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A Different View

Singsongs and noble calls will rarely hit the right key

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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It’s great to hear Finbar Furey back at the top of the charts – because a new song from the oul’ warbler gives the inebriated entertainers of Ireland a new tune to murder during the dregs of a Saturday night session.

That’s no disrespect to Finbar, who is – to use that oft-abused phrase – a living legend. And his chosen song from the surprisingly addictive RTE series, the Hit, is a classic in the making.

He took a song written twenty years ago by a fellow Dub, Gerry Fleming, and polished it into a work of art that, despite the same words and lyrics, sounded completely different in his inimitable hands.

The Last Great Love Song, which hit the top of the Irish charts at the weekend, instantly sounded like it had been around for a hundred years and it may well be around for another hundred – which is to Finbar’s credit.

He is a unique talent, and there is a legion of folk legends who list him as one of the great influences and originators of the genre as we know it – but even Finbar himself would never claim that he had the musical range of more than one key.

Which is one of the many reasons that his repertoire has endured through the decades – because songs like the Green Fields of France or even the Fields of Athenry or Raglan Road or Dublin in the Rare Oul’ Times (I know the Fureys can’t be held responsible for most of those) don’t require a huge vocal range to batter to death in a singsong.

All it takes is an ability to shout with feeling – a talent that most of us find comes naturally to us after a couple of pints.

If you can’t even manage that, then choose a song that everyone can shout at the same time – any rebel song that mentions Black and Tans is always good and late at night anything that calls for a united Ireland is a sure-fire winner every time.

So the secret for bad singers is to pick a song you can shout – and if your own shouting is not enough, pick one that everyone else can shout along to with you.

That said, this is infinitely better than the alternative…..karaoke, and in particular that old staple that so many women in particular seem to think should be their party piece – the Wind Beneath My Wings.

Experience will teach you that this can often seem palatable – almost tuneful – until it gets to the point where Bette Midler moved into a different gear with that elongated ‘Fly’ part of the song….a wonderful evocative moment when it’s sung by a professional.

But placed in the hands of a pub singer with a misguided sense of their own ability, it’s as deadly as a grenade with the pin out in the hands of a mad Mullah from the Middle East.

It can have all the tunefulness of a canine mating call that will summon dogs for miles around, while leaving the audience itself with the sort of recurring tinnitus that once earned our UN veterans a small fortune in compensation for army deafness.

Pub talent competitions should carry a health warning – or at least offer plugs for your ears – because rarely in any other aspect of life will you get that level of delusion.

I can still hear one woman who sang the Roberta Flack classic Killing Me Softly without realising for a minute how apt the tite was – although one could dispute that killing was a soft one, from the audience’s perspective.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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