The Day The Country Died

by Subhumans

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about

REVIEW from Sputnikmusic.com
There was only one year to go when this record was recorded, and Orwell's paranoid classic work '1984' really informed Dick Lucas' lyrics. Most of the music press are in agreement that The Clash's 'London Calling' or The Sex Pistols 'Never mind the Bollocks here's the...' are the essential punk rock records. This is the same press that declared punk rock a spent force when Sid Vicious shook his mortal coil with a copious heroin dose courtesy of his doting mother. By 1983 The Clash had abandoned their furious punk rock roots, the Sex Pistols had disastrously split and the press was clamouring for the first publication of ''the next big thing''.

However, punk rock was far from over. Once the movement had lost its mainstream popularity, only those who really wanted to be a part of it were left. Gone were Vivienne Westwood’s brilliantly offensive torn t-shirts, now it was more likely an all black uniform with striking symbols of peace and anarchy painted on the garments. The imagery of Crass and Discharge was the uniform of choice. But where was the sense of humour? Although Crass did use a lot of humour to make their points, so many people missed the joke. Where was the sarcasm and wit akin to Jello Biafra for the UK scene?

Allow me to introduce Dick Lucas, with sharp witted lyrics a raspy voice and a furious band The Subhumans, spelled [SUB][HUM][ANS] as many studded leather jackets will tell you. They were not the usual early eighties punk rock band, not quite falling in with the anarcho punks due to their melodic music, nor did they fit in with the Oi! Crowd, as their lyrics detailed more than football, fighting and alcohol.

The lyrics are one of the best things about this record, the well read band wrote very well informed and incisive lyrics, with a wide range of subjects. With subject matter ranging from nuclear war and destruction on a national scale to squat parties, the band has played many squat gigs over the years.

The frightening front cover depicts an anarcho punk being shot through the head amidst a frenzy of oppressive imagery, such as the solemn priest, a policeman with a wicked grin and nuclear missiles flying through the air. This may lead people to believe it will be an equally frightening listen, however, the Subhumans have a keen ear for melody as well as damning riffs. One minute the melody is slow dark and frightening, the next fast paced, righteous and furious. This fits the subject matter perfectly, fast minor chords with anxious lyrics concerning Lucas’ smoking habits one minute, and terrifying warnings of a nuclear holocaust the next.

The record begins with the ominous ambience of an empty wasteland, with the sound of a falling bomb, before the crash however the music begins with muted chords and the unforgettable chorus of “So long to the world, that’s what they said, it’s 1984 and it’s all gone dead”. Each song tears straight into the next, which unusual for early 1980s anarcho records, which often feature television and radio broadcasts between their songs, on this record, the Subhumans make their point just using their lyricism and fast paced punk rock music.

The highlights of the record are “Minority”, “Mickey Mouse Is Dead”, “Subvert City”, “No” and “No More Gigs”.

Minority makes an anxious attack on majority rules, angry that most of societies decisions are made to benefit the majority who don’t even understand the issue. This goes straight into the ‘’Dun dun dun dun’’ guitar intro to ‘’Mickey Mouse Is Dead’’ with Lucas’ angered chant tearing over the top, then the guitars thrash onwards at blistering speed, with lyrics concerning the tampering and over serious explanations of cartoons, this then builds up to the chant of “1 2 3 4 Look what you’ve done to Mickey Mouse” usually the tune of “We don’t want your ***ing war” this is an example of the way Subhumans were a bit too serious for most of the anarcho crowd.

“Subvert City” is the most obvious nod towards Orwell’s 1984 novel. ‘’Borrowing’’ its riff from The Vibrators ‘’Troops Of Tomorrow’’ it is a narrative tale of those who fight for liberty now, will control with fear in the future, set in the midst of a nuclear holocaust, ‘’Subvert City’’ remains one of Subhumans finest moments.

