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This song refers to closing time (11pm) in pubs in the UK, which means people being very drunk and lots of fights. Closing time was eventually moved back in the UK, which spread out the drunkenness.
The song depicts some colorful British characters; "Man in a tracksuit attacks me," "Girls run around with no clothes on, to borrow a pound for a condom, if it wasn't for chip fat, well they'd be frozen."
"Lairy" is British slang for rough and abusive. (thanks, rachel - London, England, for all above)
The line, "Would never have happened to Smeaton" refers to John Smeaton High School in Leeds, where the band comes from. John Smeaton (1724-1792) was a civil engineer from Leeds. (thanks, Nico - Berlin, Germany)
The Kaiser Chiefs are from Leeds and as Leeds United supporters they named themselves after former Leeds player Lucas Radebbe's club in South Africa. (thanks, Mark - Irvine, Scotland)
Kaiser Chiefs played this at Live 8, where they opened the US show. Live 8 was a series of concerts Bob Geldof put together to spur activism in light of the G8 Summit.
In the Guardian newspaper, February 24 2006, Kaiser Chiefs drummer Nick Hodgson said: "I used to DJ with my friend Nick at the Cockpit in Leeds. We'd drive home past a big nightclub and there were always lots of police and people fighting. I went home and wrote the riff on the piano and started singing some words. It says: 'A friend of a friend, he got beaten.' That was a friend of Nick the DJ. At our club night, Pigs, we had a band on, Black Wire. They were going mad and so were the crowd. You could see the bouncers moving in and I said to the club's boss, "I predict a riot." The structure was there, then everyone invented their own parts. Ricky [Wilson] wrote the second verse. Smeaton was John Smeaton, a leading figure in the development of Leeds; an 'Old Leodensian' is someone from Leeds. We thought maybe it was too punky but our manager thought it sounded like 10cc meets the Clash. I was pleased with that. When you play a song to other people you can tell if it's good or bad." (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England)
Gary Louris of The Jayhawks
The Jayhawks' song "Big Star" has special meaning to Gary, who explains how longevity and inspiration have trumped adulation.
Julie Gold - "From A Distance"
Julie was a secretary at HBO when she thawed out her childhood piano (literally) and wrote the hit that changed her life.