Thursday, May 04, 2017

The Queen is dead boys, and it's so lonely on a limb...

So I broke into the Palace
With a sponge and a rusty spanner
She said: "Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing"
I said: "that's nothing - you should hear me play piano"

No fucking clue what the Hell is going on at Buckingham Palace*, although I assume some announcement in a couple of hours is on its way. It could be anything. Prince Philip could be dead, or the Queen's favourite corgi or maybe the Queen herself .

(Yes I know the media said the emergency meeting was CALLED by the Queen, but honestly I think she has people to do that for her. I know if I was a reigning monarch, the very first thing I'd do is rule that under no circumstances would I be required to have ANYTHING to do with ANY meeting EVER again.

(And as for the old racist Prince Philip, I just hope it wasn't the heartbreak caused by Malcolm Turnbull taking back that knighthood Tony Abbott gave the guy. If it is, I think British security should be on high alert at the funeral for a rogue Abbott wielding a sword determined to "knight" the corpse before its buried once and for all.)

All I know is, it sounds like as good an occasion as any for this Smiths track, in which, over a typically awesome guitar playing by the genius that is Johnny Marr, Morrissey does what he does best: combine genuinely witty lyrics with a seemingly bottomless self-pity.

* Update: Apparently the announcement is just that Prince Philip will be performing even less duties in the interests of the public. Like how is that even possible? And who is in charge of official racist abuse now?

Farewell to this land's cheerless marches
Hemmed in like a boar between arches
Her very Lowness with her head in a sling
I'm truly sorry but it sounds like a wonderful thing

I say Charles don't you ever crave
To appear on the front of the Daily Mail
Dressed in your Mother's bridal veil?

And so I checked all the registered historical facts
And I was shocked into shame to discover
How I'm the 18th pale descendent
Of some old queen or other

Oh has the world changed, or have I changed?
Oh has the world changed, or have I changed?
Some nine year old tough who peddles drugs
I swear to God, I swear I never even knew what drugs were

So I broke into the Palace
With a sponge and a rusty spanner
She said: "Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing"
I said: "that's nothing - you should hear me play piano"

We can go for a walk where it's quiet and dry
And talk about precious things
But when you are tied to your mother's apron
No-one talks about castration

We can go for a walk where it's quiet and dry
And talk about precious things
Like love and law and poverty
These are the things that kill me

We can go for a walk where it's quiet and dry
And talk about precious things
But the rain that flattens my hair
These are the things that kill me

Passed the pub that saps your body
And the church who'll snatch your money
The Queen is dead, boys
And it's so lonely on a limb

Pass the pub that wrecks your body
And the church, all they want is your money
The Queen is dead, boys
And it's so lonely on a limb

Life is very long, when you're lonely

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

'My tongue's a match and my veins are full of gasoline...' This might actually be how you do it

How does one "do" "it"? How does one produce scintillating, dirty, sweaty, fury-driven rock'n'roll to give a massive fuck off to every hypocrite and prick there is, while insisting you will throw any hit "right back", but, like, with only two people on the stage armed with a guitar and drum set?

Well, Shovels and Rope, Charleston, South Carolina's finest product, can probably provide some clues. The married due produce country infused with punk rock energy and a style carved out of endless shows on the road.

So, you better back up
I'll show you bad luck
Ooh you got me shakin in my boots like I was seventeen
My tongue's a match and all my veins are full of gasoline
I come upon ya like a hit of methamphetamine
Eyes roll back in your head
Well I tell you right now, you better watch your back
You can talk dirty til your tongue turns black
But if you're throwin into me I'm gonna throw it right back at you...
They got lucky with one?

We always back the underdog because he's the only one we trust
And if that ones for the winner, this one must be for us...
And they don't do a bad cover.

As I walk through
This wicked world
Searchin' for light in the darkness of insanity.
I ask myself
Is all hope lost?
Is there only pain and hatred, and misery?
And each time I feel like this inside,
There's one thing I want to know:
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

A failed citizenship application to Australia in five years time

"Kiss the flag."

