Is it J. Swallo, J. Swallow, or Johnny Swallow? An actual person, a nickname, I don’t know and I don’t think I’ve read anywhere about it either. One of those mysteries of time and space, the song of the same title (J. Swallow seems to be most common) appears to have received a bit of a cult history, I think based largely on the weirdness of the name. It isn’t that much to listen to, not very good music and not very interesting lyrics. It was a b side to the Fire single, and it deserves to be a b side, at the very most. I think the band was just messing around (Edge is quoted as saying it was a studio experiment), and needed a b side in a hurry and pulled this out and said it’ll do. And in that day it would do, those were the days when they were a small band, not expected to be showing too much, and not needing b sides to be as good as the a sides.
I don’t get the lyrics at all. Who is the perspective from? Who is Johnny? Who is Paul (if not Bono, and if not, why Paul)? This is definitely an undeveloped song, the music is an experiment and the lyrics are nothing. I can’t tell what each of the band members is doing, Bono sounds muffled, like he is off doing something else and the microphone happens to be nearby. And the rest of them, just noodling around with their instruments, wondering what’s going on.
I listened to Belfast 1 on Mixlr this afternoon, and I think I missed a few bits, but I was expecting quite a bit more about France. It just seemed to blend in a little, into the regular show. There was some obligatory stuff about Belfast, but little about France, at least what I heard. I saw photos from the show later and they did a few bits here and there, some changes of lights and graphics to show the French flag, and that Eiffel Tower peace sign, but I didn’t get too much else from it. In fact I was surprised how little there was about Belfast, given the Irish connection. A couple of comments at the start, a line or two about how Belfast and Dublin went through similar things back in the day, and that was about it that I recall.
I have to say something struck me about the show, or more specifically about the Mixlr.. Now, normally I wouldn’t comment but this was so obvious. I didn’t comment on the woman a few months ago who I could hear on a Mixlr, singing so off-key and loud it was distracting. Normally the crowd disappears into the background, you rarely get interrupted by them, pulled out of the show. Today there were several times during the show (usually during breaks) where you could clearly hear people talking, and frankly they were being pretty rude and insulting. There was one clear and distinct moment where a guy was saying rude stuff about Bono, and my immediate thought was that if you don’t like him, why did you get a ticket? Then later there were several people talking and being rude. I have to stereotype a little here and say that I think this is a British thing, that my experience of British folk online especially is that they can be quite rude and foulmouthed, and it is not very becoming. Just my opinion, and I should say that there are many Brits that I know and like.
My rating for J. Swallow: 1 / 10