1014 is the best place to start Mustard Finnegan’s history of Ireland. It in that year Brian Boru defeated the Danes. For hundreds of years, Ireland was known as the Isle of Saints and Scholars – the image of monks in monasteries; smoking pot, lovingly illustrating copies of the gospels, praying and guiding the heathens in Europe outta of the Dark Ages. Though not all of that is necessarily the true. Ireland was made up of a bunch of small kingdoms with kings more like Afghan warlords or the Bloods and Crips – I’m the king of from here to that rock over there and I’m gonna steal your cattle and run back to my ring fort. Ireland had big problem with the Vikings. The Vikings were a bunch of dudes from Scandinavia with helmets with horns sticking out of them who loved to vacation in Ireland and plunder the Irish monasteries and murder the monks. After a few hundred years of this the Vikings started to stay around and started, like all the cities in Ireland and meddled in Irish politics (bit like the EU these days).
Brian was an ambitious sort of fella and conquered one Irish kingdom after another and made them pay tribute to him (this is not like Michael Jackson’s Tribute, Brian would take hostage of the kid of the lesser kings and if the lesser king didn’t do his bidding and pay taxes and send solders when Brian needed them then that was the end of the young fella). Once the Irish were under his heal he went after the meddling Vikings of Dublin. Coming face to face for battle on Clontarf beach on Good Friday 1014 – the Irish warriors kicked serious Viking ass along with kicking the asses of the Dublin Viking’s mates from the Isle of Mann and Denmark – many of whom after the beat down drown in Dublin Bay trying to escape the Celtic axemen, starting the long tradition of pollution in Dublin bay. Unfortunately, for Brian, who being wicked old (he was about 73) and was praying in his tent as the battle raged so he did not notice a sneaky Viking who suck up on the big B and buried an axe in Brian’s back and that was the end of him.
The Norman Invasion
Belfast Andi – Irish Ways Irish Laws
After 1014, Ireland went back to it petty warlords fighting with each other over this bit of bog and that sheep over there and all was good and dandy until a woman got in the picture. In 1167, Diarmait Mac Murchada (that’s Murphy in English), King of Leinster (the east bit of Ireland) ran off with Derval (the woman in question), the daughter of the King of Meath (the rich bit of Ireland in them days and these day) and the wife of Tighearnán Mór Ua Ruairc (Terry O’Rourke in English), King of Bréifne (a strip of fields and bogs that ran from Meath to Sligo these days called Leitrim). Tighearnán was pissed off of course and with the help of the High King, Rory O’Conner, they ran old Diarmait outta the country. Diarmait being a schemer and a general a-hole approached a Norman Knight called Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke also known by the name Strongbow (Strongbow is much more Knightly and Ciderish name, Richard de Clare sound more like the name of the owner of chain of ladies hair saloons). Diarmait promised Strongbow his daughters hand in marriage, who by all accounts was a pretty hot chick, as well as succession rights as King of Leinster, if he’d help him out. Strongbow not having much going on as the King of England when not hammering the Scots was beating up on his own Knights, took him up on the offer and arrived with his mates (Fitzgerald, Fitzgibbon, Burke, Butler and Prendergast) and the best in 12th century military technology gold pieces could buy. Shortly there after Diarmait was back being King of Leinster but over old England, old Henry II didn’t like the idea of one of his knights becoming a king of anything and setting up a rival kingdom so he called up the Pope and asked for the OK to invade Ireland (of course this is the one time the Pope is a bloody Englishman) and once permission given Henry arrives and declares himself Overlord of Ireland.
The Pale and Beyond
Blood or Whiskey – Follow Me up to Carlow/Holt’s Way
BibleCodeSundays – Clew Bay Pirates
The Dreadnoughts – Grace O’Malley
We can skip ahead to the 1590’s now, the Norman Knight have gone native (more Irish then the Irish themselves) and the English rule is now pushed back to the general Dublin Area – known as The Pale. Ever heard the expression “Beyond The Pale”? Meaning being outside proper behavior, well that was where the wild Irish lived with their new Norman mates, fighting with each other over this bog and that bog and the odd goat.
One of those Chieftains was a woman called Grace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen who was so fearsome that she show up bare breasted in Queen Lizzy’s court in London to demand the removal of the Queens representative in Connacht.
