บลูยีนส์ - คำสั่งฟ้า

July 18 [Tue], 2017, 19:00

Black Hawk Down

May 17 [Tue], 2016, 13:00
Sir, they're still debating the route.

We’ll Let You Know

March 18 [Fri], 2016, 21:05

Morrissey’s « We’ll Let You Know » – the greatest song on football?

Recently in an informal discussion at Manchester’s National Football Museum a very important question was asked: what is the greatest song on football ever? Of course, our answers are limited by the number of languages we speak and the national pop cultures we have access to. There are few French songs on football worthy of note. My favourite one might be: Miossec’s « Évoluer en 3e division », a vivid account of what goes through our minds when we are confronted with our mediocrity in football. In Portuguese, Chico Buarque wrote excellent songs on football too in particular « O Futebol », but I am not a connoisseur enough of Brazilian music to pick one of them.

Morrissey wearing Cantona tee shirt Picture from www.morrissey-solo.com
Picture from www.morrissey-solo.com

This would limit my research to the English-speaking domain. As we know, and without being biased at all of course (!), the best of British music has always come from second generation Irish migrants in Manchester – some would also Manchester’s distant suburb, Liverpool and Irishmen like the Beatles too, I guess. So the song has to be Mancunian.

After careful consideration, it appears to me that Morrissey’s « We’ll Let You Know » may be the strongest candidate for the « greatest song on football » title. There is no shortage of football references in Morrissey’s work, who was photographed wearing a Cantona tee-shirt, West Ham, Millwall or CD Chivas jerseys & wrote songs on the « Munich Air Disaster 1958 »_ that killed the Busby Babes, or the hilarious « Roy’s Keen ». Why single out « We’ll Let You Know », then?

Since his heydays in the greatest British band ever, The Smiths (which included alongside Morrissey, guitar player extraordinaire Johnny Marr & « the lawnmower parts »: Mike Joyce, Andy Rourke and Craig Gannon), Morrissey has been widely misunderstood. Many have seen him wrongly as a bastion of Englishness – sometimes to the extreme. In truth, Morrissey belongs to that great British tradition of sarcasm & criticism of Englishness, which is very apparent in the works of PG Wodehouse, Evelyn Waugh. However, like Agatha Christie, Morrissey is sometimes so subtle he can misconstrued as being literal. Agatha Christie has often been accused of (or hailed for?) ridiculing Hercule Poirot, the foreigner and exalting the Englishness of Miss Marple. Things are, however, slightly more complex. Christie certainly describes Marple with some fondness, but in the way one is fond of their slightly out-of-touch grandmother. Hercule Poirot on the other hand reveals himself more than once as someone who outplays the English (the respectable & institutionalised Inspector Japp or Captain Hastings), precisely for their Englishness. It is nowhere more apparent than in this extract from Three Act Tragedy (which I shamefully pasted from Wikipedia – having been unable to find my copy of the book):

« It is true that I can speak the exact, the idiomatic English. But, my friend, to speak the broken English is an enormous asset. It leads people to despise you. They say – a foreigner – he can’t even speak English properly. […] Also I boast! An Englishman he says often, « A fellow who thinks as much of himself as that cannot be worth much. » […] And so, you see, I put people off their guard. »

It is in this respect that « We’ll Let You Know » is the greatest song on football ever: it is the cleverest, more insightful, critical & sarcastic, foray into the mind of football hooligans. The song starts enigmatically with:

How sad are we?
And how sad have we been?
We’ll let you know
We’ll let you know
Oh, but only if – you’re really interested
You wonder how
We’ve stayed alive ’till now
We’ll let you know
We’ll let you know
But only if – you’re really interested

Until the third verse where it becomes clear through reference to the stadium’s entrance, the cowardice of groups attacking the weak, that a football hooligan is speaking & defending himself (in the same hypocritical manner that the narrator in the Smiths’ very sarcastic song Sweet & Tender Hooligan defends the criminal « She was old and she would have died anyway. »)

We’re all smiles
Then, honest, I swear, it’s the turnstiles
That make us hostile

We will descend
On anyone unable to defend

Morrissey similarly questions how much the hooligan believes in the songs s.he sings.

And the songs we sing
They’re not supposed to mean a thing

Does the hooligan really believe in what he sings and just pretend he doesn’t? Or not? This is sarcasm at its best; and at its most complex to interpret. However Morrissey positions himself very clearly in the last part of the song, following the instrumental which includes stadium chants and reference to the opponent, a club from North London: « Your Arsenal » (which gives its name to the 1992 album where this song can be found).

