Yesterday we saw the folk music episode of the great 70s music history series All You Need Is Love. Full of boring old scrote Pete Seeger talking about his gay old times with Woody Guthrie and the unmitigated joys of protest singing, Leonard Cohen's enigmatic words (which to me sound better spoken without that awful picky guitar accompaniment) and Joan Baez being Joan Baez.
Then they show a clip of Leon Rosselson playing his song.
"Who's Leon Rosselson?" I hear you cry.
Now then, don't you know Leon Rosselson?
An English songwriter and writer of children's books, he sang satirical songs on That Was The Week That Was. A kind of radical Richard Stilgoe, then. Twat face Billy Bragg took Rosselson's The World Turned Upside Down into the charts in 1985. The lower echelons of the charts, I presume.
Leon's song featured on the programme isn't satirical but it is bitingly radical.
Here's the words to the first verse and chorus. Imagine a young man with big glasses and a bobbly jumper, sitting down with an acoustic guitar, a voice like Mrs Mopp (according to Betty).
Take it away, Leon. Deep breath as you've got a lot to fit in. OK? No, wait. Are you sure? This is a bloody long verse. You are ready? Go, Leon, go!
If prime ministers and advertising executives, royal personages and bank managers' wives, had to live out their lives in dank rooms, blinded by smoke and the foul air of sewers, grot on the walls and rats in the cellars, in rows of dung (citation needed) houses like mouldering tombs, had to bring up their children and watch them grow, in a wasteland of dead streets where nothing will grow...
Bloody hell, that was a good'un. Now for the chorus. Slower, deeper and more meaningful, now. Pause between lines. Let....them....sink....in.
Buttons would be pressed, rules would be broken, strings would be pulled, magic words spoken, invisible fingers would mould palaces of gold.
It's National Poetry Day tomorrow. Asked to explain her choice of Maya Angelou's Phenomenal Woman, Geri Halliwell says "It's pure girl power." What the fuck?
Scribble Leon's song at your place of work tomorrow! Fight the powers that be!
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