“No” begins with the ever memorable opening line of “No I don’t believe in Jesus Christ, cos my mother dies of cancer when I was five. No I don’t believe in religion, I was forced to go to church when I was five” the common punk rock subject of religion, getting a good hateful once over. The song doesn’t stop there though, continuing to disregard the police, fashion, the system and it’s media. Like a continuation of “Minority” this is written as a response to claims of “It’s not that bad” and “You’ll grow out of it”, something many punks believe they will NEVER do.

“No More Gigs” is the records ultimate statement; it’s a vicious attack on straight society. Angry at peoples apathy towards modern cultural efforts and information, and their willingness to conform to the whims of the music press “all their money wasted, on David Bowie LPs”.

Although a David Bowie record would not be an unwise purchase, this record is truly one of the best punk rock records of all time, and doesn’t deserve to be ignored or forgotten.

credits

released February 1, 1983

Dick voice/words
Bruce guitar/voice
Grant bass
Trotsky drums
recorded Pickwick studios Corsham 22-26 June 1982
engineered by Steve Collinson
art by Nick Lant
first released on Flux of Pink Indians' Spiderleg Records [SDL7]
re-released on Bluurg Records [XLP1]

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Track Name: All Gone Dead
All is quiet all is dead
The city has melted
The sound has penetrated
Through our heads
The world has ended the gas is gone
It killed the people now the mutants live on

Chorus:
So long to the world
That's what they said
It's 1984 and it's all gone dead

There is no England
Anarchy is right
But don't contradict
Or try to fight
It's always dark there is no light
And 77 has rose to it's height

Chorus

They shouldn't have brought back hanging
It caused a lot of fuss
No one could trust the government
We had the fuckers sussed
There are no banks left
They've all gone bust
And the houses of Parliament is just a pile of dust

Chorus

It's 1984 and there's gonna be a war
War,war, who needs fucking war
Track Name: Ashtray Dirt
Your lungs have got a dirty stain
All you feel's a cancer pain
Fingers turned a sticky yellow color
Every one fag is less one hour of your life

Don't be a sucker and mess up your life
Smoking them fags from 9 to 5
You might as well eat the dirty dog-ends
You know you're going round the bend
They'll put you away

I dunno why you smoke them No. 6
A packet of fags is a packet of tricks
I dunno why you smoke them fucking cigars
You're gonna stay helpless the way you are

...You were but now you're dead with your ashtray dirt
Track Name: Killing
You, you're driving me insane
But you know there's something wrong with my brain
My head is really in a whirl
Where you look just like a normal girl

Chorus:
But you don't really care
It happens everywhere
You don't give a shit
Forget about it

I was living in a plastic bag
I didn't know what to do
I didn't know she was a slag
Well what would you do?

Chorus

I didn't know I killed her
I was out of my mind
She only wanted my money
But she made me blind

Chorus
Track Name: Minority
Don't ask the people what the people think
They've got no opinion but they still think we stink
The great British public, the great majority
The safe foundation of our society

But we're the minority and we're OK
We're the minority, won't go away
We're the minority and we're OK
We're the minority, got something to say

Yeah we're the minority the ones with the brains
Putting the country on a nervous strain
They can't stand the truth--the truth never lies
The great British public got bricks in their eyes

But we're the minority and we're OK
We're the minority, won't go away
We're the minority and we're OK
We're the minority, got something to fucking say
Track Name: Mickey Mouse is Dead
Mickey Mouse is dead
Got kicked in the head
Cos people got too serious
They planned out what they said
They couldn't take the fantasy
Tried to accept reality
Analyzed the laughs
Cos pleasure comes in halves
The purity of comedy
They had to take it seriously
Changed the words around
Tried to make it look profound
The comedian is onstage
Pisstaking for a wage
The critics think he's great
But the laughter turns to hate

Mickey Mouse is on TV
And the kids stare at the screen
But the pictures are all black and white
And the words don't mean a thing
Cos Mummy's got no money
And Daddy is in jail
He couldn't afford the license
She can't afford the bail

