Down on the Bowery: A Fairytale of New York

Down on the Bowery: A Fairytale of New York

The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl: Fairy Tale of New York

Some people feel that The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York is the best Christmas song ever, and not just one of the best, but a gorgeous song no matter why or how you observe Christmas. Fairytale of New York isn’t exactly the epitome of restraint, with Shane MacGowan and the sadly departed Kirsty MacColl singing all over each other, slurring words and tossing all kinds of insults at each other.

The song starts out tenderly, with MacGowan recounting Christmas Eve spent in a Bowery drunk tank, but also his recent gambling win and dreams for the future. MacColl lets us know, as the tempo picks up, that they met on a Christmas Eve, and after some light banter they really get into it, blaming each other for anything they can get their hands on, MacColl ending with “Happy Christmas your arse / I pray God it’s our last.

But then they sing the chorus again, and a string section that actually sounds like it belongs in a Christmas song begins to take over. And it all feels, in spite of itself, grand and sweeping and even a little touching. They squabble a little more, the same as every Christmas, but they’re losing steam; finally MacColl accuses MacGowan of stealing her dreams when they met. This is a terribly poetic way to depict the deadening of expectations in terrible lives. But MacGowan’s voice turns gentle, even though it’s still rough, and he responds: “I kept them with me babe, I put them with my own, Can’t make it all alone, I’ve built my dreams around you.”

It’s a tough old life, and Fairytale of New York practically oozes with the gritty spirit of urban decay, poverty, alcoholism and general dysfunction. But as the sounds of those strings float off and out of sight, it doesn’t seem to matter. Not to them and not to us, because it’s the day to sigh and give in to our better inclinations and hold each other and admit there’s still something there. Christmas is the arbitrary day of the year that purely through willpower and tradition we’ve turned into the day where we all try just a little bit harder at being better than we thought we could be.

The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl: Fairy Tale of New York

Slide Show: Down on the Bowery

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James Franco’s Sexed-Up Short Film: Walking After Midnight

James Franco’s Sexed-Up Short Film: Walking After Midnight

Walking After Midnight is a dynamic new fashion film directed by James Franco for shoe label Stuart Weitzman, which is being presented in a series of four episodes. This first episode stars model Petra Nemcova, who wears white Swarovski crystal-studded pumps and very little else.

Franco’s storyline for the film was inspired by the 1989 film Mondo New York, which followed a young woman as she encountered bizarre characters in seedy places around the city. Franco’s version is obviously more upscale and aspirational, with Nemcova taking long nighttime walks through Manhattan hot spots like Le Baron, Peels Restaurant, The Hole art gallery and Freeman’s Alley. The soundtrack is Girl in a Coma’s rendition of Patsy Cline’s Walking After Midnight.

The next three episodes will be released on consecutive “Weitzman Wednesdays” throughout October.

James Franco’s Sexed-Up Short Film: Walking After Midnight (Episode 1)

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