Times really have changed.

Given that the times have changed and the sad reality that gigs are few and far between, I was cleaning up old hard drives that had been thrown around for ages. I deleted a vast amount of unread PDFs on how to get fit, how to make it in music, how to be a music manager, all happily deleted. I rediscovered unfinished songs and poems that must have meant something to me at some point, not enough, obviously. As I read I could see that I’d only scraped the surface of the subject. I hope, no, I believe that, like me, every trier has a hard drive or a drawer or both filled with thoughts that fell short of final expression. In fact I’ve got finished works that do that.

Anyway, while I was meandering through and clicking delete, I stumbled on this little gem above. In the photo are Kevin O Raghallaigh, Gerry Tully, Barney McKenna and, Tony McMahon. Barney’s cousin, Doreen Byrne took the photo. The others wait while I give a rendition of something looking like I was photoshopped in. That’s because I was there in a different capacity. My job on the night was to help out with the PA and to enjoying a few pints in the audience. But Barney had the thought that he’d break the traditional vibe they had going and called me. When he said my name it should have filled me with delight and a sense of honour and it did. But my immediate feeling was fear, as if my own name was a spear shot through my chest.

This all happened in the days when mobile phones were in their infancy and cameras were not in everyone’s hands. Doreen took her real camera to evenings like these mostly, I imagine, to capture Barney whom she was immensely proud of. Despite my unpreparedness and stomach churning fear, I’m delighted Doreen captured this moment. She presented it to me a week or so later. Barney and Tony and Doreen are no longer with us and we’re all the poorer for that loss. Kevin O Raghallaigh plays fiddle, Whistles, and pipes and is a highly regarded musician.

The event took place in Rathcarin Gealtacht in County Meath. A great place, filled with great people of which I have great memories.