We're all Irish
December 13, 2012 2:24 AM   Subscribe

Perhaps the greatest Irish band in history. They came from Liverpool, a city with an Irish population so large that it's known as "The Real Capitol of Ireland," and with an accent, "Scouse," that betrays its Irish influence. There were four in the band, and three were of Irish descent.

It started with John, the son of Alfred Lennon, an itinerant Merchant Seaman who was absent for much of John's life, and whose parents hailed from County Down. He formed a skiffle band with fellow students at the Quarry Bank school.

The next to join was Paul, who has Irish ancestry on both sides of his family.

Paul had a friend named George, then 14, who auditioned for the band, despite Paul thinking him too young. George was likewise Irish on both sides -- unsurprising, seeing as he shares a name with a famous Irish Republican arms runner.

We should briefly mention the two who joined but did not remain. There was the Scottish-born bass player Stuart Sutcliffe, a friend of John's from art school who was the band's original guitarist, who died young of an aneurism, and the Madras-born drummer Pete Best, whose grandparents were Irish. But Pete was replaced, of course, by Richard, who everybody called Ringo, who knew of no Irish background.

Aside from the tendency of the Irish to claim everybody who has a little Irish heritage as one of theirs, does it matter? Well, a case could be made that they sort of sound Irish. And, in interview, Paul explicitly credits the Irish for Liverpool's strong musical heritage. John Lennon found the influence of Irish and Scottish folk songs in the American music that inspired him.

There's a nod to the band's Irish background in "A Hard Day's Night," which cast Irish actor Wilfrid Brambell as McCartney's grandfather, and has him tell a police officer "I am a soldier of the Republic."

More than that, the three Beatles strongly identified as Irish. "We're all Irish," John Lennon declared when the band toured Ireland in 1963; it was no surprise, as a result, that this past year Yoko Ono declared "John ... sometimes considered himself 100% Irish."

After the Beatles broke up, two of them made their heritage more explicit. Inspired by the Irish Republican movement (and especially the events of Bloody Sunday), both John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote songs drawn from their Irish backgrounds. Paul McCartney actually charted with the debut song by his band Wings, "Give Ireland Back to the Irish," which featured Northern Irish guitarist Henry McCullough.

McCartney also authored a song called "The End Of The End," which he described as "taken from the Irish idea of a wake. They don't get morbid. They all just say, 'Ah, he's a great fellow. You want another drink?' And they tell each other jokes and things. And coming from Liverpool, which we sometimes describe as the capital of Ireland, I've always enjoyed that idea."

In the meanwhile, Lennon wrote a much harsher response to sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, titled "Sunday Bloody Sunday." About the song, he said "if it's a choice between the IRA or the British army, I'm with the IRA. But if it's a choice between violence and non-violence, I'm with non-violence. So it's a very delicate line... "

Lennon and Yoko Ono also authored a song titled "The Luck of the Irish," the proceeds of which he donated to Irish rersistence. Perhaps the most surprising of Lennon's Irish-inspired songs was "Woman is the Nigger of the World," a song he claimed was inspired by Irish revolutionary James Connolly, who has once said "the female is the slave of the slave."

Lennon eventually told Rolling Stone that "I hope we're a nice old couple living off the coast of Ireland or something like that - looking at our scrapbook of madness." And, indeed, he eventually bought a retirement island off the West Coast of Ireland, which he owned until his untimely death at the hands of a deranged fan in 1980.

What of Harrison? According to Damian Smyth, co-author of The Beatles and Ireland, "Of all The Beatles, it was George who had the strongest Irish connections by far." He continues "George had cousins living in Drumcondra [North Dublin] and he made a point of visiting them when they came over to play in 1963. But even before that, in the late forties and early fifties, the family would get the ferry from Liverpool to Dublin to stay with the cousins and go to places like Malahide Beach; I have photos of him there and [of him] walking down O’Connell Street with his mother. So there was a strong connection from the family point of view."

Harrison would return to Ireland throughout his life. An early vacation with his soon-to-be-wife Pattie Boyd was to Ireland. When Harrison was the victim of a stabbing in 1999 (another deranged fan), it was to Ireland that he fled.

Harrison's music didn't overtly draw from his Irish heritage, but he had a second career -- he produced films through his own company, HandMade Films. These included the great British crime film "The Long Good Friday," which includes IRA gun runners, Irish director Neil Jordan's Mona Lisa, the great comedy Withnail and I, including a memorable scene with Irish actor Daragh O'Malley, and The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, a film about an Irish spinster. Harrison, alas, also died young. succumbing to cancer in 2001.

Paul McCartney is still with us, of course. In fact, recently, he has agreed to fill in for an Irish-American rock and roller who died too young -- last night he filled in the Kurt Cobain role in a Nirvana reunion benefit for hurricane Sandy.
posted by Bunny Ultramod (126 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite

 
Haven't even clicked a link yet and I'm imitating another Irish-American: Macaulay Culkin. Holy shit, so much new info to process.

McCartney/Nirvana (re)union? Wings On A Plain?
posted by mannequito at 2:43 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Beatles were not Irish, and Liverpool is not the "Capitol" of Ireland, real or otherwise. This is rather desperate, to put it mildly.
posted by Decani at 2:44 AM on December 13, 2012 [24 favorites]


ps. epic, epic post!!
posted by mannequito at 2:46 AM on December 13, 2012


Capital.

though it must be said this Irish thing makes it sound like one of those tiny countries who seek to claim some relationship to someone who makes it globally famous...
posted by infini at 2:50 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think their African and Indian roots are stronger.
posted by davemee at 2:55 AM on December 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


All four Beatles would seem to lack two essential elements of being Irish: a fondness for drink and a abiding hatred of all things English.

Paul McCartney is still with us, of course.

That's Sir Paul McCartney MBE to you. Indeed, all four of the Beatles were made Members of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire an honor which Lennon later returned to protest "the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of American in Vietnam and against 'Cold Turkey' slipping down in the charts" (and not a mention of the then very bloody British occupation and oppression of Northern Ireland.)

though it must be said this Irish thing makes it sound like one of those tiny countries who seek to claim some relationship to someone who makes it globally famous...

