Clever Bastards

I think about this song a lot.

Ian Dury was a dude who was born when Polio existed, and it wrecked his body. The dude lived a life of singing and shouting and stomping, and was regarded by his passing as one of the great British lyricists. Some of his songs spoke plainly of sadness and helplessness in the face of the need to create, some of them about the nature of British society, and some of them, like this, showed a round-bottomed positivity. He died in the year 2000, at only 57 years of age.

I think the thing about this song that gets me, every time, is the refrain – probably had help from their mum, who had help from her mum.

Back in the seventies, a one-legged street tough who knew how to steal, how to fight and how to cry was recognising that we are all part of long chains of effort, that even the best and brightest were aided by the people who shaped them. Bear it in mind, the connectivity between ourselves and the past, and remember that we didn’t make ourselves, not even those we consider great.

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