Northern Proddies at sessions
Please don’t delete this thread, Big J. It’s not intended as inflammatory, merely as an inquiry. For those who don’t know the lingo (hence the question can’t be aimed at you, but you may be interested anyway) my query is:
Do many people of Protestant origin play out at Irish traditional sessions, in Northern Ireland…or the Republic..or Britain, for that matter.
Me? born Glasgow, Scotland of non-Catholic parents and was actually Christened in some Free Church sect … but that was because my parents wanted me and siblings to be free thinking (They were committed atheist Marxists CPGB people, so they meant free of Marxism…oh yeah, some chance, son of a trade union organiser.) Anyway, I went through Protestant schooling ("non denominational"..but in Drumchapel Weegieland that means Prod….at 14, an overbearing karate expert classmate made sure we all knew the words of The Sash by writing it out on the blackboard: "Sure it’s old but it is beautiful"…and my attempts, during the "Discussion" period, to try and enlighten my peers as to the truth of dialectical materialism did not produce the same good old gut feeling as The Sash.)
There were many people who kept catholics at arms length, and I imagine many other people who kept proddies at a similar distance, but for most ordinary folk, the big issues were the usual ones of poverty, youth crime, unemployment, lack of amenities. In retrospect, there were a mountain of other issues which should have been tackled, but the "class" issue, once that was resolved, it was perceived, would ‘panacea out’ all the niggling little quibbles such as sense of isolation, destruction of community, and so on.
My "true" meeting with the Other Side was when I decided to become a club runner. The club I joined had an equal amount of catholics and protestants. As a club, you all run like a pack and socialise like a pack. (I’d recommend it to anyone.)
Some of those guys were Irish or of Irish descent. They showed me some bits about the music.
It was a revelation.
A country right next to all-conquering Britain had kept the ancient Celtic music alive. And rediscovered and reinvented it. We’re talking Planxty, De Danann, Boys of the Lough. (well… in our naivety, we thought that)Heady days indeed. And remember, maybe in retrospect we view things differently, but in many quarters, the pIRA were genuinely thought of as something akin to Celtic Socialist freedom fighters against the last vestiges of the crumbling British Empire, exemplified of course by Mag the Bag.
And so on. A load of nonsense, but that was a real perception, not unique to me.
As usual, I digress. At least a rough picture has been sketched.
I’ve been reading this phenomenal book called "Northern Protestants An Unsettled People" by Susan Mckay (no relation)… it’s not the type of book you (or I ) can read cover to cover in the one sitting…there’s too much violence and torture, much of it senseless gangland tit for tat, but by grown men who should know better.
The picture which emerges is that of two societies existing coevaly, within this artificial construct which is Northern Ireland, almost occupying the same territory , but boundaries in flux. The general Protestant perspective is one of Custer’s Last Stand. An embattled, but unrepentant and stubborn people. Now, *Theirs* are the estates which have the soaring crime and unemployment and drug use rates, the working class prods, the bridgehead of the Brutish Empire in Ireland. And now Tony Bliar has sold these stalwart defenders out to "Gerry" as they deliberately confuse Sinn Fein with the Bosch.
(BTW, my previous reading had been by Tim Pat Coogan, and others, so please heed my attempt to redress the balance.)
So. Do sessions in the North have the pleasure of many lads/lassies of my persuasion these days?
And what is the zeitgheist among yer normal person (P or C) , knowing the fact that the Republic is now the per capita wealthiest in Europe (apart from them stoopit mini-countries like Luxembourg and San Marino) who wants to be able to afford