Thursday, 8 October 2009

Titanic Days

I was originally going to dedicate the whole of this week to posting each day about UK singer/songwriter Kirsty MacColl – who would have been 50 on Sunday, but I decided in the end that posting every day was a lot to ask people to read/watch – and instead have chosen to post four songs spanning the entirety of her career.

Kirsty was the daughter of (folk singer and political writer) Ewan Maccoll (who wote “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and “Dirty Old Town”) and suffered from stage fright for much of her career, along with repeated lack of support from her record labels. She was married to record producer Steve Lillywhite through the 80s and early 90s and when her marriage broke down she moved to Cuba, where she discovered latin music.

During her career she worked with all the big acts of the time, including The Smiths, Simple Minds, Talking Heads and famously finalised the running order for U2’s album The Joshua Tree. She was equally known for her cover versions, which included “Days” (The Kinks) and “A New England” (Billy Bragg) and is probably best remembered for her immortal Christmas song “Fairytale Of New York” with The Pogues

When Kirsty was killed by a motorboat in 2000 England lost a truly unique talent.

Please take a few moments to watch these videos and celebrate her life.

I had the unique pleasure to meet her after a gig about four months before she died and found her to be a truly nice person.

NB: the final video is myself performing a song from her second album “Kite” – the song that has my dad eternally referring to her as “That woman who sings about Milton Keynes”


There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop, Swears He’s Elvis

Fairytale Of New York

England 2, Columbia 0

Still Life

LYRIC: Fifteen Minutes (from the album “Kite”)

Seven times in seven days
I've sat and wished my life away
I know the greyness comes and goes
But the sun don't shine
And the snow don't snow

There's Suzy-Ann with her tits and curls
Where mediocrity excels
For those vicious boys and their boring girls
You know it makes me sick but it's a bozo's world

Then there's always the cash
Selling yourself for some trash
Smiling at people that you cannot stand
You're in demand
Your fifteen minutes start now

City banker looks are in
The heartless heart, the chinless chin
And you'd spill your beans for just a pint of gin
How you got so holy
And became so thin

In Sunday papers every week
The silly words you love to speak
The tacky photos and the phoney smiles
Well it's a bozo's world
And you're a bozo's child

Then there's always the cash
Selling yourself for some trash
Smiling at people that you cannot stand
You're in demand
Your fifteen minutes start now

Then there's always the fame!
Autographs now and again
People who saw you on Blankety Blank
Or in the bank
Your fifteen minutes start now


roxy said...

i like her lyrics :)
re: your question - it's not a cheeky question ... (did you really want to know the answer or is there an ironic joke in here I didn't get???) but I am naive so I will answer anyway, ha ha. I did get two writer copies of my books, but the rest of the contract was a bit complex. drop me a line thru my website if you'd like more detail, as it is very lengthy :)

Argent said...

She was indeed a truly unique talent. Fairytale of New York is the ONLY Christmas song that does not piss me off (OK, I like Slade too).

roxy said...

exciting .........!

pohanginapete said...

I heard her on a TV show when I was briefly in Glasgow in the early '90s. I have Kite and Titanic Days, but haven't listened to them for a while. Thanks for reminding me.

A sad loss.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Roxy - thanks for all your comments and your help :)

Argent - i do actually quite like Slade's effort, but it gets far too much airplay

Pete - yay! someone else who has some of her work. Glad you enjoyed :)

Lydia said...

Never heard of her, and never heard any of these songs. I'm quite captivated by these videos (your guitar-playing included) and think her passing sounds like an awful tragedy.
I love Fairytale of New York. Where's that song been all my life?!

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Lydia - it is great, isn't it!

the watercats said...

Great post Pixie! She is such an inspiration! She encompasses all that is good about music, a bit of humanity, humbleness, and genuine talent. I watched a documentary last year about the ongoing battle her family is going through in order to get justice for her untimely death. The guy was driving the boat in a designated divers area... guess what, he's never been charged because he's high up in the local government or business or something.. Kirsty's eldest son is another fantastic human on the planet judging by his interview on the programme... :-)