"Kiss the?"


[kisses flag]

"NO! On the Union Jack!"


"Here is your return ticket home."

Or alternately, if you fail to express the sort of love in this song by country punk act Sydney City Trash...

There's a nation they call Down Under
But I to me, it's on top of the world
But I love this nation so goddamn much
I'd marry it if it were a girl
And when you talk about this nation I love
Well it cuts me deep inside
Coz I seriously love
I mean actually love
Well I'm just so filled with Aussie pride....

A Dalziel and Pascoe Episode: A Summary

Anyone who knows me, like really knows me, knows two things:

1) I love murder mysteries of all sorts
2) I am completely up-to-date in all fields of popular culture.

And so, given this, I decided to provide an entirely accurate, all-purpose episode summary of every Dalziel and Pascoe episode ever made! And only 10 years after the series wound up!

A Dalziel and Pascoe Episode: A Summary

It is bleak in Yorkshire and the working-class streets of Wetherton, with their dull brick walls and faded curtains, seem grim. A dead body found in the local reservoir is even grimmer.

Dalziel and Pascoe arrive at the crime scene. Dalziel is grumpy because he has been woken up early after drinking too much whisky. Pascoe is already rolling his eyes and sighing at his superior's antics.

But when the dead body turns out to be directly related to Dalziel's past, things get murky. Dalziel is shaken, but refuses to speak about the case from two decades earlier, when he was suspected of corruption/investigated for police brutality/in love with a key suspect.

His behaviour becomes more and more erratic, driving Pascoe to despair. Finally, Pascoe confronts Dalziel and tells him: "I'm trying to help you here, Andy!"

Dalziel, hurt that by his friend's seeming lack of trust, growls furiously and storms out. He goes home to get drunk and mope miserably on his couch.

They eventually catch the murderer, but it is clear to all that the real crime here is what Thatcher did to the north.

It also turns out that Dalziel was above reproach all along. Pascoe apologises and they go to the pub to drink and mend their wounded friendship.

All men have secrets and here is mine
So let it be known
For we have been through hell and high tide
I think I can rely on you...
And yet you start to recoil
Heavy words are so lightly thrown
But still I'd leap in front of a flying bullet for you
So, what difference does it make?

Andy Dalziel might play this song to Peter Pascoe, or vice versa, if either of them where the sort to play The Smiths.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Jesus and the Rabbit: The True Story Behind Our Easter Traditions

It's like Christmas all over again. All the fun from a mass consumer frenzy aimed at propping up a tottering late monopoly capitalism in a death spin is taken away by politically correct libtard elitist cucks doing the bidding of ISIS.

For instance, I used to love hot cross buns until all of a sudden supermarkets would only sell those Halal ones with the cross replaced by "DEATH TO ALL INFIDELS" written in Arabic.

But some people still think the whole idea of a “War on Easter” as part of a general assault on Western Judeo-Christian traditions is a farce, because what the Hell has Jesus got to do with a rabbit or eggs, what has a rabbit got to do with Jesus or eggs, and what do eggs have to do with fucking chocolate?

Too few people know the real story, due to unfortunate editing out of the New Testament, but below is the actual truth.


One day, Jesus of Nazareth was walking home from Damascus, having drunken a little too much of His own Water-Into-Wine Homebrew(™) and eateth too little of His Own Brand of Freshly Baked Bread(™) in order to line His stomach, like Judas, who frankly spent most of his time trying to sort out the Son of God’s shit, kept saying He should.

As Jesus Christ Our Lord staggered down the dirt path, He fell into the mud on the side. And there lay Our Saviour until a humble rabbit just happened to hop by.

The rabbit watched the poor man flailing pathetically in the mud, not realising He was Our Saviour. Hopping up, he kindly asked the King of the Jews whether He needed any help?

Looking up, Jesus saw an honest soul and said simply: “I could murder a kebab!”

The rabbit knew the nearest kebab store still open at that time of night was all the way in Byzantium. But having only just been introduced to the historic Palestine region by the Romans, he also knew where to get the best ones in that city known today as Istanbul.

