Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Music: Are you ready for that? Driving your car down a desert highway listening to the seventies and eighties rise like zombies from the rippling sand? I hope so.

That you may not be the martyred slaves of time

Jerry Stratton, February 6, 2010

One of the occasional nice surprises of digging through vinyl back in the days before Amazon had everything, and iTunes everything Amazon doesn’t, was occasionally running across a Makem & Clancy album in a thrift shop or the world music section of a dusty record store. I had previously known of the group from a mix tape by a college friend who grew up in Ireland. That tape was a tape of a tape of tapes. As I began to collect the albums, it was a pleasure to both hear more songs, and familiar songs more clearly.

My favorites are:

  1. The Makem and Clancy Concert
  2. Irish Songs of Rebellion
  3. Recorded Live in Ireland!
  4. Hearty and Hellish
  5. A Spontaneous Performance Recording!

Well, looking up that list on Amazon I see three out of five are still not available, so you may still have to haunt used music stores. But at least the top two are, and my favorite, the Makem and Clancy Concert, includes a version of Get Drunk (I like it better than the video here, but that’s probably because I heard the record version first).

All but Recorded Live in Ireland! are available on iTunes, but you’ll need to search by album title: the group is under at least four different names, making it difficult to find their music.

Part of why the Makem and Clancy Concert is my favorite album is the spirited rendition of Baudelaire’s “Get Drunk” by Liam Clancy. For your inspiration, here is the translation he’s using:

One should always be drunk, that’s all that matters.

So as not to feel time’s horrible burden that breaks your shoulders and bows you down you must get drunk without ceasing.

But what with? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you choose, but get drunk.

And if at some time on the steps of a palace, or in the green grass of a ditch, or in the bleak solitude of your room you are waking up when drunkenness is already abated, ask the wind, a wave, the star, the bird, the clock, all that which flees, all that which rolls, all that which groans, all that which sings, all that which speaks, ask them what time it is.

And the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock will reply “It is time to get drunk! So that you may not be the martyred slaves of time, get drunk, get drunk and never pause for rest. With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you choose.”

  1. <- Along came Ray
  2. Pac-Man Fever ->