Posts Tagged ‘We Work the Black Seam’

Dream of Blue Angels / Dream of Blue Turtles: Remembering Sting’s Pro-Global Warming Song from 1985

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Don’t have an illustration of a blue turtle dream so this shot will have to do.

If you don’t recognize these planes, this bridge and that bit of land, well then welcome to San Francisco, stranger:

Click to dream

OK then. Now what about Five Star Rated The Dream of the Blue Turtles from a quarter-century ago? In it there’s a song We Work the Black Seam,* which is about the glories of coal and coal mining unions and the evils of nuclear power. Which is rather the opposite of how many look at things these days.

Take a look below if you wish.

And if you’re old enough to be familiar that tune, well then check out this version from a decade earlier. Wow, that’s heavy, man.

*In which Sting riffs on William Blake’s Jerusalem,** among other things. And it’s not this kind of black seam, it’s this kind.

** Speaking of the old days and unions and the Golden Gate Bridge, wasn’t it the workers of the GGB who started up labor actions rather than work side-by-side with black people about four decades ago? Yes. I don’t remember it myself, but it was during my lifetime.***

***And I’m not that old – my grandmother just bought a Hyundai and she plans on outliving it…

This place has changed for good
Your economic theory said it would
It’s hard for us to understand
We can’t give up our jobs the way we should
Our blood has stained the coal
We tunneled deep inside the nation’s soul
We matter more than pounds and pence
Your economic theory makes no sense

One day in a nuclear age
They may understand our rage
They build machines that they can’t control
And bury the waste in a great big hole
Power was to become cheap and clean
Grimy faces were never seen
But deadly for twelve thousand years is carbon fourteen****

We work the black seam together
We work the black seam together

The seam lies underground
Three million years of pressure packed it down
We walk through ancient forest lands
And light a thousand cities with our hands
Your dark satanic mills
Have made redundant all our mining skills
You can’t exchange a six inch band
For all the poisoned streams in Cumberland

One day in a nuclear age
They may understand our rage
They build machines that they can’t control
And bury the waste in a great big hole
Power was to become cheap and clean
Grimy faces were never seen
But deadly for twelve thousand years is carbon fourteen

We work the black seam together
We work the black seam together

Our conscious lives run deep
You cling onto your mountain while we sleep
This way of life is part of me
There is no price so only let me be
And should the children weep
The turning world will sing their souls to sleep
When you have sunk without a trace
The universe will suck me into place

One day in a nuclear age
They may understand our rage
They build machines that they can’t control
And bury the waste in a great big hole
Power was to become cheap and clean
Grimy faces were never seen
But deadly for twelve thousand years is carbon fourteen

We work the black seam together
We work the black seam together

****Uh, not really Sting, but anyway.