In keeping with tradition here, I spend the first couple of weeks of March counting down to St Patrick's Day. Today, I'll post a weepie that I posted before as a tangent to another post. The Town I Loved So Well, by Phil Coulter, describes the transition of his native Derry from a hardscrabble working-class town with not enough work, to a shell of a town, bombed out by The Troubles.
Grab a handkerchief, you're going to need it. At best, the life that Mr Coulter describes is far from idyllic:
In the early morning the shirt factory horn
Called women from Creggan, the moor, and the bog
Whilst the men on the dole played a mother's role
Fed the children and then walked the dog
And when times got tough, there was just about enough
And they saw it through without complaining
For deep inside was a burning pride
For the town I loved so well
With his talent, he was able to find a way out of the hard-knock town, the dream of many a striver:
There was music there in that Derry air
Like a language that we, we all could understand
I remember the day that I earned my first pay
When I played in a small pick-up band
There I spent my youth, and to tell you the truth
I was sad to leave it all behind me
For I learned about life, and I found a wife
In the town I loved so well.
Upon his return, though, he finds that his town has been riven by sectarian violence and government repression:
But when I returned, how my eyes have burned
To see how a town could be brought to it's knees
By the armoured cars and the bombed-out bars
And the gas that hangs on to every breeze
Now the army's installed by that old gas yard wall
And the damned barbed wire gets higher and higher
With their tanks and their guns, oh my god, what have they done
To the town I loved so well?
The song ends on a cautiously optimistic note, a wish for peace, though Mr Coulter mourns a past which is irrecoverable... so as not to spoil the climax of the song, I'll let you listen for yourselves:
As with a lot of modern Irish music, the song has been covered by a plethora of performers, with Luke Kelly and the Dubliners and Paddy Reilly singing particularly choice renditions of the song.
Wipe your tears, my dear readers, Phil Coulter didn't only write tearjerkers... along with Glasgow's Bill Martin, he wrote this bouncy little number:
You can't cry all the time... especially not on a Saturday night.
Regarding the title, the bad Coulter would be the one perhaps best known for her upcoming role in Sharknado 3.