The Flight Of The Earls
Black 47 – Red Hugh
Queen Elizabeth was a tough old boot in her own right and took a leaf outta ol’ Brian’s book raising the sons of the Gaelic Chieftains in her court. One of these lads was Red Hugh O’Donnell of the Tyrone. Hugh and his mate O’Neill of Ulster (The O’Neills are the oldest and biggest family in Europe, there is something like 3,000,000 descendants of Niall of the Nine Hostages the original Neill running about, the O’ meaning descended from, talk about virile) played a good game with the Queen. When in her court they played along by English rules and when back home in Ulster they did what ever they bloody pleased. But Lizzie’s henchmen in Ireland keep pushing in on O’Neill and O’Donnell business and enough to piss’ em off that they stopped playing the game and rebelled. The Irish chieftains were able to push the Perfidious Albion almost out of the country but were finally defeated a the Battle of Kinsale in 1601 – Kinsale is as far as you can get from Ulster, being on the south coast in Cork. O’Neill and O’Donnell and most of the other O’s fled the country for Spain and that was the end of Gaelic Ireland.
The Plantation Of Ulster
Being traitors to the crown, all of the lands of the O’Neill and O’Donnell went to the crown who decided that the best way to control the Irish was to get rid of ‘em and replace ‘em with good English protestants – this was after the reformation of course.
“Here’s a health to the Protestant Minister And his church without meaning or faith For the foundation stones of his temple are The bollocks of Henry the Eight” – Brendan Behan
This plan didn’t work out so well as most of the smart English with ambitions for advancement went to the America’s and stole the Indians land so in Ulster the numbers had to be made up with low class, lowland Scots. The Irish got kicked out and the planters got the good land (and the natives the views).
Cromwell in Ireland
Flogging Molly – Tobacco Island
The Fisticuffs – Young Ned of The Hill
The 1600’s was an ugly time to live in Ireland. When the civil war broke out in England the Catholics of Ireland, Gaelic and Old English supported the cause of Charles I and took the opportunity to try and get their lands back from the planters – much slaughter followed. With the end of the war in England and Chuck’s head on a spike Cromwell turned his eye on Ireland and took revenge in the Irish for rebelling and waged holy war on the population. Cromwell was by far the biggest Fu#ker in Irish history, his soldiers laid wasted to much of the county, butchering the citizens of Wexford and Drogheda when the garrison of those cities didn’t surrender fast enough. When he didn’t murder you, then he transported you to Barbados to your death as a slave in the sugar plantations or worse to Connacht and eternity as a bogger. Allegedly Rihanna is descended from one of those Irish transported to Barbados…..I told you Cromwell was a fu#ker. Cromwell eventually dies (of malaria of all things) and the Stuarts are back on the throne of England. Cromwell’s body exhumed, hung, drawn and quartered.
Ollie Cromwell, Lord Protector and general bastard. Warts’n’all
The Battle Of The Boyne
Roaring Jack – The Old Divide And Rule
Hugh Morrison – Ye Jacobites By Name
Prydein – Minstrel Boy
The Tossers – Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye
The Stuarts were bad new. It would have been in everyone’s favor if Guy Fawkes had his way……BOOM! Things calmed down under Chuck II but there are problem when his brother Jimmy II replaces him. Well wee Jimmy was a Celtic support and the England parliament, Huns. They manage to live with him until a son was born and then they realism the Catholics won’t be going away. Jimmy is given short shift and exiled to France with his daughter Mary and her Dutch son-in-law William of Orange put in his place. Jimmy II raises any army with the support of the King of France and sails for Ireland to join up with his Irish supporters.
James manages to set back peace, love and understanding 1,000 years in Ireland when he lays siege to the walled city of Londonderry. The siege is only lifted when Williams ships arrive with solders and supply’s . The two sides play cat and mouse for a little while and finally meet on the banks of the river Boyne on July 12th, 1690. James’ French and Irish army verses Willies Dutch, German, English troops. William wins and James runs away. The most ironic thing about this is the bad history that still abates- the brethren up in Ulster regard this a a victory over the Pope and Popery, yet the Pope was playing politics here not religion and supported the protestant William and most of Williams army was Catholic – the Pope was trying to stick it to the French. With Jimmy gone, the Irish fell back to Aughrim under the command of Patrick Sarsfield, defeat followed and then on to Limerick. The City of Limerick was put under siege (that it still needs to clean up after) but William didn’t want to wait it out and offered a fairly decent treaty – join me or go to France and join the French army. The Irish took the French route and spent the next hundred years dying on the battlefields of Europe for the ungrateful French. With Willie back in England and Sarfield and his men dying for France. The over loards in Ireland we left to their own devices to introduce the penal laws
“Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach!” – “Remember Limerick and Saxon Perfidy”
Andy Nolan is the accordion player with London’s BibleCodeSundays and a budding movie screenwriter and producer who’s first movie CLAN LONDON is in pre production at the moment. We thought we catch up with Andy and see what’s going on with the BibleCodes and how the movie business is treating him.
