My lament for the great singsongs of the past!

It’s a lovely Friday morning and as it’s the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, I decide to leave the radio off for the day as naturally it’s full of ‘Trump this and Trump that’, and while I couldn’t care less about the fact that he got elected, I have no wish to be bombarded all day by tales of his success.

And so I dig out the load of tapes that Carol’s niece Aoife gave me a while ago and after a bit of soul-searching I decide I’ll let Declan Nerney, Foster & Allen and Johnny McEvoy entertain me for the first part of the day.

  I put the man from Drumlish (in case you don’t know, that’s Declan Nerney), on first and before too long I was listening to his version of Nobody’s Child, a very sad tale about a young orphaned blind lad who was continually passed over when it came to adoption because of his disability. One of the great things about growing old – and there aren’t too many – is that if you still have your memory,  you can reminisce about the old days – and as I listened to Nobody’s Child, it brought me back to the great days when Creggs Rugby Club were in our infancy and when singsongs were the norm after every game.

  Now I have often mentioned my good friend, Jack the Lower, aka Jack Hegarty, in these pages over the last number of years, but until now I have kept quiet about the fact that his party piece was Nobody’s Child – and in my mind’s eye I can see still him standing on a high stool in the clubhouse belting out every verse of the sad song. Even though we’d be having a good time, amazingly there would be total silence for Jack’s rendition.

  Everyone that time did some type of a turn.  The Rasher would give us a blast of Fiddler’s Green, Anthony Duignan had a never before or since heard version of the Woozier, (spelling questionable), the Collins brothers –  Sean and Vincent – were brilliant singers and entertainers, Duff would produce the Lumberjack, I might take out the rhythm stick, Eamon Cummins would be singing the blues, his future wife Eithne could fairly belt out the great Irish song Molly, Mickey Oates would be Gone fishing for Fish, and I have to say it was all mighty craic.

  Of course there were many more lads who could turn on the style (in the clubhouse more than the pitch), including one who would give us a bit of Gary Glitter, but in view of what happened Gary, we will keep his name to ourselves. In our very early days, the late Michael Fitzmaurice would give us the Galway Shawl every Sunday night.

  Anyway, it was a very simple form of entertainment that seems to have died out totally as there’s hardly any singsongs in pubs or clubs any more, and more’s the pity. Back in the day, myself, Jack the Lower, sometimes Jack the Higher and the Rasher formed the first boy band, and the sound of Cold Blow and the Rainy night, (it was a song) could be heard coming from all kinds of odd places at all hours of the night. What a pity we were before Louis Walsh’s time – we could have been the original Boyzone!

  Anyway, that’s my mission for 2017, so to all publicans out there I say ‘bring back the singsong’. We are all available to appear – and at very reasonable fees!

  Before I finish with the singsong theme, I am well aware that pubs like The Castlecoote Lodge and others have very successful get-togethers with trad and other musicians meeting every so often and playing their songs and having a night of music and craic – and well done to them for so doing. However, my version of a singsong is an impromptu one, where one lad or girl sings a song, someone else follows and then before you know it everyone is doing an old turn – hard to beat it.

  Also, for my younger readers, the Rhythm Stick, full name Hit me with your Rhythm Stick, was a number one smash hit for Ian Dury and the Blockheads way back in 1978. My version used to feature a sweeping brush as the stick, tearing off my shirt like a real rock star during my rendition, and generally disgracing myself! I can still recall one afternoon performance before an Ireland-England rugby match in the late seventies in the foyer of a posh London Hotel, when I was within an inch of being arrested for offending public decency. I still don’t know whether it was my singing, my torso or the fact that I had usurped some poor cleaner’s sweeping brush that almost got me bed and breakfast in one of her Majesty the Queen’s holiday homes.  

  Suffice to say that was my last and only major appearance in the West End. To my eternal shame, the Rhythm Stick made a re-appearance this Christmas, but sadly the performance was slammed by the critics. They said it was out of tune, performed by an overweight, ageing artist who forgot most of the words and who looked as if he should be in a home for the bewildered.

  Personally, I was delighted, as it proved I was just as good and looking just as well as I did in my prime, and just like Tom Jones, Neil Diamond and Bruce Springsteen, I am living proof that if you have the talent, age alone will not take it away. Where’s the singsong?

Pedestrians putting themselves at risk?

As someone who does a fair bit of walking, it’s sad to see the huge increase in the number of fatalities involving pedestrians on our roads in recent weeks. Seven people have been killed in just three weeks.

  Now it goes without saying that anyone going out for an evening or night-time walk should have hi-viz clothes, carry a torch and make sure they can be seen.  

  However, in my opinion one of the most dangerous things the pedestrian can do is listen to music through earphones, thereby not being able to hear cars as they approach and it seems to me that particularly for girls, the music player is almost an essential piece of equipment. I would suggest leaving the music at home – and make sure you can see and hear everything around you.

Off to the dance…

Finally for this week, we are looking forward to the GAA Dinner Dance in the Abbey Hotel on Saturday night and from what I hear, there will be a great crowd of revellers in attendance. The White Cakes are ready to have you rocking all night and we’re all set to go!  

  Looking forward to seeing you all, including Martina from the People, there.

Till next week, bye for now