Saturday, 11 July 2009

1986 Spitting Image: The Chicken Song

Ever since the mid-seventies and the arrival of low cost package deals to the Costa Cheap, holiday makers have sought to extend their two weeks in the sun just that little bit longer by buying up a piece of memory in the form of whatever ghastly Euro hit soundtracked their times in the bars and clubs. Hence, the domestic charts are treated to such treats as 'Y Viva Espana' and 'Barbados' throughout the summer months where they linger like a bad smell until autumn opens a drafty door to let them out. In other words, a genre ripe for parody.

In the right hands, parody can be a devastating tool. There is a fine art to taking a scenario, object or individual and then skewing it to exaggerate the humour yet retain enough of the original so as to not lose sight of it. In the context of eighties music in general, the Not The Nine O'clock News team made great sport of the dreary, synth based, image obsessed groups that were clogging up the charts in 'Nice Video, Shame About The Song'. In terms of cheap holidays in the sun, Blur did a similarly fine job with their 'Boys And Girls', though they used a razor so sharp you didn't feel it cut. As I say, in the right hands.

With 'The Chicken Song', the Spitting Image team obviously have Black Lace's 'Agadoo' in their sights. A horrible, holiday song to be sure, but instead of climbing inside the genre and ripping it apart from the inside out, all they've done is lazily produce a song that is even more irritating than its source material. And it's more irritating because there is literally no reason for its existence.

It is not in the slightest bit funny and it singly fails in what it sets out to do - rather than put Black Lace et al in their place, it merely falls in alongside them in the ranks of the annoying so as to be indistinguishable from the 'genuine' article. Perhaps even more annoying because at least Black Lace never got to number one and never held themselves up as being any arbiter of good taste.

Yes, I know there are those who will argue that I'm missing the point and that it's meant to be annoying. But if that really is the point of 'The Chicken Song' then its about as pointless and humorless as starting a drip in the kitchen cold water tap when you're already being driven up the wall by the drip in the hot. But see, I don't think that's what the people behind this had in mind at all:

"It's the time of year, now that spring is in the air

When those two wet gits, with their girly curly hair
Make another song, for moronic holidays
that nauseate-ate-ates in a million different ways"

Well they can make that a million and one different ways now, and the biggest morons here are the morons behind this who, in trying to hold themselves up as being better than the subject they are parodying, show themselves to be no different and arguably a damn sight worse.

I don't think 'The Chicken Song' is the worst number one of all time, but by god it's top five and it's only saving grace is that it provides a good pub quiz question in 'Apart from 'Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick', what other UK number one namechecks the Arapaho Indians'? But I'm looking hard now to find any kind of silver lining to this sorry affair.

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