There were three or four new hires in the department one day, geeky little types happy as hell to be working. We were in the kitchenette, a couple of us, and one of them wandered in, a kinda smarmy little hipster with a plaid shirt opened to reveal a hip tee shirt. I asked what the shirt said. It was a picture of English bobbies—you know, cops—in riot gear running through the street chasing people. I knew the picture, it’s an iconic photo from the Brixton riots in 1977. It was also the cover of the first Clash album. Above this picture the shirt had the caption “England’s Dreaming”. It was obvious the kid had no idea what it meant, it just looked cool and would make him look baaaaad the first day in the office.
But I knew what it meant. “Yeah, ‘Englands Dreaming’…the line from ‘God Save the Queen’, you know, the Sex Pistols tune. You know the Sex Pistols?” Surprised, he nodded yeah, but looked kinda confused, this big geezer in business outfit talking about the Sex Pistols of all things. I filled my coffee cup. “That was our song , man” I said, and casually recited “Because when there’s no future/ how can there be sin/ we’re the flowers in the dustbin/ we’re the poison in the human machine/ we’re the future/ your future/ God save the queen/ we mean it man/There is no future/ and England’s dreaming”.
He stared, flabbergasted, then scurried off as fast as he could. I started laughing.