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« Departure lounge | Main | Smoking, censorship and New York City »
Monday
Feb072011

Climb in a car, march off to war, but don't smoke in a bar

I was reminded this morning of the song Joe Jackson wrote in protest at the introduction of the smoking ban in New York City in 2003.

Joe moved to America in the Eighties and lived in New York for 20 years. On his website he explains that "The song was written to send up Mayor Bloomberg and the New York smoking ban, but also to help those fighting to get the ban repealed and to prevent similar bans elsewhere. All proceeds from CD sales and downloads will go to activist groups Forces, NYC Clash, and Forest".

Listening to it today it sounds as fresh and topical as it did seven years ago, but you be the judge:

In 20-0-3
a man drank a whisky
and a martini
or three, maybe four
He climbed in his car
and roared off at eighty
and that night he checked out
along with three more

So they cleared up the mess
but they didn't ban cars
and they didn't ban whisky or gin

[CHORUS]
So do what you want, or do what they tell you
It's the land of the free but don't take it too far
You can do what you want
You can smash up your car
But in 20-0-3 you can't smoke in a bar

In 20-0-3
a man ate a burger
and then ate another or two
Every day
at last he keeled over
but no-one could lift him
And there's millions just like him
and millions to pay

So they issued more warnings
but they didn't ban eating
and they don't ban potatoes or grease

[CHORUS]
So do what you want, or do what they tell you
It's the land of the free but don't take it too far
You can do what you want
You can live just on lard
But in 20-0-3 you can't smoke in a bar

In 20-0-3
a man joined the army
and soon he got shipped out
to fight in Iraq
He was caught in a crossfire
and lost his right arm
But they didn't ban bullets
or missile attacks

He's on his way home now
and who wants to tell him
he can't have a smoke with his beer

[CHORUS]
So do what you want, or do what they tell you
It's the land of the free but don't take it too far
You can do what you want
You can march off to war
But in 20-0-3 you can't smoke in a bar

Click here to listen.

As it happens we have just published Joe's latest article over on The Free Society. Dog lovers, you may want to cover your eyes!

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Reader Comments (2)

WHY do the government insist we live a healthier lifestyle,and want to keep us alive as long as poss?? They can't cope now with the health service...
Who will pay the tax lost from our horrendous input on ciggies?? Watch the anti smokers winge when there tax bill increases!
Would you rather face a smoker or a drunken lout with a knife?? Really? Well don't class smokers as anti social!
Do you drive?? Have you smelt the fumes from buses and lorries?? It's ok to omit these toxins in the air then? My little ciggie is a pretty poor contest!
Do you eat choccie,enjoy a drink,love chips?? Be carefull,you're next on the list!
Ingrowing toe nail?? Do you smoke?? Well there you go then!
Blaming the additives found in every type of food and drink,the rotten polluted air we breathe caused by factory waste on smokers?? Really?? Oh dear,I best have another drag then eh?!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 22:14 | Unregistered CommenterLorraine Cole

BRILLIANT song by the way!!!! Well done Joe!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 22:23 | Unregistered CommenterLorraine Cole

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