Thursday, March 16, 2023

Happy Opposite Day 2023

Mom's drunk. Dad's crying. Must be Opposite Day. Back when I was still in the music business, we called it "Amateur Hour." It wasn't a compliment. Ah, well, let's have a blessing anyway:
May those who love us love us.
And those that don't love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He doesn't turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles,
So we'll know them by their limping.
Let's sing Carrickfergus, and weep, and laugh, all at once. And before anyone gets any ideas in the comments, there is only one version of this song:

I wished I had you in Carrickfergus,
Only for nights in Ballygrand,
I would swim over the deepest ocean,
The deepest ocean to be by your side.

But the sea is wide and I can't swim over
And neither have I wings to fly.
I wish I could find me a handy boatman
To ferry me over to my love and die.

My childhood days bring back sad reflections
Of happy days so long ago.
My boyhood friends and my own relations.
Have all passed on like the melting snow.

So I'll spend my days in endless roving,
Soft is the grass and my bed is free.
Oh to be home now in Carrickfergus,
On the long road down to the salty sea.

And in Kilkenny it is reported
On marble stone there as black as ink,
With gold and silver I did support her
But I'll sing no more now till I get a drink.

I'm drunk today and I'm rarely sober,
A handsome rover from town to town.
Oh but I am sick now and my days are numbered
Come all ye young men and lay me down.

I wish you'd put the battered kettle on
The bag could take one steeping more
I'd walk for miles across a rocky down
To hear the whistle we're all waiting for

The gulf yawns wide and I can't leap over
Until my time is drawing nigh
You're laid to rest in the nonesuch clover
When you were here you slipped on by

Those Christmas days and our destinations
Trolley rides through the dirty snow
My childhood's gone, like passing stations
Eyes full of tears, some from the cold

Nicely done, Van. More power to your elbow.


T. said...


I will be the first to take issue with your statement there is only one version of this song, seeing as for some reason the Entire Internet has so far failed to produce a standing objection.

I don't fault you for confusion; it's a very good rendition. But not the only one. Here's my offering:

And now you must also know why. It isn't because it's Irish--well, that's not true, it's incredibly Irish, more so than disturbingly green food. Here's the thing:

My grandfather was Irish in almost every way, including the abiding sense of tragedy that carried him through temporary periods of joy. Hearty and hale, mostly, he came down with Alzheimer's. We (mostly my brother) cared for him till he died, and the more the Alzheimer's ate away at his brain, the wider his sea he could not cross became.

The Cedric Smith/Loreena McKinnet version was the only rendition I'd heard at the time, and most of began to intractably associate the Irish song with the Irish man, weary now, and laying down.

"But the Sea is wide. . ." and my throat constricts. I absolutely refuse to accept that this is not a legitimate version of Carrighfergus. If you argue, I may consider forgiving you for your poor taste, but I will under no circumstances back down.

(so there.)

benjaminthomas said...

Bravo. And that is for Sipp, and Van, and Cedric, and Loreena ... and T.

It never ceases to amaze me the quality of postings here on SC, and of the commenters you attract.


Gagdad Bob said...

I can't play that song in the house, because the wife will burst into tears. We saw Van live sometime after that album came out, and he performed it. I sneak a sidelong glance, and tears are streaming down her face. The one other song that has this effect is Shirley Caesar's No Charge. Not the religious part, just the mother part. I once tried it on an atheistic mother friend, and it had the same effect, so I think science is involved here.

SippicanCottage said...

Hi T. - You'll get used to me after a while.

Hi Benjamin- Thanks for reading and commenting.

Hi Bob- That's a good'un. Never heard it before.

sharecropper said...

I am new to your blog, and I had never heard that ballad before. Great stuff. Thanks for your posts.

hllm said...

Hello Sipp, I am always learning something new from your blog. I despaired while you were gone and sought out new sources of wisdom but am pleased you have returned as there aren't many like you out there. I appreciate those who build upon your offerings, variations on a theme.

Anonymous said...

Although I liked Van the Man when I was a kid, it was the Bryan Ferry version I heard first.