MUSIC MONTH: Song of the day VEINTITRES
Sometimes amongst all the noise and throughout all the bullshit, music can bring you just that moment of clarity that can shatter any previous perception you have of reality.
For this entry, we see this in the example of where it’s not what you say that has the big impact but what is left to be implied between the lines. And the conduit we are going to use to highlight this, is in the communicative arts of children.
Young Children are somewhat a distinctive breed, particularly in the way they communicate. Any child psychologist, therapist or practioner will always tell you that their unique and under-developed thought patterns can sometimes need nudging before their true views come rising to the surface. This is probably most true of those who have had traumatic experiences in their past, especially if left unresolved.
You can probably see the same pattern in many adults who have kept this trait as they went through adolescence. It’s funny that one of the first things we inherit subconsciously from our parents is the ability to conceive the truth. That however is a completely different topic for another post.
Anywho, I best get on with the song entry (and its accompanying video) where this will all start to make some more sense.
Today’s song is a catchy little number from 2005, entitled the ‘JCB song’. It was created by a two man band called ‘Nizlopic’ and became a bit of a Chav anthem at the time in the United Kingdom. This was based on inherent love of its catchy bridge, which focussed on glorifying aspects of working class society but I feel as a song, it was misinterpreted by society at the time. Confused? Allow me to explain…
Now this song is a lil bit of a weird choice because I haven’t actually heard it in years, nor do I regularly think about it. It hardly ever pops into my head and I would find it very hard to properly recite the lyrics, however the journey it takes me on is probably one of the most poignant and powerful journeys of any song on my list so far.
It starts off with a melodic little tune on a piano/guitar/some fucking string instrument and then this random guy in a south London accent introduces himself as Luke. He makes a point to introduce himself though as his five year old self and this sets the tone of the language and perception of the story about to take place. Fair enough and not only quite contemporary in song but his emphasis of portraying this version of himself is crucial to the underlying message of it all.
Accompanying his young self appears to be his father, who for some reason or another is driving down a dual carriage way in a construction vehicle! We have absolutely no idea when or why this is taking place but this kid seems quite content with this as they poop along with Luke sat on his father’s toolbox. His wandering imagination begins to carry him away as he remembers the musical queues and other things that are staples of that period of the early 80s and the chorus barrels in after the first verse and he beats in the notion that:
He’s so glad he’s not in school.
On first glance, I think
‘Who wouldn’t be, no one likes being in school? Not when you could be out playing and getting mucky, Fuck that.’
So my honest first experience of listening to this was
‘I’m a whole verse in, and I’m none the wiser why I am stuck listening to this piece of shit?’
SO on rolls verse number two where his imagination starts going on about even weirder shit as I start to wonder whether this kid has just taken some crystal meth hidden away in his father’s glove box. Then I stumble across these lyrics
“And I wanna transform into a Tyrannosaurus Rex!
And eat up all the bullies and the teachers and their pets
And I’ll tell all my mates that my dad’s B.A. Bahraccus
Only with a JCB and Bruce Lee’s nunchuckas”
And just like that, my old reality comes crumbling down infront of me and without any conscious effort, I begin to soak in this new reality, while an uncontrollable stream of tears come racing down my eyes.
If becomes frightfully clear the kid had been constantly bullied and was either getting in trouble with the teachers because they didn’t believe him or they were adding to his torment .
This poor poor boy and the articulate way he wants to let out his angst (but can’t), a boy that he feels he can’t take command of his life and has to transform into a big monster to seize control, it just makes my poor heart weep.
The impact of his bullying is concreted in the fact he only mentions the world bullies ‘Once’ in the entire song, keeping up a tough boyish persona, very much in the same format I described earlier in this post. His perserverance to try and cover up the problems in his life just makes me want to fling my arms around him and tell him it’s ok.
The whole thing is one big giant meander through the fact that at the tender age of just five years old, this guy had already begun to experience the full bullshit that is life. And it was starting to get to him bigtime, no matter how hard he tried to hide it.
All I can think of while hearing is this is
Why was this allowed to happen?
Let’s think about it, he’s been let down by everyone, society, his friends, the very establishment his parents have decided will nourish his growth, the responsible adults paid to take care of him, every single one of them but that’s not all. He was let down by You, me, his neighbours, his government, his sovereign, we’ve all had are part to play in failing Luke and it’s so inherently sad because this thing happens to a whole number of people, every single day and NO ONE CARES. Everyone literally dropped the ball.
…Apart from his dad.
In Luke’s only moment of potential fear, one of the following either happened
- He either woke up one morning completely terrified of being able to go to school and begged his parents to not go to school, so without the option of a baby sitter, his father took him into work with him.
- His dad decided to take it upon himself to give his son a break based off a gut feel about the way he was acting or speaking and give him something to empower himself with when he did go back to school
And in either of these actions, without his dad’s particular knowledge, he had become Luke’s own personal knight in shining armour. This is backed up by probably the phrase which helped him relinquish the threat of bullying going forward. His very own Gospel (according to Luke) of confidence
‘I’m Luke, I’m five and my dad’s bruce lee,
drives around in his JCB’
This guy has quite literally saved him and effortlessly turned a horrible experience into a happy memory, a memory that not only stayed with Luke throughout the rest of his life but he decided to share with the rest of us.
What a hero.
Now comes the only problem..
I then start to think why was this song written and released now and the horrible thought passes through my mind that Luke’s father probably isn’t with us anymore.
Probably taken from this world by some incurable ailment
Humanised by cancer,
Defeated by a stroke
Stripped of his superpowers by Alzheimer’s,
Crippled by his own personal kryptonite that is heart’s disease.
And you just think what hope do we have as a community going forward with another fallen angel on our front line? With the numbers dwindling in the fight against despair who is there ready to take up the slack? Just how much longer can we hold out for? How many heroes do we have left out there fighting the good fight?
Kinda makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
In the entireity of his role as a father and amongst all the great feats that are traditionally associated with parenthood, I find it incredibly honest that this is the one memory that Luke wanted to share with us about him. Subtle in delivery, he concentrates on how it makes him feel, which is always underestimated in importance over what someone provides, especially considering how the father is mostly associated in the ‘hunter-gatherer’ traditional parenting role.
His father, now personified in biblical terms as a Giant, mentioned in the same breath as bruce lee and fictional icons such as transformers and BA barrachus, in his JCB chariot as cool as any DeLorean or the thundertank
Having a top laugh with his old man and being ‘so glad he’s not in school’ is literally all that’s necessary to make his fears melt away.
They say heroes come and go but legends never die. Luke, now an adult has made sure the heroic tales of his father are now immortalised in this cute and catchy cult classic.
If only his father had an opportunity to see the Legend he had become in his son’s eyes from such a little act all those years ago.
It would be quite the honour. Quite the honour indeed.
Nizlopi – JCB Song