CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE STUMBLED INTO "THE SHALLOW ZONE." WATCH OUT FOR THE ROCKS. SOME OF THEM ARE SHARP.
If you're looking for a blog with meaningful content on the important issues of the day, you've come to the wrong place. This is the shallows, my friend. Nothing but shallowness as far as the eye can see. Let someone else make sense of things. I like it here.

About Me

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I love my grown children, miss all the dogs I ever had, and I cry at the drop of a hat, I believe in true love, destiny, fairness, and compassion. If I could be anywhere right now, it would be the ocean. My favorite city is New York, but I am always longing for London and craving more time in Copenhagen. I'm drawn to desolate places, deserted buildings, and unknown byways. I don't care how society perceives me as long as my gut tells me that what I'm doing is right. I am interested in paranormal things, spiritual things, historical things, and things that glow at night. I like to drink, I smoke when I write, I can't stand small talk, and despite my quick temper, I would rather kiss than fight. I'm selfish with my writing time, a spendthrift with my love. My heart has been broken so many times that it's held together with super glue and duct tape. The upside is that, next time, I won't be tempted to give away what I no longer have to give. But I will let you buy me a Pink Squirrel.
MY SHALLOW MISSION STATEMENT

MY SHALLOW MISSION STATEMENT

MY SHALLOW MISSION STATEMENT
Not that there's any weight to it...
IN A WORLD FILLED WITH COMPLEX POLITICAL ISSUES, SOCIAL INEQUALITY, AND FINANCIAL UNCERTAINTY, I CONSIDER IT MY GIFT TO YOU, MY READER, TO OFFER THIS SHALLOW LITTLE HAVEN, WHERE NOTHING IS TOO SHALLOW, TOO INSIGNIFICANT, OR TOO RIDICULOUS TO JUSTIFY OUR ATTENTION. IN OTHER WORDS, IF IT'S NOT IMPORTANT....SO WHAT? NEITHER WAS MARILYN MONROE'S BRA SIZE. AND THAT STILL SELLS MAGAZINES, DOESN'T IT?
VIDEO OF THE MONTH

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

MY TOP FIVE ST. PADDY'S DAY SONGS


Happy St. Patrick's Day! I know...St. Patrick's Day isn't until March 17, but at it turns out, I'll be undergoing surgery on the 13th, and so I will probably be taking a break from posting for at least a week afterwards. But being a quarter Irish, I can't bear the thought of missing out on the chance to celebrate the most beloved of all Irish holidays with a post on...what else?...my top five songs by artists of Irish descent. Ready? Of course you are. And so, with no further ado, let's roll...


As a rule, I'm not big on "women's music." You know...the kind of songs that sound as though they were written backstage at Lileth Fair in a dressing room that smells of potpurri and patchouli and the only thing to drink is white wine and bottled water. But there are exceptions. There are always exceptions. And for me, one of those exceptions is "Orinoco Flow" by Enya. Maybe that's because Enya was born Eithne Ni Bhaonain (if you think that was hard to write, try actually pronouncing it) in County Donegal, Ireland. Which, of course, makes her Irish. And although a lot of other singers, male and female, are Irish as well, Enya just seems slightly more Irish than most of them. One of eight children who grew up in an Irish-speaking family, Enya was born with music in her genes, with parents who were both musicians and who encouraged their offspring to follow the same muse. After a brief, early stint with the band Clanad, which consisted of Enya, three of her siblings, and her twin uncles, the songstress ventured out on her own in the early 1980's, achieving her first chart success with the album Watermark, which included her biggest hit "Orinoco Flow" (although it's sometimes called "Sail Away" by people who find it difficult to say "Orinoco".) Whatever you call it, the song is just one of those tunes that hit you like a blast of sunshine in the first days of spring. I won't even pretend to know what the lyrics are about, but I can never listen to this song without wanting to move my body and tap my foot just a tiny bit. And it just goes to show you that, when it's good, music is truly a universal language that bypasses the need for a dictionary.


