A Pair of Brown Eyes

The Irish are famous for their love songs, odes to long gone brown-eyed lassies and young men who’ve gone sailing across the sea. What a romantic culture, no? Except, it seems, not without some mention of misery and carnage. Centuries of being indentured to the English will give a people a deep, deep well of sorrow like that, and if you pay attention all of those famous love songs spring from some collective national pain. Maybe that’s why we think Irish love songs are so great; other people’s love songs are about love, a trivial thing; Irish love songs are about the Famine, and the mass migration that followed it, and the bloodshed and violence of the fight for independence. If an Irish person is lamenting their long lost love, it’s probably because they starved to death, or they died fighting, or they sailed to America. The Pogues add to that proud and bitter tradition with a politically topical video that shows the band defacing posters of Margaret Thatcher. And, of course, a love song about love torn apart by violence.


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