Saturday, June 27, 2009

Where did the time go?

So Son number two is twenty one next week and is home from London for a few days, thereby ensuring a watertight alibi for the time of the death of the King of Pop. He's being exactly what every young person should be, a political activist. He was a very long baby, according to all the expert mammies twenty one years ago, and remains long today, about 6'3" (don't know what that is in euros)in his fundamentalist sandals. He has long hair and a sporadic beard giving him a look of one of the morte commercially successful apostles,(due to lack of obvious ribs). He still knows everything, which is good, because i started to lose that particular skill when i was about 18. It's nice to have him around have him around the place again, pottering about and playing a few bits and pieces on the piano or guitar, interacting with the other kids, who haven't seen him for six months or so. he's off into town shortly to man some stand complaining about Shell or Iran or the government or riverdance. Fair play to him!

Friday, June 05, 2009

The Weshtern Wampire and the Walwo Race

So the Volvo Ocean race, or the Walwo race as it's called by my Spiddal friends has proved a remarkabe happening. The city looks great the beaches spotless, the buzz is definately pre-recession decadence, the craic and music first rate. the place is wedged all day and night even by Galway standards, even by race week when the fianna Fail Tint was the place to be standards. Massive Sailing craft in the bay flanked by dozens of hookers and gleoteogs, ribs, dinghies and everything else that floats (apart from human turds, God be with the days) but Oh Lord what weather! Unimaginably wonderful sunshine for the past week! yes! A Whole fucking week of it!!! In Galway!!!! the whole experience has been surreal. The vast majority of Galwegians would have probably assumed it was going to be a flop that would be a further slap in the face to a country deflating quicker than a really quickly deflating baloon. But it's been glorious. The experience is as if someone told you that the real Santa only starts coming to you when you're forty. Everything in the previous thirty nine year's life experience tells you that it's just more bullshit designed to break you're spirit, until you wake up that morning to tjhe most wonderful (insert fantasy here). Fair play to ye walwo People of Galway, each and every one.
Unfortunately the bit of decent weather has me shuffling indoors to my dark smelly crypt for large periods of time due to the emergence of a shitload of pollen which is almost as irritating as canvassing politicians, or the people who canvass for the politicians who are too scared shitless to canvass themselves. Every year sees me snuffling and feeling my way along walls to my doctor's surgery for the annual steroid injection, fearlessly running the risk of arse puckering in the quest for relief. Hot yet this year however. I've been following advice I got from a nun and eating mostly radishes. I know, I know, it sounds like yet another chapter in the clerical abuse report, but so far the jury is out. This week has been the first week I've suffered with symptoms, which is about a month later than usual. now it's also been the wettest May in 14 million years which may be the cause. We'll see (or not as the case may be)

Friday, May 22, 2009


My earliest memory is of looking out of a playpen at my father. He was in the living room carrying on a conversation with my mother who was in the kitchen. She would occasionally miss what he said and would ask him to repeat it. He would rephrase what he had originally said, which i found puzzling, so I assume I had a very limited vocabulary. I knew my mother was asking him to repeat something. I knew he was saying something different the second time around. Whereas I may have been mistaken in then jumping to the conclusion that he was deceiveing her the second time around, it may have been that i could sense something unspoken in his actions. There was a large amount of deceit going on, as we found out later when he left home and married his mistress of many years. however, before this happened, my parents came to an agreement that he would continue to live with us until my sister and i were finished school, so they then cooperated in keeping the deceit going. Growing up, I never had a great level of certainty about what was really going on and who or what to rely on. I remember as a young teenager I spent a lot of time in a friends house, where the several sibling and parents were constantly having standing up rows with each other and storming out and slamming doors, only to resolve their differences minutes later in waves of laughter and hugs. It took me a year or two to figure out that my family was the disfunctional one! but the worst deceit of all took place when I was three and my granfather bought me a red drum with pictures of soldiers on it for my birthday. My parents hid the drumsticks and told me it was a stool. I sat on that drum for a year. Probably explains my distrust of drummers ever since!