And so, taking pity on the Lord and remembering the state he was in himself just last weekend, the rabbit hopped all the way there and back with Jesus’s order of a lamb kebab with garlic and chili sauce.

“Oh that was awesome!”, a much-repaired Jesus said as he took his last bite and wiped some garlic sauce off His chin. “Thanks heaps!”

And then Jesus Christ Our Lord said unto the rabbit: “What can I give you to repay your kindness? For I am the Son of God and I can do miracles and shit.”

The rabbit thought carefully for some time. This was Our Lord and Saviour, so it had to be worthy. He definitely did not want to fuck it up and ask for something embarrassing or weird.

Finally, the rabbit spoke. “I have always envied the hen,” he began.

“Where the Hell is this going,” thought Jesus, but he said nothing for He was always polite, even after He’d had a few.

“And, well,” the rabbit continued, “look… tell me if you think this is a bit weird or anything, but I guess I’ve always… well fantasised is probably the right word. Yes. I’ve always fantasised about laying eggs.”

“What the FUCK?” exclaimed the King of the Jews.

The rabbit added quickly: “Yeah, and like, make them chocolate!”

“Mate,” said the Lord, sadly shaking his head, “it’s your wish, but fucking Hell, you should maybe see a psych or something.”

And with that, Jesus granted the rabbit the capacity to lay chocolate eggs. And the rabbit, whose name was Frank, laid many. Day in and day out, Frank laid chocolate egg after egg, eating his own products in a disturbing act of sweet self-cannibalism.

Jesus, meanwhile, soon found himself in even greater trouble. The pigs were after him for some property damage suffered by some very important bankers during one of His more out-of-control binges. By this time, Judas had had it and was not cleaning up after any more of Jesus’s messes, no matter how fucking Holy the Lord was. And so he gave Our Lord up to the cops.
Having attacked the authority of Rome, the wealth of the local financial elite and sold dodgy home-brewed wine that made a 4-litre cask of goon for $10 taste like the finest Champagne, Jesus was always gonna swing.

But this was not, as we know, the end of the story.

Jesus was crucified and then rose again after three days. Which was actually better than managed by many of the consumers of his Finest Fish Products (™).

History records that it was Jesus’s “friend” Mary Magdalene who arrived at His tomb on Easter Sunday and discovered His Holiness alive and well. But this is the full tale.

For three days, Jesus was kept company by Frank. The rabbit did not abandon his magical mate, but stayed with him, laying chocolate eggs for His sustenance until He rose to His Eternal Kingdom in Heaven.

Frank tried to tell people that Jesus had been alive the whole three days, and even had some very important messages to pass on to humanity, mostly about how awesome chocolate eggs were.

But people were not willing to listen to some rabbit, especially not one with a sick chocolate egg-laying fetish. Like, sure, the Roman occupiers were into some fucked up shit, but even they drew a line somewhere.

Jesus, however, did not forget the rabbit’s final act of kindness. He granted the rabbit Eternal Life and said unto him, “go forth and lay chocolate eggs then hide them for children on Easter Sunday, but not before fully stocking supermarkets for months in advance.”

And Frank the rabbit was happy. For he really, really loved laying chocolate eggs. Like, TBH, maybe a bit too much.

So please, ignore the Islamist conspiracy to destroy Easter by removing the word “Easter” from Easter eggs. Our Lord made it Frank’s Holy Mission to lay those eggs to be sold at marked up prices in the days before Our Saviour’s crucifixion and resurrection, and dramatically marked down in the days afterwards.

'He went to France, he went to Spain...' Country singer John Prine offers a different version of Jesus's story, yet fails to mention Frank the Easter Bunny.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

''Twas better to die 'neath an Irish sky'... The Tossers include new version of The Foggy Dew on latest album

Things are pretty dire. What the world needs now is obviously another Celtic band releasing a new version of the old Irish rebel song The Foggy Dew about the Easter Rising. The Tossers, as ever, step up and deliver, ending their new album Smash the Windows with their version of track, first written by an Irish priest some time after 1919.