Pssst. It's the other way around. Everyone famous wants to claim a piece of Ireland.
posted by three blind mice at 2:58 AM on December 13, 2012


Sorry, The Beatles, but everyone knows that the greatest Irish band from England is The Smiths.
posted by Mocata at 3:01 AM on December 13, 2012 [13 favorites]


Scouse does indeed sound Irishy (to my American ears). Huh.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 3:15 AM on December 13, 2012


The Beatles were not Irish, and Liverpool is not the "Capitol" of Ireland, real or otherwise.

Wrong. There always has been a strong Irish cultural influence on the north of England and a huge migration from Ireland to the northern port cities, especially Liverpool. There still is a separate ethnical Irish tradition there and it was much, much stronger in the 1950ties and 1960ties. It does make sense to talk about Liverpool as an Irish city and hence about the Beatles and the Merseysound in general being influenced by Irish cultural traditions.

Certainly if there's such a thing as the Boston Irish, there is a Liverpudlian variant as well.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:25 AM on December 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


As individuals they had Irish origins and interests, but as The Beatles they were emphatically English and that's great. As an Irish person I grow tired of this ceaseless need to claim everyone as our own.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 3:27 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


O'Humph was O'wond.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:29 AM on December 13, 2012


WTF? The Beatles were so un-Irish that they made the arduous, difficult, direct flight 40 minute journey of 135 miles to play Ireland all of once, ever. And Liverpool is not the capitol of Ireland, geographically or culturally or anything else - everyone knows that's Cork.

All four Beatles would seem to lack two essential elements of being Irish: a fondness for drink and a abiding hatred of all things English.

What the hell is wrong with you people? What era are you living in that it's OK to indulge in offensive stereotypes and cultural appropriation for the LOLs?
posted by DarlingBri at 3:30 AM on December 13, 2012 [16 favorites]


Irish you a merry Christmas
Irish you a merry Christmas
Irish you a merry Christmas
and a fresh pint of beer
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:34 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


@DarlingBri

Amen. No-one would argue we don't have a national problem with drinking, but no more so than the British and a few other European nations. As for an abiding hatred of the Brits, I'm sure there are a few people that would pay that lip service, but most people are quite happy to limit it to a healthy sporting rivalry these days.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 3:35 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry, The Beatles, but everyone knows that the greatest Irish band from England is The Smiths.

Actually its The Pogues.
posted by fshgrl at 3:35 AM on December 13, 2012 [33 favorites]


... two essential elements of being Irish: a fondness for drink and a abiding hatred of all things English.

Never heard of these guys, then?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:41 AM on December 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think further to underlining how daft the 'Liverpool is the real capitol/al of Ireland' claim is you just have to remember there are other cities in the UK with large Irish populations - Manchester and Glasgow are but two places I can think of (because I lived there). The only two times I have seen Orange Walks were in those cities, though I know they have them in other non-Irish cities including Liverpool.
posted by Megami at 3:56 AM on December 13, 2012


> Wrong. There always has been a strong Irish cultural influence on the north of England and a huge migration from Ireland to the northern port cities, especially Liverpool. There still is a separate ethnical Irish tradition there and it was much, much stronger in the 1950ties and 1960ties. It does make sense to talk about Liverpool as an Irish city and hence about the Beatles and the Merseysound in general being influenced by Irish cultural traditions.

Certainly if there's such a thing as the Boston Irish, there is a Liverpudlian variant as well.


Desani simply stated that The Beatles were not Irish and that Liverpool is not the capital of Ireland. Both of these are true statements. Not "wrong".

There is such a thing as Boston Irish, and also Liverpool Irish, but neither of those cultural/historical identifications are Irish, and no city can claim to be any capital of ours from another country. There is a (quite understandable) attitude I see from (mostly) Americans that people can claim the nationality of their heritage. To those of us actually from those places often claimed, this seems somewhat strange. I understand it is a semantic distinction, but The Beatles, much as I love them, were no more Irish than the Boston Celtics. Whether their work should be viewed through the prism of their cultural heritage (of course it can), is another question.

My Irish sister was frequently asked, when mentioning her nationality during her years in The States, whether she'd ever "been to Ireland"!
posted by distorte at 3:59 AM on December 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


two essential elements of being Irish: a fondness for drink....

So you're telling me my teetotalling friend isn't Irish, despite having been born in Cork City and speaking only Irish Gaelic up until she was three years old and her parents remembered "oh, yeah, we should start speaking English around the house too"?

Interesting.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:12 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


> Never heard of these guys, then?

What are you talking about? The Orange Order are a pro-Britain organisation exclusively active in Northern Ireland (part of said Britain), who would would never consider themselves Irish in a million years.

This is embarrassing.
posted by distorte at 4:14 AM on December 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


What the hell is wrong with you people? What era are you living in that it's OK to indulge in offensive stereotypes and cultural appropriation for the LOLs?

Offensive stereotypes? My Grandfather was a Connolly, who lived for a time in Liverpool, died of liver disease from drinking too much - as did many of Irish working class - and never had a kind word to say about England or the English.

To suggest that the Beatles shared anything in common with him is what is offensive.
posted by three blind mice at 4:15 AM on December 13, 2012


Also, these references to drunkenness and drinking are a somewhat offensive stereotype. It's disappointing to find them so prevalent every time my country is mentioned on Metafilter.
posted by distorte at 4:15 AM on December 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


Incredibly detailed post, but much of it is dubious and / or really thin. Harrison produced a movie with a memorable scene by an Irish actor? I don't know how on Earth one might think that would actually be relevant to, well, anything at all.

I think one could consider a list of the Beatles' musical and conceptual influences - Motown, Ravi Shankar, early rock & roll, Lonnie Donegan & skiffle, Stax soul, Ivor Cutler, the Everly Brothers, rockabilly, a variety of art movements, British music hall stuff and on and on - and come up with about fifty things that were bigger influences on them than anything Irish.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 4:16 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


That discussion only makes sense if you believe that people of Irish ancestry in Liverpool are literally claiming to be Irish citizens and that Liverpool is literally the capitol of Ireland. Nobody has made that claim.

