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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

Politicos should learn to claim credit only where credit is due

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

The footballer Mario Balotelli didn’t endear himself to many by becoming more famous for his off-field histrionics to the detriment of his undoubted sporting talent – but he did have a view on scoring goals that others, in an entirely different world, would do well to pay attention to.

Because Mario had a habit of not celebrating after he scored a goal; no jumping up and down, no rehearsed duet with his fellow striker, no pumping of fists or kissing of badges.

And his philosophy was a simple one – he reckoned that it was no more appropriate for a striker to celebrate scoring a goal than it would be for a postman to go mad with delight after delivering a letter.

In other words, Mario saw it as his job.

Which is where he differs from politicians, some of whom think that they’re entitled to claim enormous credit for, well, doing their job.

Take last week’s announcement of the successful applicants for Large-Scale Sports Infrastructure Fund – several million euro that could make or break a sporting dream.

There were four Galway recipients – a phenomenal €20 million for the Sportsground; over €8 million for Galway Regional Aquatic and Fitness Centre in Cappagh; €2.1 million for Rinville; and then almost €1 million for an Astroturf pitch in New Inn under the Regional Sports Capital Fund.

All this money came from the Exchequer via the Department of Sport – but that didn’t deter a whole spate of our local public representatives from dashing onto social media to attach themselves like glue to the winning bids.

One after another, they unashamedly claimed the credit for securing this money for the various sporting projects that are now set for great days.

And, indeed, they may well have played their part in greasing the wheels of that process – but then, isn’t that what they’re actually paid to do? To lobby on behalf of constituents; to make the case for investment in their constituencies?

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

Embracing the manopause as life moves from present to past

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Middle-age can hit you like a train; one day the world is your oyster, you embrace every day with a new joy and you can party all night long and still look as though you’ve had a solid eight hours sleep.

The next thing you know, you have to ease yourself out of the bed in case you pull a muscle in your back; the morning music is the beat of your knees cracking on the stairs and the only think you now save time on is your hair – because there’s not a lot left to work with.

We’ve come up with a name for this male change of life; we can call it the manopause.

There are no hot flushes but there are flushes for sure; the ones you do in the middle of the night after emptying your bladder for the umpteenth time.

And you wonder how, when you used to go out and enjoy a feed of pints, you never had to get up for the toilet – but now that you never go anywhere on a week night, you’re in and out of the look like a leaking bucket.

The manopause manifests itself though loss of hair and hearing; creaky bones and a complaining back – and most of all a propensity for telling old stories about what times were like when you were young.

It also involves giving out yards about the internet, and why a television with 100 channels still has nothing worth watching, whereas – back in the golden days of one station – you were somehow spoiled for choice.

You see a car with a 06 number plate and you don’t for a minute consider that to be 13 years old; when you watch Reeling in the Years, you actually remember all of those things happening in real-time and if, on the off chance, you know a Galway footballer or hurler, it’s only because you went to school with their father.

Or grandfather.

The first manifestation of the manopause is an increasing interest in nostalgia; reflections on a simple time when you played outside all day with your mates, equipped with nothing more than a cheap football and jumpers for goalposts.

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

Good grammar fights back against onslaught of emojis

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

A recent correspondent to this newspaper wanted to make a point about an article that appeared the previous week – but they were fundamentally undermined by their reference to the offending ‘artickle’ which made it sound like a form of artistic endeavour with the aim of making your laugh.

We all make spelling errors and could be hung, drawn and quartered for our crimes against punctuation – but at least we’re from a generation that tries.

Unlike the texting community where poor spelling and bad grammar are the badges of honour that you wear on your digital lapel – or so it seemed up to now.

Hope (for pedants and purveyors of proper punctuation at least) comes in the form of new research which reveals that bad grammar can spell disaster for digital daters.

Because researchers found that those searching for love on dating websites are put off by poor spelling, typos and informal diction.

That goes for the likes of ‘C U L8R’ for a start which, for those of us who learned to write in the old way, is actually harder to type that the full phrase some believe it should replace.

But it also applies to simple typos in texts which probably suggest that either your thumbs are too thick-skinned or you really don’t care enough to read back before hitting ‘send’.

This research was carried out among 800 members of a large dating website in the Netherlands, who were asked to read fictitious profiles – with and without language errors.

They were then asked to rate the attractiveness of the profile owners – and the bulk of their replies suggest that lower attentiveness was aligned to lower attraction on the part of their potential partners.

Typographical mistakes included writing “teh” for “the” or “HEllo there” instead of “Hello there” – so not exactly capital offences as much as an indication of haste at the expense of due care and attention.

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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