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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

Time sure flies when you’re having fun – or just getting on

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A  Different View with Dave O’Connell

I am 56 now,” Jose Mourinho tells his young (and maybe soon to be ex) Spurs star Dele Alli in ‘All or Nothing’ Amazon Prime’s new fly-on-the-wall about Tottenham Hotspur, “and yesterday…yesterday I was 20.”

“And today I’m 56. Time flies. And I think one day you will regret if you don’t reach what you can reach.”

The artist formerly known as the Special One was making a point to the inconsistent midfielder about constantly striving to reach full potential, because life passes you by quicker than you could ever contemplate.

And whatever about hitting the top of our own game, we can all empathise with the first sentiment – one day you’re 20, the next day your son is.

One day, you stand with the world as your oyster – and in the blink of an eye, you turn into your old man. Or an old man, at least.

Of course, Mourinho at 56 is infinitely more successful than the young 20 year old multi-lingual idealist with little more than dreams of being a football coach.

And there’s nothing for the rest of us to suggest that you’re at your very best at 20 and sliding down a cliff at 56 – but it’s the fact that one day, the world lies out before you and the next you’re looking in the rear view mirror.

Even Jeremy Clarkson – a person most people perceive as an eternal boy wrapped up in an unkempt man’s clothing – is bothered by ageing….and he fairly nailed it in a recent Sunday Times column.

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

It’s alright to admit life and work can bore you to tears

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

In all fairness, who hasn’t, on occasion, found their life or their work utterly, mind-numbingly boring? Who wouldn’t have willingly stuck needles in their eyes just to inject a bit of a buzz into the monotony?

Good for you if the answer is ‘not me’ – but for those who admit that they’re sometimes bored out of their trees, meet your new role model; Frenchman Frédéric Desnard, who sued his employers….for being bored.

Not just that – he sued them, and walked away with €50,000 in compensation.

Frédéric worked as a manager at a perfume manufacturer at the Paris-based perfume company Interparfum, but he told the court he had been asked to do between 20 and 40 minutes’ work a day in return for his €80,000 annual salary.

For the other 99.9 per cent of the population, that’s a dream job right there, once you could cope with the smell – but Frédéric knew there was more to life than seven solitary hours a day spent twiddling his thumbs.

The 48-year-old used the word ‘placardiser’ to describe what had happened to him; in literal English that means ‘to be put in a cupboard’ – or ‘to be put aside’.

And where others might have claimed they were suffering from burn-out, Frédéric had been destroyed by extreme ‘bore-out’.

To be fair, Frédéric was a man of rare principle; he told the court he was employed as a manager, but was soon relegated to four years of menial tasks which left him ‘depressed and ashamed’.

He gave the court some examples of the type of ‘boring’ jobs he was given, like configuring the CEO’s tablet and escorting tradesmen at his boss’s home.

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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Connacht Tribune

Using proper punctuation is not aggressive – full stop

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

In fairness, text messaging was never designed for us oldies; we’re of a time when poor handwriting got you a whack across the knuckles – and woe betide you if you left out the full stop.

It was the late, great Con Houlihan who famously said that a man who could misuse an apostrophe was capable of anything – and he didn’t mean it in a good way.

How he’d hold his head in his hands if he were still around for the world of texting; actually, that’s not a great analogy, because Con had a habit of covering his face with his hands all the time anyway.

But for Con – who never typed and whose handwriting was a spidery scrawl where each A4 page usually fitted no more than three sentences – punctuation was everything.

His halcyon days were in the Evening Press where, by common consensus, his work was so erudite and original that a swathe of readers bought the paper to just enjoy his column alone.

Later on, after the demise of the Press, he moved to the Sunday World and later the Irish Star, where he brought the same scholarly discipline to his every piece.

Con never darkened the door of the Star but instead his column – a raft of loose pages – would be dropped in by hand, then typeset and redelivered to him for proofing and approval.

And if a comma was lost or added, a semi-colon found where he insisted a colon should be, Con would spot it quicker than a cat would spot a mouse – and he’d pounce with even greater speed and purpose.

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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