Present : Tense

I’ve written about this before, a few years ago on an old blog. My mate James runs a cutting edge theatre company called Nabokov. They started running this night called Present: Tense where they get a group of musicians, poets, playwrights and comedians together on a Sunday and get them to decide what’s the most important new story of the week. They then have a week to produce new work ready for performance the following Sunday night.

From an artistic point of view I love the idea. It’s great to have to produce something under those conditions. But from a punter’s point of view I’m never sure how comfortable I feel with the platform it offers to artists. After all, what the fuck do we know. Or to put it another way – what the fuck do I know.

You can follow our progress on the Present : Tense blog. The story we choose was this one about the Wildcat Strikes. It’s a mopral minefield, with commentators from left and right both supporting and condemning them. For me the issue comes down to exploitation of workers. It’s too easy to associate these workers with the ones that marched with Enoch Powell. It’s not about that, we must avoid the knee-jerk reaction to the word “British.”

I do find it hard sometime to have sympathies with issues my enemies have sympathies with (by enemies I mean the likes of the BNP) but this issue is NOT about xenophobia, it’s about big corporations taking advantage of globalization to get cheap workers. Essentially, that is, in my opinion. That’s where my poem came from. You’ll noticed I nicked the tune of it from the late, great Adrian Mitchell:

Let’s Maximise Our Profit

I have a dream where the workers are free,
to travel the globe and come work for me,
so – crowd them onto barges,
and let’s maximise our profit.

I have a dream where the workers come cheap,
their only purpose to toil eat and sleep,
so – take away their families,
crowd them onto barges
and let’s maximise our profit.

I have a dream where governments conspire,
to build one global world from one global pyre,
so – feed them up on ashes,crowd them onto barges
take away their families,
crowd them onto barges,
and let’s maximise our profit.

I have a dream where the workers are twisted,
till no one believes the grievances listed,
so, jumble up their history,
feed them up on ashes,
take away their families,
crowd them onto barges,
and let’s maximise our profit.

I have a dream where the workers aren’t brothers
divided and conquered and turned on each other
so, fill their dreams with hatred
jumble up their history,
feed them up on ashes,
take away their families,
crowd them onto barges,
and let’s maximise our profit.

I have a dream where the workers are silenced,
where money is worshipped as if it were science,
so, edit out their voices,
fill their dreams with hatred
jumble up their history,
feed them up on ashes,
take away their families,
crowd them onto barges,
and let’s maximise our profit.

2 Comments

  • Сергей June 7, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Респект! я очень вам благодарен за вашу статью.

    Reply
  • Sergey November 22, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Респект!

    Reply

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