THIS IS MY HOME;
I like the warmth of the sun. Lanzarote, Canaries, makes me feel alive. For fifteen years, I played in the glare of a holiday haze. Late nights long gigs, drink and revellers, staple fare, for a travelling troubadour, I play and sing, that’s what I do. I made other peoples holidays, made them memorable, answered the call of any tune on request. From grannies to stags and back again, everyone listens to the duration of their favourite refrain. I courted sing-along when I didn’t want it and better singers then me when I did. I made show. I fore filled my contract, picked my fingers to the bone, over stayed my welcome, sure, half- answered countless glints in the eye, but never strayed to far from my mark. The music made me. Microphone and guitar in hand and I at am home. But fifteen years on the road can age you and one season can so easily be another. My children know me as an act, my wife too. But this is me…The potential wedged deep inside, down below my heart to carry on, at the mundane, the wage thing, the weekly schedule of same time, same place, next week, same songs, same order, different audience, sun sods deaf to all but familiar sounds, they drink and dance, but may as well be at home. And home is where the song is. And the song is here…..
Everyone has a tale. And as much as we like to listen we enjoy the telling more, that’s our nature. Other people’s tales, tell well, a misfortune viewed from a distance, is a safe stance. The down and out, the end of the road merchants, surround us, and we have all started on those tracks that head towards such dimming lights, we can all sense the sound of our own demise within the air about us, the fragility of the human state is only one relationship away from distrust, but each day survived strengthens our silly souls, with the self encouragement, that such things could never befall us, we are above such lows in life and disfavours will never visit. We are somehow immune to the recessional waves that drown our fellow less fortunate’s and possess unyielding power to best any swing in the worldly tides that attempt to turn us away from our chosen course. How foolish are we! No man is safe! Nobody is beyond the grasp of life’s icky fingers. We all fall down, when pull becomes push. And unfortunately age is little barrier to pain, and pain ages. Old eyes can peer from youthful sockets sometimes and the sting of a bloodline bruise never fully heels. Homelessness is a disconnection open to juvenile or geriatric especially, when the sins of the Father and lapse of the Mother are all that is left as a swift backhander from reality, and our blind eyes should no longer shelter us from the gaze of a damaged soul, because the mending begins here, in a recognition of our uncommon, inhumane and unsocial position.
Dublin’s changed. But I’ve been away awhile. Does that make me feel less a Dub? I always felt a keen kindmanship with my place of birth. Poverty and hardship are Dublin bred. Generations of hardchaws, gougers, from the docks to Guinness’s, the Phoenix Park to the airport road, united by a common accent. From the tenements’ of O’ Casey, to the bordellos of Joyce, echoes of “Whiskey in the jar”, “Raglin Road”, “I haven’t found what I’m looking for”, the impurity of the Late Late, a forlorn kind of youthful venture one took aboard the magical, “ Wonderly Wagon”, a growing up journey, all held together from a Montrose point of view. That was my Dublin, a childhood of copybooks and pencils, thrupeeny sonatas and a wry wit found nowhere else. Guided by the sharp but uniquely sensitive hand of a Jackeen Mother, who was as formidable and shaping as a force of Irish nature, and nicotine stained Father with an unbridled, if somewhat over enthusiastic alcoholicy free spirit, but, beneath such guardians, my upbringing always appears as a tender time. It was an era of Catholic formed clouds and blatant if somewhat misguided revolutionaries’, of Dublin four Newscasters and Second-hand English fashions, of mutable financial recessions, dark winters and petrol queues, postural strikes, soured sausages and a third generation just over a war, board-games and vinyl-record collections, simpler things which brought people and place together.
And perhaps, just perhaps, the black and whiteness of that culture I grew up on shouldn’t be allowed to dull behind the gloss of the multi-coloured façade of a common union. For behind the templed bars and re-cobbled walkways of today, still hides the skin and bones of all the rare auld times, perchance the humbled shall once more inherit their streets…
Love lives. In an era of mass media infidelity and fashionable celebratory betrayals, moneyed settlements and lawless love, Love lives.. Believe me. I may not be religiously inclined nor loyalty bound, but I still see, by intuition and dogged belief that Love still lives. Fidelity should not be a dirty word or a panic inducing state, rather an experience to be sought and hunted with unbending human glee. Love lives and so should be hung onto for dear life and when found, still sung about.
