October 15, 2003
Under My Window

He had a very good voice, poor Michael Furey.

When I had just met E., a friend used to tease me that he would "come and sing under my window."

"He was such a delicate boy," she'd say in a (pretty good) fake Irish accent.

Careful readers will know this as a reference to James Joyce's The Dead (conveniently reproduced here). It was a (slightly malicious, I always felt) joke and nothing more, of course. The reality is:

a) my window at the time looked out on a brick wall. You couldn't stand under there if you tried.
b) E. is a sensible person. He would never sing under my window.

So it's all a wash except for a glow of fondness that remains for the Joyce story. And today I was entertained to see a quick-hit summary of it in this article about what happens when you see on the Internet that someone you used to know has died.

If you are not familiar with the story, here's the plot in a nutshell. Everybody is having a great old time at Christmas and Mrs Conroy gets all sad because she hears a song that her long-dead first suitor used to sing to her. And her husband seems to be saying to her (in a poetic, Joycean way, of course ), 'Hello! What am I? Chopped Liver?'

Posted at October 15, 2003 07:24 PM

Of course, the fact that I quite like Joyce doesn't hurt the resonance.

These days, I'd be singing "Hoon!"

Posted by: Eric Sinclair on October 16, 2003 11:22 AM
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