Monday, May 11, 2009

pin ups

Local election fever has kicked in on the streets and the villages of Galway, even if the only feverish people are the candidates i was driving through Oranmore yesterday on a family drive (remember those?) when among the thousands of posters we passed, I noticed a one picturing a young blonde with rather scary lipstick. Underneath her name, slogan, and sundry other information in a font so small that i practically had to park the car and stand onm the roof in order to make it out was the party name, Fianna Fail(The senior party in the current government). It was the first Fianna Fail poster I had seen so far. On another poster in the city centre I spotted a nicely suited, earnest looking gentleman whose face rang a bell. Then I remebered that I had had previous dealings with him many moons ago , in the early eighties when he did a passable line in Moroccan black. Only in Ireland!!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Where does the time go?

Just about recovered from last weekend spent with 41 12 year old rugby players on a trip to London. We had a great trip, played in Ealing and at London irish. Drank much cider, met my socialist son for a few very nice hours. It was a strange experience visiting the UK the weekend after a visit to France. London and it's environs felt more different, more foreign to me than did La Rochelle. Not sure why. There seems to be a different attitude about the place, as if everybody is within their own bubble and interaction with strangers isn't part of the plan. Eye contact seems to be seen as strange or threatening. Then again...maybe eye contact from a sunburnt hungover rugby coach may not be the most welcome sight in the world. Anyhoo, off to the land of the people who come from Cork for the weekend with the Fabulous Galway Gospel Choir. Other choirs go to the Cork Choral Festival to win. We just go to spread the love and make the world a better place for mankind, while spear tackling everything that looks like another choir.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The joys of good living

Spent most of last week in France with the Fabulous Galway Gospel Choir. We did two gigs and had a ball with a choir of lunatics from a French choir called Contre Ut et Maree, which means something very clever in French. The frivolity was compounded by the fact that I , being a good little catlick, had given up the dhrink for Lent, (with the exception of St. Patrick's day. Not drinking on the feast of the Patron Saint of Ireland is still a mortal sin, seemingly). I got happily soused on fumes. Roll on November. Heading off with a million under twelve rugby players to London this weekend for a blitz at London Irish. the kids will be fine, it's the half a million parents going with them that worry me!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Up and down the Wesht Coast

had two journeys over the weekend. Sunday I drove to a funeral in Doonbeg, Kilrush co. Clare, via Gort and Ennistymon, and came back on the coast road through Lahinch, Milltown Malbay, etc. The Burren was spectacularly beautiful in the evening sunshine and the bejewelled sea was a treasure. Monday Morning early left Galway with a car full of sleepy gospel singers in the pissing rain. Mike McGoldrick belted out of the speakers as we headed north through Ballinrobe and as we went on through Mayo towards Castlebar the clouds dispersed. After a quick coffee and pee break we drove on for Belmullet to sing at a wedding. Ry Cooder took over as we took the undulating route northwest through long expanses of bogland with mountains cutting the horizon. The sun beamed down on the countryside. The wedding was lovely, apart from the singing which was, well, lobvely too!:). We were very well looked after by Isobelle and Brian and their friends and family. Came back down the long and winding road with the Beatles singing in sympathy. What had seemed like a couple of chores over the bank holiday weekend ended up being thoroughly enjoyable. Sure It's a greeeeeeat little country really!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Breaking news........Jesus does a runner!

