apolla: (Black Rose)
I'm going to try and do this once a day (won't happen)...

Post the Second in 100 Awesome Musical Things to be Found on YouTube:

(Trigger Warning and General Good Advice: Do not read the comments on YouTube videos. That way bigotry and trolls do lie)



"The Octopus Jig" - The Dubliners.

You might need to watch this twice to get what's going on. Let me lay it out for you:

Barney McKenna is the little dude with the beard and the banjo.
John Sheahan is the auburn-haired dude with the beard and the violin.
Ciarán Bourke is the tall dude with the beard and the tin whistle.
Luke Kelly is the dude with the ginger afro and the beard and the glass.

Now, it gets complicated.

Barney is picking the banjo with his right hand while his left is fingering (oo-er, get over it) the notes on the violin..
John is bowing the violin with his left hand and fingering the notes on the banjo with his right. He is also blowing (oo-er, get over it) the tin whistle.
Ciarán is fingering the notes on the tin whistle. And drinking a glass of something unspecified but looks like a pale ale to me.
Luke is pouring beer down Ciarán's throat.

There are versions on YT with Luke's introduction but the quality is shite and these are the fifty seconds we're interested in. So anyway, if your mind isn't at least a bit blown by this I'm not sure you've quite understood what's going on.

Can you pat your head and rub your belly at the same time? It's a bit like that, only really fast and with the great complication of needing to find different notes.

Next question: do you know someone else well enough to be able to coordinate it with them? Have you ever tried to pat your head and rub someone else's belly (with their permission, please) and do it in time?

Barney McKenna died a couple of weeks ago, having a cup of tea at home. He was, as the press said, the last of the 'original' Dubliners, but given Sheahan's been in the group since 1964 (they started in '62) it seems a slightly trivial fact to me, but hey-ho. I've been listening to the group again on and off since. I find their astonishing go at The Mason's Apron really useful for cycling in the gym...

Luke, he of the clear-as-a-bell voice, died in 1984. He's the fellow who sang the near-impossible Rocky Road To Dublin some of you will recognise from Sherlock Holmes. Seriously, try and sing along... If the Dubliners were good at anything, it was making the Really Difficult seem Really Easy.

Ciarán died in 1988 after years of ill health (Check out his last TV appearance here, worth it for the faces in the crowd...).

Ronnie Drew, he of the coal-under-a-door voice, who you see in the background of the Octopus Jig video, died in 2008. I don't mind telling you that when I heard the news I burst into tears. I love voices you see, and his is so distinctive, so interesting and full of soul...

By the time I was attending Dubliners gigs, Luke and Ciarán were long dead. Ronnie had left the band and rejoined and left more than once. I saw them first with my mammy at The Cambridge Corn Exchange. The crowd were having a nice time but being very English and muted about it. The other times I saw them was in Dublin itself, at Vicar Street. Vicar Street is probably my favourite venue in the world, and mostly because of them... and in spite of the bar prices.

I had the chance to be at their Royal Albert Hall gig not long ago but balked at the ticket prices and with the sad feeling derived from the last time I saw them that they were not quite at their best anymore. The last time I saw them, at the 'A Time To Remember' show at Vicar Street, some of their zest and zip was missing. They are, after all, old men. I don't say it to criticise: on my best day I'm not half the musician they are on their worst... just that I couldn't quite face the creeping mortality of my heroes.

The Octopus Jig never fails to make me smile. It's silly and funny but still breathtaking. I've seen it dozens of times - linked a bunch of people at work to it randomly back in March sometime - and it still make me go 'whuh? how?'. I wish I was in a band where we were all so awesome, so in tune with each other that we could do something like that... I suppose that's why I like this particular moment so much, because you can't do that without being so close as to share a single musical brain. Are there even any other groups who have done it? I don't know.

The Dubliners are the sound of the home I miss and never fully had. It's not simple dewy-eyed and rose-tinted ah jaysus isn't Oireland in the Rare Aul' Times de best? nostalgia for an Ireland which never actually existed. The Dubliners to me are the warmth of Gallagher's Boxty House on a rainy night; they're a walk through Stephen's Green or up the Liffeyside; and of driving though County Kerry's majestic beauty with my family; of the solitude of an empty road in Galway; of dark moments of desperate yearning; of a wet August Sunday morning in Cork; singing "Raglan Road" and "Love Is Pleasing" myself; walking through Islington late one night yelling "The Sons of Roisin" along with Luke; walking to work on a Tuesday morning past the British Museum... a thousand everyday moments half-forgotten but fully lived.

There are musicians I've loved for longer, ones I've loved more passionately, more obsessively, more intensely... but the Dubs are part of the musical fabric of my heart and soul. You know me: that means that they are my heart and soul.
apolla: (Default)
I was in Dublin the weekend before last, to see the Dubliners. Went on my own because I've exhausted the very short list of people willing to go there with me for any reason, especially to hear a bunch of old men singing songs with phrases like 'whack fol la di da' and such.

I got into the city centre just after midday, which was the perfect time to go for my favourite lunch at O'Neill's carvery, then feeling very full I walked down to Baggot Street where I was staying in a place so brilliant that I want to go back for longer - it was a hotel room like any other but had a little kitchen thing so I didn't have to depend on Dublin's hugely expensive restaurants.

Anyway, it was about half two by the time I settled down and, having awoken at half six to get the train to the airport, and seeing a Susan Hayward film on TV I thought "ah sure, I'll just have a nap for an hour." I was going to go to Kilmainham Gaol, you see.

I woke up at half five, one afternoon of two in Dublin totally thrown away and so subsequently felt miffed at meself for wasting so much time... I stumbled around and got ready and meandered back towards Starbucks on College Green for a shot of caffeine - FUCK ME ARE FRAPPUCINOS EXPENSIVE IN THE REPUBLIC!. Bought one anyway and meandered up Dame Street past Christ Church, onto Thomas Street and there to one of my favourite venues ever: Vicar Street. Queued for ticket and saw Jim McCann arrive. Went inside and headed straight to the bar like everyone else. Paid THREE EURO, THREE! for a tiny bottle of Coke and then had to stand like a total loser on my own while everyone else hung out with friends. After wasting my afternoon I was feeling a bit shite, like I just shouldn't have bothered. The usual "Oh WOE, I have no money! Why am I here! Cry MOAR!"

As soon as we could, I went into the actual venue and found my table, only two rows back. Very good view, etc. Started putting together the various bits and pieces of a song I've been writing for awhile. Jim McCann came on and introduced the Dubliners, and I was glad to see that they were using it to remember Luke (dead 25 years this year), Ciaran (dead 21 years this year) and Ronnie (who died last year as mentioned here), rather than just as any old show.

As soon as Jim was there, I knew that I was right to have gone to the trouble. As soon as the group themselves came on, I forgot that I'd ever wished I'd stayed at home. They brought on some guests throughout - a young singer who was trying too hard to sound like Luke, Ronnie's son Phelim (usually an actor) and Luke's brother as well as another man whose name I can't recall.

There was one moment that made my heart almost stop in my chest. They played some video of Luke singing but first they just darkened the stage and played the audio of his poem 'For What Died The Sons of Roisin'. Now this was written by Luke in response to Irish policy during the 60s onwards whereby tracts of land were sold off to foreign buyers and that sort of thing. Played to the silent crowd at Vicar Street, it felt to me like Luke was berating us, fist shaking, from Heaven itself. Now your man Luke was a communist so he didn't believe in Heaven I suspect, but I hope he's there and if he is, said poem would have extra verses now too. As it was presented there, it chilled me to the bone and is still rattling in my head.

I do wish that they'd played video of Luke singing Raglan Road rather than giving it to Patsy Watchorn. He's a perfectly fine singer and he fits well with the Dubliners (he joined quite recently) but he's just not Luke.

Luke's brother sang 'The Parting Glass'. I swear kids, when I die, you're to play Ronnie Drew's version of that song for me.

As for Ronnie, they played some video of him singing McAlpine's Fusiliers, which was nice... but I suppose his death is still kinda recent and it was very odd to see, really.

Good show though, and I am glad I went, even though it's put me in my overdraft until payday.

*

I went to Kilmainham Gaol on Sunday. Missed my stop on the bus but got off just in time to not be totally out of the way. It was all by guided tour and it was fascinating. The gaol was used in plenty of films I've seen (The Italian Job, Michael Collins, The Wind That Shakes The Barley) so it was familiar to a point. They've hosted concerts there (including the Dubliners) and I just thought 'hey, I'd love to sing here'. It didn't help the swelling anger in my heart that Luke had spurred on the night before, especially when it was pointed out that the Staters executed some republicans there, in the same way that the British killed the Easter Rising fellows... It's just a place that summarises very neatly the hypocrisy and violence of Ireland's past and brings its present into stark relief.

I actually wrote a poem/song of my own after that, sat in Gallagher's Boxty House eating my dinner. I might post it here, I might even send it to Irish papers or something. I dunno. I can feel Dublin changing, and not necessarily for the better. To a point, in some ways it feels like it could be - say it quietly - just any city in Britain. Honestly. The people are changing too. I can feel the changes since I first visited, and that was only 2004. There are songs about Dublin changing - The Mero, Dublin In The Rare Auld Times - and all cities change, but I think something not-good is happening there and it's a little hard to describe... but it's happening. Maybe the Celtic Tiger wrought as much destruction as anything else...

