What’s Your Funeral Song?

I’ve had my mind on music for my funeral this week. No, I’m fine, thank you. No impending doom and gloom – at least that I’m aware of. Health situation remains static. Sprained back muscle from carrying a bag of potting mix gives me the odd twinge but other than that I am fine. Fine and dandy.

I’m off to a musical performance on the weekend : Australian country singer John Williamson. Old guy, not to be confused with that other Aussie country singer, Keith Urban. * Be still, my beating heart….

There was a time when there was a rush on funerals and they all seemed to feature John Williamson songs. If it wasn’t True Blue it was Flower On The Water which Williamson wrote and performed for the first anniversary of the Bali Bombing. In Bali. Where friends, family and strangers gathered to throw flowers on the water. I appreciate his songs much more now that I’ve reached mature aged status -the simple structure allows me to remember all the words.

To hear your voice, to see you smile

To sit and talk to you awhile

To be together the same old way

That would be our greatest wish today

To hear you laugh, to hear you cry

Or just a chance to say ‘goodbye’

To say the things we didn’t say

That would be our greatest wish today

But all we can do is throw a flower on the water

Look for the sun through the rain

Lay a little frangipani gentle on the water

Remember how we loved you.
– J Williamson

Lists of popular Funeral Songs include many that you would expect:

Frank Sinatra : My Way
Vera Lynn : We’ll Meet Again
Sarah McLachlan : Angel
Ed Sheeran : Supermarket Flowers ( which he wrote for his Mum)

All good songs. Fine sentiments. But not my kind of music for a rollicking good Wake.

I am selecting a tune by Irish band Flogging Molly : If I Ever Leave This World Alive.A tune which works well with a glass of bubbles in your hand, in song, and on the dance floor.

What’s your funeral song?

P.S. Umm, not game to share the song I got married too. That might give you the wrong impression.

St Patrick’s Day & Music #4

Could we get past St Patrick’s Day without mention of the 1952 movie, The Quiet Man, filmed almost entirely in Ireland?

This classic is so well known that I’m not commenting other than the (loose) concept was developed from the novel, Blackcock’s Feather by Maurice Walsh. Can I tell you just how hard it was to locate a copy of this book?

My daughter surprised me with flights to Ireland when I visited her during her study visa in England. God love her, she’d even booked seats on The Quiet Man bus tour as a treat for her decrepit old mo.

The countryside was just beautiful, and photos of the bridge where Shaun Thornton ( John Wayne) first spots Mary-Kate Donaher (Maureen O’Hara) herding sheep adorn the walls of the She-Shack. * massive sigh

Another favourite movie filmed mostly in Ireland and starring Daniel Day-Lewis is In The Name Of The Father. Nothing light and fluffy about this one, it is based on the true story of the Guildford Four, four people falsely convicted of the 1974 Guildford pub bombings, which killed four off-duty British soldiers and a civilian.

The Irish scenery is bleak yet spectacular. Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin is brutally stark and full of the history of Irish nationalism with a courtyard where the perpetrators of the 1916 Easter Uprising were executed. TIP: Do the tour: it’s eerily fascinating.

Hot soup, Cold Cider, and a hint of rebellion.

St Patrick’s Day & Music #3

Cockles And Mussels is an Irish folk song that kids of my vintage learned at Primary School, right along with Puff The Magic Dragon. This is odd in that Aussies don’t call them cockles, but rather, Pipis (or Pippies.)

On our beaches it is common to see families along the waters edge doing the “Pipi shuffle”, a movement with their feet in the sand, in order to have the shellfish raise to the surface for collection. The seagulls get a good feed as I’m not sure just how many of us, other than our new Australians or our first Australians, would know how to cook them. I certainly don’t, though my parents used to talk of them making a fine meal over a campfire, albeit a tad gritty.

Mussels I can cook though I haven’t bothered for thirty years. Despite the pristine waters off Tasmania friends who recently collected mussels from the rocks became temporarily paralysed after eating them due to contamination by toxins.

In Dublin there’s a statue of Molly Malone with her cart, although I understand the locals affectionately call her the “Tart with the Cart”.

There is also a fine statue of James Joyce, Irish novelist, who wrote Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. They call that one “ The Prick with the Stick”. (Evidence enough, Cait’s Classics, that somewhere down the line we are part of that Tribe).

In Dublin’s fair city

Where the girls are so pretty

I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone

As she wheeled her wheelbarrow

Through the streets broad and narrow

Crying “cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh”

St Patrick’s Day & Music # 2.

Danny Boy has been done to death, including within my own family where the patriach insisted on teaching my sister and I how to play this song on the harmonica.(Note : Another epic fail, right up there with Algebra and Long Division).

It wasn’t until I heard Mario Lanza’s version of Danny Boy that I appreciated the real beauty of this song.

Over the years there has only ever been one book that I’ve literally thrown into the garbage bin. Many I don’t finish for a myriad of reasons but they all get recycled and rehomed.

The book was a Mario Lanza biography. Now I’m no prude when it comes to reading about affairs of the heart, nor affairs involving all manner of body parts. This book however included the most undignified tripe I’ve ever read, or as an Irish friend would say, “it was plain manky”.

Mr Lanza, this one makes the angels weep.

Do you have a favourite rendition of Danny Boy?

St Patrick’s Day and Music 1.

I’ve just booked lunch at the local pub for St Patrick’s Day. The food is sure to be gross – Guinness Pies and Pork Sausages and Mash – though the view of the bay and the band in the beer garden are personal faves.

From the beer garden to North Stradbroke Island

Tullamore Tree specialise in Irish music (though the lead singer is from Glasgow, which is Irish enough in concept), covering traditional folk songs, songs of rebellion, and recent hits. There’s generally a lot of communal singing followed by ungainly movement on the dance floor which is all good fun. Unfortunately, I’ve checked the wardrobe and I’m all out of orange and/or green outfits (which oddly enough were always my colours when I was younger, taller and thinner. Orange for Gods sake. Who wears orange?)

As I’ve been told I must stop singing Gene Pitney songs by numerous people over the last fortnight I’ve moved on to the Irish music that seems to have played such a large part in my life over the years. The neighbours are going to be totally fed up by the end of the week……

When I visited Ireland with Daughter Numero 2 I experienced numerous “moments”. Quite sure we are both Celtic at heart. Still get a wee teary remembering being in Galway and just getting lost in the music.

So of course the neighbours have already had to deal with some crooning from old Bing…………

Moving on……….