I see so many signs and ads for bars and stores and such, that read St. Patty's Day something or other. Really!? St. Patty's Day!? I worked for three years as a bartender at an Irish Pub, and the owner of said pub, born incidentally in Ireland, would have probably fired an employee on the spot if they wrote St. Patty's Day on any signage. And fired the employee loudly and with a barrage of language better left out of this fucking conversation. Seriously, St. Patty's Day!!? You see, here's the dealio. When you use Patty, that is the shortened form of Patricia! When you shorten Patrick, as in St. Fucking Patrick, you use Paddy, as in St. Fucking Paddy's Day! It's a simple thing really. Shouldn't be that fucking difficult!! So there, my rant is now over, and all I have to say about it is, Happy St. Paddy's Day!! Now we can move on to other items of green coloured interest.
So, as I was saying, this is the introductory post to the All Things Kevyn 4-Day St. Paddy's Day Weekend. But what, other than this obvious rambling here, will be part of said celebratory weekend event? Good question! Please allow me to answer it. First up will be this post (duh!) which will include more than mere rambling. As the Cos said on Fat Albert, if you're not careful, you might learn something before it's done. Though maybe not. Anyway, there will be this post, filled with fun St. Paddy's Day facts (ie, me rambling about nonsense), and then tomorrow will be the posting of the brand new Heavenly Body of the Week. Yeah yeah, it usually comes on Thursday (or the occasional Wednesday), but this week, The Heavenly Body was delayed by a coupla days in order to be part of the celebration. What is said heavenly body, you may ask? Well, you are just going to have to wait until tomorrow to find that out the answer to that question. Just be assured it will have something, even if it may be a stretch, to do with the theme of the weekend.
Then, on Sunday Sunday Sunday, you are going to be treated (or mistreated, if you insist) to one of my famous (or infamous, yada yada) top ten lists. This one will be the greenest of all my lists. After that, on the blessed day itself, there will be a simple but heartfelt greeting from some of my closest and dearest friends. Granted, these are friends I keep locked away in a special room in my house, but they are friends nonetheless. So there you go. That is the plan for the weekend. Well that, and maybe some corned beef or shepherd's pie. But as for the rest of this post, I am going to blather on...er, I mean talk about some of my favourite St. Paddy's Day related doodads and such. First off, howzabout a list of my five fave Irish-set movies? Sound good? Good, let's get on with it then.
1. The Quiet Man - This John Ford film from 1952, is one of the most gorgeous looking films this critic has ever seen. Starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara (her red hair against the rolling green hills and the sparkling blue sky is just a breathtaking example of what a filmmaker can do with Technicolor), this is the tale of a brash American come to Ireland to live in the house he has inherited, and the inevitable falling in love with an equally brash young woman in his new inherited small town home. Simply stunning, indeed.
2. Barry Lyndon - It's no secret that Stanley Kubrick is my all-time favourite filmmaker, so the inclusion of this 1975 film should be no surprise; and even though his recognition is usually tied in with other, more brazen films (A Clockwork Orange, Strangelove, 2001, Paths of Glory, Lolita), this classic tale of a young man (played by Irish-American actor Ryan O'Neal to boot) traveling through Ireland, getting in adventures and such, is probably the director's most subtly charming film - and Martin Scorsese's favourite Kubrick film at that.
3. The Informer - And we're back to John Ford. He was born of Irish parents after all, so it's appropriate that the guy is in here a couple times. This dark and shadowy tale of the underbelly of the 1920 War for Irish Independence, stars brusque and burly ex-boxer Victor McLauglen (he's in the above mentioned The Quiet Man too) as the titular informer. McLauglen would win the 1935 Best Actor Oscar for this film too, and Ford himself would win the first of his eventual four directing Oscars.Some claim the film doesn't hold up, but I totally disagree with this silly assessment. It holds up damn fine.
4. Ulysses - Based on James Joyce's infamous 1922 novel, this rather obscure-ish 1967 film was actually a big ole flop in the mainstream, but aside from that it was a counter culture sensation and the maelstrom of a censorship trial. The first film to use the word fuck, it was banned in many places, and was stuck with an X rating in the UK. None of this changes the fact that, like the book (yeah, I read it, what's it to ya), the film is a subversive blast. Stately plump Buck Mulligan would agree with me.