*

I was working at the Wakestock festival in Wales this weekend past. It sucked. I mean it was awful: small, uninteresting, full of dance music and had an audience made up almost entirely of 17 year olds from Manchester and Liverpool all doing their best to get as drunk as possible as quickly as possible. This was made very easy by the WKD and Jagermeister stalls. Then on Saturday there was torrential rain. Some scally bastards stole some of my tent pegs so my tent leaked, but I'd already covered everything in plastic so it was half-OK. But I was working the dance music stage that day and couldn't really leave because of work and the weather so I was stuck listening to drum n bass for fucking hours. HOURS.

Sunday was better. I was at the XFM stage which was live music. I have to say that everyone working there I encountered was really nice, including the DJs (who generally don't give a shit about what we do because it's not their music) and the security (a profession that seems to generally attract bastards but not this time).... but for the first time I really wished I was there as an artiste and not as what I was doing. Because then I would've been able to leave.

I was so bored that I kept going back to my tent just to sit. Still with my earplugs in. I read Private Eye at least four times cover to cover. Even the financial articles.

Got lost driving back too, but it was halfway up a mountain in Snowdonia so the views were great. Now wish I was back in Co. Kerry, of course.

*

Proof (as if I needed it) that I'm in love with Rory Gallagher's music came when I got home last night and was able to listen to him for the first time since whenever (barring the one CD that I took with my discman that wasn't scratched to fuck) and I started grinning and dancing around the room.

Tired today, obviously. I should go to bed but...........................................................................................

apolla: (Default)
I was in Dublin the weekend before last, to see the Dubliners. Went on my own because I've exhausted the very short list of people willing to go there with me for any reason, especially to hear a bunch of old men singing songs with phrases like 'whack fol la di da' and such.

I got into the city centre just after midday, which was the perfect time to go for my favourite lunch at O'Neill's carvery, then feeling very full I walked down to Baggot Street where I was staying in a place so brilliant that I want to go back for longer - it was a hotel room like any other but had a little kitchen thing so I didn't have to depend on Dublin's hugely expensive restaurants.

Anyway, it was about half two by the time I settled down and, having awoken at half six to get the train to the airport, and seeing a Susan Hayward film on TV I thought "ah sure, I'll just have a nap for an hour." I was going to go to Kilmainham Gaol, you see.

I woke up at half five, one afternoon of two in Dublin totally thrown away and so subsequently felt miffed at meself for wasting so much time... I stumbled around and got ready and meandered back towards Starbucks on College Green for a shot of caffeine - FUCK ME ARE FRAPPUCINOS EXPENSIVE IN THE REPUBLIC!. Bought one anyway and meandered up Dame Street past Christ Church, onto Thomas Street and there to one of my favourite venues ever: Vicar Street. Queued for ticket and saw Jim McCann arrive. Went inside and headed straight to the bar like everyone else. Paid THREE EURO, THREE! for a tiny bottle of Coke and then had to stand like a total loser on my own while everyone else hung out with friends. After wasting my afternoon I was feeling a bit shite, like I just shouldn't have bothered. The usual "Oh WOE, I have no money! Why am I here! Cry MOAR!"

As soon as we could, I went into the actual venue and found my table, only two rows back. Very good view, etc. Started putting together the various bits and pieces of a song I've been writing for awhile. Jim McCann came on and introduced the Dubliners, and I was glad to see that they were using it to remember Luke (dead 25 years this year), Ciaran (dead 21 years this year) and Ronnie (who died last year as mentioned here), rather than just as any old show.

As soon as Jim was there, I knew that I was right to have gone to the trouble. As soon as the group themselves came on, I forgot that I'd ever wished I'd stayed at home. They brought on some guests throughout - a young singer who was trying too hard to sound like Luke, Ronnie's son Phelim (usually an actor) and Luke's brother as well as another man whose name I can't recall.

There was one moment that made my heart almost stop in my chest. They played some video of Luke singing but first they just darkened the stage and played the audio of his poem 'For What Died The Sons of Roisin'. Now this was written by Luke in response to Irish policy during the 60s onwards whereby tracts of land were sold off to foreign buyers and that sort of thing. Played to the silent crowd at Vicar Street, it felt to me like Luke was berating us, fist shaking, from Heaven itself. Now your man Luke was a communist so he didn't believe in Heaven I suspect, but I hope he's there and if he is, said poem would have extra verses now too. As it was presented there, it chilled me to the bone and is still rattling in my head.

I do wish that they'd played video of Luke singing Raglan Road rather than giving it to Patsy Watchorn. He's a perfectly fine singer and he fits well with the Dubliners (he joined quite recently) but he's just not Luke.

Luke's brother sang 'The Parting Glass'. I swear kids, when I die, you're to play Ronnie Drew's version of that song for me.

As for Ronnie, they played some video of him singing McAlpine's Fusiliers, which was nice... but I suppose his death is still kinda recent and it was very odd to see, really.

Good show though, and I am glad I went, even though it's put me in my overdraft until payday.

*

I went to Kilmainham Gaol on Sunday. Missed my stop on the bus but got off just in time to not be totally out of the way. It was all by guided tour and it was fascinating. The gaol was used in plenty of films I've seen (The Italian Job, Michael Collins, The Wind That Shakes The Barley) so it was familiar to a point. They've hosted concerts there (including the Dubliners) and I just thought 'hey, I'd love to sing here'. It didn't help the swelling anger in my heart that Luke had spurred on the night before, especially when it was pointed out that the Staters executed some republicans there, in the same way that the British killed the Easter Rising fellows... It's just a place that summarises very neatly the hypocrisy and violence of Ireland's past and brings its present into stark relief.

I actually wrote a poem/song of my own after that, sat in Gallagher's Boxty House eating my dinner. I might post it here, I might even send it to Irish papers or something. I dunno. I can feel Dublin changing, and not necessarily for the better. To a point, in some ways it feels like it could be - say it quietly - just any city in Britain. Honestly. The people are changing too. I can feel the changes since I first visited, and that was only 2004. There are songs about Dublin changing - The Mero, Dublin In The Rare Auld Times - and all cities change, but I think something not-good is happening there and it's a little hard to describe... but it's happening. Maybe the Celtic Tiger wrought as much destruction as anything else...

*

I was working at the Wakestock festival in Wales this weekend past. It sucked. I mean it was awful: small, uninteresting, full of dance music and had an audience made up almost entirely of 17 year olds from Manchester and Liverpool all doing their best to get as drunk as possible as quickly as possible. This was made very easy by the WKD and Jagermeister stalls. Then on Saturday there was torrential rain. Some scally bastards stole some of my tent pegs so my tent leaked, but I'd already covered everything in plastic so it was half-OK. But I was working the dance music stage that day and couldn't really leave because of work and the weather so I was stuck listening to drum n bass for fucking hours. HOURS.

Sunday was better. I was at the XFM stage which was live music. I have to say that everyone working there I encountered was really nice, including the DJs (who generally don't give a shit about what we do because it's not their music) and the security (a profession that seems to generally attract bastards but not this time).... but for the first time I really wished I was there as an artiste and not as what I was doing. Because then I would've been able to leave.

I was so bored that I kept going back to my tent just to sit. Still with my earplugs in. I read Private Eye at least four times cover to cover. Even the financial articles.

Got lost driving back too, but it was halfway up a mountain in Snowdonia so the views were great. Now wish I was back in Co. Kerry, of course.

*

Proof (as if I needed it) that I'm in love with Rory Gallagher's music came when I got home last night and was able to listen to him for the first time since whenever (barring the one CD that I took with my discman that wasn't scratched to fuck) and I started grinning and dancing around the room.

Tired today, obviously. I should go to bed but...........................................................................................

apolla: (OTP)
This time last Sunday, I was curled up in a bed in Cork City watching RTE One. Now, I'm in my own living room watching a really, really old Miss Marple. It's from 1985, according to The Great Wiki.

I miss Ireland so much that I actually started missing it about six hours before I left. Anyway, I had a perfectly nice time although I didn't do as much as I wanted to. Holidays on your own are a bit weird, also, but I liked being able to do exactly what I wanted to.

*

Went to some movies while I was in Dublin. I started off thinking I'd just go see The Mummy 3 but it was so awful that I ended up marching straight back into the box office and getting myself a ticket for Mamma Mia also. Then the next day I was so knackered that I killed some time by catching The Dark Knight a second time.

The Mummy 3 is so absolutely fucking awful that for the first time ever I considered leaving the cinema. I didn't, if only cos I'd spent 9 euro on the ticket. It is so beyond bad... Remember what we all loved about the first two movies? It was ALL thrown out of this movie to be replaced with absolute tosh. Alex is so absolutely different (in all sorts of bad ways) that he might as well be someone else. Maria Bello is all right but not exactly awe-inspiring... and somehow insipid next to the old Evy O'Connell.

