Infected Heartland

Sorry there’s a bit of a glitch in my matrix, I’ve just become totally obsessed with one song, ‘Heartland’ by The The.  Either things are entirely cyclical on our little rain-blessed island, or Matt Johnson was gifted with an alarming degree of prescience in 1986.  Quite apart from the deceptively soothing stroll of the music, coloured by some delightful piano by (future Marillion singer) Steve Hogarth, the lyrics nip, rip and worry.  It speaks to me deeply of our stratified, disunited nation and a certain undertone of ammonia behind the picture postcard vistas.  Or maybe I’m just a bit cynical and lit tonight.  Whatever.

Given a decent run-up I will get around to reviewing The The Infected – how could I resist such a richly storied LP? drugs, brothels, Neneh Cherry tied to train tracks and some wonderful swearing, it’s the least I could do.  But for now, just savour the unsavoury.

Beneath the old iron bridges, across the Victorian parks,
And all the frightened people running home before dark,
Past the Saturday morning cinema–
that lies crumbling to the ground,
And the piss stinking shopping centre in the new side of town.
I’ve come to smell the seasons change, & watch the city,
as the sun goes down again.

Here comes another winter, of long shadows & high hopes,
Here comes another winter, waitin for utopia,
waitin for hell to freeze over.

This is the land, where nothing changes,
the land of red buses & blue blooded babies,
This is the place, where pensioners are raped,
And the hearts are being cut, from the welfare state,
Let the poor drink the milk, while the rich eat the honey,
Let the bums count their blessings, while they count the money.

So many people, can’t express what’s on their minds,
Nobody knows them & nobody ever will,
Until their backs are broken & their dreams are stolen,
And they can’t get what they want, then they’re gonna get angry!
Well it ain’t written in the papers, but its written on the walls
The way this country is divided to fall,
So the cranes are moving on the skyline–
Trying to knock down–this town
But the stains on the heartland, can never be removed,
from this country, that’s sick, sad, and confused.

The ammunition’s being passed, and the lords been praised,
But the wars on the televisions will never be explained,
All the bankers gettin sweaty, beneath their white collars,
As the pound in our pocket, turns into a dollar.

This is the 51st state–of the U. S. A.

777 Down (still)

21 thoughts on “Infected Heartland

  1. As others have said, those lyrics are amazing. I’ve never delved into The The. Maybe it’s the double usage of “the” that scared me away. Regardless, love the writing here.

  2. Not a band to which I’ve ever paid attention, but I love this jazzy feel and you were right to post the lyrics, awesome stuff. Turns out, this was just the tune for this moment. Thanks.

    1. I only know this LP and Soul Mining and they’re both amazing. File with Talk Talk and Blue Nile, under ‘acceptable faces of the 80s’.

  3. Just a side story here: Back in the Record Store days, I had an argument over what their header card should say. See, we didn’t use the word “The” on header cards. We literally paid by the letter! Dymo gun tape was not cheap. So The Doors were Doors. Etc.

    Anyway I insisted THE THE was the header card, not THE as I was told it “should” be.

    1. No! That was almost awful – you were entirely vindicated here.

      Incidentally, any idea how Hogarth came to be on this? I’ve never read anything about it, from him.

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