Thursday, 17 March 2011

St Patrick's Day: Forty Shades of Piss-Up

St Patrick's Day is with us again; the world celebrates Irishness.

Sales of Guinness skyrocket; Plastic-Paddy pubs hand out shamrocked tat to anyone who drinks twenty pints of the old craic-juice. In bars everywhere, cardboard cut-out leprechauns with articulating limbs are hung around as folksy decorations, and bent by punters into hilarious attitudes. The humble spud, its price hiked, acquires a Today's Special cult status; the eyes have it.

Into this spume-filled cauldron of culture, fighting, religeous fervour and drunkenness, we introduce another dimension. Music to make your dog howl.

I love Irish traditional music. I've played it for years, and enjoy the company of those who play it. I've built up a collection of beautiful, exciting songs and tunes. But what I find toe-curling are the Irish standards, those terrible songs which every Paddy's Night get thrashed to death. 'Irish Rover'. 'Wild Rover'. 'Gypsy Rover'. And the all-time worst: 'Leaving of Liverpool'.

Why do I hate them so?
Because they appear on CDs such as 'The Essential Foster and Allen'. Because I've been driven quite mad by hearing them sung, or dribbled, year after year, by pissed people in bars who want to be everyone's friend.

So this year, let's search our hearts and learn some new songs to bawl out.
Come round to my place, I've got the really good stuff.

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