We may seem cold, or we may even be
The most depressing people you’ve ever known
At heart, what’s left, we sadly know
That we are the last truly British people you’ll ever know
We are the last truly British people you will ever know
You’ll never never want to know

The last line points out very clearly that Morrissey condemns the character who has been saying « I » all throughout the song – & which may not be misconstrued as being himself, obviously. It’s very telling that on Your Arsenal « We’ll Let You Know » is followed by the « National Front Disco » where the narrator/singer laments the fact one of his friends/lovers (David) has joined the National Front. « National Front Disco » is itself followed by « Certain People I Know » where an upper class character (betrayed by the choice of words in the lyrics: « Weren’t you there? You’d have died » or « Their clothes are imitation. It’s absurd, George XIII, don’t you find? ») is first fascinated by working class men he plays pool with then detaches himself from them as violence increases. Together these three songs are undoubtedly a criticism of the fascination for nationalism & violence that is arguably ubiquitous in English culture.

It is not clear whether Morrissey actually enjoys football as a game, but he is certainly one of the most subtle commentators on the social aspects of the so-called « Beautiful Game ». Together with the music of Alan Whyte, & the production of Mick Ronson, this is what makes « We’ll Let You Know » most probably the greatest song on football ever.


the Diet

February 16 [Tue], 2016, 20:50


February 15 [Mon], 2016, 19:42
for a specific purpose

Be more specific about what you want to do.

Charge of the Light Brigade - Tennyson

January 08 [Fri], 2016, 11:26


June 20 [Sat], 2015, 15:06

Esta es la historia de un rey ciego que tenía tres hijos. Una extraña enfermedad le había quitado la vista y a pesar de aplicarle numerosos remedios y consultar a los sabios más ilustres, no hubo resultados de mejoría.

Un día llegó a palacio, desde un país lejano, un viejo mago. Después de observarlo, le dijo que sólo la “flor de lirolay”, aplicada a sus ojos, le devolvería la visión. Esa flor se abría en tierras muy lejanas y eran tantas las dificultades del viaje y de la búsqueda que resultaba dificilísimo conseguirla.

Los hijos del rey se ofrecieron para realizar la búsqueda. El padre les prometió que el que trajese la flor del lirolay, tendría como premio ser el próximo soberano del reino. Los tres hermanos partieron juntos.

Llegaron a un lugar en el que se abrían tres caminos y se separaron, tomando cada cual uno de ellos. Se marcharon con la promesa de reunirse allí mismo el día en que se cumpliese un año, no importaba el resultado de la búsqueda.

Llegaron a las puertas de las tierras de la flor del lirolay, y se sometieron a las duras pruebas exigidas. Ninguno de los dos hermanos mayores las resistió, y regresaron son haber conseguido la flor. El menor, que era mucho más valiente que los otros dos, y quería a su padre con devoción, consiguió la flor. Faltaba muy poco para que terminara el año pactado.

Los tres hermanos llegaron al punto de encuentro. Cuando los hermanos mayores vieron llegar al pequeño con la flor de lirolay, se sintieron humillados. La conquista le iba a dar al joven fama de héroe, y además conseguiría la corona. La envidia hizo que se pusieran de acuerdo para matarlo.

Poco antes de llegar a palacio, se alejaron un poco y cavaron un hoyo muy profundo. Allí arrojaron al hermano menor, después de quitarle la flor de lirolay. Cubrieron de tierra el agujero.

Llegaron a palacio presumiendo de su hazaña. El padre se pasó la flor por los ojos y recobró la vista al instante. Su alegría se transformó en pena al conocer la noticia de la muerte de su querido hijo.

Del cabello del príncipe enterrado brotó un frondoso cañaveral. Un pastor que pasaba por allí con su rebaño, cortó una caña para hacerse una flauta. Cuando el pastor intentó tocar la flauta, ésta dijo:

No me toques, pastorcito,
ni me dejes de tocar;
mis hermanos me mataron
por la flor de lirolay.

La fama de la flauta mágica llegó a oídos del rey que quiso probarla, sopló, y oyó estas palabras:

No me toques, padre mío,
ni me dejes de tocar;
mis hermanos me mataron
por la flor de lirolay.

Mandó a sus hijos que tocaran la flauta, y se escuchó a la flauta decir:

No me toquen hermanitos,
ni me dejen de tocar;
porque ustedes me mataron
por la flor de lirolay.

El pastor los llevó al cañaveral donde había cortado la caña. Cavaron al pie y el príncipe, vivo todavía, salió desprendiéndose de las raíces. El rey condenó a muerte a sus hijos. El joven príncipe, no sólo los perdonó, sino que convenció y consiguió que el rey los perdonara.

El joven consiguió ser rey, y su familia y su reino vivieron largos años de paz y abundancia.


August 06 [Tue], 2013, 22:19


September 05 [Wed], 2007, 21:43