Saturday 18 August 2012

Working Class Hero.

"The Exploitation", by Diego de Rivera [A]

Frankly, I am not much of a John Lennon fan. I don't hate him, either. And I'm more than happy to admit he had some very good songs.

"Working Class Hero" is, perhaps unsurprisingly to my regular readers, my favourite. What really surprised me is that this song appears to be quite popular.

Think about it: whenever the media covers John Lennon, apart from a selection of The Beatles era, "Woman" and, above all, "Imagine" are likely to appear; but never WCH.

Perhaps one could explain this because WCH contains some "coarse language". As the f-word is so fucking unusual, respectable audiences would feel understandably shocked by hearing it, I guess.

Or maybe it's just that "Woman" and "Imagine" are less confrontational, more up-lifting, in a "Kumbaya My Lord" sort of way.

Be that is it may.


But check YouTube for that title. And surprisingly lots of versions pop up.

Here's a sample:

John Lennon's official WCH video in HQ. John as the WCH (?!).

Ozzy Osbourne!

Green Day.

Marilyn Manson (yes, believe it or not, the Antichrist Super Star in person!) is here. I'll admit it, I never imagined Warner singing this song and I do own each of the post-"Smells Like Children" albums. Anyway, it's a very good performance and Warner's voice, half anger, half melancholy, suits it very well.

But, to be honest, my two favourite WCHs were these two:

Tina Dico (from Denmark). Excellent singer, about whom I know nothing apart from what her Wikipedia entry says. Anyway, very well interpreted and produced, in a professional manner.

But the top of the sample, for me, is the video below. Obviously not as well produced, the singer (I think her name is Zoe Louk, apparently from Israel) is a good interpreter. The lack of production gives the video a touch of sincerity that won me:


There was a time when people would say that if one works hard and keeps one's head low, one gets ahead in life. If you're young, ask your old folks.

The most optimistic would say that the sky is the limit. The more level-headed would say that things shall get better for one's kids.

The cynic among us would have added that maybe hard work wouldn't be enough. Perhaps one would have to suck up to one's boss, too; adopt the "each man for himself" frame of mind, that's the smart thing to do. Above all, don't rock the boat; be humble. If the road was humiliating and degrading, full of bitterness, the destination was worth it.

Like the song says:
There's room at the top they are telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill
And, let's face it my friends, many of us did that. Look around you, many still do.

Where did that take us? This is now the best we can get:
"Much of the change being imposed on various industries will inevitably involve redundancies. The most workers can expect is decent redundancy pay, the avoidance of excesses designed to impress the sharemarket, and a preference for redundancies to be voluntary." (My emphasis. See here)
This is how the song puts it:
Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you're so clever and classless and free
But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see
And ask Ross Gittins (author of the quote above): he'll say that there's no point in screaming and kicking.

So, let's keep being humble, reasonable, clever. Don't rock the boat. It didn't work before, but it will sure work now.

Image Credits
[A] The Exploitation, by Diego de Rivera. Wikipedia.This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. I can't claim Diego de Rivera in any way endorses my usage of his image. Among other things, because he is dead.

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