Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mrs Stress and Strain - Trev Teasdel

Mrs Stress and Strain - Trev Teasdel from Trev Teasdel on Vimeo.

When the sun is out shining
Are you always ironing?
Does your Steven need new shoes?
And Mary have the lover’s blues?
As life all around gets tense
Do you ask yourself
‘where is the sense?’

Maybe the milkman hasn’t been
And your rooms aren’t very clean.
So many bills to be paid
On your mind they’re all weighed
Prices rising so much higher
And your state is getting dire.

Mrs Stress and Strain, 
To the kitchen sink you’re chained.  
Worry haunts your life, 
I see you are the wife
of Mr Toil and Strife.

They say “A women’s works is never done
and the housework isn’t fun
Who else would work as hard as you
Such long hours, no rest due.
The stresses and the strains you bear,
The children and the mothercare!

And the beat goes on, day by day,
The isolation wears your soul away.
There’s nothing to show for all your work
Because you can’t stop a room from gathering dirt!
Do you feel you’ve got no life left of your own,
A permanent fixture, a doorpost in your home.


And though you’ll never make ends meet,
The adverts entice you to compete
With an image of an ‘all-mod-con
Trendy space age super mom.’
Should profiteers always hold the trump cards?
You’ve been dealt a hand of jokers –
Oh What a façade!

Sometimes slave means the same as mom.
Who does everyone fall back upon.
They don’t think there can be another side of you
Only see what they expect of you.
Locked into the family situation
With the pills to ease your aggravation.

Sit down, sit back, light up and sigh,
Does your position in society make you cry?
How hard’s the fortune of all women kind,                   
Always in fetters, always confined.
Bound down by parents until made wives
Slaves to their husbands the rest of their lives.

The lyric was first written in Coventry, January 1969 and re-written or extended c 1976.
Song Story
This has an interesting song history! : I wrote the first version of the lyric when I was 17, & used magazines like New Society with its sociological articles or Psychology magazines with articles like "The nervy young housewife!" for inspiration. Those kind of articles inspired "The Ups and Downs in the life of Mr Toil and Strife" which Nigel Clarke of Coventry duo Cardinal covered and wrote this counter part - "Mrs Stress and Strain!" to go with it. In the mid 70's, with things becoming more political in Coventry, I  read a number of feminist books, Juliet Mitchell, Sheila Rowbothem etc. & articles like "To pay her is not to free her" which discussed the dicotomy between the "socialist and bourgoise feminists" on housework perspectives. After which I extended the lyric and set it music. In 1980 we had a little acoustic band with Andy Cairns on lead guitar,  and the upright string bass player was also a roadie / Van driver with The Selecter at the time and we had a female singer. We were acoustic not Ska but Andy skanked this one up a bit. However this version is my original humble cassette demo version before it got rearranged. The band split up when Andy and I went separate ways to do degrees so we never got to gig.

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