Okay, this one is something of a stretch because Mike Scott, the lead singer and song writer for The Waterboys is Scottish, not Irish. But as it so happens, I actually know someone who is a good friend of Scott's (they hung out together in Findhorn, Scotland for a few years), and he told me that the musician once confessed that he felt that he had been born in the wrong country because in his soul he felt like an Irishman. So take that as you will. But I adore this song, which was probably the biggest hit this non-commercial band had following their early success with "The Whole of The Moon" back in the early 1980's. Released in 1993 off their Dream Harder album, "The Return of Pan" is about as rock and roll as the Waterboys ever got, but the folky sensibility is still there, giving the song a sort of kickass mystical feel. And not only that, but, damn it, I think Mike Scott is cute. I don't care if he's short and has an ego the size of Bono's tinted sunglasses (Scott refused to perform on The Old Grey Whistle Test back in the early 80's because he thought that lip-synching was beneath him). He's just cool, and so is the song, and I could listen to it a million times without liking it even one bit less. And that woman banging on the drums in the video? That's his wife.


It's hard to believe, but there was a time in U2's career when lead singer and songsmith Bono was not one of the most annoying people on the planet. A time before the sunglasses and the political proclamations, when he was just a singer who wrote and sang some really good songs that you could listen to without being distracted by how much you can't stand the person singing them. And for me, this is one of them. From the soundtrack for Wim Wender's 1993 film So Close, So Farway (a great film by the way, even if you will spend most of your time reading the subtitles), "Stay" does what the good, early songs of U2 always did best. In a word, it touches something deep inside of you, something that you can't quite articulate, that has been lying dormant and just waiting to be felt. Is it nostalgia? Pain? Beats me. But if this is a sad song, its sadness is the kind that rock and roll is supposed to make you feel. I mean, hell, if want happy music, you can always listen to The Irish Rovers.


When my younger son was around fourteen, he was obsessed with The Pogues to the point where I got so sick of hearing them that I started to think that I hated them even more than Bono. But of all the Pogue songs I got sick of hearing, I never got quite as sick of hearing this one, and now, after a break of six years, I've realized that I still really like it. And how can you not like the Pogues? Formed in London in the early 80's, their full name, Pogue Mahon, is an Anglicisation of the Irish phrase "pog mo thoin", which means "kiss my arse." And that's pretty much been the band's attitude ever since. Although original frontman Shane McGowan left the line-up in the early 90's (drinking problems were the reason, so I've heard), the band is still going strong, even though their website claims that they have no plans to record new music. But they're still playing, and that's something in my book. And "I Love You Til The End", from their last studio album Pogue Mahon is the band at their best: no frills, just words and music and feeling...a lot of feeling. The song was never released as a single, but it's on the soundtracks of at least two films (Mystery, Alaska and P.S. I Love You), and, of course, in the hearts of everyone who ever loved the Pogues and wanted to tell someone to "pog mo thoin."


I don't care if "My Lovely Horse" isn't a real song. That it's just part of a dream sequence in the Father Ted episode of the same name. I still love it. The song was written by Father Ted co-creator Graham Linnehan with members of The Divine Comedy, the Irish band that performs the show's theme song as well as "My Lovely Horse" in the episode's dream sequence. Of course the song would be nothing without the accompanying video which is a shameless satire of the cheesy videos that are characteristic of the Eurovision song contest, for which Father Ted Crilly (the late Dermot Morgan) and Father Dougal McGuire (Ardal O'Hanlon) "wrote" the song in the episode. And as funny as it is, it's catchy, too, so much so that more than one real band actually recorded it back in the late 1990's (the episode first aired on April 4, 1996), including...wait for it...The Pogues. So, say what you will, but one thing is for certain...this lovely horse has legs.

Well, there you have it. My top five list of ditties by artists of Irish descent. Hope you liked it. If not...pog mo thoin. See you on the other end of the rainbow.


Erin go bragh!

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