When we were first introduced to Evy Carnahan, she was a dowdy, clumsy librarian to be sure... but she had her dreams and her aspirations. She knew she was going to have great adventures, and went after them. I loved her in The Mummy Returns because she'd blossomed into this wonderful, feisty, successful lady. It was a mark of how interesting and rounded she was that when it turns out she was the reincarnation/descendant of an ancient Egyptian princess, it made a certain amount of sense. It was OK, you know? Not Mary-Sueish.

Maria Bello's Evy was... suburban. I found it hard to believe that this Evy had been a spy or whatever during the war. She exhibited none of the spark of the 'real' Evy... and none of the depth of knowledge, the sense, that the old one had. I don't think it's entirely Maria Bello's fault - the story and the script were the kind of cack you'd expect from anything else, not the Mummy movies.

Rick was OK. He was the same old, same old. He was fine, although doesn't seem to have aged at all since, you know, the thirties!

Alex. This is what made me really, really pissed off. I don't care that they skipped ahead so that he was basically an adult now. I don't care, really I don't., What I really hated though, was that they took the once precocious, intelligent, thoughtful little boy with an English accent... and turned him into a gun-loving, brutish dolt with no sensitivity and an American accent. Where'd he pick that up, exactly?

I could almost believe that Rick and Alex had some sort of falling out, or drifiting apart since the second movie - but Rick had no problem showing the old Alex affection. Clearly Rick knew that the New Alex was an idiot and wanted the old one back.

Add in a few tired cliches: the handy pilot that Rick already knew, the mummy's henchman - and some new nonsense: the chemistry-less romantic subplot, a vaguely interesting subplot between the general and the witchy woman - and it's basically shit.

There were a few things I liked, but they weren't used - they were at SHANGRI-LA and they just switched to the Great Wall instead! The General guy was there, brought back, and yet nothing was done with it except to explain why those mummies don't kill Rick and 'Evy'.

It was one of those movies that basically shouldn't have ever been made... but to make it so badly is unforgivable.

[personal profile] logansrogue: DON'T WATCH IT!!

*

Mamma Mia was OK. It took me a long time (at least half the movie) to get into it. The singing was adequate but not excellent, the dancing was lacklustre and the scenery was the best thing of the whole movie. I didn't dislike it, certainly.

I have issues with Abba anyway. When I was about ten, I really got into them - I wanted that red spiky hair that Frida had in the latter days. I even saw Abba: The Movie more than once. Problem was, at the first music lesson we had at secondary school we were asked what music we liked. I said, without shame: Abba. This was 1993 and they were not held in the esteem they now possess. This was 1993, before they became cool again, before Mamma Mia and dozens of shit weekend TV programmes featuring 'celebrities' talking about and performing Abba songs. This is before they were on the cover of MOJO magazine and before they were being called 'perfect pop'.

Still, this was before X-Factor and Popstars, so there wasn't anything truly, truly heinous to compare them to.

This would be fine... except that this one answer to one question shaped, more than almost anything, the way my scholastic career was to pan out. 'Abbafan' became a great insult and it was flung at me time and time again. Sure, my wearing of shocking pink baseball boots a few weeks later was to make things worse... but that one answer to one question set the scene. I'm sure I would've had a miserable seven years even if I'd answered 'rave music' like so many of the others. At the time I remember thinking: "You're eleven fucking years old, you don't go to fucking raves, you lying fuck."

Incidentally, those shocking pink Chuck Taylors now retail for £45 in the shops. I have a new pair, too. Those sneakers are fashionable (to a point) and Abba are 'cool'. I was fifteen years ahead of the curve (or indeed, thirty behind it)... and unfortunately, Abba have borne the brunt of this. I can't listen to them anymore without feeling the pain. I have a couple of their songs on my iPod actually - the depressing stuff - The Winner Takes It All and The Day Before You Came. But I don't know where my copy of Abba Gold is, even though it was one of my first ever CDs (as opposed to vinyl or cassette). I was a little surprised by the fact I still knew all the words to all the songs in the movie... but Abba will inextricably be linked to a time in my life I'm still trying to recover from.

No, I can't really blame Abba, of course I can't. Perhaps I should blame the cruelty of sheeple children. Perhaps I should blame myself. I don't know... but I can't help wonderign what would've happened if I'd answered that one question differently.........

*

Ronnie Drew
died the afternoon before I went to Ireland. He was 73, had been ill for two years and so it can hardly be considered a 'tragedy'... but I'll admit to you I saw the news on BBC News Online and sat and cried. When I tried to tell my mum what had happened, I started crying again... and she proceeded to explain to Mikey's girlfriend in a manner I considered 'belittling'. She simply doesn't understand why I feel so attached to musicians or whatever - she called them 'celebrities' and didn't even lower her fucking voice so I couldn't hear.

I wrote a post about this while I was in Ireland which maybe I'll post... but the simple fact is that Ronnie was one of Those Voices as far as I'm concerned. I didn't talk about him as much as I did people like Jim or Philip, or even your man Flynn... but his is one of the voices I love so much I can't imagine living without it. I like Luke Kelly's voice, I think it's one of the best ever, but I love Ronnie's.

The only real 'positive' I can see to this is that the timing meant that I was in the right country at the right time - Ronnie's death was covered briefly in Britain but the Irish loved the man and it was everywhere. I must've spent ten euros on newspapers over the course of my time there to get the coverage. In fact, this time last Sunday I was watching a Ronnie documentary on RTE One which I'd never have seen on British TV.

Anyway: Jim. Philip. Dino. John. George. Plant. Dylan. Ronnie. Those are the voices I don't ever want to live without, and I don't say this because Ronnie's dead. I was saying it last week. In fact, last Saturday morning I walked to my mammy & daddy's house from the town centre singing along with him. Four hours later, he was dead.

I hope he's been reunited with those he loved and who loved him that went before. He deserves naught less.

*

It was Philip Lynott's birthday on 20th August, and it was one of the reasons I chose to go to Ireland when I did. I was vaguely thinking of not going up to see him... but I woke up early, checked out and got onto the DART. I know it was only half past ten when I arrived at the cemetery (St Fintan's, Sutton) but there was nobody there! Someone had left flowers fairly recently and there was all sorts of stuff left for him as usual - you can see which is his grave from far away in the cemetery because of all the stuff around it...

But there was nobody else there! It was nice that I was there on my own, just me and my hero... but I don't want him to be forgotten. Anyway, I left him a note, as I did last time, and as I had a bunch of bracelets on, I slid the little white one off my wrist and added it to the collection of bracelets left by fans. I can live without it, after all. I hope people did go up there later in the day, because he shouldn't be forgotten. I noticed later that day that the pub near his statue was full of people outside smoking, but they were paying no attention to the statue. Fair enough, but don't forget him!

[profile] marquiserachel is right - statue does have two left feet, but it's not totally noticeable. I pointed it out on Tuesday night to some guys stood by it and we ended up conversing about Rory Gallagher, who was from Cork.

I bought myself The Essential Rory Gallagher while I was in Cork, but... I don't think I can afford to get sucked in by another Dead Irish Musician.

Speaking of Rachel: I must take you to Cork, but also to Dublin again - you'd really get a kick out of the National Museum 'annexe' at the Collins Barracks.

*

Speaking of the National Museum, I arrived there on Tuesday, fresh off the train from Cork. There I was in my big, burnt orange (Mammy swears it's 'brick' coloured) rain jacket... my Louise Brooks hair was ruined by not having straighteners with me... I felt exhausted...

And there were the 31 contestants for the Rose of Tralee for a photocall.

Now, I know that I'm no beauty, really I do. But I have never felt quite so ugly as when they trooped past me into the museum. I actually waited to see what direction they went in so I could go in the opposite.

I have never EVER wanted to be part of some idiotic beauty contest before... but I felt so... not jealous but wistful perhaps. Why? Not because they're beautiful but because it's about being Irish...

The BNP apparently tried to intercede because this year's London Rose has a Jamaican father. Quite aside from the fuckwittery of telling a black girl she can't take part in an Irish thing because she's black... they're the BRITISH National Party! What fucking business is it of theirs to dictate ANYTHING to the Irish? That's what started all the trouble before!

*

I always feel most English when I'm in Ireland. All the rest of the time I feel whatever it is I am (Irish-Anglo, I suppose)... but in Ireland I can feel all the most English traits of mine - being a bit uptight about the time, especially for trains and buses etc, whatever. But then again, i think I developed some of those from my granny, who grew up in Co. Derry, so maybe it's nothing to do with 'Englishness' or 'Irishness' at all.

I just... a bit like the Abba question, I wonder what manner of person I would be if I'd been brought up in Galway after all?

*

My friend Louise is back in England for the first time since moving to Australia. I'm off to see her on Thursday and can't wait...

Other than that, nothing interesting. How about you lot?
apolla: (OTP)
This time last Sunday, I was curled up in a bed in Cork City watching RTE One. Now, I'm in my own living room watching a really, really old Miss Marple. It's from 1985, according to The Great Wiki.

I miss Ireland so much that I actually started missing it about six hours before I left. Anyway, I had a perfectly nice time although I didn't do as much as I wanted to. Holidays on your own are a bit weird, also, but I liked being able to do exactly what I wanted to.

