Sunday, August 19, 2012

More on Jimmy Sharman


Byter Arthur sent me an email in respect of the Jimmy Sharman post: “Very interesting.  I remember them quite well, I must be getting old. Or older.” 

Byter Jon sent me an email saying that he was surprised that I hadn’t mentioned the Midnight Oils song.  Jon is correct about the Oils' reference.  When I had posted the item I had decided to omit the Oils' aspect for reasons of length.  From hindsight I should have included it.  The comments on that issue are below.

For the benefit of overseas visitors, Midnight Oil was an Australian rock band whose music  prominently focused on social issues, especially environmental matters and matters relating to indigenous people.  Lead singer Peter Garrett has been a Member of the Australian Parliament since 2004. 

The lyrics of the Midnight Oil song Jimmy Sharman’s Boxers suggest that Sharman exploited the aboriginal boxers that were part of his troupe.  In Sharman’s defence, I have not found any evidence of exploitation of black boxers to any greater extent than exploitation of white boxers.  If he was an exploiter (which we can argue for ages), then he was an equal opportunity exploiter. 

See the song performed at:

The lyrics of Jimmy Sharman's Boxers are:
From the red dust north of Dalmore Downs Sharman's tents roll into town
Twelve will face the auctioneer
Sharman's boxers stand their ground

Their days are darker than your nights
But they won't be the first to fall
Children broken from their dreams
But they won't be the first to fall [ Lyrics from: ]

Fighting in the spotlight
Eyes turn blacker than their skin
For Jimmy Sharman's boxers
It's no better if you win
Standing in the darkness
Lined up waiting for the bell
The days are wasted drinking
At the first and last hotel

Why are we fighting for this?
Why are you paying for this?
You pay to see me fall like shrapnel to the floor
What is the reason for this?
There is a reason for this?
What is the reason they keeping coming back for more?

The blows now bring him to his knees
But still the crowd calls out for more
The drums are burning in his ears
The man keeps counting out the score

Cold Chisel, another Oz rock group, also made reference to Jimmy Sharman’s boxing tents in their song Yesterdays:

Baby, that's ok, I'll live to fight another day
Black man, on the ropes
At Jimmy Sharman's fighting ring
I've seen a lot of things before I had the time to sort them through
I'm takin' time for you

Yesterdays are gone, we don't need them now

After all is said and never done
Take a long term view
Everybody blows a few
It's a game, it's a game, it's a game and it's the only one

Maybe  black fighters in a white man’s boxing tent simply makes a good metaphor for indigenous issues.


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