Bored of the Brexit? YES – wall-to-wall news coverage of nothing else for the last week., and of course, being a “token” Brit in my small town, conversation always inevitably turns to the Brexit. I have a bad case of Brexit fatigue – So, on a lighter, and perhaps final post on the subject – my Brexit top ten – my playlist for the great British Exit.
In at number one is that classic song by the Clash – “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” – Yes, this was very much a pre-referendum song. There is that line – “If I stay there will be trouble, If I go there will be double.” Now that Britain (or rather England) have decided to leave, there will possibly our troubles are more than double.
At number two, the Abba classic – “Waterloo” – winner of the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest which, that year, was held in the southern English seaside town of Brighton. For the record, during the referendum on June 23rd, Brighton voted 68% to remain in the European Union. I suppose in many ways, the EU Referendum result could be termed as a British Waterloo. In many ways, the lyrics are quite prophetic
At Waterloo Napoleon did surrender, Oh yeah
And I have met my destiny in quite a similar way
The history book on the shelf
Is always repeating itself.
For historical buffs, Napoleon, was defeated at Waterloo, in Belgium. Brussels is just over 14 kilometres from the small village of Waterloo, accessible by train from Brussels central station.
Number three – the Pink Floyd classic track, “Comfortably Numb” –though far from comfortable with the result, I was certainly numb, and now I can see Britain’s position in Europe as being no more than “a distant ship smoke on the horizon.”
Number four – I had to have some kind of trashy Euro AOR (Adult Orientated Rock) so, what better than the Swedish group Europe and their 1986 chart-topping, trashy Euro-metal song “The Final Countdown” ? Very fitting as we countdown to the day that Britain will finally leave the EU. I like the lyrics on this one.
We’re leaving together,
But still it’s farewell.
And maybe we’ll come back
To earth, who can tell?
I guess there is no one to blame
We’re leaving ground (leaving ground)
Will things ever be the same again?
Of course though, we are not leaving together, Britian is now, by all accounts, a very divided country.
At number five, still in the European AOR vein, the Scorpions and their 1984 hit– “Still Loving You” –
I left school in July 1984 and I spent pretty much all my time from early July 84 to February 1985 in France. “Still Loving You” was the standard slow dance track played in every discotheque at the end of the evening. I lost count of how many French girls, I unsuccessfully tried to pick up whilst dancing to this.
This choice is not only for old times, but also for all those Brexiteers who secretly still hanker a little after Europe and perhaps regret voting to leave in the referendum. However the lyrics could also apply to our European partners if they begin to make overtures try to get Britain to stay.
If we go again all the way from the start
I would try to change the things that killed our love
Your pride has built a wall, so strong that I can’t get through
Is there really no chance to start once again?
I’m still loving you.
Away from European-style AOR, at number six, that great song by the Talking Heads, their first serious UK hit back in 1985 – “The Road to Nowhere” – which in my humble opinion is pretty much where the UK is headed at the moment.
There’s been a lot of European songs in this list for the moment, so in at number seven, that Britpop classic by Oasis, their 1995 song “Don’t Look Back In Anger.” Not brilliant in lyrical terms, but this is for all the 18 to 25s who voted in majority to stay in the EU. In futue years don’t look back in anger on the older generation who voted to leave the EU.
Glancing across the channel from my side, the mid-nineties always seemed to be good times for Britain – Cool Britannia and things of that ilk. It was in the nineties that the French very much adopted the Union Jack as a fashion accessory and whilst France was in the doldrums, the UK seemed to be a kind of promised land. These were the years when young French adults started to leave France in their thousands to go and live and work in the UK, because back then anything seemed possible in Britain. Now, I’m not so sure.
At number eight – a little Anglo-French cooperation with the Serge Gainsbourg classic “Je t’aime, moi non plus.” So, the lecherous old Serge originally wrote this back in 1967 for his “muse” of the time, Brigitte Bardot. It was finally released in 1969, with the sultry female lines sung by the new love in Serge’s life – Jane Birkin. This, long, languorous, hot and sticky, orgasmic number was of course banned by the BBC. Less shocking in this day and age, the song is still the finest consummation of Anglo-French musical relations. I guess the message here is love one another and get into bed with our European partners, though on a Brexit level it might also mean “F*** Europe” in all senses of the word.
Three choices for number nine – all Eurovison song contest winners.
“Save all your kisses for me” by the Brotherhood of Man – 1976 winner.
“Making your mind up” by Bucks Fizz – 1981 winner
“Love Shine a light,” by Katrina and the Waves – 1997 winner.
So, if and when Britian finally leaves pretty much every single European institution, will we still be allowed to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest, or will the UK place be finally taken by the Australians, who have been “invitied” to take part for the past two years?
A note on the songs – they all won Eurovison and consequently made the number one slot in the UK charts – this being back when Eurovision success guaranteed chart success.
“Save all your kisses” for me was a real toe tapping and cheesy Eurovison classic. “Making your mind up” in 1981 was just a little more raunchy and the 1997 entry was actually a real song from a real group, Katrina and the Waves, who had already enjoyed chart success back in 1987 with their singe “Walking on Sunshine” – a note for Eurovison buffs – producer, arranger and conductor for the 1997 entry was a certain Don Airey – former keyboard player with the Brtish rock band “Rainbow.”
On a personnal Europhile note, in the long hot summer of 1976, mum took us on a camping holiday in the Vendée in France. The UK Eurovison winner was played to death at the camspite’s twice weekly disco. In 1981, I was actually in France during the Eurovison song contest, on a French exchange, staying at my penpal’s house at Aix en Provence – this was long before Peter Mayall wrote about Provence, so long before Brits started to buy up vast tracts of the beautiful Provençal countryside. The Eurvision song contest came just a copule of weeks before François Mitterrand won the French presidential election and brought the French socialists into power for the first time sine the late 1950s – those of a rightward leaning political stance might say that this was when “la vieille France” died – I don’t agree, but this was certainly the point when Euro outlooks changed. In the UK we had arch Euro sceptic Maggie Thatcher and France opted for the very Europhile Mr Mitterrand, who in 1992 penned his signature on the Maastricht Treaty. By 1997, I was living permanently in France – this was the year that my teaching business went bankrupt, so for survival, I joined the French teaching profession – something made possible by the Maastricht Treaty which became fully enacted in 1994.
Well, I’ve actually got twelve songs in my top ten, which will probably stop at number nine, because if I have a tenth choice, then in numerical terms this will give me thirteen songs.
So, a last double choice for number ten. When Britain officially joined, Europe on January 1st 1973, the number one spot in the UK singles chart was held by a certain Jimmy Osmond and his spew-making melody “Long Haired Lover from Liverpool” – I won’t say that such a song was a bad omen, but joining any serious political organisation when such a song is at number one cannot be good. However naff it may have been, this was a popular song, and however naff the result of the UK’s recent referendum, it was achieved after a “popular” vote – proving I suppose that politicians should never really ask the people what they want because it will never be the result they themselves want? Britain joined the EU (or EEC) as it was then because the country was in the doldrums and virtually bankrupt. We wanted a slice of the prosperous life that our European counterparts on the Continent appeared to be enjoying. You could say that early seventies Britain was as naff as Jimmy Osmond.
Anyway, for my final, joint number ten choice (and bring us up to fourteen songs) that Sex Pistols wake up call “Anarchy in the UK”, that sounds as good today as it did back then. Of course back in 1975 no one really understood Punk, but I suppose no one really understands the implications of Brexit – I guess there is more than a little Anarchy In The UK at the moment.
And the songs from the list that I would seriously listen to (and do)