I’m on my way to Somalia to secure my place in the vanguard of post-bankruptcy Euroamerica. The received wisdom is that the Chinese model is the one to follow - the no-nonsense governance, the iPad factory suicides, the discreet achievement of social consensus through managed famine and executions. Well, that cuts no ice with me, so I’m putting my money - staking my entire fortune, in fact - on good old-fashioned piracy on the ocean wave. But with AK47’s and satnavs, and much, much irony!
Sadly, my new career as a Cannibal Commodore means that I will be unable to attend the joint Irish appearances of three less cannibalistic Commodores, although I may be Skyping in from the bunker at the Maldron Hotel Mogadishu. All of them produce musical works in addition to their maritime exploits, all with great distinction. They share in common a preference for attenuated modes of address, an area where my own failures leave me rapt with admiration of others.
James Yorkston, from the Fife coast, legendary North Sea fisheries “protection” hardman, is possibly the most garrulous lyricist of the three, but could never be accused of shooting his mouth off in song. From originals like Surf Song and Steady As She Goes, to his intense renderings of traditional songs such as I Know My Love, James will seldom be off the playlists on my voyages of plunder.
Adrian Crowley, a Maltese-Galwegian privateer of high standing, has done the thing I myself lacked the talent or persistence to achieve, and become an established Irish-based independent artist (with Caledonian connections), as evidenced by his great 2009 album, Season Of The Sparks.
Alasdair Roberts apparently hails from the interior of Scotland, but has excelled in matters maritime since migrating to the great port of Glasgow. He imbues every note he creates with mystery and hence with an implicit challenge to the listener. I first heard Alasdair’s former group Appendix Out on John Peel in the late Nineties, when his voice was one of the few unmediated human sounds on the show. I like to play Alasdair’s album The Amber Gatherers while charging my super-strength tazers in my newly-built base in an inlet near Schull. I once heard Alasdair sing an Abba song, and it wasn’t until the end of the first chorus that I realised it wasn’t an original, such was his unflinching delivery.
But this isn’t all about me. Reader, you owe it to yourself to catch at least one of these shows, because frankly bills this strong, particularly if undiluted by a reformed clown troupe and sequestered by a 200 Euro price tag, just don’t happen nowadays.
- Cathal Coughlan