The kids out in the road
Their minds have all gone cold
Cos Mickey Mouse is dead
They shot him through the head
With ignorance and scorn
They believed in something new
They read the papers, watched the films
And thought they knew the truth

Look what you done to Mickey Mouse

But reality deceives
Whatever you believe
There's always another idea
And theirs is based on fear
The fear of being sussed
For what they really are
The fear of being laughed at
When they go too far

They call it paranoia
You can't laugh it away
Until you come to realize
Everyone's the same
People hide their problems
Under faces of contempt
They hide 'em, till it kills 'em
And no one is exempt
Not even you

Look what you done to Mickey Mouse
Track Name: Nothing I Can Do
Oh my god it's raining again
And a 7-year-old anarchist is blowing up Berlin
My Subs LP is still brand-new
But what does it matter? There's nothing I can do

There's a great big hole in my back door
And everyone expects a nuclear war
I've been on the beer--I think I'm gonna spew
But what does it matter? There's nothing I can do

The dust in the road gets in my eyes
And the system tells such fucking lies
Why should I believe what they say is true?
But what does it matter? There's nothing I can do

There's nothing I can do
I wouldn't do it for you
But you wouldn't do it for me
Well that's the facts you see

My 10-year-old sister's on the pill
Ronnie Bigg's got a flat in Brazil
Third generation ain't got a clue
What does it matter? There's nothing I can do
Nothing I can do

Nothin I can fucking do
I wouldn't do it for you anyway
It's another day
With nothing to say
And there's nothing I can do
Track Name: Dying World
There's a hole at the bottom of the earth
Where the blood pours out at the end of the day
When the usual amount of people have died
Sit back and watch the death and decay

It's a dying world

When you're living in a dying world
Panicking becomes the everyday thing
Buy up the food, the power and the guns
Get used to the threat of the final fling

It's a dying world

There's a hole in your mind where nothing exists
Except fear and loathing of the strange but true
Facts that defy your inner intelligence
Like man kills himself for something to do

It's a dying world
Track Name: Subvert City
And it all went quiet in the city
And the wind blew down the road
Someone cried out "Subvert!"
And the people all went cold

Meanwhile back in Subvert City
Someone's writing on the wall
"Fuck the government" spray-paint hero
Someone wants the state to fall
Religious dogma crucified
Ritual slaughter, no one lied
Living standards were dying morals
A state-controlled mass suicide

The dying breed of Subvert City
Crept into the underground
The state police just left them there
Blocked the holes and gassed them down
Ten years later they emerged
Mutated minds so full of hate
Tried again to change the system
But this time round it was too late
There was no system left to change
The people ran the entire land
The subverts became politicians
And finally got the upper hand

Meanwhile back in Subvert City
Someone's writing on the wall
"Fuck the government" spray-paint hero
But in Subvert City, it's subvert rule
Track Name: Big Brother
Here we are in a new age
Wishing we were dead
There's a TV in my front room
And it's screwing up my head
There's a scanner in the toilet
To watch you take a bath
And there's a picture of Hiroshima
To make sure you never laugh

Chorus:
And somebody told me
"Big Brother's watching you"
And somebody else said
"You know it's not true"
Who do you believe?

Well the police have all gone crazy
You never had it so bad
They take away the dignity
That you never really had
They know all about you
They even know what you drink
And if they thought you were worth it
They could sus out what you think

Chorus

Well they asked me how to prove it
And there was nothing I could say
I said "Watch out for Big Brother"
And then they put me away
They said I was paranoid
Because I wrote this song
But they didn't need to read it
Because they knew it all along

Chorus
Track Name: New Age
So you're living in fast world
See the people you've already killed
See what you've done with that machine of yours
You can't justify it, you ain't got a cause

Chorus:
It's only cos we're living in a new age
You don't know what you're like when you're in a rage
They're gonna put you away in a cage
You better start to act your age

