Henry's Songbook

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McAlpine's Fusiliers

  • (Dominic Behan)

    'Twas in the year of 'thirty-nine
    When the sky was full of lead
    When Hitler was heading for Poland
    And Paddy, for Holyhead
    Come all you pincher laddies
    And you long-distance men
    Don't ever work for McAlpine
    For Wimpey, or John Laing
    You'll stand behind a mixer
    And your skin is turned to tan
    And they'll say, Good on you, Paddy
    With your boat-fare in your hand
    The craic was good in Cricklewood
    And they wouldn't leave the Crown
    With glasses flying and Biddy's crying
    'Cause Paddy was going to town
    Oh mother dear, I'm over here
    And I'm never coming back
    What keeps me here is the reek o' beer
    The ladies and the craic
    I come from county Kerry
    The land of eggs and bacon
    And if you think I'll eat your fish 'n' chips
    Oh dear then you're mistaken

    As down the glen came McAlpine's men
    With their shovels slung behind them
    'Twas in the pub they drank the sub
    And out in the spike you'll find them
    They sweated blood and they washed down mud
    With pints and quarts of beer
    And now we're on the road again
    With McAlpine's fusiliers

    I stripped to the skin with the Darky Finn
    Way down on the Isle of Grain
    With the Horseface Toole I knew the rule
    No money if you stopped for rain
    McAlpine's god is a well-filled hod
    Your shoulders cut to bits and seared
    And woe to he went to look for tea
    With McAlpine's fusiliers

    I remember the day that the Bear O'Shea
    Fell into a concrete stairs
    What the Horseface said when he saw him dead
    It wasn't what the rich call prayers
    I'm a navvy short, was the one retort
    That reached unto my ears
    When the going is rough you must be tough
    With McAlpine's fusiliers

    I've worked till the sweat it has had me beat
    With Russian, Czech, and Pole
    On shuttering jams up in the hydro-dams
    Or underneath the Thames in a hole
    I've grafted hard and I've got my cards
    And many a ganger's fist across my ears
    If you pride your life don't join, by Christ!
    With McAlpine's fusiliers

    (as sung by The Dubliners)

    Tune: The Jackets Green

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1974:] The air is a variation of The Jackets Green. (Signature tune of Sarsfield, a Jacobite general, Battle of the Boyne.) (Notes Sands Family, 'The Winds Are Singing Freedom')

  • [1979:] A tribute to all Irishmen working on building-sites in the United Kingdom during the fifties and sixties. (Loesberg III, 75)

  • [1997:] [Lord Alistair McAlpine] was born into great wealth in 1942. [...] The McAlpine building firm was founded by his great-grandfather 'Concrete Bob' and carried on from father to son. The family lived and breathed building. [...] They knew the names of all their workers; they went on holiday with their managers. On Saturdays, they would all go and look at building sites, and on Sundays his father would sit down in his study and phone the widows of every deceased McAlpine employee. So, although the McAlpines were extremely rich, they were also down-to-earth, horny-handed, not aristocratic. (Lynn Barber, Observer, 9 March)

  • [2000:] Last Thursday the hundreds of construction workers on the [Canary Wharf] site stopped competing. Tools were downed and the massive spindle jibs of the cranes finally came to rest. The Sunday before, three of their colleagues - Martin Burgess, 31, Peter Clark, 33, and Michael Whittard, 39 - were killed when the crane they were erecting collapsed. Now it was time to observe a minute's silence. It is very likely that the workers paying their respects last week used the time to remember other friends and colleagues in the building trade who have also died as a result of how they made their living. Britain's construction industry is second only to mining for the number of lives it claims each year. Between March 1998 and March 1999 - a good year as it happens - 70 people were killed on British construction sites. [...] Another 4,600 suffered major injuries, classed as limb breakages, amputations, blindings and the like. But perhaps even more startling than the grim casualty score card is the rarity with which anybody is ever called to account for these deaths and injuries. Between 1996 and 1998 the Health and Safety Executive, under whose remit such accidents fall, investigated just 11 per cent of major injuries. In turn only 11 per cent of those - 1 per cent of the total - resulted in a prosecution. As to deaths, only 18,8 per cent of companies were prosecuted for associated infringements of health and safety regulations. (Jay Rayner, Observer, 28 May)

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Quelle: Ireland

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aktualisiert am 09.05.2002