Friday, December 4, 2015

Update 4th December

The 1960s -The Decade of the Beatles .Top Ten

A UTV Television programme of a couple of weeks ago encapsulated the results of a survey on how their British audience voted regarding the most popular songs of the Beatles. Last week I listed their choices from 27 down to and including number 11.Naturally this is not in any chronological time order. This week I am nominating the final ten and for one musical group what a top ten it is.
The first of the listeners’ top ten returns to the earliest years of the Beatles with the driving anthem ‘She Loves You’ followed by the other film title ‘A Hard Day’s Night’. Number 8 ‘A Long and Winding Road’ gave the group its 20th U.S. number one.
The performance of ‘I Want to hold your Hand’ gave the Ed. Sullivan Show its largest audience in February ’63 and propelled the Beatles in the U.S.  6/5 is regarded as one of the greatest Double ‘A’ side records ever with ‘Penny Lane’ and ‘All You Need is Love’ in ’67.
Of course for anyone who is a Beatle disciple the order could be much different and I myself would not say have ‘Nothing You Can do’ at number five.
The Revolver Album provides number 4, the poetic lyric ‘Eleanor Rigby’.                
"Eleanor Rigby"
Ah, look at all the lonely people
Ah, look at all the lonely people
Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been
Lives in a dream
Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door
Who is it for?   
Number 3 is supposedly based on a Paul dream of his mother saying whatever issue of the time would work itself out. ‘Let it Be’ is just a brilliantly constructed therapeutic song and it is understandable why a person continues to ‘sing’ it after being reminded of it.
‘When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me’ 
Number 2, ‘Yesterday’ is said to be the most recorded song in popular music history. It is a song of reflection, loss and despair.
And so to the UTV poll of the most popular Beatles song with the British public, ‘Hey Jude’. It was written by Paul in ’68 for John’s son Julian in the context of John’s break-up with Julian’s mother as Yoko Ono became the woman in his life. Of course like all writing the real meaning may be hidden so interpretation is subjective.

Perhaps my own favourite, which is Beatle song but post Beatles, is not even in the above list. Imagine. 

‘The Suck Valley Walk’ a ‘Lesser Spotted Journey’

Earlier this week on UTV there was a lovely programme, for me especially, dealing with the village of Athleague and its hinterland five miles south-west of Roscommon town. It is neighbouring and familiar territory for me from my youth and I have plenty of good memories of that nice village and its friendly people. ‘Lesser Spotted Journeys’ presented by Joe Mahon dealt in an unhurried way with a core area around the village. While many programmes film a lot of material much of this does not emerge in the final showing.  This programme, being an hour in length, had the luxury of dealing with a range of topics at a pace that gave it a tone and tenure which truly reflected its core spirit. The contributors too adopted a voice representative of the subject matter of a small rural community, leading unhurried lives in their home place, for which, naturally, they had a loving regard.
The ‘Suck’ river is the fluid spine of the area and some twenty or so years ago the communities along its banks came together and established the ‘The Suck Valley Walk’ which stretches from Castlerea to Ballinasloe. The river, like so many rivers, played a pivotal role in the development of villages along its course, Athleague being one. The rivers name has its origins, like the Boyle River, in a mythical princess. The area is often low-lying and the river has on a few memorable occasions not been the benign creature it looked in this record.  I knew most of the contributors or their lineage. The river area near Athleague Bridge has been a swimming pool for generations of locals including myself.  Walter Young had a neat phrase to introduce their Kayaking as ‘Splash and Dash’. Rebecca Dobson who once worked in Ballinafad Wildlife Centre  introduced us to the ‘vole’ a river bank mouse- like creature which it is said to arrived in this country in the 1920s’ from Germany at the time the Germans were involved in the first hydro- electric scheme at Ardnacrusha near Limerick.
Helga Mullens had an intriguing story to tell of coming to Athleague, as a refugee aged four from Germany in 1946. Her story was worthy of a programme for itself.
When James Moran talked of the ‘Turlough’ or disappearing lake it reminded me of the story of the Dublin person who bought some twenty acres of land beside the river in the summer time only to discover it reduced to half that come the rainy season!
Maybe it is my lack of technical ability that denied me recording the programme from UTV but it seems to be case with just that particular channel.

Roscommon Farmers Speak Out Clearly
On Tuesday night the IFA turmoil continued to be aired on ‘Ear to the Ground’ on RTE TV a lively and varied farming programme. John Hanley from Glinsk, Chairman of Roscommon IFA along with Kitty Dwyer, Donamon -wife of former Roscommon GAA activist the late Paddy Francis-and Jim O’Connor from Grange, Boyle, were clear and excellent speakers on the issues and challenges facing the national organisation that is the IFA. I was most impressed, but not surprised, by the contribution of Brian Costello of Lough Gara Farms, grandson of Major General M.J. Costello who was involved in the original NFA at its founding in 1955 and also in the establishment of the Irish Sugar Company. 
He referred to his grandfather as ‘a great champion of the small farmer’ and suggested ‘he would be spinning in his grave at the present revelations’ Interestingly he suggested that this upheaval ‘is now an opportunity for a reformed IFA to truly represent the farmers of all of rural Ireland’ and that it was a ‘watershed moment’ for the organisation to return to its roots and original mission.
Often when people are confronted by the high powered technology of National TV or Radio, they have not done themselves justice or seized the day. But on the evidence as stated above this has changed and it is great to see and hear.
Ministerial Portfolios

