This might develop into an occasional series or I might just do this one and move on.

Some songs, as the title of the posting indicates, are great short stories. Such lyrics are always crystal-clear and open to only one interpretation. This, which can be found on the debut LP by Arab Strap, is one of my all-time favourites of the genre:-

mp3 : Arab Strap – I Work In A Saloon

I work in a saloon, pulling shit pints for shit wages
It’s a busy night tonight
And the bar is full of all the girls I’ve ever shagged, or tampered with, or kissed, or even just fancied

A pub full of conquests, knockbacks
Between the laughter I can hear my name

And then, through the gap between the swing doors and the floor, I see your feet
You push open the doors and walk in
And as always all heads turn
And the room becomes silent, except for the sound of your DMs scuffing on the floor

You stroll through the jealous gaze straight to the bar, smile, and ask me for some exotic cocktail
But I don’t know how to make it
So you just shrug, smile again, turnaround and leave

And I pull another pint

Here’s a souped-up version, as played by the full band at their first ever gig at King Tut’s in Glasgow on 15 October 1996 and as captured by a BBC outside broadcast and made available as part of the Scenes Of A Sexual Nature box set:-

mp3 : Arab Strap – I Work In A Saloon (live)

Aidan Moffat. The 20th/21st century national bard of Scotland.



  1. This song by Brakes does the same all in 1 minute and 30 seconds – and what a wonderfult 1 minute and 30 seconds they are… Their first album really is great – this isn’t even the shortest song on it either!

    The most fun that I ever had
    Was the night the gypsies came to town
    Lit up these streets like they’ve never seen
    and have not seen since

    Up to that point we were country boys
    Snorting speed and surfing cars
    Chasing girls and bailing hay
    And smashing up our lives

    They put up a tent in the pasture fields
    And Invited everybody round

    I spent two long days and three whole nights
    Losing my mind to all that’s right
    I spent three long nights and two whole days
    Losing my mind on a MDMA
    It was

    After that everything changed

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