Gay Marriage Approved In Ireland

Ireland has just voted in favor of gay marriage.  This is a victory for sanity, dignity, and love.  Ireland, a country that was oppressed by the Church for many years, is now officially more progressive than parts of our country on this issue.  Although I know we will get there eventually, it is shameful that so many people here in the USA are still firmly rooted in the ideas of the past.  All sane people know that those who were against Civil Rights in the 60’s will look eternally foolish when remembered in history books.  So will those that oppose gay marriage now.  However, today is a day to celebrate.  Today brings the world one step closer to justice and equality.

The Future Will Laugh At Us

Watching a nature show about Ireland.  There is a section about bats on it.  The show is talking about how good bats are not only for the ecosystem, but also how much they help people because of all of the pests they eat.  The show also talked about how people have this fear of bats from all the years they have been associated with vampires and other horror stories dating back a longtime.

Because humans didn’t have a true understanding of nature for so long, until science started explaining things, all of these superstitious stories were allowed to infiltrate our cultures.  Some of these superstitions, or fallacies about the natural world, still persist.  We often look upon human behavior in the past with a kind of comic detachment.  Monty Python and the Holy Grail made great fun of the condemning of witches.  What exists today that people in the future will laugh at in disbelief?

My Land is Too Green Lyrics

My land is bogged down in religious tradition
We nod our heads in humble submission
One foot in the door a hand in your pocket
We export our problems for foreign solutions
My land is naive too scared of the devil
Holier than thou with eyes up to heaven
When nobody looks we tear strips off our neighbour
And to have a good laugh at it all in the end

Shrouded and mist the outlook’s appalling
Pressure is rising but temperature’s falling
Sunny spells and scattered showers
But still it rains for hours and hours
And as the floods rise we drown our sorrows
Tossing them back like there is no tomorrow
And in the end we’ll stick or stand
And piss it back to the bog holes of Ireland

My land is too full of incurable scheming
The promises given are nothing but dreaming
We all love a rogue we’ll make him our leader
And every four years it’s right back to zero
My land is still poor and underdeveloped
We talk round our problems for hours on end
And then we decide there’s two sides to the story
And have a good laugh at it all in the end

Shrouded in mist the outlook’s appalling
Pressure is rising but temperature’s falling
Sunny spells and scattered showers
And still it rains for hours and hours
And as the floods rise we drown our sorrows
Tossing them back like there is no tomorrow
And in the end we will sit or stand
And piss it back to the bog holes of Ireland

My Land is Too Green written by A. Hensey/Erik Visser.  The recording that I owned is performed by Mary Coughlan.  I was listening to Coughlan as I took a walk after having just written about her.  I had downloaded this song for my six hours of drive time yesterday to a gig in Conroe, but I never got around to listening to it till today as hardcore music was better at keeping me awake and focused.  As I was listening to it the first few lines, even though I knew in advance the song was about Ireland, struck me as very fitting for America.  In fact, change a few lines here and there and a few words, and the song could unfortunately translate well as an American political song.  Let me show you:

The whole first verse fits great with the continued rise of the religious right.  The only thing is, we don’t export our problems for foreign solutions.  We just export our problems.

The chorus would take the most work.   You should change the temperature falling to rising on account of our country’s terribly inadequate response to climate change .  You would also have to mess with the weather metaphors a bit depending on where you lived.  God, does our country get hogged on booze though.  That’s not just an Irish thing.  I have seen that shit with my own eyes.  I have taken part!  Obviously you would have to change the final line.

The second verse you wouldn’t have to change a line, although to be fair our land isn’t poor, it’s just that many of its inhabitants are poor due to the greed of the few.

So there you go.

Mary Coughlan and The Whore of Babylon

Mary Coughlan is an absolutely exceptional singer that I have luckily stumbled upon.  The above video is her performing the classic song Magdalen Laundry live.  She is an Irish singer that usually tackles jazz or blues.  If I am being honest, I prefer when she sings more melodical songs, like the one above, or Sleep On It and Your Angel from her excellent album Whore of Babylon.  I also love when she goes batshit crazy such like in title track from Whore of Babylon or the song Antarctica from that same album.  This is all a matter of taste as I’m not a big listener of traditional jazz, especially.  However, even I can tell that she sings jazz and blues with complete authority.  Her phrasing is impeccable and when she goes for the high note, like in Your Angel, it can send chills down your spine.  She is the kind of singer that makes you believe she is living each song while she sings it.  There is a rasp in the back of her voice that sounds like a thousand cigarettes and a thousand bottles or booze.  It is the kind of sound that no TV pop idol could ever hope to achieve, unless they too are willing to go through the looking glass of life.  A great deal of her work is hard to obtain in the U.S. unless you are willing to buy import CD’s.  However you can get The Whore of Babylon and several other albums of hers at digital retailers in here.  She is the real deal.  An fearless artist that sings unflinchingly staring into the abyss.  

