dia desses, na pastelaria…
– viu a meryl streep como maggie?
– pô, não vi nem vou ver
– é mermo? tipo revoltadinho?
– pô, li as críticas no guardian, figaro, time out… todas detonaram o filme
– é mermo?
– é… filme feito só para ela ganhar o oscar… passou lonjão da história da thatcher
– então, você que é todo revoltadinho, não vai ver?
– nem que paguem meu ingresso e o lanche depois
– mas se não fosse a thatcher, não haveria “london calling” do clash e elvis costello não teria composto “shipbuilding”, eternizada por robert wyatt!
– hummmmm… qual a próxima sessão?
1. Crass: How Does It Feel To Be The Mother Of A Thousand Dead?
Like countless others of my generation, much of my political education came from Crass and their record sleeves. Their relentless – and healthy – disdain for Thatcher reached a crescendo on Sheep Farming In The Falklands, from whence How Does It Feel came. It was castigated in Parliament and an attempt to prosecute the band for obscenity. The publicity only helped to ensure the EP’s massive underground success. There were plenty of other anti-Falklands songs, but this was the most brutally laid bare: “You smile in the face of the death cause you are so proud and vain/ Your inhumanity stops you from realising the pain/ That you inflicted, you determined, you created, you ordered/ It was your decision to have those young boys slaughtered.”
2. Robert Wyatt: Shipbuilding
Given the treatment by both Wyatt and Elvis Costello on a double A-sided single in 1982, Wyatt’s is the most heart-wrenching version. I can recall seeing the patriotic bunting up on the estate outside my window as the more fortunate local soldiers returned from Thatcher’s election-boosting war as this 45 was on the family turntable.
3. Billy Bragg: Between The Wars
In the halcyon years of Top Of The Pops, you had Steve Wright on primetime TV introducing this “evocative song” in the days when socialism was a credible opposition to the evils of Thatcherism. She put paid to that. “Sweet moderation, the heart of this nation, desert us not…” Bragg pleaded, but no answer came.
4. The The: Heartland
Sometimes the gentler songs are imbued with far more power than the shouty ones. Matt Johnson explored our “special relationship” as the “51st state” while lambasting Thatcher for presiding over the land where “pensioners are raped and their hearts are being cut from the welfare state”. He adds: “Let the poor drink their milk while the rich drink their honey/ Let the bums count their blessings, while they count their money”. We’re still waiting for Utopia and for Hell to freeze over.
5. Dub Syndicate: No Alternative But To Fight
When your cup of disgust runneth over and you run out of words, say it with dub… with a Dalek-ised Thatcher sample.
6. Anti-Pasti: No Government
They may not have been as articulate and eloquent as Crass, but Derbyshire’s finest anarcho-punk band had the same aims. “No Maggie Thatcher and no government!”
7. The Exploited: Maggie
Wattie Buchan’s mob were very much to the point, and I agree with every word.
8. Chumbawamba: Fitzwilliam
Included on the excellent miners’ strike album Dig This, the Chumbas established their folk-punk credentials on this, plus their first three albums before going all pop.
9. The Beat: Stand Down Margaret
One of the catchiest anti-Thatcher songs made, The Beat (or English Beat, for American readers) had about a decade to wait before their wish was fulfilled. The lesser-known dub version allows more time to skank.
10. The Specials: Maggie’s Farm
A percussive, updated and somewhat atonal version of Bob Dylan’s version, which made the B-side of Do Nothing. The Specials and the whole 2-Tone movement proved a much-needed antidote to Tory misery, while Ghost Town provided the sonic backdrop to the 1981 inner-city riots.
11. Dead Kennedys: Kinky Sex Makes The World Go Round
A Crass-concocted tape hoax dubbed Thatchergate fooled the secret services into thinking it was the work of the KGB. There’s little doubt that the “secretary of war at the state department of the United States” and Thatcher in this case aren’t genuine in this phone call – but Maggie probably had a few wargasms. And the rationale for war seems pretty genuine. “The companies want something done about this sluggish world economic situation… we need to stimulate some growth.” The conversation is prophetic at times: check the mentions of Afghanistan and Libya. One to clear everyone out of the house at the end of your Thatcher death disco.
12. Public Enemy: Prophets Of Rage
After a decade of often defeatist protest songs, Public Enemy’s militancy and call for revolution (albeit a Nation of Islam one) was a breath of fresh air at the end of the Eighties. New York’s black power evangelists – nor any rappers – didn’t focus their ire on an anti-Maggie song, but this bombastic masterpiece name-checks her for her Apartheid sympathies: “Mandela, cell dweller, Thatcher – you can tell her, clear the way for the prophets of rage/ Power to the people you say.”
13. Morrissey: Margaret On The Guillotine
Gordon Brown’s claim to be an Arctic Monkeys fan seemed a bit unlikely, but much of Dave’s electability seemed to rest on his passionate love for The Smiths and Morrissey. So does he sing this lilting ballad in the shower, reaching a climax on the refrain “when will you die”?