Daughter number two has a very busy Easter coming up. She's singing in a children's choir at a local church and they're reenacting the stations of the cross on Good Friday, and singing on Easter Sunday. She has been cast as the Good Thief, which she doesn't really know how to react to. I think she likes the idea of the baddy turned good, high street cred quotient and the ability to diss all the other baddies fron her high horse, or in this case... high cross. But when anyone mentions her role she looks straight into their eyes looking for the slightest hint of amusement or mockery. A scary sight I can tell you! Anyway, they went for a practice laat night to find that the kid who was cast as Jesus didn't show up. Pandemonium reigned for about twenty minutes, and the normally beatific lady who looks after the kids tunrned scary as a high priest who smelt a nest of blasphemers. After much soul searching the job was given to an adult who was in the vicinity and had the required level of maturity to accept his destiny or lack of speed needed to do a legger. No wonder Jesus waited till he was no spring chicken before he started stirring the.... hearts and minds. In the meantime keep an eye out for a ten year old fugitive with a long dress and a dodgy beard. Let's be careful out there!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Good News

So the smart money says that the newspaper industry is bolloxed. We all get our news faster, free and for nothing on the interweb. I buy the paper less regularly. monday and wednesday for the sports supplement, tuesday for the Health supplement (for my lady wife btw) and saturday for the review section, sport, tely guide etc. Don't bother with a sunday except every second week or so, depending on the front page stories, sports reports which interest me, or free dvd. This cut back is not for monetary reasons, although the arse of my trousers ios getting thinner by the day. No. It's because the news is so scary, irritating to maddening and depressing so much of the time.
We need more good news. I know that the common knowledge is that newspapers dedicated to good news stories wouldn't last pissing time, because there are so few that don't involve dogs saving drowning babies and singing frogs or other such wierdness. I believe that there are many more good news stories that could be published that could cheer the world just as long as they didn't have to be true. No problem there, as a large proportion of stories and opinion pieces in the papers habve little or no connection with the truth. So cheer us all up. tell us the good news. Leave a positive post here. Lie through your teeth if necessary. If you can't think of one send money to help me employ some good cheerful liers. you know it makes sense!!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Ears to you Mrs Robinson

I know the madness that yer man Wincent must have suffered. At present Son number one is eviscerating the bowels of a cheap chinese fiddle, Son number three is practicing singing for his leaving cert musical exam. He selected the six songs for same on the eve of his exam i.e. yesterday. Daughter number one is practicing the piano and singing bloody "Run" for her junior cert exam on Friday in which I'm apparently backing her. Daughter number two practices the piano nicely for about three minutes, comes out and asks if that was twenty minutes, when disabused of that notion she stamps back in and beats the shite out of the poor piano for the remainder of her(and our)sentence. My wife is addicted to Elbow, whioh, though quite pleasant and soulful means I'm scared shitless every time I turn the key in the ignition of the car, in case my head is going to be lifted off by the same Elbow. Add to the mix a barking dog and a persistantly hungry cat, sure wouldn't anyone be into lopping a couple of ears off!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

beautiful game?

Ireland 1 Bulgaria 1. Ireland score in the first minute run around failing to pass to each other for an hour then score an own goal. Whoever called it a beautiful game should be beaten to death with their own white stick. Speaking of balls, son number three awoke on tuesday morning ready to go to school for his oral french axam, only to find upon looking in the mirror that he had turned into a basketball with legs due to mumps. He tore a ligament in his knee on paddy's day dancing in a pub while his shoe was stuck to the floor by whatever strange brew had been spilt there earlier. Ah, youth is wasted on the young!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

What a game

Went out to a gig in the Róisin Dubh last night (Paraic Rushe, nice voice, apostolic looking, good backing vocalists and some good original material, most cringingly awful version of Hallelluiah heard so far), walking around many drunk happy people wearing Ireland jersies and enjoying their first cigarettes in years. It was that kind of match. I stayed at home in solitary confinement for the watching it. Didn't want any distractions or anyone to see me in an emotional wipeout. Lucky choice on my part. Fear, frustration, elation, more elation, concern , anger, nausea, ecstasy, blind panic, and relief in that order. Wondering whether it was possible to perform heart massage on onesself. That's it. the country is fucked for good now. We've used up at least ten years woth of good luck by using the Irish mind-meld on that ball for the last kick.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The mandoline mamma

