The last week of the year sometimes seems haunted.
Here is a very sweet Sinead O'Connor and bad boy Shane MacGowan of the Pogues, in 1995, before Shane went off the deep end, 4-mins:
I still love The Pogues. Click here for Waltzing Mathilda (8-minutes), a favorite ballad. Be sure to read the narrative in the "more info" section on the right. Shane has a gift for trainwreck delivery of haunting words. Around Christmas, you can't escape Fairytale of New York (Shane singing with Kirsty MacColl about a relationship gone bad; RIP Kirsty). note: that link is to a clean music vid because I was tired of seeing so many commenters fixating on Shane's downhill slide. As one of my grandpas would say, his troubles are his own.
The Pogues' Thousands are Sailing (5.5 minutes) is a story familiar to many of you with irish ancestors. One of mine, whose transport ship from Liverpool was refused landing in New York, came in through Canada, eventually making his way across that country before dropping down into the western U.S. Without reliable records, I rely on family tales of a man whose inner toughness and physical hardiness enabled him to survive almost unimaginable conditions. By the time their ship was finally allowed to dock in Canada, the "human cargo" was mostly dead or dying. He was so weak that he supposedly had to be carried off the ship, but insisted on being put down to walk the final step ashore on his own two feet. He promptly keeled over and landed face down in the dirt. The family story is that he bit into the soil, pushing a handful into his mouth, and declaring that american soil was "sweet but a bit dry" ... this was a plea for a drink ... whether water or alcohol is unclear ...