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Return to "Irish Blood, English Heart": Second Generation Irish Musicians in England
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Written in a lucid and comprehensible style Irish March 6, 2012
Reviewer: Matteo Cullen Irish Literary Supplement from Republic of Ireland  
Written in a lucid and comprehensible style  Irish Blood  English Heart is both pleasurable and informative. the book is a major contribution to Irish musical studies and cultural studies more generally.

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British music owes a great deal to Ireland. Try to June 13, 2011
Reviewer: Irish Independent from Republic of Ireland  
British music owes a great deal to Ireland. Try to imagine if our emigrants hadn t swarmed across the Irish Sea in the 20th century    there would have been no Beatles  Sex Pistols or Oasis. How threadbare would English pop have been without Kate Bush  Elvis Costello and Boy George?  Irish Blood  English Heart examines the phenomenon of second generation Irish musicians in the UK. Written by Cambridge media studies lecturer Sean Campbell  this scholarly but absorbing book focuses on three groups who blazed a trail in the 1980s    Dexys Midnight Runners  The Pogues and The Smiths.  All three bands were fronted by erudite young men acutely aware of their Irish background in a time where being Irish in the UK could be a significant cross to bear  yet KevinRowland  Shane MacGowan and Steven Morrissey  whose 2004 song Irish Blood  English Heart lends the book its title  embraced their ancestry in their music to varying degrees.  To those who came of age during the Cool Hibernia nonsense of the 1990s  when Ireland was  fleetingly  the hip capital ofEurope  it can be easy to forget how much racism second generation Irish people endured in the IRA ravaged Britain of the 1970s. From the huge sales of Paddy joke books to the anti Irish bigotry of much of the media    columnist Julie Burchill  take a bow    one wouldn t have blamed the offspring of Irish parents from accentuating their Britishness.  Yet  Rowland    the most compelling  and least mythologised  of the three frontmen profiled in the book    refused to put his head below the parapet. Dexys Midnight Runners  debut single Dance Stance  later re recorded as Burn it Down  was written to refute an insidious notion  popular in the UK in the 1970s  that being Irish and  thick  were one and the same. In the song  Rowland namechecks several celebrated Irish authors    among them Shaw  Beckett and Behan    and then urges the  UK  listener to  shut your f   ing mouth  til you know the truth .  Rowland took such pride in his Irishness that he once physically attacked a journalist who questioned his ethnicity and met with Sinn Fein representatives in the early 1980s  yet he never spurned England  the country of his birth.  Campbell    himself an Englishman of Irish parentage    suggests that musicians like Rowland were fired by a sense of duality. And  he argues  their creativity was heightened by a feeling of not being fully Irish or English    but rather a state of limbo in between.  And  all too frequently  when second generation Irish musicians returned to the  homeland  they were treated with suspicion  and not welcomed as warmly as they might have imagined.  Shane MacGowan and The Pogues    initially pilloried in Britain as stereotypical Irish drunks    were seen as  plastic Paddies  when they toured Ireland in the mid 1980s. In some quarters  MacGowan  with his pronounced London accent and salty use of language  was regarded as an  anti Irish racist     a thought that seems utterly preposterous with the benefit of hindsight.  Yet  at the same time  Morrissey was being accused of being anti British. The singer made some inflammatory comments around the time of the IRA s bomb strike on the Tory conference in Brighton. Praising the terrorists for being  accurate in selecting their targets   he expressed his  sorrow  that Margaret Thatcher had  escaped unscathed .  Morrissey and songwriting partner Johnny Marr  born John Maher  rarely played on their Irish provenance  yet their hatred of Thatcher and veiled support for the IRA helped earn them the dubious honour of being praised by Republican newspaper An Phoblacht  a forum not usually known for its interest in rock music.  Consequently  when The Smiths played their debut Irish tour  they received threats from both sides of the paramilitary divide    Loyalists urged them to stay away  Republicans insisted they could not pull out. A pair of concerts in Derry and Belfast attracted considerable security concerns  although both gigs passed without incident.  It would be much later  as a long established solo artist  that Morrissey would explore Irishness and Catholicism. If anything it was his Britishness that was most pronounced during his Smiths days and his brand of Republicanism was rooted in contempt for the UK monarchy rather than any explicit desire to see a united Ireland.  Campbell s assiduously researched book  there are almost 90 pages of notes and references  can make for heavy reading at times  yet he achieves the task to which any book on music and their makers should aspire: it compels the reader to seek out the music again and listen with fresh ears.

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Cambridge lecturer Campbell previously co wrote Be February 28, 2011
Reviewer: Paul Nolan Hot Press from Republic of Ireland  
Cambridge lecturer Campbell previously co wrote Beautiful Day  an analysis of Irish rock music over the past 40 years. In Irish Blood English Heart  he examines the impact made on English music by Kevin Rowland  Shane MacGowan and Morrissey. All have credited their Irish backgrounds with influencing their music. Along with exploring the mordant wit and powerfully expressive lyrics that characterise the work of the three artists  Campbell also reveals some truly gobsmacking stories  including that Morrissey s anti Thatcherite politics compelled An Phoblacht to publish a mid 80s editorial praising The Smiths  thus forging a highly improbable link between republicanism and early alternative rock. So perhaps we can expect Gerry Adams to look to the Comsat Angels or Psychedelic Furs to provide Sinn Fein s campaign anthem

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This is not just a subtle and sophisticated schola December 16, 2010
Reviewer: Simon Frith Tovey Professor of Music University from Republic of Ireland  
This is not just a subtle and sophisticated scholarly contribution to popular music and Irish studies. It is also a fine and exciting account of how music can be used to make sense of the complexity  anxiety and exhilaration of contemporary cultural identities.

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The role of the second generation Irish in shaping December 16, 2010
Reviewer: Sean O Hagan The Observer from Republic of Ireland  
The role of the second generation Irish in shaping British pop has  until now  been all but overlooked. Sean Campbell looks deeply and thought provokingly at the second generation Irish  in betweenness  of Kevin Rowland  Shane MacGowan and  perhaps most surprisingly  Morrissey and Johnny Marr of The Smiths  that seemingly most English of pop groups. He sheds new light on their songs and on the strategies of protest  resistance and assimilation articulated therein.  Irish Blood  English Heart  is a constantly intriguing and often provocative book about the complex process   and peculiar freedom   of not wholly belonging to one culture or the other.

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This is an excellent piece of scholarship offerin December 16, 2010
Reviewer: Noel McLaughlin co author of Rock and Popular Mus from Republic of Ireland  
This is an excellent piece of scholarship  offering an erudite mix of rigorous cultural history and insightful musical analysis. It is a major contribution to popular music scholarship generally and Irish popular music in particular. It very deftly opens up and gives critical texture to the complexities of the in between spaces of the English/Irish musical world  and significantly forwards discussions of hybridity.

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This is a highly valuable book on the Irish diaspo September 14, 2010
Reviewer: Nabeel Zuberi author of Sounds English from Republic of Ireland  
This is a highly valuable book on the Irish diaspora and the politics of post imperial popular culture in the UK. It reveals how Irish English musicians struggled and succeeded in making the nation s multi ethnic history and culture more audible and visible in a particularly inhospitable climate for the Irish. The book makes a significant contribution to the cultural history of the 1970s and 1980s  and contains lessons for the present in which England and the United Kingdom continue to fashion other  enemies within

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