maandag, januari 31, 2005

Working for the cash machine

Whenever I've spent extended periods in the UK, I've always been aghast at the cost of everything there. Wages are low, and prices are usurous. There's always a gaping hole in my pocket whenever I visit London and I am shocked that that in itself is not a major political issue (the price of things, that is, not the gap in my pocket - which can be useful in other ways).

It is however the subject of a wickedballs single from a new London band, Hard-fi, who have more than a wee bit of a Clash influence - which is certainly no crime in my book. The track, 'Working for the cash machine', gives good expression to this price-induced poverty:

'Go to a cash machine
To get a ticket home
A message on the screen
Says don't make plans you're broke
No, no this can't be right
I know that times is tight
I thought I've just been paid
Three weeks but they say that it's right

'No, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh

'I scratch a living, it ain't easy
You know with the drag
I'm always paying, never making
But you can't look back
I wonder if I'll ever gets
To where I wants to be
Better believe it
I'm working for the cash machine

'I try to phone a friend
My credit's in the red
I try to skip the fare
Ticket inspector's there
No, no, this can't be right
I live an honest life
It seems like sometimes
You don't cross the line
You don't get by'

You can check the track here, but I'd recommend just listening to the song and ignoring the video. It's one of the worst I've ever seen, and has dick-all to do with the song.

There's a lot of good shit coming out of the UK at the moment, as well as from New York, that's clearly heavily influenced by many of the post-punk/new wave bands of the late seventies and early eighties, which is great to hear - but too many of the bands have adopted the sound while exorcising the hard-left politic that typically went along with it. And this at a time of crushing structural adjustment, privatisation, and imperialist war! Come on musical-type-bandy-people, pull your finger out! Give us an anti-war anthem or two!

The Hard-fi track isn't bad though.