Thursday, October 13, 2016

Update 14th October

• Cooney Centra Breast Cancer Awareness Walk will take place in conjunction with the weekly Saturday morning Lough Key run/walk on this Saturday the 15th at 9.15.
• Connacht GAA Draw. Preliminary Round Sligo v New York/ Leitrim v London/ Mayo v winners of Sligo v New York with winners playing Galway in the semi-final 1 / Roscommon v winners of Leitrim v London in semi-final That could be in Hyde Park. Apart from that no comment.
• In my humble opinion the ‘Black Card’ has failed and needs to be disposed of.
Fair play to Roscommon County Board with their reasonable charges of €10 for championship games. There have been very good crowds that I see so a bit of positivity there.
• The Chicago Cubs are in with a good chance of exorcising themselves of even a worse dilemma than Mayo (and Roscommon if you insist). They have reached the latter stages of the U.S. Baseball championships and if they were to win, it would be their first World Series for 110 years.
• There was a very nice profile of John Rush, Boyle, on page 3 of the Roscommon Herald this week, accompanied a Brian Farrell picture, titled ‘Butler to royalty and the stars’. I was a little aware of John’s career and had it on my list to talk to him but this profile is fine. You never know what roles some people have played throughout their lives. 

Bob Dylan gets Nobel Prize for Literature

I had been kinda wondering about what I might write for the blog and then I heard on the radio that a singer who was part of a period of my life had received The Nobel Prize for Literature. This is in the broadest sense in terms of writing as the citation goes ‘creating new poetic traditions within the American song tradition’. While it was argued that Bob Dylan was not really either a great singer or musician he created a body of meaningful lyrics that meant that the Nobel Committee had the courage and went up a different road in this year’s nomination. It will be applauded by the millions whose lives he enriched and influenced.
Bob Dylan or just Dylan as he is regularly referred to was not actually his real name it being Bob Zimmerman who was born in Duluth in the state of Minnesota living for a period of his early life in Hibbing. He then went to New York and Greenwich Village at a very young age and in a very short period in the early sixties wrote and released a body of work and iconic classic meaningful songs that gathered an international fan base.  Greenwich Village was a mecca then for singers, writers, actors and artists. It probably still is. Amongst  those he met there were the Clancy brothers and he regarded Liam Clancy highly.  Much of his most celebrated work dates from the first half of the 1960s when his songs chronicled social unrest, although Dylan repudiated suggestions from journalists that he was a spokesman for his generation. Nevertheless, early songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" became anthems for the American civil rights and anti-war movements. He was present at some civil rights rallies but did not get as involved as say his friend Joan Baez. His influential manager was Albert Grossman and I once had a video of perhaps Dylan’s first English tour of England where the emerging singer accompanied by Joan Baez introduced his amazing early songs to audiences on this side of the Atlantic. That video got misplaced.   
While, for me, one side of my listening in the early sixties was ‘The Beatles’ it was not long before they were joined by Dylan, a name he supposedly borrowed from Dylan Thomas the Welsh writer. In college in the later sixties Dylan was the high priest of folk ‘message’ music. There is some debate about a motor bike accident in July ’66 which led to him leaving the public arena for a good while. He returned and upset his fan base by introducing an electric element to his music. In the late nineties he published an autobiographical work titled ‘Bob Dylan Chronicles Volume One’ which was regarded highly and as ‘Book of the Year’ in various circles.
He has toured many times and Ireland has been regularly included in those tours. I remember attending a concert of his in Pearse Stadium Galway and it was a case for me, on that occasion, of the truth of the epithet ‘don’t ever meet your heroes’ as the venue did not generate an atmosphere then and Dylan did few if any of the classics.
Of course if I was the kind to become obsessed with a singer it would have been Dylan but being a ‘jack of a number of trades’ that did not happen. Still a disc of Dylan’s greatest hits contains a number of my favourite songs, on most  days. I copy here a song written by Dylan in ’74 as a blessing and wish for his young son then aged eight. The title reminds me regarding that great decade of change, the sixties, when my friends and I felt forever young about life and possibility then.    
 "Forever Young"

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.  

My friends the Bees

I read that a certain number of bees are now on the endangered species list. Bees play a huge role in pollination and I see in the Roscommon Herald page 8 that Roscommon County Council are sponsoring two seminars regarding same. One takes place on Saturday October the 22nd in the Moylurg Room at Lough Key and the second takes place in Castlecoote House on Thursday October 27th.  Information on how people can help in this process can be accessed or contact Roscommon County Council co-ordinator Breata Coyle at     

First Time Buyers Grant

I mentioned this last week so that mention can be accessed if you wish by scrolling down. I circulated my thoughts on same to a number of politicians and those ‘who it might concern’. That is unusual for me.  A few responded. My basic point of discrimination by offering a grant to one section of ‘first time buyers for a new built home’ to the exclusion of ‘first time buyers of a second hand home’ was not addressed. C’est la vie. Of course when new homes are built it will be an open market and ‘first time buyers’ will be competing with everyone else. So I wonder how many first time buyers will in fact become owners of newly built homes. A spokesman for the building industry suggested that  on the Claire Byrne television show that it would help stimulate the market as if there were no or very few house buyers there at present. I was watching a tv programme perhaps a month ago and it related to house-hunting and in the segment in Dublin a house started off at an opening price of €310,000 and there was a parade of potential purchasers. It was eventually sold for €430, 000. There were plenty of purchasers there and the reason house prices are rising in Dublin, Galway and those places is that the supply is not there. The buyers have been there for some time now in those urban areas but the building has not begun. Why?        
Anyway the government feel confident that the measure will ‘stimulate’ building and first time buyers will be competing for those new houses. I wonder how many ‘first time buyers will’ actually benefit.  We’ll see. File closed.

The U.S. Election….. Again! 

The present election in the U.S. must be one of the nastiest, personalised, angriest elections for a long time in a Western democracy. It seems to get worse by the week. The election date is November 8th. After recent revelations about Trump a number of high profile Republican politicians such as Republican Speaker in the House Paul Ryan and former presidential candidate John McCain have withdrawn from endorsing Trump. I imagine that amongst the reasons for these are worries for the broader election of Republican Senators and Congressmen that takes place in tandem with the presidential election. Perhaps Ryan is also thinking of how a commitment to Trump now will be seen if he wishes to make a play for the presidency in the future. The probability is that whoever wins this time it will be just a one term president and that by the time the next race begins a better effort will be made to have more acceptable candidates in place.  It seems as if the Republican party is pretty damaged by it all. Indeed it will be difficult to heal the divisions in U.S. society that have been brought to the surface in this campaign.

It has been suggested that I am too engaged with the U.S. presidential election. I was and am more than disappointed with the U.K. Brexit result and I would be more than disappointed also by a Trump election. I had hoped for a close run thing in the U.K. referendum and that such would be a wake-up call for the E.U. Perhaps the fact that Hillary Clinton has so much baggage that sees her at such a low base of satisfaction should be a wake-up call also for the Democratic Party in terms of future candidate selection.


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