Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Miss, Remember.

I miss things.
In different ways.
As in, some things go way over my head, and a couple of hours, days, weeks later.... oh! Oh indeed!

But what I mean today is that I miss stuff, you know, stuff that doesn't happen anymore. Stuff that isn't anymore. And stuff that I now know never was. Stuff.

I miss tying shoelaces for the kids.
I miss brushing their hair and bunching it into (very uneven) ponytails.
I miss BONKER bars and penny biscuits.
I miss Kentucky Fried Chicken (not KFC).
I miss arsing around Europe sans responsibility.
I miss my hair.
I miss Caroline, my dear friend.
I miss TOTP.
I miss being 7 in Kilkee.
I miss Freddie.
I miss that I used to love driving.
I miss that I used to believe there was a god.
I miss winning at poker at six in the morning after a lousy week in the factory.
I miss(ed) a lot of the kids shows.(bad daddy).
I miss my Dad.
I miss most of LOST. (I don't think it matters).
I miss queueing outside Treacy's for Packet & Tripe on Saturday mornings.
I miss the 'CONTINENTAL GRILL'(s) and Coke floats.
I miss having more money than I need.
I miss the toilet bowl when I've a few too many. (oops!)
I miss my Mother telling jokes.

(The word 'remember' can be substituted for 'miss' in most of the above).


Saturday, 25 April 2009

Not my usual gig!

Last night the Map did go to the Concert Hall.
At the h'University. No less.
By Hisself. All alone. In seat 1. Row N.

Full house. Full orchestra. And chorous of 200!

It started with REQUIEM by Faure.
Beautiful, but it WAS a requiem. Sombre.

Interval. Not a bad Merlot for 4 euro. And 70 cent.

NOW the show begins!

I have never heard such a sound! Never!
200 magnificent, powerful voices and an orchestra of passionate musicians.
A conductor who seemed to be living his dream.
Two soloists, bass and soprano, gave of their hearts with soul.
I was fairly close to the percussionist section, two freaky drummin' dudes and one rockin' xylophonist mamma! Xlnt!

But the voices! oh my!

If I hadn't shaved my neck before I left the house, (well I WAS doing the head), the hairs thereon would have stood on end!


Did I mention my eldest Teenager was one of the 200?


Thursday, 23 April 2009

Something For The Weekend

And YES, I can be this manic on stage!

Ah the H'eightie's. Hair, Hooche and happiness.

At least we still got the happies!

(And I KNOW I've got some hair in a bag someplace).

Just found some hooche at the back of the airing cupboard!
Good Times!!

Separated At Birth?

Or One And The Same?

Sunday, 19 April 2009

At Swim, Two Worlds.

Many years ago I had a recurring dream.
I would be in a huge swimming pool, floating on my back.
Or doing the butterfly, or breast stroke.
Sometimes I would be swimming underwater, almost touching the floor of the pool.
And I would wake up with a feeling of exhileration. Ready for the day.
Fuck it, I was ready for the world.
But it was just a dream. I had a dread fear of the water.
I could get in and paddle about a bit at the seaside, but that was it.
One of the things that I would never do. Swim.

But then kids, the little feckers!
"Why can't you swim Dad?" they would say, when they came up for air.
From the lovely pool at our hotel on our holiday in France.

Truth is, I had fallen off the riverbank as a kid into the Shannon.
Tide was low at the time, and I got out after a few seconds, but to me it had seemed like I was in a strange, quiet, out of this world cocoon for what seemed like an eternity, and it scared me shitless.
That was me and water done with.

But them feckin' kids!
They persuaded me to take lessons. Scary.
I cannot describe the feeling of joy I had as I moved thru' the water unaided for the first time.
I still get that same thrill every time I go swimming.
I swam in the ocean for the first time last summer in Lanzarote.
Herself and the kids all said they have never seen me with a bigger smile!

I was resigned to the fact that I would never swim.
But I did conquer my fear of water. I did swim. I love swimming.
My recurring dream came true.
At the age of 43.

Those swimming lessons taught me a lot.
And not just how to swim.

Friday, 17 April 2009

For Helen

This is the only song Big Sis knows.
And she will sing it on request. Anytime.
If asked nicely. And a drink is put her way!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Can you hear that?

It's quiet. Very very quiet.
The telly box is turned off. No music. No talking.
Very very strange for this house.

Herself is gone to Dublin for a few days with the Teenagers.
Map and the Youngest are holding fort.

