Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Tale of Two Irishmen

In celebration of the best holiday ever, St. Patrick's Day, I give you a pair of Irish tales, about a pair of great Irishmen, and with them a pair of videos.

First Up: out of the gritty backstreets of that Dirty Old Town, Dublin, we have the great, great (and one of my personal heroes) Shane MacGowan. MacGowan fought his way through the original punk wars of the late seventies in London, and eventually formed his own band, The Pogues. The Pogues drew on traditional Irish music fused with the energy and unabashed attack of punk. MacGowan himself instantly positioned himself as one of the greatest lyricists of all time upon their first release. From Wikipedia:

MacGowan drew on his Irish heritage when founding The Pogues. Many of his songs are influenced by Irish nationalism, Irish history, the experiences of the Irish in London and the U.S., and London life in general. MacGowan has often cited the 19th-century Irish poet James Clarence Mangan and playwright Brendan Behan as influences.

Above is his best loved song, Fairytale of New York. And though technically a Christmas song (and in my opinion the greatest Christmas song ever written), it sure feels good to sing on St. Patty's Day.

Bonus: watch this performance by The Pogues and the Dubliners. Amazing.

Second Up: Out of the mean streets of South Jersey, came Irishman Raghib "Rocket" Ismail. Ismail was known as the Rocket due to his blazing speed, which he wielded as a weapon. From the second he stepped on campus at the University of Notre Dame The Rocket was a force to be reckoned with. From Wikipedia:

Ismail was known as a tremendous game breaker who could turn a game around with his unmatched hustle. During the 1989 regular season game against the University of Michigan, Ismail returned two kickoffs for touchdowns sealing the Wolverines' downfall. He was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated twice, and received numerous awards, including All-American status. In the 1991 Orange Bowl, he returned a punt return 91 yards for a touchdown that would have sealed the game for Notre Dame and stopped Colorado from winning a split of the National Championship, however the play was later called back on a phantom (ed.) clipping call and Notre Dame eventually lost 10-9.

Watch this too, it's totally worth spending a few minutes on. So awesome.

So sit back and enjoy this Tale of Two Irishmen on this beautiful St. Patty's Day.