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A Different View

Even the coolest of parents will always be old fogeys

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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It should have surprised no one to learn that Facebook will soon be the new Bebo, consigned to the refuse tip of technology because its primary market – teenagers – don’t want to be seen using the same social media site as their parents.

It’s not just the notion of their parents accessing photographs of them drinking Buckfast through their noses or displaying their backsides to the world at three in the morning – it’s simply the fact that their parents are able to use the same forum as they are.

And that’s the same as it ever was – because if anything is popular with your parents, it’s simply not for you.

We like to think we’ve drawn on the experiences of our own youth to make us cooler mothers and fathers than our own were. But the reality is that your own kids look on you in exactly the same way that you looked on your own parents a generation earlier.

We may think we’re still ‘with it’ – even the use of the phrase betrays our ages – but the reality from their perspective is that we’re actually portly, balding, cardigan wearers whose heyday was somewhere between the seventies and the eighties.

When they look at us, we need to remember what we saw when we were their age looking at our parents 30 or more years ago – middle-aged people wearing Farah slacks paired with sports jackets with leather elbow patches.

We’re part of a generation they now study in history, contemporaries of the old guys they give a passing glance to on Reeling in the Years.

And perhaps later in life, when everyone is an adult and ideally a parent in their own right, you might move onto an adult friendship of sorts, a conversation among equals and a time when you aren’t a constant source of acute embarrassment through their every waking minute.

But for now, the notion of them liking the same things as we do is absurd; they don’t want you talking about new music or movies or websites. They want you to read your books, correspond with people via the telephone and stay away from cool sites you know nothing about.

A friend of ours recently told her son that his new chinos were cool (mistake number one) and that they were exactly the sort of trousers his father would buy (mistake number two), which only ensured that said pants were given one outing and then left at the bottom of the wardrobe.

No self-respecting teenager wants to wear the same sort of clothes as his dad, no more than they want to double up for shopping trips to Jack & Jones.

Dads shouldn’t wear football shirts anyway – unless they’re actually playing football – but there’s no way that the teenagers want to look like some Liverpool version of Little and Large in their matching Standard Chartered strips.

Parents are embarrassing enough in reality without actually taking their nonsense onto the World Wide Web; there is some consolation if they can confine their mortifications to the house or at least their immediate surroundings.

But putting up their pictures on Facebook – and in particular pictures of their children accompanied by some gushing explanation – is a different level of humiliation altogether.

Which is why this teenage exodus should surprise no one – and the moment of departure is normally minutes after your mother requests you to become her friend.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

One person’s useless tat is another’s stuff of dreams

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

The world is divided into two kinds of people; those who like to live in a world of clean, white lines and minimal clutter – and those of us who just love accumulating stuff.

Stuff covers a multitude, which – depending on your perspective – might be alternatively defined as either the souvenirs or detritus of your life.

Books, match programmes, concert ticket stubs, seashells, Dinky cars, beer mats…it’s all stuff that one person wants to treasure and the other, invariably, wants to throw straight out in the bin.

And it’s at the core of a fair percentage of domestic differences too – ‘it’s my stuff’; ‘don’t move my stuff’; ‘your stuff is taking over the house’ – because, for every hoarder, there’s an aspiring Marie Kondo who wants to take minimalism to new heights.

Attics are invariably full of stuff that hasn’t seen the light of day in years; old cardboard boxes of childhood toys, suitcases packed with dusty photo albums, boxes of video cassettes for which there is no longer a VCR; clothes that you didn’t want but also didn’t want to throw out – and it’s only a matter of time before they’re back in fashion and you’ll have shed the three stone it would take to close the zipper.

Overall, it’s the kind of stuff that you hoped you’d get back to and wallow in nostalgia, years after you consigned it to the darkest recesses of the eaves.

Those who abhor clutter have a different approach, working on the basis that – if you have stuff stored in a box and you don’t open that box for three years – you don’t need that stuff anymore.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Sense of belonging that brings it all back home

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It was a chat with a ‘Galwegian in exile’ that brought it all home to me; although now domiciled in the capital for more years than he’d lived in the west, he was delighted to bring his Dublin-born daughter to the All-Ireland Football Final wearing her maroon jersey.

To be honest, she’d probably have gone to Croke Park dressed as Elsa from Frozen because it was just a day out – but Daddy couldn’t have been prouder if his eleven-year-old came on for Damien Comer with five minutes to go.

The sense of place is understandable when it comes to ourselves as born-and-bred Galwegians, because while you can change where you live as often as you like, even if you wanted to, you can never change where you’re from.

But trying to impose your own geographical heritage on the next generation is alternatively seen as understandable and a little selfish at the same time.

It’s a topic for discussion in our own house on occasion because while the two lads grew up in Galway, they were in fact born in Dublin – and if they want to pull my chain, all they have to do is remind of that fact.

My reply is a tired and stock one, to the effect that although Jesus was born in a stable, nobody ever suggested that made him a horse.

The more serious point is that you are shaped by your formative years rather than the maternity hospital of your arrival – and those years were spent in Galway.

Galway is their point of reference for sport and music and school friends and nights out and pubs and college – and almost everything else that really matters.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Gaeltacht days – and a rite of passage to remember forever

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

A scholarship to Irish College wasn’t so much a backhanded compliment as an inverted acknowledgement of your grasp of the language – in other words you got one because you were bordering on useless, or to put it more diplomatically you’d benefit more than the rest from a couple of weeks of immersion in your native tongue.

Only it then transpired that the experience of three weeks in the Gaeltacht taught you that going there had a small bit to do with learning Irish for sure – but a whole lot to do with growing up, or at least beginning that blossoming process.

And you would do all this in an atmosphere as alien to your small teenage self as free elections are to the people of Russia; céilís, cispheil, comhra agus craic – as well as an Irish language version of the Streets of London written and taught to us by Art Ó Dufaigh that still lives in the memory bank, even longer than Ralph McTell’s original.

The truth, when you get there, is the realisation that three weeks in the Gaeltacht is a little like a week at the Galway Races or the Rose of Tralee; just as the horses or the Roses are ostensibly the reason for going, they’re really just the hook to get you there.

And so it is that you go to the Gaeltacht to learn the language but you come home having learned so much more.

My Gaeltacht summer was at the tail end of the seventies with three weeks in Beal a’ Dangan and céilís in Nestor’s Hall, brought there in a bus by a young man called Máirtín Tom Sheáinín who would go on to enjoy a stellar career as a broadcaster – particularly presenting Comhrá – but was back then a knacky driver with a dream, traversing windy roads in pitch darkness.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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