However, there is an Irish diaspora, and the cultural identities of people of Irish ancestry are often informed and largely defined by the experience of diaspora -- especially since, for the Irish, that dispersal was often caused by economic hardships or by colonialism, and so wasn't a willing decision. This may be why the descendents of Irish emigrants maintain a strong cultural connection to the land of their ancestors -- arguably one of the strongest examples of a minority ethnic group resisting assimilation.

So I wonder if we could move away from a discussion of whether or not the Beatles were literally Irish citizens, which neither they nor I have claimed. Instead, they themselves pointed out how their identities were influenced by being descendents of Irish people in a city that had (and has) a large and active Irish emigrant community, and that they maintained their identities as English people of Irish descent, and that this influenced how they thought of themselves and the work they did. This isn't the Irish trying to claim the Beatles. Nor is it somebody in the diaspora trying to claim a citizenship they don't have. The Beatles are very clear that their specific identity is a product of their Liverpudlian upbringing and their ethnic heritage, which is an entirely fair claim for them to make. And it is one that, in particular, John Lennon and Paul McCartney has made their entire lives.

Also, I can't imagine there is much further value in repeating stereotypes about Irish drinking, especially uninformed ones. It has nothing to do with their ancestry, but both Paul McCartney and John Lennon had drinking problems, which McCartney actually sought treatment for. So did Ringo Starr, despite not having a drop of Irish blood in him.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:16 AM on December 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


Me: Mulatto, and the "white half" is the "nigger of Europe" according to my father when he's mad at mom. So, I have two opinions on this.

First, if in my later years someone wrote a lengthy FPP referencing my Irish heritage and suggesting it greatly influenced me and my accomplishments, I would shake my head. I'm American. It doesn't matter what you're made of, it's where you are and what you do. When I'm VM into our network's servers, I have no clue who made which thing or what brand they are, I just know its function, where they are in reference to the directory,and refer to it that way.

Second, would any of you come up to me and make an offhanded comment about my lips, love of watermelon, or lack of a father? Of course not. That would be racist, I have thin lips, really don't like watermelon unless its cut up in a fruit salad, and I had a two parent household. So, please don't make the drunken Irish comments. It may not seem to be on the same level, but its just a shitty thing to say, so don't.

I will acknowledge that I take less offense to that than other potential racial asides, but regardless of which one you reference, I won't even consider your heritage for a moment. I wouldn't want to subconsciously associate a culture with an asshole.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 4:18 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


It is true that because of the ferries that there are lots of Irish people in Liverpool but the "real capital" claim is an unattributed quote made in the Guardian, the writer probably heard it in a pub somewhere or just made it up. At least the Guardian spelt "capital" correctly (rare for them).

The website which started all this looks and reads like it was put together by a teenager, as do many of the responses on this thread. As it is, this thread is degenerating into ludicrous political correctness, so I'll just sit here with my popcorn.
posted by epo at 4:26 AM on December 13, 2012


I've thought for a while that there may a connection between live rock'n'roll as a practice and the Irish tradition of music in drinking establishments. Some data points supporting this hypothesis: Other potential data points: rock'n'roll in the US is associated with the South, which has had a lot of Irish migrant communities (though those were mostly Ulster Scots, so this may not hold). Also, if a Scottish connection exists, could Glasgow's strong music scene (from the 1980s Postcard Records scene through to bands like Belle & Sebastian, and indeed a long-running local affinity for American country music) stem from its proximity to the Irish Sea and sizeable population of Irish heritage?
posted by acb at 4:32 AM on December 13, 2012


Pretty much everyone hates the English and likes drinking. I'm English and this rule applies to me too.
posted by colie at 4:37 AM on December 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


Great post, Bunny.
posted by 3.2.3 at 4:38 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Amen. No-one would argue we don't have a national problem with drinking, but no more so than the British and a few other European nations. As for an abiding hatred of the Brits, I'm sure there are a few people that would pay that lip service, but most people are quite happy to limit it to a healthy sporting rivalry these days.

A former (English) coworker once claimed to have been given a hard time at immigration at JFK by an Irish-American TSA officer with a grudge about the potato famine/penal laws/Oliver Cromwell. I'm guessing that such grudges are easier to maintain when the legendary enemy is a semi-mythological class of people one rarely encounters in normal life.
posted by acb at 4:40 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


What are you talking about? The Orange Order are a pro-Britain organisation exclusively active in Northern Ireland (part of said Britain), who would would never consider themselves Irish in a million years.

So... they're not Irish? I've always been under the impression that they were an Irish protestant association. Definitely pro-Britain, but... Irish.

Well, shows you what I know, eh?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:42 AM on December 13, 2012


On the other hand, the Encyclopedia Britannica defines the Orange Order as "an Irish Protestant and political society".

Who to believe?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:44 AM on December 13, 2012


There are degrees of Irishness. In Northern Ireland, for example, having a Celtic first name like Colm or Aoife is an unambiguous indicator of one's Catholic background; Protestants are meant to have English-style names. So, to an extent, some parts of Irish culture are signifiers of sectarian identity.
posted by acb at 4:47 AM on December 13, 2012


've thought for a while that there may a connection between live rock'n'roll as a practice and the Irish tradition of music in drinking establishments.

That's an interesting hypothesis. It's my understanding that this music-in-pubs business is relatively new, and imported from Irish-American pubs, where it is common (and, in part, the practice was taken up to please American tourists) -- musical performances were generally found in churches and dance halls. That being said, "relatively new" is pretty nonspecific, and Irish performers were adapting themselves to newer performance conventions pretty much the moment there was an audience for them, so it could predate rock and roll.

