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“I Played ‘The Boys Are Back in Town' on a Bar Jukebox Until I Got Kicked Out”


By Timothy Faust, edited by James Yeh, originally published on VICE.com (2015)


Illustration by Timothy Faust

Whenever I'm feeling miserable, I scrounge a few dollars out of my jacket pockets and tromp up to the bar I don't like. The bar is about three-quarters of a mile from my apartment and wholly forgettable, but ostensibly a metal bar.

The first time I visited, I did what I do whenever I find myself in a new bar: Go to the jukebox and see what record is number 69. Here, it was Thin Lizzy's thoroughly nonseminal Jailbreak. I've never listened to that album the whole way through, and by the grace of God I know I'll never need to, for I know that Jailbreak features at least two songs: "The Boys Are Back in Town," and whatever song comes after "The Boys Are Back in Town," which reminds you that you need to hit rewind.

Let me make one thing excruciatingly clear: "The Boys Are Back in Town" is an incredible song and I love it. I love it so much. My heart beats bwaa-da, bwaa-dadada DAAH dah to match Scott Gorham's guitar riff, and this leaves my physician furious and unable to speak. When my roommate leaves for work in the morning, I genuflect toward his wonderful dog, who respects me. I press my forehead to his flank and I whisper "the boys are back" over and over again. The dog turns his furry brow to look into me and I know he respects me even more, for I have done as Messrs. Lizzy commanded. I have spread the word around.

I am pulled back again and again into this bar I do not like by an uncontrollable and carnal drive: a loyalty to The Boys and a congenital love of hollering. I am usually content to summon this song just once from the jukebox of the bar I do not particularly like, as even one play is a parade for the spirit. That's the life I lived for several months. I would enter the bar, queue up "The Boys Are Back in Town," slam beers until the jukebox arrived at my selection, then clap my hands, clutch them to my chest, and maybe recite a psalm from the mother tongue of my proud rural people (perhaps "oh, HELL yeah!!! HELL YEAH!!!," or "now THAT'S what I'm talking about!!!!") to the silence around me. Then I would leave.

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