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How do these lyrics by an old favourite 80's singer of mine fare in the 21st century

(17 Posts)
booklooker Tue 26-Apr-16 15:52:53

I found myself listening to New Boots and Panties this week. I have always thought of Ian Dury as a bit of a gem.

But listening to 'If I was with a Woman' again rather took me aback.

I understand that many MNers may never have heard of him, let alone be familiar with the song So here are most of the lyrics (but not all; there are quite a few verses) Please make sure to read the last verse

If I was with a woman, she'd wonder what was happening
Little things would slowly go askew
If I was with a woman, I'd make her quite unhappy
Specially when she did not want me to

If I was with a woman, I'd never ask her questions
But if she did not want me to, I would
If I was with a woman, I'd offer my indifference
And make quite sure she never understood

If I was with a woman, I'd threaten to unload her
Every time she asked me to explain
If I was with a woman, she'd have to learn to cherish
The purity and depth of my disdain

I've been with a woman, she took away my spirit
No woman's coming close to me again
I've been with a woman, she took away my spirit
No woman's coming close to me again

I'd like to know what MNers think. Is it horribly mysogynist, or is it about a horrible mysogynist.

VestalVirgin Tue 26-Apr-16 16:36:12

Without knowing anything about the singer, I'd go with horribly misogynist.

Speaking from a point of view you don't agree with is highly risky, and usually only done if the things you say are clearly satire, like "A Modest Proposal", that sort of thing.

Misogyny being as widespread and accepted as it is, no man aware of the problem would write such a songtext as criticism, as he would quite rightly assume that misogynists would love the song because they see nothing wrong with the behaviour described in it.

PalmerViolet Tue 26-Apr-16 16:48:30

I never thought of Ian Dury as a misogynist himself, he was always perfectly reasonable when I was there, he might have been a proper wanker when I wasn't though <shrug>

However, those lyrics are misogynist. Punk/New Wave was a deeply misogynist genre.

So, I don't really know what to say to you, sorry.


lorelei9here Tue 26-Apr-16 17:29:36

a google shows this - is this a character of his? I don't know anything about Dury.

Dury was funny when he wanted to be, but his lyrics also explored the darker side of life. If I was with a woman is a disturbing account of predatory sexual obsession (“I'd make believe I loved her, but all the time I would not like her much”), the scabrous picture in his character Billericay Dickie's attic.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Tue 26-Apr-16 17:39:09

Is Billericay Dickie the song which had the line about "Janet from Thanet who looked just like a gannet whose father helped me plan it" ?

Hassled Tue 26-Apr-16 17:46:07

Billericay Dickie is a classic - and yes, Janet from Thanet featured.

Re If I was With A Woman - yes, misogynist, but isn't that the point? He's playing a role - it's a character. Eminem said something about this once (I don't mean about this song) - that he plays a role, that Slim Shady or whoever isn't him. That's what I think Dury was doing.

cadno Tue 26-Apr-16 17:48:24

And another something about...'while you're sleeping is lovely, but wide awake is best' - forget which song that's from.

DoreenLethal Tue 26-Apr-16 17:50:58

Wake up - I was thinking about that the other day.

cadno Tue 26-Apr-16 17:55:11

That's the boy.

Youranus Tue 26-Apr-16 18:09:28

Horribly misogynistic. It assumes " A Woman " will be intellectually and emotionally inferior, easy to outwit. Is that how the original Woman made him feel about himself?

boldlygoingsomewhere Tue 26-Apr-16 18:15:20

It's so jarring to hear lyrics like that now. There was one in the 'Golden Oldies' slot on the Chris Evans show last week which had lyrics alone the lines of 'a wife should also be a lover or else don't be surprised if your husband goes astray!'. It mentioned not letting him see you unmade up and the dangers of lovely young women in the office of you didn't keep up with your grooming. shock

booklooker Tue 26-Apr-16 19:37:36

Hassled yes, misogynist, but isn't that the point? He's playing a role - it's a character

That's the way I'd like to think, in the same way an actor can portray a vile character, without actually being that vile at all.

I also think that 'Billericay Dickie' was meant to be ironic. He could be very funny with his lyrics.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Tue 26-Apr-16 21:14:59

And another something about...'while you're sleeping is lovely, but wide awake is best' - forget which song that's from

That line on its own in the song is ambiguous. What "is lovely" might mean sex or just being awake with an erection beside a woman he loves who is still asleep. The rest of the song is not at all ambiguous about the merits of enthusiastic, concensual sex.

Revengeoftheseabass Thu 28-Apr-16 00:46:51

Ian Dury was a great lyricist, but his lyrics could be pretty unpleasant sometimes.

That said, Billericay Dickie is definitely meant to be in character, and nails perfectly the kind of swaggering, dumb Essex lothario who's bafflingly attractive to women (depressingly, there's still loads of them around 40 years later). He also wrote Sueperman's Big Sister (sic), which is something of a paen to a feminist woman (and was reputedly inspired by Vanessa Redgrave).

boldlygoingsomewhere, I'm guessing the song you're referring to is Jack Jones's toe-curlingly awful Wives & Lovers!

MargotLovedTom Thu 28-Apr-16 00:54:33

Wives and Lovers is so anachronistic that it's quite hilarious.

I don't know much of ID apart from Hit Me... and Sex and Drugs.... but the final verse sounds like (from the point of view of) a bitter, fucked up man who lost a woman he loved and who will now stew over it for all eternity.

MargotLovedTom Thu 28-Apr-16 00:57:51

It's Bacharach and David and is actually a really good easy-listening song if you ignore the corker lyrics:

"Wives And Lovers"

Hey, little girl, comb your hair, fix your make-up, soon he will open the door,
Don't think because there's a ring on your finger, you needn't try any more.
For wives should always be lovers too,
Run to his arms the moment that he comes home to you.
I'm warning you,
Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men,
Don't stand him up, with your hair still in curlers, you may not see him again.
Wives should always be lovers too,
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you.
He's almost here, hey, little girl, better wear something pretty,
Something you wear to go to the city,
Dim all the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love.
Time to get ready for love, yes it's time to get ready for love,
It's time to get ready, kick your shoes off, baby....,

pelvicallyfloored Thu 28-Apr-16 12:48:52

I always thought of Ian Dury singing "If I was with a woman" in the character of a bitter misogynist rather than because he actually was a bitter misogynist. In the way that Thom Yorke comes across as a man unhinged on "Creep".

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