Saturday, April 14, 2007

Glad to be Gay

I love benefit gigs, the sort that include music & comedy, with a good cause. I've only ever been to one (for the ambulance driver's strike held at the London Dominion , a lefty cause I didn't actually support) but over the years I bought all of the various Secret Policemen's Ball records & Vids for Amnesty International through the late 70s & 80s.

The show became so popular that two albums would be released, one for the music and the other for the comedy.

Needless to say, I was delighted to receive The secret Policeman's Ball complete edition box set for a Christmas present a year or two back. Having gradually watched it, however, it eventually occurred to me that it wasn't entirely complete- Tom Robinson had sung a rather fetching song about growing up, called 1967 (So long ago) which was missing. I checked my vinyl collection and couldn't find it there, either, so I must have loaned it to someone (or perhaps it was just on VHS).

I've vaguely kept an eye out for this song for a while now and finally hit pay-dirt- he sang it on his Cabaret '79 glad to be gay album. (Cheap on Amazon).

It arrived a few days ago and I've been enjoying it in the car. The album is indeed rather Gay, but enjoyable nonetheless, for both the observation of an alternative lifestyle and some of the powerful songs & lyrics.

His updated lyrics of Glad to be Gay '97 made me feel rather sad- for the intolerance we sometimes collectively show to people who choose to be different. A lot of things have changed but beneath that thin veneer of acceptance lurks the anger of discomfort.

Having worked on the fringes of the creative arts, I have met numerous people who have had alternative sexual lifestyles and I have found it an irrelevance to what I thought of them, good or bad. I find the high camp raving queen behaviour tiresome after over-exposure to it but I imagine that several of my friends are Gay. I don't particularly care, but I reserve the right to mock them for their lifestyle & beliefs if I feel the whimsy, something I happily do with all people I am close to.

1967 (so long ago)

Fighting with the kids on the fairground
Caravans and TV masts
Generating trucks and Alsatians
I never seen you run so fast
Picking through the litter left afterwards
For .22 shells in the grass
Found a pound note and a keyring
Martin, it's funny them days are past

Saturday flicks at the fleapit
When we had the money to go
Always on the side of the outlaws
And staying for the second show
Bonfires down at the bombsite
And watching the embers glow
Candles and cake in the dugout
Martin, it seems so long ago

1967... it seems so long ago
We were only eleven
It seems so long ago

Day return to Southend Central
Nanny's little treat on the train
Every year we sat on her blanket
And every year it started to rain
Eating apples off the allotments
And swapping cigarette cards
Lending Fat Freddy's train set
And treading on his restaurant car

1967... it seems so long ago
We were only eleven
It seems so long ago

Now I don't wanna give up football
And I don't wanna settle down
Maybe there's life after 25
But I don't feel like sticking around
I don't wanna work in a garage
I don't want my dreams to fold
Never want to have to stop laughing
Martin I'm terrified... of getting old

1967... seems so long ago
1967... it seems so long ago

P.S. I'm not Gay.

...but I've slept with someone who is!

(Gag stolen from Mike Elliott)

Lyrics & picture below lifted from Tom

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