*

Went to some movies while I was in Dublin. I started off thinking I'd just go see The Mummy 3 but it was so awful that I ended up marching straight back into the box office and getting myself a ticket for Mamma Mia also. Then the next day I was so knackered that I killed some time by catching The Dark Knight a second time.

The Mummy 3 is so absolutely fucking awful that for the first time ever I considered leaving the cinema. I didn't, if only cos I'd spent 9 euro on the ticket. It is so beyond bad... Remember what we all loved about the first two movies? It was ALL thrown out of this movie to be replaced with absolute tosh. Alex is so absolutely different (in all sorts of bad ways) that he might as well be someone else. Maria Bello is all right but not exactly awe-inspiring... and somehow insipid next to the old Evy O'Connell.

When we were first introduced to Evy Carnahan, she was a dowdy, clumsy librarian to be sure... but she had her dreams and her aspirations. She knew she was going to have great adventures, and went after them. I loved her in The Mummy Returns because she'd blossomed into this wonderful, feisty, successful lady. It was a mark of how interesting and rounded she was that when it turns out she was the reincarnation/descendant of an ancient Egyptian princess, it made a certain amount of sense. It was OK, you know? Not Mary-Sueish.

Maria Bello's Evy was... suburban. I found it hard to believe that this Evy had been a spy or whatever during the war. She exhibited none of the spark of the 'real' Evy... and none of the depth of knowledge, the sense, that the old one had. I don't think it's entirely Maria Bello's fault - the story and the script were the kind of cack you'd expect from anything else, not the Mummy movies.

Rick was OK. He was the same old, same old. He was fine, although doesn't seem to have aged at all since, you know, the thirties!

Alex. This is what made me really, really pissed off. I don't care that they skipped ahead so that he was basically an adult now. I don't care, really I don't., What I really hated though, was that they took the once precocious, intelligent, thoughtful little boy with an English accent... and turned him into a gun-loving, brutish dolt with no sensitivity and an American accent. Where'd he pick that up, exactly?

I could almost believe that Rick and Alex had some sort of falling out, or drifiting apart since the second movie - but Rick had no problem showing the old Alex affection. Clearly Rick knew that the New Alex was an idiot and wanted the old one back.

Add in a few tired cliches: the handy pilot that Rick already knew, the mummy's henchman - and some new nonsense: the chemistry-less romantic subplot, a vaguely interesting subplot between the general and the witchy woman - and it's basically shit.

There were a few things I liked, but they weren't used - they were at SHANGRI-LA and they just switched to the Great Wall instead! The General guy was there, brought back, and yet nothing was done with it except to explain why those mummies don't kill Rick and 'Evy'.

It was one of those movies that basically shouldn't have ever been made... but to make it so badly is unforgivable.

[personal profile] logansrogue: DON'T WATCH IT!!

*

Mamma Mia was OK. It took me a long time (at least half the movie) to get into it. The singing was adequate but not excellent, the dancing was lacklustre and the scenery was the best thing of the whole movie. I didn't dislike it, certainly.

I have issues with Abba anyway. When I was about ten, I really got into them - I wanted that red spiky hair that Frida had in the latter days. I even saw Abba: The Movie more than once. Problem was, at the first music lesson we had at secondary school we were asked what music we liked. I said, without shame: Abba. This was 1993 and they were not held in the esteem they now possess. This was 1993, before they became cool again, before Mamma Mia and dozens of shit weekend TV programmes featuring 'celebrities' talking about and performing Abba songs. This is before they were on the cover of MOJO magazine and before they were being called 'perfect pop'.

Still, this was before X-Factor and Popstars, so there wasn't anything truly, truly heinous to compare them to.

This would be fine... except that this one answer to one question shaped, more than almost anything, the way my scholastic career was to pan out. 'Abbafan' became a great insult and it was flung at me time and time again. Sure, my wearing of shocking pink baseball boots a few weeks later was to make things worse... but that one answer to one question set the scene. I'm sure I would've had a miserable seven years even if I'd answered 'rave music' like so many of the others. At the time I remember thinking: "You're eleven fucking years old, you don't go to fucking raves, you lying fuck."

Incidentally, those shocking pink Chuck Taylors now retail for £45 in the shops. I have a new pair, too. Those sneakers are fashionable (to a point) and Abba are 'cool'. I was fifteen years ahead of the curve (or indeed, thirty behind it)... and unfortunately, Abba have borne the brunt of this. I can't listen to them anymore without feeling the pain. I have a couple of their songs on my iPod actually - the depressing stuff - The Winner Takes It All and The Day Before You Came. But I don't know where my copy of Abba Gold is, even though it was one of my first ever CDs (as opposed to vinyl or cassette). I was a little surprised by the fact I still knew all the words to all the songs in the movie... but Abba will inextricably be linked to a time in my life I'm still trying to recover from.

No, I can't really blame Abba, of course I can't. Perhaps I should blame the cruelty of sheeple children. Perhaps I should blame myself. I don't know... but I can't help wonderign what would've happened if I'd answered that one question differently.........

*

Ronnie Drew
died the afternoon before I went to Ireland. He was 73, had been ill for two years and so it can hardly be considered a 'tragedy'... but I'll admit to you I saw the news on BBC News Online and sat and cried. When I tried to tell my mum what had happened, I started crying again... and she proceeded to explain to Mikey's girlfriend in a manner I considered 'belittling'. She simply doesn't understand why I feel so attached to musicians or whatever - she called them 'celebrities' and didn't even lower her fucking voice so I couldn't hear.

I wrote a post about this while I was in Ireland which maybe I'll post... but the simple fact is that Ronnie was one of Those Voices as far as I'm concerned. I didn't talk about him as much as I did people like Jim or Philip, or even your man Flynn... but his is one of the voices I love so much I can't imagine living without it. I like Luke Kelly's voice, I think it's one of the best ever, but I love Ronnie's.

The only real 'positive' I can see to this is that the timing meant that I was in the right country at the right time - Ronnie's death was covered briefly in Britain but the Irish loved the man and it was everywhere. I must've spent ten euros on newspapers over the course of my time there to get the coverage. In fact, this time last Sunday I was watching a Ronnie documentary on RTE One which I'd never have seen on British TV.

Anyway: Jim. Philip. Dino. John. George. Plant. Dylan. Ronnie. Those are the voices I don't ever want to live without, and I don't say this because Ronnie's dead. I was saying it last week. In fact, last Saturday morning I walked to my mammy & daddy's house from the town centre singing along with him. Four hours later, he was dead.

I hope he's been reunited with those he loved and who loved him that went before. He deserves naught less.

*

It was Philip Lynott's birthday on 20th August, and it was one of the reasons I chose to go to Ireland when I did. I was vaguely thinking of not going up to see him... but I woke up early, checked out and got onto the DART. I know it was only half past ten when I arrived at the cemetery (St Fintan's, Sutton) but there was nobody there! Someone had left flowers fairly recently and there was all sorts of stuff left for him as usual - you can see which is his grave from far away in the cemetery because of all the stuff around it...

But there was nobody else there! It was nice that I was there on my own, just me and my hero... but I don't want him to be forgotten. Anyway, I left him a note, as I did last time, and as I had a bunch of bracelets on, I slid the little white one off my wrist and added it to the collection of bracelets left by fans. I can live without it, after all. I hope people did go up there later in the day, because he shouldn't be forgotten. I noticed later that day that the pub near his statue was full of people outside smoking, but they were paying no attention to the statue. Fair enough, but don't forget him!

[profile] marquiserachel is right - statue does have two left feet, but it's not totally noticeable. I pointed it out on Tuesday night to some guys stood by it and we ended up conversing about Rory Gallagher, who was from Cork.

I bought myself The Essential Rory Gallagher while I was in Cork, but... I don't think I can afford to get sucked in by another Dead Irish Musician.

Speaking of Rachel: I must take you to Cork, but also to Dublin again - you'd really get a kick out of the National Museum 'annexe' at the Collins Barracks.

*

Speaking of the National Museum, I arrived there on Tuesday, fresh off the train from Cork. There I was in my big, burnt orange (Mammy swears it's 'brick' coloured) rain jacket... my Louise Brooks hair was ruined by not having straighteners with me... I felt exhausted...

And there were the 31 contestants for the Rose of Tralee for a photocall.

Now, I know that I'm no beauty, really I do. But I have never felt quite so ugly as when they trooped past me into the museum. I actually waited to see what direction they went in so I could go in the opposite.

I have never EVER wanted to be part of some idiotic beauty contest before... but I felt so... not jealous but wistful perhaps. Why? Not because they're beautiful but because it's about being Irish...

The BNP apparently tried to intercede because this year's London Rose has a Jamaican father. Quite aside from the fuckwittery of telling a black girl she can't take part in an Irish thing because she's black... they're the BRITISH National Party! What fucking business is it of theirs to dictate ANYTHING to the Irish? That's what started all the trouble before!

*

I always feel most English when I'm in Ireland. All the rest of the time I feel whatever it is I am (Irish-Anglo, I suppose)... but in Ireland I can feel all the most English traits of mine - being a bit uptight about the time, especially for trains and buses etc, whatever. But then again, i think I developed some of those from my granny, who grew up in Co. Derry, so maybe it's nothing to do with 'Englishness' or 'Irishness' at all.

