heartlandanniv

21 years ago a song came out that, whilst I didn’t know it immediately, was to have a profound effect on me both short-term and long-term. I was aware of The The in 1986 when a friend got into the album ‘Soul Mining’ which had ben released 3 years earlier. Soul Mining had the perfect mix of pain-ridden angst and intelligence and I felt, somewhat pretentiously, that here was someone who knew what I, a dispossed, detached 14 year old, was going through.

When I first heard Heartland in 1987 that feeling of solidarity was only confirmed because I was growing into a properly angry disenfranchised young man caught in a world I neither understood nor fit into where I saw inequality and priviledge and where patronage not merit was the way to progress. Heartland and songs like Angel Of Deception captured the more adult feelings of angst and disengagement and utter disgust at the state of the world at just the time when I needed a way to express them without myself having the erudition to do so.

When I found out it was the 20th anniversary of Heartland it seemed something that needed to be commemorated. It was the song that first identified me as a being with political dissidence rather than just teenage rebellion. It is a song that despite being written during some of the worst times of a rampant Conservative government still has so much resonance today which says a great deal about the lack of real progress made by 10 years of a Labour gvernment.

HEARTLAND (Matt Johnson 1986)

Beneath the old iron bridges
Across the Victorian parks
And all the frightened people
Running home before dark
Past the Saturday morning cinema
That lies crumbling to the ground
And the piss stinking shopping centre
In the new side of town

I’ve come to smell the seasons change
And watch the city as the sun goes down again

Here comes another winter
Of long shadows and high hopes
Here comes another winter
Waitin’ for Utopia
Waitin’ for hell to freeze over

This is the land where nothing changes
The land of red buses and blue blooded babies
This is the place where pensioners are raped
And the hearts are being cut from the welfare state
Let the poor drink the milk
While the rich eat the honey
Let the bums count their blessings
While they count the money

So many people can’t express what’s on their minds
Nobody knows them, nobody ever will
Until their backs are broken, their dreams are stolen
And they can’t get what they want
Then they’re gonna get angry
Well, it ain’t written in the papers
But it’s written on the walls
The way this country’s dividing to fall
So the cranes are moving on the skyline
Tryin’ to knock down … this town
But the stains on the heartland
Can never be removed
From this country that’s sick, sad and confused

Here comes another winter
Of long shadows and high hopes
Here comes another winter
Waitin’ for Utopia
Waitin’ for hell to freeze over

The ammunition’s been passed
And the Lord’s been praised
But the wars on the televisions
Will never be explained
All the bankers gettin’ sweaty
Beneath their white collars
As the pound in our pocket
Turns into a dollar

THIS IS THE 51st STATE OF THE U.S.A
THIS IS THE 51st STATE OF THE U.S.A
THIS IS THE 51st STATE OF THE U.S.A
THIS IS THE 51st STATE OF THE U.S.A

Song Of The Day ~ The The – Heartland

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