Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Whatcha gonna do about it, whatcha gonna do?


Even with loads of lurex and glitter, 1973 still looked bleak.

Timeslip moment again...

The papers today are full of reminiscences about the tumultuous end of the 1960s (this being the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Senator Bobby Kennedy).

However we, dear reader, have been unceremoniously catapulted by our trusty TARDIS to a mere five years later, in 1973 - a continuing Cold War world; the year of Watergate, the final end of the Vietnam War, the escalation of the Arab–Israeli conflict, the "Three-Day Week" (with its associated power cuts), civil unrest in the US and France, and of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.

In the news forty-five years ago this month: a plane crash at the Paris Air Show destroyed 15 houses, killed all six people on board and eight more on the ground (three of them children) and severely injured sixty people; Princess Anne became engaged to Captain Mark Phillips; the Greek military junta abolished the country's monarchy; President Richard Nixon began a series of talks with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev; the IRA killed six people and injured 33 others with two car-bombs in Coleraine in Northern Ireland; and in the ascendant were Donald Wetzel (inventor of the ATM/cashpoint machine) and The Rocky Horror Show (which premièred at the Royal Court Theatre in London), but we bade a sad farewell to the legendary Nancy Mitford. In our cinemas: Live and Let Die; Travels With My Aunt and That'll Be the Day. On telly: the ground-breaking series The Ascent of Man presented by Professor Jacob Bronowski; Esther Rantzen's That's Life; and children's sports programme We Are the Champions.

And in the UK Charts this week in June 1973? A bit of a Glam-rock kick, it would appear, with Wizzard at the top slot, Suzi Quatro and Sweet in the running, and Gary Glitter slithering his way down the listings; there were a raft of classics including Albatross by Fleetwood Mac, Perry Como's And I Love You So, Stevie Wonder's You Are the Sunshine of My Life, Stuck In The Middle With You by Stealers Wheel and Lou Reed's Walk On the Wild Side; and also in attendance were Nazareth, Tony Orlando and Dawn, Medicine Head and The Partridge Family. And then there was this one - which I remember as clear as day: as a nine-year-old in junior school, on a residential field trip up the Brecon Beacons in the typical Welsh drizzle-that-passes-for-summer, singing along to the infectious sound of 10CC...


I went to a party at the local county jail
All the cons were dancing and the band began to wail
But the guys were indiscreet
They were brawling in the street
At the local dance at the local county jail

Well the band were playing
And the booze began to flow
But the sound came over on the police car radio
Down at Precinct 49
Having a tear-gas of a time
Sergeant Baker got a call from the governor of the county jail

Load up, load up, load up with rubber bullets
Load up, load up, load up with rubber bullets

I love to hear those convicts squeal
It's a shame these slugs ain't real
But we can't have dancin' at the local county jail

Sergeant Baker and his men made a bee-line for the jail
And for miles around
You could hear the sirens wail
There's a rumour goin' round death row
That a fuse is gonna blow
At the local hop at the local county jail

Whatcha gonna do about it, whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do about it, whatcha gonna do?

Sergeant Baker started talkin'
With a bullhorn in his hand
He was cool, he was clear
He was always in command
He said "Blood will flow;
Here Padre
Padre you talk to your boys..."
"Trust in me -
God will come to set you free"

Well we don't understand
Why you called in the National Guard
When Uncle Sam is the one
Who belongs in the exercise yard
We all got balls and brains
But some's got balls and chains
At the local dance at the local county jail

Load up, load up, load up with rubber bullets
Load up, load up, load up with rubber bullets

Is it really such a crime
For a guy to spend his time
At the local dance at the local county jail
At the local dance at the local county jail

Whatcha gonna do about it, whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do about it, whatcha gonna do?


Timeless!

[Note of interest: A rumour spread around in their heyday that they named themselves 10cc because the term represents the amount of semen in an average male ejaculation (or a little bit more). This is apparently an urban myth; their name was chosen by their then manager Jonathan King arising from a dream he had about a band that became successful with that name.]

2 comments:

  1. The 1970's were bleak that why we needed the glitter.
    I managed to have me a little fun though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "She said: 'Kitty, so you like fun?' I said 'I had enough of that in 1957 when I got trapped in a lift with a hula hoop salesman!'"

      Jx

      Delete

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