I just... a bit like the Abba question, I wonder what manner of person I would be if I'd been brought up in Galway after all?

*

My friend Louise is back in England for the first time since moving to Australia. I'm off to see her on Thursday and can't wait...

Other than that, nothing interesting. How about you lot?
apolla: (Live And Dangerous)
In January, some time after returning from Dublin, I sat down and began writing the Epic Lizzy Post that I've been threatening to unleash on the world for months and months and more months. Shards of it are in front of me now, in a dog-eared, torn, pitiful excuse of a notebook. It became a monster within moments of pen touching paper. Within only four sides, it had descended into "Fuck you Philip, and your little dog too!" and surely, I could do better?

I'm afraid that I can't. I cannot explain or express what it is about them without taking my pen and sticking it into my head and hoping that what spills out is a rough draft of the way I feel and think on a daily basis.

It's a shame really, because I put more effort into this thing than I did an entire secondary school education. There were notes, post-it notes, notes on me hand, scrawled memos to self, the whole caper.

I can't do it. I raise the white flag of "Dude, you're kidding me" because after all those post-its and pages of rambling, I cannot tell you why. There is nothing I can tell you about the band that their own music could not tell you itself, better. There is nothing I can tell you about Philip Lynott that he himself did not say.

I could tell you about Johnny, the alter-ego that shows up in songs throughout the Lizzy canon. I could tell you about the issues he faced, the demons he battled and the private war he lost. I could even tell you about Scott Gorham's shiny hair, Robbo's kimono and Downey's mirror sunglasses. None of this is stuff I could report better than they could play it.

So I propose a compromise of sorts. In the time-honoured rock tradition of Endless Naffing Lists, I present to you: a bunch of lists. I don't suggest you download the whole lot, or go out and buy the entire Lizzy catalogue on CD, although if you want to, please do. I could tell you about the diverse nature of the Lizzy legend and Philip's astounding way with words, but the music itself does that better.

The ability of Lizzy to cross generic boundaries and borders was rare in 'hard rock/heavy metal' back then, and is even rarer in these thoroughly pigeon-holed days. Perhaps it was the diversity of the band that caused the record companies the headaches and slowed their assaults on the US even more.

So I do not present you with a twenty thousand word treatise. I present you instead with lists, because you might all find something to love. If you're really lucky, like I was, you'll love it all.

apolla: (Live And Dangerous)
In January, some time after returning from Dublin, I sat down and began writing the Epic Lizzy Post that I've been threatening to unleash on the world for months and months and more months. Shards of it are in front of me now, in a dog-eared, torn, pitiful excuse of a notebook. It became a monster within moments of pen touching paper. Within only four sides, it had descended into "Fuck you Philip, and your little dog too!" and surely, I could do better?

I'm afraid that I can't. I cannot explain or express what it is about them without taking my pen and sticking it into my head and hoping that what spills out is a rough draft of the way I feel and think on a daily basis.

It's a shame really, because I put more effort into this thing than I did an entire secondary school education. There were notes, post-it notes, notes on me hand, scrawled memos to self, the whole caper.

I can't do it. I raise the white flag of "Dude, you're kidding me" because after all those post-its and pages of rambling, I cannot tell you why. There is nothing I can tell you about the band that their own music could not tell you itself, better. There is nothing I can tell you about Philip Lynott that he himself did not say.

I could tell you about Johnny, the alter-ego that shows up in songs throughout the Lizzy canon. I could tell you about the issues he faced, the demons he battled and the private war he lost. I could even tell you about Scott Gorham's shiny hair, Robbo's kimono and Downey's mirror sunglasses. None of this is stuff I could report better than they could play it.

So I propose a compromise of sorts. In the time-honoured rock tradition of Endless Naffing Lists, I present to you: a bunch of lists. I don't suggest you download the whole lot, or go out and buy the entire Lizzy catalogue on CD, although if you want to, please do. I could tell you about the diverse nature of the Lizzy legend and Philip's astounding way with words, but the music itself does that better.

The ability of Lizzy to cross generic boundaries and borders was rare in 'hard rock/heavy metal' back then, and is even rarer in these thoroughly pigeon-holed days. Perhaps it was the diversity of the band that caused the record companies the headaches and slowed their assaults on the US even more.

So I do not present you with a twenty thousand word treatise. I present you instead with lists, because you might all find something to love. If you're really lucky, like I was, you'll love it all.

apolla: (Lynott)

So, you might have (but probably haven't) noticed how quiet I've been on a certain tall dark handsome subject lately. It's not that I'm bored with Thin Lizzy (as if) or haven't been listening to them (please), it's just that I've been sick and unable or unwilling to dick about on the computer repeating myself as I usually do.

That ends here. So, last week when I was dying of an ear infection (so it turned out I was being dramatic), I bought Solo in Soho, the first Philip Lynott solo record. This wouldn't really be notable, except that I do already own it on CD and bought the vinyl. Given the means, I could become such a vinyl junkie- I was narrowly outbid for a Philip/Gary Moore picture disc, too. And no, I can't justify spending twenty-five quid on a record, so yes, I was outbid.

Anyway, that's not why I'm here. The final filmed live performance by Thin Lizzy was in Dublin in 1983, and has just been released on DVD. And yes, I bought it and I'm watching it.

This is the bit where I yammer on about how Philip looks overweight, tired and otherwise not his 'usual' self. This is the bit where I yammer on about how they're just loud heavy metal boys by 1983. This is the bit where I suggest that Scott Gorham lost some of his powers a la Samson when he cut most of his hair off and started taking drugs (again). This is the bit where I point out that John Sykes may in fact, be my least favourite Lizzy guitarist (brief guys like Midge Ure and Dave Flett don't count) even beneath Gary Moore, who winds me up for reasons passing understanding.

It hasn't escaped my attention that the picture of Philip plastered on the front of the DVD is decidedly not from 1983. I'd date it from about 1976 given the size of his afro, the slenderness of his face and the clothes he's wearing. All in all, it's not the same-looking feller as who turns up on the disc.

And yes, in my opinion, they start off pretty blah. I don't like Thunder & Lightning much and likely never will. It's not like Renegade, which needed to grow on me. It's much more like Shades of a Blue Orphanage, which has a couple of songs so great that it saves the rest of the otherwise mediocre output (Thin Lizzy were never bad, but they occasionally skirted mediocrity)... and I don't like the title song Thunder & Lightning. It's blah. It's almost interchangeable, in my opinion, with most heavy metal released at the time, and from any other band this would be OK... but not from a band like Thin Lizzy, who were so un-metal a lot of the time to actually defy their own genre. I know some people think Thunder & Lightning was a great renaissance, but most of these are the metalheads who didn't like Snowy White (great guitarist, stage presence of a junior accountant) and so dismissed the likes of Renegade. I'm generalising, but who gives a fuck?

Oh also, the DVD opens with a few bits of 'interview' with guitarists Brian Robertson and Eric Bell, Dave Ling (journalist apparently), George Best (presumably from before he died, but who can tell?), Nick Tauber (producer), artist Jim Fitzpatrick, and his pals Brush Shiels and Smiley Bolger.

The idiotic voiceover says the following concert was a 'triumphant homecoming', but how can it be when they're a shadow of their former selves, the band was over within six months and Philip died within a couple of years.

"He was just born a star, really," said Robbo in his moment here.... and yes, Philip was. It's the star quality that keeps this concert from being on a par with the Not-Doors. It's still Thin Lizzy after all, even if they're not quite running at full majestic power. It's still Philip, so to hear that t'ick Dub accent still warms my heart... until he says that Cold Sweat is "for anybody who has the flu". Right. Got To Give It Up is about an addiction to Sherbert Dip, I presume?

Anyway, I was talking about how blah it is. It is... and then Are You Ready? finally kicks them up a gear (always a great live song, that)... and shit... Darren Wharton is wearing the shiniest, brightest red satin shirt you've seen in your fuckin' life! It's practically glowing, for fuck's sake. Other sartorial nonsense: Mr Gorham's white sneakers with an entirely black outfit. Clever, mate. Don't even get me started on his fringe, man.

That's not important. What is important is the way your man Scott is jumping around the stage like a total loon. Now, this is par for the course for about 99% of guitarists, most of whom always feel they gotta compete with the strutting peacock singing, right? No. This is Scott Gorham we're talking about, a man who personifies the laidback California thing, right? Who will stand and look like he's shagging the guitar... but this jumping around stuff would be a shock if I hadn't already seen some of these clips in *cough* bootlegs. John Sykes, with his bleach blond heavy metal perm is no better and they look ludicrous and not cool. Thin Lizzy were always cool.

So I was starting to feel a bit dischuffed... then after Are You Ready? and Cold Sweat came The Sun Goes Down. You know I said there are a couple of songs on Thunder & Lightning that save the record? This is the one. This is a song that sends tears to my eyes, shivers down my spine and aches to my heart. This is a song that has, on more than one occasion, taken hold of my soul and shut everything down but the feeling that this is the most beautiful thing in the world. And the saddest.

