Nov 27th.Morning of GPO (SIPTU gathering)
A state of fear and panic, the Soldiers of Destiny are exhausted trying to remember which yarn they spun 5 minutes ago. The bankers, developers, regulators and swindlers have, collectively, spent less time under arrest than Joe McNamara who parked his lorry at Government Gates in a peaceful enough protest. In Cavan, our Guards are being psyched up to crack heads. The wind is blowing today and the poor auld leaves are falling. Maybe the sun will rise again tomorrow and shine some light upon us … We can hope and pray, but also we can protest, not take it lying down and let them know they have failed us hopelessly. We can seek new systems and new leaders. We can insist upon accountability, transparency and honesty. We must try. We must also share and shoulder some of the responsibility. We voted them in time and time again as they blew the bubble bigger and bigger. Not all of us bought into the corruption and madness but most of us stood idly by, nor did we seek to burst that bubble. The political system has failed the people.
Why have we returned self serving politicians time and time again to sit in government? How can we, as an electorate, see fit to send unworthy candidates back to Dáil Éireann time after time? We have voted Bertie Aherne, Ivor Callely, Ray Burke, Padraic Flynn, Beverly Cooper-Flynn, CJ Haughey, Liam Lawlor, Michael Lowry, Jackie Healy Rae and John O’Donoghue back in repeatedly when previous performance might have shown them as being unfit to govern. Do we really expect such people to represent the National Interest? Why are we surprised when the economy descends into ruin, we have the leaders we deserve – we voted them in. We have been caught in the headlights of false promises; we have been shocked by mind-boggling expense claims and pay-outs. Crooks and fraudsters masquerading as bankers and financiers have crippled the country. We have been hung out by an alliance of blinkered regulators, cute-hoor self serving politicians and lily livered bureaucrats. Whilst the fraudsters sun themselves, we are hypnotised in frozen inertia by X Factor, freedom of ringtones and The Premiership. As the forces of the IMF took power, Lowry and Healy-Rae were still wangling more largesse from the depleted coffers, more spoils to guarantee their Number Ones at whatever cost to the state … We are like morons following zombies or is it the other way around. This system, a con-artists delight, does not work. I don’t know what will work but we must seek new ways. Let us get rid of these utterly outmoded civil war politics. Vote only for those whom we can trust. We have had enough of self serving 2nd rate men in power. Let us, at least, be aware of what is happening around us. We must all try and achieve the changes needed to stop the rot that permeates our society.
Jan 9th 2011…..Morning after the Grand Canal Theatre Gigs
All four gigs were full of the most welcoming and attentive listeners. Each night was totally different, night 3 was strange for I had the flu bug and was a bit spaced out…found it hard to get continuity going and a few times simply did not know what to do next. Also played a few songs in the wrong keys but Declan rallied quickly and supported me in my (slight) swine flu dementia. Night 4 I was still feverish and awry but a fierce burst of adrenaline blasted off and carried me through what I felt was our best gig of the year. A few things happened night four. There were many family members in The Hall and also some very good friends. This had me a bit nervous until I shared about my nervousness and it simply evaporated. Just before going on stage I got a request to sing “Giuseppe” in memory of Pete Postlethwaite who passed last week. Declan had never heard it before but we slipped in to it and it was highly emotional. I could sense the respect for Pete in the audience and that coupled with the memory of Giuseppe Conlon made for a hushed room. After it we segued into “Away you broken heart” and these two songs set the tone of the gig that ensued … A great week in an excellent venue. Only problem is a very cold air flow down onto the stage thru the 4 nights. I noticed people in the front rows putting their jackets back on so it was not just myself that was feeling it…It seems to be a regular occurrence in many newly built venues. I’ve also noticed it in Symphony Hall Birmingham, Wexford Opera House, Sage Newcastle, – all magnificent venues staffed by decent people but designed by cold air fiends. Only other hiccup was a bit of a hissy fit from one of the head- honchos in the Grand Canal who took grave offence to my welcoming the audience to “The Nama Hall”. We are all Namafied whether we like it or not….. Most people seem delighted with this new venue which is a great addition to the city and it ha been a pleasure to play there.
We had many long distance listeners who travelled to Ireland for the songs. To my knowledge, ye came from as far afield as USA, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Holland, France, England, Scotland and Wales…we had numerous 4711ers each night and we greatly appreciate the support given us by all you listeners. (Anyone thinking of travelling to a gig should consider making contact with 4711ers.org, there is a community of listeners there who may be able to help with local info and logistics)
Declan and I spoke at length recently about the journeys we have taken to arrive in this place. Neither of us ever aspired to such heights. I remember, as a young lad, being totally fulfilled simply by the very act of singing itself. Later singing in choirs, light opera and amateur concerts I felt I was at a pinnacle. Then with each passing year new horizons kept appearing, each beyond my ken but the songs have carried me along…there were hairy, scary moments along the way but here I am at the other end of the journey and the songs keep tumbling out.
We plan to commence a recording project this week…there is no deadline nor time schedule…but we would like to present it this year if at all possible … We are finalising gigs in Germany and Belgium to tie in with The Carré in Amsterdam next Autumn … We are off the road now until March when we recommence in Mullingar on Friday 4th and continue on around Ireland until Mid April when we hope to travel to Scotland and England for a week of gigs. Declan continues to perform with his band “Smalltown Talk” and I hope to perform a number of solo gigs later in the year.