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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

Planning our spontaneity for an hour and a half in a week’s time

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Right now, there are people making plans to be spontaneous for 90 minutes on, let’s say, next Friday week, so that, between 8pm and 9.30pm, they can apply for all the permissions necessary to do what they used to do at the drop of a hat – go for a pint in a pub.

Only now they have to book and confirm their slot, and in order to watch that creamy pint settle, up until July 20 when the pubs reopen as bars as opposed to restaurants, they must also buy at least nine-euro worth of a dinner.

Or a whole heap of crisps.

If they drink too much of the beer – and that would be a trick in 90 minutes – they must signal to all present in the pub that they would like to walk to the toilet, returning to their Perspex-shielded seat by a different route, because going to the loo is now a one-way street.

Some define all this as planned spontaneity – ‘will we go mad for an hour this day week or what?’ – but others prefer to see it as the revival of delayed gratification, described in psychology as what happens when you resist the temptation of an immediate prize in preference for a later reward.

The experts will tell you that a person’s ability to delay gratification relates to other similar skills such as patience, impulse-control, self-control and willpower, all of which are involved in self-regulation.

And delayed gratification isn’t a new concept; indeed, it’s a very, very old one.

As far back as 300 B.C., Aristotle saw that the reason so many people were unhappy was that they confused pleasure for true happiness.

True happiness – according to Aristotle – entailed delaying pleasure, and putting in the time, discipline, and patience to achieve a later goal instead of feeling good now.

Most of us grew up in a world of delayed gratification, even if we never knew what to call it – and, as they say, it didn’t do us any harm.

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

Hoodies prove technology is just pulling all the strings

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Apparently, it’s no longer effortless enough to just take your little mobile phone from your pocket to answer a call, or to open your emails with the swipe of a thumb; now it appears that’s too much like hard work.

Instead Google are working on a short-cut.

This – and I kid you not – might be to empower the string on your hoodie to control your electronic devices so you no longer even have to take your hands out of your pockets.

Actually, you might still have to use one of your hands because this string would control your device by you, the owner and wearer, pinching, patting, grabbing, sliding or flicking it.

That’s because this fabric cord uses what Google calls a ‘helical sensing matrix’ that responds to hand commands.

The explanation for all this is taken straight from the report in the Times because frankly I’ve no idea what it means – nor do I know why we need it.

Instead of using three or more material strands to form this infamous hoodie string, Google ‘interwove electrically conductive yarns’.

So, when someone performs an action such as pinching it, the yarns transmit signals that tell a phone to perform an assigned task – because the cord is ‘interlaced with fibre-optic strands that display colour when touched’.

Google produced a video that allowed its researchers to show a cord that played music when pinched, changed the volume when twisted, switched tracks when pulled and turned it off when patted.

All of the things us old fogeys thought as cutting-edge with a mobile phone. But just how lethargic do you actually have to be to feel the need for a short-cut when using your phone?

It’s not like phones used to be; mounted on a wall or anchored to a small table in the hallway. Now, your phone fits snugly into your pocket or hand, and has sold itself the world over for its simplicity and mobility.

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

You can never tear down the walls on theatres of dreams

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

A couple of years back on a visit to London, for no particular reason I set out on foot to find Upton Park, previously the hallowed football ground of West Ham United until they relocated to rent what had been the Olympic Stadium in a different part of London.

I knew there’d be nothing much to see because Upton Park – or the Boleyn Ground to give it its proper name – is now a housing complex, with just one iconic image to link it to its footballing glory days.

There’s a statue that goes back to England’s World Cup win of 1966, depicting the three West Ham players on that side – Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters – joined by non-Hammer Ray Wilson, for no greater reason than that he was holding Moore aloft with the World Cup.

I’d previously gone to see Highbury, former home of Arsenal before relocating to the Emirates (which isn’t a place but rather a sponsorship). The old ground is now a luxury flats complex.

Closer to home, Shamrock Rovers’ former home at Glenmalure Park is also now a housing estate with a small plaque the only indication that this was once a League of Ireland cathedral until the Kilcoynes saw more money in bricks and mortar and kitchens.

There are many more such sites that still draw football fans who wallow in nostalgia – Manchester City’s former base at Maine Road, Derby County’s Baseball Ground, Brighton’s Goldstone Ground …. the list goes on.

And while reality tells you these are now houses and flats and shops, the mind’s eye still shows you the ghosts of former greats who haunt their old hunting grounds.

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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