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A Different View

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

Dave O'Connell

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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

Home is still full of memories even when it’s an empty nest

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

We’ve all heard the phrase – and perhaps dread the concept; the empty nest, after the fledglings take flight and you’re left rattling around in a quiet house with just memories of those days of pandemonium and noise.

The social policy-makers would tell you that this is the time to downsize; save yourself the steps of the stairs and the cleaning, and cut down on the heating bills to enjoy your autumn days in accommodation more appropriate to your reduced needs.

And from a purely economic perspective, there’s merit in that. You have a house that’s now too big for you, and others can’t find a home of any size, let alone one sufficient for a full family – but that’s only one side of the argument.

The other is that your house is your home, and not because of its size – it’s because of its location, and your familiarity with its every nook and cranny. It’s also where those fly-away chicks still see as home, even if they’re now no more than occasional visitors.

As you grow older, familiarity is more important than ever; without the beautiful distraction of children, you grow even more dependent on neighbours and your community and the facilities you know on your old doorstep.

You know how long it takes to get to the shops or to the pub; you know you to give a spare key to in case you’re out when a delivery is due – or later on, if there’s a fear you might have a fall.

Your lifetime’s treasures – except for the children – are in your home; the sort of stuff others might see as clutter, but to you they are memories of holidays or graduations or births or marriages…those glory days that marked the chapters of your family life.

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

Authors’ pot luck – or insight into predicting a terrible future

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It’s eerie how some people can appear to have an ability to see into the future; forecasting an event or a phenomenon, years – sometimes even centuries – before it comes to pass.

Much was made this year of a number of books and movies that anticipated what we now know as the Coronavirus pandemic; predictions that even led to renewed interest in publications like Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year that goes back to 1722.

Edgar Allan Poe described a fictional epidemic at the centre of his short story, the Masque of the Red Death.

“No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its avatar and its seal—the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains and sudden dizziness and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution.”

More recently, Albert Camus’ the Plague explored the human toll of epidemics back in 1947 – and of course, the end of the world has been the subject of more movies than almost anything else.

But that’s not really suggesting they have some incredible insight into the future; Dystopian plots or backdrops are almost standard fare, and the spread of some toxin or virus is the easiest vehicle for writer’s to plot.

That doesn’t mean the reader or viewer isn’t stopped in their tracks when they come across a piece or a film that appears to have predicted the future.

One such slim volume that fulfils that brief is really just a long essay, entitled Here is New York.

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

A press release written in the indelible ink of father’s pride

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Somewhere in the world there might be a small forest felled every month to provide the paper for press releases that announce a new company or product line or some sales promotion.

They normally come from a public relations company that paints this as positively earth-shattering – and indeed any good news is as welcome as the first snowdrop of spring – but even reporters living in Pollyanna can grow tired of the superlatives delivered in gushing prose day after day.

And then, once in a while, something entirely different comes to pass – such as a letter that arrived into our office last week.

Two ambitious and courageous women have started a new business making candles since the start of the pandemic, and they are doing their best to gain some traction on traditional and social media. So far, so normal.

But the letter came from the father of one of the two women; neatly handwritten, perfectly constructed – and with the pride of a parent flowing off the page.

The business isn’t even in the Tribune’s circulation area, but that wasn’t an impediment to Paddy Keane from Ennis, who has made it one of his objectives for Covid to write two letters every second day to try and garner a bit of publicity for his daughter, Chantell, and her friend Danielle Kenneally.

He also reveals that he’s doing this despite being in the high risk category for Covid 19 – because he suffers from multiple health issues.

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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