09:48 | 22/12/2020 Print
Australians around the world have been celebrating Gravy Day this Friday, commemorating singer Paul Kelly’s 1996 hit How To Make Gravy which has become a Christmas classic down under.
The song, which references December 21 in the second line, tells the story of a remorseful prisoner writing home before Christmas, imagining friends and family coming together from across the country without him, Irishnews noted.
When was it composed?
Kelly composed the song in 1996 after he was invited to record a track for an annual charity Christmas album organised by respected musician Lindsay Field. In search of an original take on the classic Christmas song, Kelly focused on a protagonist, Joe, stuck in prison, writing a letter to his family longing to be with them over Christmas. Since its release, the song has become a part of Australian folklore and earned its place as the country’s unofficial Christmas anthem, according to Apraamcos.
Why was the song written?
The song about a prisoner, Joe, writing to his mate, Dan, on the outside about his family Christmas celebrations evokes emotions from almost any Aussie, particularly in the last five years, despite being written in 1996.
When the song begins it sounds like a regular family Christmas, people travelling to get together and a roast dinner despite it being scorching hot outside.We hear about Joe's kids and his partner Rita who are all waiting at home and the friends and family who will join for them for the annual ritual. "I guess the brothers are driving down from Queensland; and Stella's driving in from the Coast."
When we get to the chorus, another layer is added. Joe talks about his absence, especially when it comes to the gravy making at the special time of year. He apologises for missing Christmas. "Hope you kiss my kids on Christmas day, please don't let 'em cry for me."
We never actually find out why Joe is in prison and despite majority of Australians not having experienced prison (99.98 per cent have no according to the last census data), the song seems to resonate deeply. The end of the song is a sad verse about how much he loves his partner Rita and their children, and how sorry he is for ending up in prison, Lakesmail expressed.
December 21st is regarded by Kelly fans as National Gravy Day and fans are tweeting their greetings, gravy photos and recipes with the hashtag #putyourgravyout, Fraser Coast Chronicle reported.
Its popularity has inspired media outlets to investigate the protagonist's possible back story and the key question in the song: "Who's going to make the gravy?"
And just what is the best gravy recipe? According to the lyrics, it is: "Just add flour, salt, a little red wine, and don't forget a dollop of tomato sauce, for sweetness and that extra tang." Some said they would follow that advice, but others questioned the recipe, according to BBC.
Kelly himself tweeted "Happy Gravy Day" on Friday. "You never know what's going to happen to the song after you write them," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation last year, Thefinancialexpress added.
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