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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, October 04, 2003
    Fear is a Man's Best Friend
     
    When Must I Paint You a Picture: The Essential Billy Bragg arrived by post this morning it went onto the player immediately and I was touched by the eighties. Welled up hearing Walk Away Renee; I can't explain why: it's a very funny satire on teenage love. Maybe I'm just missing being teenaged and in love.

    I was also thrilled to rediscover something I played over and over in those dark Thatcher years, which BB previously only released on an NME cassette in 1984: John Cale's Fear is a Man's Best Friend.

    At the time, living in the darkness of unemployment I felt the same defiant anger as Bill brought to this. The lyrics gave voice to what so many were going through. In those times it was a righteous, and truly redemptive, rebel song. Today, it's a reminder of how it felt, living through all that. As the Tory party gathers for their Blackpool conference, lest we forget what they did to us back then:
      Home is living like a man on the run
      Trails leading nowhere, where to my son?
      We're already dead, just not yet in the ground
      Come on hold my shaking hand and I'll show you around
      You know it makes sense, don't even think about it
      Life and death are things you only do when you're bored
      Say fear is a man's best friend
      You add it up it brings you down
      You add it up it brings you down
      Say fear is a man's best friend
      Say fear is a man's best friend
      Say fear is a man's best friend...