5. My Left Foot - I am usually not much of a fan of films that show someone persevering through great adversity (they tend to be a bit too schmarmy for my tastes) but ya toss Daniel Day-Lewis into the mix (you know, the world's greatest living actor) and this guy is h-o-o-k-e-d, hooked. Seriously though, this 1989 Oscar winning film, about the almost entirely paralyzed Irish poet, Chrsity Brown, will haunt your freakin' dreams. Dead on brilliant performance from Day-Lewis.
My father's last name was Kelly. I have never met the man personally, as he ran out when my mother found out she was pregnant, though supposedly he did briefly 'meet' me at six months old. I have met a couple of my half-siblings, but that is another story for another day. So anyway, my last name is my mother's maiden name (Knox, a good Scottish name of yore), but if I had taken his name, I would be Kevyn Michael Kelly. Sounds pretty fucking Irish to me. Hell, add to that the spelling of my given name, with the Celtic Y and all (though that was my doing later in life, not my mother's), and I could easily pass for 100% Irish. I also have fair skin that lights up like a candle when I hit the Sun, and a slight reddish tint to my brown hair. See, I'm getting more Irish with each passing sentence. Why am I bothering with all of this? I don't know. It's almost St. Paddy's Day, and perhaps I feel the need to be more Irish than I truly am on this day. Maybe I just like talking about myself. I would go 70/30, leaning toward the latter. But anyway, let's do another top five list. Here are my five favourite Irish comic book characters...
1. Banshee - Sean Cassidy was one of the original 'New' X-Men that came on board when the series was rebooted back in 1975 (though he made his actual debut in X-Men #28, back in '67). This Irish-born mutant with the sonic scream, ex-Interpol agent, friend of Charles Xavier, one time lover of Moira MacTaggert, father of Theresa (a mutant chip off the old block) may be dead now, or at least undead (seriously, which is it?), but he's still my favourite Irish superhero.
2. Shamrock - Molly Fitzgerald, the Marvel superheroine known as Shamrock, made her debut back in 1982. The daughter of a member of the IRA, Molly is actually a vessel for displaced spirits who died as innocent victims of war. Her 'career' in the comics did not last very long (seriously, nobody knows who the hell she even is), as she would retire to NYC where she would become a hairdresser. Still though, Shamrock...um, er, rocks. Yeah, Shamrock rocks!
3. Cassidy - Created by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon for their seminal Vertigo comic, Preacher, Cassidy is a bad-ass Irish vampire, who was once a member of the IRA. Twisted and dark, Cassidy is one of the more standout characters in a comic that has nothing but standout characters.
4. Jack O'Lantern - This rather silly DC character (basically a second rate Green Lantern) was given a magic lantern by a fairy. Yeah, that's right. Originally Irishman Daniel Cormac, but later the mantle was taken up by Marvin Noronsa, and finally by Daniel's cousin, Liam McHugh, was a member of the Global Guardians, and is kind of so lame, he's cool. Yeah, let's stick with that.
5. Judge Joyce - Sure, this rather minor Judge Dredd character, the hard-drinkin' but totally laid back (at least by typical Dredd standards) law of Murphyville, is meant to be a parody of the typical Irishman (and possibly a bit offensively so), but I get a kick out of him, and that's enough to get him on this list. So there.
I was tempted to put my all-time fave in there, but considering that Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil, aka The Man Without Fear, is merely Irish-American and/or Irish Catholic, and not a full-blooded Irishman (or woman) like those above, I will just settle for a quick mention right here and now. But I digress. Now from here, I could easily go on to say how even though St. Patrick's Day was made an official entity back in the early 17th Century, and was made official here in the States in 1737 with a parade in Boston, the famous NYC parade did not come around until 1762. I could talk about how Chicago dyes its river green every year on March 17th. I could go on and on about how originally it was the colour blue that was worn to symbolize St. Paddy's Day, and how I actually would prefer such to the colour green. I could also take this time to tell the joke about St. Patrick going on a blind date with a soon-to-be bald Medusa. If you don't get that allusion, perhaps you should do some reading up on the life and times of St. Patrick. But, once again, I digress. Let me just finish by saying, welcome to the All Things Kevyn 4-Day St. Paddy's Day Weekend. Oh, and to toss in another holiday - Happy Pi Day to you and yours. That's it (for now) gang. See ya 'round the web.