Monday, June 28, 2010

Behind the Music #8: Steve Earle - "The Galway Girl"

Top o' the morning to you, my fine feline friends.

How 'bout that England team, what? A shower of knackers, every man jack of them. I was recently vacationing in sunny Spain and had the misfortune to watch an England game in an Irish bar. The crowd was an odd mix of red-shirted Englanders and Irish people. As the evening wore on, the former became more and more dejected while the latter struggled manfully not to laugh out loud in their faces.

Following the game there was a "turn" onstage, a cheeky chap with a guitar, fairly easygoing singalong stuff, not too bad all told. However, he was to be mere background to an enlightening lecture I was receiving at the bar regarding "The English" and how they were today basically degenerate chav savages (or "chavages" as I interjected). One of the problems with the English, it seems, is their ignorance of their culture.

At this point, brer singer struck up the opening to "The Galway Girl". Now, you know as well as I do that this song was written by the American singer/heroin enthusiast Steve Earle. Not so my Irish culture vulture. According to him it was written and recorded by the Irish group The Saw Doctors (a sort of Happy Shopper version of The Levellers, if you can imagine such a thing). Furthermore, this folk-rock classic is a wonderful celebration of all that is good and great about the Irish Republic today.

Now, I am not a fighting man, so I didn't put my Guinness-swilling interlocutor straight. I enjoy arguing in pubs with men of low breeding as much as anyone else, but I also enjoy having all my teeth, so I did what any decent fellow would do, namely resolved to compose an overly-long deconstruction of the song "The Galway Girl" and put it on the internet. That'll learn him.

Firstly, as we have mentioned, this song was written by an American. There are few things in life as stomach-churning as an American attempting to show how down with the "Ould Country" they are, blethering away about "the craic" and fondly recalling pints of green beer they have drank during St Patrick's Day parades. "The Galway Girl" is, on first listening, the musical equivalent of such suckholing.

Take the opening lines:

"Well, I took a stroll on the old long walk
Of a day -I-ay-I-ay
I met a little girl and we stopped to talk
Of a fine soft day -I-ay-I-ay"

Bitch please, what is all this "day I-ay I-ay" shit? You'll be wearing clogs and drinking from a tankard next, yeah?

Anyhow, to cut to the chase, he meets this girl who has black hair and blue eyes. They go for a walk, round the Salthill Prom, no less. Nice work there, shoehorning in a reference to a local attraction, bit of an authentic touch. Inevitably, with it being Ireland, the weather soon takes a turn for the worse.

"We were halfway there when the rain came down
Of a day -I-ay-I-ay
And she asked me up to her flat downtown
Of a fine soft day -I-ay-I-ay"

Ignoring the "I-ays" for now, let us pause to consider this lovely Irish colleen that we're getting all misty-eyed and dewy-decimal about. He's know her five minutes and she's already taking him back to her flat. Scarcely the actions of a virtuous, wholesome ribs-and-cabbage-cooking Ballykissangel type of lassie. In fact, let us not mince our words here, she sounds like a roundheels, some say hoor.

You may think that we are leaping to conclusions here and that they just went to her flat for a cup of coffee and a game of Connect 4. No they didn't. American singer-songwriters don't write songs about meeting an Irish girl and playing board games with her. This fellow is a rock star and rock stars are only interested in one thing; the sweet, sweet poontang. Essentially, the message of this song is "Hey guys, let me tell you about the fine piece of ass I nailed in Ireland when I was over there. Bitch was sweeeeet!"

Also, your rock star is a depraved, debauched character. Where you or I, having the good fortune to meet an Irish lass of such relaxed morals, would be content with some fairly straightforward sexual coupling, missionary position with the lights off, no talking, your Yankee doodle rocker is not going to be happy with such vanilla fare.

"And I ask you, friend, what's a fella to do
'Cause her hair was black and her eyes were blue
So I took her hand and I gave her a twirl
And I lost my heart to a Galway girl"

Your American is a straight-talking, literal sort of a fellow. When he says he gave her a twirl, he means exactly that. He stuck a Cadbury's "Twirl" chocolate bar in her ass while he was riding her. That's exactly what he did. Then got her to eat it, I expect, the filthy bugger.

You may think I am reading between the lines a little too much here and seeing things that aren't there. Possibly it is I who am the filthy depraved one and not Steven Earle. Not so.

Steve Earle was interviewed by Hot Press, the Irish music paper, before the release of his 2000 album "Transcendental Blue", which features this song. When asked about what he most enjoyed when touring Europe, he replied "Oh my gaaad, I just love the candy bars you get in Britain and Ireland. Jeez man, they're great. Star Bars, Picnics, Lion Bars, it's all good, dude. I gotta tell you though, man, the Cadbury's Twirl, that's my favourite. I love them. And I like to stick them in a chick's ass when I'm hitting her up from the back." (My italics)

That interview isn't available anywhere online, but it definitely did happen. I wouldn't lie to you.

So there we have it. "The Galway Girl". Not by the Saw Doctors. Not a feelgood celebration of a vibrant, modern Ireland. It's a feelgood celebration of rich Americans coming to Ireland and banging skanky Irish whores while inserting confectionery into their anuses.

I'll bid you a good day, so I will.


Sunday, June 06, 2010

Ins and Outs: June '10 - World Cup Special*

*Not that special.

Hey there, sports fans!

