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A Different View

Heatwaves just bring on the worst of middle-aged rants!

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Maybe it’s the recent heatwave that brought times past back to mind – not because we grew up in long, hot summers, but because it didn’t matter whether it was sun or showers….once the school year ended, we were outdoors until the next school year began.

First off, you got up in the morning – as opposed to the early afternoon – and once you had a breakfast inside one (one option, no menu) you were out the door and you played until your dinner and then went back out again until it got dark.

Furthermore you were uncontactable from the moment you got up until the moment you came home for dinner – and nobody worried if they hadn’t heard from you for at least eight hours.

But then this was a different era, back in the seventies (and you could equally make it the fifties or sixties) because there really were very few distractions.

Now parents have to organise play dates so that their little treasures can meet other like-minded juniors for shared sulking that they’re being made to interact with something other than the control console for a video game.

But back before Playstations, Ninetendos, X-Boxes or video games, we lived in a world where there was one television channel – hence, no need for a remote control – and even then it didn’t come on until the late afternoon and closed down after the National Anthem around 11pm – not that you’d still be up at that stage anyway.

It was the era before mobile phones too – and for many families a time before even telephones in the house.

Because the mobile still had to be invented, you couldn’t have imagined a world where you could text your friends or tweet to tell them what you were having for your dinner.

But against that, all your friends were real, actual people – not people you ‘liked’ but never met.

You made and met your friends outside, on the street, in school, on the football pitch – not via cyber space. The upside was that this ensured you’d always recognise your friends in the street.

We fell out of trees, into nettles, got hurt on football pitches and when you went home your mother dug out a plaster for your knee, not the number of a solicitor so you could sue the relevant authority.

We played cowboys and Indians with nothing more than a length of willow and a taut piece of twine; we could amuse ourselves for hours with just a tennis ball.

Truly the summer seemed to go on forever and we came home tired and ready for sleep – now we rear creatures of the night who log onto 4OD until their little eyes turn square and blue.

And while we sniggered at our parents when they used to say they grew up in more innocent times, we actually did – you rode a bike without a helmet, you travelled in cars with no baby seats, boosters or indeed seat belts – and sometimes you hung on for dear life in the back of vans with no seats at all.

Of course time doesn’t stand still and the main reason that kids seem more spoiled today is that parents spoil them; they’d settle for your time instead of your money right up to the age of 14.

Then they’d gladly pay you to avoid breathing the same air as you in public, although they are like homing pigeons when it comes to finding you for the few bob they need for a new Playstation game that is required about twenty minutes after the thing came off the presses.

The truth is that you know they wouldn’t swap places with you after all your old stories of tough times past – and the reality is that you wouldn’t swap with them either, because they were the days of our innocent youth.

Connacht Tribune

No great rush to mend the error of your ways!

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It was St Augustine who famously petitioned in prayer: ‘God, make me good – but just not yet’. It’s a sentiment that one Sister Mary Joseph took to whole new levels, because after spending her first 61 years as a high-living heiress, she spent the last three decades as a cloistered nun.

And she closed one chapter to open another one back in 1989 with a party for 800 of her closest friends at the Hilton Hotel in San Francisco – so many guests that the hostess carried a helium balloon all night, with the words “Here I Am” so that people could find her amid the throng.

The next day the former Ann Russell Miller flew to Chicago and joined the Sisters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel as a novitiate, spending the rest of her life as Sister Mary Joseph of the Trinity.

Or as one of her 28 grandchildren put it: “It was like The Great Gatsby turned into The Sound of Music.”

Her recent obituary in the Times painted quite the colourful picture of a lover of the high life turned Holy Roller.

“She smoked, drank champagne, played cards, spent five hours a day on the telephone and, as an expert scuba diver and enthusiastic skier, travelled around the world.

“She had a season ticket to the opera, was a high-society patron of many charitable causes and drove her sports car at such reckless speeds that, according to her son Mark, ‘people got out of her car with a sore foot from slamming on an imaginary brake’.”

Because if ever a life could be described as a tale of two-thirds of high living and one-third of contemplation, this was it; the mother of ten who enjoyed the casual company of celebrity friends like Nancy Reagan and Bob Hope opted for an order which allowed her one visitor a month – and even then no touching given the two rows of iron bars between them.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Online games will always give way to world of pure imagination

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

When we were young and Wimbledon came on the telly for two weeks, we’d all rush out to hit a tennis ball off the wall and imagine for an hour that we were Jimmy Connors or Bjorn Borg.

On the odd occasion when we saw live football on TV – the World Cup, the FA Cup Final, or Jimmy Magee covering another false dawn for Ireland at Dalymount Park – we took to the footpath and pretended we were Johnny Giles or Georgie Best.

Jumpers for goalposts, games that went on for hours, fly-goalkeepers, next goal wins – a world of entertainment for the price of a plastic football.

Now when it’s half-time in Sky Sports’ fifth live match of the weekend, the kids still want to play their own version when it’s over. Except they do it on the PlayStation so they never have to leave the comfort of the couch.

Even if we re-enacted the World Cup indoors back in the day, we did it with Subbuteo – so we still got more action and exercise than today’s kids, even if it was just a flick of the fingers.

But in the absence of video games, we did all this with nothing more than our vivid imaginations on a field of dreams that was otherwise a concrete car park or a patch of grass.

We pretended we were Mick O’Connell or maybe Mikey Sheehy (but never Brian Mullins or Jimmy Keaveney) as we fielded balls majestically out of the clouds – even if reality would suggest we hardly left the ground.

It was a world of our imagination where we supplied our own running commentary; these days, FIFA 21 does it for you.

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

We’re at our most sure-footed when we find common ground

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

When two Irish people meet, they have thirty seconds to find someone they have in common or both of them will die.

It was a Tweet that made me smile recently – but then, thinking a little more, it’s actually so, so true.

We seem lost if we can’t make a common connection, as if six degrees of separation is about three steps too far.

Of course, we’re spoilt in Galway because you’ll never ever meet someone who doesn’t know Michael D; they were either lectured by him, they canvassed for him, they sat beside him in Terryland Park, they chatted with him at the Arts Festival before it had a tent, or they’ve been to a garden party at the Áras.

And once the pressure is off because you’ve made one connection, the rest will flow like soup off Alan Dukes’ fork, as Johneen Donnellan once observed.

It’s a small county in the scheme of things so it shouldn’t be any wonder that we’re well connected – from school or college or work or extended family or geography, we’re a stone’s throw from everyone else.

Half of Mayo, of course, knows Joe Biden – and never has a man had so many fourth cousins once removed (if it gets much worse, he might have to have them forcibly removed) since he got the keys to the big White House.

We can’t claim to know Barack Obama, but half of Galway knows Billy Lawless, who hosted the former Chicago senator in his acclaimed restaurant – we knew Billy as a politician or a publican, in Trigger Martyn’s or the old Twelve in Barna. So that’s close enough.

We’re also familiar with Pat McDonagh, who doesn’t just own Supermac’s; he also owns the Barack Obama Plaza in Offaly. So that’s a second Presidential connection to someone we’ve never actually met.

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.

 

Continue Reading

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