Day one down, Youngest in bed and Map tapping on the lappy.
I'm usually here on my own during the day, which I'm used to.
But from about 4p.m. most days the place gets fair active.
Dinner, talking, tv, music, more teenagers coming and going.
Phone calls, texting, channel hopping, conversations going on between people in different rooms. Noise.
I've just gotten so used to it.
And the quiet, which I relish during the mornings and afternoons, can become quite unnervingly well, unnerving, in the evenings and night.
(I just turned on the tv for some noise, it's Star Trek DS9)

Meself and the Youngest had a fine day.
After we dropped the others at the train station we went and had a cooked breakfast in a caff. (She felt very grown-up with her own pot of tea)!
Then she brought me window shopping. (Dads are always more patient with the youngest)!
Home for lunch, followed by a long walk, followed by a snooze for Map and a 'Sponge Bob' marathon for the Youngest. Quick dinner, watched 'Britains Got Talent' on Youtube, (told ya I'm patient) and her off to the feathers.

The rest of the clan are back on Friday evening, so I guess I should enjoy the quiet while I have it! It is strange tho'.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Killer Kake

(pic by Hyperorbit)

50g unsalted butter
150g marshmallows
250g good dark chocolate (at least 75% cocoa solids)
4 tablespoon boiling water

Put all of the above in a pan and melt together.
Leave to cool.

Beat 284mls of whipping cream with one teaspoon of vanilla extract until it forms peaks.

Fold into the cooled chocolate mixture
Spoon into a 9inch parchment-lined baking tin.
Put into fridge until tomorrow.
Be warned, this cake is veh veh heavy!
Serve with vanilla cream.

Alternatively spoon the mixture into individual ramekins, chill for 30mins and serve as chocolate mousse. (this is Nigella's method).
The above version was created by mistake.(I put it into fridge and forgot about it).

Either way, it will eventually kill you!

Sunday, 12 April 2009


I wear a wedding ring.
It is not the one my wife put on my finger the day we were married.
That particular ring had to be cut off my finger after a bad episode with a van door on a very windy day. Less said the better.

So Herself bought me an even nicer ring in the celtic style, to fit my at that time, more rotund falange.

And then the Map decided to 'get fit'! Which he did!!

And the new ring was just too damn fuckin' big for his more slender and god damn beautiful slim apendages!

So now we got TWO rings in the box which contains all the rings of the husband that no longer fit the husband!

Can you imagine what the sticker on the front of that box looks like?

But I DO wear a ring on my wedding finger. I bought it meself.
It wasn't expensive. Actually it was VERY cheap. $1.50.
Stainless steel. And it's not the price, or the value of the metal, it's the symbol
of the commitment, and the show of love which is the important thing in my mind.

Gold is shiny and expensive. But a piece of steel...........

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Dead Ant, Dead Ant, Dead Ant...........

The weather is getting warmer.
Which is great. 'cept for one thing.
The ants.
The fucking ants are back. Bastards!
I hate the tiny crawling industrious little fucking creatures. I do.
Now the little shaggers can do what the fuck they like OUTSIDE my abode.
Carry leaves forty times their own weight to their colonies of multitudity!(is that a word?)
But stay the fuck out of my kitchen. Please.
Came home from the gig tonight, and obviously someone had made an early start on the easter eggs! Litttle crumbs of the choc of late on the floor.
And the fuckin' ants having thereselves a wild ole time. Bastards.
DEAD bastards now. A size 12 can do great destruction in a very small time.
When it comes to ant killing I am the Michael Flatley of insect demise.
Bastards. Dead litle bastards tho'.

Thursday, 9 April 2009


I have a friend I've never seen
He hides his head inside a dream
Someone should call him and see if he can come out
Try to lose the down that he's found

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Easter Eg(guinness)

I drink Guinness in my local. And it's good.
At home of an evening I like a cold beer. Usually Miller.(bottle)
I also drink Miller at gigs. It's hard to jump around with a belly of the blackstuff!
I always drink one Hennessey brandy just before each gig. It's my treat to myself.

I like to go to the pub of a Thursday. Kinda starts the weekend for me.
Pub on Thursday, gigs on Friday & Saturday, pub on Sunday. See?

Now. It's 'Holy Thursday'. Have to be out of the pub by midnight. It's the law.
And the day after? 'Good Friday'! All pubs closed. All day! It's the law.
I don't always go to the pub on Thursdays, but I like to have the choice.
I don't always gig on Fridays, but seeing as it's half my working week, well.

