SPECIAL REPORT FROM MRS. LEFTY:
Thirteen years ago a fourteen year old boy onboard a green double decker bus, making his way home from a Guns‘n Roses show, lost his liquor. As the jake-braking bus had its way with the contents of his stomach, the other Dubliners onboard, all too casually familiar with rolling bus puke, lifted their feet to allow for the flow. The bus stopped outside St. Mar ’s, the Catholic school that had lost its “y” while a 75-year-old man stumbled out of a pub, fell down to his hands and knees, and began to grope the filthy sidewalk for his eyeglasses. The bus moved on without the old man. Dublin can be coarser than 40-grit sandpaper but it’s a grit that makes the tender, livid, bruised spots all the more delightfully painful. As I was going over, one voice pierced the acrid air. The G’nR fans on board required little more prodding. The bus erupted into a chorus of national heroes Thin Lizzy’s version of "Whiskey in the Jar." Even the puker piped in.
Phil Lynott is one of Dublin’s tender, bruised spots. He was an impossible combination: black and Irish. At the same time. Before his metal solidified Lynott wrote the song "Buffalo Gal" (on the early, rarely appreciated record, Shades of a Blue Orphanage — named with a nod to Lynott’s earlier band Orphanage). The song supercedes even Springsteen’s nostalgia for the lost world of adolescence. They’re closing down the old dancehall. Making love from memory, as Lynott would later say. But something stranger happens here. Buffalo Gal / You’ve had your fun / You’re button’s undone / and the time’s right for slaughter. In a dirty world, this song, with its strange chanted sections and odd rhythms, actually hurts me.