It is, as is to be expected from the Chicago-based Celtic punk veterans, a very solid version. It breaks no new ground, but there is no call for it to do any such thing. This is in keeping with The Tossers modus operandi, as a band without any pretence at "evolving" their sound, merely seeking to do what they've been doing well since the early '90s even better.

And that is being the self-proclaimed "world's loudest folk band", with a seemingly endless well of songs of drinking and carousing, of working-class people surviving an often hostile world of war and exploitation, and of Irish history and tradition, filtered through Chicago's Southside.

Of course, it might be said to be timely as the Easter Rising had its 100th anniversary last year. Also, amid the chaos of Brexit, the united Irish republic the rebels fought for may be closer than ever (in form, if not exactly the progressive social content the rebel's' Proclamation envisaged.)

But really... there is never a bad time to record a version of the best song about the Rising, when Irish rebels struck out for freedom as the horror of World War I engulfed Europe. By 1916, the British crown that was not just pillaging Ireland and impoverishing its people, but sending increasing numbers of young Irish men to their untimely deaths. in the conflict. Many Irish men signed up in a form of economic conscription -- the Crown's shilling beat hunger. But the threat of actual conscription hung in the air.

The contrast — between dying seeking to free Ireland from colonial chains versus dying for its colonial rulers in a faraway land in a futile war between empires — runs right through the song.

As the song declares in the second verse: "'Twas better to die 'neath an Irish sky than at Suvla or Sud-El-Bar."

And, later, reflecting on the "lonely graves are by Suvla's waves or the fringe of the great North Sea", it reflects how much better it would had those Irish men "died by Pearse's side or fought with Cathal Brugha".

The rising, of course, failed, but violent British repression swung public sympathy behind the cause of Irish freedom. As the song concludes "For slavery fled, O glorious dead, when you fell in the foggy dew."

The album also features an original track about another decisive moment in Irish history. Called "1969" it is about, as the earth-shaking events in that year in the six counties in Ireland's north still claimed by Britain. Irish Catholics, suffering discrimination and oppression in the statelet, marched for civil rights, only to face extreme repression, setting in motion the violent conflict known as the Troubles that wracked Northern Ireland the next couple of decades.

No one can deny that this one is timely — in a way the band could not have predicted. The life and activism of veteran Irish republican leader Martin McGuinness, who died on March 20 died aged 66, was defined by the events of 1969 in his beloved home town of Derry, at the very centre of the storm. I talked about all that in my last post, but the song also tell the tale.


Long ago, far away, far across the sea
There were those in Ireland who had marched for equality

So that everyone would know
Everyone would know
That civil rights are something now
That everyone should know

Oh and still I hear their voices cry

God bless Ireland
And keep her evermore

They were burned and battered everywhere
By cops and mobs of men
And still they walked and still they marched
Unto the bitter end

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

'And the damned barbed wire gets higher and higher': Behind the town Martin McGuinness loved so well

Since leading Sinn Fein politician Martin McGuinness died aged 66 on March 20, much ink has been spilt on the life and legacy of the ex-IRA fighter who helped negotiate Ireland's peace process. Praise and sometimes slander, from highest offices around the world to ordinary people, have come the way of the deceased man from Derry in Ireland's north. 

But how many of these bastards have bothered to use McGuinness's death as a great excuse to bang on about one of the greatest songs most famously sung by possibly Ireland's greatest-ever folk singer as part of one of the great Irish folk bands? Huh?

A whole bunch of people have missed this rather obvious trick. But no more! The absence of Luke Kelly and the Dubliners in discussions of Martin McGuinness's life and times ends here! I WILL END THIS AND I WILL END THIS NOW!

Yes! You can listen BELOW to Irish songwriter Phil Coulter's classic song "The Town I Loved So Well", first recorded by the Dubliners in 1973. 

It describes the Derry that McGuinness, like Coulter and thousands of other working-class men and women, grew up in. It captures the tragedy of the violence that wracked it from the perspective of the working class who were its victims. And YES there is much more to say and GODDAMN IT fear NOT I go on to SAY FUCKING BUCKET LOADS OF IT DOWN BELOW IN THIS VERY POST! 

