Robert Wyatt’s great elegy for the passing away of heavy manufacturing and the community values that surrounded it is as intense and moving today as it was 30 years ago.
I was not from that world and but for a brief spell as a mechant seaman have never used my hands to make a living. I’m not qualified to talk about the dignity of labour.
As a country we are embarking on a period where unemployment will be the major issue. Millions will lose their jobs and many more will be directly affected by the frustration and humiliation of having no work- I mean the workless families.
Much of the infrastructure that supported people through hard times has gone, the church and chapel, the clubs and pubs and the institutions of labour-the unions- are diminished.
People now share experience via computers, radio and TV. Without work many people have no common meeting place.
I worry for the happiness of Britain- especially for those who are and will be out of work over the next few years.
Henry, ‘Shipbuilding’ was Elvis Costelloe’s elegy on lives lost in the Falklands war with probably the last and most beautiful solo Chet Baker ever recorded. Robert Wyatt made an inferior cover!
This gives the complexity in all its glory- Langer wrote the chords to which Costello wrote the lyrics, Wyatt was the original singer-I wasn’t aware of Chet Baker’s involvement but can hear it now you mention it.
it was indeed a Falklands lament but I’ve picked up on the second theme- Declan grew up in Liverpool and it’s also an elegy for the passing of the industry…
Costello sung the song live which to me (like perhaps you) is the definitive version