Too Much to Take

Lyrics

There’s bound to be another little hole in the fence
Where the outside keeps getting in
I tried to patch it up with a wad of chewing gum
But they just keep clambering over

Too much to take
So many different colours
That it makes my head ache
All I want’s a slightly bigger piece of the cake
But they don’t seem to notice
‘Cos they’re all on the make
At least that’s what it said on my TV

But still they’re closing in
And I hear it every day
They just get closer and closer
I don’t say it for myself – just the state of all our health
Won’t somebody think of the children?

Too much to take
So many different colours
That it makes my head ache
All I want’s a slightly bigger piece of the cake
But they don’t seem to notice
‘Cos they’re all on the make
At least that’s what it said
At least that’s what I read
It’s not just in my head
It’s on TV!

Thoughts

I wrote this song in the early noughties (musically, you’d probably say it feels very much like a late ‘Britpop’ era track), when the BNP were enjoying a brief moment in the sun with an anti-immigration message that seemed wildly out of kilter with the general tenor of the times. With Labour seemingly set for an eternity in power, and a youthful acceptance that ‘British’ was a malleable construct that could now cheerfully include people of other races and religions the BNP looked like a last dying breath of ethno-nationalism that would soon vanish into the ether.

Well.

With a Labour leadership now bizarrely finding itself in lockstep with a ragged bunch of open anti-semites, Holocaust-deniers and conspiracy-peddlars, and the Tories unsurprisingly trapped by the increasingly-strident nationalist fantasies of their own lunatic racist wing (plus ca change...), I’m almost beyond despair to find myself disinterring this song after 15+ years and finding that it still has some resonance.

The lyrics are about the paranoia and fear that I think really exist at the back of every racist’s cupboard – when other, different people become an undifferentiated ‘they’, that’s when the field is open for people to lash out because of failings in their own life.

Not wealthy? It’s THEM. Your voice isn’t heard in the political discourse? It’s THEM. Your cultural reference points receding into the past to be replaced by alien concepts, unfamiliar faces and words? It’s THEM.

And so this song is basically an expression of that sort of mindset. The kicker? It’s been seen “on TV.” At the time I wrote this, I think the BNP had maybe just been on Question Time so this was on my mind, and whereas TV itself has become a much more diverse and inclusive medium, it’s hard not to think that the inflammatory nature of Nigel Farage’s constant appearances on Question Time, and his elevation to national status was a big contributory factor to the fractious tenor of debate and the emboldening of those with racist thoughts to ‘just speak their minds’. TV in a modern setting if, of course, a cipher for all mass media – social media…. the dreaded comments section….

It is all desperately, desperately sad.

I’ve tried to make the music fit the creeping paranoia of the lyrics, with atonal guitars, odd keyboard parts etc. and an outro that slides up through the relatively odd-sequence of F#, A, C, D underneath a mad guitar solo (not played by me played through an FX pedal I don’t even know the name).

So, an unhappy song in a lot of ways, and if you don’t find it particularly enjoyable it’s probably because it comes from an unenjoyable place. Soz.

1 Comments on “Too Much to Take”

  1. Pingback: Infra Dig – On Songwriting

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