Take Marx… Take Jesus… Take Hope…

by Harry on November 4, 2008

Shortly after the Republican convention, I received the following complaint about CT:

How is it possible that the Housemartins have NEVER been mentioned on Crooked Timber?

A mystery indeed. My correspondent was reminded of the Housemartins by the people who were grinning themselves to death. in St Paul. But why complain to me?:

I know, I know, Holbo is random pop culture guy, but you seem to be the best candidate for CTer with (at least prior) affection for “Take Marx… Take Jesus… Take Hope.”

That’s probably right (and I like the gentle suggestion that I am the not-popular culture guy, or, as one of our readers said to me, the “archaic lower-middle-brow British culture” guy). I even saw the Housemartins once, which given my record of attending live popular music events demonstrates remarkable affection (none for 15 years, and only about 10 which didn’t involve Loudon Wainwright III or Richard Thompson before that). I’ve even got all their albums (well, both of them).

But, I thought, is there a song for today? Sitting on a Fence?; Get up off our knees?; Heaven Help Us All (introduced by Peely)?; We’re Not Going Back? (The Christians among you are bound to recognise the sentiments in Sunday isn’t Sunday — I have a “Antidisestablishmentarians for Obama” button, which I got because I figured it announced my membership of a vanishingly small minority group.. My friend told me I was being elitist. “Why, antidisestablishmentarianism is a non-elite view, here”; “Yes, but only elitists know what it means”. What can you do?)

Take your pick. And, sure, the world will be a little bit better tomorrow, but not enough better that you can’t make it better still.

Update: Doug K nominates Caravan of Love. I could go with that.



Doug k 11.04.08 at 3:56 pm

I bought their last LP without ever having heard the music, based on its title alone, “Now that’s what I call quite good”.
I’d nominate Caravan of Love as the song for today..
The post-Housemartins became The Beautiful South which recorded some startlingly bitter songs.


dsquared 11.04.08 at 4:05 pm

“Happy Hour Again”


The Modesto Kid 11.04.08 at 4:14 pm

A few days ago Slacktivist linked to a YouTube clip of Tracy Chapman singing “The Times They are a-Changin'” — that seemed to me like the perfect song for the moment.


lindsey 11.04.08 at 4:40 pm

“Antidisestablishmentarians for Obama” button, which I got because I figured it announced my membership of a vanishingly small minority group.. My friend told me I was being elitist. “Why, antidisestablishmentarianism is a non-elite view, here”; “Yes, but only elitists know what it means”. What can you do?

ha! I want a button, oh wait, but I suppose maybe I shouldn’t. It’s true though, you are an elitist, there’s no escaping it. If your criteria for voting isn’t someone to have a beer with (or for you, perhaps watch Dr Who with?? though that’s not so bad I guess), you are an elitist. Oh well…


Nick 11.04.08 at 4:46 pm

I still have an old ‘Inspector Clouseau Fans Against The Beumb’ badge. Does that count?


harry b 11.04.08 at 4:46 pm

“Sunday isn’t Sunday” was for you, Lindsey.


novakant 11.04.08 at 5:02 pm

My nominations:

Chumbawamba – Enough is Enough and also Tubthumping (“pissing the night away” seems fitting)

Tracy Chapman – Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution and Fast Car

4 Non Blondes – Dear Mr. President and What’s Up


Kieran Healy 11.04.08 at 5:08 pm

What dsquared said.


Righteous Bubba 11.04.08 at 5:12 pm

Don’t believe it, oh no.


lindsey 11.04.08 at 5:44 pm

Thanks Harry! I listened to it, and while the chorus makes sense, I can’t understand much else… (accent? video quality? too early in the morning?).

Here’s a song to inspire the Christian progressives to get out there: Kirk Franklin’s Revolution. It’s kind of ridiculous, but fun. I like the woo woo’s.

I already voted, and surprisingly there was no line (local senior center). Time for class!


joe koss 11.04.08 at 6:40 pm

Hi Harry, so I couldn’t resist. Long time observer, never a poster.
I doubt this song can be appreciated by most (mostly due to some misplaced language), but in the summer of 2004, my roommate was bumping this track constantly, and it so happened, just before Barack came on at the DNC (I was not and am still not a huge hip hop fan, but certain artists speak The Truth, no matter the genre). We immediately dubbed it his theme song for the 2008 Election (all hoping that he would run). If nothing else, enjoy the amazing, uplifting beat and bob that head!
“My dad hates driving a bus but he loves 5 kids”…


Mrs Tilton 11.04.08 at 8:14 pm

“Me and the Farmer” is an impassioned protest against the ungodly spreading of wealth to welfare parasites, obviously, its themes uniting the highest-bracket-tax-reducing and Rapture-awaiting strands of modern Republicanism. Had John McCain only adopted it as his campaign fight song, then perhaps today the news for him wouldn’t be so… emmm… so… so excellent for him, my friends.


Joel Turnipseed 11.04.08 at 8:46 pm

The thing is, the Housemartins will be Oh-so-much-more-appropriate if the Obamapocalypse happens and McCain-Palin somehow win tonight…

For now, while my eyes are still moist after seeing the crowds at the polls, I’ll go with Caravan of Love: excellent choice.

Meantime, Harry, I wasn’t complaining–just, you know, marvelling… : )


BillCinSD 11.05.08 at 3:24 am

I’d say “5 get overexcited” or until it’s over “Anxious”


anthony 11.05.08 at 2:21 pm

“Frankly Mr Shankly”!

Oh wait, that was The Smiths

Ha! Pawn3d. Frankly


harry b 11.05.08 at 10:39 pm

Thanks Joe. That was odd.

And Joel, yes, they would have been more appropriate if McCain and Palin had won. A sacrifice worth making, though.

And thanks for reminding me of them!

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