Evening With Alphie McCourt
The other night I drove back to my old neighborhood in Park Slope, Brooklyn to
hear him read from his new book, a memoir of his life, called,
Long Stones Throw. Its a wonderful book that
reads like a fresh, barroom tale. You just want it to go on and on until last
call. Like his two brothers, Malachy and Frank, he has that
special Irish gift to write just as interesting as he talks.
think that drinking a pint of Guinness would be simple enough, but not so. Not
to an Irishman who has a writers eye for detail. Heres his description
of two men drinking the perfect pint, which he describes as the black body
and the creamy head of the blonde in the black skirt.
In the drinking
of a pint of stout, no unnecessary touching is allowed: no looking, no fidgeting,
no foreplay whatsoever. After a suitable interval and at a sign undetectable to
anyone but themselves, Christy and company will turn, grasp the glass, offer a
good luck, take a good long pull and put the glass back on the bar.
This action is repeated perhaps four, but no more than four times until the pint
is demolished. They will know of course, that when the right rhythm is maintained,
by the third or fourth swallow the backup pint will miraculously appear. God will
be in his Heaven, custom and protocol will have prevailed. (With a dash
of humor he parallels this description with Irish sex.)
Like all good
Irish stories, his reading had a mix of sadness in with the humor. At the end
of the reading he announced that it was customary for him to end with a song.
I dont know if it had anything to do with the latest news reports
coming out of Ireland that trouble in the form of shootings and killings are back
in the North, but he sang Ed
McCurdys classic, Last Night I had the
Strangest Dream. After, there was not a person in the audience
that didnt applaud.
I hope McCurdys song is in the juke-boxes
of the pubs of Northern Ireland, through Armagh to Antrim, and I hope this St.
Patricks Day they play the hell out it. Here it is.
to Peace in the North, heres to you, Alphie. Heres to A Long
Last night I had the strangest dream,
Id ever dreamed before I dreamed
the world had all agreed To put an
end to war. I dreamed I saw a mighty
room, filled with women and men
the paper they were signing
said theyd never fight again.
when the paper was all signed,
and a million copies made they all
hands and bowed their heads,
and grateful prayers were made
and the people
in the streets below,
were dancing round and round
while swords and guns
were scattered on the ground.
Pat Fenton, born on the 17th of March.
the Author Writer, Author and Playwright, Patrick
Fenton, the son of Irish immigrants, was born in the Irish working-class
tenements of Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn on St Patrick's Day, 1941.
a writer, Fenton's stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications
including the New York Times, New York Newsday, New York Magazine
and The Daily News. As a noted Kerouac scholar, Fenton's stories, "The
Wizard of Ozone Park" and "Drinking
With Jack Kerouac in a Rockaway Bar" are eclectic bookend
perspectives of the great American author and his stories "Confessions
of a Working Stiff" and "Stoopdreamer
and Other Brooklyn Stories" a roadmap of his coming of age
as a NYC Irish-American blue-collar Joe.
a Playwright, Fenton's "Jack's
Last Call" is a poignant look at Jack Kerouasc's last
days in Newport, LI as he wrestled with his misconstrued career. Click
Here To Learn More About "Jack's
Of Note - Other Great Pat Fenton St.
Patrick Day Specials - Over
the last few years Pat has kindly shared his special wit, humor and insight to
things, American, things Irish and how we're all human beings trying to make it
to sundown with honor, grace and compassion. Please join us in his intimations
in the celebration of humanity.
Here To View Going
Home - Squaring the Irish Circle
- A poem by Patrick Fenton
Here To View Drinking
a pint with Behan and Kerouac -
A story by Patrick Fenton
Here To View Almost
& Other Brooklyn Stories"
the mission of the Irish monks . . . the world that came after them would have
been an entirely different one--a world without books."
Cahill - from his book "How
The Irish Saved Civilization."