Sign Up

I didn't sign up for the long haul

I didn't sign up for a war

I didn't sign up for the fallout

In fact I didn't sign at all

I just got talking in the back room

Of a pub off Beasley Street

And then the next thing that I hear

Is learn to put up with the heat

I didn't sign up for this journey

I didn't sign up for this fall

I didn't sign up for derision

In fact I didn't sign at all

I wasn't given any option

It was others made the choice

They did their thing and I resulted

I didn't even have a voice

I didn't sign up for the heartache

I didn't sign up for the pain

I didn't sign for diagnosis

Do I have to say again

I just picked up on what I came to

And tried to make the best I could

Next thing I know I've got a label

It's something deep inside my blood

I didn't sign up for the study

I didn't sign up for the call

I didn't sign up for the research

In fact I didn't sign at all

There is a signpost by the river

Pointing to a waterfall

I know the tide will keep on flowing

But I didn't sign at all

This is a protest song. It protests against the labelling, compartmentalising, and pathologising of human experience (particularly in the case of the young) by a modern society that seems to want everyone to sit meekly in their prescribed boxes. It’s apparent to me that late capitalism requires only that we metabolise (produce and consume) and then compliantly die to make make way for the next shift. The young are often accused of complaining, ‘I didn’t ask to be born’ (which, of course they didn’t), and thinking the world owes them a living. Well, I think the world owes us all a living, or at least the opportunity to live and to do so creatively. Perhaps the biggest and most pernicious lie of the modern age is the one that says it’s all about the individual and the rights of the individual. From what I can see, the individual counts for very little, except as an expendable cog in a huge machine. This protest song raises a middle figure to that situation and asserts that, whatever iniquities exist, life goes on. Finally, there’s something hopefully!

Ron