Megan (jehoshabeath) wrote,

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Sailing song

Last night I took a chance and went to a local evening get-together to sing old sailing songs at a tavern in town. They hold these regularly, and while I'd been meaning to go for a while, I hadn't made it to any yet. I thought it would be a fun way to celebrate my birthday.

I made it to the place and found a seat early, and within a short time, quite a lot of people had gathered. We were in a room paneled with gorgeous wood and classic-style lamps. I was happily sipping my Guinness and soaking in the atmosphere. I got a songbook with lyrics to the chanteys and flipped through to see how many I recognized. Ok, there's "Farewell to Nova Scotia", "Irish Rover," "Barley Mow," and "Fiddler's Green." I found out that each person would have to opportunity to either sing a song or request one. I didn't know any of the lyrics by heart, so I decided to simply request one when it came around to me.

Well, the time came and we begun! Some were snacking on dinner, each had a drink of choice, and one brought along a bouzouki. Quite a lot of chanteys were sung and all joined in on the choruses. I felt a bit awkward amongst the company, but the singing was very exciting. When it finally came round to me, I decided that it was time for a real rousing tune. So, I shouted out that I wanted "The Barley Mow!" Everyone started cursing and complaining. It's one of those songs that builds, like "The Bog" song - the leaf on the twig and the twig on the branch and the branch on the limb and the limb on the tree and the tree on the hill and the hill in the bog and the bog down in the valley, oh! Hey, ho, the rattlin' bog! etc etc

Anyhow, one fellow stood up and led the room all the way through the song and I was having a grand time. When it was all over, he stood and looked at me and yelled, "Do you see what you just put me through? Are you happy now?" I nodded with a big smile. The woman next to me congratulated me on the nice choice.

Anyway, the night went on and the songs went on. More alcohol was had and more, ah, how shall we say, slightly scandalous songs were sung. That was not unexpected, but still not extremely comforting. The language of some of the songs was about as dirty as sailor's talk, which was also not unexpected, but not very fun for me. The real punch came when one song briefly poked fun at the Bible/Christians. Some laughs were had as the song continued. Like the rest, I was not surprised, but not amused. The last line of the song, though, was a clear smack in the face to Christians; and I was offended. I remained throughout the night, though, and bid all farewell at 10pm when I headed off for my train.

While sea songs can be fun, I don't expect to go there again. I'd rather be singing along to the captain's Irish Rovers music after the evening cruise has ended and we're toasting with whatever drinks we happen to find.
Tags: music, sailing

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