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James Murphy


  1. Austin George Loomis
    April 1, 2021 @ 9:53 pm

    the music grinds to a dead halt and hopelessness overcomes, pulling the listener away from this world with as much quickness as they had been gently brought in.

    Compare and contrast: “And that damned unnerving guitar fell to pieces on the E minor sixth, as resolved as it was ever going to be.” (Spider Robinson, “The Law of Conservation of Pain”)


  2. lee rhodes
    January 30, 2022 @ 7:26 am

    “There was he-males and she-males of every hue” also appears in the song ‘Zoological Gardens’ as recorded by the Dubliners, a lyric about going on a date to a zoo”

    I think the OP has got this slightly wrong, the Zoological Gardens is about prostitution in the Phoenix Park (where Dublin Zoo is located couched in the Music Hall tradition of the double entendre. The hemales and shemales are male and trans pick up merchants. The term zoo in Ireland as elsewhere can mean a fucked up scene, as in “it was like a zoo”.

    The Zoological Gardens an old Dublin street ballad that the Dubliners got from Dominic Behan as well as the technique of saying rather than singing the last sentence of a song which was picked on to Shane McGowan.


  3. mal
    March 19, 2022 @ 5:24 am

    The phrase “Spat on and shat on” also turns up on its own in a Dexy’s Midnight Runners song called “Tell Me When My Light’s Turned Green” from their 1980 album Searching For The Young Soul Rebels. The influence of Dexys on the early years of the Pogues cannot be denied.


  4. Ross
    January 17, 2023 @ 7:28 am

    What a bloody brilliant analysis. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this deconstruction of a song I love. Bravo James.


  5. Li
    December 5, 2023 @ 5:53 pm

    You’re missing an important point – Shane was a “Dilly Boy” when his lifestyle was on the streets becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol as a teenager, and he has talked openly about being a rent boy and giving hand jobs to old men who paid a fiver. I think the impact of this was kept very private though; suffice to say, Shane often took wads of cash out with him once he made it to the big time, giving it to other addicts and homeless folk in the area, no doubt to keep them away from the traumas (as far as possible) on that scene. He was also sectioned and put in a psychiatric unit after this, aged around 17, for six long months. There is no doubt this contributed to his self medicating after (as well as addictions being a preceding vulnerability). I think this is one of his most important semi-autobiographical songs.


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