There is a case to be made that rock and roll borrows heavily from the murder ballads and rebel songs of the British Isles and Ireland. They definitely formed the backbone of American country music, which then lent itself to rock and roll. I mean, Bob Dylan, who was a huge influence on George Harrison, straight up stole the melody for "With God on Our Side" from Brendan Behan's "The Patriot Game," which is about as much a rebel song as you're likely to find. Behan was pretty displeased by this. But, then, Behan had lifted the melody himself from "The Merry Month of May."
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:48 AM on December 13, 2012


I know a number of people from Northern Ireland who consider themselves both Irish and British - "Irish" generally associates you with the island, not necessarily the Republic. (Of course, Ireland's troubles being what they are, that's been disputed over the years - here's a place to start if you want to know more.) The Orange Order, I suspect, are using the term in that way.
posted by ZsigE at 4:52 AM on December 13, 2012


Other potential data points: rock'n'roll in the US is associated with the South, which has had a lot of Irish migrant communities (though those were mostly Ulster Scots, so this may not hold). Also, if a Scottish connection exists, could Glasgow's strong music scene (from the 1980s Postcard Records scene through to bands like Belle & Sebastian, and indeed a long-running local affinity for American country music) stem from its proximity to the Irish Sea and sizeable population of Irish heritage?

In western culture, immigrant communities, minority populations and the economic underclass all tend to have a disproportionate influence on musical innovation. But this theory works most places with most relevant populations - one could say the same thing about Jamaican populations in the UK, African-descended populations in the US, the influence of Jamaican musical techniques on the development of rap and hiphop when these two populations met, country/western and western swing (originally music of people on a lower run of the socioeconomic ladder), "Gypsy" music throughout much of Europe, soukous in France, and on and on. It's got nothing to do with the Irish any more than that Ireland was a very, very poor country which produced many emigrants to become (ultimately, through their desendants) Liverpudlian Merseybeat musicians or Appalachian hillbillies, etc. In most places, the parts of town where music flourishes are not those were the ruling elite tend to live. Neighborhoods with immigrant populations of all types allow for culture clash, cheap rent, parties, transcience and other factors that allow for the growth of music.

Liverpool's music scene has produced many fine acts through the years, but the same is true of Manchester, Birmingham, London, Cardiff, and so on. Some of them saw a lot of imigration from Ireland, some didn't. As far as Glasgow, that just sounds silly. Many people would make a similar case for Edinburgh! Plus, why does Ireland itself produce so relatively few decent artists? Can you name a band from Cork (I can think of one, Microdisney, about whom few people know anything at all.)
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 4:56 AM on December 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


On the other hand, the Encyclopedia Britannica defines the Orange Order as "an Irish Protestant and political society".

Sorry, this is all very complicated, but I find the Encyclopedia Britannica's definition quite odd, even as a shorthand. The Orange Order were established during the time that the island of Ireland was one colonial nation of the British Empire. They exist today on the island of Ireland, but in the part that is not the nation of Ireland, but part of Great Britain. So if we take "Irish" to mean, of the nation of Ireland (in the same was as American is taken to mean of the United States, rather than of the continent of America), then Irish people belong to the Republic of Ireland OR those in Northern Ireland who choose to self-identify as Irish. Those in the Orange order identify very strongly as British, and do so from a time when all of the island of Ireland was part of the British Empire. To them, "Irish" would usually signify, as it does to us, of the Republic of Ireland, and they would not generally think it applies to them. The most they might stretch to is "Northern Irish," which for them would very much mean "Northern Ireland, Part of Great Britiain".

Again, all these definitions are quite porous and people self-identify differently, but Orange Order members are aggressively nationalistic and that nationalism is not usually related to their "Irishness" but their "British Northern Irishness".

Sorry for the derail.
posted by distorte at 4:56 AM on December 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


known as "The Real Capitol of Ireland,"

The idle Scousers thieved it off the ignorant Micks while they were pissed.

Glad I could clear that one up.
posted by Segundus at 4:57 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rory Gallagher was from Cork.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:58 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm not sure what the point is. There are Irish people in Liverpool? Well, duh. Some of their descendants happen to be the Beatles? Okay, not necessarily obvious, but why should we care? There probably is an interesting post to be made about the influence of Liverpool's Irish population on the local music scene, but some seemingly American guy playing up some stereotypes in an Irish accent isn't it. And then there's the weird turn for the political, which might, again, be worth a post in itself, but instead is just kind of thin and awkward.

Plus, why does Ireland itself produce so relatively few decent artists?

You mean Jedward don't count? Or the rooster they sent to Eurovision a few years back?
posted by hoyland at 4:59 AM on December 13, 2012


why should we care?

You're not required to. There are other threads.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:00 AM on December 13, 2012


Fascinating, deep post. Wonderful job, Bunny Ultramod.

Worth noting that the band's name is only first mentioned eight paragraphs in, yet they're instantly identifiable even without clicking on the links. Brilliant work, man.
posted by zarq at 5:00 AM on December 13, 2012


Rory Gallagher was from Cork.

I'm sure there are others, but my point is that, relative to population, Ireland is not a hot spot for contemporary music.

Despite being crammed with Irish people.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 5:02 AM on December 13, 2012


Distorte, I appreciate the time you are taking to explain about the Orange Order, but I know various people, both Protestant and Catholic, living in Glasgow who identify as 'Irish' who would say that the Orange Marches are part of the 'Irish' community, for good or for bad.
/derail
posted by Megami at 5:02 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


You've got it distorted, distorte.

Northern Ireland is part of Ireland, not part of Britain nor of Great Britain. That's why they call it the Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Northern Irish people are Irish and do not consider themselves British, although they may well consider themselves part of the United Kingdom.

