- Burning Shed
- "Melt the Guns" shirt with XTC logo
This song has been going through my head a lot lately, and it's partly because of stupidity like this—and not just the more obvious, more horrible gun stories.
I rarely write about politics, and I don't intend to start, but Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding have written some of my favorite political songs, even if XTC rarely gets tagged as a "political band." And that's for the best. The word "political" can be the kiss of death for a band, especially one who refused to limit themselves to a narrow range of topics (Partridge wasn't afraid of broad appeal, just touring).
While I don't have as much of a problem with media violence as XTC—otherwise I wouldn't watch so many movies about cops and criminals—I like the idea of a widespread gun-melt. Put the metal to some more productive use. (In the lyrics, they take specific aim at America's insatiable desire for on-screen bloodshed.)
I remember feeling distinctly uncomfortable when I found out my Dad was storing a gun in his bedside table. Considering his ties to law enforcement, he may have had a valid reason to feel afraid, but he never shared the details with me (and it was probably best I didn't know). When he traded it in for a dining room set, I felt relieved. I was only 10, but I already had a pretty good idea as to the damage a firearm could do—after all, it was my Dad who took me to see Serpico and Taxi Driver (and he met Frank Serpico when he served on the Knapp Commission).
That said, "No Thugs in Our House," a thinly-veiled reference to the National Front, is another good one.* As is Elvis Costello's "Less Than Zero," whose title probably wouldn't have emblazoned a Bret Easton Ellis potboiler or a Robert Downey Jr. melodrama about poor little rich kids if the involved parties were the least bit familiar with Oswald Mosley, but that's a rant for another day...
* If I believed in Desert Island Discs, 1982's English Settlement would be a top contender.