"Kingston Advice" as written by Joe Strummer and Mick Jones....
In these days you can get no rice
No razor blades but you can get knife
In these days see the people run
They have no food but the boy have gun
In these days they don't throw the stone
Nor use the voice they use the gun alone
In these days to be an oddity
Be hunted down like a scarcity

In these days don't beg for life
Want to take Kingston advice?
Oh please don't beg for your life

In these days the beat is militant
Must be a clash there's no alternative
In these days nations are militant
We have slavery under government
In these days in the firmament
I look for signs that are permanent

In these days with no love to give
The world will turn with no one left to live

In these days I don't know what to do
The more I see the more I'm destitute
In these days I don't know what to sing
The more I know the less my tune can swing

In these days you can get no rice
No razor blades but you can get knife
In these days see the people run
They have no food but the boy have gun


Lyrics submitted by aebassist

"Kingston Advice" as written by Mick Jones Joe Strummer

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Kingston Advice song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentThese days, there's no food (no rice) no love (no love to give) not even a way out (no razor blades), but all you have is fear and oppression from the government.

    Perhaps it's easier to know nothing and be ignorant, than to know everything and be so fully aware of what's going on.
    RettAlexison October 12, 2008   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningYeah, you're right, it's about impoverished countries where the citizens have no food, but there is violence and corrupt government. Joe is saying that the more he sees of the world, the more disillusioned he becomes with reality.
    pittsburghgirl92on July 06, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJust like the title says, In Jamaica (and sooo many other countries) the population (the Rude Boys in this case) got a knife instead a plate of food to serve and this is a way to governate to manage the people as ignorants while they stole all the counrty resources.
    pasteldechocloon September 06, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Must be a CLASH! There's no alternative!"

    I always get a kick out of that line.
    leGrawon February 11, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationTHIS SONG IS 1984. To my surprise, nobody had a clue about it?

    > In these days you can get no rice

    Before The Party came to power, hunger and famine was widespread.

    "Above all he [Winston] remembered his continuous hunger, and the fierce sordid battles at mealtimes."

    > No razor blades but you can get knife

    Under the rule of the Party, there's always a shortage of daily things, the lack of razor blades was mentioned repeatedly in the novel, and almost everyone was looking for them.

    “Everyone kept asking you for razor blades. There had been a famine of them for months past. At any given moment there was some necessary article which the Party shops were unable to supply. Sometimes it was buttons, sometimes it was darning wool, sometimes it was shoelaces; at present it was razor blades.”

    "‘I wanted to ask you whether you’d got any razor blades,’ he said.
    ‘Not one!’ said Winston with a sort of guilty haste."

    The knife refers to a secret resistant organization, the Brotherhood. Reportedly, if a Brotherhood member was captured, for the safety of the resistant, there's no rescue, but a knife is secretly sent to the prison cell to allow the victim to end the suffering.

    “We never help our members. At most, when it is absolutely necessary that someone should be silenced, we are occasionally able to smuggle a razor blade into a prisoner’s cell. You will have to get used to living without results and without hope.”

    > They have no food but the boy have gun

    In the world of 1984, children were trained by several youth organizations to be warriors and spies.

    “‘You’re a traitor!’ yelled the boy. ‘You’re a thought-criminal! You’re a Eurasian spy! I’ll shoot you, I’ll vaporize you, I’ll send you to the salt mines!’”

    “Suddenly they were both leaping round him, shouting ‘Traitor!’ and ‘Thought-criminal!’ the little girl imitating her brother in every movement. It was somehow slightly frightening, like the gambolling of tiger cubs which will soon grow up into man-eaters. There was a sort of calculating ferocity in the boy’s eye, a quite evident desire to hit or kick Winston and a consciousness of being very nearly big enough to do so. It was a good job it was not a real pistol he was holding, Winston thought.”

    > In these days they don't throw the stone
    > Nor use the voice they use the gun alone

    The never-ended wars.

    “In one combination or another, these three super-states are permanently at war, and have been so for the past twenty-five years.”