The live version, lacking the spit and polish of the studio, remains as musically stupendous, but has a certain poignancy. I know this is the last time they played Dublin, Lizzy's true home. I know himself would be dead soon. It means everything, and with only a microphone, Philip's voice reaches into my chest and starts my suddenly-frozen heart beating again. With a voice like that, Philip's looking less than svelte matters not one fraction of an iota of a nano-thing. And then Scott plays his solo... and it doesn't matter what fuckin shoes he's got on, what his hair is like... this solo is, to me, about pain and harrowing, harrowing suffering. It is about heartbreak, despair and that thing that sends people like me crashing to the depths of depression before we know what's hit us.

The last time I saw this clip, incidentally, I was leaning against the barrier at Vicar Street, Dublin, waiting for the twentieth Vibe For Philo to either start, or for the next guest. Everyone went quiet, and for the first time that evening, I truly felt like crying. I also felt like I wanted to be sick, but that's another story for another time.

"Is there anybody with a little Irish in them? Is there anybody who'd like a little more Irish in them?"

The first time I heard that line, it was Philip on Live and Dangerous, just before Emerald. I've heard that Colin Farrell uses the same line... but to me it sums everything up about Philip- cocky and charming, lecherous and adorable in the way little boys are when they try to be cool. It gets repeated in 1983 (which to a crowd in Dublin seems likely to get a response) and although it lacks a little of the youthful vigour it once had, the song still remains the same, although the solos are too 80s metal twiddly-Halen bollocks as far as I'm concerned.

Then again, Still In Love With You retains its usual ability to break my heart, soul and everything I have, into tiny little fucking pieces. Because yes, to be slightly cheesy, I am still in love with Thin Lizzy and their foolish, grand, broken giant of a singer.

I'm taking too long to explain this, aren't I? If you want to see a band breaking up, watch Let It Be. If you want to see a band dying, this might be for you. It is sad, it is triumphant. It is beautiful and occasionally blah... but it is never boring. To understand Thin Lizzy, I now know, one must hear what they were live. To see it, even in the fragments a DVD can provide, is even better. I can't persuade you all to love my boys... but this stuff would convert you. OK, maybe not this one, but should you be passing through an HMV/Tower/Virgin Megastore/Wherever and you happen to see my boy staring up at you... give it a go, hmm?

apolla: (Lynott)

So, you might have (but probably haven't) noticed how quiet I've been on a certain tall dark handsome subject lately. It's not that I'm bored with Thin Lizzy (as if) or haven't been listening to them (please), it's just that I've been sick and unable or unwilling to dick about on the computer repeating myself as I usually do.

That ends here. So, last week when I was dying of an ear infection (so it turned out I was being dramatic), I bought Solo in Soho, the first Philip Lynott solo record. This wouldn't really be notable, except that I do already own it on CD and bought the vinyl. Given the means, I could become such a vinyl junkie- I was narrowly outbid for a Philip/Gary Moore picture disc, too. And no, I can't justify spending twenty-five quid on a record, so yes, I was outbid.

Anyway, that's not why I'm here. The final filmed live performance by Thin Lizzy was in Dublin in 1983, and has just been released on DVD. And yes, I bought it and I'm watching it.

This is the bit where I yammer on about how Philip looks overweight, tired and otherwise not his 'usual' self. This is the bit where I yammer on about how they're just loud heavy metal boys by 1983. This is the bit where I suggest that Scott Gorham lost some of his powers a la Samson when he cut most of his hair off and started taking drugs (again). This is the bit where I point out that John Sykes may in fact, be my least favourite Lizzy guitarist (brief guys like Midge Ure and Dave Flett don't count) even beneath Gary Moore, who winds me up for reasons passing understanding.

It hasn't escaped my attention that the picture of Philip plastered on the front of the DVD is decidedly not from 1983. I'd date it from about 1976 given the size of his afro, the slenderness of his face and the clothes he's wearing. All in all, it's not the same-looking feller as who turns up on the disc.

And yes, in my opinion, they start off pretty blah. I don't like Thunder & Lightning much and likely never will. It's not like Renegade, which needed to grow on me. It's much more like Shades of a Blue Orphanage, which has a couple of songs so great that it saves the rest of the otherwise mediocre output (Thin Lizzy were never bad, but they occasionally skirted mediocrity)... and I don't like the title song Thunder & Lightning. It's blah. It's almost interchangeable, in my opinion, with most heavy metal released at the time, and from any other band this would be OK... but not from a band like Thin Lizzy, who were so un-metal a lot of the time to actually defy their own genre. I know some people think Thunder & Lightning was a great renaissance, but most of these are the metalheads who didn't like Snowy White (great guitarist, stage presence of a junior accountant) and so dismissed the likes of Renegade. I'm generalising, but who gives a fuck?

Oh also, the DVD opens with a few bits of 'interview' with guitarists Brian Robertson and Eric Bell, Dave Ling (journalist apparently), George Best (presumably from before he died, but who can tell?), Nick Tauber (producer), artist Jim Fitzpatrick, and his pals Brush Shiels and Smiley Bolger.

The idiotic voiceover says the following concert was a 'triumphant homecoming', but how can it be when they're a shadow of their former selves, the band was over within six months and Philip died within a couple of years.

"He was just born a star, really," said Robbo in his moment here.... and yes, Philip was. It's the star quality that keeps this concert from being on a par with the Not-Doors. It's still Thin Lizzy after all, even if they're not quite running at full majestic power. It's still Philip, so to hear that t'ick Dub accent still warms my heart... until he says that Cold Sweat is "for anybody who has the flu". Right. Got To Give It Up is about an addiction to Sherbert Dip, I presume?

Anyway, I was talking about how blah it is. It is... and then Are You Ready? finally kicks them up a gear (always a great live song, that)... and shit... Darren Wharton is wearing the shiniest, brightest red satin shirt you've seen in your fuckin' life! It's practically glowing, for fuck's sake. Other sartorial nonsense: Mr Gorham's white sneakers with an entirely black outfit. Clever, mate. Don't even get me started on his fringe, man.

That's not important. What is important is the way your man Scott is jumping around the stage like a total loon. Now, this is par for the course for about 99% of guitarists, most of whom always feel they gotta compete with the strutting peacock singing, right? No. This is Scott Gorham we're talking about, a man who personifies the laidback California thing, right? Who will stand and look like he's shagging the guitar... but this jumping around stuff would be a shock if I hadn't already seen some of these clips in *cough* bootlegs. John Sykes, with his bleach blond heavy metal perm is no better and they look ludicrous and not cool. Thin Lizzy were always cool.

So I was starting to feel a bit dischuffed... then after Are You Ready? and Cold Sweat came The Sun Goes Down. You know I said there are a couple of songs on Thunder & Lightning that save the record? This is the one. This is a song that sends tears to my eyes, shivers down my spine and aches to my heart. This is a song that has, on more than one occasion, taken hold of my soul and shut everything down but the feeling that this is the most beautiful thing in the world. And the saddest.

The live version, lacking the spit and polish of the studio, remains as musically stupendous, but has a certain poignancy. I know this is the last time they played Dublin, Lizzy's true home. I know himself would be dead soon. It means everything, and with only a microphone, Philip's voice reaches into my chest and starts my suddenly-frozen heart beating again. With a voice like that, Philip's looking less than svelte matters not one fraction of an iota of a nano-thing. And then Scott plays his solo... and it doesn't matter what fuckin shoes he's got on, what his hair is like... this solo is, to me, about pain and harrowing, harrowing suffering. It is about heartbreak, despair and that thing that sends people like me crashing to the depths of depression before we know what's hit us.

The last time I saw this clip, incidentally, I was leaning against the barrier at Vicar Street, Dublin, waiting for the twentieth Vibe For Philo to either start, or for the next guest. Everyone went quiet, and for the first time that evening, I truly felt like crying. I also felt like I wanted to be sick, but that's another story for another time.

"Is there anybody with a little Irish in them? Is there anybody who'd like a little more Irish in them?"

The first time I heard that line, it was Philip on Live and Dangerous, just before Emerald. I've heard that Colin Farrell uses the same line... but to me it sums everything up about Philip- cocky and charming, lecherous and adorable in the way little boys are when they try to be cool. It gets repeated in 1983 (which to a crowd in Dublin seems likely to get a response) and although it lacks a little of the youthful vigour it once had, the song still remains the same, although the solos are too 80s metal twiddly-Halen bollocks as far as I'm concerned.

Then again, Still In Love With You retains its usual ability to break my heart, soul and everything I have, into tiny little fucking pieces. Because yes, to be slightly cheesy, I am still in love with Thin Lizzy and their foolish, grand, broken giant of a singer.

I'm taking too long to explain this, aren't I? If you want to see a band breaking up, watch Let It Be. If you want to see a band dying, this might be for you. It is sad, it is triumphant. It is beautiful and occasionally blah... but it is never boring. To understand Thin Lizzy, I now know, one must hear what they were live. To see it, even in the fragments a DVD can provide, is even better. I can't persuade you all to love my boys... but this stuff would convert you. OK, maybe not this one, but should you be passing through an HMV/Tower/Virgin Megastore/Wherever and you happen to see my boy staring up at you... give it a go, hmm?

apolla: (Rock Chick)

This is my second attempt at writing this in a manner that is articulate, intelligent and succinct. Not sure how it's going to work out, given that I'm still in the "OMG!" stage. I'll leave my other stuff in the old post, cos I'm sure that most people reading this aren't going to give a flying one about my wander through St Stephen's Green and Dublin Castle.

