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.



Anonymous said...

Just cause youve never been with a galway girl dont be so sore !!!

Anonymous said...

Please in the Kings finest " That will teach him"