Friday, September 12, 2008

"It's Sunday night, nearly Monday morning again..."

This one goes out to anyone who's been stuck in one place for too long

Glengarrif, Count Cork, Ireland. September 29, 1990

I've been living in the same house since 1962. You may say that I'm in a bit of a rut. You may say I'm not much of a risk-taker. On the other hand, there have been tremendous changes in this house, and in this town, and in my life.

A number of years ago, I spent a good amount of time in Ireland, a place where tradition has always been very important. When you're in an Irish town, you can feel the presence of the countless generations that were there before. If you walk through an Irish town at night and smell the peat fires burning, the scent provides an evocative imprint that will stick in your consciousness forever. Granted, this was in the days before Ireland's celebrated "Celtic Tiger" economy, in which prosperity has newly flourished, and old traditions are rapidly falling by the wayside. At the time when I was there, the economy was still struggling, unemployment was very high, and loads of young people were emigrating to seek better opportunities.

The first week I was in Ireland, the weather was sunny and spectacular. Not at all like the rainy, misty stereotype you're led to expect. Nevertheless, when the rain did come, and it did come, I was struck by the shift in appearance, and more importantly, the shift in mood.

Sunshine helps us. It's good for people. We have overcast days here, but there is something about the overcast in Ireland and Britain that hangs heavy like a shroud. It can get to be a gun-metal gray, a battleship gray. If you're one who cares about the weather, it can feel enormously oppressive. In small towns where there is very little to do but to frequent the local pub, it can bring on a skull-numbing depression (despite the warmth and friendliness of the people). I felt that way, and I didn't even live there.

I have to say, however, that when it comes to small town blues, sunshine isn't necessarily a panacea. Bob Marley and the Wailers sang of the "Concrete Jungle" in sunny Kingston, Jamaica. I'll never forget, for example, the teenager standing next to me in a pharmacy in Utrera, in the sun-splashed Andalucia region of Spain, nodding off on smack, hoping that the pharmacist would take pity on him and give him some kind of a handout.

People all over the world get small-town blues, so this post is an ode to them - to everyone who has been stuck in one town for too long, going nowhere and looking at the same old faces day after day, from the top of Finland to the bottom of New Zealand, from Guam to Estonia, from Patagonia to the Aleutians...

Here is a youtube video of Same Oul' Town, by the Saw Doctors. The images in the video are bizarre, and have nothing at all to do with the song as far as I can see (WARNING - may not be safe for work.. some nudity). That's why I put in some of my own photos.

The Saw Doctors - Same Oul' Town

Somewhere in West Cork

Same oul' faces
Same oul' streets
Same oul' people is all you meet
Too long waiting
Standing round
I'm sick and tired of the
Same oul' town

Same oul' drizzle
Same oul' rain
Same oul' walking
Back home again
Same oul' heartache
Lost and found
Same old story
Same oul' town

Cashel, County Tipperary

And I go out for a walk
To see if there's news
The rain on the path
Leaking into me shoes
And I do talk to meself
Cos I'm my only best friend
It's Sunday night
Nearly Monday morning again

Same oul' Monday
Closed all day
The farmers and their wisps of hay
Same oul' hanging around the square
Same oul' spoofers
Same oul' stares
"Hey! You're welcome back."
"Yeah bang the door."

This Christmas-time and the time before

Don't like asking
"You know, you're fairly wide...
You'd never give us
The price of a pint."

The Albaicín, Granada, Spain

And I go out for a walk.....
To see if there's news
The rain on the path
Leaking into me shoes
And I do talk to meself
Cos I'm my only best friend
It's Sunday night
Nearly Monday morning again

You know you'd often wonder
As the years go past
Why I ever bothered
Going to Mass
Was it the fear of God
Or to find a wife
Or just buying shares
In the afterlife

St. Anne's Shandon Church, Cork City

The bell still tolls
I heard it there
For the final journey
Up to the square
Shop doors close
And the blinds come down
Same oul' story
Same oul' town

And I do howl at the moon
I go barking at dogs
Take off all me clothes
And lie out in the bog
And I do talk to meself
Cos I'm my only best friend
It's Sunday night
Nearly Monday morning again

It's just the same oul' story
Same oul' town

It's just the same oul' story
Same oul' town.

Here's Morrissey, from the other side of the Irish Sea. This video is pretty much on the money.

Morrissey - Every Day is Like Sunday

Trudging slowly over wet sand
Back to the bench where your clothes were stolen
This is the coastal town
That they forgot to close down
Armageddon - come Armageddon!
Come, Armageddon! come!

Everyday is like Sunday
Everyday is silent and grey

Hide on the promenade
Etch a postcard :
How I dearly wish I was not here
In the seaside town
...that they forgot to bomb
Come, come, come - nuclear bomb

Everyday is like Sunday
Everyday is silent and grey

Trudging back over pebbles and sand
And a strange dust lands on your hands
(and on your face...)
(on your face ...)
(on your face ...)
(on your face ...)

Everyday is like Sunday
Win yourself a cheap tray
Share some greased tea with me
Everyday is silent and grey


cowboyangel said...

"Oh, Lord, stuck in Lodi again." That's always been my favorite "stuck" song.

Nice photos - I especially like the night shot of the Albaicín, one of my favorites parts of Spain. And interesting to hear about your trip to Ireland. I envy you (and Liam as well) for being able to spend time there.

Funny, I've had the exact opposite experience from you - moving around so much in my life. When I was young, I was so enamored of hitting the road. Now, I feel tired, realize I don't have roots anywhere, few childhood friends, and am always trying to figure out where I lost this book or that CD somewhere back down the road. It gets old. Ironically, I was finally ready to settle down for the first time in Spain, but that didn't work out.

So, as usual, there are good and bad aspects of both wandering and staying put.

Having said that, I do want to get the hell out of Long Island!

Jeff said...

"Oh, Lord, stuck in Lodi again." That's always been my favorite "stuck" song.

Creedence! :D

Yeah, the Albaicín was pretty cool. I had a better night shot that was very similar, but I couldn't find it to put it in this post. It was driving me crazy... You should definitely take the opportunity to visit Ireland someday if you possibly can.

As for the rootlessness, I see your point, too. Sorry about the cost of wanderlust. Everything has a price, doesn't it?

Having said that, I do want to get the hell out of Long Island!

Hey, come on up here! What are they saying about Brett Favre down in LI tonight?

Garpu said...

Yay Saw Doctors! I really like their music, although I've been told by someone who worked sound for them that they can be a bunch of wankers.

Paula said...

Before working my way through your dense posts I want to thank you for visiting my recently re-open place. Hope you are fine, dear Jeff.

Jeff said...

Hi Jen,

Yes, I remember you saying that before. I don't know if it's true or not, but the term is wonderfully descriptive.

Jeff said...

Thanks Paula,

Same to you. I hope you have been well. It's nice to see you posting again.