Lyrics

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Shipyard (featuring Jimmy Nail, Brian Johnson and Jo Lawry)

Artist

Composer

Sting, Rob Mathes, Kathryn Tickell, Peter Tickell, Julian Sutton and Jo Lawry

Lyrics

Ah, me name is Jackie White and I'm foreman of the yard,
And ye don't mess with Jackie on this quayside.
Why I'm as hard as iron plate, woe betide ye if yr late,
When we have to push the boat out on a spring tide.
Now ye could die and hope for Heaven, but ye'd need to work your shift,
And I'd expect ye's all to back us to the hilt.
And if St. Peter at his gate were to ask ye why yr late,
Why you'd tell him that ye had to get a ship built.
We built battleships and cruisers for Her Majesty the Queen,
Super tankers for Onassis, and all the classes in between,
We built the greatest shipping tonnage that the world has ever seen,
And the only life we've known is in the shipyard.

All the platers and the welders, and the boiler making crews,
When they see that bugger finished on the slipway,
All the hardship's soon forgot and we'll cheer as like as not,
And the bairns'll wave their Union Jacks all day.

It's a patriotic scene, all that's missing is the Queen,
But she said she couldn't make it of a Tuesday.
Then something wells up here inside, and you could take it in yr stride,
But you wonder if you'll see another payday.

For there's a mixture of emotions, hatred, gratitude and pride,
And you hate yourself for crying but it's difficult to hide,
For there's a sadness in the leavin' and ye worry what's ahead,
And that worry never leaves ye, keeps on nagging in yr head,
And so ye pray to God for orders, but ye'll worry till yr dead...
Until they bury your remains in the blacksmith's shed,
And the only life ye've known is in the shipyard.

Steel in the stockyard,
Iron in the soul,
We'll conjure up a ship where there used to be a hole.
And I don't know what we'll do if this yard gets sold,
For the only life we've known is in the shipyard.

[Additional lyrics not included on the track]
My name is Adrian Sanderson and riveting's me trade,
But it's intellectual discourse I'm known better for,
And I may forego English grammar when I'm injured with a hammer,
But I've a preference for the deference of a metaphor.

I've read the Odyssey by Homer and the Iliad as well,
I read Tacitus and Pliny and the Scarlet Pimpernel,
I put a night shift in with Dante on his journey into Hell,
And that's what we'll all be facing if the yard's put up to sell,
For the only life ye've known is in the shipyard.

Now what about those Trojan wars? And the troubles that they caused?
When they sailed off on that summer's afternoon?

Tommy Thompson
Aye, the ship they had was crap and they'd lost the effin' map,
When they tried to get their selves back to the toon.

Adrian Sanderson
There's a lesson in these tales although they happened ages past,
Just like in "Spartacus" that film by Stanley Kubrick.
First it's tragedy then farce then they'll kick you in the arse,
When you tempt the gods with arrogance and hubris.

Well it's obvious I'm gifted with the rhymin' and the meter,
And hereabouts I'm thought of highly as a bard.
If I wasn't shooting rivets I'd be famous in me time,
All those literary circles I could dazzle with me rhyme,
And I never lacked ambition you could say it was a crime,
And rivets may be riveting but sonnets are sublime,
But the only life I've known is in the shipyard.

Steel in the stockyard,
Iron in the soul,
We'll conjure up a ship where there used to be a hole.
But we don't know what we'll do if the yard gets sold,
For the only life we've known is in the shipyard.

Ah, me name is Tommy Thompson, I'm shop steward for the Union,
Me dream is proletarian revolution,
Comrades, brothers, fellow travellers and others,
Class struggle is the means of dialectic evolution.

Das Kapital's me bible and the ruling class are liable,
And quoting Marx and Engels, it's entirely justifiable,
If the workers' revolution here is ever to be viable,
And we become the rightful owners of this shipyard.

So it's a one-day stoppage, or an overtime ban,
Or a work to rule for the Five Year Plan.
'Til the means of production are safely in our hands,
And we become the rightful owners of this shipyard.

I'm not saying it won't be hard if the boss hands us me cards,
When they try to close us down like other shipyards.
And if industrial action only helps the competition,
As I've heard the bosses bleating from their usual position,
And I stand accused of anarchy, disruption and sedition,
Well ye'll never knock us down, you reactionary clowns!
When it's time for occupation of the shipyard.

My name is Peggy White,
And I've nursed ye through your injuries and yr cuts and wounds I've bound.
Busted arms, and busted heads,
Broken backs and broken legs,
I'd sooner put ye in a splint than have them put ye in the ground.
And the fumes from all the welding where the poison air is hung,
And the toxic radiation that's been blackening your tongue,
I could give you's all an aspirin while you're coughing up your lungs,
But it's all you'll ever get here in this shipyard.

[Additional lyrics not included on the track]
Me name is Arthur Cook, I'm the union superintendent,
Where I represent the interests of ye's all.
And I listen to you men as you talk about the future,
But the truth is that we're heading for a God almighty fall.
But it's clear that intervention's not the government's intention,
'Cos they've got no need for ships, now have I got your full attention?
While the closing of the yard may be beyond your comprehension,
I'm the one who sees the writin' on the shipyard wall.

I've begged and I've pleaded at every meeting that we've held,
That we limit our demands to this reality,
It's like two different metals in a join ye cannot weld,
And there's nothing to be gained from this dream of solidarity.
There's nowt for us to bargain with when the industry's at sea,
It must be obvious to you as it's obvious to me,
And my advice to all of you's is to take redundancy,
And accept that there's no future in this shipyard.

Steel in the stockyard,
Iron in the soul,
We'll conjure up a ship where there used to be a hole.
But I don't know what we'll do if the yard gets sold,
For the only life we've known is in the shipyard.

Ah, me name is Davy Harrison, I like a drink or two,
You could ask me when it started but I haven't got a clue.
I'm never sad or miserable I'm never ever blue,
And I'll still be up tomorrow for the shipyard.

I drink meself into a stupor and I wake up with two heeds,
And then the missus starts complainin' about all me drunken deeds,
Like when I got the train to Sunderland but found meself in Leeds,
And I had to get up early for the shipyard.

I once gave up the drinking, was it 1963?
But it seems as if sobriety was not the thing for me,
It was the worst three hours I ever hope to see...

Steel in the stockyard,
Iron in the soul,
We'll conjure up a ship where there used to be a hole.
And the ship sets sail and the tale gets told,
And the only life I've known is in the shipyard.

Steel in the stockyard,
Iron in the soul,
We'll get the bastard finished, and we'll end up on the dole.
And we don't know what we'll do if the yard gets sold,
The only life we've ever known is in the shipyard.