The world is girding its loins for the start of the Association Soccerball World Cup of Sport and this time it's in Africa. Whether it's Cassius Clay getting busy with the rope-a-dope, Matt Damon winning the ruggerbugger World Cup or the great Rwandan three-legged race meeting of 1994, the continent of Africa is synonymous with premier sporting events and this one is sure to be no different.

Assuming that the world's football supporters aren't all killed by machete-wielding township gangs or syringe-toting Aids-riddled crack whores, that is. Or beaten to death in custody by sadistic apartheid-era riot police.

Anyhow, let us put aside such mongering of doom and concentrate on delineating the Basile Boli from the Basil D'Oliveira, the Man City from the Sun City and the Tino Asprilla from the SWAPO guerilla.

Ladies and gentlemen of the rainbow nation, Ins and Outs am here!


Like-for-like replacements.
Biting the bullet and informing one's friends that, having considered the matter from all angles, you quite like the Black-Eyed Peas and think that some of their songs are alright.
Making a mental note not to the give the taxi driver any backchat next weekend.
Harry "Choo Choo" Romero, wearing a sombrero and eating an "Aero".
Being firmly of the opinion that "King of my Castle" is the Wamdue Project's best song.
Looking at the World Cup fixtures and drooling like a dog at the prospect of ten consecutive days of three games a day.
Cheering oneself up with a quick look at the daft bands on the bill at the Download Festival. Who to see; Cancer Bats or Three Inches of Blood?
Shrugging off a plea for alms from a street mendicant by telling them "Sorry mate, but I need my money for drink, same as yourself".
Cooking sausages on the grill, then taking them outdoors to eat. The sausages aren't burned and the whole neighbourhood doesn't have to smell them.
Mr Sheen, who remains friendly and approachable, despite being rightly lauded for his ability to shine umpteen things clean.
Re-discovering how good The Pogues were.
On being asked whether you've read any Terry Pratchett, replying that it all seems "a bit hobgoblin for me".
Purchasing a t-shirt emblazoned with the legend "I am the Stig". That shirt doesn't just let the world know that you are a humorous, cultured fellow, it's also a guaranteed Fanny Magnet, my friend.
On the occasion of any would-be Paul Gambaccini telling you the Amazing Rock Fact that Dennis Wilson was the only Beach Boy who did surfing, calmly informing them that i) Everyone knows that and ii) They were called the BEACH Boys, yeah, not the fucking Surfer Boys.
Hotfooting it down the pound shop and blowing one's entire pay packet on England shit to wear and adorn one's personal quarters, vehicle and workplace.
Making a big fuss over the wife when she comes home from the hairdressers, telling her she's the absolute spit of Wim Kieft.
Loving Bell, loving Biv, but hating Devoe. Devoe can eat a dick.
Confidently assuring all and sundry that this will be the tournament where "Basti" Schweinsteiger comes of age as the world's leading footballer.
Molybdenum. Mo, 42. A good metal.
Ledley King, a modern day, non-turps-nudging Paul McGrath.


Advertisers using happy-clappy footage of African children playing football in an attempt sell us all manner of shit and shinola.
Plan B. On balance, hearing Mel B, Turbo B and Jazzy B collaborating on a version of "Honey to the Bee" would "be" preferable.
Any use of the despicable portmanteau word "confuzzled".
Ian Wright hawking his gurning mutton to any World Cup-themed advertiser willing to pay him. The failed-in-international-football knacker.
Women who think of themselves as "sassy". Everyone else thinks of you as "a pain in the hole".
The legions of teenaged mid-shelf pornography enthusiasts who are being deprived of Danny Dyer's relationship guidance thanks to Political Correctness Gone Mad.
Arriva Buses and their timetable overhaul that has turned a twenty minute bus journey into a gruelling thirty-five minute whistle stop tour of Northumberland's grimmest outposts. Progress indeed.
Tedious co-workers, with their full and frank discussions regarding the contestants on the previous evening's gripping episode of "Britain's Got Talents".
Mr Muscle. He doesn't love the jobs you hate at all, the lying shithouse. He hates them as well.
Justin Bieber. The soppy little wassock needs a haircut, toot sweet.
The powerful fug one encounters when entering a beer festival for the first time as the combined miasma of warm, hoppy ale mingles with the stench of several hundred overweight, unwashed science fiction afficianados and notebook-wielding CAMRAmen, all with bits of pie in their unkempt beards.
Ill-informed knackers who claim they are unaware of half of the countries competing in the World Cup. "NEW Zealand? I've never even heard of Zealand!"
The Ivory Coast, kidding themselves that Drogba will be able to play despite a broken arm. They appear to be confusing playing football in the World Cup with playing drums in a Def Leppard tribute band.
Deluded gutbuckets who feel that not only is it important that they sample each of the latest Walker's Crisps flavours, but that they share an in-depth breakdown of their findings with acquaintances.
Jingoism. Some of my best friends are jingos, leave them alone.
Going to Oberammergau for a relaxing weekend break and being unable to get down the street to the pub for hordes of gawking slackjaws watching some fucking Punch & Judy show.
Paying five large for a music magazine that informs you that The Beatles and Bob Dylan were really good (who knew?) and comes with a free CD that you'll listen to once at the very most.
The Common Eland. Big, fat ungainly sods, put to shame by the far more shapely Springbok.
Informing your mates in the pub, with disconcerting frankness, that you spent the earlier part of the day "Washing mah smalls and shaving mah balls".
Spreading the unfounded rumour that the World Cup opening ceremony will feature Winnie Mandela bending a free-kick through a flaming car tyre.