I Am Stretched on Swift’s Grave

The Frenchman is just full of surprises. This Friday, we’re going to Dublin!

I’m incredibly excited. Ryanair is apparently having tons of sales, where the taxes cost more than the actual ticket. So, he scooped us a couple of tickets to Ireland, knowing how much I insanely love the place.

It’s going to rain, but I don’t care.

We couldn’t find anything within our price range in the city center, so we reserved a hotel just outside near the rugby stadium. It’s should be very quiet, just a few steps away from DART, which runs all night.

I’ll never forget my last night in Dublin. I sang at an open mike in Temple Bar at a place called Malloy’s on High Street. It was April 2000. The venue was a U.S. fireman’s nightmare: about a hundred people packed into a basement full of electronics and lit candles sitting on wobbly black iron candelabras. They gave performers two free drink tickets. Everyone else got charged five pounds. The talent at that open mike far outstripped anything I’d ever seen at any open mike in Los Angeles. I was either laughing, staring with a slack jaw or bawling all evening. I sang after these two insanely talented young men who played hand drums and guitar, singing about their friend who had died recently in “the troubles.” Unsure how I was going to follow that act, I started by reading a raunchy bit of poetry to build my courage and then sang a cappella my own version of “I Am Stretched On Your Grave.” The room sang along beautifully for the first verse, then everyone fell absolutely silent. Even though it’s one of my stronger songs, I still can’t fathom where I got big enough balls to sing an Irish song. Anyway, they gave me the nicest and kindest ovation I’ve ever gotten in my life, methinks. The open mike organizer looked up at me with wide, wet eyes as he clapped and said, “Welcome to Ireland, Maria.”

As if they hadn’t already given me the best welcome ever.

It won’t be anything like that, I know, but I still can’t wait to go back and drink Irish coffees with The Frenchman by roaring fires. To return to the city that worships writers. It’s sort of the antithesis of Hollywood. And maybe that’s why I like it so much.

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