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Waiting for the Great Leap Forward – (Song Lyric Sunday)

I’ve bumped into Billy Bragg twice now. As a distant Dorset neighbour, it may not be so surprising. The first time was in 2009 when I went to the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival. The second, was at a reading of Thomas Hardy’s The Man He Killed at the Pages of the Sea festival in commemoration of all fallen soldiers, in 2018.

The following year Bragg helped launch Labour’s Charter For The Arts. In the past he was a prominent protest singer in the 1980s, whose hits include A New England, he played benefit concerts for striking miners and was an outspoken critic of Margaret Thatcher.

More recently, he resisted paying taxes in protest against City bankers’ bonuses. In the nearby Anchor Inn, locals said he had run fundraisers for the village hall, manned a record stall at the local primary school Christmas fair and volunteered at a Dorset young offenders centre. 

By NICK CONSTABLE and HARRY COLE FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY

PUBLISHED: 22:02, 30 November 2019 | UPDATED: 23:03, 30 November 2019

I’ve chosen a superb video depicting the song’s script …

The first two verses mention the “Camelot” of the John F. Kennedy administration, post-revolutionCuba, the Soviet Union and Robert Oppenheimer. The “Cheese Pavilion” where Bragg is interviewed by a fanzine writer in the third and fourth verses is at the Royal Bath and West Showground near Shepton Mallet, where Bragg had played on 1 February 1987. The remainder of the song describes the day-to-day business of political activism: fundraising, distributing pamphlets, risking unemployment, culminating in the tongue-in-cheek rallying cry of “the revolution is just a t-shirt away!” 

Source: Wikipedia

It may have been Camelot for Jack and Jacqueline
But on the Che Guevara highway filling up with gasoline
Fidel Castro’s brother spies a rich lady who’s crying
Over luxury’s disappointment
So he walks over and he’s trying
To sympathise with her but he thinks that he should warn her
That the Third World is just around the corner
In the Soviet Union a scientist is blinded
By the resumption of nuclear testing and he is reminded
That Dr. Robert Oppenheimer’s optimism fell
At the first hurdle

In the Cheese Pavilion and the only noise I hear
Is the sound of someone stacking chairs
And mopping up spilled beer
And someone asking questions and basking in the light
Of the fifteen fame-filled minutes of the fanzine writer

Mixing pop and politics he asks me what the use is
I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses
While looking down the corridor
Out to where the van is waiting
I’m looking for the great leap forward

Jumble sales are organized
And pamphlets have been posted
Even after closing time there’s still parties to be hosted
You can be active with the activists
Or sleep in with the sleepers
While you’re waiting for the great leap forwards

One leap forward, two leaps back
Will politics get me the sack?
Waiting for the great leap forwards
Well, here comes the future and you can’t run from it
If you’ve got a blacklist, I want to be on it
Waiting for the great leap forwards


Oh, it’s a mighty long way down rock ‘n roll
From “Top of the Pops” to drawing the dole
You’re waiting for the great leap forwards
If no one out there understands
Then start your own revolution and cut out the middleman
Waiting for the great leap forwards


In a perfect world we’d all sing in tune
But this is reality so give me some room
Waiting for the great leap forwards
So join the struggle while you may
The revolution is just a t-shirt away

Waiting for the great leap forwards
Waiting for the great leap forwards
Waiting for the great leap forwards
Waiting for the great leap forwards
(Baby, I’m strutting) waiting for the great leap forwards
Waiting for the great leap forwards
Waiting for the great leap forwards
Waiting for the great leap forwards
Waiting for the great leap forwards
Waiting for the great leap forwards

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Stephen William Bragg

Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Post inspired by Jim’s Song Lyric Sunday Prompt – This week we have the prompts: Hop/Jump/Leap/Pounce/Spring – Click through for the rules if you too would like to join in …

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is song-lyric-sunday-1.png

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

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