Friday, May 21, 2010

I Am a Man Who Looks After The Pigs

Since I won't be uploading Who Script 3 today, I figured I'd post this song – "The Dirty Jobs" – because it happens to be one of my favorites1 and it come from my all-time favorite Who album, Quadrophenia. Also, you're all jonesing for some Who, aren't you?2

I'm posting it now because it won't be one of the songs I'm going to discuss in the program when I get to Quadrophenia3.

As should be clear by now, I am an unapologetic worshiper at the altar of Pete Townshend. I think he is unmatched as a lyricist and I'm amazed by the fact that while he seems always to be thinking narratively – his songs seem always to tell stories while a lot of other popular music seems incapable of attaining so much as coherence – he can still be remarkably poetic4 and richly dense in meaning. "The Dirty Jobs" is a song that subtly adds the issue of social class barriers to the already heady mix of issues being developed in Quadrophenia ... and does it well – with subtlety, not with soapbox tub-thumping.

Yet Jimmy's personality issues are right there, too, as well as the issue of generational conflict and misunderstanding (I am a young man/ I ain't done very much,/ You men should remember how you used to fight./ Just like a child, I've been seeing only dreams,/I'm all mixed up but I know what's right).

In short, Pete Townshend awes me with his compositional excellence.



I am a man who looks after the pigs
Usually I get along okay.
I am man who reveals all he digs,
Should be more careful what I say.

I'm getting put down,
I'm getting pushed round,
I'm being beaten every day.
My life's fading,
But things are changing,
I'm not gonna sit and weep again.

I am man who drives a local bus
I take miners to work, but the pits all closed today.
It's easy to see that you are one of us.
Ain't it funny how we all seem to look the same?

We're getting put down,
We're getting pushed round,
We're being beaten every day.
My life's fading,
But things are changing,
I'm not gonna sit and weep again.

My karma tells me
You've been screwed again.
If you let them do it to you
You've got yourself to blame.
It's you who feels the pain
It's you that feels ashamed.

I am a young man
I ain't done very much,
You men should remember how you used to fight.
Just like a child, I've been seeing only dreams,
I'm all mixed up but I know what's right.

I'm getting put down,
I'm getting pushed round,
I'm being beaten every day.
My life's fading,
But things are changing,
I'm not gonna sit and weep again.

______
1 Currently, one of my great fears concerning this upcoming Who program is that I will inadvertently and unconsciously say, before each song I play, "This is one of my favorites"; because I find myself thinking that after listening to each song, and when I come across one that I haven't heard for awhile, like this one, I play it over and over before moving on, thinking to myself, each time, "This is a great song."

But if I introduce each song with a "This is one of my favorite Who songs", I can't expect to have much credibility, can I?

That said, this is one of my Favorite Who Songs.

2 Is it Who in here or is it just me?

3 At the moment, it looks as though the Quadrophenia songs I do discuss will be:

"The Real Me"
"5:15"
"Drowned" and
"Bellboy"

I may add to that. But I won't add this one because there's really too much to say about it.

4 In the middle of "Helpless Dancer", e.g., he casually inserts this jaw-dropper:

No one can love without the grace
Of some unseen and distant face

... a line that strikes me every time as beautiful and elegant and true and it just appears like a jewel in a Quadrophenia song that is pulling triple duty by supplying yet more insight into Jimmy's dilemma as well as summing up the personality of The Who's lead singer, Roger Daltry. ("Helpless Dancer" is Roger's Theme; "Bell Boy" is Keith's; "Dr. Jimmy" is John's; "Love Reign O'er Me" is Pete's. Quadrophenia's name alludes to the fact that the character of Jimmy is supposed to have 4 distinct personalities, each personality being that of a member of The Who. This is one part of Quadrophenia that doesn't work: Jimmy's quest is really more one of trying to integrate the shards of his personality into one coherent whole. He doesn't have multiple personalities – he's trying to assemble one from parts, more or less. (Significantly, there is a song on Quadrophenia titled "I'm One". Also – say it with me – one of my favorites.))

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