Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Where the Hell are we going to live?

The recent announcements on housing in the budget reminded me of a track from a Levellers album; Where the Hell are We Going to Live, which was originally written by a gentleman called Paul Wright. The song deals candidly with the effects of social engineering where "efficiency" is considered more important than the interests of the people.

This version is by Vin Garbutt.

Where the Hell are we going to live?
(Paul Wright)

Well the May that I was married
We tried to settle down
And all we need's half a million quid
for to buy a two up and two down
We were on the council waiting list
number six thousand and five
We're due for a house in 2001
that's assuming we're both still alive.

Where the hell are we gonna live
where the hell are we gonna live?
Some miserable mansion up in the sky
walking around in a block a mile high,
Tellin' my friends that I'd much rather die
where the hell are we gonna live?

Well, it's all a bleedin' fiddle
forgive me for bein' so rude
I know we could save for the mortgage right now
if the two of us stopped eating food
Where the hell do our kids play
where the hell do our kids play?
No ball game allowed, stay off of the grass
Keep out of the way, don't block up the path
Shove all your plans right up your

Where the hell are we gonna live...

They're building battery farms for humans
where houses stood before
Where there used to be just one family
now they're tryin' to keep 24
There's no shops, playgrounds no boozers,
in the architects' great plan
You may wanna live like a chicken my friend,
but I wanna live like a man.

Where the hell are we gonna live
where the hell are we s'posed to live?...

Where the hell are we gonna live
where the hell are we s'posed to live?...

From Levtabs website:

Many thanks to Tony Coll, a friend of Paul, and Jessica Meadows, Paul's neice who
both got intouch to point out that it was in fact Paul Wright who wrote this song.

The following is from Tony (January 2006):

  Paul Wright was quite free about giving his songs to others, and I expect it was
  about 17th hand and credited to 'anon' by the time it reached The Levellers. Paul
  would have loved to know that it ended up on a Levellers album via the 'oral
  tradition' which he loved!

  Paul Wright was born and lived in Walthamstow, where he worked for a time as a
  reporter on the Waltham Forest Guardian newspaper. He wrote 'Where The Hell Are We
  Going To Live?' at a time when so-called slum terraces were being pulled down and
  replaced by horrible tower blocks. Coincidentally, the Beaumont Estate in Leyton -
  exactly the type of horror he was protesting about - is being pulled down in a few
  weeks time, and there's a community play called 'Home' being enacted in one of the
  blocks before it comes down. I'm angling to get Paul's song performed as part of
  the show!

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