Wednesday, April 04, 2012

D: The Dubliners, Dubliners, The Dead

Full disclosure - I hail from Dublin. Ireland, that is. Baile Átha Cliath as it is in the Irish.

Some years ago, so I wouldn't forget my roots (unlikely, but he was ever a cautious man) my Dad sent me a CD of The Dubliners, 30 Years a Greying. A double CD set, packed with many, many memories. Included with the package was a note apologizing to my partner for what the sounds might do to our music system.

Ever the courteous man also.

If the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem resembled the Beatles (just go with it, OK?) in their impact on music and the introduction of a particular type to the US, The Dubliners always reminded me of the Rolling Stones. Edgier, a little less polished (well, "Seven Drunken Nights" was one of their popular songs - perhaps a lot less polished.)

But they had staying power. Some of the sounds on the double CD are a little more mellow than they once were - but they team up with The Pogues and also with Billy Connelly - so not all the edges are worn off.

And that put me in mind of another "Dubliners", that of James Joyce. A set of 15 short stories covering the lives of everyday men and women of Dublin, back in the day. I have the book, and it's a masterclass of the short-story form.

It's also fascinating, for me at least, as it paints pictures of a Dublin now gone. Still there, mind you, as I grew up, but much/most of it now vanished.

Cities, societies, need to move forward. Else they die, or become frozen in time and little more than tourist venues. For a city that celebrated 1,000 years of existence more than two decades ago, that would be a tragedy.

The last story in the volume is, perhaps, the most famous. The Dead. Famous for the movie, the last one if I remember rightly, by John Huston. And starring his daughter, Anjelica Huston. I remember, when I first saw this movie - and still do, thinking to myself, "I know these people."

Even though I wasn't born for another half century after the story's set, you could find these people still around about the city. Some things don't change.

Many years later, I saw it, become a musical, on stage in San Francisco. And it still had its power.

The movie also starred the late Frank Patterson, a very well known Irish lyric tenor - playing a tenor.

10 comments:

  1. There's such a fine balance between growth as a culture and preserving the past. I love to travel and see old things - castles, archeaology and the like - and yet, nothing is static. Dublin, to me, felt much the same as any other cosmopolitan city, but I fell in love with the countryside where things change at a slower pace.
    I'll have to look up that movie but I think I'll pass on the CD, if your father felt the need to apologize. :D

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    1. There are aspects of Dublin, Laura, that are the same as any other city. And then aspects that are quite unique.

      Enjoy the movie. I understand about the CD. :)

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    2. LOL! I should have qualified that as "what I saw as a tourist on my 2 day drive-thru before racing around the rest of the country" trip.

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    3. Ah, what we in Ireland were pleased to call "An American Tour" :D

      Given the size of the island, there's a surprising amount to see, and people used to a country that's 3,000 miles wide haven't always allocated sufficient time.

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  2. I remember the Dubliners, a folk group yes? But I don't know the book or the film you mentioned. You're really educating me here Kevin. ^_^

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    1. A folk group, yes Helen. The book is, as you might expect a Joyce book of short stories to be.

      And the film...one of my favorites.

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  3. I'm a sucker for an Irish accent AND I love that spotify lets me check out this stuff :-)
    ~2

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    1. Glad you enjoy it ~2.

      I'm enjoying this developing theme.

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  4. I love the song, 'Dublin'. I think it was by 'E4'. My memory might be wrong. Every time I hear the word, I'm taken back to the time my daughter visited me with the music. Maybe it was 'Echo and the Bunnymen'. Anyway, music does that--brings back a time and place.

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    1. Agreed - music often takes me back to specific times and places.

      Thanks for stopping by.

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