Song writers are often lauded for their story teller abilities. Springsteen, Dylan, Mitchell they can all tell a tale with their ditties.
For a brief moment around the millennium Ciarán McFeely, AKA Simple Kid was vying for a place on that list.
Supertramps and Superstars from his simply titled debut album SK1 (no prizes for guessing what the second album was called) is a prime slice of life story made song.
“Penelope Prozac, a 70’s throw back and king of the Camden queens, dressed to the nines yeah, she’ll always remind ya, that she shagged the Ramones in her teens”
McFeely stands on a white background on the album cover in stone washed numetal baggy millennial jeans, trucker cap and long sleeve T with a big number 1 on his chest. His pen name written in the corner in either lipstick or red crayon. This album reeks of the 21st century’s indie infancy. But the era it captures reminds me of another situation in historical baton passing.
“Celina Saliva with eyes like a tiger but most of the stripes long gone, glassed in mascara like Abel Ferrara she knows she belongs in a song”
When I was a Kid I was a Cub Scout. I’m also a Scorpio. One year Remembrance Sunday fell on my birthday. I was a bit put out that I’d be expected to march and do stuff on the morning of my birthday when all I wanted to do was see if I got an X-Wing Fighter (with battle damage) for a present (I had dropped a significant amount of hints, and fancied my chances).
My Dad took me aside and explained Remembrance Sunday and the fact that the old men with the medals there, had in fact been part of the ‘Greatest Generation’ that secured the freedoms I was currently enjoying. He also pointed out the special position I was in as a young boy in the 1980’s, that these people were still around. My Generation would be the last generation to meet ‘The Fighting Tommy’s’ of both World War I and II and talk to them, thank them and honour them face to face.
He didn’t often talk serious my Dad. So when did something like this, you listened.
It pissed down that Sunday. Yet, I stood proud to bear the flag for our Scout hut in the freezing rain while these aged giants among us remembered their comrades. The pep talk from the old man had changed my outlook on history from here on. I was honoured to be there. I was standing with heroes, Who saw and did the things I could only read about and see in the movies. And if they hadn’t have done those things… Well.
Now Celina and Penelope are hardly Harry Patch (look him up if you don’t know the name) but they were in the trenches of the punk wars. Times change, that stuff gets less vivid, less relevant. And if you spend 30 years hanging about in a bar, it’s less likely you’re going to get to spend 40 of them doing the same.
“Charlie’s a changeling, a changeling that’s aging but no-one tells Charlie why, Jackie Onassis she knows where your ass is she’s so introverted and shy, But back to the Prozac, Penelope knows that the world is a passer by, so caning discreetly she’ll tell you so sweetly, she’s dressed up with nowhere to cry”
And so, in tribute, to those who were there, Simple Kid captures the barfly’s of the Barfly (“Don’t look for it, it’s not there anymore”) around 2003. I can’t imagine 35 years from now someone will be propping up the bar in Dingwalls telling tales of the night they partied with Foals, Hot Chip or Imagine Dragons (Camden is evolving now).
So for The Penelope’s, The Jackie’s, The Charlie’s and the Celina’s who I spent my youth asking ‘You really met Hendrix? What was he like in person?’, or ‘How tall was Joey Ramone?, or ‘Does Lemmy still come in here sometimes?’, this song is SK’s tribute (and these paragraphs are mine).
We shall never see their like again. Age hath withered them.
“Ooohoo, well I just don’t know who they are, lonely supertramps or superstars”