The Kinks – A Well Respected Man – lyrics and rebellion in the sixties.

The Kinks – A Well Respected Man – lyrics and rebellion in the sixties.

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When I was fourteen I started going through a phase. Actually I’m still in it – but I’m sure I’ll come out of it soon.

I had a little bit of a rebellion going on. It brought me into conflict with my school, parents and society in general. The only people I wasn’t in conflict with were a few of my mates who thought like me. I did not want to go down that path that everybody seemed to want me to go down. The thought of a career, family and a life in suburbia, mowing the grass, washing the car and cutting the Sunday roast looking like a nightmare to me – death by boredom.

I wanted a life on the road – Strolling Down the Highway – as Bert Jansch so eloquently put it. Of course I was a little romantic and idealistic back then. So I haven’t changed that much.

My life seemed to develop into one long round of – Turn that down! Get your hair cut! You can’t wear that! Do some homework! You can’t keep going out! and What about your future? You have to think ahead!

I didn’t want to think ahead. I didn’t want to do homework or worry about exams, careers or reality. I wanted to grow my hair, listen to loud music, wear my own style, chat up the girls, hang out with my mates, go to parties, concerts and get drunk.

I think my life plan was to drop out and bum around the world.

As I say – I wasn’t very pragmatic. I had not experienced too much and this was before Kerouac and Roy Harper came into my life!

One of my favourite bands was the Kinks. Ray Davies wrote a few songs that I could totally relate to. He seemed to have a knack of putting words to the things I was feeling all pent up about.

Back then I was looking at my old man and his life and it did not seem much of a life. He got up at six thirty, caught the train to London, worked in a high stress job, got home at six thirty, ate his tea, read the newspapers, watched a little light entertainment and went to bed – six days a week. Sunday was mowing, washing and carving. Occasionally he had a pint at the pub. He did not seem to have time for friends, hobbies or interests.

I promised I would never be like that.

So when Ray spoke of a well respected man I could not help making comparisons. Except we didn’t have maids to pull or councillors coming round for tea. It was the routine and hypocrisy that I railed against.

I would sit in my bedroom, put the single on the turntable, lift the arm and play it endlessly.

I did not like the society it described. I wanted something real, something alive, something with creativity and passion.

I didn’t know what it was – but I wanted it.

I wanted some excitement!! I wanted sex, drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll.

A Well Respected Man – Ray Davies

‘Cause he gets up in the morning and he goes to work at nine
And he comes back home at five-thirty, gets the same train every time
‘Cause his world is built ’round punctuality, it never fails

And he’s oh, so good, and he’s oh, so fine
And he’s oh, so healthy in his body and his mind
He’s a well respected man about town
Doing the best things so conservatively

And his mother goes to meetings while his father pulls the maid
And she stirs the tea with councilors while discussing foreign trade
And she passes looks, as well as bills at every suave young man

And he’s oh, so good, and he’s oh, so fine
And he’s oh, so healthy in his body and his mind
He’s a well respected man about town
Doing the best things so conservatively

And he likes his own backyard and he likes his fags the best
‘Cause he’s better than the rest and his own sweat smells the best
And he hopes to grab his father’s loot, when pater passes on

‘Cause he’s oh, so good, and he’s oh, so fine
And he’s oh, so healthy in his body and his mind
He’s a well respected man about town
Doing the best things so conservatively

And he plays at stocks and shares, and he goes to the Regatta
He adores the girl next door ’cause he’s dying to get at her
But his mother knows the best about the matrimonial stakes

‘Cause he’s oh, so good, and he’s oh, so fine
And he’s oh, so healthy in his body and his mind
He’s a well respected man about town
Doing the best things so conservatively

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