I might as well just cut to the chase.

Friday Afternoon: Philo. VERY NOT DIALUP FRIENDLY. MANY PICTURES )

Saturday )

The Concert )

To borrow a phrase from Bernard Cribbins: And then we went home. PS. Don't nick my photographs. I doubt any of you would want to, but a vague disclaimer is nobody's friend.

apolla: (Rock Chick)

This is my second attempt at writing this in a manner that is articulate, intelligent and succinct. Not sure how it's going to work out, given that I'm still in the "OMG!" stage. I'll leave my other stuff in the old post, cos I'm sure that most people reading this aren't going to give a flying one about my wander through St Stephen's Green and Dublin Castle.

I might as well just cut to the chase.

Friday Afternoon: Philo. VERY NOT DIALUP FRIENDLY. MANY PICTURES )

Saturday )

The Concert )

To borrow a phrase from Bernard Cribbins: And then we went home. PS. Don't nick my photographs. I doubt any of you would want to, but a vague disclaimer is nobody's friend.

(no subject)

Monday, 22 August 2005 16:45
apolla: (LZ II)

From the BBC:

Thin Lizzy's Lynott Back In Town

And I was there. I spoke to that beautiful, classy lady not so long after that picture was taken.

I was there.

Also, Dr Moog died. The 80s wouldn't have been the same without you, sir.

(no subject)

Monday, 22 August 2005 16:45
apolla: (LZ II)

From the BBC:

Thin Lizzy's Lynott Back In Town

And I was there. I spoke to that beautiful, classy lady not so long after that picture was taken.

I was there.

Also, Dr Moog died. The 80s wouldn't have been the same without you, sir.

apolla: (Live And Dangerous)

So, [livejournal.com profile] marquiserachel is here. We're off to Dublin at like 5am tomorrow morning.

I shall take lots of pictures, especially of Thin Lizzy when we see them on Saturday. Will try to get pics of the new statue once it's unveiled.

Vive le Lynott, etc etc.

Off to bed, very tired.

apolla: (Live And Dangerous)

So, [livejournal.com profile] marquiserachel is here. We're off to Dublin at like 5am tomorrow morning.

I shall take lots of pictures, especially of Thin Lizzy when we see them on Saturday. Will try to get pics of the new statue once it's unveiled.

Vive le Lynott, etc etc.

Off to bed, very tired.

(no subject)

Tuesday, 26 July 2005 22:25
apolla: (Lynott)

Philomena Lynott is one of the classiest ladies ever.

I can't wait for 'The Boy Is Back In Town' on Philip's birthday. Not because I'll be there or because it's every other member of Thin Lizzy.

It's because if lots of us are there, perhaps we can prove to Philomena how much we love her son.

Someone asked me at work today how I got into Thin Lizzy. He was an Irishman of the right age to have been a teen in 70s Ireland, so it's not like he had to ask who I was talking about. You should've seen the look on his face when I told him why I was so excited to be going to Dublin again. He asked how someone like me, of my age, got into Thin Lizzy. I just made a generic 'well, I'm weird' answer because...

how do you explain to someone who is essentially a stranger, that it's something that's been in your soul for your entire life? How do you explain that it feels like the music chose me, not the other way around? How do I explain the gnawing ache in my soul that I missed out on dear, sweet, somewhat tragic Philip? How do I explain the deep desire to fuck off back to 1974, attach myself to Thin Lizzy as a drug tsar and make sure he lives to see 1987 and beyond?

If I don't entirely understand it meself, how am I supposed to explain to anyone else?

But someone, I rather suspect Philomena would understand. For all the gnawing ache I feel, she lost her son and that is the tragedy of Philip's life, not that I've got another dead man to love.

(no subject)

Tuesday, 26 July 2005 22:25
apolla: (Lynott)

Philomena Lynott is one of the classiest ladies ever.

I can't wait for 'The Boy Is Back In Town' on Philip's birthday. Not because I'll be there or because it's every other member of Thin Lizzy.

It's because if lots of us are there, perhaps we can prove to Philomena how much we love her son.

Someone asked me at work today how I got into Thin Lizzy. He was an Irishman of the right age to have been a teen in 70s Ireland, so it's not like he had to ask who I was talking about. You should've seen the look on his face when I told him why I was so excited to be going to Dublin again. He asked how someone like me, of my age, got into Thin Lizzy. I just made a generic 'well, I'm weird' answer because...

how do you explain to someone who is essentially a stranger, that it's something that's been in your soul for your entire life? How do you explain that it feels like the music chose me, not the other way around? How do I explain the gnawing ache in my soul that I missed out on dear, sweet, somewhat tragic Philip? How do I explain the deep desire to fuck off back to 1974, attach myself to Thin Lizzy as a drug tsar and make sure he lives to see 1987 and beyond?

If I don't entirely understand it meself, how am I supposed to explain to anyone else?

But someone, I rather suspect Philomena would understand. For all the gnawing ache I feel, she lost her son and that is the tragedy of Philip's life, not that I've got another dead man to love.

apolla: (Lynott)

It’s taken me nearly a week to summon up the necessary to write this post. You can’t say I haven’t warned you it was coming. I imagine it will end up part DVD review and part fan ramblings. A fanview, if you will.

Thin Lizzy - Greatest Hits

was released on DVD on Monday. I forgot about it until that afternoon. My dad took me straight to the big Tesco near where I work to see about getting it. They didn’t have it and the manager man I asked didn’t seem aware of a band called Thin Lizzy at all. Fuckwit.

Anyway, my dad procured it at Luton’s branch of HMV and I was literally hopping around waiting for him to get home that night. I already knew what was going to be on it, and I knew that it would include videos for some of my favourite songs. Not just my favourite Lizzy songs, but favourite songs full stop.

It’s at this point that I’ll tell you that my love for Thin Lizzy grew like no other love before. Slowly, quietly and yet very suddenly and without warning. I can’t remember the first time I heard of the band or of their lanky black Irish singerman. I can’t remember, because it was much too long ago. Much too long ago and perhaps in a different life. I should be so lucky.

My love for Lizzy was helped along by Never Mind The Buzzcocks, which has included them as questions a couple of times. But I already knew them. I even knew of them enough to recognise the joke in ‘The Toys Are Back In Town’ tagline for Toy Story. That was 1995, when I was a shrimp of a thirteen-year-old. It may well turn out that Philip Lynott has been lurking in my life even longer than a Mr Morrison of Los Angeles, CA.

I don’t remember Philip dying. Some of you will say that this is probably because I was four years old at the time. But things I remember from 1986 are many in number. I remember being ritually humiliated at my school or being scared to go too far on the same school’s playing field. Perhaps I had different priorities then, but I knew who Elvis was, who Buddy Holly was, who the Beatles were. Maybe I just didn’t read the tabloid press in January 1986. Maybe I wouldn’t have handled my boy dying back then, just as I can barely manage it now.

I was always meant to find Philip and his beloved band, just as I was always meant to find Jim and his. I know they’ve been there, lurking in the dark corners of my mind, waiting for the moment I was able to accept them. I had to wait until I was seventeen or eighteen to really embrace my Jim, and Philip in his entirety came a little later, just at the time I was searching for my Irishness and was able to accept that sometimes my heroes really can’t stand up to the crushing weight of expectation, could not hold themselves to the same standards I hold myself to. When I was fourteen and in love with a little band from Liverpool, I believed that they must be perfect, unstoppable creatures. When I was eighteen, I knew that my boys had a dark side. When I got my Philip, I was ready to accept that those same boys couldn’t always win the fight against the dark.

But that’s not really what this is about at all. It’s about a DVD full of music videos made before the dawn of MTV.

These are not great videos. Don’t get me wrong, I love things about each and every one of them, but they’re not great. They’re primitive, cheaply-made and in some instances really badly done. Perhaps it’s best we go through them one by one.

Video By Video. Will Be Quite Lengthy )

So, what have I learned? That I’m utterly, utterly in love with Thin Lizzy? Yes. That their videos were very much a product of their time? Yes. That they’re videos only a fan could really love? Certainly all in one go. This is something to dip into. Watching them all in one go doesn’t work- many of the videos are from the same shoot or are simply too similar. Scott Gorham’s guitar-shagging act is perfectly fine for the three minutes of a video, but man does it get boring over the course of an hour and a half. The songs, which are why we’re really here, are without exception excellent, even the paint-by-numbers stuff.

