Ray Davies's
Working Man's Café cover

Second-Hand Car Spiv

Ray Davies, released on Preservation: Act 2, © Davray Music Ltd. 1974


[Spiv:] I was born a slum gutter infantile,

Brute-force educated, delinquent juvenile.

I am a product of mass produced factory fodder,

Streets full of tenement blocks, rat infested filth and squalor.

I left school, went straight on the dole

And unemployment's no enjoyment,

Welfare State owned my mind and my body and my soul.

So I worked my way up to be a second-hand car spiv,

But don't judge me harshly because I'm just a slum kid.

I built up my business with a quick wit and fist,

So don't double-cross me or my hoods will dissect you

With their black jacks and shiv.

Slum kids never get a break, they've got to fight their way up.

Wheel and deal, beg and steal,

Sweat blood to earn a buck.

I didn't want to work on the factory floor,

I wasn't content, I wanted more

Than to be a slave of a lathe,

Work all day and go home bored.

So a second- hand car spiv was what I became.

I built an empire because I used my brains.


[Chorus:] He was a second-hand car spiv up from the slums,

So don't judge him harshly because he's just a slum kid.

Then he moved into property, stocks and shares,


[Spiv:] And into high finance and you've got to agree

That running a multi-million corporation

Sure beats selling cars second-hand.


[Chorus:] Once he sold old worn out heaps to the punters on the street,


[Spiv:] Now I'm in control of the country as a whole,

And the world is at my feet.


[Chorus:] The world is at his feet.


[Spiv:] Power, power, I've got power oozing out of me,

And when you think of all the things I've done

It says a lot for one

Who worked his way up from the streets.

Yes I'm a second-hand car spiv.

Do a deal, buy and sell,

It's my trade, I know it well.

Make a sale, ring the bell

And let the suckers go to hell.

Bank the profits, count the change

Another sucker comes your way.

Life is a crooked game,

And slum kids never change.