Monday, November 5, 2007

"You Can Get Anything You Want..."

So as I was doing that last post I was thinking of including a line that read something like " and if I had known I would be gone that long I would have left you with a more substantial Stuck In My Head Song of The Day than 'Limp.' I would have given you something more meaty like Alice's Restaurant" and so I was thinking about linking to a video of Arlo Guthrie* performing the song. But then I realized I could make that a fuller post than a one line insert and so that's how this is coming about.
I think the only time I've ever heard the song was during freshmen year in one of my friend's dorm room, that I think when I looked back upon it I was such a third wheel. I don't think it's a song I can listen to often- I don't have an 18 minute attention span, but after being inspired I must say I really enjoyed it (especially the Kill! Kill! Kill! part)

From wikipedia:

Guthrie's talk-song, a satirical, deadpan protest against the Vietnam War draft and widespread anti-hippie prejudice, recounts a true but comically exaggerated Thanksgiving adventure. "Alice" was restaurant-owner Alice M. Brock, who in 1964, using $2,000 supplied by her mother, bought a deconsecrated church in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, where Alice and her husband Ray would live. It was here rather than at the restaurant, which came later, where the song's Thanksgiving dinners were actually held.

On that Thanksgiving, November 25, 1965, the 18-year-old Guthrie and his friend Richard Robbins, 19, were hauled into jail for illegally dumping some of Alice's garbage after discovering that the dump was closed for the holiday. Two days later they pleaded guilty in court before a blind judge, James E. Hannon; the song describes to ironic effect the arresting officer's frustration at the judge being unable to see the "27 8-by-10 color glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us". In the end, Guthrie and Robbins were fined $50 and told to pick up their garbage. The song goes on to describe Guthrie's being called up for the draft, and the surreal bureaucracy at the New York City induction center on Whitehall Street. The punchline of the story's denouement is that because of Guthrie's criminal record for littering, he is first sent to the Group W Bench (where convicts wait) then outright rejected as unfit for military service.

The final part of the song is where Arlo tells the audience that should they find themselves facing the draft they should walk into the military psychiatrist's office and sing, "Shrink, You can get anything you want, at Alice's restaurant," and walk out. Thus is born, "the Alice's Restaurant Anti-Massacree Movement, and all you got to do to join is sing it the next time it comes around on the guitar.

Anyway here is a video of Arlo Guthrie performing Alice Restaurant's Massacree (and if you have a few hours here are the lyrics)

Alice's Restaurant from dzandone on Vimeo.
this may be a better angle but unfortunately "embedding is disabled"]
Arlo Guthrie- Alice's Restaurant Massacree (mp3) buy Alice's Restaurant
Arlo Guthrie - Alice's Restaurant - Alice's Restaurant Massacre

"And that's what it is , the Alice's Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement, and
all you got to do to join is sing it the next time it come's around on the
All right now.

You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Excepting Alice
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant"

*he kind of looks to me like Billy Connolly who I sometimes confuse with John Cleese.

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