Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

« Most Canadians think an auto bailout is unwise: poll | Main | Christmas greetings from the Prime Minister »

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Guinness & margaritas for the holidays?

If you're one of those people that isn't terribly religious, or who just doesn't like celebrating Christmas in the traditional ways, I have an idea for you. Maybe it's time for a holiday celebration centered on other icons...rock n' roll icons.

It turns out that there are two such individuals who hold an appropriate credential making them potentially worthy of holiday praise - both were born on Christmas day.  Shane Patrick Lysaght MacGowan (born December 25, 1957) and James William Buffett  (born December 25, 1946) hold that distinction and both are true rock n' roll icons who have a special place in the annals of music history.

Shane MacGowan, the maniacal, virtually toothless lead singer of the Pogues rose to prominence in the early 80s by single-handedly creating a then-new sound by merging punk and traditional Irish music into an infectious and irresistible groove that has been often imitated, but never duplicated.  While all of the Pogues' material and MacGowan's later solo material with the Popes is solid, it is perhaps the Pogues famous Christmas song - "Fairytale of New York" - that is MacGowan's crowning achievement (although it was co-written with band mate Jem Finer).  There are few better Christmas songs and few better songs in general.  As further proof that MacGowan is worthy of holiday praise, give "Christmas Lullaby" a listen.  It's a bit hard to find as it languishes on his solo 1996 "Christmas Party EP".  If you have a penchant for Irish music and aren't troubled by sometimes indecipherable lyrics that one critic attributed to a thick Irish accent, nearly complete loss of teeth and stupefying drunkenness,maybe this music, and this candidate for holiday-time birthday worship, is for you.

If not, maybe "Mr. Margaritaville" Jimmy Buffett is more your speed. While really a keen businessman (he makes somewhere in the tens of millions of dollars each year with his albums, best-selling books, plays, merchandise and chain of Margaritaville-themed restaurants), this Christmas birthday boy has written some of the finest fun-centered music of the past four decades. 

Give any of the early "A1A" or "Havana Daydreamin'", the mid-career "Floridays" or "Fruitcakes" or the more recent "Far Side of the World" or "License to Chill" a listen and you will be instantly transported from the dreary, freezing cold days of the 2008 Western Canadian winter and into a sunny, tropical place filled with crazy characters, beautiful people, "boat drinks" and cool breezes.  Truly a celebration of Buffett's birthday could bring about some relief from the cold, the typical year-end holiday celebrations and the rampant commercialism that tarnishes Christmas these days. 

So instead of eggnog, maybe crack a Guinness or whip yourself up a frosty margarita. Instead of a Santa Claus suit, throw on some novelty rotten teeth, or a tacky Hawaiian shirt or hula skirt (or both).  Instead of watching "Miracle On 34th Street", watch MacGowan test his acting chops in "Straight To Hell" this holiday season, or watch Buffett's cameo where he plays a one-armed heckler in "Ty Cobb." 

Just a thought......

Posted by Knox Harrington on December 24, 2008 | Permalink


Thanks for the post, Knox. It's refreshing to see some Buffett on the Shotgun. His Christmas CD allows you to have a "Christmas in the Caribbean" without taking the trip in the cold...

Posted by: Markalta | 2008-12-24 4:09:44 PM

There is nothing like a nice glass of rum by the fireplace, with Jimmy Buffet playing in the backround, to help shed those winter blues.

Posted by: glen | 2008-12-29 8:36:59 PM

Knox harrington - more shooting fewer restaurant reviews. Unless I am invited . Correction. More restaurants as well.

Posted by: Second amendment | 2009-01-04 12:37:59 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.