Friday, December 26, 2008


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 ...


Pete in the ocean said...


I saw you on DivaJood's blogroll. Your interests in your celtic origins and music are similar to mine. I live in Australia so Waltzing Matilda is vitually a national anthem. The Band Played Waltzing Matilda by Eric Bogle are of course what the Pogues are singing. I have this vesion at on my site.

I look forward to seeing more of your site.



D.K. Raed said...

Pete in the Ocean:
Welcome! Any friend of 'Jood is a friend of mine. I just listened to the more traditional Waltzing Mathilda version you referenced. The power of the song's message always causes a lump in the throat. I only quickly visited your blog, but can see you are exploring news in detail. I'll look fwd to reading more.

I wish I could more fully explore specific celtic family history. All I am left with is odd stories and a strange way of pronouncing certain words and an intense interest in details.

Thanks for stopping by.