Dear Alanis Morissette

Gosh. You look quite like someone I know.

I wrote this letter this morning.  Hope you don’t mind me sharing it.

“Dear Alanis Morissette,

I was in Costa Coffee yesterday and your song “Ironic” came on the radio thing. Not sure what time it was but I think it must’v beeen ‘ker-ching’ o’clock for you. PRS and all that.

I’ve known this song for many years. In fact I saw you sing it live once, at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, just after the release of Jagged Little Pill. You were wearing leather trousers. When you came on stage I actually sighed a bit, causing my date to punch me.

But I’ve always had some issues with the song, because what you refer to as ‘Ironic’ isn’t. It’s either Sods Law or, in the case of some examples you cite, simply tragic. Let me explain.

An old man turned ninety-eight. He won the lottery and died the next day…

Oh man. That’s a bit tragic but he lived to 98, which is good, and his family benefited from his lottery win. Hoopla! All golden.

It’s a black fly in your Chardonnay…

Not ironic. Just a pisser. You can pick it out. Not a biggy. Move on. Don’t let it define you.

It’s a death row pardon two minutes too late…

What? Ironic? NO! This is a tragedy! Person spends time on Death Row and gets a pardon? Why were they pardoned? Were they innocent? Fuck. A man has died as a result of an incorrect legal decision.Wrong. Simply wrong.

And it’s not ironic. I don’t think.

It’s like rain on your wedding day…


It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid…

Now you’re just talking nonsense. How would you know it was a free ride unless the driver said ‘It’s okay love. Here’s your money back’ in which case that’s a win! A bonus! Hoopla! All golden again. And, if he didn’t give you your money back, then you wouldn’t know it was free. I’d rethink your approach to this.

Mr ‘Play It Safe’ was afraid to fly. He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids goodbye. He waited his whole damn life to take that flight. And as the plane crashed down he thought “Well isn’t this nice…”

Again, another terrible tragedy. A plane crashes killing devoted family man. NOT ironic. Tragic. Buy a dictionary.

Well, life has a funny way of sneaking up on you when you think everything’s okay and everything’s going right. And life has a funny way of helping you out, when you think everything’s gone wrong, and everything blows up in your face…

Again, not ironic. It’s called “swings and roundabouts.”

A traffic jam when you’re already late = a pain. Not ironic.

A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break = a pain. Go somewhere else. A bit further away from the no-smoking sign.

It’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife…

Eh? I need a knife, to cut my delicious toast in half. But oh ho ho, here are 10,000 spoons! Where the fuck did they come from? That’s not ironic. Just surreal. I know this because I just lobster.

It’s meeting the man of my dreams and then meeting his beautiful wife.

You sound sad about this bit in the song. Sadder than… A TRAGIC MISCARRAIGE OF JUSTICE ON DEATH ROW AND A MAN CRASHING TO HIS DEATH ON A PLANE! Get some perspective sweetcheeks.

Ironic, by the way, is defined as relating to irony, which is defined thus:

1 : a pretence of ignorance and of willingness to learn from another assumed in order to make the other’s false conceptions conspicuous by adroit questioning —called also Socratic irony
2 a : the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning
2 b : a usually humorous or sardonic literary style or form characterized by irony c : an ironic expression or utterance
3 a (1) : incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result(2) : an event or result marked by such incongruity
3 b : incongruity between a situation developed in a drama and the accompanying words or actions that is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play —called also dramatic irony, tragic irony
Regarding the definition, I think you could be onto something with 2a but on the whole it’s a no from me. But if you need a chat about this I’m quite happy to oblige. Just sit your leather trousers on my sofa and we’ll work through it. I have some Mr Sheen so I could give those trousers quite a nice buffing.
But, in my humble opinion what you’re actually referring to, in the most part, is Sod’s Law or Murphy’s Law, which doesn’t scan I know, but is basically the idea that “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”
Since hearing this song this morning, and spending time on this post, I now have it stuck in my head. Which is ironic, don’t you think?
Much love,
Are there any songs or song lyrics which you think make no sense whatsoever? Please let me know and I’ll write that artist a letter too. But perhaps I won’t put a pair of my pants in the envelope like I did with this one.
Thanks for reading.

8 responses to “Dear Alanis Morissette

  1. There is a very old song about buzzing bees. Which includes a line something along the line of “picking all the honey from the corned beef flowers”. I thought corned beef came from cows – who knew it was actually a plant!

    I once sat right behind Alanis Morrisette in the audience for a play (starring our lovely Jek Porkins) I was so close I could have buffed her trousers (had I known that was the sort of thing you were supposed to do around Ms Morrisette)

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