Chiming in on the theme we have guest minstrel Susan Wilkes:
(Poem #930) Town Called Malice
You'd better stop dreaming of the quiet life 'cos it's the one we'll never know And quit running for that runaway bus 'cos those rosy days are few And stop apologising for the things you've never done 'cos time is short and life is cruel, but it's up to us to change This town called malice. Rows and rows of disused milk floats stand dying in the dairy yard And a hundred lonely housewives clutch empty milk bottles to their hearts Hanging out their old love letters on the line to dry It's enough to make you stop believing when tears come fast and furious In a town called malice. Struggle after struggle, year after year The atmosphere's a fine blend of ice, I'm almost stone cold dead In a town called malice. A whole street's belief in Sunday's roast beef gets dashed against the Co-op To either cut down on beer or the kids new gear It's a big decision in a town called malice. The ghost of a steam train, echoes down my track It's at the moment bound for nowhere, just going round and round Playground kids and creaking swings, lost laughter in the breeze I could go on for hours and I probably will, but I'd sooner put some joy back In this town called malice.
Lyrics by Paul Weller. Performed by the Jam. About a year ago, I happened to write this to two friends: "The Jam are a part of one of the most beautiful musical memories I have. I was 16, and had just decided I was leaving home (though I was 17 by the time I moved). My brother's band was playing at a bar in Peterborough, Ontario. It had been an *amazing* night, and I was helping them pack up. They were playing a tape through the PA system which meant the music was very, very loud. "Town Called Malice" came on; we turned it up louder, and danced/raced/ran up and down the length of this bar. I could *not* get enough - this intense physical expression - being 16 and with a body not big enough to contain it all - gotta run, gotta dance, gotta move on. I swear, I think of that night as my youth." That night in the bar was in 1982, and now I add - this is truly one of my all time favourite songs. I read the lyrics and my body starts moving to the wicked music, and I hear Paul Weller's voice booming. But I do think the lyrics stand alone. In bleak moods, I'm sure I mostly related to "It's enough to make you stop believing when tears come fast and furious", but even at the angst-ridden age of 16, I think I always preferred "I could go on for hours and I probably will, but I'd sooner put some joy back in this town called malice." I think there's so much else there as well, and I still like to listen to it very, very loud. By the way, Paul Weller was pretty much a kid then, too - just a few years older than me. He's gone on to write some more pretty amazing songs... Susan.