#1068: 1976, Billy Joel, Prelude/Angry Young Man

by Charlie_East_West on February 23, 2016

Angry Young Man is taken from Billy Joel’s 1976 Turnstiles
album. The song paints a picture of youthful activism and rebellion that is ultimatly futile and leads to the character in the song becoming an angry old man, ulimately failing to change the world and left to rage against the world without ever being able to change the world.

(“He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl / And he’s always at home with his back to the wall / And he’s proud of his scars and the battles he’s lost / And he struggles and bleeds as he hangs on his cross / And he likes to be known as the angry young man“).

The song then moves towards the same angry youth at a later age – (“I believe I’ve passed the age of consciousness and righteous rage / I found that just surviving was a noble fight / I once believed in causes too / I had my pointless point of view / And life went on no matter who was wrong or right“.)

Sadly, many of us feel like the angry young man decending into an angry old man who was unable to change the world. In my own case, it is slightly different. I was never an angry young man. I was bursting with enthusiasm and hope. Politics was largely a forum of opportunity and as a young man I was enthused by the end of Tory rule and the beginnings of hope driven by the early days of Tony Blair and New Labour while gleefully witnessing the 1997-2005 unelectable Tories.

Then it all changed. Along came the betrayal of Iraq. Along came the slow ideological destruction of Labour. Back came Tory rule and now sadly, seemingly endless Tory rule.

In terms of politics, I was never an angry young man. Sadly, in terms of politics, I have become a rather disillusioned middle aged man who is beginning to realise that my concerns about the world in which we live in is ultimately a futile fight – and that is probably why I write on this blog.

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