I’m going back over 16 years now. It seems like yesterday. My brother and I were boarding the plane in JFK heading for home after a 2 week hiatus in New Jersey with my sister. This was the period in Irelands history when the only way out was to get a Morrison Visa for the states and that’s just what we did. This little visit was a taster for our future in America…where the streets are paved with gold…I don’t know about some people but I just didn’t get the idea of emigrating. Maybe I was too much of a home bird or something but I never did use that visa, even after all the trouble that we went to get the bloody things in the 1st place. I wanted to be at home in the green isle. Who knows what would have happened if I had got bit by the American bug. I could be sitting by my pool right now tapping away on my laptop while my kids splash about in the pool. The idea still doesn’t appeal to me. I just love Ireland too much. I am Irish and I want to stay in my homeland with my family around me. I want to feel the mist on my face on an October evening and the bite of the frost on January morn. I want to be burnt on my face during the sudden arrival of Summer in April for a week. I love to hear the Cork accent as I stroll down Patrick’s Street of a Friday evening, listening for the call of the Echo boy ouside the GPO. I need to able to go for a quick pint of Beamish with my Dad when the thirst comes upon us all of a sudden.
America could never have given me the simple things in life that satisfy me on a daily basis in Ireland. I would like to return there again and try to gain more of an appreciation of the place. The last time we were there….we were just too young to appreciate the place. I was only 20, for Gods sake….not even old enough for a Pint. All we did was drink cans of beer in my sisters apartment and watch endless videos that had not yet reached Ireland for distribution. We did visit New York a few times….climbed the Twin Towers…visited Ellis Island…walked the streets of New York…bought into the American way of life for the short period that we were there. We even bought some new music on tape and tried to swot up on the endless amount of rap and hip hop that was flooding the scene. One such tape that we bought was Gangstarr’s ‘Hard to Earn’….what a great album…what a great rappper he truly was …MC Guru…RIP…
I was looking forward to listening to this album on repeat in my bedroom …listening to the lyrics and beats of each song on my walkman. We boarded the plane and flew out of JFK….leaving America behind us on the streets of New York ….but we had a little bit of America on the plane home in the form of Gangstarr. Thousands of miles we flew with that tape on us only for my brother to leave it behind on the plane…..we were genuinely upset to have mislaid the precious tape. ‘Where could you have left it?…Check your pockets….Ya bloody eeejit!!?’
We had to make do with listening to it in the back bar of Sir Henry’s on a Saturday night. I don’t know why we never bought the actual album again but …there you go….’we was poor ya’ll’
Who would have thought that so many years later I would be writing about that seminal moment in my life. The loss of a tape is a terrible thing to behold. I do believe that my brother was close to tears when he realised he had forgotten the tape. I did rub it in a bit, I suppose….
Here is one of my favourite Gangstarr songs….
‘Mass Appeal’ from Hard to Earn is one of those songs that just never ages…a true testament to great hip hop…For those of you who dismiss this kind of music…listen to the lyrics and let the music envelope you….