The Orange Order is not exclusively Irish but also has strong representation in Scotland, for example, especially Glasgow.
posted by Segundus at 5:03 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


... a connection between live rock'n'roll as a practice and the Irish tradition of music in drinking establishments

Blues gigs of the 1930s in Mississippi juke joints (um... "drinking establishments") had little to do with Irish tradition and practice as far as I'm aware! Nor, say, rebetiko gigs in Greek taverna and ouzeri during the same period. Nor a host of other musical traditions that have thrived in drinking joints. I do believe music performance and public alcohol consumption are very familiar bedfellows, all round the world, from waaaay back!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:03 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nicely constructed post. Too bad it's poppycock.
posted by tommasz at 5:06 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Northern Irish people are Irish and do not consider themselves British

That's actually a subject that's been in the news quite a lot lately.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:07 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Beatles were not Irish, and Liverpool is not the "Capitol" of Ireland, real or otherwise

While we don't 'celebrate' our ancestral origins in the same way as the US - I often think that if I were in the US, I could call myself Irish-American without anyone laughing at me in the same way as if I called myself Anglo-Irish, given that I've never been there and my Irish relatives died before I was born, even if I can legitimately claim to be from a long line of potato-fed people - you're understating the strong religious and cultural ties Liverpool has with the Emerald Isle. My parents would never have called themselves Irish, but culturally speaking, their upbringing had a lot more in common with people in Dublin than people in, say, Hertfordshire - my mother attended a convent and my father a seminary, both were from large working-class Catholic families.

The interesting thing, though, is that the sectarianism present in the North also manifests itself in Glasgow, but not in Liverpool, a city which not only has a large Irish population but also two cathedrals - there are no Orange marches in the streets of Everton as there are up there. The Glasgow scene for me seems to be very influenced by West Coast rock, from mainstream rock bands to the indie-pop set.

Though, yes, Dublin is the actual capital of Ireland.

The idle Scousers thieved it off the ignorant Micks while they were pissed.

Let's cut that shit out right now, ta.
posted by mippy at 5:16 AM on December 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Northern Ireland is not part of Great Britain, but is part of the United Kingdom. As someone notes above, UK passports says 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland'. People resident within it may consider their nationality to be British however, as the word 'UKish' doesn't exist.

This thread is really painful to read.
posted by knapah at 5:16 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


There's an Irish (generally considered a "traditional" Irish, although he's worked in other settings) musician I had the pleasure of working with a bit in the recording studio back in '95 who is just absolutely badass. His name is Dónal Lunny, and there is absolutely no question as to his Irishness!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:17 AM on December 13, 2012


And I've never heard Liverpool described as the real capital of Ireland, but have often heard it described as east Dublin.
posted by knapah at 5:17 AM on December 13, 2012


British people generally don't call themselves 'Brits' anyway, they'll call themselves 'English', 'Scottish' and what have you.

My colleague from Cookstown says he'd describe himself as neither British nor Irish, but 'of the six counties'.
posted by mippy at 5:19 AM on December 13, 2012


The Pogues were a good shout, but Kevin Rowland is your top English Irish musician of recent years, I'd say (pipping Declan McManus by a short neck).
Also, to revive the derail, the Orange Order is definitely active in Liverpool and various bits of Scotland (as Segundus notes), and has lodges in the republic too IIRC (also in bits of the old empire, as you often see African Orangemen on parades in Ulster).
posted by Abiezer at 5:19 AM on December 13, 2012


Northern Ireland is not part of Great Britain, but is part of the United Kingdom. As someone notes above, UK passports says 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland'. People resident within it may consider their nationality to be British however, as the word 'UKish' doesn't exist.

It's meaningless, but your passport describes you as a "British citizen" and the forms talk about "British nationality". As mippy notes, whether you'd describe yourself as 'British' if asked for the first nationality word that pops into your head is a separate issue. (But 'British national' and 'British citizen' aren't the same--the people in the category 'British national (overseas)' count as 'British nationals' but not 'British citizens', as I understand it. It's a category that exists purely to facilitate the transfer of Hong Kong.)
posted by hoyland at 5:31 AM on December 13, 2012


You are all missing The Corrs - surely Irelands best ever band.
posted by marienbad at 5:34 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Beatles were also the greatest SCOTTISH band in history!

1) Humorist and musician Ivor Cutler was a big influence on the Beatles humor and antics . . . he played Buster Bloodvessel in one of their films, and he was from Scotland!

2) No Beatles wee born in Ireland, but one - Stu Sutcliffe - was born in Scotland!

3) The first single EVER to sell two million copies was a Paul McCartney hit called "Mull Of Kintyre," which is a place in Scotland!

4) The lead guitarist in Wings was Jimmy McCulloch, who was Scottish!

5) The Beatles originally formed as a kind of skiffle band whose greatest inspiration was Lonnie Donegan, from Scotland!

6) John Lennon spent many summers in a magical place far away from the grime and smog of Liverpool. That place was called Scotland!

7) The Beatles first tour ever was to Scotland!

8) The Scottish influence on the Beatles was so huge, there's even a book on it!

It's easier than one might think, but now I will stop so that I can work on some details of the greatest French band ever . . . THE BEATLES!
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 5:37 AM on December 13, 2012 [20 favorites]


Gah, this idea of being Irish-American, Anglo-Australian, Cornish-Bahamian or whatever really boils my piss. Anyone from the old world is a mongrel, we've all conquered each other that many times.

The idea of someone containing enough distinct genetic material for their offspring to be 50% of geographical construct X is rubbish, let along after three, four or five generations of further dilution.
posted by fatfrank at 5:37 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Apologies, I should have said United Kingdom where I said "Great Britain" above. Beyond that, the prevalence of unionists (Orangemen being strongly linked to unionism) referring to themselves as British rather than Irish is well-supported by the census figures linked by Bunny above.

I regret getting involved in this discussion. It's too old and full of historical semantical wriggling to be useful or enjoyable.


The original post is absolutely stellar, I've been enjoying reading these links. I do think that Lennon finding inspiration in American music broadly inspired by Scottish and Irish ballads is kind of a stretch, or at least not much more interesting than a remark on the global music melting pot that the 20th century gave us.
posted by distorte at 5:41 AM on December 13, 2012


Link to the Beatles / Scotland book info here.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 5:41 AM on December 13, 2012


(Puts down popcorn) @Dee Xtrovert: you win the thread! And you didn't mention drunken oranges once.
posted by epo at 5:44 AM on December 13, 2012


And of course, since "Paul McCarthy" is actually a Canadian mountie, the Beatles are aslo Canada's greatest band.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:48 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Northern Irish people are Irish and do not consider themselves British

Holy God. Have you heard of The Troubles? Republicans? Unionists? Is this ringing any bells at all?
posted by DarlingBri at 5:53 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Anyone from the old world is a mongrel, we've all conquered each other that many times.

