Sunday, December 1, 2019

Irish Eyes


Music and Reading for Christmas

Last month I told you about the launch of The very Best Of Billy Keane but I hadn’t read the complete book at the time. Now I have consumed and digested all 64 essays. P. J. Cunningham of Ballpoint Publishers told me, ‘'The collection is a quiver full of arrows that accurately hit Irish life - it is like a first draft of our history from an observer among us. 'The Very Best Of Billy Keane' is a living as well as a reading experience, coming from the pen of a writer who sees extraordinary deeds in the day-to-day living across middle Ireland.'’

P. J. Was on the ball. If Billy is relating his experience in a toilet in Tokyo or a wood in north Kerry the reader feels that he or she is there beside him. He covers everything from advice on not painting a bedroom ceiling yellow to his meeting with the Duchess of Cambridge in Killarney. He complimented her on her dress and invited her to open Listowel Writers Week some time. His essay about the premature passing of his friend Father Pat Moore is a moving piece of literature. The book also includes valuable pieces of philosophy such as, “Worry will get squatter‘s rights in your head unless every moment and live for now.” “Mrs 39” features prominently and I’m not going to tell you why he calls her that, you’ll have to buy the book.

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The 2020 Lacken calendar can also now be purchased from the website; along with fridge magnets if you are looking for gift ideas for friends and family near or far for Christmas.

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A new album of Veteran singer/songwriter Christy Moore’s songs has just been released. It contains 26 new live recordings gathered under the title of ‘Magic Nights.’ The opening track is ‘Magic Nights in The Lobby Bar’.
A version of John Spillane/Ger Wolf’s classic song recorded at The Opera House, Cork in 2014. . Producer Jimmy Higgins and Sound Engineer David Meade selected these takes from hundreds of gigs. Every gig develops its own atmosphere, every audience being a unique gathering of listeners. In Belfast ‘Burning Times’ is devoted to Lyra McKee, her Young Life so cruelly ended on The Creggan. Christy says, “In Glasgow I responded to a call-out for Spancilhill and what followed was, for me, a very special version of young Michael Considine’s beautiful song. When we played Dreamland in Athy I sang Johnny Cash’s version of ‘Hurt’. I was 18 when I heard him sing in that very same Dancehall. A night I have never forgotten. Albert Reynolds was on the door.”

Jackie Hayden captured it in Hotpress; “Part of the magic of a live Christy Moore concert is the way his persona expands in ways virtually impossible in a studio setting. There is an inevitable bond between the man, his music and his audience that is a wonder to behold.”

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Alarm bells not Christmas bells rang out around the world. Rudolf and his team were sick. December 25th was fast approaching. The hopes and dreams of every child in the world were in jeopardy...An ordinary couple from Ireland planned to send their reindeer to help. Could Seamrog, Bridin, Seanog, Colleen. Paidin, Realtin, Norin, Oisin, Neidin and Olive replace Rudolf and his magic team and save Christmas? And so begins this wonderful adventure. Seamrog the Irish Reindeer, by writer and broadcaster, Peter Grogan was launched on 22nd November by national treasure Marty Whelen. This ideal Christmas present is available from;

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The following sixteen pieces of psychology were passed on to me but I can’t vouch for their accuracy;
  • 1 “The smarter the person is, the faster the (person) thinks, and the sloppier the (person’s) handwriting.”
  • 2 “…the way we communicate has an influence on our mood.”
  • 3 “The way a person treats restaurant staff reveals a lot about the person’s character.”
  • 4 “Men are not funnier than women.”
  • 5 “Listening to high-frequency music makes you feel calm, relaxed, and happy.”
  • 6 “Doing things that scare you will make you happier.”
  • 7 “The happier we are, the less sleep we require.”
  • 8 “Intelligent people tend to have fewer friends than the average person.”
  • 9 “The smarter the person is, the more selective they become (in choosing friends).”
  • 10 “People look more attractive when they speak about the things they are really interested in.”
  • 11 “When two persons talk to each other and one of them turns their feet slightly away or repeatedly moves one foot in an outward direction, this is a strong sign of disagreement, and that they want to leave.”
  • 12 “Women who have mostly male friends stay in a good mood more often.”
  • 13 “Travel boosts brain health and also decreases risk of heart attack and depression.” “People who try to keep everyone happy often end up feeling the loneliest.”
  • 14 “Shy people talk little about themselves, but they do this in a way that makes other people feel that they know them very well.”
  • 15 “People who have a strong sense of guilt are better at understanding other people’s thoughts and feelings.”

See you next year.

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

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