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?