The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


The most famous folk singer alive today in Ireland is Christy Moore.
He entered a cafe of which I am an habitue during a wondrously warm May afternoon last week.
The cafe is called the Chat And Chew and you will find it in the town of Newbridge.
Christy Moore entered the cafe escorted by a local activist from the Fianna Fail political party.
They sat.
A lady called Jolene (married so I'll resist the urge to enthuse louchly about her looks) approached the table.
She manages the cafe most Mondays.
"This is Jolene," said the politician to Ireland's most famous folk singer.
Christy Moore looked up roguishly.
At 70 he can still do roguish like he means it.
Then he sang with quite distinctive and exquisite intonation:
"Jolene, Jolene, Jole-e-e-e-ene, don't take my man just because you can."
Why it was like a poem the way he sang it.
Not one of your ould wet Seamus Heaney poems either.
More like WB Yeats on a good day.
Powerful and heart searing.
I would have liked him to keep going.
The lady in question interrupted just as it was getting good.
"Would you ever ---- off," she exclaimed, "I'm sick of that ----ing song. Everybody sings it to me,"
This is quite true as I could have told him.
And although Christy Moore sings it better, I'd say my version has more going for it in terms of wit and innovation.
It goes:
"Jolene, Jolene, Jole-e-e-e-ene,
Don't burn my ham and eggs because you can.
I know you've made this dinner before
But I need just one more.
Oh please don't burn my dinner please Jolene.
Jolene, Jolene, Jole-e-e-e-ene."
And endless variations on the theme.
I really like singing it but she has trained me not to.
Life is too short.
If I had a death wish, I'd go back to shouting "no more Muslim terror," at anti Israeli demonstrators in Dublin before I'd chance singing Jolene to Jolene.
She's named after her grandfather by the way.
I kid you not.
For truly Newbridge is a quaint little town.
Our present story ends with someone going into the kitchen and telling Jolene the guy serenading her was Christy Moore.
She came out and apologised to him.
Christy Moore said a tad ruefully: "Lots of people have told me to ---- off before but never when I was singing."
They shook hands.
I gotta tell ya folks.
The world is poorly divided.
Never in the course of many such encounters has Jolene dreamed of apologising to me.


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