Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Frank McCourt (1930-2009)

Others, more learned and competent, will do the full obits. Today's Irish Times would be a good place to start reading.

All Malcolm can add is that McCourt gave a lot of people, in Ireland and around the world, a lot of plain delight. That, and a decent income from the royalties, is the best any writer can wish. On the other hand, he also suffered that bane of writers, from Horace, Cicero and Livy to the present day: becoming a school text in his own lifetime.

McCourt impacted on Malcolm in four ways:
  • He reinforced Malcolm's belief that Limerick is a place to be avoided.
  • He is in a portrait photograph in one of McCourt's (and Malcolm's) favoured Manhattan watering-holes, the Old Town Bar, 45 E 18th.
  • Malcolm's son-in-law went through "Stuy", where McCourt was his English Literature teacher. It seems not to have been an experience that benefited either party.
  • McCourt contributed one of the stock phrases and insults in use at Redfellow Hovel: "sticky-up Protestant hair".
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yourcousin said...

Good post. I enjoyed his books and while I appreciate that Limerick is overall nothing special it gave me a few things. First and foremost a night on the town with a someone who wasn't trying to blow smoke up my ass about things. Namely the Troubles and I wonder if other American tourists have had this problem? Daithi remains one of my best memories of Ireland and is definitely due a drink on me if I ever make it back to the isles.

Oddly enough one of the pubs Daithi took my wife and I to was the one from Angela's Ashes and by this time it was a fairly swanky place but in the bathroom was the obligatry trough pisser. I still shake my head over that.

Malcolm Redfellow said...

Thanks, Zach, for that.

Limerick deserves more than the casual disregard I gave it there. It is, potentially, one of the best places to live. It has architecture (though they are demolishing at a rate of knots). It has history, both great and bad. It has transportation. It has, not far away, some of the finest countryside this side of Paradise. It has Rugby Union.

It just isn't God's own county, the County Cork.

By the way, over "the obligatory trough pisser" I hope you shook more than your head.

Take care. We need the sanity and perception of Zach.

Hope you are getting a bit more sleep, by the way.

yourcousin said...

Limerick may be many things but it's still "Stab City" for a reason. We never did make it into Cork proper despite the fact that one of my coworkers from Fermanagh emphatically insist we make it down there. We spent three days in Dublin instead, which I still regret (somewhat).

Sleep is still sporatic. We're doing the best we can with what we've got. I hate work at this point, but the good thing about construction is that this too shall pass...

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