Sunday, 23 March 2014
Puts Up The Closed Sign Does The Man In The Corner Shop
Man In The Corner Shop was on side two of The Jam's 1980 album Sound Affects although I should think I heard it first on Snap! The lyrics had a deep impact on me, possibly the first time I kind of understood that pop songs could be about something important. Paul Weller's 'Marxism for beginners in three minutes' still affect me today, even though I know them off by heart.
Puts up the closed sign does the man in the corner shop
Serves his last and says goodbye to him
He knows it is a hard life
But it's nice to be your own boss really
Walks off home does the last customer
He is jealous of the man in the corner shop
He is sick of working at the factory
Says it must be nice to be your own boss (really)
Sells cigars to the boss from the factory
He is jealous is the man in the corner shop
He is sick of struggling so hard
He says "It must be nice to own a factory"
Go to church do the people from the area
All shapes and classes sit and pray together
For here they are all one
For God created all men equal
Man In The Corner Shop
It's a song that stands out musically on Sound Affects, with a chiming intro, 60s chords and middle eight, and powerful finish. I listened to the full album the other day. I'm not sure it's a 'great album', more a collection of songs recorded at the same time. Many of them are good but too similar in tone,Weller moving on from All Mod Cons and trying to absorb Gang Of Four's clipped guitars, while the rhythm section stretch out a bit. That's Entertainment and Start! are both career defining. There's some experimental pop-art. But Man In The Corner Shop (and That's Entertainment as well) seem to be the moral and human heart of the record.