William Scott Bruford, Jon Anderson, Steve James Howe, Rick Wakeman, Alec Johnson and Maxwell Dominic Bacon wrote a song reflecting on the dawn of the nuclear age for Britain and its announcement to aboriginal peoples in Western Australia.
It’s from the album Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe released in 1989.

I chanced upon it while going through some of my CDs and was delighted to once again here a batch of progressive rock brought by members of the group Yes. Brought back fond memories of a concert long ago, Anderson, ever the elf, leaping about stage and lifting an impossible tenor in song after song, Bruford driving an otherworldly drum beat, Howe bringing leads from a guitar that prickles the spine and Wakeman showcasing what electronic keyboards can bring to a tune.

Here’s the background of the tune: In 1954 the British Government, to become the third nuclear power, in order to maintain the balance of power between East and West, exploded their first atom bomb at Woomera, in Western Australia. They failed to contact all of the aborigine peoples at the time. The aboriginal people still call this “the day of the cloud.”

Jon Anderson’s voice rises clear of the rest of the sound, a clear bell carrying the message.

This place ain’t big enough for red and white.
This place ain’t big enough for stars and stripes.
This place… this place…
This place is theirs, by their birthright.

This human tide, give it some.
We can break the ties
Of recent changes.
Know the ones who
Hold the key.
Singing out the congregation.
We are them and they are we.


I hear this uproarious tune now and again from the little speakers in my office, summoned by an algorithm after one of my fellow workmates gets the digital assistant going. I remember what a lot of fun folks had when Tubthumping (from Chumbawamba’s album Tubthumper) arced across the radio waves when atop the charts.
Tubthumping was released in 1997. It’s, by far, in my estimation, one of the best candidates for a singalong in a favorite bar or pub. Get folks together. Have a brew and let it rip. Celebrate the resilience… Let’s pick a stronger word… resistance of the everyday working person.

Don’t hear much about the group these days, but there may be a reason. According to the 2022 MEL Magazine story by Magdalene Taylor, “They got in, spread their message and got out.”

Members of Chumbawamba weren’t shy about their political views. From “Tubtexts,” in notes about Tubthumping by the band:

It is essential to be drunk all the time. That’s all: there’s no other problem. If you do not want to feel the appalling weight of Time which breaks your shoulders and bends you to the ground, get drunk, and drunk again. What with? Wine, poetry, or being good, please yourself. But get drunk. And if now and then, on the steps of a palace, on the green grass of a ditch, in the glum loneliness of your room, you come to, your drunken state abated or dissolved, ask the wind, ask the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, ask all that runs away, all that groans, all that wheels, all that sings, all that speaks, what time it is; and the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, will tell you: ‘It is time to get drunk!’ If you do not want to be the martyred slaves of Time, get drunk, always get drunk! With wine, with poetry or with being good. As you please.” Charles Baudelaire, 1866

“I’m a human being and I’ve got thoughts and secrets and bloody life inside me that he doesn’t know is there, and he’ll never know what’s there because he’s stupid. I suppose you’ll laugh at this, me saying the governer’s a stupid bastard when I know hardly how to write and he can read and write and add-up like a professor. But what I say is true right enough. He’s stupid, and I’m not, because I can see further into the likes of him than he can see into the likes of me. Admitted, we’re both cunning, but I’m more cunning and I’ll win in the end even if I die in gaol at eighty-two, because I’ll have more fun and fire out of my life than he’ll ever got out of his.” Alan Sillitoe, from ‘Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner’, 1959

Resistance was everywhere in the lyrics:

I get knocked down,
But I get up again.
You’re never gonna keep me down.
I get knocked down,
But I get up again.
You’re never gonna keep me down.

And, from another song on the album, a hint about the ruckus in a bar or pub (ruckusing?):

This is Tearoom England.
They’ll kick your face in
So politely.
This is Tearoom England.
They’ll kick your face in
Oh, so nicely.

Modern Day Pharisee

Every once in a while, Christian music reaches back to its roots, the life of Jesus. The roots of reggae proved powerful as a population of artists realized the power of the gospel and music and brought an enduring music into being. Christafari leader Mark Mohr, came to belief through Rastafarian life. The resulting band broke into the Christian mainstream in tthe 1990s. This tune from the early album Valley of Decision, brings to mind the gospel’s warnings of the life religious, complete with a biting spoken coda.

They’re a brood of vipers.
They would pluck you off one by one,
just like a sniper.
They lash out their tongue
like a lethal weapon.
They don’t deal with a relationship (with God),
just religion.