On Raglan Road

On Raglan Road on an autumn day I met her first and knew 
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue; 
I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way, 
And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.

On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge 
Of the deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion’s pledge, 
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay – 
O I loved too much and by such and such is happiness thrown away.

I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign that’s known 
To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone 
And word and tint. I did not stint for I gave her poems to say. 
With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds over fields of May

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now 
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow 
That I had wooed not as I should a creature made of clay – 
When the angel woos the clay he’d lose his wings at the dawn of day.

I have long been aware of the song On Raglan Road.  I love the version that Luke Kelly sings.  But I was not aware that it came from a poem by Patrick Kavanagh.  I was looking up some Irish poetry today and stumbled upon this.  


Sing All Our Cares Away

Mary loves the grouse, hides the bottles round the house,
Watches chatshows and the soaps, broken-hearted but she copes,
Michael’s out of work, feels he’s sinking in the murk,
He’s unshaven and a mess, finds it hard some days to dress
Stevie smashed the delf, cos he can’t express himself,
He’s consumed by rage, like his Father at his age
Rita’s little child, has a lovely little smile,
This means nothing to her father, because he’s never even seen her
We sing, sing all our cares away
We’ll live, to fight another day
Joey’s off the gear, he’s been clean for half a year,
He gets bored out of his mind, but he’s tryin to toe the line
Maggie’s in a chair, twas joyriding put her there,
She puts the kettle on the boil, and she’s always got a smile
We sing, sing all our cares away,
We’ll live, to love another day
We grow strong, from it all
We grow strong, or we fall

Sing All Our Cares Away by Damien Dempsey.  Damo is one of my favorite newer artists.  I say newer with a bit of knowing ignorance, as his first single came out in 1997.  Oh how the time does pass.  My favorite album of his, of which this is the opening number, is Shots.  I have and love all of his work however.  I mention him quite a bit here because I still hope that someday he has crossover success in the US, although given his penchant for writing overtly political material and singing with an Irish accent, this is probably wishful thinking.  I want him to succeed here because he deserves it, but even more selfishly because I hope that he will tour here more and I wish to see him live.  Even though the lyrics of this song read as something of a downer, every time I hear it I can feel my spirits lifting.

Now My Heart is Full

Earlier this week I received Morrissey’s Autobiography in the mail from England.  I can’t remember the last time I was so excited to receive something.  Although I’m quite sure it arrived in the typically modern fashion of however Fed Ex brings their goods to our door, I imagined it arriving on a Victorian steam ship. 

I am a good deal Irish and possibly a little English.  I don’t feel any sense of lacking an identity, so I’m not sure why, but I have always been fascinated by British and Irish culture.  Funnily enough they often hate each other. 

Much like Joyce created a vivid sense of Dublin in his works, Morrissey has created through his music a mythical sense of England.  Or it at least appears that way at times through the eyes of an American.  That’s not to say that he holds anything back, or that he sentimentalizes anything, but it’s more an amalgamation of images.  The slang of Piccadilly Palare, the Moors Murders, the Salford Lads Club, Clapham Common, and so many other things that an American boy should have no clue about, are ingrained in my mind.  I took a trip to London some years back, I wish to visit Manchester someday, and around every corner was a Morrissey song lyric.  Street signs that probably meant nothing to the people walking past them every day were full of life to me. 

I’m only forty pages into it, too short to get any true sense of the book as a whole, but lord the man can turn a phrase in print.  I should have expected no less as his song lyrics are as good as anyone’s. 

I used to get upset when people didn’t get Morrissey.  He has always been a hero of mine for his integrity, his wit, and his talent.  But now I feel bad for people that don’t understand his art.  Spending your life without Morrissey would be like never reading Oscar Wilde.  You certainly can go from birth to death without reading Oscar Wilde, but why would you want to?