…the tough go shopping, according to my sister at least. According to Billy Ocean the tough get going, which sounds very macho but doesn’t really make a lot of sense. In fact the whole song is a bit of lyrical conundrum. Consider the following verse:
I’m gonna get myself ‘cross the river
That’s the price I’m willing to pay
I’m gonna make you stand and deliver
And give me love in the old-fashion way
I mean, what?
And what does he mean by love in the old-fashion way? How old fashioned? Are we talking Sixties style drug induced haze? Or Victorian night dress and those hats with a tassel, like in a Dickens adaptation? Come on Billy, be specific!
When The Going Gets Tough was a big hit in 1985. At about this time the celebrated evangelist Billy Graham was touring the UK. I remember the following conversation between a couple of my friends, let’s call them Phil (serious, well meaning and softly spoken) and Roger (cheeky wide boy in a leather jacket).
Phil: I know it’s not your sort of thing, but I’m going to see Billy Graham next week and wondered if you’d like to come.
Roger: Dunno, how much is it?
Phil: It’s five pounds
Roger: Yeah, alright then.
Roger: Yeah, I mean he’s not my favourite singer, but a fiver’s dead cheap for a gig like that.