Recently I came across a Junior Minister, Dara Murphy, on a television programme and I truthfully could not remember having seen him before. In a past life, in quizzes, being asked the name of the Minister for this and that was a regular thing. If the quiz was a bit sterner it was over to the Junior Ministers. Often in those times, say the early eighties, there were elections with great frequency so the Ministers had little time to acquaint themselves in the minds of the serious quiz participant and the poor Junior Ministers were nearly a question of Mensa proportions.
The personnel of this government have the advantage of being in situ for nearly five years so the top brass of the front bench residents should not be too difficult. So I will nominate say the top 7 names and ask you to test yourself as to what ministerial post they occupy.
They are Tánaiste, Joan Burton; Michael Noonan, Brendan Howlin, Richard Burton, Simon Coveney, Frances Fitzgerald and James Reilly.
Now to the higher maths course. What is the area of responsibility for the following four Junior Ministers; Paul Kehoe, Gerald Nash, Jimmy Deenihan and Michael Ring?  
I’ll continue this exercise next week
Dara Murphy after some research turned out to have some responsibility for European Affairs and Data Protection!
Referencing politics it is really amazing that Fianna Fail has not been able to nominate a candidate in the Roscommon East Galway constituency. How times have changed. They are really gift-wrapping the third T.D. ship to Miss Hopkins.

The ‘Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards for 2015’.

As I love books and bookshops I am always drawn to these awards. This country has such a reputation for literary output of the highest quality that it is probably our foremost achievement as a society. While some of the giants of Irish literature have died in recent times such as Seamus Heaney, Brian Friel and John McGahern there are still a good number of current Irish writers with an international reputation. There is an ongoing -online- public vote for the ‘Irish Book of the Year’ if you wish to engage in that.

Eason Book Club Novel of the Year

The Green Road by Anne Enright (Jonathan Cape). Miss Enright is a consistently fine writer. Best Irish Published Book of the Year
The Long Gaze Back: An Anthology of Irish Women Writers edited by Sinéad Gleeson (New Island Books). While it is said that you cannot judge the book by the cover, the cover of this book is also as beautiful as the content.

Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Junior)
Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer and Oliver Jeffers (HarperCollins Children’s Books).  Eoin Colfer is another regular contributor of the highest standard aided here by Oliver Jeffers with his illustrations.

Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Senior)
Asking For It by Louise O’ Neill (Quercus Books)

Avonmore Cookbook of the Year
The Virtuous Tart by Susan Jane White (Gill & Macmillan).

Ireland AM Crime Book of the Year
After the Fire by Jane Casey (Ebury Press)

Irish Independent Popular Fiction Book of the Year
The Way We Were by Sinead Moriarty (Penguin Ireland)

National Book Tokens Non-Fiction Book of the Year
Children of the Rising by Joe Duffy (Hachette Books Ireland). This is a fine achievement by a busy man.

Bord Gáis Energy Sports Book of the Year
Until Victory Always: A Memoir by Jim McGuinness (Gill & Macmillan). While I have had some reservations about Jim McGuinness this is a book I will study in the coming weeks.
Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year
Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume (Tramp Press)

Books Are My Bag Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year
Me and My Mate Jeffrey by Niall Breslin (Hachette Books Ireland).
While one is inclined to dismiss many of the butterfly celebrities Niall Breslin or Bressie as he is known has emerged as a person of real substance from that genre. The Jeffrey in the title here is I believe the name he gives to his shadow of depression.

RTÉ Radio 1’s The Ryan Tubridy Show Listeners’ Choice Award
Irelandopedia  by Fatti and John Burke (Gill & Macmillan). This is a curious colourful book compiled by a father and daughter combination. I have not seen it but perhaps it is a possibility for a school or home library. Short Story of the Year

A Slanting of the Sun by Donal Ryan.
Renowned Irish American novelist J.P. Donleavy was presented with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award. Adding his congratulations to his friend “Mike” Donleavy by video-link, was Hollywood megastar Johnny Depp, who is producing and reportedly starring in, a film version of Donleavy’s 1955 novel, The Ginger Man. I read this book many years ago, loaned it and lost it a number of times but will have to return to it. It tells of the adventures of a Trinity College student in the 50s’ which Donleavy was. It is a timeless classic.

The advice I have given very occasionally to a person struggling to read a book is to just leave it and move on to another. There are so many marvellous books out there that there is no need to struggle. The good book should transport you with comfort.  I am sure there are a number in the above list.

GAA-Garda Cup Final & AGM

Boyle plays Tulsk in the Garda Cup final at Boyle on Saturday at 1.Perhaps they can add to the Keenan and Feile Cups won by Boyle teams recently. 
Boyle GAA AGM takes place on Sunday at 5. With 2016 looking like it is going to be a busy and eventful year for the Club and County the structures and personnel need to be broad and earnest. One particular challenge will be the participation of the club in the Feile competition in Kerry with all the expense and logistics that entails. 

Pleasure Ground

Jarlath Tivnan’s play ‘Pleasure Ground' will be in Smock Alley Theatre Dublin from Monday the 7th to Thursday the 10th incl. So the Boyle constituency in Dublin might spread the word there.  

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