Wednesday, 24 February 2010
"All ye young people now take my advice. Before crossing the ocean you'd better think twice. 'Cause you can't live without love, without love alone. The proof is round London in the nobody zone. Where the summer is fine, but the winter's a fridge. Wrapped up in old cardboard under Charing Cross Bridge. And I'll never go home now because of the shame. Of misfit's reflection in a shop window pane ..." sings the great Christy Moore on his recording of Jimmy McCarthy's Missing You. The song tells of the dangers of crossing the ocean from Ireland in search of prosperity in London. The striking thing now about the song is the reminder of how in the '80s the Irish in London were often seen as drunkards fit only for digging up the roads or as potential bombers. Society needs its bogeymen it seems, and it's only the races and religions that change. Christy had covered the Irish navvy theme before, naturally, including the recording of Dominic Behan's Paddy On The Road, the title track of his debut LP: "So come all you navvies bold who think that English gold is just waiting to be taken from each sod or the likes of you and me could ever get an OBE or a knighthood for good service to the hod. They've the concrete master race to keep you in your place, the ganger man to kick you to the ground, if you ever try to take part of what the bosses make when you're building up and tearing England down ..."