Free Souls in a Trapped Environment

by Citizen Fish

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credits

released September 1, 1990

Voice+words- Dick
Guitar- Larry
Bass- Jasper
Drums- Trotsky

Recorded at the Refuge, Reading 17-19 April 90
and Southern, London 7-10 June 90

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Track Name: Supermarket Song
SUPERMARKET SONG

In the shops and supermarket chains
The checkouts play that song again
The notes ring in, ring out the change
Laughing all the way to the stock exchange

The music keeps us happy as we choose
The products that we can't afford to use
The tokens on the packets, the percentages that drop
The ringing and the singing from the ceiling never stops

Buy the product and be free!
Live a life of luxury!
And it says so on T.V.
Every quarter of an hour
Consuming all the facts
Makes you feel you can relax
Comes neatly wrapped in packs
With ingredients on the back
So when you're sick from plastic snacks
You'll know precisely why

While you uphold the megastores
By paying what you can't afford
The man who runs the shop next door
Remembers how it was before
When personality meant something
And customers would laugh with him
They'd smile or nod as they came in
And adverts didn't mean a thing

But now the supermarket chains
Are around your neck and purse
They sell the products to the strain
Of some long-forgotten dirge
Just loud enough to wash away
The headaches of outside
Another shopping paradise
Where god is on your side

They channel mediocrity
As life's essential quality
You're buying two to get one free
It's some thing that you'll never need
But greed and curiosity
Make you consume and let them feed
Track Name: Break Into a Run/Rainbows
BREAK INTO A RUN/RAINBOWS

[Break Into A Run]
Why life appears to be a series of ups and downs I'll never know
And I've a feeling that if I find out then everything will turn to stone
The lifeless boring routine block of all things neither good nor bad
To break that rock and destabilise is risky but I'll take that chance

Just to know that every up and down must balance out somehow
And there's a smile to end a conversation that was full of frowns
And here's a major chord to lift the minors up and dance around
And if the song seems far too long then tune in to another sound

Of course the opposite is true the rain must sometimes hide the sun
And you can't escape the feeling that there's more to life than having fun
But it's better to go crazy and just break into a run
Than to grow old always being told how everything should be done

So take the path of most resistance and feel good when you arrive
The other one is straight downhill and never asks you 'why?'
Experience the reap and sow, feel the strengths of high and low
Who can dictate how far to go? There are no limits set- let's go!


[Rainbows]
The last time was forgotten in remembrance of the first
We carried on in ignorance not knowing it was worse
And all the sinking standards were related to the past
So when the end came up again we really had a blast!

We counting on this memory
And not counting too fast
Cos everything's still happening
So I guess it's gonna last!

It's easier to minimalise the present point of view
Cos memories desensitise the bad things we go through
But when all that was happening we remembered just the same
So presently we come to see that for rainbows you need rain
Track Name: Possession
POSSESSION

How much do you want? How much do you need?
How wide is the gap between possession and greed?

Anyone in particular thinks in terms of how much more he needs to earn
To afford the dubious luxury of being able to boast that he could do it free
But it all takes a very long time indeed to reach the achievements set
By the time he possesses all the things that he wants
He'll have forgotten what he set out to get

How much is enough? Do you need a bit more?
How wide is the gap between now and before?

There's not much difference in the way he lives
And the empty satisfaction that possession gives

Storing it all for a sense of success
When he's got time to look back if there's any time left
Cos it all takes a very long time indeed to amass all the needs to be met
Unless you consider that all that you really need
Is something to eat
Is something to breathe
Something to be there when you leave
Is something to drink
Is something to say
Something that says "I went this way"
Track Name: Small Scale Wars
SMALL SCALE WARS

Everything we do on a personal scale
Taking 'we' to mean everyone who ever existed
Is the basis for everything wrong in this world
And of course everything right as well
But the list of wrongs that offend the soul
Like the chance of being killed before we get old
Is far far longer than the list of rights

Falling in love won't stop the war
But hating other people might start some more

You blame the politicians
For making all the wrong decisions
Which are just the same as ours
But we haven't got that power
That enforces domination
So we take out our frustration
On the weaker opposition
Reinforce our egotism
In our small scale wars
On the disco floors
Against the man next door

Falling in love won't stop the war
But hating other people might start some more

You can blame the politicians
You blame the television
You can blame your education
Cost of living and inflation

But the basis for everything wrong in this world
Is the way that people behave
When you scorn the system but fight each other
You're behaving exactly the same
If you thought a bit more before starting the war
Then maybe the structure would change

Falling in love won't stop the war
But hating other people might start some more
Track Name: Home Economics
HOME ECONOMICS

Granny is starting to look pretty costly
At anywhere up to £500 a year
So even though she is capable, happy and lovely
Its out of the house cos it won't be so dear

And into the poll-tax-free state-run environment
Waiting for death in a small cosy room
We can visit her then and she'll make lots of friends
They'll be queuing for places so we'd better book soon

Charlie is eighteen there's no point in waiting
Forget all that learning and get a job fast
And a flat of your own cos the money's all blown
The family unit's a thing of the past

