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WE ARE living through history and I am glad to be out there talking and singing about it. It helps me let off steam.
Last Friday week I enjoyed a storming night with my band and my best mate Steve Drewett’s band, radical punks Newtown Neurotics, at the Dublin Castle. Then, after a trip to Selhurst Park to see the Seagulls’ first double over our rivals Crystal Palace since 1984, it was up to Nottingham for a celebration of the history and music of Rock Against Racism (RAR), brilliantly organised by Sonia Long.
RAR needs to be relaunched as soon as possible: it breaks my heart to say this, but it is needed now as much as 40 years ago.
After a Sunday afternoon gig in Derby with fellow football poet in residence, Derby County’s Jamie Thrasivoulou, it was home to raise a wad of cash at a fundraiser for Eastbourne Labour Party and write more of my regular Facebook observations on these momentous times, visit facebook.com/attilathestockbroker if you care to take a look.
I also wrote this new song which was debuted last Thursday at the Music and History event at Queen Mary College in London. It features a new addition to my early-music instrument collection, a Wurstfagott, or sausage bassoon, recently renovated by Barry at the Early Music Shop. Yes, for the first time I played my sausage bassoon on stage. No sniggers at the back, please.
If the human race survives – and I hope we do, most of us are quite nice really — this period will be studied for centuries, and our politicians and priorities will be scorned by historians aplenty. We have to go back a long way to find a parliamentary episode which was equally chaotic — not quite back to the bare bones of history but back to the Barebones Parliament of 1653 during the Commonwealth of England.
It’s quite spooky that quite by coincidence I chose the last two years to fulfil my lifelong ambition to combine early music with punk and write and record my album Restoration Tragedy about this monarchless and radical period immediately following the civil war. There really are so many parallels.
If you think Mr Barebone had an odd name just wait until you see what his son was called …
Praise-God Barebone was a leather man
Fifth Monarchist and republican
Preaching in the streets about Jesus’ plan
Nominee to the Parliament of Saints
Cavaliers mocked him for his surname
His merchant background and his Christian name
Barebones Parliament was the nickname
Which they gave to the Parliament of Saints
Christ would soon return and the rich would pay
Praise-God and his cohorts would pave the way
With Harrison their leader they would soon hold sway
Over all men in the Parliament of Saints
But the Parliament of Saints, each one a sacred nominee
Let down the poor Son of God quite incompetently
Like Parliament during Brexit though not so longwindedly
Just from July to December of 1653
They argued and they squabbled and debated endlessly
The same recurring issue, because unsurprisingly
Fifth Monarchists could not persuade the gentry to agree
That they should do away with tithes and their own property
To save themselves from Jesus’ wrath, returning in glory...
The gentry voted to dissolve the Barebones suddenly
Made Cromwell Lord Protector, dictator and grandee
And Praise-God got very, very, very, very angry...
Praise-God saw Oliver die and Richard abdicate
The Grandees feared Fifth Monarchists would seal their fate
So they brought the ghastly Charles Two back as head of state
And forgot about the Parliament of Saints
Praise-God and his wife had a dreadful son
If-Christ-Had-Not-Died-For-Thee-Thou-Had’st-Been-Damned Barebone –
Yes that’s the one
He invented house insurance after the Great Fire of London
Economist and speculator, ripped off everyone
It is even claimed that he invented capitalism by some —
He would never have made the Parliament of Saints!
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