some body, suddenly

You’ll read about the dangers that he never faced
Just blown up in public for being in the wrong place

If there’s a cause, if there ever was
Who was the bad writer
Who wrote the book, who laid down the laws
Who was the first fighter

You must have read something that some nobody wrote
Probably to buy the author a new coat

Give me a cynical old fashioned man
Over a smug, smart swine
Who said that innocence comes in a can
I did. And I bought mine

Original recording:


Best Man (Remastered)

And this is where it all ends and I invent techno-punk.

How do you make the best man give up living alone
How do you make a mess, man, out of living alone
Living alone

How do you make a best man get on his own
How do you make a mess, man, living alone
Living alone

Original recording: