5 Songs That Every Buttlicker With an Acoustic Guitar Will Play in the Hostel Common Room

travel acoustic guitar

Summer is winding down across Europe, Oktoberfest has finally wrapped up, and buttlickers all over the continent are facing a tough decision – to carry that €10 ukulele all the way home or to leave it with some guy wearing a knitted rainbow headband in the last hostel of the trip, allowing the obnoxious ritual to be passed on down through the grimy hands of backpackers and time? Buttlicker is a bit harsh, we hear you say. I’ve enjoyed the communal vibes brought to my travels by many a Moroccan-bracelet-wearing, guitar-wielding wanderer. We wish you were correct, but you’re not. That crack-heeled rogue with the guitar does not have the pure intentions you naively assume – here’s exactly what’s going through their matted head with each song selection. Be warned, it ain’t pretty.

Five conversation killers from the look at me crowd

The Warm Up aka 20% of Smoke on the Water

You’re a couple of beers in and the conversation is finally starting to flow with that hottie in the Vans, when in the background you begin to hear a faint plucking of random chords – harmless enough. You ignore it and continue your discussion of the rise of Islamophobia in the West/the cheapest cigarettes you found in Europe/when you had your last STD check when the plucking becomes louder, repetitive. You recognise the tune as an incomplete rendering of the riff from Smoke on the Water, and you and your potential soul-mate are forced to break eye-contact and look at the cross-legged fiend who has decided to take centre stage in the common room, forcing everyone to watch them at peril of looking disengaged and anti-social. You exchange polite smiles with those around you and feign interest in watching those chunky fingers slide awkwardly up and down the frets, hoping it will end soon so you can return to laying your groundwork when suddenly…

The Commodores, Easy/Bruno Mars, The Lazy Song

Whether they’re easy like Sunday morning or today they don’t feel like doing anything, they just wanna stay in their bed, this passive aggressive motherfucker is trying to assert dominance and mark themselves as the hostel alpha. Everyone is forced to smile and nod as they endure the jaw-clenchingly-annoying lyrics for the 1000th time this summer (I’m not picking up my phone, so leave a message at the tone), because if you don’t you’re negging on the buttlicker with the guitar and that’s just not chill at all, is it? Because everyone here loves live music. A silverback gorilla beating its chest and shrieking is a more subtle display than busting out a guitar and groaning that’s why I’m eeeaaaassaaaayyyy over some clumsy string finger-fucking, forcing everyone to agree that buttlicker is just the easiest person ever, thus buttlicker undeservingly attains top place in the backpacker pecking order of no-chill to most-chill. You know what’s not easy? Meaningful social interactions when you there with the guitar won’t shut the fuck up.

Jack Johnson, Where’d All the Good People Go?

The purpose of whipping out this naughties anti-banger is to extend the assertions made by what we shall call the “Easy songs”. El Guitaro is styling his/herself as the Pied Piper of backpackers, drawing the good people like moths to a flame, or like long-suffering backpackers too polite to ignore the buttlicker with the guitar to the buttlicker with the guitar. Where did all the good people go? Obviously we went backpacking, and now we’re all here together all us good people being chill in the hostel and not working 9-to-5 jobs like those assholes Jack Johnson was talking about and I’m just using this song to point out that we’re the coolest people in the world and I am your leader.

Bob Marley, No Woman, No Cry

The motivations behind this song choice are multifaceted and calculated. Obviously, knowing who Bob Marley is only cements one’s position as most-chill-person-here, but No Woman, No Cry is also the point in the “set” where buttlicker with guitar begins to solicit things from the captive audience. Adding Bob Marley to a limited repertoire is the buttlicker’s way of publicly self-identifying as someone who would like to smoke weed even though they don’t know where to buy it, and as they remember when we used to sing they will nod and smile around the room until their eyes land on someone passing a joint. The joint-passer will now be obliged to offer buttlicker a toke because shunning a fellow faux-rasta is against the unspoken rules of hostels, and thus guitar hero has procured free weed. If they are a gregarious sort they may even initiate a drinking game in which you all have to drink each time you hear the words no woman or no cry, and via this game buttlicker will also procure a free beer because they obviously deserve one for facilitating such a rolicking good time but as bringer of music cannot leave their vital post, so some complicit little ferret will deposit a pre-opened tinnie next to buttlicker’s knee before scurrying back bright-eyed to begin the awkward rapid sipping and beer dribbling that the game requires. The benefits don’t stop there. The buttlicker (probably a heterosexual male because who else is so obsessed with controlling public spaces?) is also publicly declaring that they don’t like to see women sad, i.e. if you are looking for a root ladies I am DTF and won’t knowingly give you an STD, or alternatively, the feminist in me acknowledges the feminist in you, namaste. Well played, sausage fingers, well played.

Oasis, Wonderwall    

Our acoustic antagonist has now had a three-second toke and half a beer and it is time to GET THIS PARTY STARTED IN HURR, except that song doesn’t stand up well when reduced to the acoustics so buttlicker has opted for a different one. The rallying call of not only the British but also anyone who had access to a radio or Rage in 1995, this would-be melancholy ballad always turns into a full-throttle body slamming, arms over shoulders, dribbling THERE ARE MANY THINGS THAT I WOULD LIKE TO SAY TO YOU BUT I DON’T KNOW HOW. And isn’t that apt? Because thanks to a certain someone with -1 social skills and +1 guitar it doesn’t matter that you don’t know how, because everyone is well and truly tanked now. First it was to numb the awkwardness of listening to a guitar being murdered with sober ears, then it was that stupid drinking game, and now people are just looking to literally shelve whatever they can get their hands on so that twat with the guitar doesn’t kill their vibe. As everyone starts making their escape to the nearest affordable happy hour and desperately searching for pingers, it looks like Captain Kook really did get the party started with that ill-used wooden weapon. What might the night have looked like if buttlicker hadn’t felt compelled to cover their awkward silences with the bitterest bittersweet symphonies? It’s unlikely that anyone will ever be allowed the opportunity to know, ever.