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Nearer To Nettles

  • (Jez Lowe)

    I've never been nearer to nettles
    As now when my life's nearly through
    They promised we would live in fine fettle
    If we did all they told us to do
    So we gave not a thought to tomorrow,
    Just today as you do when you're young
    Now I've never been nearer to nettles,
    To the thought, Sure as hell we've been stung

    They sang an old song, a new one to me
    Of hard times in the loom-weaving trade
    I could tell you some tales of hard times myself
    But for me things were never that bad
    They sang how they only had nettles to eat
    And yesterday's bread if you please
    I've never been so close to eating such stuff
    As I have been these past recent days

    I've never been so sentimental, you know
    For those days we all knew long ago
    I would far rather live with the flick of the switch
    Than the candle, the cart-horse and so
    All this technology means nothing to me
    Though they reckon it's just what we need
    Why can't it be used for the good of us all
    Not for tools for their trading in greed

    There's a government now, down in London they sit
    Deep under the tower of Big Ben
    It chimed for us all in wartime and peace
    But it seems now it chimes just for them
    They sit under those hands turning tell-timing true (?)
    They decide what we all need to live
    And the big hand they use to take things away
    And the small hand they use to give

    (as sung by Iain MacKintosh)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1967:] One of the earliest exemplars of industrial protest song is the dramatic ballad variously called The poor cotton weaver, The hand-loom weaver, The four-loom weaver, though its commonest title on the broadside prints is simply Jone o' Grinfield. It belongs to the central period of the Industrial Revolution, to the years immediately after Waterloo, years of economic hardship, low wages and high prices. Weavers were working a fifteen-hour day for ten shillings a week if they were fortunate, four shillings if not; they were living on oatmeal and potatoes, onion porridge and blue milk, and hungry women roamed the moors looking for nettles to boil. (Lloyd, England 304)

  • [1990:] The folksinger Beverley Sanders sang a song called The Four-Loom Weaver in a club one night. In the song there is a verse which tells how the weavers in those days were so poor sometimes they were reduced to eating nettles. After the concert an old lady came up and said to Beverley, 'I was a weaver all my working life. We had bad times, but never as bad as in your song. But now that I am alone, trying to live on my old-age pension - I've never been nearer to eating nettles than I am now.' (Intro Iain MacKintosh)

Quelle: England

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