If you are a catholic, and do not wish to drink socially, in a pub or hotel atmosphere of a Good Friday, or any other day for that matter, then fair fucks to ya.
It don't worry me none if you "go to church on a Sunday and cabaret all day Monday", or never a drop touches your lips.

But it do bother Map that he can't go to the pub because of a law which bows to a particular religion. There was a time when this country was one of church going people, a people afraid of the clergy and ruled by the religious. Mostly catholics.

And if You are still one of them, then fair fucks to ya again for stickin' to yer guns. You are more than entitled to practice your faith. It is your right. And I will march with you to defend that right.

But why should my social life be affected because of a particular faith?

I'm neither catholic or of any other religious bent.

And I'd like, if I so choose, to go to the pub, hotel, swimming pool or local butcher shop of a Good Friday. Or not.

So all the pubs close on Good Friday. But what happens in Tesco on Holy Thursday?
Stampede at the liqour isle. That's what happens!

Happy Easter.

p.s. I also sometimes like a good red. Tonight I am mostly drinking 'Yellow Tail' Merlot 2008. From Australia. It's fucking gorgeous!

Sunday, 5 April 2009


Mam was always a party girl, still is if she gets the chance. Dada was a quiet, more gentle man. They were the complete opposite of each other. That's probably why they fell for each other.
He loved classical music, especially tenors, she loved show music/tunes. And I grew up listening to all sorts of music. That's probably why my tastes are so eclectic. I just love music!
Hammer lived next door to us in our terrace. He lived with his Dad (old Mr.Hayes) and his older brother David. His brother married and moved away, and his father died. Hammer was always there when we were kids.He never married, though he had a love which was, sadly, unrequited. He was a nice man. He loved us kids. He also loved opera. He had a huge collection of 78's, mostly of the great Mario Lanza.
Some of my earliest memories are of listening to Mario through the walls of our terrace, on Sunday nights, when Hammer came home from the pub, a lonely bachelor, and played his old records on his fathers gramaphone.
And Mam would sing along with the music that came through the wall, and tell Dada that he hadn't a note in his head, as he tried to sing along! (Which was true!).
But there was always, Always music in the house. And it's the same today in my own house. My girls always have music playing, and I never tell them it's too loud, 'cos you know, I like it loud. What is it about music? I sing when I'm happy, I sing when I'm sad, parties, weddings, funerals.
My oldest friend became a father for the first time recently, and when I had his baby in my arms, singing to her, and she dancing, remembered how my own girls had danced so intuitivly to any music when they were little. It must be part of our make-up. Part of what makes us who we are.
Someone told me last night that a song I sang made them cry. Now while I would love to think that I had the voice of an angel, I know for sure , sadly, that this is not the case. I sang a sad song that happened to touch a particular person at just the right moment. To have someone tell you something like that makes you feel special, if only for just a little while.

This is my favourite song of all time. (and i'm not a religious guy).
If only I could sing like this!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

The book of love.

Went to the pubs tonight with my guitar player and his Dad and his nephew (our roadie). I love his Dad, he is a saxophonist from the showband era, and always has great stories to tell. I should probably stay sober and try to remember some of them, but it's hard when you're havin' fun!

So, lots of the black stuff was consumed, and a few Jack D's by the youngfella, (they just can't stick to the pints, can they?). Anyway, we got to talking 'bout gigs, and shit that happened, and stuff that clients ask you to sing, requests and such. And it happens I got an e-mail today with a request for me to sing a song with a string quartet no less. A song the Map had not before heard. But, I listened, and I did on first hearing, like said song.

So the Map will soon do his first piece with a classical ensemble.
I might even record it for posterity. Or Youtube even!

This is the song.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Thank You.

Someone did something very nice for me yesterday.
One of those gestures that comes at exactly the right time to give a guy a lift.
There is an item, something small and inexpensive, it's identity irrellivant, which I have been on the trail of for a while.
Nothing important, just something with a small memory attached to it which I thought would be nice to share with my kids.
It was never a 'Holy Grail' type quest you understand, nothing so grand.
It was more a "I haven't seen one of those for so long, you probably can't get them anymore" type of things.

I was out for a walk yesterday when a friend of mine pulled up beside me in his car.
He rolled the window down and handed me a small package.
"Just something I thought you might like", and he drove off.
It was indeed the item from my past.
Wasn't that nice?
He had gone out of his way to search, locate and order this thing.

When I rang to thank him he got all bashful. "It's just something small".

The item was small, but not the gesture.