Che Guevara In Ireland – RTE Interview (1964)

This isn’t really a music post but it’s an interesting historical nugget from the RTE vaults of the legendary revolutionary leader, Che Guevara. Guevara who was no stranger to Ireland having Irish roots, making a number of visits including one in Kilkee in 1962 where he met artist Jim Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick would go on to created the iconic image of Che, which the world over is familiar with. According to Fitzpatrick:

in 1963 while a teenage student at Gormanston College he worked a summer job at the Marine Hotel pub in Kilkee, the remote town of his mother’s birth. One morning Che Guevara walked in with two Cubans and ordered an Irish Whiskey. Fitzpatrick immediately recognized him because of his interest in the Cuban revolution. Knowing about the Irish diaspora and history in Argentina, Fitzpatrick asked Che vaguely about his roots. Che told Fitzpatrick that his grandmother was Irish and that his great-grandmother Isabel, was from Galway, with other family being from Cork.

Anyway on this occasion bad weather forced Che Guevara to land in Dublin and as luck would have it he spoke to RTÉ reporter Sean Egan while Aer Lingus air hostess Felima Archer acted as interpreter. During the short interview Guevara answers questions about the political situation in Cuba and recent threats on his life.

Same Shit, Different Tory

Having spent a number of years across the water I still keep an eye on political developments in Britain amongst other things. Britain is currently gearing up for a general election and the apathy is palpable as they ready to go to the polls in May. Politics in Britain may never have been at lower ebb spurred by the expenses scandal and of course the long-standing issue of the first past the post voting system that realistically insures rule by one of two parties, Labour or Conservative. Since the dash to the centre right by Labour under the guidance of Tony Blair and his ‘New Labour’ project, people in Britain are faced with a choice akin to two cheeks of the one arse I can wholeheartedly understand the apathetic nature of the British electorate.

For all the negative connotations and failures of ‘New Labour’, I have been once again reminded that they are a slightly (and I mean slightly) better prospect than a Tory government by an unlikely source, Paul Weller. The ‘Mod Father’ Paul Weller is interviewed in the latest edition of Hotpress tells it like it is, here’s a short extract from the article:

Although a relatively happy bunny these days, Weller blew a gasket recently when David Cameron said of his time at public school, “It meant a lot, some of those early Jam albums we used to listen to. I don’t see why the left should be the only ones allowed to listen to protest songs.”

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – which part of ‘Eton Rifles’ doesn’t he get?” Paul snaps. “They can re-brand all they want, but there’s fuck all difference between the Tories now and the way they were under Thatcher.”

I don’t think I need to go through a history lesson on what Thatcher did, we’d be here forever (let’s just say I agree with Galloway) but fair play to Weller for speaking out and speaking the truth. We have plenty of our trouble but it’s a pity our musicians don’t speak out, considering Bono was a special guest at the recent Tory conference and Geldof has been an advisor to them in the past, it speaks volumes really.

In the late 70’s/80’s music attempted to confront Thatcher and the Tories in a number of ways from the Rough Trade label to Billy Bragg, The Specials and Gang of Four. Below is a link to a BBC Radio documentary ‘Stand Down Margret’, music’s response to Thatcher. It’s not exactly the greatest but it gives you an idea of the lengths people went to oppose her and if it went on the quality of bands for/against her, the opposition would have won by knock out in round one.

Mp3: Stand Down Margret

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