The Ballad of Paul Quick

from by riot nrrd

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about

Written about one of the most fun street protests I have ever take part in, one that was against the second Iraq War when I lived in Kingston. In it, my friend Paul Quick was arrested and then unarrested soon thereafter. It was an amazing experience. Later on, the police nabbed the people who happened to be marching at the front of our large group and bundled them into an unmarked van, thinking that since they were at the front, they were our leaders. But we were organized along co-operative and consensus-based lines, and the protest continued undaunted. Found myself dancing in the streets, which generally feels very, very good.

I learned at a folk music conference that this song is not actually, technically a ballad. They were kind when they pointed this out.

lyrics

People making speeches, heartfelt, to the point,
sad and angry, funny bittersweet.
"How many lives per gallon," I saw someone's sign proclaim,
then it was time to take it to the streets!

So we marched just where we pleased,
not in straight lines in control of the police.
And we'll march until there's peace,
in laughing, dancing solidarity,
and on we march.

Our bodies here say war is not a one-way street,
and neither was Princess Street that day.
Some thumbs up and some steely glares, some handshakes and some waves,
That energy just helped us on our way

As we marched just where we pleased,
not in straight lines in control of the police.
And we'll march until there's peace,
in laughing, dancing solidarity,
and on we march.

"Stand over there," he said to Paul, and so he did. Then
"I want to see you standing on the curb."
When Paul shouted that he was, that cop arrests him, yes he does,
it's silly, it's controlling, it's absurd.

So we sat down on the street, it was time to take a break,
let them know we didn't think it was fair.
We sat five people deep and chanted "set him free!" -
that cop car wasn't going anywhere.

Soon he was unarrested, we let out a mighty cheer.
That's what I call people truly served by cops.
This fortunate distraction gave everyone a boost,
then we kept marching 'cuz be had a war to stop.

So we marched just where we pleased,
not in straight lines in control of the police.
And we'll march until there's peace,
in laughing, dancing solidarity.
And we'll march just where we please,
not in straight lines in control of the police.
And we'll march until there's peace,
in laughing, dancing solidarity,
jumping solidarity, all in solidarity,
and on we march!

credits

from settle, released June 6, 2014
Chords and lyrics by Conrad Sichler, inspired by Paul Quick and the anti-war movement of Kingston, Ontario circa 2001 - 2002. Performed by Conrad Sichler (lead vocal, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, blocks, dog whistle), Dan Lockwood (drums), Neil Nikafor (bass guitar), Frank Koren (electric guitar), Vince Rinaldo (keyboard), and Amy King (back-up vocals).

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