Victims running, they are screaming
Living nightmares, they're not dreaming
They're too scared to walk the streets
The one with a gun they're afraid to meet

Chorus

You know you're killing off the race
They'll lock you away and change your face
Hatred of the new age turned your mind
Can't bear to live with the rest of mankind

Chorus
Track Name: I Don't Wanna Die
It's getting out of hand
They don't understand
They never ever will
They never ever can
I don't wanna live if I can't be free
The system kills but it won't kill me
I don't wanna die
Can't run away come back someday
Cos it won't change
Whatever you say
Fear and guilt up to the hilt
They can't escape from the walls they built
I don't wanna die
They gave me a gun and told me to run
Defend your country from the atom bomb
I said why? they couldn't reply
The system kills but I don't wanna die
I don't wanna die
Track Name: No
no i don't believe in jesus christ
my mother died of cancer when i was 5
no i don't believe in religion
i was forced to go to church, i wasn't told why

no i don't believe in the police force
police brutality isn't a dream
no i don't believe in the system
cos nothing it does makes sense to me

don't worry you'll get over it
you'll grow up, you'll calm down
another youth, another fashion
you'll get over it, you'll calm down
you don't really mean what you say
you've had too much to drink
don't be so full of hated
it's not as bad as you think

no i don't believe in what you say
you're just part of what i despise
yes you're part of the fucking system
i ain't blind, i can see your lies
cos the system thrives on ignorance
what the public don't know, they can't reject
in the face of you all i stand defiant
the rest of the people they wanna forget
Track Name: Zyklon-B-Movie
There's a film at the cinema
And people go in pairs
They show it at night
And some people get scared
And once you're inside
They lock all the doors
And the seats are all empty
And there's blood on the floor

Chorus:
It's a Zyklon B-Movie
Straight out of the past
It's a Zyklon B-Movie
And it could be your last

And there's a nine-year old girl
Who came for a scream
She's screaming all night
And it isn't a dream
This is just the support film
To get you warmed up
But it's quite the reverse
Because it freezes your blood

Chorus

And the gas rises up
From under the chairs
This film is so lifelike
It feels like you're there
It's a Zyklon B-Movie
Certificate X
If this was the first film
Then what could come next?
It's a Zyklon B-Movie
Certificate Z
The Z is for Zyklon
And the people are dead
Track Name: Til The Pigs Come Round
Oh what a great experience
My house is full of deviants
My Dad is going mad downstairs
My brother has just died his hair

Chorus:
We got punks and drunks and thrills and pills
And lots of things to make your head go round
It's fun fun fun fun fun til the pigs come round

Someone's banging on a drum
Smoke and drink well this is fun
The neighbors are smashing in the walls
My Mum is making telephone calls

Chorus

Pigs outside but no one cares
Heavy jackboots up the stairs
It's the D.S., what a joke
"Hey man, do ya want some smoke?"

Chorus
Track Name: No More Gigs
In a smoke-filled room
"How's it going then?"
"It's not going at all
We got no more gigs"

You always knew it could be better
But you never thought it would end
It only happens cos of other people
All the money that that they spend
On David Bowie LPs

When I told her we were finished
She smoked a cigarette and sighed
"One last fag before we go home"
She said she loved me then she died
It doesn't happen like this

So you always get what you pay for
But the end result is always the same
You lose everything you always wanted
Because you couldn't afford to pay
All the smoke-filled room contains
is dejected people with no aims
A bottle of gin, a packet of cigs
Sing, brother, sing, we got no more gigs
Track Name: Black and White
Silence - is no reaction
"Violence" - that one-word caption
Can you say it with just one word?
Unspoken - the sins that go unheard

[Chorus:]
Government... bullshit
Black and white... fight

Look though this broken window
From normality into the ghetto
Broken through madness, hate, and boredom
U.K. - a disunited kingdom

[Chorus]

Inquiries, but no solutions
Faceless, empty illusions
Reasons are always pushed aside
Remember the day the country died