Pop Song Dissection – Sheila – Jamie T


Sheila Goes Out With Her Mate Stella,
It Gets Poured All Over Her Fella,
Cos Shes Says, Man He Aint No Better
Than The Next Man Kicking Up Fuss
Drunk, She Stumbles Down By A River
Screams Calling London, (london)
None Of Us Heard Her Coming,
I Guess The Carpet Weren't Rolled Out
(oh When My Love, My Darling,
You've Left Me Here Alone,
I'll Walk The Streets Of London
Which Once Seemed All Our Own.
The Vast Suburban Churches
Together We Have Found:
The Ones Which Smelt Of Gaslight
The Ones In Incense Drown'd)

Her Lingo Went From The cockney To The gringo
Any Time She Sing A Song, The Other Girls Sing Along
And Tell All The Fellas That That Lady Is Single
A Fickle Way To Tickle On My Young Mans Ting
Shes Up For Doing What She Like Any Day More Like The Night
She Ground Drunk The Sorrows That She Stolebroughtborrowed
She Didnt Like Fights, But At The Same Time Understood That
Fellas Will Be Fellas Till The End Of Time
(heavens, What A Noise, 
Blue Blooded Murder Of The English Tongue-blah)
Jack Had A Gang That He Called 'the Many Grams',
He Was Known As Smack Jack The Cracker Man
In Life He Was Dealt Some shit Hands
But The Boys Got The Back Now
And Jay Went The Same Way As Mickey And Dan
Dependant Mans Upon The Heroin
And Man Lisa Had A Baby With Sam,
And Now Jack On His Own Man,
Well Done Jack, Glug Down That Cider,
You're Right Shes A Slut And You Never Fucking Liked Her
Not Like What He Stopped So Shocked
Cos It Turns Out The Last Dance Killed The Pied Piper
Tough Little Big Man, Friends With Your Daughters,
Only Cos They Drive Him To Pick Up All His Quarters
Crawler, Lager Lout Brawlers
Fall To The Floor, Think They're Free
But They Ain't Near The Border
Too Young, Gunned Down, Are By Your Hill Flag Corner
Always Did A Favor, But Never Took A Order
Behave Young Skally-wag,
A Fine Young Galahad
Glad Ragged Up But Only Ever Getting Fag Hags
Hung On His Shoulder; Cheap Price Shop Tag
Slag Better Understand
He Came For The Glamour
But This Town's Original
Superficial The Issue
For One Dear Jack, 35 Dopplegangers.
Sheila Goes Out With Her Mate Stella,
It Gets Poured All Over Her Fella,
Cos Shes Says, Man He Aint No Better
Than The Next Man Kicking Up Fuss
Drunk, She Stumbles Down By A River
Screams Calling London,
None Of Us Heard Her Coming,
I Guess The Carpet Weren't Rolled Out
(its Over Man, It's Over) (london)
So This Is A Short Story Bout The Girl Georgina,
Never Seen A Worse, Clean Young Mess
Under Stress At Best, But She Pleased To See Ya,
With Love, God Bless, We Lay Her Body To Rest,
Now It All Dear Started With daddy's Alcoholic
Light Weights Coming Down, Numbing His Brain,
And The Doctor Said
He Couldn't The Heart Dear Started
Now Beat Up, Drugged Up
She Feelin The Strain
She Says, In A Rut
What The Fuck I'm Spose To Do
Suck It Up, Start Stop, Keep Running Through
True, But You Aint Easy To Do
She Been Buckle Belt Beaten
From The Back, Like A Brat
Dunno Where She Going
But She Know Where She At
So Georgey, It's Time To Chain React
But The Truth Is You Know
She Probably Fought Back
Tears Streamed Down Her Face
She Screamed Away
When I Fall, No One Catch Me
Alone Lonely, Ill Overdose Slowly
Get Scared, Ill Scream And Shout
But You Know It Wont Matter
She'll Be Passing Out
I Say Giggidibidiup Just Another Day
Another Sad Story, Thats Tragedy,
Paramedic announced Death At 10.30
Rip It Up Kick It To Spit Up The Views
Sheila Goes Out With Her Mate Stella,
It Gets Poured All Over Her Fella,
Cos Shes Says, Man He Aint No Better
Than The Next Man Kicking Up Fuss
Drunk, She Stumbles Down By A River
Screams Calling London,
None Of Us Heard Her Coming,
I Guess The Carpet Weren't Rolled
Sheila Goes Out With Her Mate Stella,
It Gets Poured All Over Her Fella,
Cos Shes Says, Man He Aint No Better
Than The Next Man Kicking Up Fuss
Drunk, She Stumbles Down By A River
Screams Calling London, (london)
None Of Us Heard Her Coming,
I Guess The Carpet Weren't Rolled Out

