I was listening over the long weekend to the Smokie hit "Living Next Door to Alice" yesterday, and was struck (as I think I had been a few times before) at how ridiculous the 1995 Gompie cover...that's the one you know now, and the one that people sing whenever the song is played at a bar (though, now that the infamous King's Knight Pub on 34th Avenue is closed, I'm not entireley sure where in Edmonton you can hear this song anymore).
If you aren't familiar and don't feel like clicking YouTube links, the Gompie version is just the Smokie song played straight through, except after the chorus line "living next door to Alice" a crowd of people yell "Alice, Alice, who the fuck is Alice" over the music.
It's a big hit, gets the crowd almost as pumped as that "hey motherfucker get laid get fucked" bit chanted during Billy Idol's version of "Mony Mony"†, and is popular in spite of or perhaps because of from a literal perspective it literally doesn't make any sense whatsoever.
† Actually come to think of it, that gag doesn't really make any sense either does it? If the person is literally a "mother-fucker" than they are already having sex, quite possibly with the Mom of the person chanting the song. If the person is a "motherfucker" in the vernacular, then they are a horrible person that presumably another person is going to be having sex with...in other words, you've just wished a horrible sex partner on a random stranger.
The problem is that the entire song "Living Next Door to Alice" is telling you who Alice is. In fact, the very first time the chance arises to yell "Alice, Alice, who the fuck is Alice?" (okay, so the chant starts off the Gompie song, which I always thought should inspire a followup hit where somebody chants "who the fuck are you asking about?") occurs at the end of the first chorus...the second half of which is entirely about who Alice is:
'Cos for twenty-four yearsI'm not sure at this point even that you can use "who the fuck is Alice?" as a chant? Alice is the girl the narrator has been living next door to for almost a quarter century. But we hear that she's leaving in a limousine which you think would lend to a couple clues.
I've been living next door to Alice.
Twenty-four years just waiting for a chance,
To tell her how I feel, and maybe get a second glance
But just in case you're really dense, almost in response to your crude yelled out question the song narrator goes into further detail about Alice.
We grew up together,Now we get back into him lamenting that for twenty-four years she's been next to him and now she's going away.
Two kids in the park,
We carved our initials,
Deep in the bark,
Me and Alice.
Alice, Alice, who the fuck is Alice?Christ, are you retarded or just deaf? We now know that Alice is the girl who lived next door to him for 24 years including his childhood (or at least part of it), and they were if not lovers at least very close friends who seem to have had a puppy love stage.
In the final verse of the song, by the way, Sally says she's been waiting years for the narrator to be over his love/fixation of Alice and finally notice her. We know that Sally was the one who told him the news about Alice, presumably she's also been in the neighbourhood for 24 years. We know far less about Sally than we know about Alice, why are you all confused about who Alice is? This is the entire subject of the song?
The "who the fuck is Alice" people remind me of those brain-dead liberals on Twitter who always reply to things with cutsey memes like "Cool Story, Bro" when they hear some news that they've never heard before (because they stick with their biased media coverage). It certainly doesn't help that, like a group of drunk soccer moms, liberals are groupthink-obsessed and easily swayed into mob behaviour. This level of lazy sloganeering is what happens when actual critical and independent thought is thrown by the wayside. You can just chant a crude slogan along with everybody else! Don't think about it in any way shape or form, don't listen to what you're reacting to, just react.
Alice grew up, apparently achieved success, and then went onto bigger and better things. After twenty-four years waiting for a chance, the narrator seems to have to settle for Sally as the big limousine disappears. Alice is gone, get over her, and if you don't know who she is then why not let the man tell you?