But first, before anything else should even be thought, much less said... first... Luke Kelly.

In my memory I will always see
the town that I have loved so well
Where our school played ball by the gasyard wall
and we laughed through the smoke and the smell
Going home in the rain, running up the dark lane
past the jail and down behind the fountain
Those were happy days in so many, many ways
in the town I loved so well 
In the early morning the shirt factory horn
called women from Creggan, the Moor and the Bog
While the men on the dole played a mother's role,
fed the children and then trained the dogs
And when times got tough there was just about enough
But they saw it through without complaining
For deep inside was a burning pride
in the town I loved so well 
There was music there in the Derry air
like a language that we all could understand
I remember the day when I earned my first pay
And I played in a small pick-up band
There I spent my youth and to tell you the truth
I was sad to leave it all behind me
For I learned about life and I'd found a wife
in the town I loved so well 
But when I returned how my eyes have burned
to see how a town could be brought to its knees
By the armoured cars and the bombed out bars
and the gas that hangs on to every tree
Now the army's installed by that old gasyard wall
and the damned barbed wire gets higher and higher
With their tanks and their guns, oh my God, what have they done
to the town I loved so well 
Now the music's gone but they carry on
For their spirit's been bruised, never broken
They will not forget but their hearts are set
on tomorrow and peace once again
For what's done is done and what's won is won
and what's lost is lost and gone forever
I can only pray for a bright, brand new day
in the town I loved so well

The song is a great demonstration of the talents of Luke Kelly as a folk singer, as he hits lines bemoaning a sudden and devastating shift towards violence with ever greater force.

The song starts depicting a working class community that suffers poverty (the men are on the dole, though the women work in local factories), but with a strong sense of community and pride. The narrator leaves and later returns to find a town "brought to its knees" by violence, with the "army installed by the old gas yard walls, and the damned barbed wire grows higher and higher". Kelly's voice is almost broken with barely suppressed anger as he declares "My God, what have they done?", before insisting the town's spirit is "bruised but never broken" and they set their eyes towards peace.

It is a song about social realities in the folk tradition, and is not explicitly political. It is no "rebel" song, and while it bemoans British military violence there is no suggestion of sympathy for the armed resistance McGuinness helped lead in the 70s. If anything, the reference to "bombed out bars" suggests the violence, from all sides are fuelling the singer's despair and grief.

But this doesn't reduce its capacity to capture the reality that made McGuinness who he was.  When it was clear the armed struggle could not bring about a speedy end to the war, while the violence wrecked havoc on all aspects of society in Ireland's north, McGuinness was part of the push for an end to armed conflict to shift the struggle to peaceful means.

The ;picture of Derry, and what happened to it in the Troubles,  provides a great frame to understand Martin McGuinness.

Born the son of a tailor in 1950, McGuinness grew up poor, in the working-class (and largely Catholic and nationalist) Bogside in Derry. Leaving school at 15, he worked a series of low-paying jobs. He was working as a butcher's apprentice when, in 1969, he witnessed one atrocity against his community too many and joined the IRA.

Derry is the second largest city in the six Irish counties that Britain retained when Ireland was partitioned in 1921 at the end of the War of Independence that ended direct British rule over 26 of Ireland's 32 counties.

To ensure a population in the partitioned state that was "loyal" to the Crown, it was established with an artificial majority of the largely loyalist Protestants, with the largely nationalist Catholic population a minority (Derry, however, has a clear Catholic majority).

The state was set up on the basis of Protestant supremacy, with Northern Ireland's first prime minister James Craig famously declaring it "A Protestant Parliament for a Protestant people."

Run along sectarian lines, Catholics suffered poor services, housing and were denied access to many jobs, often reducing to living in slums. Local voting rights were granted to those who owned property. As many Catholics didn't own homes, they couldn't vote. In Derry, this meant that despite Catholics being the majority, the town was run by bigoted pro-British Protestant unionists.

