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06 Neighbourhood Watch.mp3

Neighbourhood Watch

Composer:   Ed Hooke

Date of Composition /Copyright:   1986-7

Date of Recording:    2005

1  A dog traditonally associated with the blind. The association is used here as a figurative political accusation.

2 Miilk floats were slow-moving electric-powered vehicles which deliver milk to homes in the early morning in Great Britain.  Their mention here clearly identifies the subject's location and to some extent the era.

The brisk morning stroll
with your golden labrador

A milk-float2 clatters across to the opposite kerb.

Painting3 blue skies4,
the Sun
5 shines in through your letterbox6

and who would believe
that this was not Paradise Found?

Secure in upholstered views,

in dignified righteousness,

common sense8 will prevail.

You know.

All right-thinkers8 do,

conserving unalterable truths8.

Maintain at home the pristine state9,

assisting the offspring's school fate10.

3 Painting can reflect, enhance or completely change/disguise the scene (or truth).  The implication here is politically motivated distortion.

4 Blue is the colour of the Conservative Party, Britain's leading right-wing political party.

5  The Sun is a 'tabloid' populist newspaper with a reputation for simultaneously appealing to the masses with sexual titillation and promoting right-wing politics.

I hate you.

I hate the fear you put in me.

Anonymous somewhere,

suburban invisible11,

swell the attendance
for functions in the church hall

where Neighbourhood Watch
means keep up with the Joneses

What could be more dreadful
than breaches of this etiquette?

Endure the Six O'clock News on BBC13.

Isn't it terrible (but far away)?14

Yet here in your very midst

the seeds of discontent15 are sown.

And shall I find as I grow old

that I've inherited your mould?16

15  The punk-rock inspired views of rebellious adolescents in England.

16  'Mould' is deliberately ambiguous; a container which determines the ultimate shape of something (or here, of the writer), or a undesirable & unattractive furry growth of fungi occurring on the surface of organic matter...........


Alternates between 12/8 and 4/4 time signatures.

Orchestral feel with strings and timpani prominent.  Orchestral punk?

6  A  letterbox is a shuttered opening in a home's front door through which post and, here, newspapers may be delivered.  Some children in Britain are employed to deliver newspapers to homes at around the same time in the early mornings as milk floats deliver milk.

7  As opposed to the well-known English literary reference point "Paradise Lost", by poet John Milton (1608-74), first published 7 years before his death.

8  Those on the political right-wing often portray their own views as common sense or simply the truth.  The confusion between 'right' meaning 'the opposite of left' and 'right' meaning 'correct' compounds this in the term 'right-thinking'.

9  'State' is deliberately ambiguous:  'condition' or 'nation'.

10  'Fete' and 'fate' are homonyms i.e while spelt differently and having different meanings, their pronunciation is the same.  A school fete is a fund-raising event featuring often traditional entertainments.  The spelling 'fate' is used here to emphasise the deliberate ambiguity.

11 'Anonymous Invisible' is a traditional Christian hymn (a type of song traditionally sung in churches).  The church (and its accompanying hall for religious and other social functions) is traditionally central to English village life.  'We have God on our side' is a pseudo-justification often used by the political right-wing.

12 Peer pressure is a feature of all human societies.  In the 1960s & 1970s particularly, the concept of competition with neighbours in terms of shows of affluence was encapsulated in the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses".  'Etiquette' is an often unwritten code to expectations of social behaviour.  Thus the mocking suggestion is made here that competitive displays of wealth have become not only accepted but also  expected and valued behaviour.

13  The Six O'Clock News on the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) has for decades remained the standard current affairs television programme watched by the English middle & upper classes (amongst others!) arriving home in the early evening after work.

14  The impression often gained from TV news is that most of the world's tragedies and disasters occur in distant lands - which, to those with a particularly parochial view of the world, make them largely irrelevant.