• Philip Bryer

The Sirens, the Bar, and the Dan

"Partenopei" is a popular nickname for the Italian football club Società Sportiva Calcio Napoli – more commonly, Napoli - and people from the city of Naples in general. It is derived from Greek mythology where the siren Parthenope tried to enchant Odysseus from his ship to Capri. In the story, Odysseus had his men tie him to the ship's mast so he was able to resist the song of the siren. Consequently, Parthenope, unable to live with the rejection of her love, drowned herself and her body was washed up on the shore of Naples.


Stay with me.


According to legend, the mythical sirens lived on the crags of Li Galli – also known as Isole Sirenuse - in the spacious gulf of Positano. Employing typical Neapolitan fantasy, local folklore has embroidered the tale with an addition: the sirens were not only beautiful women but they also loved to dance the tarantella, so their legs were transformed into flippers by the jealous Graces.


All of which are nourishing stories in themselves, so imagine my delight when I discovered that some of my favourite things were involved in a pleasing circularity: Italy’s Campania region, a café in Sorrento, and Steely Dan.


Campania speaks for itself. I have enjoyed many happy hours in Sorrento's Bar Syrenuse. But, Steely Dan, I hear you ask, FFS?


Here’s the song:




However, if you are Steely Dan agnostic, fear not (just like Odysseus tied to the mast), you don’t have to listen to it, because here are the lyrics:


I know this super highway

This bright familiar sun

I guess that I'm the lucky one

Who wrote that tired sea song

Set on this peaceful shore

You think you've heard this one before


Well the danger on the rocks is surely past

Still I remain tied to the mast

Could it be that I have found my home at last

Home at last


She serves the smooth retsina

She keeps me safe and warm

It's just the calm before the storm

Call in my reservation

So long hey thanks my friend

I guess I'll try my luck again


Well the danger on the rocks is surely past

Still I remain tied to the mast

Could it be that I have found my home at last

Home at last


Well the danger on the rocks is surely past

Still I remain tied to the mast

Could it be that I have found my home at last

Home at last




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