Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fairytale Of Oklahoma...

it's that time of year again. the snow is falling, the chestnuts roasting, and the presents hiding. yes, it's christmas time and everybody is, hopefully, in better moods than they have been the past few months. i know i am, and i'm really happy right now because it seems my family has put aside their problems in order for us all to get together and celebrate this wonderful time of the year.

oh, and for a much different subject, i saw Avatar. being native american has led me, as well as most others who are also native, to decipher the differences between what's racist and what's probably not when it comes to indigenous perspectives. no, i'm not a full blood, but that doesn't really hinder me from knowing something when i see or hear it. i'm not going to go into a full on argument over the movie avatar, but i will make two points. the first point is this; go see this movie for all it's technical aspects. this really is the next evolution in film making with regards for computer effects over live action. the blending of the matters is quite stunning, and for the most part, you can't tell the difference between the two. this movie is a site to behold and i give it thumbs up for that. bbbbbuuuuuuuttttt, my second point is the other half. being a writer, it has become my job, (and habit...) of knowing good writing when i see it. on paper, the story of avatar must have felt good, but i'm thinking james camron was too full of special effects on the brain instead. at best, this movie is a sort of super duper combination of many films we have all probably seen before and isn't breaking any ground when it comes to the narrative. like i'm sure all the people and critics have said, this movie is Dances With Wolves, Ferngully, Pocahontas, and The Smurfs and rolled into one. and i also couldn't help but think back to several of james camron's movies, like Titanic, Aliens, and True Lies when watching certain scenes in this flick. so, where's all this racism i was complaining about. it's not hard to see it because they do a good job of shoving it in your face. the ideas in this movie read like this to me: "we need to have the bad guys act racist in order for the crowd to hate them and also question our current united states government. oh, and we also need to make references to old times like how all those native americans were killed by us during the cowboy days. oh, and last, we need to have all these underlings make a huge dramatic comeback at the end and savagely kill off all the white guys and get the crowd cheering." yeah, it's just like that. you all have seen this before. i have seen this before. it's nothing new and nothing original. once all the hype has died down, i know for a fact, that this movie will probably become the butt end of many jokes to come. if saturday night live hasn't done it yet, someone else will. (*cough* rifftracks *cough*)

okay, so going back to the christmas mood again, i wanted to post something that's feels a bit more festive to me. the following band has been around for many many years and have developed a huge cult following. they make wonderful music with heartfelt lyrics, not to mention, also having one of the best christmas songs ever. here today are The Pogues.

"what a bunch of ugly looking people..." i have heard that quote before. maybe in my mind, but also maybe from someone else. no, it's not nice to talk like that, i know. anyway, looks aren't important when it comes to the music, and these guys deliver. led by singer shane macgowan, who resembles spud from Trainspotting, the pogues came along at the right time. forming in 1982 after the breakup of several other bands, the pogues made a name for themselves quickly by their style of irish/folk music. to top it all, they played their tunes with the ferocity of punk rock. this was unheard of back then and totally original in every way. it's actually rather stunning to hear on first listen because it's just not something you expect. of course i can't mention the pogues without mentioning The Dropkick Murphy's and Flogging Molly, both of whom are directly influenced by this band. seriously, if it wasn't for the pogues, those bands may not exist.

in their glory years, the pogues toured frequently and also partied heavy. shane macgowan is actually quoted as saying that he starting drinking by the age of four. he was a binge drinker and often performed live intoxicated. this all eventually led to the band firing him. joe strummer from The Clash took up vocal duties for a little while until long time member spider stacy took over until the band broke up in 1996.

in 2001 the pogues reunited with shane and did a few small dates. in 2004 and every year after that, the band has toured and have never been better. shane macgowan has dried up and gotten dentures since then. in 2008 i went to new york during spring break with some college friends. the pogues happened to be doing a three night stay at the paladium ballroom, and all during st patricks week. i missed this opportunity and i still kick myself today for not going. it would have been EPIC!!!

okay, so i have here two albums by the pogues. first is the elvis costello produced lp Rum, Sodomy and the Lash. second is their most popular album, If I Should Fall From Grace with God. this last album has the fantastic christmas song i was mentioning. it's called "fairytale of new york" and it showcases the brilliant lyrical talent that shane has. be sure to give the song and these guys a listen. it's great upbeat music that makes you want a pint and some friends near you.

It was Christmas Eve babe
In the drunk tank
An old man said to me, won't see another one
And then he sang a song
The Rare Old Mountain Dew
I turned my face away
And dreamed about you

Got on a lucky one
Came in eighteen to one
I've got a feeling
This year's for me and you
So happy Christmas
I love you baby
I can see a better time
When all our dreams come true

They've got cars big as bars
They've got rivers of gold
But the wind goes right through you
It's no place for the old
When you first took my hand
On a cold Christmas Eve
You promised me
Broadway was waiting for me

You were handsome
You were pretty
Queen of New York City
When the band finished playing
They howled out for more
Sinatra was swinging,
All the drunks they were singing
We kissed on a corner
Then danced through the night

The boys of the NYPD choir
Were singing "Galway Bay"
And the bells were ringing out
For Christmas day

You're a bum
You're a punk
You're an old slut on junk
Lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed
You scumbag, you maggot
You cheap lousy faggot
Happy Christmas your arse
I pray God it's our last

I could have been someone
Well so could anyone
You took my dreams from me
When I first found you
I kept them with me babe
I put them with my own
Can't make it all alone
I've built my dreams around you

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