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A Different View

Fashions dictate antique furniture is now old hat

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Pictured at the launch of Boston Scientific Galway’s announcement of Western Alzheimers as their charity partner for next two years were (from left) Anna Lawless and Breda McCann from Boston Scientific, and Noel Higgins and Eileen Kelly of Western Alzheimers.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It may be down to smaller living spaces or the ready availability of cheap, self-assembly tables and chairs – but whatever it behind it, the reality is that antiques are now officially, well, an old story.

The value of old tables and chairs is now back to 1930 prices in the UK, because people are living in smaller houses and apartments and have no space for a dinner table that seats six.

And anyway, if they did ever need one, they can go to Ikea and buy something that folds to the size of a stool and when needed expands to the scale of a football pitch.

Even the antique dealers in the UK acknowledge that part of the problem for them is that younger householder see old furniture as something treasured by old people.

They see period pieces as old-fashioned and lacking the modern sleek styles that they covet.

They also associate them with their own childhood – and not in a good way – when the parlour was full of sideboards and chests of drawers that were to be viewed only on special occasions and, even then, never to be touched.

So the new generation have no wish to turn their modern space back into their parents’ dream.

All of that has seen a drop in prices across the water that was last seen back between the two World Wars.

Back then the reason was that death toll from World War I had seen a large number of pieces on the market with fewer buyers left to take advantage, as so many had been killed in the fighting. But the end of World War II saw Britain began to recover – and the demand for furniture went up.

As a consequence of that, antiques regained some of their popularity, particularly among young couples setting up home – and that then saw a jump in price.

Then came the penchant for furniture restoration – a mad notion really that it would be preferable to buy a rickety old chair and strip it, sand it, polish it and upholster it rather than just going out to buy a new one.

Owning a couple of antique pieces was a sign that, not alone had you a few bob, but you were also a person of good taste who knew how to cherish the finer things in life.

Then came a new way to flash the cash – a new car; a holiday home in any part of Turkey where there wasn’t a war; a new kitchen, patio furniture in case you got a fine week every three years and thought it would be nice to have your tea in the open air.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Music really is catchy – and it can spread like a virus too

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It was the great John Peel who once reviewed a new pop single with the most damming of faint praise. “It’s catchy for sure,” he said. “But then so is the clap.”

Now it turns out that the man who also once described the Undertones’ Teenage Kicks as the ultimate perfect pop song might have been onto something with his musings on catchy music.

Because a team from McMaster University in Ontario has come to the conclusion that pop songs – rather like pandemics have ‘R’ numbers and spread like diseases.

The researchers used the same sort of epidemiological modelling usually reserved for monitoring the spread of diseases like Covid-19 to analyse how ‘catchy’ songs – those earworms that you can’t get out of your head – can be infectious and end up being transmitted across large populations like viruses.

They analysed more than 60 million downloads by more than 500,000 people in the UK between 2007 and 2014, using Nokia’s MixRadio service.

They took the 1,000 most downloaded songs, which spanned eleven genres as classified by the MixRadio service, then analysed the speed with which the songs spread and the length of time that they remained popular.

The rate of infection in this instance was how quickly it spread and for how long – determined by the time fans spent talking about the song, playing it, sharing it on social media or requesting it on the radio.

And it turns out that electronica is the genre that leads to the ‘fastest epidemics’ among its fans; its reproduction number of 3,430, which was more than ten times higher than for the next most contagious genre, rap and hip-hop, which had an R0 number of just 310.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

The tricky art of picking a name to last a lifetime

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

If you know anyone called John Paul, you can hazard a fair guess that they recently passed the age of 40 – because, while the world had JPs before and since, the real proliferation came around the time that the Pope visited Ireland in 1979.

If you know someone called Marian, chances are she was born around 1954 – because that was the Marian Year, as designed by Pope Pius.

There are other reasons behind children’s names of course; Jennifer might suggest a fan of Friends, or Jurgen a fan of Liverpool – and then some people like to keep using the same name over and over again through the generations.

That said, a recent survey revealed a number of Irish names that were once among the most popular in the land, but which are now in steady, if not terminable, decline.

From a male perspective, the survey suggests that omens are not good for John, Michael, Patrick, Seamus or Peadar – and for the ladies, Mary, Brigid, Maureen, Joan and Dolores no longer hop off the pages when it comes to notices of new arrivals.

And that’s apparently because parents see them as traditional – the names of their parents and grandparents – as opposed to the more fashionable names of today.

That said, the official register of births found that Patrick was still the eleventh most popular name chosen in Ireland last year – and if you throw variations such as Paidi (31st), Paddy (32nd) and Padraig (65th) into the mix, it’s still clearly a winner in many households.

Some of the most popular names today remain the same as they ever were – names like Jack or Conor or Liam or Sean – and others, like Oisin or Tadhg, appear to have made a comeback.

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

Early death can’t guarantee immortality for celebrities

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Even for millionaire rock stars, dreams don’t always come true. Look at 77-year-old Roger Daltrey and 76-year-old Pete Townsend whose stated ambition all of 56 years ago, in the Who’s 1965 classic My Generation, was the snarling hope they’d die before they got old.

They should have known of course that once they made it past 27, they were destined for old age, because that’s the age that rock stars check out – or else they don’t check out at all.

Brian Jones from the Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse – all died at that age. Richie Edwards from the Manic Street Preachers disappeared without a trace at 27, so he can probably be added to the list too.

And while dying young is always a tragedy, as American author Gore Vidal once put it, death isn’t a bad career move.

Think of iconic actors like James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Bruce Lee, Heath Ledger, River Phoenix, Jayne Mansfield – all dead way ahead of their time, and all perhaps more famous because of it.

Compare them to Marlon Brando, for example – as big a heartthrob as Dean at the start and throughout his life a fine actor, but ultimately an overweight, mumbling veteran whose silver screen looks were a long distant memory.

Think in a sporting context of the Busby Babes, victims of the Munich Air Disaster – Duncan Edwards, Tommy Taylor, our own Billy Whelan – who forever remain at their prime in photos, 63 years on from their death.

Compare them to their contemporaries, the England World Cup-winning squad of 1966, so many of whom have only passed away in the last couple of years.

So many of that team died pitiful deaths, having suffered from dementia or Alzheimer’s in their latter days – household names like Jack Charlton, Martin Peters, Nobby Stiles, Ray Wilson, Peter Bonetti.

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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