UB40- Signing Off (1980)
Here is the début LP of Birmingham reggae band UB40.
I was only 15 when this came out and managed to avoid the ubiquitous 'signing on' card from which they took their name for another 4 years (I don't know why I bothered- I stayed on at school , which I hated- hardly attending and continuing to learn nothing, and then went to art college without having a clue what I wanted to do). For my father's generation it was different though, forty year old blokes who had lived generally through times of full employment, working from 15, saving money to give us (their kids) a 'better chance', waiting for the promised opportunity to buy their council houses. To end up on the dole was, for them, a massive blow.
I must confess though, being an anxious type who dreaded being in situations over which I had little control (such as having somebody tell me what to do), being on the dole was a blessing.
Whilst Thatcher was delivering her final solution on the working classes I was quite happy at home, listening to records and looking at jazz mags. I supplemented my income by doing 'hobbles' that I didn't mind- gardening, painting and so on. Because there were three million people in the same position it seemed like a safe alternative to joining the rat race. Sadly of course my anxieties prevented me from resisting the threats of the DSS and after 18 months I surrendered and got a job.
Read about Gary's case here...