Póg mo thóin

 

greenfairy

The river is green, the Guinness flows freely, the leprechauns are out and about. You never know what may be at the end of their rainbow.  However, it would not be Saint Patrick’s Day without music from the FABULOUS POGUES!!!!

pogues

This Celtic punk band was formed in 1982 by front man Shane MacGowan (aka Shane Hooligan), a rabble rousing displaced Irishman who had plenty to say about politics, prejudice and poetry.

The band was originally named ‘Pogue Mahone’, which is the phonetic pronunciation of the Irish phrase Póg mo thóin. Translated to English it apparently means “Kiss my ass.”  🙂

Shane chose the name as a joke and figured no one in English speaking countries would be able to figure out the meaning, but au contraire.  The name caused a massive uproar.  The BBC banned performances by Pogue Mahone and they could not get a record deal, so they shortened their name to ‘Pogues’. (This was acceptable, the Irish word póg meaning ‘kiss’.)

Shane had the last laugh though, when the Pogues released an album called ‘Rum, Sodomy and the Lash’. Reportedly the title was a quote by Winston Churchill. When asked about the state of the British Navy during World War 2, Churchill allegedly replied “Don’t talk to me about naval tradition!  It’s nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash!”

 

captain jack

 

At any rate, you won’t find a better band to celebrate Paddy’s Day. Here are two of their classics, ‘If I Should Fall From Grace of God’ and ‘Waxie’s Dargle’.  Break out the whiskey, kick up your heels and have a listen!

Lá Shona Fhéile Pádraig! (or Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!)

If I Should Fall From Grace With God — an Irish patriot grapples with his own sins and mortality. “Let me go down in the mud where the rivers all run dry.”  Worth listening just to hear Shane’s banshee scream mid song. I dare you not to dance, or at least toe tap!

 

‘Waxie’s Dargle’ is a traditional folk song, made punk by the Pogues.  A Waxie (candle maker) wants to go to the party (dargle).  Sadly she is so poor she cannot raise the money to go, not even by selling her husband’s suspenders.  “When food is scarce and you see the hearse you know you died of hunger!”

For such a morbid song, this version is hilarious! Sorry about the poor quality of this video, but nonetheless —  you can’t beat their loopy energy.  Sláinte!

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday George Harrison!

 

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He was the youngest of the Beatles, reportedly ‘the quietest’ and also perhaps the most spiritual.

George Harrison was born on February 25, 1943 to working class parents in Liverpool England. He was the baby brother of three siblings. According to legend, he fell in love with rock & roll after hearing Elvis Presley’s song ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ playing from a neighbor’s window. In 1958, at the tender age of fifteen, George auditioned for a band called The Quarrymen, led by two lads named John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Because he was so young, John thought it best he not join the band, but George wormed his way in, hanging around rehearsals and making himself so available they could not refuse him. That band, of course, was eventually renamed The Beatles. George’s age came back to haunt him when the Beatles played their first gigs in Hamburg. George was too young to legally work in Germany and got deported back to England. He rejoined the band after his eighteenth birthday and the rest is history!

beatles-in-hamburg-1962

Raised as a Roman Catholic, George sent himself on a spiritual search that lasted his entire lifetime.  As the excesses of materialism and the rock & roll lifestyle mounted, George became desperate to fill the hole of the soul with more substantial things. He explored Hinduism, Buddhism and transcendental meditation. He, along with the other band members,  traveled to Rishikesh India and studied under the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

rishikesh-the-beatles

George also became interested in Indian music and culture. He learned to play the sitar under the tutelage of Ravi Shankar.  This influence changed his western perspective and reshaped his life.

George Harrison died of lung cancer on November 29, 2001.  His last words on his death bed were “Love one another.”

Ironically, whatever afterlife George found himself in, he still lives on in this physical world. The astronomer Brian A. Skiff, working out of the Anderson Mesa Station, located in the arid fields of Flagstaff Arizona, happened to discover an asteroid. He named that asteroid after George, the 4149 Harrison!

This interview, recorded in 1997 for VH1 was George’s last public appearance. He speaks wise words of life, death and spirituality.

 

Give Me Love – a song that I feel must sum up George’s philosophy. Hope you like it!

 

 

 

The Man Who Fell to Earth

 

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On February 10th, 1972, David Bowie made his first appearance as Ziggy Stardust, a title and persona which would lead him to enormous stardom.

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Rock and roll could not help but take notice of  this peculiar, other wordly being as he graced the stage of the Toby Jug Pub in London. He was anorexic-thin with neon orange hair and a not sure if you’re a boy or a girl androgyny.  His chiseled face of porcelain white was painted with magenta rouge eye shadow. His costumes were lush, vivid prints, bell sleeves and satin sashes.  A shimmering silver circle, which some may have recognized as an instrument of telepathic communication, was etched on his forehead.  It all signified a connection to the planet — Mars or Wherever? —  and an allegiance with the mystified black holes of the universe.

