Today’s song is ‘Goody Two Shoes’. This song was by Adam Ant and was released on 7 May 1982. Following the dissolution of ‘Adam and the Ants’ in early 1982, Adam Ant pursued a solo career. His début as a solo artist, ‘Goody Two Shoes’ was written by Adam Ant and Marco Pirroni and was produced by Ant, Pirroni and Chris Hughes. The song details Ant's frustration with press intrusion, which was reinforced by the video and his clean-cut image.
The song was a hit, topping the ‘UK Singles Chart’ in June 1982 and later repeating the feat in Australia, where it topped the ‘Kent Musical Report’. Despite the success, this was his third and final Number 1 single. In the United States, the song was his first and biggest hit, peaking at number 12 on the ‘Billboard Hot 100’.
I was 39 years old when Adam Ant released this song. I had always been an avid reader and I particularly enjoyed reading books by the American cartoonist, author, humourist, journalist, playwright and celebrated wit, James Thurber. James Grover Thurber (1894-1961) wrote about the comic frustrations and eccentricities of ordinary people.
Thurber came from a family of eccentrics. Thurber described his mother as a ‘born comedian’ and ‘one of the finest comic talents I think I have ever known.’ He stated that she was a practical joker and, on one occasion, pretended to be crippled and attended a faith healer revival, only to jump up and proclaim herself healed. His father was a sporadically employed clerk and minor politician who dreamed of being a lawyer or an actor. He was undoubtedly a Walter Mitty character and I always held the view that he was in Thurber’s mind when he wrote his short story ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ which has twice been adapted for film in 1947 and again in 2013.
When Thurber was seven years old, he and one of his brothers were playing a game of William Tell, when his brother shot James in the eye with an arrow. He lost that eye, and the injury later caused him to become almost entirely blind. James Thurber was unable to participate in sports and other activities in his childhood because of this injury, but he developed a creative mind which he used to express himself in his writings.
About the time that Adam Ant’s record was released, I was reading one of James Thurber’s short stories. The story title escapes me, but it was about a young boy who could do no wrong. Indeed, he was so good and proper in all he said and did that he was always getting medals pinned on his chest for being a ‘Goody, Goody Two Shoes’; a sort of American equivalent to an English primary school teacher pinning a ‘gold star’ on a pupil for their exemplary behaviour.
In Thurber’s moralistic tale, the ‘Goody, Goody Two Shoes’ boy is in the park alone when a man-eating lion or tiger (I forget which) escapes from the zoo and enters the park looking for something/someone to eat. The beast is very hungry. The boy sees the dangerous prowler, becomes terrified and hides behind a large bush. There are a small forest of large bushes surrounding the ensconced boy and he believes himself to be concealed in the safest spot. As the prowling creature approaches the bushes and smells human flesh nearby, it starts to growl in pleasurable anticipation of the human meal to follow. The creature continues to smell the direction from where the smell of human flesh is coming from and roars ever so loudly the closer it gets to its prey.
The goody-two-shoes boy panics and starts to shake with fear, and as he trembles in terror, all the ‘good behaviour’ medals pinned and worn proudly on his chest start to rattle loudly; thereby revealing his hidden location to the preying beast. The beast pounces on the goody-two-shoes boy behind the bush and gobbles him up!
For the life in me (bearing in mind that it was 37 years ago since I read this story), I cannot remember the moral of the tale which Thurber always concluded with. However, were I to give the story a moral, it would probably be a cynical one. I would have to say something like ‘Goodness doesn’t always carry its own reward!”.
I dedicate today’s song to my Facebook friend, Danielle O’Shea, whose Facebook posts reveal her to be a woman of ‘infinite wholesomeness and goodness’. Sheila and I called in on their farm a few years ago while we were holidaying in Ireland and on our way to Waterford, where I was born. The O'Shae family gave us a most hospitable welcome, along with refreshments on their terrace. Danielle, her husband and children represent one of the nicest families I have met with values that I wished every family had. I had never seen such well behaved and respectful children. In fact, the reason Danielle came to mind when I was thinking of a suitable person to whom to dedicate today’s song was that Danielle and my wife, Sheila, are so alike that it would be simply impossible ever imagining either acting improperly at any stage of their lives; or would it? Thank you for being my Facebook friend, Danielle. Our regards to you and your lovely family. Sheila and Bill x
Love and peace Bill xxx