Most of Northern Ireland's working class were Protestant, but within the working class, the poorest and most deprived were overwhelmingly Catholic (and nationalist).

In his funeral oration at McGuinness's graveside, his long-time comrade and Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said:
Like many other Derry ‘wans’, Martin grew up in a city in which Catholics were victim of widespread political and economic discrimination. 
He was born into an Orange State which did not want him or his kind. Poverty was endemic. 
Unsurprisingly, such injustice sparked opposition. Inspired by the US civil rights struggle, the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association was formed in 1967 to campaign for equality for Catholics. The response to peaceful civil rights marches was extreme violence — especially in Derry.

Extra-legal loyalist gangs and the infamously sectarian and violent Royal Ulster Constabulary viciously attacked marchers. When marchers sought to defend themselves, attacks grew into anti-Catholic pogroms.

Catholics in mixed or largely Protestant areas were driven from their homes, which were often burned — turning the Catholic areas of cities like Belfast and Derry into besieged ghettos. Adams, in his 1997 memoir Before the Dawn, describes police snipers on building tops, opening fire on any Catholic they saw move. At this time, the IRA was all but non-existent.

In 1969, tens of thousands of Catholics were forced from their homes, many fleeing across the border into the Republic of Ireland — at the time, the largest forced movement of people in Europe since World War II.

The besieged population did not take the repression lying down, and brutal attacks by police and loyalist gangs were met with barricades and riots as people sought to defend their communities. In January 1969, with barricades erected, the nationalist areas of Derry (including the Bogside) declared their areas "Free Derry" — a liberated zone, protected by residents armed with clubs, rocks and petrol bombs, in which the sectarian authorities were barred from entering.

In August 1969, three days of violent street fighting between the RUC, which used CG gas (the first time it was used against civilians within the British state) and the nationalist community,  known as the Battle of the Bogside broke out, sparked by attempts by a notoriously sectarian Orange parade to march through nationalist areas.

With the community undefeated, the British government took the fatal decision to mobilise British soldiers, sending them to the Bogside.

The Troubles had begun.

The British military failed to take control of Free Derry until 1972 (while the IRA operated openly, defending the area), but the path to full scale military conflict was opened.

In his graveside oration, Adams continued:
I remember [Martin] telling me that he was surprised when his father, a quiet modest church going man, marched in the civil rights campaign here in Derry. 
The Orange State’s violent suppression of that civil rights campaign; the Battle of the Bogside, and the emerging conflict propelled Martin into a life less ordinary.
Listen to the song again with this context.

With British soldiers on the streets, the conflict spiralled into war, as a civil rights struggle morphed into an armed struggle for national liberation.

To crack down on the newly re-energised republican movement, the British authorities introduced internment in August 1971. Doors were smashed in, homes raided and hundreds of overwhelmingly Catholic men and women (most of whom weren't active republicans) were interned without trial, often tortured.

In Before the Dawn, Adams describes a terrible event in the working-class Catholic neighbourhood of Ballymurphy, where he lived. The day interment was introduced, the British Army set up a "free fire" zone in the area. For three days, soldiers opened fire on sight on anyone within their line of fire — shooting 11 civilians dead, including a priest who ran to to aid a wounded man and a mother of eight, on the streets desperately trying to round up her children to keep them safe.

This massacre predates the start of the IRA's bombing campaign. There has never been any justice for the atrocity. The soldiers responsible came from the 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment. Five months later, on January 30, 1972, the same regiment opened fire on unarmed civil rights marchers, killing 14 in the infamous Bloody Sunday massacre.

McGuinness, a leading IRA member in  Derry at the time, witnessed the events on Bloody Sunday. In an April 1972 Irish Times profile of McGuinness entitled (to McGuinness's embarrassment) "The Boy Who Rules Free Derry", he said:
The worst I ever felt was Bloody Sunday. I wandered about stunned, with people crying and looking for their relatives, and I thought of all that about honour between soldiers. The British Army knew right well we wouldn’t fight them with all those thousands of people there, so they came in and murdered the innocent.
Think of this context and listen to the song again.

