Reflections on Teenage Theme Night #21.

This was a new challenge for the teenagers – the first virtual ever teenage theme night. And they were magnificent – the shows surpassed all my expectations. So – when you’re faced with a new challenge such as this, how should you approach it? Well – you can go big and meet it with everything you have. Eddie, Leah, Katelyn and Shona did exactly that this weekend. Large scale productions – huge amounts of thought, effort and musicianship from many people. Or you can approach it differently – smaller-scale, yet choosing to use whatever your own individual skills and talents are. Saul and Roseena sang great and came up with really interesting videos, Ciara let her voice do the talking for her, and Mia used her natural musicianship to create a clever mash-up of two songs. Either way works – it’s always interesting to see how different people approach these things. I could have picked any amount of videos to

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Sunday Music #2

So here’s the second in the series of Sunday blogs – where I share some of my favourite music from the week gone by. So – it was a busy week! Firstly our guest on In The Lamplight this week was singer, guitarist and all-round entertainer Mark Kennedy – and he performed a very serious and deeply introspective (!) song of his for us – Ode to an Instagram Young Wan. Then – last night was Part 1 of Teenage Theme Night #21 – what a night it was! It was very difficult to pick highlights, but for the purposes of today’s blog I’d like to acknowledge the performances of two newcomers to the nights – Daniel Murphy and Sadhbh Timmons Hennessy. And the great news is – Part 2 is tonight! Here’s a special promo video for the show – Vincent – by Ryan Scanlon. Most importantly of all – you can tune in to watch the show here.

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Hopes dashed but spirits lifted…

If I’m being honest, yesterday was really disappointing. We had planned 6 live Theme Night shows in the Hawk’s Well for December, as well as being asked to play the ever-popular Christmas Toons with Anything Goes, and we were hopeful that theatres would be allowed to open – at least for a few weeks. Alas – yet again this year our hopes were dashed as it became clear that we didn’t fall on the right side of the government’s December restrictions. And 8 or 9pm saw me feeling sorry for myself and my colleagues. And then I watched the Toy Show – what an example of adapting something perfectly to the 2020 way of life. Credit to all involved. Sometimes Jim Sheridan, the MD of the Late Late Show band last night was in shot behind Ryan Tubridy, and I really enjoyed watching him trying to get exactly the right moment to cue the band in each time. And there

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Postladies and receptionists…

“No-one thanks the postman for doing his job”. So said the famous Welsh goal-kicker Neil Jenkins to his then Irish equivalent Ronan O’Gara in 2001. The message? It’s your job to kick the ball over the bar and secure points for your team. Don’t expect any thanks for doing so. Just do your job, same as the postman delivers his letters. Seth Godin, one of my favourite writers, has a new book out. It’s called The Practice and contains 219 short tips about the creative process. In No. 111 he also addresses the idea of doing your job, specifically that of a receptionist. He writes that being a pretty good receptionist is fairly easy – ‘sit at the desk and make sure that visitors don’t steal the furniture or go behind the magic door unescorted’. But in the following paragraphs he comes up with some interesting examples of things you could do if you wanted to be a great receptionist.

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When the joke is on you…

On one of my early away trips with the Sligo football team, I spilt a pint of Miwadi orange on my jeans. So I went into the bathroom, took them off and began to dry them under the hand dryer. One of the other lads happened to be in there, spotted his chance, and grabbed them from me. I realised quickly that the joke was on me, and that I had a few decisions to make as to how to attempt to keep my dignity intact over the following few minutes. Sometimes a prank can be a bit more subtle, and hence the realisation of what’s happening takes a bit longer. This video has brilliant and close-up footage of exactly that. In fairness to Mark, he did a better job of maintaining his dignity in a difficult situation than I did all those years ago. We discuss what was going through his head at the time, and many other aspects

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Love and affection

We were doing some recording today and a bandmate spoke about his guitars, and how they hadn’t been feeling loved during lockdown. We laughed and slagged him off a bit – doesn’t he know that guitars obviously don’t have feelings?! And then later today Diego Maradona died and Gary Lineker, who played against him in the 1986 World Cup, said that he never saw someone have such affection for a football. But a football doesn’t have feelings either – why show it affection? Then I started looking at Maradona videos – I loved this one especially, and was reminded of the things he could do with a football, partly because of his talent and skill, but also partly because he really did love it. Like my colleague fell back in love with his guitar today. And when we heard him play the joke was on us. Because the state of mind of loving your instrument, your tools, the ball does

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More thieves!

Episode 2 of Tuesday Trivia… Today I build on last week’s theme of popular songs borrowing from classical music. Featuring examples from Paul Simon, Ralph McTell and The Pet Shop Boys – among others… You can watch last week’s episode here. Oh and Pachelbel’s Canon is just over 300 years old – written sometime between 1680 and 1690 according to brittanica.com

Bruce v Eddie

Music blogger Gabe Anderson says here not to worry about getting back on the road – that you’ll get back doing it when everyone else does, and in the meantime to keep doing other great things. Bruce Springsteen said recently that he would be surprised to be back touring before 2022. And I’m not going to argue with either man. But that’s no good for Eddie Fitzpatrick and his buddies. Because by 2022 the current 6th Yrs will mainly be in universities all around Ireland and elsewhere. As will the current 5th Yrs, and their chance to take part in the Teenage Theme Nights will be gone. So we’re going online. Because we can’t do it live, but we also can’t wait. Teenage Theme Night #21 – On a First Name Basis – this Saturday and Sunday at 8pm on Facebook Live. Here’s the event link – respond with either ‘Going’ or ‘Interested’ and you’ll get notified of how to

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Sunday music #1

A new Sunday slot on the blog today – while we all have a bit more time to listen, I’m going to share some music. So – Mallorcan-born, Strandhill resident and all-round good guy Felip Carbonell was our guest on In The Lamplight this week. His hybrid accent is something to behold. Here’s what I wrote about him on Thursday. And here are two of his performances from the show. Entre Tu I Jo Fer Cantó

Ten quick years of contented collaboration…

On Nov 19th 2010 I got to play piano on the stage in the Hawk’s Well Theatre for the first time. It was as part of a hugely enjoyable show Ciaran McCauley and I produced together called An Evening with Sgt Pepper – a musical reimagining of the famous Beatles album mixed with a narration of it’s story. You can see highlights from an earlier show in The Factory here… Our Photoshop skills still needed quite a bit of work however… I met Francie Heraughty after the show. Francie was a stalwart in the theatre – a dedicated member of staff for many years – and he came up to me with a huge smile on his face afterwards, because he was delighted to see some life back in the theatre.  The theatre was only just over half-full that night, but that represented a good crowd back then. Things have changed since. If it was this time last year, 200

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