billy bragg

Punk Rock isn’t buying the latest ‘cool’ Punk c.d, Punk Rock isn’t having that cool acab patch on your jacket, Punk Rock isn’t havin that cool multi colored mohawk , Punk Rock is 2 musicians that a year ago sold out Wembley Arena, bracing the freezing cold, and busking for charity.

Kudos to you Frank Turner and Billy Bragg.

There is Power in a Union
  • There is Power in a Union
  • the Mountain Goats / Billy Bragg
  • zVarious Unreleased

Now I long for the morning that they realise
Brutality and unjust laws can not defeat us
But who’ll defend the workers who cannot organise
When the bosses send their lackies out to cheat us?

Money speaks for money, the Devil for his own
Who comes to speak for the skin and the bone
What a comfort to the widow, a light to the child
There is power in a Union

The Union forever defending our rights
Down with the blackleg, all workers unite
With our brothers and out sisters from many far off lands
There is power in a Union.

Billy Bragg (an English singer-songwriter - listen to his song about The Sun.  I also like to think about the fact that Sexuality was a hit the year Louis was born) has just posted this about David Bowie and Alan Rickman:

And I just wanted to share it, because it is one of the reasons that I find One Direction so fascinating.  In Britain, entertainment - both music and acting - have been jobs for working-class people.  Even more so queer young working-class men.  All those Comedians in the Bears’ frames - they were all working-class men - and they followed quite traditional paths into a world where they could be queer.

Those paths have been closing down since the 1980s - economic restructuring combined with technological changes mean that it’s much, much harder for working-class kids to get jobs in the arts anymore. The pathways in that Frankie Lamarr, Larry Grayson, David Bowie and Alan Rickman took are either closed, or require money and connections that they never used to require. 

That’s the context that One Direction exists in - and it shapes them and the way they are seen in so many ways.  And I know I’ve said a lot about that before.  I guess what I want to say today, is that the situation they’re in, the lack of power they have.  The fact that these kids felt like it was X-factor mega-stardom or nothing and therefore they had to accept being controlled to this incredible degree - that didn’t just happen.  Huge social changes took places in the 1980s and 1990s (and are still happening today) - government policy was specifically aimed at cutting off the options and limiting the resources that people like Niall, Zayn, Liam, Louis and Harry would have access to. 

A lot of men are acting with hostility towards the current wave of feminism because they can’t tell the difference between a personal accusation of sexism and a structural critique of the way sexism is endemic in our culture
—  Billy Bragg
  • There Is Power In a Union
  • Billy Bragg

No song has ever been truer - anyone who wants to rid “politics” of the union influence don’t want a representative electoral body, they want a face that they can bow to and empty promises that they can yield to. Long live unionised workforces, fighting for people whilst the nodding dogs of Westminster fight over who has the loudest voice in the Commons.

There is Power In a UnionBilly Bragg

Greetings to the New Brunette
  • Greetings to the New Brunette
  • Billy Bragg
  • Talking with the Taxman About Poetry

How many ways is this brilliant? Kirsty MacColl vocals, the electric guitar by Johnny Marr, the amazing lyrics, it’s just an epic perfect work.

It’s quite exciting to be sleeping here in this new room
You’re my reason to get out of bed before noon
You know when we sat out on the fire escape talking
What did you say about running before we were walking

Sometimes when we’re as close as this
It’s like we’re in a dream
How can you lie there and think of england
When you don’t even know who’s in the team

Your sexual politics have left me all of a muddle
We are joined in the ideological cuddle

I’m celebrating my love for you
With a pint of beer and a new tattoo
And if you haven’t noticed yet
I’m more impressionable when my cement is wet

Politics and pregnancy
Are debated as we empty our glasses
And how i love those evening classes

You really know how to make a young man angry
Can we get through the night without mentioning family

The people from your church agree
It’s not much of a career
Trying the handles of parked cars
Whoops, there goes another year
Whoops, there goes another pint of beer

Here we are in our summer years
Living on icecream and chocolate kisses
Would the leaves fall from the trees
If i was your old man and you were my missus

Give my greetings to the new brunette

The Internationale
  • The Internationale
  • Billy Bragg
  • The Internationale

Stand up, all victims of oppression
For the tyrants fear your might
Don’t cling so hard to your possessions
For you have nothing, if you have no rights
Let racist ignorance be ended
For respect makes the empires fall
Freedom is merely privilege extended
Unless enjoyed by one and all

So come brothers and sisters
For the struggle carries on
The Internationale
Unites the world in song
So comrades come rally
For this is the time and place
The international ideal
Unites the human race

Let no one build walls to divide us
Walls of hatred nor walls of stone
Come greet the dawn and stand beside us
We’ll live together or we’ll die alone 
In our world poisoned by exploitation
Those who have taken, now they must give
And end the vanity of nations
We’ve but one Earth on which to live

And so begins the final drama
In the streets and in the fields
We stand unbowed before their armour
We defy their guns and shields
When we fight, provoked by their aggression
Let us be inspired by life and love
For though they offer us concessions
Change will not come from above

Top 10 British protest and political songs

1. Jarvis Cocker – Running the World (2006)
Originally written about Blair and Bush, I think this is more appropriate now than it ever has been.


2. Billy Bragg – Never Cross a Picket Line (1990)
You can’t have a list of the best political and protest songs without the king of political music.


3. Lily Allen – Hard Out Here (2014)
Lily Allen manages to reference body image, double standards, Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines and the glass ceiling all in one song.


4. The Jam – Eton Riffles (1979)
We still have old Etonians running the country, including the Prime Minister and Mayor of London. Apparently David Cameron is a fan of this song, to Paul Weller’s dismay.

5. Pulp – Cocaine Socialism (1998)
Jarvis Cocker wrote Cocaine Socialism after being contacted by one of Blair’s minions during the 1997 general election campaign begging for his support, to try and make Blair look cool. An angry Jarvis Cocker wrote this in response.

6. Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next (1998)
In 2009, it was discovered that the song was used on the website of the British National Party as the soundtrack of an article describing “the violence, hatred, fragmentation and despair” wrought on London by the “great multicultural experiment”. Obviously the Irony was lost on them.


7. Lily Allen – Fuck You (2009)
Her opinions on the British National Party are made pretty clear, she did also once dedicate it to the FIFA President.


8. Frank Turner – Thatcher Fucked The Kids (2006)
Turner actually regrets writing this saying “I regret writing the song simply because I started getting a lot of people coming to my shows who didn’t give two shits about my music. I’d just said something they agreed with. There’s a fair amount of analysis in that song that I would 100% stand by, but writing that was almost dipping a toe into the world of being a protest singer. I tried it, I really didn’t like it, and so I did something else with my life.”

9. Pulp – Common People (1995)
Although being one of the most famous songs of the 1990s, Common People never actually made it to number 1 unfortunately. Should have done though.

10. Plan B – Ill Manors (2012)
Ill Manors was written as a response to 2011’s riots and “society’s failure to nurture its disadvantaged youth.” The Guardian described Ill Manors as “the first great mainstream protest song in years.”