This past week has been a tough one, with large scale atrocity and personal tragedy combining to punch me in the gut. Today, I had a respite, lunch with good friends- a home-cured corned beef brisket, braised cabbage, and homemade soda bread. An Irish coffee served to wash everything down, then I scarpered off to work to feed the cat.
This being St Paddy's Day, I figured I'd post a song appropriate for bereavement (nobody does bereavement quite like the Irish). The Pogues song Body of an American is part dirge, part tall-tale, part cryptolect rebel-song (the line about 'Spanish wine from far away' hints at gunrunning), whole-cloth rave-up. The song was featured prominently on the TV show The Wire, as an accompaniment to the police wakes depicted. I am partial to the live version from the 1986 Self Aid concert, featuring Spider Stacy playing a lick from The Guns of Navarone on the tin whistle:
I've posted clips from Self Aid before, it's a great snapshot of the Irish music scene in the 1980s. My favorite performance in the concert is the set by woefully obscure band In Tua Nua (if they had debuted five years later than they did, they would have been huge)... lead singer Leslie Dowdall still gives me heart palpitations to this day, and I'm not an adolescent anymore by any stretch of the imagination.