In honour of the most important election in recent Irish history…
Found out this morning
There’s a circus coming to town
They drive in Cadillacs
Using walkie-talkies, and the Secret Service
Their big top: Imitation of life
And all the flags and microphones
They have to cover our eyes
We play the sideshows
And we like the tunnel of love
And when we ride the ferris wheel
We’re little children again
And when they’re asking for volunteers
We’ll be the first ones aboard
And when the ringmaster calls our names
We’ll be the first ones to go… to sleep
Stealing all our dreams
Dreams for sale
They sell ’em back to you
On with the show
Start the parade
We sang along
Sweep us away
It’s political party time
Going down, going down
And the celebrities all come out
Coming down, coming down, coming…
The sun is going down
And the dogs are starting to howl
We stay out after dark
Eating cotton candy
And the music’s playing…
How we all laughed!
We split our sides
The cameras flashed
We almost died!
The rain’s gonna pour on down, falling out of the sky
Coming down, coming down
And the celebrities all run out, and the rain’s
Coming down, coming down
Gonna rain, gonna rain
Gonna rain, gonna rain,
And now I wonder who’s boss
And who he’s leavin’ behind?Talking Heads: The Democratic Circus
Can’t go wrong with a bit of Christy Moore. Ireland’s finest folk singer (which is saying something). Always righteous, always passionate. This particular song was written by Shane McGowan and while I love The Pogues, I think the simple voice and guitar treatment suits Aisling better than their full band version. Enjoy.
I know nothing at all about Justin Bieber except that he’s a teen idol-type pop singer whose adoring 13-year old fans have used social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to turn him into a worldwide star.
There was a time, in my late teens and early 20s, when I’d have been made very irate by his massive success. These days I’m more tolerant of the tastes of others, no matter how bad they might be to my ears, and instead simply ignore the ocean of dross that passes for popular music. I know what inspires and delights me and I stick to that. Others can wallow in filth if they so wish… I have neither the time nor the energy to harangue them about the terrible choices they make.
That said, I have just learnt (via Twitter, inevitably) something new about Justin Bieber. And that’s the fact that if you slow down his song, U Smile by a factor of 800, you get a genuine ambient masterpiece. Seriously, check it out. Marvellous stuff.
When I’m out walking with my mp3 player on, I often put it on shuffle and let it choose the vibe for me. Usually after three or four songs it’ll have found an album that I want to listen to and I’ll take it off shuffle. A few days ago it randomly hit upon What a Day That Was from the early David Byrne solo album, The Catherine Wheel. It’s not an album I listen to as much as some of his other work, but it’s been a joy to revisit. A mixture of songs and instrumentals, including several collaborations with Brian Eno, it was recorded as a soundtrack album for a dance company.
Now dance, as a spectacle, has never been something I’ve been interested in. I enjoy dancing, but not watching it happen. Whether it’s ballet or more contemporary stuff, it’s just not — as they say — the bag I’m into. Nonetheless, a few years back I tracked down an old VHS copy of a performance of The Catherine Wheel, partly out of curiosity and partly out of that weird completist compulsion that I still have for David Byrne’s work. Sadly, it failed to convert me and I never watched more than half of it.
Nonetheless, as an album, The Catherine Wheel is still a great listen. And that well-known Talking Heads concert film has a wonderful version of the song that drew me back to it. Enjoy…
Note: it was only after I published this that I realised I’m a full day early for “the weekend”. It’s just midnight and I’ve spent the entirety of Thursday convinced it was Friday. Isn’t it weird when that happens?
Imagine switching on the TV at quarter to nine some Tuesday morning and seeing this.
I thought I’d share an odd slice of the 80s with my one remaining reader. The song and the performance are classic Billy Bragg. Strident, no-nonsense social commentary that remains as relevant now as it ever was (more so, in fact). But the context is just so bizarre. BBC Breakfast Time television… a cultural vacuum designed to do nothing more than fill air-time between news bulletins. Possibly the most conservative (small ‘c’) broadcasting environment outside US televangelism; certainly not a place you’d expect to hear a hard-hitting assault on tabloid media culture and conservative (small ‘c’ and capital ‘C’) politics.
Introduced by Selina Scott in a positively restrained hair-do (bearing in mind the year) holding an album in a manner which suggests she’s never seen one before. And followed by Mike Smith (Princess Diana’s favourite DJ, let us not forget) looking bewildered; no doubt trying to work out how to segue between a song telling us that “politics mix / with bingo and tits / in a money and numbers game” into Russell Grant’s astrology segment.
Anyhoo, enjoy the song. It’s a bit of a belter.