The looks of Sally O’Brien and the allure of fruit-and-nut bars

Country Living with Francis Farragher

AT times we come across unusual media eccentricities, not all of them to be taken too seriously, and I still have a childhood memory of listening to Irish dancing on the radio. Ridiculous: yes, I agree, but we listened to the tip-taps emanating from the Philips radio, visualising what was happening with our mind’s eye. The show was presented by a much loved figure on Radio Éireann at the time, called Denis Fitzgibbon, better known to one-and-all as ‘Din Joe’.

It’s probably something akin to trying to present music in a newspaper, book or any form of the printed word but the sounds of the feet tapping on radio to a backdrop of some rousing céilí music is one of those memories that will stick around, even at times when you cannot find the pair of glasses that you had on 10-minutes previously or the mobile phone cunningly concealed under a newspaper or in the inside pocked of a changed jacket.

Sounds or images from times past can in the space of a few seconds take you back to a phase of your life that might have been locked away in a memory cavern for years, and a while back, I saw a piece on the RTE News about an archive that been set up, to preserve forever, old TV ads that many of us of a certain age will remember.

Here and there, I listen to Lyric FM, and while I’m no expert on the classical genre of music, when ever I hear a piece of music entitled ‘Dance of the Reed Flutes’ from ‘The Nutcracker’ by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, only one thought and one line of lyrics enter my head. “Everyone’s a fruit and nutcase . . .” which was sung by an English humourist called Frank Muir to promote the chocolate of the same name (still going strong by the way). The catch with these things is when you ask the question of: “How long ago was it since that ad came out?” in the same way as you pose the question of: “How long is such-a-one dead?” Anyway the answer to the Cadbury’s Fruit and Nutcase riddle is rather frighteningly some time in the mid-1970s, possibly 1976.

Pictured: Sally O’Brien aka Vicky Michelle and the way she might look at you back in the 1980s.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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