Television Personalities - A Sense Of Belonging 7" (1983)

Another late night series of re-up due to requests. Earlier stuff from Television Personalities. In the 80's they were some that saved this ugly musical period (and the current nostalgia won't make me change my mind, 1975-76 and 1982-1988 were among the worst periods for music in the last 50 years. This one is one of their greatest. See below. Catch it here.

During the 80's, Dan Treacy, the mainman from Television Personalities, progressively became a sort of Ray Davies of our times. The Painted World album is one of his most political, sociological and dark project, and one of his best in musical terms (and he did a lot of marvellous ones). From this LP was released the “A Sense of Belonging” single, with a provocative picture of a battered child, although the lyrics of the song doesn’t talk about abused children, but about the sarcasms of some on those who manifest against the war. I always cherished Television Personalities, from their first single in january 1978 (“14th Floor”) until their last magnificent LP, My Dark Places, in February 2006 (the last one released in 2007, Are We Nearly There Yet?, was recorded before, and is rather weak). Since the only persistent member of the band and main composer is Dan Treacy, it’s a way to say I’m a Dan Treacy fan. This single is very heartbreaking for me because, from the cover to the text via the song (and the Dan’s voice), everything is in agreement here with my conception of what is a great depressive sociological song. The B side, “Paradise State”, is still more Ray Davies-like in its lyrics but more Wyatt-like in music, with a description of the sad everyday life of poor people. Honestly, in 1983, Ray Davies was no more able to write such exceptional texts on the simple men and women suffering under the terrible Thatcherian economical dictature. Difficult to finish as usual with enjoy here, but at least, take a trip in desperate Dan's land here. The cover of the Painted World LP is this one.

Under, I publish the lyrics of both songs.

"A Sense of Belonging". Once there was confidence but now there is fear. Once there was laughter but now only tears. Once there were reasons for our optimism. But I hope and I pray in my own naive way that one day we can reach some sort of understanding. Try a little more sharing. Try a little more giving. Might find a sense of belonging. Might find a sense of belonging. And I know you think I'm young and naive because I go on CND marches, well that's my decision. I think that you're the one who's naive and like a fool you accept it. And like a fool you ignore it. Why don't you try and stop it? To try and find a sense of belonging? I know you watch "World In Action" and "Panorama". And to you it's just another soap opera drama, it can't happen here. Have a nice cup of tea and we'll all stay calm. And we'll come to no harm in our nice warm underground shelters. There'll be helter skelter. There'll be babies dying, you'll hear their mothers crying. I've seen the devil smiling, I've seen the devil smiling. Try to find a sense of belonging. A sense of belonging. And you laugh and make jokes about what you will do when the button is pressed and we hear the four minute warning. And if you think it's funny now wait 'till the bomb goes off . You'll all be in fucking hysterics. You'll see babies dying, you'll hear mothers crying. I'm only asking for one thing. Just want a sense of belonging. No more weapons and no more wars. No more violence. What's it all for anyway?

"Paradise Estate". Mrs. Brown wakes up every morning. She takes the milk from her doorstep, puts on a pair of faded carpet slippers, and walks a painful mile to the launderette. Her husband Jack is slowly dying, asbestos poisoning had riddled his insides. He got his pension six years early. When they took away his job, they took away his pride. Mrs. Wilson sets her clock for seven to see the children off to school. She can't afford to give them breakfast. Well not as a rule. Her husband Jack has run away. Gone with the barmaid from the Roses' Crown. Picks up her prescription every Friday. She's heading for her second nervous breakdown. Jennifer Lee is only seventeen. She had a baby when she was still at school. Her parents have disowned her and the social service barely calls. The father was a boy she met at a party. Her sister Debbie's twenty-first. She can't remember his face or his name very well. Anyway he probably doesn't remember her. And every day's the same on paradise estate. Because paradise came one day too late. We all live in little boxes. Boxes made of bricks, boxes for unmarried mothers. Elderly and sick Graffiti on the walls. Tells it all "Gary loves July", National Front slogans, "Jesus is coming", "Kilroy was here". But paradise came one day too late on paradise estate.



Longy said...

I can't believe I forgot to come over to your blog for this original! I was supposed to get here on the 23rd November.......2009! Oh well,better late than never.

Thanks DK :)

Steve said...

I'm a 54-year old bloke who bought this extraordinary song in Rough Trade (irony noted) when new to London. I do regular gigs (as 12 string Steve) and though no longer full-time, I do covers, but only ones I love and feel I can convey (Beatles, REM, Velvets, loadsa songs by people whose only tune I ever liked was that one etc.). I get a real buzz when a song people don't know goes down a storm or at least gets listened to.One of my flaws is memorising songs with lots of lyrics, but since I've rediscovered my enthusiasm for doing new oldies I'm doing my damnedest to sing a presentable version of Belonging. There's a whole lot of young people out there who should know this fabulously prescient song, it's more relevant now than when dan wrote it. A true prophet