The Factory Lad

Colin Dryden, who wrote this song was a superb guitarist and a friend of ours. One day John was driving home through Carlton (Melbourne), carrying the new guitar he had just picked up, his dream guitar at the time, a D35 Martin 12 String. He saw Colin walking along the footpath and pulled up to show him the guitar. For the next two hours, the two of them sat in the gutter while Colin gave John an impromptu guitar lesson, both of them lost in the rich sound of the instrument and totally oblivious to the passing traffic or the stares of the passers-by.


Early in the morning, the sky's as black as night

Your mother's shouting up the stairs - you know she's winning the fight

You stumble to the breakfast table and grab a bite to eat

Then it's out the door and up the road and through the factory gate


Dark and grey's the morning as you squeeze through the gate

As you clock in the bell will ring - eight hours is your fate

So it's off with your coat and up with your sleeves and "Right, lads!" is the cry

With one eye on the clock and the other on your lathe, you wish that time could fly



Turning steel, how do you feel as in the chuck you spin

If you felt like me, you'd roll right out and never roll back in


But time can't fly as fast as a lathe and it's work you must

With the grinding, groaning, spinning metal, the hot air and the dust

And it's many a time I'm with my girl and we're walking through the park

As I gaze upon the turning steel or the welder's shining spark


Old Tom retired last week. His final bell did ring

His hair was white as the face beneath the oil that soaked his skin

Well he made a speech and he bade farewell to a lifetime working here

As I shook his hand, I thought of hell at a lathe for forty years


When my time comes as come it must and I must leave this place

I'll walk right out past the  charge hand's  door and never turn my face

Out to the road and into the sun with never a glance behind

With one regret for the lads I've left to carry on the grind