The idea of someone containing enough distinct genetic material for their offspring to be 50% of geographical construct X is rubbish, let along after three, four or five generations of further dilution."

posted by fatfrank

What? There have been poor people who's families have lived here for hundreds of years mate, lots of them. They couldn't afford to move around, they were too poor. Well, until the USA offered cheap passage on a ship. It is the same with asian communities, where their family would be from the same part of India for generations.
posted by marienbad at 5:56 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do think that Lennon finding inspiration in American music broadly inspired by Scottish and Irish ballads is kind of a stretch

Lennon was very astute about Liverpool and its deep connection to Country and Western music in the Wenner Rolling Stone interview in 1970:

"It's an Irish place. It's where the Irish came when they ran out of potatoes. I remember the first guitar I ever saw was a guy in a cowboy suit... with the stars and the cowboy hat. They're real cowboys there, they take it seriously. They've been cowboys long before there was rock and roll."
posted by colie at 5:59 AM on December 13, 2012


I remember the first guitar I ever saw was a guy in a cowboy suit... with the stars and the cowboy hat. They're real cowboys there, they take it seriously. They've been cowboys long before there was rock and roll."

Alright, I'm gonna settle this all right now. The Beatles are from Sherman, Texas. You know, where Buck Owens is from.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:16 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


This thread reminds me a bit of Robert Anton Wilson's claim that the Irish invented quantum physics because the four faces of the town clock in Cork show different times.
posted by acb at 6:17 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


They're real cowboys there, they take it seriously. They've been cowboys long before there was rock and roll.

American cowboy country music became massively popular in rural Ireland in the mid-twentieth century, and remains so in a lot of parts now. So I guess there's something to that.

We do have a lot of cows.
posted by distorte at 6:20 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed this paragraph from the website of The Cedar Lodge Hotel in Wexford, linked above:
Another Beatle connection with County Wexford was George Harrison’s dentist, John Riley, who left England and settled in County Wexford in 1980 but died tragically in a car accident in 1986. John was a regular patron of the Cedar Lodge Hotel in Carrigbyrne.
posted by distorte at 6:28 AM on December 13, 2012


Let's cut that shit out right now, ta.

What kind of shit - sarcasm?

Holy God. Have you heard of The Troubles?

Christ on a bike. Have you heard of the distinction between physical and political geography?

You may, I concede, find people from Northern Ireland who will call themselves British as a loose shorthand way of asserting their loyalty to the United Kingdom, but I don't think you will find one under the impression that Northern Ireland is part of Britain.
posted by Segundus at 6:30 AM on December 13, 2012


What does the BBC say about Liverpool and its Irish population?


Liverpool has a long standing public image as an Irish city, so much so that it is often jokingly referred to as the ‘Capital of Ireland’. For many Liverpool-born second and third-generation Irish people traditions of music and dance are ways in which they can connect to a sense of Irish identity and heritage and link up with other community members.


Basically I picture some of you people standing, angry fits on petulant hips, saying, " how can this be Chinatown? I haven't left San Francisco, let alone North America!"
posted by boo_radley at 6:39 AM on December 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, Ian Paisley's still around. I think he'd argue against that.
posted by mippy at 6:40 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's easier than one might think, but now I will stop so that I can work on some details of the greatest French band ever . . . THE BEATLES!

I used to work in a record exchange, and when it was quiet I'd read Elvis Monthly. These magazines, being printed up to two decades after the death of the King, somewhat struggled for fresh material each month, and one of the stories was that Elvis was, possibly, Welsh. As some may know, he didn't visit Britain other than to step on the tarmac in a minor Scottish airport when changing planes, so I wondered how they had come up with this theory. Apparently there are some people in Wales with the surname Presley, and it is, possibly, an alternative spelling of Presili.
posted by mippy at 6:44 AM on December 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


You may, I concede, find people from Northern Ireland who will call themselves British as a loose shorthand way of asserting their loyalty to the United Kingdom, but I don't think you will find one under the impression that Northern Ireland is part of Britain.

What things are and what people wish them to be often bear very little similarity to one another in NI. Last I checked, the proliferation of Union Jacks up north does not indicate an innocuous fondness for crumpets.

When Ian Paisley says "We will fight anyone to remain part of Britain, even the British" he isn't speaking to a crowd of one. 45,000 people elected him, repeatedly.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:57 AM on December 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


And I was just working on a Nirvana Reunited post but I was so stunned by the news.
*kicks under the door*

Oh well, I hear The Troubles have flared up. That'll do.


Ringo better step up for his All-Starr band.
Does anyone have John Lydon's number?
posted by Mezentian at 7:02 AM on December 13, 2012


I think it'd be really cool if we could avoid starting The Troubles back up in here, guys.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:02 AM on December 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


What she said. *points up*
I didn't mean to.
(Although I do fear The Troubles are re-starting themselves)
posted by Mezentian at 7:05 AM on December 13, 2012


Oh congratulations EmpressC, now that was a tasteless reference. Anyone for an off-hand 9/11 witticism?
posted by epo at 7:06 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm still agog at the revelation that pubs in the US serve a drink during St Patrick's Day - sorry, Patty's Day - called an 'Irish Car Bomb'. TOO SOON GUYS
posted by mippy at 7:10 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Could we please not?
Look, there go Israel and Palestine, those scamps!

Ireland is complicated, and it doesn't make sense, but can we all agree it's a noice place and talk about the Beetalls or the B-Sharps? or Why Yoko Ono should never sing?
Or the Nrivana-beatles?
posted by Mezentian at 7:12 AM on December 13, 2012


Have you heard of the distinction between physical and political geography?

