Posted by: Mark Nielsen | March 17, 2009

Irish Donnybrook Breaks Out On Chicago’s South Side

Other than to pass along a gossipy report that last Saturday’s Chicago “South Side Irish” parade featured a donnybrook involving 80 or more people, I suprisingly have nothing much new to say in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

Maybe I used up all my good ideas a few years back, when I went into some of the history of St. Patrick himself… though I think that was on Myspace and I can’t find the link right now… Geez…

Or last year… when I did this entry on the creative and wild spirit of the Irish brawlers and artists….

Or years ago, in one of my first web-published articles at a magazine called, wherein I explored my own Irish roots, and the immigrant experience around 1900 or so.

Below are the opening paragraphs of that article, as a teaser to get you over there (Tweak’s an online magazine that seems defunct now… but there were some major players and great interviews there, way back when… like Ben Harper, Laurie Anderson, Kim Deal…):

So I’m walking in this cemetery near my house around 10 p.m. on a Thursday night, giddy with the promise of an unexpected day off on Friday, stepping in time to the tunes on my Walkman CD, with a street-legal blood alcohol level of about .066 and having a groovy old time. Suddenly, I step on a potato and almost break my ankle. Seriously. A potato. In the cemetery. Left in front of somebody’s headstone. As a memento of what, their terrific potato-leek soup?!

Perhaps the potato was left there by a concerned nature lover as food for the couple of deer that reside in this cemetery. It’s a small, lovely island of natural beauty and historical oddities, smack in the middle of a depressed and depressing urban area. Picking up the potato, I have a minor epiphany, kind of like the scene in some movie I saw recently — I think it was “Mad Dog and Glory” — where the guy sees a deer in the middle of the road at 3 a.m. in the middle of downtown Chicago, (or L.A.? or N.Y.C. ?, it doesn’t matter, anyway, as long as we’re agreed it’s not DesMoines or Berlin or Calcutta). So this guy sees the deer, and the absolute absurdity of nature breaking into man’s concrete fortress really moves him.


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