Robert Wyatt - The Age of Self

As revellers ring bells over the death of Margaret Thatcher, Wyatt's poignant words sound out even louder.

In light of recent events – the controversial celebration of the death of an old leader sitting uneasily alongside the introduction of the economic reforms of a new one – the song that seems most poignant to us in the Dummy office this week is one we came to through a Bullion cover. Robert Wyatt’s Age of Self was originally recorded in 1982 in support of the mining community, with all proceeds from the record being given to the TUC Miners Hardship fund. Despite Bullion’s fresh musical take on it, the song’s lyrics remain unchanged since the 80s – as does their impact.

They say the working class is dead
We’re all consumers nows
They say that we have moved ahead
We’re all just people now

There’s people doing frightfully well
There’s others on the shelf
But never mind the second kind
This is the age of self

They say we need new images
To help our movement grow
They say that life is broader
Based as if we didn’t know

While Martin J. and Robert M.
Play with printer’s ink
The workers ‘round the world
Still die for Rio Tinto Zinc

And it seems to me if we forget
Our roots and where we stand
The movement will disintegrate
Like castles built on sand

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