Apr 19, 2007

Luck With an "F"

Stumbled upon this cheerful compendium of witty put-downs from Elvis Costello songs, which includes my favorite (from "Opportunity," "The chairman of this boredom is a compliment collector/I'd like to be his funeral director"), but which also begs for a separate category: put-downs of actual people, named or not. The bespectacled one either names or nearly names the folks he slags off in these choice nuggets:
Was it a millionaire who said imagine no possessions
A poor little schoolboy who said we don't need no lessons
The Other Side of Summer

There's already one spaceman in the White House
What you want another one for?
Peace in Our Time (from 1986)

So there he was on a waterbed
Drinking a cola of a mystery brand
Reading an airport novelette, listening to Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Requiem"
He said, before it had really begun, "I prefer the one about my son
I've been wading through all this unbelievable
junk and wondering if I should have given the world to the monkeys"
God's Comic

And of course, "Tramp the Dirt Down," his intemperate mash-note to Thatcher, contains such gems as:
When England was the whore of the world
Margeret was her madam
And the future looked as bright and as clear as
The black tarmacadam

Though I find this acid reference, in "Little Palaces," a bitter song about justifiable if misdirected working-class anger toward royalty, much sharper:
It's like shouting in a matchbox filled with plasterboard and hope
Like a picture of Prince William in the arms of John the Pope
There's a world of good intentions and pity in their eyes
The sedated homes of England are theirs to vandalize

An angry man, that Mr. McManus. I have one bone to pick with him, though: Why, for his upcoming gig at the Nokia Theatre in Times Square, has he restricted ticket sales to Visa card holders only (at least online)? Thanks to a friend with a Visa card, I'll be going, but I really hate the stink of this sweetheart deal. C'mon, Elvis, you can do better by your fans than this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

At a certain point in my misspent collegiate youth, I found solace in the following lyrics from "Town Cryer":

"Love and unhappiness go arm in arm/long-suffering friends of your fatal charm/Isn't it a pity that you're going to get hurt/just a little boy lost in a big man's shirt."

Which, you know, was just how I felt about some of the comically failed relationships I had at the time. Only even I wasn't mean (read: ballsy) enough to say it quite THAT way.