GETTING OVER ME;
Here’s one, and it’s an Irish truism, an Irish man’s first fore Wray into the depths of true Love is most heavily influenced by the shadow of his dear Mother’s hand! As novice lovers, we’re inclined to latch onto the desperate, forlorn, permanently lost and predominantly most hopeless case that wonders our way! No doubt about it, unless we are a troubled souls ourselves, the damaged ones seek us out and we dive, wittingly headlong, giving of ourselves completely, to the misplaced, most desperate cause we come, or that comes upon us! And then we are more than inclined to remain till the bitter end. We become relationship Saviours in desperate need of a Saviour, a learning circle that we will ignobly finally run to break free from, leaving a legacy of good times that are hard to recount and hard times that are darkly harder still! The first path of true love is most times better taken lightly.
About the dream! The place we all hope to land. Secure in our own skin! Being grown up, relaxed well enough to enjoy what is the given. Realising the safe harbour of your soul is merely the currency of your perception; the rate of exchange is bound to our personal rate of change or not. The World is a simple time and place, but neither comes together at first, they are always in flux, mixed up because settling down is so far from settling, the greener grass is always softer on younger feet, change is the driving force of youth, acceptance the closed door of forced maturity. The fear of what we know, becoming the all that we will ever know, is the biggest fear of all. Breaking the back of the ordinary is the task that was laid for us from day one and there is not a single one of us that has rested without a strong and arduous struggle to find our comfortably in time and place, but by nature we are the most ordinary of creatures, to be forever hounded by the extraordinary inside!
CRY BABY CRY:
Giving in is not giving up. Running out of steam, stops the biggest of men, and slows the wisest of women to a stand still. When there’s nowhere left to go, and the tunnel is finally in darkness, even the hero shakes with self fear. When life’s ragged fingers have blinded the minds eye, and all hope is overwhelmingly hidden, direction is not an option. Being lost is not the realm of the few, but only the few survive. This is a rhyme of a non-survivor.
The sins of an absent Father carry an unfair weight. And constant single parental blame becomes a cruel killer of youthful enthusiasm! And a wounded Mother’s pre-expectations a concealed crippler of a growing mind. Situation gets the best of the weakest of us and time passes without as much as a sideward glance and leaves little trace of hope. It’s easy to be left behind in a fast paced world you are not allowed be part of. The unseen are vividly in view and we all bare false witness. We are guilty, by default of the most obvious crimes of compassion and in our fixed failing judgment we allow ourselves to meander onward in a counterfeit beauty of everyday fake and humdrum freedom.
LOVE OH LOVE:
There’s a common misconception that Love hides nothing. Once in Love you see your partner for all they are, and they see you. Only, as self protection has it, and a bad case of the unsure, you always try and keep some part of you in reserve. Something for that, inevitable final showdown, whenever they find someone new or you do. That high pitch making of a point in the endgame that wins the, already long lost justifying unveiling of a well understood nasty truth about them, that never actually saves face! And as the door closes on you or indeed behind you, you ultimately realise whose really laughing now! Relationships are fuelled by trust and recognised, duel, misunderstandings, and there can be no doubt that both parties lose these battles. But Love is at length, not a mere battle but a War and both opponents must be indulged in a full scale conflict to appreciate a rewarding out come. This was just passing another battle!
LET IT HAPPEN TO YOU;
You have to start from up here! The higher you jump off from the greater the fun of the fall. Sitting around gets you precious nowhere, living begins with motion. Pumping the blood around, waking the head, flexing the feet, accomplishing the movement, interaction, becoming real. Sending positive messages to yourself, making the best of what you can at any given moment. Feeling the beat, experiencing the emotion, grabbing hold of whatever’s available, using the time, hearing the world, taking stock and engaging! This is being alive, it’s all you have and it’s all you need. Let it happen to you! And it will….This is “The everyman philosophy”!