Thus began a moon age daydream lasting all the way to his death in 2016. Oh David, we miss you! This video captures some great Ziggy moments. Hope you like it!

 

 

 

 

 

Starman and The King

 

elvis-bowie

These two amazing men share a birthday today, January 8th. Both were musicians, both were singers, both were film stars, both were graced with amazing gifts. Both were Capricorns, the ever striving mountain goat. Though seemingly opposite in style, they had more in common than one might think.

Elvis was the American South, an earthy mix of gospel, Delta blues and rockabilly. David was swinging London, an androgynous mix of techno-pop, space stations and scary monsters. David lived his life in multiple cities through out Europe, never calling any one place ‘home’. Except for his military station in Germany, Elvis never left the United States. Both had a magnetic charisma, the ability to charm and invigorate the hearts and minds of thousands.

Though gone they are not forgotten. Elvis Presley and David Bowie are infinite spirits, their music and presence forever alive.

Elvis Aaron Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in Tupelo Mississippi to parents of modest means. They lived in a two room shotgun house while his father eked out a living through odd jobs.  Elvis’ story is a classic rags-to -riches. Having gotten his first inspiration from gospel music, he went to Sun studios with the intention of making a record as a gift to his mother. He was discovered by Sun executive Sam Phillips and the rest is history.

Some fun facts about Elvis:

  • He was one of a twin. His brother, called Jesse Garon, was delivered stillborn.
  • He earned his nickname ‘Pelvis’ from hip shaking, and was considered  an outrageous sex symbol until he joined the Army in 1958. This ‘normalized’ him and probably made him more palpable to mainstream America.
  • His hair was naturally brown but he dyed it jet black.
  • Elvis’ mothers name was ‘Gladys Love’. He had a great grandmother named ‘Morning Dove’.  His bloodline may have been Cherokee Indian.
  • Elvis was a martial arts expert with a black belt in Karate.
  • He was outrageously generous, giving fortunes to various charities. He once bought a limousine for a driver he happened to like.
  •  Elvis was the King of Rock and his daughter Lisa Marie was briefly married to Michael Jackson, the King of Pop.  How’s that for a royal family?

Here is a clip of Elvis performing his classic ‘Blue Suede Shoes’.

 

David Bowie was born on January 8, 1947 in Brixton, South London, also to working class parents. An artistic child, David took an interest in music and strangely enough, got much of his inspiration from Elvis!

David listened to his father’s 45s of Elvis and is quoted as saying: “I saw a cousin of mine dance to ‘Hound Dog’ and I had never seen her get up and be moved so much by anything. It really impressed me, the power of the music. I started getting records immediately after that.”

Bowie played in several bands but his biggest success probably came with his song Space Oddity, a big hit in the U.K. and U.S. David invented his character Ziggy Stardust (the first of his many ever changing personas) and the rest is history.

Some fun facts about David:

  • His real surname is Jones, but he changed it to Bowie, after the Bowie knife.
  • His song ‘Space Oddity’ was released at the same time Apollo 11 made it to the moon. This undoubtedly contributed to the song’s popularity.
  • He is given some credit for the fall of the Berlin Wall, having lived in Berlin and  having brought a ‘western mentality’ to the Soviet Union.
  • Famous for his makeup and androgyny, he wore skirts on stage and was compared to actress Lauren Bacall.
  • His last album ‘Black Star’ was eerily released on the day of his death, January 10, 2016. He had said he wanted this to be his ‘swan song’ to his fans.

Here is a tribute to David Bowie which I put together last year after his  death.

 

 

 

Congratulations Bob Dylan!

 

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The question is not WHY did Bob Dylan win a Nobel Prize for Literature. The question is WHY has it taken this long?  The second bard, the traveling Wilbury, he who makes us look at that which we (do not always) want to see.

“He wants to scatter poems from airplanes across the landscape

He’s some kinda poetic nut Like he thinks he’s Dylan

Thomas and Bob Dylan rolled together 

 

He wants to lip-read everybody’s thoughts and feelings

and longings…”

— ‘The Love Nut’ by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Plus, he was the  original sign holder 🙂

Thanks Bob!

dylan

 

 

The 27 Club

 

27

Today, July 3rd, marks the death of rock stars Jim Morrison and Brian Jones. Both Jim and Brian were 27 years old at the time of their deaths. They are  members of the infamous so-called ’27 Club’.

In case you have not heard of the 27 Club,  it is a group of young, talented  (and I daresay other-worldly) musicians who all died at the tender age of 27.  Spooky huh?  Some of the most famous are: Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Peter Hamm  and Robert Johnson.

