August 12, 1949 in Glasgow
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
Mark Freuder Knopfler, OBE (born August 12, 1949, Glasgow, Scotland) is a guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Although best-known as the lead guitarist and vocalist for the band Dire Straits (1977 - 1995), Mark has also made albums as a solo performer and played in other bands (such as the Notting Hillbillies). He has also performed on work by other artists, such as Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and Chet Atkins, and produced albums for artists such as Tina Turner, Randy Newman, and (again) Bob Dylan.
Thoughts on Songs with Mark Knopfler
2 years ago
El Macho is a dark song about some rough guys who are subtly menacing a lone man that they have come upon, possibly the last people in a bar seeing him alone, a dandy, an actor, " you look like a fine thing, Jerry." Some people suspect that Jerry might be a woman, but I don't get that vibe, especially when the lyrics say " you don't mean shit to me". A man would not say that to a woman. Men degrade men verbally by showing disregard or disrespect or by feminizing them("fine thing"). They do that to women by insulting their physical attributes. He also calls Jerry an actor, not an actress. He compares himself to Jerry, which a man would not do to a woman: "They got a name for people like you. Yeah they do. And they got a name for people like me too. El Macho, El Macho." This is a very menacing passage. I suspect that the name for people like Jerry is not politically correct, and has same gender attraction connotations. It sounds like the group is going to degrade him by forcing him to sing for them, and maybe later show some acceptance or at least a decrease in the level of menace by rewarding him with a beer. Leaving it there leaves the audience hanging, a very clever, compelling tactic by the songwriter. When I hear these lyrics, I am reminded of the role played by Benicio Del Toro in Sicario. When he is intimidating bad guys, his physical presence is pseudosexually intimidating and masochistic at the same time. That is the vibe that I get from El Macho.
2 years ago
When I was young, on the folksong cusp of the Beatles, the Kingston Trio was one of my favorite groups. I particularly remember "Raspberries, Strawberries", a haunting story about World War I, where a young farmboy turned soldier found himself in France, where he loved a girl from the countryside, perhaps for the first time. Many decades later, now an old man, he returned to Paris after all his dreams of life had turned to dust. I really didn't understand how a man's life could turn out that way. Now, at 73, I understand. I am grateful for my beautiful progeny and the good things that Life has given me. But because of the profound way Knopfler sings the words, it makes me realize that my heart is still full of holes. I guess that is part of Life too.
2 years ago
From Wikipedia: "Silvertown is an industrialised district on the north bank of the Thames in the London Borough of Newham that is currently undergoing a major £3.5billion redevelopment. It was named after Samuel Winkworth Silver's former rubber factory which opened in 1852, and is now dominated by the Tate & Lyle sugar refinery and the John Knight ABP animal rendering plant."