Here come the Gards, so put yer half ounce up yer arse
At long long last, SSY’s favourite comedy hip hop outfit The Rubberbandits are getting the recognition beyond their Limerick empire that they deserve. Their single Horse Outside looks set to beat boring X Factor winner Lazy Decorator to the Irish Christmas number 1 spot. They’ve earned the support of Fianna Fail politician and erstwhile hash dealer Willie O’Dea, Minister for Gee. They are no doubt knee deep in fanny as we speak.
But you don’t reach great heights without making a few enemies. Not everyone in Ireland has fallen in love with the charm and wit of the Bandits when they croon that they’d quite like to invite a hot bridesmaid back to a hotel for a finger and a shift.
The Bandits have found themselves subject to *crucial investigative journalism* determined to unmask these plastic bag-wearing, yoke-dropping foes. Irish papers have revealed their names, former schools, and the streets that they grew up on. The Daily Mail even printed pictures of Mr Chrome and Blindboy Boat Club’s lovely faces which you can click through to if you must, defeating the point of the comedy disguises and attempting to ruin a bit of the oul Bandits magic.
In an astounding feat of missing the point, the media have insisted on playing out a false dichotomy argument over whether the Bandits are too middle class to be rapping about drugs n horses, or if they are in fact glorifying the madcap drug-taking n horse-riding based lives of Limerick’s working classes.
Joe Duffy’s Liveline hosted a radio debate on the subject, which got off to a cracking start when Duffy asked Blindboy Boat Club if he could “talk properly” – apparently Limerick accents don’t make good radio copy. Willie O’Dea was on hand to defend what is after all a piece of comedy and should be treated as such. What ensued was an argument where Blindboy proved himself to be someone who is clever and thoughtful and clearly takes genuine pride in creating art. ‘Antony’, the naysayer, proved himself to be a bit of an idiot, with exchanges such as:
Antony: What’s coming out of that video is the usage and promotion of drugs. It’s a joke!
Blindboy: It is a joke, yeah! You’ve hit the nail on the head there, kid
Blindboy carefully explains that, just like Father Ted repackaged the false images of ‘thick Irish people’ that Brits had in the 90s and sold it back to Britain in the form of comedy, the Bandits’ songs and live shows where they talk about Limerick youth culture and subculture are not promoting a bad image of Limerick like is being claimed, but rather are lampooning the image of Limerick presented in the Irish media. But the point isn’t even that. They’re not doing what they do with the set goal of specific social commentary. They’re creating their art based on what they experience and what strikes them as funny and what they want to create, and as artists it’s their absolute right to define what they do on their own terms. You can’t take a piece of art or a joke or a song in isolation and apply your own meaning to it and then go ranting about how immoral it is. The rules of acceptableness that are placed on society are fucking arbitrary pish, so we love the Rubberbandits for defending themselves in a good natured way against daft conservative humourless wankers.
Here in the Scottish Socialist Youth we’ve taken some amount of pelters in the past for our pish-taking attitude towards serious issues. Take for example our treatment of the serious matter of former Glasgow City Council leader Steven Purcell’s “chemical dependency” and corruption. It’s how we choose to get our message across, because a) sometimes if you don’t laugh you’d cry, and b) we are ordinary young people who are able to see the funny side of things and we shouldn’t fucking have to apologise for that. We’ve also been criticised for not following the conventional rules of behaviour, such as being outspoken with our views on drugs (which shamefully seem to chime with scientific advice, but not government policy) – that harmful drugs like heroin should be provided safely to addicts on prescription, while recreational drugs should be decriminalised and perhaps even enjoyed from time to time. Crack open a bag o yokes and pass us a big fat J – we’re OUT OF CONTROL! Our former MSP Rosie Kane got pelters too for wearing jeans to the opening of Parliament in 2003 – it’s this fucking snobby attitude that you have to respect these ridiculous ‘rules’ invented by rich white guys to keep order or you can’t be sincere in your message. Basically, we understand where the Bandits are coming from and we respect their right to make all the satirical music they want.
Not for the first time, Blindboy has been forced to explain the concepts of ‘the unreliable narrator‘, ‘self-mocking’ and ‘having a sense of humour’ to po-faced kneejerk critics. When they put out their hilarious satire on armchair Republicanism, Up Da Ra, they were forced to defend themselves against accusations that they were disrespecting the memory of those who died for Irish freedom. It’s just balls.
At one point in the debate there’s a funny exchange where someone texts in to highlight the line in Horse Outside where Mr Chrome sings “I don’t pay no tax, fuck NCT”, with Willie O’Dea saying that they probably don’t earn enough to pay tax. Blindboy replies “that’s true!” It probably is true yunno, but there’s a spectacular sense of humour failure if you can’t understand that YOU’RE NOT REQUIRED TO PAY CAR TAX ON HORSES.
You can hear the full debate here:
This incredibly stupid argument on the virtues or otherwise of the Rubberbandits in the Irish Herald states that the “so-called band, the members of which remain unidentified but seem to get a kick out of dressing up like sinister masked Provos from the 1970s, extolling the virtues of drugs and the former Minister for Defence,” are basically evil. Lololololol, I don’t think I ever saw a picture of a man with an inside-out Spar bag on his head on TV accompanying an actor’s voice representing Gerry Adams, but maybe I’m mistaken and Martin McGuinness actually struck a six figure fashion advertising deal with Spar throughout the Troubles. The author, Sinead Ryan, is a prize chumpo who attempts to argue that artists aren’t allowed to define their own art, and that because the song wasn’t allowed on the radio unless they changed the word “fuck” to “suck” throughout that this means they are sell-outs who can’t call themselves artists. As Blindboy said “I’m an artist, but I looooove money, like Andy Warhol”. Clearly, Sinead Ryan has never had to worry about money, or wanted her work to reach a wider audience, or seen the comedy value in taking the fucking piss right out of the established channels of promoting pish identikit music. Sinead, chill the fuck out. It’s SATIRE. If you don’t like the “sinister” Bandits, fuck off and listen to Daniel O’Donnell.
Anyone who can seriously watch a funny song – about using your ownership of a horse advantageously to get yer hole – shoot up the charts and denounce all its fans as impressionable idiots who are incapable of understanding irony really doesn’t deserve a media platform for their shite views. The Rubberbandits are truly something special. They are intelligent, danceable, singalong-friendly and most importantly, fucking funny. They’re welcome to play to an SSY-filled audience in Glasgow any time, chalk it down.
And here’s the offending video:
Merry Christmas. HASH4LIFE
New Bandits tune “Eamon De Valera Double Dropping Yokes”
It’s good that Willie O’Dea can take a feckin joke, saying to a radio host: “I can laugh at myself. I was? remorsefully lampooned by them and I didn’t ring you. They portray me selling hash and swearing on my tash that it’s decent hash”
That’s Limerick Citaaaaaaayyy – Fuck you Steven Forward!