SnO – Andy, with the movie and Ronans solo CD what’s happening with the BCS? Any plans to start working on a third full length?
Andy – Yes we are recording our third album in the coming weeks before Christmas! Really looking forward to it as it’s been a long time coming and we have some great songs!
SnO – Ghosts of our Past was release in the US through Cosmic Trigger records. Will we be seeing a US release of Boots or No Boots (and a tour)?
Andy – Yes we are planning a US tour for May next year! We’re looking to play Boston, NYC and Chicago! We will be promoting songs from the new album so for those that haven’t heard Boots or No Boots grab a copy from our website http://www.biblecodesundays.co.uk
SnO – How’s Ronan’s sold CD doing – I was very impressed, different from the BCS but still good in a Elvis Costello kind of way.
Andy – Yes Strawberry Hill! It’s doing very well and available on Itunes so check it out! It’s always been a very strong side to Ronan’s writing and he’s glad it’s finally out there for people to hear! He’s been writing songs like that since he was a kid. I think a second solo album will soon be on it’s way! He has hundreds of great songs like that ready to record! We played on most of the first album and hopefully can help him with the next one too!
SnO – Speaking of the brother any chance of persuading Elvis and your former bosses Spider Stacey and Shane MacGowan to guest on the next BCS release – on the same track even (I know, wishful thinking)?
Andy – There has been talk of this for a while now! Yes one day I think we could get everyone in to record on one of our albums! That would be amazing! With this third album though we had around 30 very good songs of our own and we had to narrow them down to 12. We realised that we had loads of our own material we had to get out there first! I’d say the next album after this would be a good time to get Elvis, Shane and Spider in! Do watch out for Spider Stacy featuring on the Clan London Movie soundtrack though! We plan to put together The Vendettas to record one or two songs for the movie!
SnO – When you played in Spiders band – The Vendettas – did you guys record anything proper (I’ve heard live bootlegs but no studio stuff) and will anything ever be released?
Andy – Yes we did! We recorded around 15 tracks that have never been released. With the band reforming to record for my movie Clan London you will certainly hear The Vendettas on the movie soundtrack!
SnO – Switching gears. The Movie! I know you have a big interest in gangsters and especially those with Irish blood – so can you tell us what the movie is all about and how the idea of making a movie came about?
Andy – Clan London is a crime drama set in London, UK. It tells of three second generation Irish brothers growing up in 1970’s London up to the present day. Against the backdrop of anti – Irish feeling this particular family refuse to keep their heads down and become heavily involved in organised crime. So much so the rise to the top of the British underworld.
I’ve always been a huge movie fan and always thought there was a gap in the market for an Irish gangster movie set in London. It’s based on people I grew up with, real life criminals and fiction – a melting pot of ideas really.
SnO – Your in pre-production right now? How has it being going to get to this stage – from the facebook page for CLAN LONDON it looks like everything is coming along nicely?
Andy – Yes we’re in pre-production now. We’ve already had auditions in Galway City. We are holding auditions in Dublin on Sat 29 January next year and we will move on to London shortly after that. We also plan to audition in Boston as we have some scenes set in Southie. Jay Giannone from The Departed and Gone Baby Gone is helping us with that. For more details go towww.clanlondonmovie.com
SnO – I also see a couple of big names associated with the movie – boxer Steve Collins and author and ex-gangster Noel “Razor” Smith – how did you hook up with those guys and what type of parts have you got for them?
Andy – Yes Steve will play Paddy McDonagh – the father of the three boys. Paddy is The Godfather of the McDonagh empire, a role Steve is really excited about playing. Steve heard about the movie project and contacted me through a mutal friend. Steve is one of my all time sporting heroes so to have him involved is a dream come true. He appeared in Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and more recently The Kid directed by Nick Moran (Lock, Stock). He is currently filming Blood Sweat and Wars with Clan London director Stephen Patrick Kenny. He is very committed to his acting career. His passion for the role of Paddy is second to none and will have you on the edge of your seat believe me!