In the far off days of the last recession in the late seventies and early eighties, when nobody had any money but we were all delerious apparently, 80% or so of the population were bohemian. There were no credit facilities or ATM machines. You knew on Friday morning exactly how pissed you were going to get that night by checking the contents of your pocket. You wouldn't be spending your money on anything else. There were only about seven cars in the whole province. You didn't need to buy cloths, other than the standard bohemian costume; wooly jumper and jeans. I was always interested in traditional and folk music, so you couldn't have picked a better time to be coming of age.
There was a magical, enchanted dragon's lair of a place in Galway city at the time called Cullen's Bar on Forster Street near the train station, (where the Púcán is now). A night in Cullens was a chance to play a part as an extra in an epic tale of homeric proportions as all kinds of heroes and heroines, gods and demons played out drink fuelled sagas of love, loss, lust, lechery, lunacy and liibidinousness (should have quit while i was ahead). The place drew not only the hardiest of the townies, but a large cohort of Spiddalonians who would have hitch hiked east at some stage during that week. The place would be alive with Thorntons, and Keadys, O' Connaires led by the inimitable sean nós singer Seán, known as 007 and a fair smattering of Conlons on a good night. They were a different breed in those days, living on mackerels, poteen and the chance of a lustful encounter with one of the miriad student teachers who came west in search of a bit of gaeilge. if Des Bishop had tried do do his thing in those days he would have been treated to many a dose of "the shleeping tablet" (Irish for lump hammer). This shower of lunatics were presided over by the regal Mrs Cullen, a lady to her fingertips who beatifically managed to keep something resembling decorum in this smoky wild theatre of dreams.
The pub consisted of one small bar and a back room. In those days there used to be a music session in both rooms every night. The back room was for the serious drinkers and the local heroes on the music scene, where sessions would involve Mickey Finn, Fred Johnson, Charlie Brown, Peter Galligan, a youthful Máirtin O' Connor, a babyfaced Joe Skelton to name but a few. Corky would occasionally launch into his life's opus "The Swan" which always started in the same place, but never ended up in the same place twice. Naj would treat us to some surreal crossover between sean nos dancing and ballet, but no one could remember anything of the dancesteps as one could not look away from the amazing expression on his face while he danced.
The front room session was a different animal entirely. It was about a welcome and setting an atmosphere. a musician catching your eye and giving you a smile as you entered. The music was every bit as full of soul and life and virtuousity, but without the need for genuflecting and silence. These sessions were created by Breda Lewis and her teenaged children Liam on the fiddle and Patsy on the Concertina. Her husband John would regularly join them when he wasn't travelling abroad on business. The session was lively and upbeat, young musicians were welcomed and encouraged, there was time for a chat and a laugh. The many wildly eccentric singers and dancers shape throwers and tragedians were tolerated far above and beyond the call of duty. An occasional lull in the music would coincide with an interesting insence of Consulate menthol cigerette and ganja. Then with a laugh the music would take off again. Breda was the first face you would see when you walked in the door, playing her mandoline as her pride of young lions wove musical patterns in your head. In addition to her family, she was a mother to a generation of young budding musicians. She offered herself as a teacher and a confidant, an cncouraging voice and a friend.
Times changed and life became more complicated, people grew up moved on, Breda and family left Galway for Clare and further afield. Occasionally one would hear tell of what Breda was up to now and then nothing for many years. A friend met her in hospital a year or so ago and was very saddened to see she was unwell. I saw her death notice in the Irish Times on Saint Patricks Day. Breda, I hope the session is as good where you are now as it was in Cullens.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

two ra loo rah

So. The day begins with a 6.30am pilgrimage to Athenry to have one's arse painted green. Mass follows with the perfunctary mumbling through "Hail glorious Saint Patrick whereupon wife, daughters and dog will attend the Psarade. Home for bacon and cabbage and green jelly (or jello, depending on which side of the snake pool you live on) then on to a rugby match, or thirty rugby matches, to be more correct about it. the club i coach for are playing our city rivals at all age levels from senior to under 7. This will be followed by a music session and pints !!!! (I'm off drink for lent, but seemingly its a sacrilage not to drink on a feast day :) ). then home for a drop of tea and to watch the Simpsons visit to Ireland. then it's off to dance the night away at a Fest noz/Ceili. A combination odf Irish and Breton dancing. (Breton dances are easier to do when you're pissed, which never really made any sense to me.)
Tóg go bog é