Well then my darling you'd better start working
Cos husbands are meant to pay tax for their wives
You could be an inspector or a poll tax collector
The only job open are the ones we despise

And the baby is due, maybe we should consider
Abortion, adoption or changing our name
Cos for each extra head there's a mouth to be fed
And the poll tax eats more than we've managed to save

By the year 1999 all these old friends of mine
Will be in prison or gone far away
For the tax's evasion, unable to pay them
Or just for the wanting of somewhere to stay

With Thatcher replacing the tiles on our roof
With demands for more money than we've ever got
We'll look back and wish we'd known more and resisted
The poll tax
Student loans
More cuts in benefits
All got together and said fuck the lot of it!
Track Name: Paint
PAINT

I heard the notes all fade away
Leaving memorial stones
Yesterday's thoughts have come to stay
Until they decompose
A picture paints a thousand words
With nothing much to say
What last night seemed had to be heard
Is left unsaid today

So when you said you understood
I couldn't understand
I was looking at an empty beach
As you saw the grains of sand
I was counting views from windows
When you looked in from outside
The light was blurred and distant
And several cities wide

So I turn up the volume
To hear the notes so dim
You said you couldn't hear it
So I asked you to come in
Then you held up a mirror
And I saw my face congeal
I was thin and getting thinner
And I dreamt it was for real
Track Name: Talk is Cheap
TALK IS CHEAP

Talk is cheap and its easy to shout
If we spent all our time working things out
Would it change anything?
Words are cheap and anyone can sing
So let's sing a song about all the wrongs
Complaining and straining
This is where it belongs
Or so some one said
It must've been something I read
But while I was reading
The ethics lay bleeding

Stab the back of the hand that feeds you
We fall apart in the 'basic human nature' excuse
It's the heart of the gig that bleeds
From the endless soul self-abuse
Tied to the bar in the hope of reviews
From the obvious to the obtuse
The critics who sound so profound
About the mythical 'new underground'

But talk is cheap
The words of wisdom put you to sleep
And you don't even read the cuttings you keep
Just following trends
The trail never ends
When all the solutions are just round the bend
You're upholding ideas that you'd never defend
In the endless search you cannot comprehend
That there's nothing that wonderful
In worshipping trivial
Ego material
Cos music sells papers
Who sell you the feeling
As if it was missing

Talk is cheap
Till you put it in print
Sing as you read
The words all fit
Now we're learning the words
Obscure or absurd
It makes no difference
It never gets heard
No it never gets 'in'
But you really want to win
When there's nothing to be
You say 'look at me!'
And it works! Yes it works!
Cos talk is cheap
But shouting is free!
Track Name: Face Off/Youth
FACE OFF/YOUTH

[Face Off]
Lots of them
You know there's lots of them
There's reasons
Everyday changes my mind like the seasons
I'm asking for answers
I'm looking in mirrors
Ripples in rivers
Face just drifting away......

Where's the reasoning?
Yes and no are neither good enough
Gimme some of that spontaneity stuff
Blink before you think too hard
Saw your smile in a passing car

Borrowed your pen
I wanna write like you do again and again
Riots in the uniform of peace
Coupla big ones up your sleeve

Ten to nine and it's shut down the factory
Pull up the floorboards and build a bonfire
Having a party in your head
Sniff this geezer! And go to bed!

Turned off the lights
Stayed up all night
Blown to bits!
Shrivelled up opened out and exploded
Where he usually sits

Go to it youth
Discover the truth
Don't bottle it up
Cos it's 99% proof

[Youth]
No no it's not how old you are
Not the blushing brides and the propped up bar
After the bells have rung
And the next perspective has begun

Not the corner of some foreign field
Not the name engraved on stainless steel
Not the thank you note for inventing the wheel
But an innocence dressed in knowing too much
Never scared to theorise but half scared to touch
But rejecting the world that made it such

Oh to be as youthful as I am
Oh to be as manic as you are
Oh to be as worried in our happiness
But never will we be so near
Yet look so far
Be so near
Yet look so far
Yet look so far

Beyond the social attitudes
That narrow the path and distort the view
Complacency defies energy
And the other way round

We grow as fast as time is slow
Enough to keep our head to the ground
For youthfulness is a louder sound
Than age - that turning of the page - can make
A forced resemblance of getting old
Left the majority feeling cold
Forgot that energy never gets old
We grow with what we'll always know
And feel the sense of experience
Track Name: Flesh and Blood
FLESH AND BLOOD

If animals are animals
And animals have brains
We are no more than cannibals
Who refuse to feel the pain

The meat you eat is wrapped up neat
You didn't see it bleed...
And what you kill does not fulfil
Your dietary needs

Take a look from this direction
Save yourself the indigestion
Our guts are geared to vegetation
And it's healthier as well

Open your eyes and face the facts
Meat cost a lot, it gives you heart attacks
A lot of people think vegetation lacks
In vitamin B12
If you really think that's gonna make you ill
Then buy a bottle of vitamin pills!

You could be more healthy
Maybe it doesn't really bother you
But can your conscience bear the strain
Of all the pain that makes your food?

