John Steinbeck …

Sure I remember the Nineteen Thirties, the terrible, troubled, triumphant, surging Thirties. … I remember ’29 very well … the drugged and happy faces of people who built paper fortunes on stocks they couldn’t possibly have paid for. … In our little town bank presidents and track workers rushed to pay phones to call brokers. Everyone was a broker, more or less. At lunch hour, store clerks and stenographers munched sandwiches while they watched stock boards and calculated their pyramiding fortunes. Their eyes had the look you see around a roulette wheel …

Then the bottom dropped out … I remember how the Big Boys, the men in the know, were interviewed and re-interviewed. Some of them bought space to reassure the crumbling millionaires… “Don’t be afraid – buy – keep on buying” Meanwhile the Big Boys sold and the market fell on its face…

The came panic, and panic changed to dull shock. … People walked about looking as if they’d been slugged. … Then people remembered their little bank balances, the only certainties in a treacherous world. They rushed to draw the money out. There were fights and riots and lines of policemen. Some banks failed; rumors began to fly…

What happened in the seats of power? It looked then and it still looks as though the Government got scared. The White House, roped off and surrounded by troops, was taken to indicate that the President was afraid of his own people. … I speak of this phase at length because it was symptomatic of many positions of leadership. Business leaders panicked, banks panicked. Workers demanded factories stay open… Voices shrill with terror continued to tell people what was happening couldn’t happen…

… highlights taken from a non fiction collection called ‘America and Americans’ – ‘A Primer on the 30s’ … edits¬†courtesy of Mark Toma, Professor of Economics, University of Oregon.

David Byrne …

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself-Well…How did I get here?

And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?
And you may ask yourself
Where is that large automobile?
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife!
Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the money’s gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.

Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…