Thursday, November 26, 2015

Update 27th November

The 1960s’ -The Decade of the Beatles
The 1960s’ was a great decade to grow up or grow older as in my case. The grey gloom of the fifties receded and the brightness of possibility of the sixties shone through. The Liverpool music group the Beatles epitomised it all and they left an indelible impression on our teenage lives then and for ever. They produced a cascade of brilliant music and songs which are as fresh today as they were then. A couple of weeks ago I had the Beatles era and influence brought back to me in a UTV Television programme of how their British audience voted in a survey of the most popular songs of the Beatles. Naturally this is not in any chronological time order.
 Oddly it seemed to start at number 27 with a song from the spring of ’69 ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’ i.e. Yoko Ono.
Number 26 ‘Day Tripper’ from the Autumn of ’65 with its opening signature sound led to a three- in -row Christmas number ones with 25 being from a year earlier titled ‘I Feel fine’ again with a distinct intro apparently copying or using speaker feedback or reverb.
A further year back, ’63, was when Beatlemania as a word emerged to describe the reaction to the group with the song ‘From Me to You’ opening,
‘If there is anything that you want…’
The simple clear lyrics quickly became much more sophisticated and ‘Paperback Writer’ and ‘Get Back’ which make up 23 and 22 are from the later sixties with ‘Get Back’ being recorded from a roof session, the tactic later copied by U 2 in New York.
At number 21 is the beautifully written ‘Lady Madonna’ with the introduction of saxophone. Jools Holland in commentary felt particularly influenced by this innovation. Of course all of the commentators had their own favourites with many struggling to nominate just one from the magical list available.
We now enter the realm of ‘Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band’ from ’67 with a number of great songs, Strawberry Fields Forever; I am a Walrus, Hello Goodbye.
Apparently there was a tradition of giving Ringo a one song option on the albums and number 19 was his with the jolly sing along ‘Yellow Submarine’.
Song 18 was performed to great effect in New York on the Ed Sullivan T.V. Show in ’64 ‘Eight Days a Week’. The Beatles get some credit for lifting spirits in the U.S. amongst young people disillusioned by the assassination of President Kennedy. This was endorsed by their famous appearance at Shea Stadium, N.Y. in ’65, on their second tour of the U.S.
Number 17, ‘We Can Work it out’ in ’65 may have been a suggestion that the pressure was telling and ironically John Lennon sings the line
‘Life is very short…’
Their styles of presentation as in, hair, colours, beards and clothes change with their music. ‘65 also provides the survey’s number 16 with ‘Ticket to Ride’ followed by ’Help’ also a film title.
Number 14 returns to the earliest songs with ‘Love Me Do’ from ’62 which was not a number one in the U.K but was in the U.S. later. The group had the top five in the U.S charts in April ’65.
The ’64 song ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ is followed by George Harrison’s ‘perfect song’ ‘Something in the Way she Moves’. Harrison had to work hard at his songs while Lennon and McCartney were referred to as ‘typewriters’ since the songs seemed to come so easily to them.  ‘Something’ was double ‘A’ side with ‘Come Together’ and so are 12/11.
So as not to tire you out I’ll leave the final ten until next week and what a top ten it is.

Pleasure Ground
Jarlath Tivnan’s play Pleasure Ground will be performed in the Smock Alley theatre Dublin from Monday December 7th to Thursday the 10th. (It will be in Boyle on Saturday the 12th)
A group of friends who’ve gone their separate ways meet back at their teenage haunt, the town, park and playground, known as the Pleasure Ground. The town is dying, the Pleasure Ground’s glory has faded, and life hasn’t quite matched up to youthful expectations. Over their night together, buried secrets become unearthed, past grievances boil over, and scores are settled.
For Boyle people the play’s title may be a bit misleading as it is just the location where the above emotions are played out with a slight health warning language wise!

Power and Influence
While a large number of the traditional power groupings in Irish society have taken big hits in the last two decades such as the Catholic Church, Fianna Fail, similarly the status groups of the professions, priests, teachers, doctors and so on; one group though has held firm, immovable. That is the elite branches of the legal profession.  
The new Legal Services Bill demonstrate that the higher levels of the Legal Services in this country are the most powerful lobby group in the country and successfully protect their outdated structures, rituals and language, to their own advantage of course. Like a caste system they are untouchable. This self-regulating and hugely expensive ‘service’ is really only accessible to the very poor through what used to be FLAC- Free Legal Aid scheme- now apparently The Legal Aid Board (at tax payers expense) This is available to the criminal brotherhood in another scheme. Also the very wealthy such as Dennis O’Brien can afford to access the courts regularly or threaten to do so.  For a whole tranche of people the prospect of risking, perhaps everything, within the Irish court system is untenable irrespective of their need or certainty in their own case.
Even former Minister Alan Shatter, himself a legal professional, is quoted as ‘really disappointed’ with the remit of the new Bill which is understandable since there are around 200 amendments to the original Bill which he in fairness vigorously promoted.
From time to time the earnings of the top legal eagles are disclosed from various tribunals etc. while this may not ‘trickle down’ to the local practitioners I have not heard of any revolt at those levels against the strata who dominate and bully the system. I imagine I am misquoting the label given to the Four Courts as ‘The Four Goldmines’ or as Gerry Dodd used to say in the Boyle Pantomimes of yore when he uttered  an approximation of the script with  ‘or words to that effect’.

