Back in the late 80’s/early 90’s, everyone I knew, and, really, the whole world of young people, were wearing Pendletons and listening to grunge. The “Seattle Scene” was in full swing, Nirvana on the radio, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, all the rest.
I myself was listening to Irish Music: Not the traditional Irish music of The Chieftains, or their ilk, there was no “Danny Boy” for me. No, I was listening to the wonderful “modern” Irish music of the day. It was the “post-punk” era, and I was a young, 30-something single mother, living in San Francisco, and I could be seen frequently wandering the streets, stroller in front of me, bopping to the tunes on my Walkman. (yeah, it was a long time ago!) About as traditional as I got was Clannad, (and Enya) but I was also listening to The Pogues (of course! I was a punk, after all!) Black 47, World Party, The Devlins, The Waterboys, and, my favorite, Luka Bloom!
Luka Bloom embodies the “Deep Lush Soul of An Irishman” The way he crafts his songs, so full and rich, an impeccable wordsmith, and the evocative turn of phrases…here are a few lines from the following video that have always touched my very soul:
Outside autumn leaves
Lightly kiss the ground
What once was luscious green
Now is gorgeous brown
How lush is THAT? How Deep? How…sensual!?! Omigod, his words make me swoon!
But, I have to tell you, there is more to this mans’ music, this mans’ lyrics, than just his pretty, pretty words…this man is a healer, a shaman of the soul. His music has helped me through many a hard time, the death of my father, the death of my mother, a break-up or two…raising a son when I didn’t really know how! When life was good, his music enabled my soul to soar, helped me to keep the spiritual in my life, without any of the dogma I was raised with. A healer, I tell ya, a shaman of the soul…
So, since this blog is ostensibly about life and love, you may wonder what all this music stuff has to do with what I’ve been talking about…Well, I’ll tell you:
There I was surrounding myself with all this lovely, poetic, romantic music. (Mike Scott of The Waterboys, now he’s a great example of that deep lush soul I’ve been talking about, oh so romantic…*sigh*) I was also hanging out with my dear friend Vickie, who comes from an old San Francisco Irish Union family, and, when we weren’t at Punk Clubs, we were hanging out in Irish Bars…geez, I lived right down the street from The Plough and the Stars and Irelands 32…on warm summer nights when I couldn’t get a sitter, I’d listen to the music through my open windows…and YES,there ARE warm summer nights in San Francisco…occasionally!
There I was surrounding myself with all these deep lush souls, both in music and in person, and I started yearning for an Irish boy of my own…not just me,Vickie was yearning too! So we started looking…to very little avail!
Oh, I had a false start or two! There was the time I met a cute-cute guy at The San Francisco Celtic Music Festival. No, I don’t remember his name, this was 20 years ago! But I do remember he had dark hair and green eyes (yum!) So,we’re talking ,getting to know each other a little, flirting a wee bit (and yeah, I know I say that phrase waaaay too much for an American girl) and my son, who was about two at the time, was playing with all the other kids a scant ten feet away from me. After awhile the kids started taking turns climbing onto a golfcart and jumping off…I thought nothing of it, he certainly jumped off higher things at home. By this time the cute-cute guy and I had been talking for about half an hour, forty minutes, things are going well, body language is good, it seems as though he’s about to ask for my phone number…when Julian, my son, falls in the middle of his jump and lands smack dab on his forehead! Gave himself a goose egg the size of…well, a goose egg!
So, I grab my son and run, to the car and the ER, stopping for just a moment to throw a scrap of paper with my phone # on it to the cute-cute boy. (Cyril? Could that be it? Vickie said it was a protty name….)