Falling back on physical geography is tricky here, because the group of islands as a whole is the British Isles, and Great Britain the largest island in that group. So to say Britain (as a physical geographical entity) could once have been interpreted to refer to Britain the collection of islands (arguably including Ireland [usually avoided now]) or Britain the largest island, leaving out all associated smaller islands (which are obviously many, and many of which are in "Britain").

Here's a really good video on the complexities of "The United Kingdom", but even this reportedly makes a mistake or two here and there.
posted by distorte at 7:13 AM on December 13, 2012


Oh congratulations EmpressC, now that was a tasteless reference.

"Tasteless" when people are trying to hash out some very complicated issues of national, societal, and political identity, where all sides have the weight of complicated history behind them, in the midst of an online discussion thread on the Internet that is ostentibly about The Beatles and appear to be getting very angry in the proces?

Okay, I apologize if my word choice was crudely and inadvertently glib, but look, people are getting all het up and it is not going to help anything, right?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:14 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


[Seriously folks just stop and start over on a different tack please, okay?]
posted by jessamyn at 7:18 AM on December 13, 2012


I agree the thread needs defusing but your wording made me wince and I'm English. A bit like watching film of someone slipping on ice, I thought "I'm glad that wasn't me".
posted by epo at 7:31 AM on December 13, 2012


Not one U2 mention in the entire thread?
posted by Brocktoon at 7:37 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, we're talking about good Irish bands, not tax evaders.
posted by MartinWisse at 7:39 AM on December 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


I've always loved Planxty and haven't succeeded at finding others like them.
posted by gilrain at 7:51 AM on December 13, 2012


And of course, since "Paul McCarthy" is actually a Canadian mountie, the Beatles are aslo Canada's greatest band.

Ah-hem, this is completely false on two fronts.

1) Paul was a member of the Ontario Provincial Police (as per the patch on his Sgt. Pepper's uniform).

2) Which means that the greatest Canadian band is Nirvana.
posted by beau jackson at 7:57 AM on December 13, 2012


There really is not enough written about the Beatles.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:57 AM on December 13, 2012


the Orange Order are a pro-Britain organisation exclusively active in Northern Ireland

LIES, DAMNED LIES

But yes, although they're pro British and would call themselves as such, everyone in the island of Britain would call them Irish, what with them being from Ireland and all, even a bit that's part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. But really, if you can have Irish Americans what's the big deal about have some British Irishmen or indeed Irish Englishmen. Can't we all just get along?
posted by Damienmce at 8:14 AM on December 13, 2012


Can't we all just get along?

No
posted by Damienmce at 8:19 AM on December 13, 2012


Are you sure?
posted by Brocktoon at 8:28 AM on December 13, 2012


Boy do you people like fighting with each other.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:29 AM on December 13, 2012


Wow, only in December could a thread about the Beatles and the Irish diaspora devolve into an angry fist-slinging.

Have you heard of the distinction between physical and political geography?

Not to mention cultural geography, which this is really more about.
posted by Miko at 8:33 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Liverpool the Capital of Ireland? That's literally beyond the pale.
posted by Elmore at 8:41 AM on December 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


Was there a tongue that was fleetingly seen in the cheek of the OP at some point?
posted by infini at 8:49 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Was there a tongue that was fleetingly seen in the cheek of the OP at some point?

NO HE MEANT EVERY WORD LITERALLY AS THE GOSPEL
posted by Miko at 8:52 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Elmore: "Liverpool the Capital of Ireland? That's literally beyond the pale."

Thread redeemed.
posted by boo_radley at 8:53 AM on December 13, 2012


Was there a tongue that was fleetingly seen in the cheek of the OP at some point?

NO HE MEANT EVERY WORD LITERALLY AS THE GOSPEL


Ooooh! Then I must mark this as a truly fantastic post worthy worthy worthy of note, well crafted and supporting its title.
posted by infini at 9:05 AM on December 13, 2012


"or Why Yoko Ono should never sing?"
posted by Mezentian

Does this even need answering?
posted by marienbad at 9:10 AM on December 13, 2012


Let's get off the Irish stereotypes and onto the Scouser stereotypes, shall we?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:40 AM on December 13, 2012


Not one U2 mention in the entire thread?

Damnit, Brocktoon, we were blissfully U2 free!

And anyhow, nobody wants to talk about Christian Rock.

/ducks
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:56 AM on December 13, 2012


Boy do you people like fighting with each other.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:29 on December 13 [+] [!]


Whaddaya mean "you people"?
posted by grubi at 10:12 AM on December 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


This must be the angry thread.
posted by colie at 11:09 AM on December 13, 2012


three blind mice: though it must be said this Irish thing makes it sound like one of those tiny countries who seek to claim some relationship to someone who makes it globally famous...

Pssst. It's the other way around. Everyone famous wants to claim a piece of Ireland.
Didn't John Lennon once say The Beatles were bigger than Ireland? No? Well, he should have.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:10 AM on December 13, 2012


The earliest "Liverpool is the capital of Ireland" remark that I've heard is from The Dubliners Albert Hall concert in 1968.
posted by Jehan at 11:26 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


>> "The Real Capitol of Ireland"
For once, The Guardian spells a word correctly, and then it gets misspelled in the quotation. They just can't catch a break.
posted by w0mbat at 11:54 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


The earliest "Liverpool is the capital of Ireland" remark that I've heard is from The Dubliners Albert Hall concert in 1968. yt

But it's old. No time to search, but Ringo himself says it here in 1964.

posted by Miko at 12:02 PM on December 13, 2012


This must be the angry thread.

Of course it is, we're Lividpudlians.
posted by Elmore at 12:33 PM on December 13, 2012


My favorite Irish song by McCartney would have to be "Mull of Kintyre." When those bagpipes kick in, it feels like you're right there in Boston.

I try not to let my sarcasm on the Internet be anything less than painfully obvious.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:58 PM on December 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


But it's old. No time to search, but Ringo himself says it here in 1964.
Oh, I know it's older than that, I just wanted to link to some Dubliners.
posted by Jehan at 1:02 PM on December 13, 2012


Who's the fifth Irish Beatle?
posted by colie at 1:21 PM on December 13, 2012


Who's the fifth Irish Beatle?