And I’ve never wanted so much to go back in time and look after them. I was watching the other day and started crying, because I’m a bit of a sap when it comes to them. I couldn’t work out why they weren’t TOTALLY MASSIVE because they’re almost perfect. I mean, Philip’s the perfect rock star. Scott’s so pretty that he should’ve been a teen pin-up to rival DonnyfuckingOsmond or DavidsoddingCassidy. I was sat there, the occasional tear streaking down my face, missing the shit out of them and wondering why they weren’t the biggest band of the 70s (behind Zep, of course. Nothing compares to that phenomenon). And I realised. It’s not that the music’s bad, because it’s great. It’s not that they’re ugly or otherwise inferior, because they’re really not. They did get famous... and then they cocked it up for themselves. This band were... I think Scott himself said that they were the unluckiest band or something, but I don’t think it WAS bad luck. It was themselves. They cocked it up for themselves. How did Philip get hepatitis just before their meant-to-be-world-conquering American tour? Was it from sitting in his hotel room reading Enid Blyton books? I know I’m starting to sound harsh, but a lot of it was their own damn fault! I hate that.

You know something? I don’t know what heroin addicts ‘look like’, but surely they don’t look like Philip Lynott? According to Philomena Lynott, someone told her as Philip was dying that he’d been taking it for ten years. Does that make Philip a junkie? Because he doesn’t look like the heroin addicts you see in the media. He doesn’t look strung out. He doesn’t look like an emaciated wreck in any of these videos. He doesn’t look like he’s dying, not even in the later videos. And you know, my current wallpaper is of a picture of him in May 1985, less than a year before he died. He doesn’t look like whatever it is addicts are meant to look like. I can absolutely understand why it never occurred to Philomena that her son might be on heroin. I mean, how are you supposed to know if there are no outward signs? How are you supposed to see it? I don’t know... so how are you supposed to try and help someone if you don’t know they need help and if they don’t ask for it?

You know, I’ve probably just spent like, six pages going on about how pretty Scott Gorham was/is. He was a heroin addict too. He left the band just before the end in order to seek help. He’s nothing less than very pretty in any of this. How are you meant to tell? I guess it’s true that if someone really wants to hide their secrets, they’ll manage it. Which I guess means that even if God in his infinite wisdom and grooviness sent me back in time before the end of today, I’d still have no help of looking after my boys, or helping them or saving them. Because if they couldn’t do, how could I? Am I meant to go back and beat the shit out of them? Beat the shit out of anyone who tries to deal to them? Lock them away? Watch them every second of every day?

I really just got totally off the point (which was Thin Lizzy ROCK!) didn’t I? I think this DVD just helped break my heart a little bit more. That boy died and there’s absolutely fuck all I can do about it. Might be nice to go back in time and try, anyway.

So yes, to conclude and try not to be some insane fangirl, I’d recommend this DVD to any friend. It’s something a casual fan might enjoy dipping into occasionally and is, I will admit, an excellent account of their career. I mean, I’d recommend the Greatest Hits CD that came out a year ago (this accompanies it) first, but the videos all have a lot of charm. And you know, I’m not sure a single member of the band took any of it seriously at all. Cool.

apolla: (Lynott)

It’s taken me nearly a week to summon up the necessary to write this post. You can’t say I haven’t warned you it was coming. I imagine it will end up part DVD review and part fan ramblings. A fanview, if you will.

Thin Lizzy - Greatest Hits

was released on DVD on Monday. I forgot about it until that afternoon. My dad took me straight to the big Tesco near where I work to see about getting it. They didn’t have it and the manager man I asked didn’t seem aware of a band called Thin Lizzy at all. Fuckwit.

Anyway, my dad procured it at Luton’s branch of HMV and I was literally hopping around waiting for him to get home that night. I already knew what was going to be on it, and I knew that it would include videos for some of my favourite songs. Not just my favourite Lizzy songs, but favourite songs full stop.

It’s at this point that I’ll tell you that my love for Thin Lizzy grew like no other love before. Slowly, quietly and yet very suddenly and without warning. I can’t remember the first time I heard of the band or of their lanky black Irish singerman. I can’t remember, because it was much too long ago. Much too long ago and perhaps in a different life. I should be so lucky.

My love for Lizzy was helped along by Never Mind The Buzzcocks, which has included them as questions a couple of times. But I already knew them. I even knew of them enough to recognise the joke in ‘The Toys Are Back In Town’ tagline for Toy Story. That was 1995, when I was a shrimp of a thirteen-year-old. It may well turn out that Philip Lynott has been lurking in my life even longer than a Mr Morrison of Los Angeles, CA.

I don’t remember Philip dying. Some of you will say that this is probably because I was four years old at the time. But things I remember from 1986 are many in number. I remember being ritually humiliated at my school or being scared to go too far on the same school’s playing field. Perhaps I had different priorities then, but I knew who Elvis was, who Buddy Holly was, who the Beatles were. Maybe I just didn’t read the tabloid press in January 1986. Maybe I wouldn’t have handled my boy dying back then, just as I can barely manage it now.

I was always meant to find Philip and his beloved band, just as I was always meant to find Jim and his. I know they’ve been there, lurking in the dark corners of my mind, waiting for the moment I was able to accept them. I had to wait until I was seventeen or eighteen to really embrace my Jim, and Philip in his entirety came a little later, just at the time I was searching for my Irishness and was able to accept that sometimes my heroes really can’t stand up to the crushing weight of expectation, could not hold themselves to the same standards I hold myself to. When I was fourteen and in love with a little band from Liverpool, I believed that they must be perfect, unstoppable creatures. When I was eighteen, I knew that my boys had a dark side. When I got my Philip, I was ready to accept that those same boys couldn’t always win the fight against the dark.

But that’s not really what this is about at all. It’s about a DVD full of music videos made before the dawn of MTV.

These are not great videos. Don’t get me wrong, I love things about each and every one of them, but they’re not great. They’re primitive, cheaply-made and in some instances really badly done. Perhaps it’s best we go through them one by one.

Video By Video. Will Be Quite Lengthy )

So, what have I learned? That I’m utterly, utterly in love with Thin Lizzy? Yes. That their videos were very much a product of their time? Yes. That they’re videos only a fan could really love? Certainly all in one go. This is something to dip into. Watching them all in one go doesn’t work- many of the videos are from the same shoot or are simply too similar. Scott Gorham’s guitar-shagging act is perfectly fine for the three minutes of a video, but man does it get boring over the course of an hour and a half. The songs, which are why we’re really here, are without exception excellent, even the paint-by-numbers stuff.

And I’ve never wanted so much to go back in time and look after them. I was watching the other day and started crying, because I’m a bit of a sap when it comes to them. I couldn’t work out why they weren’t TOTALLY MASSIVE because they’re almost perfect. I mean, Philip’s the perfect rock star. Scott’s so pretty that he should’ve been a teen pin-up to rival DonnyfuckingOsmond or DavidsoddingCassidy. I was sat there, the occasional tear streaking down my face, missing the shit out of them and wondering why they weren’t the biggest band of the 70s (behind Zep, of course. Nothing compares to that phenomenon). And I realised. It’s not that the music’s bad, because it’s great. It’s not that they’re ugly or otherwise inferior, because they’re really not. They did get famous... and then they cocked it up for themselves. This band were... I think Scott himself said that they were the unluckiest band or something, but I don’t think it WAS bad luck. It was themselves. They cocked it up for themselves. How did Philip get hepatitis just before their meant-to-be-world-conquering American tour? Was it from sitting in his hotel room reading Enid Blyton books? I know I’m starting to sound harsh, but a lot of it was their own damn fault! I hate that.

You know something? I don’t know what heroin addicts ‘look like’, but surely they don’t look like Philip Lynott? According to Philomena Lynott, someone told her as Philip was dying that he’d been taking it for ten years. Does that make Philip a junkie? Because he doesn’t look like the heroin addicts you see in the media. He doesn’t look strung out. He doesn’t look like an emaciated wreck in any of these videos. He doesn’t look like he’s dying, not even in the later videos. And you know, my current wallpaper is of a picture of him in May 1985, less than a year before he died. He doesn’t look like whatever it is addicts are meant to look like. I can absolutely understand why it never occurred to Philomena that her son might be on heroin. I mean, how are you supposed to know if there are no outward signs? How are you supposed to see it? I don’t know... so how are you supposed to try and help someone if you don’t know they need help and if they don’t ask for it?

You know, I’ve probably just spent like, six pages going on about how pretty Scott Gorham was/is. He was a heroin addict too. He left the band just before the end in order to seek help. He’s nothing less than very pretty in any of this. How are you meant to tell? I guess it’s true that if someone really wants to hide their secrets, they’ll manage it. Which I guess means that even if God in his infinite wisdom and grooviness sent me back in time before the end of today, I’d still have no help of looking after my boys, or helping them or saving them. Because if they couldn’t do, how could I? Am I meant to go back and beat the shit out of them? Beat the shit out of anyone who tries to deal to them? Lock them away? Watch them every second of every day?

I really just got totally off the point (which was Thin Lizzy ROCK!) didn’t I? I think this DVD just helped break my heart a little bit more. That boy died and there’s absolutely fuck all I can do about it. Might be nice to go back in time and try, anyway.

So yes, to conclude and try not to be some insane fangirl, I’d recommend this DVD to any friend. It’s something a casual fan might enjoy dipping into occasionally and is, I will admit, an excellent account of their career. I mean, I’d recommend the Greatest Hits CD that came out a year ago (this accompanies it) first, but the videos all have a lot of charm. And you know, I’m not sure a single member of the band took any of it seriously at all. Cool.

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