The little guys swarm round the world - theyíve got their time on loan. There are good guys, there are bad guys; some in gangs, and some alone. I know a few of the good ones; I see their wings in my head. But Iím friends too with some bad ones, And they all want guns: They want guns, they want guns - and bloodshed! The Mr Bigs - rich as Croesus - they see the missileís charms But the little guys, what can they do? They just need firearms. Look at that deadbeat loser - Not a ruble in his pocket. But whatís in there? Look closer - A gun. Heís going to cock it. Heís been dreaming about supper Since he missed it last night. His shoes are on their uppers, Tatty jacket far too tight. Iíll walk with him along the way, Through the evening lightly. But my sweaty fingers always stay On the trigger tightly. Iím purposeful, Iím on business - A little hammered, slightly stoned, slightly pissed. Hey, what you looking at me for? Itís not like Iím a cripple - I can pass for a human if I have a decent tipple. Ok, right, you odd ones. A little chat, now - come along. And when weíve dined and had some fun, Iíll sing to you about guns About guns, about guns, a song! Mr Big may look like a little guy As he lays out card by card. But itís the biggest stakes he plays by - He plays high and he plays hard. He likes to set off a bomb or two But thatís not for the likes of us. Weíre a much more humble crew - Just a handgun and no fuss. The gun I boughtís in my pocket here, Primed and at the ready. Itís all I need to stop the fear. A stiletto, sharp and deadly. The normal folk are scurrying by Desperate not to meet. But weíre tooled up to terrify As we stride out down the street. The barrel searches faces like a tease You there! Hands on the wall. Just freeze! Youíre wasting time with chemicals - thatís a futile plan, But if you get yourself an axe, boy, then youíll be a man. Now my story has begun - The unvarnished truth, and strong. Iíll sing it as well as anyone. Iíll sing to you about guns About guns, about guns, a song! Why ever buy new underwear? Thatís no damn use in a fight. Better buy yourself a gun just there Round the corner, on the right. Letís gets started. Come on, letís go Learn to shoot - itís a cinch! Papers like news about guns, you know, Filling every column inch. What a feeling deep in your gut! What bitterness in your soul! An artist had his life slammed shut For a papier mache bowl. Come on. Shoot away at will. At people, at puppies, at kittens. Thank God that they sell firearms still - That wonít soon be forbidden. As long as guns arenít banned, you know itís ok; You donít need to be scared now, everything is ok.         Easy for the barracuda with fangs - well, of course, he never shows fear. He doesnít need guns, Ďcos heís Big. Heís Big and thatís enough. But for the small guy without guns, he may as well not be here. Yes, without guns, heís just a target - and that is really tough. The Mr Bigs shoot rhinos And hunt big game with a gun. But for us, thatís not the way it goes - The gun game is never fun. Let the big guys in high places Play the big game if they choose. They can set a Panther through its paces Or simply never lose. But this gun here in my pocket - Itís my new pet "minnow". For us guys down at the bottom, A gunís a cosy pillow. I feel the warm blood pulsing through My temples, wet and muddy. My finger grips, sweaty and blue, On the trigger, hot and sticky. We, yes, the little people, rip holes in societyís sheet, But if you stand aside awhile, and look at us once more. Behind the narrow shoulders and beyond the little feet, Youíll see looming two futile, tragic and gigantic wars. ďLay low, keep quiet and you wonít get hitĒ Thatís what weíre often taught. But youíre a mug if you fall for it. Thatís why guns are bought. The northeast windís begun to blow Now a fair price has been set. Yes, our country, thank god I know, Is still a free country yet! But you know, this life is cheap - Like dust, you blow then its gone. The ashes scatter, thereís nothing to keep - Like a cheap fag, smoke and move on. And this little life hangs on By a single stray loose hair. One press on the trigger and itís gone As if nothing was ever there... As long as we can still buy guns, weíre not in trouble yet. Taking a life is like spitting; we were taught how to fight. Everywhere is war without a war, and with bare hands, you bet, You canít threaten someone or nail them, or hijack a flight. No-oneís out of reach of a bullet For a bullet, thereís no devil or God. We shoot as we wish and say "fuckit"! So keep clear, and give us the nod. All ages and colours fall prey To the thrill of a shooting attack: Old and young, him and her, blonde or grey. Asian, Caucasian or black. What a feeling deep in your gut! Itís all too familiar today! Not just a cover shot of a killer but With a girl in a negligee. Our world is awash with losers, Clutching axes bought for a dime, And with boys pressing their fingers On triggers all of the time.
© John Farndon + Olga Nakston. Translation, 2022
© John Farndon. Performance, 2022