I wrote See You at the Crossroads about Razor Smith which was on our last album Boot or No Boots. After reading his book A Few Kind Words and a Loaded Gun I was moved to write a song about his life. Razor is London Irish like me. Great book by the way! I highly recommend it! Razor, now a best selling author, was part of the inspiration behind the movie and has recently been released from prison. He has fifty-eight criminal convictions and has spent the greater portion of his adult life in prison. Whilst in prison he taught himself to read and write, gained an Honours Diploma from The London School of Journalism and an A-Level in Law. He has been awarded a number of Koestler awards for his writing and has contributed articles to the Independent, the Guardian, Punch, the Big Issue, the New Statesman and the New Law Journal. Razor is also helping with research to make Clan London as authentic as possible and will be cast very soon!
SnO – Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t this the first movie about London-Irish organized crime (excluding ‘The Long Good Friday” which was Cockney gangsters verses Irish politicals) – why hasn’t the subject been tackled before (it’s not like there aren’t Irish families that are major players in London organized crime)?
Andy – Yes it is the first! There always been a huge Irish community in London but with the Troubles back home much of what the Irish achieved in the UK has been overlooked. I wanted to highlight that in the most explosive way possible – through a gangster movie. There have been many cockney Irish criminals down through the years. One of the most infamous was Billy Hill who ruled the London underworld for decades. He was the UK’s first celebrity gangster and handed down his empire to his proteges The Krays.
SnO – As far as Irish gangster movies and books what would you recommend to see/read?
Andy – Well State of Grace will always be one of my all time favourites along with Goodfellas and Carlito’s Way. Regarding books I would highly recommend Rat Bastards by John ‘Red’ Shea, Street Soldier by Eddie MacKenzie and A Criminal and an Irishman by Pat Nee! Amazing stuff! All three authors are fans of Clan London too!
SnO – Andy, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Anything you’d like to add?
Andy – Anytime John! Yes keep an eye out for Clan London in 2012! We plan to shoot it next year! And our third album will be released next year too!
Don’t be fooled by the name – The Bulfinch Yacht Club is a pretty cool rock club. A good size room, decent stage (though built for regular 4 piece bands not 8 piece celtic punk bands so all the bands were a little cramped playing) and nice sound system. The people who run the place were pretty cool as well. Some of you might remember the place when it was The Irish Embassy back in the 90’s were Black 47 would play on a regular basis
First up on stage were old friends The PubCrawlers, who despite being one member short (the mandolin player – though I almost think there wouldn’t have been room on stage anyway) played a real solid set. The band has had a few line up changes since last time I saw them including adding new vocalist Ron. Ron has added a much stronger Street Punk/Oi feel to the band which I think is the right direction for them.
BibleCodeSundays were next and by the time they came on the club was pretty full – not bad for Good Friday – the band lined up straight across the stage with drummer Carlton kicking up a huge storm from behind and with big smiles on their faces, great songs (both from the debut CD and from the forth coming release) and musically a tight as the proverbial ducks ass BCS kicked the shit outta the audience. The crowd swelled forward and they made a hell of a lot of new friends in Boston
Much thanks to Pete from the Gobshites for being part of the night. Peter played a solo show across town earlier so it was really cool of him and The Gobshites to play. The Gobshites were their usual fun selves and treated every one to a great time – I’d have a fuller review but by the time The Gobshites came on I was totally shit faced but that’s the point of going to a Gobshits gig anyway, isn’t it?.
Clan London is the up-coming independent movie written and produced by Andy Nolan, accordion player for the BibleCodeSundays. For the last couple of years, Andy has been hosting Clan London fund raising parties at the Claddagh Ring pub in Hendon, north London. This weekend was the 2013 Summer Sesh and a showcase of, in my humble opinion, the two finest Celtic punk/rock bands currently active in the UK.
The evening’s music was kicked off by politico-metal band 44 Fires. Loud, fast, technically very competent, dressed in Anonymous-style Guy Fawkes masks, not Celtic and, in the words of my dear old mother, “not my sort of film”. No criticisms here, this is a solid band that will appeal to the metal crowd (reminded me of Lard), who were giving of their services for free in support of the Clan London project so good on them.
