I've been going through some pretty heavy emotional stuff lately. Don't really feel like getting into it right now, but let's just say it felt great to get out of town for a while.
Why was I going out of town? Well, Santa had the foresight to get me a ticket to see The Pogues on Monday night in Atlanta. He really does see all.
I was told by friends who had seen them previously to be prepared for a fun, if shambolic, event. I was told the band would be tight, but Shane MacGowan would pretty much just slur a bunch of garbled nonsense over it, relying on the crowd to, you know, actually remember the words.
But holy crap were they awesome last night.
Shane would do sort of mini-sets of 3 or 4 songs before shuffling back offstage for a couple minutes, and his opening remarks were completely incoherent. I loved seeing all these people doing the 'what the hell did he say' face to their shrugging friends. But as soon as he started singing, he sounded exactly like the recordings. And all those tin whistles and accordions and banjos and what not sounded great. The crowd was singing every word, I overheard the bartender mention they ran out of Guinness by 9:00 and a good time was had by all.
The last time I really listened to the Pogues a lot was when I actually lived in Atlanta, so I kept getting strange little flashes of deja vu or nostalgia or something, especially during "Thousands are Sailing," which is a song I didn't think they'd play.
The song is about Irish immigrants in America, how they still miss their homeland but are making lives here at the same time. Now I'm part Irish, I'm not exactly sure how much, and while I think that all that Irish history stuff is pretty cool, I also think that if my great-great-grandfather had wanted me to get all weepy about Ireland, he wouldn't have gotten on the boat.
Anyway, I can distinctly remember playing the song around Christmas after getting back from a shift delivering food. For whatever reason, the lyrics, "Did the old songs taunt or cheer you, and do they still make you cry," and "So we raised a glass to JFK and a dozen more besides/ when I got back to my lonely room, I suppose I must have cried" suddenly made things clear. I had to get out of here. I had to move back to Gainesville. I wasn't exactly unhappy, but I don't suppose I was that happy either, and I could feel myself getting comfortably trapped. After months of rejection, I had stopped sending out resumes, and could feel myself getting more and more comfortable working a couple hours a day and walking home with a wad of cash.
So I ended up going back to Gainesville with my tail between my legs. Sure, Gainesville was another comfortable trap, a way to stay in a holding pattern for another year or so before actually growing up and/or doing something responsible, but at least I was happier, I guess, and sort of working on a plan, which would eventually lead to the holy path of library science.
And yeah, I realize that delivering food in Atlanta was a far cry from digging out a railroad or whatever, but still.
So while I still have flashes of bad feelings, the Pogues (and my hosts) helped a lot, at least for a little while. I think they're only playing a couple more shows in the U.S., so if it isn't sold out, you should really, really go.