It's not hard to see how the likes of McGuinness ended up IRA volunteers, responding to such conditions with guns in their hand.

McGuinness may have become a leader of note, but his story was typical of his generation. Young working class men and women, looking to live ordinary lives, were driven to resist by violence and oppression.

A story told often about young working class men from nationalist areas being "lifted" by the British occupying forces, interned with trial and tortured — despite frequently having no involvement in republicanism. Instead, they were interested in the same things as young men everywhere — watching sport, getting drunk, trying to get laid.

But once released, the previously apolitical youths would search out their local IRA recruiter.

Adams pointed out in his 1997 memoir Before the Dawn, the working class nationalist in Ireland's north were not better or worse than anyone else. They were neither devils nor saints, just ordinary people facing extraordinary violence. Neither inherently pacifists nor predisposed to violence, they didn't want war but were willing to fight one when they felt they had no choice.

And with that reality of ordinary people — will all the good and bad that comes with it — came good and bad in the armed conflict.

There was incredible bravery, resilience and sacrifice. (None are more justly famous than the 1981 hunger strikes in which 10 men died rather than give up their dignity in the face of the Thatcher government's heartless cruelty).

This existed along with reprehensible violence that can not be justified no matter the cause. (One infamous example is the 1987 Remembrance Day bombing, when an IRA bomb went off at an Remembrance Day event at a War Memorial in Ennskillen in Northern Ireland and killed 10 civilians. The incident was described by Sinn Fein as a "huge tragedy" and Sinn Fein's An Phoblacht criticised it as a "monumental error". The IRA unit responsible was disbanded. The IRA had not intended to kill civilians, instead aiming to target British soldiers, but such deaths were always a strong risk with such bombings.)

The point is not whether both aspects have equal weight — I think the republican movement, whatever it did wrong, was trying to respond as best it could to a horrific situation not of its own making. Merely to point out that people enter such struggles with all their flaws and imperfections, not helped in this instance by the role of militarist thinking in the republican tradition.

(There is something sickening about the lecturing of one side of a conflict, which did not start the conflict, by those writing in safety who have never lived through one thousandth of the suffering of the nationalist community in Northern Ireland.

And when pointing out the reprehensible, it is reprehensible not to point out the sheer scale of the violence dealt out against not just active republicans but the general Catholic population during the Troubles, who were targeted for cold-blooded mass murder by loyalist death squads operating in collusion with the British state. This ugly truth is proven in great detail by Anne Cadwallder's 2013 book Lethal Allies: British Collussion in Ireland.)

McGuinness and Adams, especially, grasped that the issue was not simply which side had greater cause or was responsible for more suffering, but finding a way to resolve the armed conflict so the struggle for republican goals — and to advance the interests of working class people who bore the brunt of the conflict, from all sides — could occur in a peaceful framework.

 As a few commentators have pointed out, there were never *two* Martin McGuinnesses, a violent terrorist first and a peacemaker second. Rather just one with the same goals, who proved willing to adapt strategy and tactics through experience. Adams put it in his speech at McGuinness's funeral:
"There was not a bad Martin McGuinness or a good Martin McGuinness. There was simply a man, like every other decent man or woman, doing his best."
Keep this in mind, then listen to the song again.

The best evidence of that intent — to do his best for the community he came from, lived in, loved and sought to serve as best he could — came with the turn out to McGuinness's funeral. Thousands accompanied his coffin and is made its way down the streets of his beloved Bogside.

McGuinness's funeral, March 23.

Looking at the pictures of McGuinness's tricolour-draped coffin almost lost in the sea of people, I wracked my brains to think of a single living Australian politician whose funeral would generate such a response. I finally concluded a few could — but only to ensure the bastards were definitely dead and buried.

Make no mistake. The town McGuinness loved so well sure loved him back.

"The Town I Loved So Well" may not be a rebel song, but here is one about Joe McDonnell, one of the republican prisoners who died in the 1981 hunger strikers.

'And you dare to call me a terrorist, while you look down your gun...'