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A Different View

Highlights provides insight into life’s work of rare gem

Dave O'Connell

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Johnny Duhan performing.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There may never have been a more appropriately titled album than Johnny Duhan’s new release – because Highlights is just what it says on the sleeve….a stroll through the career and the music of one of the country’s most talented singer/songwriters.

Everyone knows Johnny for the Voyage – and that would be sufficient claim to fame for anyone – but Highlights paints the fuller picture; it represents a musical biography for a man who has been in the business for more than 40 years.

Based in Galway for so much of that time, he first came to fame in his native Limerick as a member of the seminal Granny’s Intentions – what is it with Limerick and Grannies? – a sixties beat group whose Honest Injun was the first big hit Irish album in the UK.

Christy Moore called Johnny ‘one of our greatest songwriters’ – the late Ronnie Drew agreed – and Highlights illustrates exactly why. Even the planning of this new release shows the depth of thought that Johnny puts into everything he does.

Because it dips in and out of four earlier collections that effectively constitute his life’s work – and thus it’s a beautiful reflection on life, from the mind of a deeply spiritual man.

Those albums demand listening in their own right, because each has a central theme that might see them described as something of concept albums in an earlier time.

Just Another Town is about growing up in Limerick in the early sixties, a world of hard living, poverty and the shadow of the docks; To the Light sees him set out on Don Quixotic adventure in search of fame and love; the Voyage – like the title track – is a reflection on marriage and love, while the Flame reflects his deep faith and humanity.

He’s had more than four albums of course – the Burning Wood also touches on spirituality, and Winter grapples with the struggles of ageing and later life – but Highlights draws from those four particular cornerstones of his foundation.

Now Johnny has re-recorded and remixed some of the songs from each of those earlier albums, so that Highlights is more than just a collection of his finest work. That’s there for sure, of course, with Just Another Town, Daredevil, Girls in My Memory, Two minds, Trying to Get the Balance Right and his song, recorded by the Dubliners, Don’t Give Up Till It’s Over.

The Voyage is there of course – a new version of a song that Christy Moore took to new heights and which now appears to be as intrinsic a part of every wedding day as the cake itself.

But for me, if he only recorded one song, Your Sure Hands would be more than enough – it might well be the best song ever written to empathise with the difficult years so many teenagers face as they come to terms with all life seems to throw at them.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Getting your Netflix fix even quicker than the real thing!

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

They must be on some strange substances at Netflix – or else they just have too much time on their hands. Because they’ve now come up with a way of ensuring the rest of us have more time on our hands too….by watching their programmes on fast-forward.

You had to check that it was November 1 rather than April 1 last week, when the streaming service revealed its latest feature – the ability to stream its TV series and films at one and a quarter or one and a half times the normal playback rate.

Thus, viewers in a hurry would knock two and a half hours off the new series of the Crown, which would otherwise have taken them ten hours to consume.

This, by the way, is a series for which fans of this period drama have been waiting with baited breath ever since the last run ended – but why wait a minute longer than necessary to get to the end of it, if you can simply speed up the tape?

Apparently, television no longer for enjoyment – but for consumption; a race to the end and the bottom.

First off, Netflix pioneered the binge option – watching an entire series back-to-back over a day and/or a night, getting your entire fix (or Netfix) sorted in one fell swoop.

Long gone is the notion of sitting down for an hour at the same time every week and enjoying the drama as it unfolds slowly; now it seems the biggest ambition is to get to the other end as quickly as you can.

We had this in the past with books. They called it the digested read – great for students cramming for exams without the time to read the books, but a complete oxymoron for those who supposedly read for pleasure.

Reading and viewing used to be about escapism and enjoyment, entering into another world or place, losing yourself in the pages or in the pictures for a small part of an otherwise busy day.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

Why would anyone make phone calls in the shower?

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There was a survey recently carried out on behalf of a well-known shower manufacturer where they revealed just what sort of stuff people get up to when they’re ostensibly washing themselves.

There were a few predictable, and indeed disconcerting, responses – including those multi-taskers who simultaneously wash themselves and their clothes in the shower…or groomed the dog.

Some people engaged in more athletic and consensual pursuits, and some practiced their yoga – presumably with a view to being more flexible if the first option ever presented itself as an opportunity.

Some people admitted to go to the toilet in the shower, which presumably means doing what we euphemistically call a number one – because a number two belongs in only one place in the bathroom and it’s not where you wash yourself.

Some shower enthusiasts were more philosophical, with twelve per cent of them admitting to having made a life changing decision in the bathroom.

One in five adults went even further than that – admitting they regularly contemplate the meaning of life while lathering up.

But another pursuit that featured in the top ten things to do while having a shower was making or receiving a phone call – proof, if it was still needed, that the world has gone utterly mad.

It’s bad enough that most people cannot walk the length of a street without whipping out their mobile phones to read texts and walk into people and poles.

They scroll through their emails or Spotify as though this was their only chance during the day – or their only chance to demonstrate that they have mastered the art of multi-tasking when they patently haven’t.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

Technology sorts out queue jumpers in the quest for pints

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

long, long time ago, I worked as a barman in a hotel bar – and as with any licenced premises within a 30 mile radius of Galway city, Race Week was the craziest week of the year.

You couldn’t keep the pints flowing if you were serving them with a power hose – and everyone wanted, nay demanded, to be served now.

So you did your best, as all bar staff do, to try and serve your customers in the order they presented themselves at the counter, and for the most part you got it right.

Until one particular evening – after either the Plate or the Hurdle – one punter took umbrage at what he perceived as issues with the running order and he began to shout.

The problem was further complicated by the fact that our loud-mouthed customer was a close family friend of the owner – and he was also a resident of the hotel which housed this bar.

It was the Lake Hotel in Oughterard, a hotbed for trainers and tipsters during Race Week back in the seventies and eighties, thanks to its legendary owner and racing enthusiast Jim Egan.

Jim, as anyone who ever knew him would readily testify, didn’t take prisoners – but equally you quickly came to realise that his bark was infinitely worse than his bite.

He wouldn’t thank you for it, but it would not be overstating it to say he was one of the kindest, most generous people you would ever meet – and yet he’d have killed you for saying it because he was happiest projecting the image of an grumpy, old curmudgeon.

Still, the troublesome customer wasn’t just a family friend of Jim’s; he was from racing royalty and indeed his family are still among the most famous racehorse breeders in the country.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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