Friday 24 October 2014

For the last time - it just ain’t country!

Published 17/07/2014 | 02:30

Kinky: Would rather be a dead Gram than a living Garth
Kinky: Would rather be a dead Gram than a living Garth

* Just when we think we're out, he drags us back in again.

Frankly, we’ve reached a stage of such terminal ennui with the whole Garreth Brooks saga (damn you Crusty Burke and your contagious mispronunciation of names) and we just want it to end. Please, lord, any lord, just make it stop.

I ventured into my prized trove of medieval demonology the other night, as you do, and they say the best way to get rid of a wraith would involve me going over to the man’s house, shovelling a load of garlic into his mouth and then burying him at the nearest crossroads.

Sadly, the Indo lawyers are too busy trying to keep out all the vicious libels I put into this column to come up with an insanity defence in the ritualistic murder and garlic-related defilement of a country singer. So that plan’s off the agenda. For now.

So it’s time to slay some dragons — to further mix my mythological metaphors — that exist closer to home.

For the purposes of clarity and any cops who might be reading this, I should probably point out that I don’t want to actually kill any of the players in this turgid, relentless, self-reinventing omnishambles. True, I could perhaps be persuaded to get involved in some mild GBH. But thanks to the increased feminisation of our society and the suffocating domination of Lefties and pinkos and pacifists, even that is now considered bad form. Some world, eh?

But if we can’t attack people, can we at least take a four-by-four to the kneecaps of the idea that  Brooks peddles ‘country’ music? It’s not country music, it’s culchie music. And that’s a big difference.

Country music is one of the most glorious genres we have.

It’s about short-lived joy and long-held despair, and a kind of flinty defiance that still holds the now unfashionable idea that it is better to die on your feet than live on your knees.

Country music is the likes of Willie Nelson, John Prine, Hank Williams, Lucinda Williams —world weary folk who have been around the block more than once and  have the scars to confirm it.

As for Garth?

Well, Kinky Friedman, a man who knows more than most about the doom-laden delights of real country, has often gone on the offensive against Brooks and his insipid, pop-lite and refers to him as “the anti-Hank Williams”. In fact, the Kinkster has gone on the record to point out that “nobody will sing Garth Brooks songs to their grandchildren”, while adding for good measure: “I’d rather be a dead Gram Parsons than a living Garth Brooks.”

And so we have a weekend replacement jamboree, called ‘City Goes Country’ to try to placate all the fans of this pop singer.

I have no problem (or interest) in Mr Brooks or his fans. But he is to country what One Direction are to The Monkees — pale and insipid and infuriatingly non-threatening.

But even if you’re put off ‘old’ country music because it’s portrayed as being little more than crackers singing about their dog running off with their woman, do yourself a big favour — check out new(ish) outfit The Wild Feathers, who come from Nashville via Austin.

Their album The Weight is a modern take on country that features a track called ‘The Ceiling’ — and it’s quite simply the best thing I’ve heard in the last two years. But please, stop sticking Brooks in the same category — it ain’t big, it ain’t clever and it sure as shucks ain’t country.

 

A Cabinet  for all?

* As the political classes get their spandex in a bunch — and all political correspondents wear spandex, it's one of the many weird foibles they share — about cabinet reshuffles, we've been hearing a lot about women and ‘inclusivity’ and, best of all, the importance of being ‘representative’.

Now, I say this is as someone who would be happy to see an all-female cabinet if they were the best people for the job, but how many smart people lose their reason when it comes to this issue?

I was particularly struck by some comments made on Sky News after the announcement of Cameron’s cabinet reshuffle that, yes, this would be more representative of the British people. As if that was auto-matically a good idea.

The only thing that ever should ever be ‘represen-tative’ is a focus group, and since when did politics become a mere ticking of demographic boxes?

Oh wait — it’s always been like that...

 

Don’t kiss  the bride?

* Weddings can be a fraught occasion and they have an unfortunate tendency to bring out the worst in people. Indeed, I once joked in these pages about how I would never forget my wedding night and, thanks to the use of Rohypnol, my wife would never remember hers. But while some humourless types took offence (despite the fact that Mrs iSpy had no problems with the gag), at least we’re both members of the same species.

That may not be much when it comes to a compatible match, but it’s more than the one enjoyed by the mayor of a Mexican village who has just married...a crocodile.

Joel Vasquez Rojas married his reptilian fiancée in a ceremony that stretches back centuries and the ceremony is part of his village’s tradition of puckering up to a croc in the hope of getting bigger fish from the sun gods. Or better sun from the fish gods. Well, it was something like that; frankly I lost interest halfway through.

But what did grab my attention was the way the initial report made several references to him “marrying the female crocodile”.  I know gay marriage is a hot button issue in conservative Mexico, but when you’re in the process of marrying a reptile, why would you both be making a big deal about its gender?

Was he worried people would think he was a weirdo if it emerged he was marrying a boy crocodile?

Maybe I’m just easily confused, but I would have thought that anyone who is getting hitched to a lizard would have more important issues than worrying people might think he was gay.

Although I do hear the reception went a bit wobbly when the bride’s sisters took exception to a handbag worn by one of the guests.

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