Speaking of Goldmines
The general secretary of the IFA, Pat Smith, was doing pretty well in his post with his circa half a million per annum for the past few years. It is just incredible that this came about and those who oversaw it are to blame. Farmers are entitled to be very angry with all this, which they are.
Not long ago a General Secretary of one of the Medical Associations nearly made that organisation bankrupt with the outrageous extent of his remuneration.
One would have thought that the furore over the salary of former Rehab chief Angela Kerins some time back would have flagged the dangers for broad based organisations, with big voluntary input, paying exorbitant salaries to its top executives.
I wonder what salary Páraic Duffy gets as Director General of the GAA?

Galway v Dublin hurlers, in the cathedral of baseball, Fenway Park, Boston
I got a truncated viewing of the hurling exhibition game between Galway and Dublin in Boston last week-end. It was an eleven a-side with no point posts. There was a pretty large crowd present so the game must have been promoted pretty well. It was unfortunate that a big melee took place early in the game and it seemed to me as if the Galway goalie ran some fifty yards to get involved in the scrum like French forward. In Australian Rules I believe that ‘the third man in’ to a melee or blue gets a more severe sanction than the instigators. It was exhibition stuff of the wrong kind. The only Galway officer I could recognise there was Noel Treacy the County Board Chairman. Galway has three County Boards; hurling, football and an amalgam.  Indeed the event had a curious tenor to it in the midst of the serious management issues that obtain in Galway at the moment.

Robert Fisk-An Alternative Voice
There are two journalists that I tune into whenever I can for the alternative view on serious international issues.  I imagine the hierarchies of many governments wish they would go away. In last Saturday’s Irish Independent Robert Fisk had a fine and very interesting article on the origins of many the Arab states now in the middle of a maelstrom. A lot of it goes back to arrangements and accommodations arrived at between Britain and France after World War 1 and the collapse of the Turkish Empire. This involved the establishment of states like Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Palestine and so on. Those areas could hardly ever be accommodated by linear borders as their societies owed more to tribal affiliation than regional allegiance. Those borders of nearly a century ago have been discarded by emerging power- brokers such as Isil. Not only are the Middle Eastern borders being discarded but in the mass movement of people from there to Western Europe the European borders are being discarded by them also. While western Civilisation has a lot to be proud of, how it has dealt with these regions historically is not to their credit. They may now have to face the whirlwind
Mister Fisk noted the following; “British aircraft have bombed Libya, Iraq and Syria….The Saudis are bombing Iraq, Syria and Yemen…The Jordanians are bombing Syria…..The French are bombing the Syrian city of Raqqa” .The Russians are bombing Syrian rebels fighting Assad and the Turks! Don’t trespass.  He does not mention the Americans.
Almost by coincidence as I struggle to write these notes  Ronan Collins on Radio 1 plays a powerful song from fifty years ago sung by Barry McGuire titled ‘Eve of Destruction’.
“You tell me over and over again my friend you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction’.
That fact that that pessimistic note was struck fifty years ago may be a reason for hope!  

The Great Ronnie Delaney
The Beatles may be the sound of the sixties but athlete Ronnie Delaney was one our real sports heroes from earlier.
I hear that modest Irish hero of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics occasionally on radio promoting the sentiment, ‘Remember the elderly this Christmas’. This is a sentiment which I heartily endorse. Not just because I am moving in that direction mind.

Be Safe Be Seen
Earlier this week I was driving into town towards the Abbeytown Bridge from the church side. There was a car coming from Shilling Hill. As I came near the bridge I saw a person in dark clothes on the bridge path. For a time the person had been obscured between the lights of the two cars. No issue ensued, but it could have.
Boyle is lucky in having such a network of fine, safe footpath walks. Even on these at least 80% of people that I see are now wearing high visibility vests which is great and the right thing to do. There are a number of dark spots still and Abbeytown Bridge is one. Years ago Mickie Morris, the barber, was agitating for lights on that bridge.
Since I am mentioning road safety my other bugbear, mentioned previously, is poor car lights especially the front light on the outside or driver’s side. Sometimes, as such a car approaches; you may think that it could be a motorbike. As Christmas approaches we might check such things.

Miriam O’Callaghan and Stephan Nolan TV Show
United Ireland …Dream On
Some time ago there was a very interesting link-up show between RTE and BBC Northern Ireland. It certainly did not hold out much hope for those whose main platform is a United Ireland. I have not heard much comment on the various survey findings illustrating the commentary and views pronounced on the show so maybe I can get back to that.
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