You could feed a lot of needy people
With the grain they feed to cows
But can you comprehend these end results
Or can you not allow
Yourself to break the old tradition?
False conception of nutrition
Well they all eat meat on television
Except those little starving children

Would you ever eat the meat
From another human being?
Flesh and blood
Is animal
Is you and me
Animal is suffering
Track Name: Get Off the Phone
GET OFF THE PHONE

Someone phoned and said "hello?"
And for about, well, I dunno
A few split seconds I thought "Oh no
I know that voice"... so I said real slow
"Uh yes?" Who could it be?

Of course it turned out
[There was no room for doubt]
It was you all along
It's just that your voice
Was covered in noise
That didn't belong

You said "Don't mention my name
I got something to say
The police came around
About ten minutes ago
They got my address book
And you ought to know
They were asking weird questions
About what I believe
And reading my fanzines
And your record sleeves."

I said "Get off the phone
I don't think we're alone
I keep hearing these noises
They're tapping my phone
They're searching your house
And now they'll search mine,
They'll pull us all in
If they get enough time
If you've done nothing wrong
They'll make up a crime
They'll say you're unbalanced
Cos you went out of line.
There's no freedom to move
Unless it's forward or back
And you can't speak your mind
Cos your phone's being tapped
But we know all these things
So we have to react
They're not defending our freedom
It's blatant attack
They take all our freedom
And give nothing back"
Track Name: Experiment Earth
EXPERIMENT EARTH


A zillion miles into outer space
Is a very very very big telescopic lens
Someone labelled 'alien' is looking at this place
Checking out experimental women and men

Several million years ago
They planted human beings on a planet called Earth
Sent a few biologists to make sure we would grow
Who ended up in Spielberg films, or crucified, or worse

Lots and lots of time went past
Till what we know as 'recently' was when it all went wrong
Technology ran the human race the humans finished last
They were spending less on medicine and more and more on bombs

The layers in the atmosphere were open wide
And no-one out in outer space liked what they saw inside
Animals in slavery where forests used to be
Starving people eating hamburgers and catching heart disease

What to do with the toxic waste?
The ocean floor is filling up and those drums rust away
"We could try dumping all this rubbish in outer space"
But the aliens were listening to everything we say

A zillion miles into outer space
Is a very very very big telescopic lens
And when an alien experiment starts messing up the place
It is left to self-destruction, clear the mess and start again
Track Name: How to Write Ultimate Protest Songs
HOW TO WRITE ULTIMATE PROTEST SONGS

You have to use your imagination
To get across the situation
You can simplify or overstate
To make it easier to relate
You can go right over the top
With a list of things you want to stop
Or you can concentrate on just one wrong
And make it easier to sing along

But if you say "I don't like this"
(Or that or the other in a big long list)
Then people write you off as a pessimist
Providing no alternatives
Or if you decide to simplify
And use four-letter words and spit in the sky
Then they'll chant the slogans and won't even try
To understand the reasons why

So perhaps the only way to make clear
The views you'd like everyone to hear
Is by taking a piece of everyday life
And looking at it closer in a different light
Let's take an example - the way we eat
Sat at the table and it's all so neat
Now you can understand that cos that's 'how it's done'
And it's probably happened to everyone

Having caught the attention you now decide
How far to push your thoughts outside
There's loads of angles, like dining out
The hunger of the old man whose cash ran out
The money made by corporations
Selling bombs not food to starving nations
You see there's a world-wide scope of affiliations
Depending how far you wanna stretch imaginations

Insert a little optimism now and then
Before complaining becomes a trend
Repetition defeats the point in the end
It numbs imagination till it can't comprehend

So walk the line between humour and gloom
Amongst the debris there's just enough room
To keep your mentality going strong
And create some ultimate protest songs
Track Name: Charity
CHARITY

As the charity department at the Treasury
Dispenses licenses so you can do one too
The Ethiopians are running out of weaponry
So their leaders stock it up instead of food
And charity begins at home
So get out on the streets
And help the refugees

And the manager of E.M.I. technology
Seems reluctant to discuss his business deals
Cos the weapon sales are paying for his meals
He'll go to Wuthering Heights
To keep it out of sight

Profit! Weaponry doesn't feed refugees
It's a hit! McCartney's saying please on TVs
Royalties to feed the world with guns

Wembley Stadium forever on the video
And a million spent to raise that sixty more
Nothing ever quite as big as this before
And it broke our hearts as it topped the charts

But when the overkill exploited the reality
We forgot the facts and revelled in the noise
We didn't see that while we had the voice
Companies and laws were pulling vocal chords

If the western world was less obsessed with property
And the need to keep it safe with threats of war
Then the third world wouldn't need a war economy
That we're supplying at a cost they can't afford
So we buy up all their crops and grain
And sell it back again
When there ain't no rain
And have a big campaign
Using famous names
And as the penny drops
Into the Oxfam box
Take off the V.A.T.
Then call it charity

And the public think the government is wonderful
For promoting our assistance to the poor
But their profits are a whole lot more
They create the need to feed the refugees
And delegate the guilty feeling to the public eye
Via pictures of starvation on T.V.
And get the public conscience back out on the streets
With the empty tins
And little flags on pins
Lets call it charity