In terms of numerology, it is not so weird. 27 (or 9) is considered a number of completion. It is also the number of ultimate knowledge, represented by  the Hermit  and the Moon in the tarot.

hermit

Of course, these guys could have waited till they were  81. Or 72. Or 90!  But then we would not have the gripping tragedy surrounding their deaths, nor the mystery, nor the romance. We worship our young dead, mourn their losses hard, won’t give them up.

 

Everybody likes to blame it on drugs, or wild lifestyle, or the hazards of the music industry.  Robert Johnson was, after all, down at the Crossroads 🙂

crossroads

But seriously,  I got to thinking and I wondered… What if every life is perfectly completed in a perfect way?  Maybe every life ends in a cumulative pinnacle, a perfect 27, whether figuratively or literally.  Maybe there are no accidents, no matter how hard humankind try to manufacture them. Maybe the 27 Club is Supposed To Be.

After all, we do immortalize them.  We remember Jim as  the infamous Lizard King, shaman of the west, taking us through the infinite Doors of perception.  The mystical Brian Jones was a  Rolling Stones icon, the epitome of swinging London. We remember Amy as the tatted diva, ragged  but nonetheless beautiful with a voice that captured and charmed.  And grunge king Kurt Cobain has been the patron saint of many a teenager.

I believe  they each came into this world with an energy that simply could not be assimilated well into planet earth. If you watch videos of them now, you will see that these individuals were ethereal, extremely beautiful, charismatic and talented beyond belief. In other words, too heavenly for earth 🙂

Because of their early deaths, they are etched in our minds, forever present and forever young. Maybe (just maybe, in the cosmic consciousness) they themselves would have no other way.

May they Rock In Peace.

Watch this amazing video to see the full list. You’ll be surprised!

Cherry Moon, Purple Rain

Prince-Purple-Rain

This guy.  I mean, seriously? Are you kidding me?

When I first saw Prince on MTV, I was so blown away I could not look away.  Never had we seen such a thing.  Somewhere between pop-rock, symphony and soul, somewhere between Hendrix, James Brown and the Beatles, blurring lines of race and gender, he was an innovator, an illusionist, an enigma. Not to mention a walking fashion statement. Glittering paisley,  eyeliner, lace and mesh — and yet there was never a doubt about this man’s masculinity.  Small in stature but towering in soul as well as platform soles, he’d come to town decked out in leg warmers, no shirt and a lone bandana around his neck.

And then he’d sing.

His concerts were a spiritual experience.  He literally brought races and populations together to dance to his revolution.  I saw it happen. Even the whitest of the white could have soul and rhythm with Prince. He  made you feel cool and hip and a part of things. He brought out the Nikki in all of us and I suspect it did not matter who or what you were.  You were for Prince and Prince was for you. That’s all you need know, Dearly Beloved.

He was a spokesman for justice, taking on the record industry, even forsaking his own name in order to stay true to his art.  He was a poet, a genius, and a force of nature.Truly, a force of nature. As a matter of fact,  I am told  that yesterday, in honor of Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday, Niagra Falls was actually turned purple!

Not kidding, check it out.

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Coincidence/ no coincidence.  Theoretically and symbolically this was in honor of the Queen, purple being the color of royalty. But we really know who it was for, don’t we?    Ah, but Life is just a party and parties aren’t meant to last…

So long Purple Reign.  U will never b4gotten.

Starman (Part 2)

 

Bowie Gaze

He made us think

beyond this time and space.

Put Germany back together,

redefined our human race.

B 3

He made this life

far reaching, gave permission

to be jagged and misfitting

spiky odd in the transmission.

BQ 7

Aladdin sane a lad in synch

with platform sole and vision.

The stardust king of ground control

cut diamond dog precision.

DB dog 1

One eye blue and one exploded

Changing strange and lure.

Dichotomy.   Why not with me?

You pretty thing unsure.

DB 13

He travels onward. We should know

he’s not so far away.

Look to the sky a silver star

a light year and a day.

BQ 5

Starman

He was Out There.   Out There where Everything happens.

bowie 1

 

The original Starman who fell to earth, a cosmic cyclone Major Tom, navigating the labyrinth upon which he found himself.   He had much to teach, although I  often wondered if this planet was actually ready for him.  Nah. But maybe now… ?

Hey did anyone notice American Horror Story Freak Show gave him a fitting tribute, a perfect swan song?

Back in the glitter days a Bowie concert was The Place To Be.  Years of the scavengers, seasons of the bitch.  We’d put on our red shoes and dance the blues, all us rebel rebels who’d torn our dress, face a mess.  Ground controllers striving to be Heroes.  Just for one day.

The original Starman has been taken back to the stars.  Watch for him in the night skies, the silver rush of Pleiades, the belt of Orion, the red twinkling of Mars and the blush of Venus. He’ll be there, stark as a space oddity, bright as a diamond dog.

I’m gonna miss this guy.  Very much.