I have to admit that I liked this song but did not even think about the lyrics until I saw the video.  I think the basic themes of this are the “Great and Secret Show” that is going on all around us.  The everyday tragedies that you hear about in passing or read in the papers and the stories behind them that you never get to know.  I also think this is about the discrepancy between the idealized London and the reality of its lower-class inhabitants.  It is obviously about addiction and it’s ties to the poor.

The main refrain is about Sheila who goes out with Stella (Stella Artois – the beer) which she dumps on her boyfriend as he is breaking up with her.  She stumbles to the river and either accidentally drowned or killed herself.  She screams “London!” as she is going down, as if she blames the city itself for all the misfortunes that befell her there.  I’m a little perplexed by the last 2 lines of the refrain but believe “…the carpet weren’t rolled out” refers to the red carpet rolled out for royalty amidst fanfare.  While their every movement is heralded and their feet walk on red velvet, Sheila dies with no witnesses and no one knowing her name… Londonjust another poor commoner gone.

The use of the poem “The Cockney Amorist” by John Bentjemen is a lament on Sheila’s passing and how the places they went in London will remind him of her.  I think it is also a way of stating the wide gap between the experience of rich and poor people in that city, between the lower-class, cockney-speaking English and the ‘proper’ English.  In the poem, Bentjemen is listing places like churches and tea houses that will remind him of his love.  These are obviously places the people in these lyrics would not be going.  The “heavens what a noise….” part reiterates that difference between Cockney and “proper” English speech and behavior.

We are introduced to a cast of tragic characters here besides the alcoholic and troubled Sheila.  Jack becomes a heroin dealer to make up for a bad childhood.  Sam, who I believe was one of Jack’s customers, takes off with Jack’s girlfriend and gets her pregnant.  Either Sam or Jack’s ex, Lisa, ends up dying from a heroin overdose.  Sam got into the life for the glamor of it but ends up being driven around by his daughters to buy dope, fighting in bars, bedding only ugly girls, etc.  He wants to be original and ends up being like all the other gang-member wannabes.  He is gunned down and killed.  Georgina is abused all her life.  When her abusive father dies of alcoholism, she finds herself unfit or unable to deal with life and kills herself with an overdose out of despair.

Such a happy sounding song for such tales.  The people in this tale mostly suffer at the hands of poverty and eventually for what they do to deal with being brought up poor.  Dealing drugs, addiction/alcoholism, suicide, etc.  Sheila was probably the most capable out of all these people in that she could fake not being lower-class (“Her lingo went from the cockney to the gringo”).  Despite this, end the end she succumbed to “death by misadventure” due to drunkenness and her roots took her down despite higher ambitions.

Most of this is my interpretation and how I envision things.  Some of it is from the song’s Wikipedia page – the Jamie T Sheila Wikipedia page

Advertisements

2 comments on “Pop Song Dissection – Sheila – Jamie T

  1. Reminds me of “The Bridge of Sighs” by Thomas Hood.

Whacha wanna say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s