Rows and rows of disused milk floats
Stand dying in the dairy yard
And a hundred lonely housewives
Clutch empty milk bottles to their hearts
Hanging out their old love letters on the line to dry
It's enough to make you stop believing
When tears come fast and furious
In a town called Malice

The Jam - Town Called Malice lyrics meaning


This verse in particular is influenced by Weller’s childhood memories of Woking:

I had most of the lyrics before we started the song, but they were just words written down in a book at that point. They're partly about Woking, where I grew up, which had always been a depressed place in a way. That line "rows and rows of empty milkfloats dying in the dairy yard" was directly influenced by Woking, where there was a milk yard. The "ghost of a steam train" is about my childhood, because we lived close to the station, and I could always hear the trains shunting about at night. Those suburban images were very strong in my mind, and a lot of people connected with it. "Cut down the beer or the kids' new gear" was about how people were struggling and had to make decisions about what to buy. Even before the 80s, a lot of people were living hand to mouth. I remembered my mum and dad: I don't think the swinging 60s ever hit Woking. They were forever rowing about not having enough money. By the mid-1970s onwards, it was fucking depressing, really. The Heath government had been brought to its knees by the unions; I think that was the root of Thatcher dismantling the power of the working class and trade unions.

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