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Thoughts while adult son practices polkas

What did the fiddle ever do to you, you cruel bollocks?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Church and state reunite. Not so blessed are the cheesemakers, however.

Ok. So we're fucked. Economically, at least. Plus I have to stop things that will give my doctor a chance to scream abuse at me about cholesterol levels and suchlike, when i pay my annual visit in april to beg for drugs to make the pollen go away. And (always wanted to start a sentence with And, but never had the courage till now), (plus i think this is the first time I've used "fucked" in my blog, soon I'll be able to say c**t and other swearingladyspeak without feeling mortified!), I'm off the drink for Lent. Which got me thinking two things:
A) Don't call it low fat cheese call it Danger! do not put this on toast because it will taste like salted shite!
B) The government should get back into bed with the clergy. (Oops). They could double the length of lent, (oops again) and take all of the money from the trocaire boxes to pay for pensions and death squads for the bankers and stuff, and we could offer up our miserable existance in the meantime instead of marching and waving placards, which has to stop, because:
a) All the good slogans were used by the auld wans last year.
b) there are so many groups marching, that all dates for marching to the Dáil are fully booked tioll 2018, by which time we'll be grand again.

Monday, February 09, 2009


The Fabulous Galway Gospel Choir hit Letterfrack at the weekend for the Tareis na Féile Bride Festival. Stayed at the incredibly fuhnky Old monastery hostel, where we had a feed of beans before proceeding to the church where we did a gig with some wonderful local musicians before heading down the road to hear Neil Toner and his good old boys play some shitkicking bluegrass. Climbed back up to the hostel wejre we sang loudly and into the morning. about half the party made it up Diamond Hill in the morning before chowder was consumed and the big green bus brought us back to Galway

Thursday, January 29, 2009

going home over the hill

So John Martyn has died. There goes the one time epitome of coolness, the voice that was passion and pain in equal amounts, the best right hand in the business. Rest in Peace John. You'll br missed.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

still standing

Nearly through January and still solvent, married and sane(ish). Using extra time fairly effectively. Doing some work, putting a few feelers out re. more work, doing a few jobs around the house, organising things a bit more than I used (not my strong point). Being driven mad by son number three, who is allegedly sitting his leaving certificate this june. He has spent an amazing amount of time since reseaching, studying and evaluating, comparing and contrasting..............holidays in July in Greece. Other than that he's remarkably relaxed, which has the opposite effect on his parents' mood. Son number two is protesting happily all around ze United Kingdom and geting (badly) paid for it. Son number one is rowing and studying, but never at the same time, thankfully. Daughter number one is studying and sighing whenever her parents embarass her (the record stands at 54 times in one hour). Daughter number two is stamping her authority on the family and the floor. dog is still afraid of cat and squeaky toys. Cat is afraid of nothing and nobody.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Don't panic

New year, new situation. 60% decrease in working hours at the day job (thanks, bord snip!). Looking at alternatives at present. Increasing part time projects in the short term to take up the slack. I tend to be fairly philosophical about these things, never having been one of those "job for life" people. I'm lucky enough to have the skill set to keep the wolf from the door in the short to medium term. the downside to this is probably that you can indefinately put off that serious chat you need to have with yourself! I think I need to invest in an mp3 player. When I'm out and about i generally listen to the radio on my phone, but with hourly updates on the state of the economy i need to change my siltening habits. Bought myself a Christmas present of Ry Cooder's anthology and have bopped my way into 2009!