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Songs: Graffiti On The Cenotaph

notes / gigs / releases

There's a wanker wearing army boots
Talking loudly in the pub about how he's great
Because he just got back from London
Where he went to a riot on the first of May
And he thinks that Direct Action
Is robbing a Macdonald's and the shop next door
And he doesn't think Direct Action
Is laying down your life to fight Fascism in a war

Didn't we all have a laugh?
Getting pissed up on cider and putting Graffiti on the Cenotaph

And the tabloids wrapped in the Union Jack
Bellow like a General about Churchill's fate
And the gardeners flaunt their bravery
Standing up before the cameras with 10,000 mates
While in the residential homes and the graveyards
The butchered generation's tippexed out again
Is sixty seconds too much to ask for
To remember the sacrifice of love to conquer hate?

Are you so self-obsessed not to have
A sense of shame and disgust to see graffiti on the cenotaph?

Is a slogan on another placard
More important to you than genocide?
Do you put yourself above
The millions from the class you claim as yours who died
Go on, design another t-shirt against Nazis
And refuse to buy a poppy cos it glorifies war
But is there anything except self-preservation
That you'd believe in enough to be prepared to die for?

It's the heroes of the Working Class
You piss on their graves, putting graffiti on the cenotaph

Published by Wipe Out Music Publishing

This was written in response to events pretty much as detailed in the song, just after the May Day demonstrations of 2000. I got EXTREMELY worked up and angry about it, discussed it in pubs a LOT, and read several articles (Most Notably Barbara Ellen in the Observer, and Tom on Freaky Trigger) where other people were similarly amazed about quite how much the pictures on the telly that night had affected them. It made me bloody angry anyway, and the writing of the song took longer than it should have because every time I wrote a new line I got angry all over again and had to stomp around the flat for a bit, being IRATE.

It was one of the first songs we recorded for This Is Not A Library, and I remember getting very excited about how it'd come out - it was learnt at the first practice we had when The Validators was nearly at their CLASSIC lineup, with everyone apart from Emma in their current places, and it felt GOOD to be getting a little bit inventive and GROOVY with what we were playing, especially when Tom started switching between PIZZICATO and BOWING. Oh yes!

When the sessions started going on a bit longer than hoped and we decided to put an EP out in the meantime there was some debate about whether this should be kept for the album or not, but I reckoned that it'd needed to come out as soon as possible before the events it described fell too far into the past. When it DID come out I was amazed by how many other people felt the same way, and how many of them would come up to me after gigs and NOD FURIOUSLY. It's lovely when that happens!

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