Oh its hard this, doing a post every day. I was very busy yesterday so this will be the first of two posts today. On Wednesday I mentioned that the alternative lyrics “you’re cheap and you’re haggard” were made up on the spur of the moment by McColl in the moments before going on stage at the BBC for top of the pops. I mentioned there was a better alternative, and its this one.
Now, ignore the words on the screen, they are the original lyrics. But listen to to what Ed Sheeran and Ann-Marie sing. The improved alternative lyric is “you cheap lousy blaggard.” This is closer to the spirit of the original lyric. A blaggard (or blaggart) is a derivation of blackguard, a man who behaves in a dishonourable or contemptible way. Indeed I think it might be a more fitting insult for Shane’s character in the original song, and I wish, wish, wish that Kirsty McColl had thought of it in those BBC studios. It would have been a far better alternative.
I am not a fan of Sheeran and Anne-Marie’s rendition of the song though. Its not one I listen to at all. And only on listening this time around to I see that “slut” is replaced by “gal” and in “you’re an old gal on junk” (Really? REALLY? oh Sheeran! You give with one hand and take away with the other.) And even worse, “Merry Christmas my arse” is replaced with a garbled “Merry Christmas your mother”!
“Merry Christmas your mother”? What does that even mean?! What exactly is wrong with arse!? And how does insulting my mother make it any less misogynistic?
I note this interest that on the lyrics, the ones on this video, this is the only change that is reflected in the lyrics. Whoever typed those out was OK (or even rebelliously reactionary, I don’t know) with “slut” and “faggot” but the line when “arse” was mentioned.