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A Different View

What hard luck stories will the next generation dine out on?

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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

The  easiest way to bore the heads off your children – and in fairness most parents will agree they can do this in a variety of ways and with consummate ease – is to start telling them stories about how bad we had things in the old days.

Sometimes they walk into the ‘bad old days’ trap themselves when they ask you what sort of remote control you had for the telly – just so you can dive straight in to point out that we didn’t need remotes because we only had one channel and even then it didn’t come on until three o’clock.

We can anaesthetise the heads off them with sob stories about cold and damp mornings – the world before central heating where pupils brought sods of turf to school – corporal punishment, single-glazed windows, perhaps even outdoor toilets, when breakfast was a choice between lumpy porridge and no breakfast at all.

We will point out that the way to combat the cold was to put on an extra jumper or to actually get up off the couch and walk to the sink with their dishes.

We can drone on ad nauseum over the long summers we spent, effectively locked out of our own homes, playing football from dawn until dusk with jumpers for goalposts, and going home only because it was time for your dinner and this was an era when the only floodlights we knew were on the telly at Wembley.

And Wembley once a year for the FA Cup Final was about the extent of our live football unless it was a World Cup year – outside of that we might have had Match of the Day, although RTE had an inexplicable predilection for horse racing on Sports Stadium, with Brendan O’Reilly and his magic hair anchoring things back in studio.

We got the rugby of course, but it was the Five Nations and none of your Heineken or Rabo – and the closest we came to sky was standing under it whether or not it was raining.

We tell them that three in a bed was the reality for children in a big family and a small house – it wasn’t a sleazy story from the Sunday World.

And in a bizarre way like generations before us, we get off on recycling our misery memories, our version of Angela’s Ashes – only without the incessant rain.

Then we wonder – what stories will they bore their children with, because from our perspective these little buggers have never had it so good?

Will they drone on about the fact that they only had Sky Sports but were brutally denied access to Sky Movies; that they only had an original Playstation model when all of their friends were on the newer version; that they had to share an indoor bathroom with other members of the family because not every bedroom was en suite?

They will cry that they’ve never been to Manhattan for Thanksgiving or South America on their summer holidays, in the way that we moan on about a time when heading south for your summer break meant a few days in Lahinch.

The crew from Monty Python, back in the news these days as they creak out of retirement, had a famous sketch on competitive misery first time round, where the boys worked to outdo each other in terms of their awful childhoods – and it goes like this:

Graham Chapman: “We were evicted from ‘our’ hole in the ground; we had to go and live in a lake!”

Terry Gilliam: “You were lucky to have a LAKE! There were a hundred and sixty of us living in a small shoebox in the middle of the road.”

Michael Palin: “Cardboard box?”

Terry Gilliam: “Aye.”

Michael Palin: “You were lucky. We lived for three months in a brown paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six o’clock in the morning, clean the bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down mill for fourteen hours a day week in-week out. When we got home, our Dad would thrash us to sleep with his belt!”

Graham Chapman: “Luxury. We used to have to get out of the lake at three o’clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of hot gravel, go to work at the mill every day for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would beat us around the head and neck with a broken bottle, if we were LUCKY!”

And on it goes – each Python with a tougher childhood than the other.

By comparison, the first world problems of today’s teenagers seem like they’d scarcely raise an eyebrow – but then we have to see what the future brings to really know.

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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