Well, long story short, my son was fine, but the cute-cute green eyed Irish guy never called…
Shortly after ‘the goose egg incident’ I moved back to L.A. My dad had cancer and was dying. A year later my mom died. Then a bad relationship broke up.That was a long hard period of my life, and, lets just say that finding a green eyed Irish boy with a D.L.S. was not on my radar…The only Irishman I even cared about during this time, and it was in no way a romantic longing, was, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, Luka Bloom. I let his music wash over my soul and heal me of my sorrow and pain…
Fast forward a couple of years…or five years…or ten. The sorrows of those long gone days have healed. I’ve had a few relationships in the interim,but never with an Irish man. (there are a dearth of Irish men in L.A.) I start thinking back…back to before I came back to L.A.. Back to before I had a child. Back to before I moved to San Francisco; before I went to Fashion School. Back to the punk rock days…and I had a funny realization: Who did I hang out with in those days? Why, the Murphy boys, The Bailey boy…Irish boys! Way back then! And,when you get right down to it, MOST of my old boyfriends (including the first great love of my life)were Irish boys…American Irish, to be sure,but Irish none the less! And I gotta tell you, that deep lush soul thing, it runs true in the Irish!
Even had a bit of a fling with one of the Murphy boys. It happened like this:
It was Halloween night, somewhere between 1978 and 1981. I was dressed as a beautiful alien; I had taken my court bodice from The Renaissance Pleasure Faire, a lovely concoction of cream and gold, paired it with a mini skirt, painted my skin green and glued rhinestones artfully around my eyes.
I do believe that the band that was playing had all of my Irish American friends in it…and one of them was the other Murphy boy. I’d never seen him before…and he was gorgeous! Green eyes, smooth forehead, sinuous body, silky hair, soft supple lips…oh…MAN!
And he liked what he saw too!
He asked me “What are you?
“An Alien Queen” I replied “Are you a spy?” (he was wearing a long black leather trench coat)
“How did you know?” was his response. From that moment on, he became “My Spy”.
And, as was the custom of the day, we ended up at my place.
I had to take the rhinestones off, they were itchy, and I’m sure I took off some of the green paint. When I came back into he bedroom he took me in his arms, looked deep into my eyes and said
“My brother’s right, you are even more beautiful without all that stuff on your’ face!”
No one had ever called me beautiful before! EVER! (my mom was the type who called me “interesting”. Said I had a “good personality”!)(which was pretty ironic, since I grew up shy and tongue-tied!)
And, lest you think it was just a line he was using to get me into bed, (like he needed a line!) a couple of weeks later my best friend Kristin moved back into town. When I pointed him out to her I said,
“Can you believe a guy like that would be interested in me!”
Kristin looked at me aghast. Seriously. Aghast!
“Of course!!” she said “You’re Beautiful!!!”
(Wow, twice in two weeks, I could get used to this!)
Alas, my spy and I were not to be. We went out a few more times, but nothing really clicked. The last night we spent together was New Years Eve, and, well it was the 80’s: let’s just say we were on opposing drugs that night….Soon I went to fashion school, got busy, hung out less…he started playing with his old band, and not with his brothers band anymore, we ran into each other less and less, and eventually I just lost track of him.
So, even though my spy and I didn’t work out, he became what I called my “Fantasy Fallback Guy” Whenever a guy and I split, whenever I got dumped or did the dumping, whenever I was alone or lonely…I’d fantasize about running into this guy again, and having HIM turn out to be the love of my life. I did this for like 20 years!
Then, in 1999 I got a home pc. A few years later a friend told me I could google myself, so I did! It was fun! Then I googled all of my old friends from the punk rock days….and then…I googled my spy, my fantasy-fallback guy. And guess what?
He left this mortal coil in 1986…
For 20 years I’d been fantasizing about a dead guy!
Ain’t irony a bitch!
And, in case you’re thinking that I’m making light of his death, I want to assure you that I’m not! He was a very, very talented musician, intelligent and from what I knew about him, such a sweet guy. He went down the wrong road, a road that many friends and acquaintances from “the scene” went down. (the 80’s were like that, with drugs and Aids, and the live fast-die young mentality) He, and they, died far too early, while they still had so much more to give, and so much life to live…countless tragedies…R.I.P. my dear man, you left far too soon! And, you truly had The Deep Lush Soul of an Irishman!