    “On the contrary, war hysteria is continuous and universal in all countries, and such acts as raping, looting, the slaughter of children, the reduction of whole populations to slavery, and reprisals against prisoners which extend even to boiling and burying alive, are looked upon as normal, and, when they are committed by one’s own side and not by the enemy, meritorious.”

    > In these days to be an oddity
    > Be hunted down like a scarcity

    Thought Police actively prosecutes everyone who does not follow the doctrine of the Party. Not only your opinions should be right, but also your instincts. Being an oddity is thoughtcrime.

    “A Party member lives from birth to death under the eye of the Thought Police. Even when he is alone he can never be sure that he is alone. Wherever he may be, asleep or awake, working or resting, in his bath or in bed, he can be inspected...”

    “Thoughts and actions which, when detected, mean certain death are not formally forbidden, and the endless purges, arrests, tortures, imprisonments, and vaporizations are not inflicted as punishment for crimes which have actually been committed, but are merely the wiping-out of persons who might perhaps commit a crime at some time in the future. A Party member is required to have not only the right opinions, but the right instincts. Many of the beliefs and attitudes demanded of him are never plainly stated, and could not be stated without laying bare the contradictions inherent in Ingsoc.”

    > In these days in the firmament
    > I look for signs that are permanent

    All the records of the past, beliefs of right and wrong, etc, are being constantly changed and rewritten in 1984, there is no permanent truth.

    “And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’”

    “‘But the whole universe is outside us. Look at the stars! Some of them are a million light-years away. They are out of our reach for ever.’”

    “‘What are the stars?’ said O’Brien indifferently. ‘They are bits of fire a few kilometres away. We could reach them if we wanted to. Or we could blot them out. The earth is the centre of the universe. The sun and the stars go round it.’”

    “‘For certain purposes, of course, that is not true. When we navigate the ocean, or when we predict an eclipse, we often find it convenient to assume that the earth goes round the sun and that the stars are millions upon millions of kilometres away. But what of it? Do you suppose it is beyond
    us to produce a dual system of astronomy? The stars can be near or distant, according as we need them. Do you suppose our mathematicians are unequal to that? Have you forgotten doublethink?’”

    > In these days with no love to give
    > The world will turn with no one left to live

    “The sex instinct will be eradicated. Procreation will be an annual formality like the renewal of a ration card. We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science.”

    “The sexual act, successfully performed, was rebellion. Desire was thoughtcrime.”

    “The aim of the Party was not merely to prevent men and women from forming loyalties which it might not be able to control. Its real, undeclared purpose was to remove all pleasure from the sexual act. Not love so much as eroticism was the enemy, inside marriage as well as outside it. All marriages between Party members had to be approved by a committee appointed for the purpose, and—though the principle was never clearly stated—permission was always refused if the couple concerned gave the impression of being physically attracted to one another.”

    > In these days I don't know what to sing
    > The more I know the less my tune can swing

    A half-remembered British folk song was seen as a record of the past by Winston.

    “All the while that they were talking the half-remembered rhyme kept running through Winston’s head.”

    “Oranges and lemons say the bells of St Clement’s,
    You owe me three farthings, say the bells of St Martin’s!
    When will you pay me? say the bells of Old Bailey——’
    ‘I can’t remember how it goes on after that.”

    “I remember it ends up, ‘Here comes a candle to light you to
    bed, here comes a chopper to chop off your head!’”

    Finally, after Winston was captured and tortured, he found that the Though Police knew those forgotten lines.

    “When I grow rich, say the bells of Shoreditch.’
    ‘You knew the last line!’ said Winston.
    ‘Yes, I knew the last line. And now, I am afraid, it is time for you to go. But wait. You had better let me give you one of these tablets.’”

    > In these days the beat is militant
    > Must be a clash there's no alternative
    > In these days nations are militant
    > We have slavery under government

    As we see, the song is 1984.
    bv33abgbnoon July 10, 2017   Link

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