BiblecodeSundays were up next. Now anyone who has read my reviews before will know that I make no secret of the fact that this is my favourite Celtic band. Opening with The Pittsburgh Kid, a tale of champion boxer Billy Conn, the Biblecodes provided substantial proof that their third album is going to be a stunner. Stand out tracks from last night included ‘When Will the Road Rise’ and ‘Count Your Blessings’ (see the video here…..). I teased the band on Twitter about this gig being the first time I had ever seen them have a set list. In reply Enda Mulloy commented that it “went out of the window after the second song and we went to default”. Well lads, no-one would know. The set was tight, energetic and certainly got a very mixed crowd up on their feet and dancing.
The final act of the night were Glasgow’s finest, the Wakes; fresh from six hours on the motorway from Scotland. Once again, I am in fanboy territory. Opening with ‘No Irish Need Apply’, the Wakes proceeded to fill the next ninety minutes with standout tracks from their debut album (including anti-fascist standard and love letter to FC San Pauli, ‘Pirates of the League’). Augmenting the album tracks were covers of traditional classics such as ‘Galtee Mountain Boy’ and folk classics like ‘Viva La Quita Brigada’. Honourable mention must go to new lad on the whistles, Daniel, who played up a storm and survived the advances of a very drunken blonde!
All in all, we had a great night. Both bands give us song dedications; we won a prize in the raffle, got to hang out with good people and great friends. Keep an eye out for albums coming soon from both bands, a German tour from the Wakes and the commencement of filming on Andy’s Clan London movie.
St. Patrick’s weekend with the BCS lads has become a bit of a tradition in our house. The only down side this year was that thanks to having to drive to the gig it was going to be a very sober affair. While the Mahones might claim that “the more you drink, the better we sound”, I can now safely say that the Biblecodes sound superb drunk or sober. Fresh off their support slot on the Dropkick Murphy’s UK tour and straight out of the studio where the third album is well in hand, the lads played a blinder.
Opening with the stomping instrumental Rat’s Reels the lads quickly established that the tight, focused playing we’d seen recently at the Camden Roundhouse with DKM had not deserted them. The set was a great mix of new material, covers and old BCS classics. Let’s be clear, we are fans and are seldom happier than hearing the lads playing their own material. We were not disappointed. From their tribute to boxing legend Billy Conn (The Pittsburgh Kid) to London Irish rallying cry (Maybe it’s Because I’m an Irish Londoner) the Biblecodes showed that their material can stand alongside any of the bands they cite as influences. What stands out amongst the BCS own material is their ability to tell the stories of the Irish diaspora in songs that appeal to the “Friday night, let’s get hammered and jump around” crowd. From migrants leaving “County Cork in search of fame” to the “Newport and Mullranny boys along the Northolt road”, this is the story telling tradition of Irish music kept alive for the Twenty First Century.
The lads are about to embark upon a short US tour and if you are in the Philadelphia area on the 24th May, do yourself a favour, go along and get yourself a new favourite band.
Walk Like Kings the 4th full length original album from London-Irish band BibleCode Sundays is a highly polished affair and continues to prove that the BibleCodes are one of the most talented bands on the Celtic-rock planet. Ronan MacManus is an exceptionally talented singer and the rest of the band are no slouches either. While Walk Like Kings is more mellow and more mainstream friendly then the bands early albums they don’t lose that edge that made the band so attractive before. Walk Like Kings sees the band being joined by friends and family including the amazing Lorraine O’Reilly who duets with Russell Crowe (yeah him of Gladiator fame – he’s been a friend since hearing the BCSs tribute to Jim Braddock, The Cinderella Man). Brooklyn rappers Da Ded Rabbidz join the band on ‘Stand Up and Fight’.
Stand out tracks include the ska infused ‘Disorganized Crime’ (with help from members of The Specials and Bad Manners and ex London gangsters Noel ‘Razor’ Smith and Vincent Bradish for true criminal authenticity) and ‘Willie Redmond’s Volunteers’ a song Ronan pieced together from lyrics written by his late father Ross MacManus and featuring guest appearances by all of Ronan’s brothers including an up and coming young Declan MacManus who goes under the stage name of Elvis Costello (he may need to change that name before anyone takes him seriously though).