Scottie
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:29 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


That Scottie link was great, thanks.

That's my kind of History Channel. Particularly when The Beatles won the Superbowl. What a day that was.
posted by colie at 1:58 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey, have y'all read Nik Cohn's reviews (writing back in the 60s for the NYT) of The White Album (NOTE: PDF) and Abbey Road? He pretty much pans 'em. Seems to think it's Lennon singing "Oh Darling", too, which is some pretty damn sloppy music journalism from the august Gray Lady.

You'll note that back then, writers didn't have to say "Mr. Lennon" and all that. The writing in general is more like something you'd have seen in Rolling Stone, and illustrates how much the NYT has changed over the decades.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:10 PM on December 13, 2012


Paul's grandfather's republicanism was largely mocked in the movie. Near the end John chastises him that he could have been a nice old gentleman in Boston, and explains that his mistake was going east to Liverpool, instead of west.
posted by Dr. Boom at 5:09 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm still agog at the revelation that pubs in the US serve a drink during St Patrick's Day - sorry, Patty's Day - called an 'Irish Car Bomb'. TOO SOON GUYS
posted by mippy at 7:10 AM on December 13 [1 favorite +] [!]


They've been serving those since the 80s at least. It's like its the last thing it's OK to be totally un-PC about in the US.

btw, I'm Irish and I have lived in Liverpool and I think I can safely say it is fuck all like Dublin. Dublin has more than one decent restaurant for starters.
posted by fshgrl at 10:05 PM on December 13, 2012


Also, these references to drunkenness and drinking are a somewhat offensive stereotype. It's disappointing to find them so prevalent every time my country is mentioned on Metafilter.

posted by distorte


Uh-huh. distorte does not speak for the rest of us. I thoroughly enjoy our "stereotype", and I've gotten into some wonderful and bizarre situations because of it. Also, young men here in the states are forever buying me shots (Jameson, eeeh, or the aforementioned carbombs, which I'm partial to) and permitting me play patty-fingers with their sisters.
posted by amorphatist at 10:57 PM on December 13, 2012


Was the rumour that McDonalds was funding the IRA just a British thing? It's mentioned ont he David Icke website, according to Google, but if I read that for long enough I start wondering if there really is something in that chemtrails theory...
posted by mippy at 4:20 AM on December 14, 2012


Man, I was really hoping this post was going to be about House Of Pain.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 5:43 AM on December 14, 2012


Was the rumour that McDonalds was funding the IRA just a British thing?

Google suggests I'm not old enough to have heard it in any case. But it seems to have been traced to a confusion of the IRA with IRAs, which are a kind of retirement account. That basically eliminates the US--it's the sort of thing that confused me when I was eight (seriously) but an adult would probably notice the likely confusion pretty quickly. Plus, I'm not sure people would have cared if McDonalds were funding the IRA.
posted by hoyland at 6:32 AM on December 14, 2012


I was pretty young when the rumour made the rounds (the peace agreement was '94 if I remember correctly - the last mainland bomb was '96) but people did care here. Though if the IRA are actually bombing bits of your country it tends to be seen as more worthy of comment - I've heard about a high street chain here having interests in Burma, for example, but you won't find many who would bother boycotting them over it.

But yeah, IRA means one thing over here, and it isn't retirement accounts. I get confused when I see references to IRA contributions, like I do when I see references to SIDS (it was called 'cot death' when I was a kid, so that acronym reminds me of A-level Spanish coursework about SIDA ie. AIDS).

The other rumour not mentioned on the Wikipedia page for McDonald's urban myths is that the milkshakes contained sawdust.
posted by mippy at 6:57 AM on December 14, 2012


I was pretty young when the rumour made the rounds (the peace agreement was '94 if I remember correctly - the last mainland bomb was '96) but people did care here.

Yes, the 'people' in that sentence were American. (As was the 'adult' in the previous sentence.)
posted by hoyland at 9:09 AM on December 14, 2012


I understood this, yes. My point was that while US folk might not have cared, people cared enough here that it was a fairly prevalent rumour that persisted well into the 90s.
posted by mippy at 9:19 AM on December 14, 2012


I was once doing a Stage in the European parliament with other University College Cork European Studies folk (my first degree) when the Rev Ian Paisley heard we were around and went out to our bus and got on to welcome us to Brussels. We were all a little gobsmacked to be honest so (sitting in the front and having a gob on me, as my mother would have it) I asked him straight out. "Rev Paisley we're a little surprised you're welcoming us"

He looked at me, twinkle in his eye, bus microphone in his hand and said with a smile "Ah, sure, we're all Irish over here".

First time I went to Liverpool for a Charity event since I moved to the UK, people had all made their food contributions and brought them along. I tried what was simmering in a crockpot and said "that is the most AMAZING Irish stew I ever tasted!" The all laughed and told me, "That's called scouse!"

I have never felt so at home in the UK than I have with the Liverpool friends I met. Whatever the background the Irishness is still very very strong. Meeting up with them is like sinking into a warm bath after a cold walk.

Don't get me wrong, I have been made welcome in the 10 years I've lived here. Now being Irish is actually a help socially. Far more so than the experiences of being Irish in the UK in the 80s. That pretty much sucked. So I have something to thank Al Qaeda for.

But even though being Irish these days is far more normalised than before, until chatting with the Liverpool gang of friends I hadn't realised how different it is. The shared language can do that, it can smooth out the obvious differences. It felt just like going home.

Which, until today, was a sense I also had each time I came online here.

.
posted by Wilder at 11:29 AM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


The other rumour not mentioned on the Wikipedia page for McDonald's urban myths is that the milkshakes contained sawdust.

Whipped lard with food colouring and flavouring, in the version I heard. Which is why they call them “thickshakes”, and never “milkshakes”.
posted by acb at 3:32 PM on December 14, 2012


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