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Alter Egos - I Am Done Watching This

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ronnie Drew - The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

Ah that old Con Houlihan has made Dead Beat all meloncholy.

ballad of ronnie drew

Poets Are Born Not Paid

So I ask Houlihan about Paddy Kav. Dead Beat is starved for the stories, you see.

"I was lucky," he tells me. " I discovered Patrick Kavanagh at an early age, first in The Irish Press -- and later in magazines. Here was real poetry -- and it was about the world that I knew. In later life he used to say that he should have remained in Monaghan rather than come to Dublin. He would have made a fortune in smuggling during the war years -- or so he said. Of course he wouldn't -- some people are born not to make fortunes.

He came to Dublin because he wished to meet people with whom he could converse. Back in Monaghan he had plenty of neighbours who could talk all day and night -- but not about poetry.
Dublin attracted him as London had attracted Samuel Johnson and Oliver Goldsmith -- it was an intellectual capital -- kind of. It wasn't the heartland of mental and spiritual ferment that Kavanagh had visualised -- in many ways it was a petty town. Times were bad: most people were poorly paid -- and worked at jobs they deemed beneath them. There was much bitterness, born out of frustration. Kavanagh encountered back biting and front biting. In his own words, "The standing army of Irish poets was never less than five hundred." Alas -- many of them weren't poets at all. "Poets are born, not made" is an old saying. It could be rewritten as "Poets are born, not paid."

Mary Had A Little Mule

Houlihan goes on: Of course as children we loved those poems, even though we knew they were only nonsense verses. Here is my favourite.
"Mary had a little mule, one day he followed her to school.
"The teacher like a fool, went up behind the mule
"And hit it with a rule. There wasn't any school."

All Children Love Poetry

Dead Beat was wandering through the back streets of Dublin when who should he meet but his old croony Con Houlihan.

"Con," Dead Beat begins, "what's the state of Irish poetry these days. I get a bit lost being far removed in the wilds of New Brunswick."

"Thing is Dead Beat," C.H. confides, "You're an adult. Adults are best sent to New Brunswick. All children love poetry; not all grown-ups do. Somehow it gets lost on the way -- William Wordsworth explained why. It might be more correct to say that children love rhyme. Without it they would hardly be so enthralled.
We will take an example.
"Halt, halt" the robber cried
"And hand me out your riches".
"I can't, I can't" the man replied
"For I'm holding up my britches."
If you took out "britches" and put in "pants" it wouldn't be funny at all. Rhyme creates the magic.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Hudson and Horace Get Oscar Hunger

Hudson and Horace are back. It's that time of year they tell me. Oscar night approaching.

"Didn't the writers give up on that?" I ask.

Hudson shakes his head. "No, Dad. They came back for that."

"No principles!"

"You ought to know, D.B."

"Hudson! I have never, NEVER, do you hear me, prostituted my writing for fame."

"Couldn't if you tried, you mean."

"Damn you, dog, it's outside and twenty below for you tonight. I'll show you couldn't if I tried. Now out you get. OUT, I say. HUDSON... HUDSON..."

"Couldn't if you tried."

Friday, February 22, 2008

Dead Beat Hangs Out With Ginsberg and Neal Cassady

Cassady is easy to find. Dead Beat is a little more illusive. Check out behind the bookshelves.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Kissing the Blarney Stone

Dead Beat is devestated. He woke up this morning to learn that he may have lost the gift of the gab. The authenticity of the Blarney Stone has apparantly been questioned by Mark Samuel, an archaeologist and architectural historian, and Kate Hamlyn in a new book. The authors say the present stone only came into use in 1888 for health and safety reasons. Up until then, visitors wishing to kiss the stone had to be dangled from the castle by two people holding their ankles. Dead Beat will have you know that he too was dangled upside down by two people holding his ankles without the slightest health concern, not even when they let his ankles go.

Meanwhile marketing manager John Fogarty is having none of this: Mr Fogarty said that the stone is a piece of the Scone Stone, the pillow stone said to have been used by the biblical Jacob. The part of the stone that came to Blarney was given to an Irish king, Cormac MacCarthy, by Scotland's Robert the Bruce.

Cormac MacCarthy! That well known recluse. That pre-Oprah days wouldn't say a word to anyone. Well then it must be true. The stone must be a fake. And all that Mr Fogarthy, marketing manager of the Blarney Stone, says is ...well...just... blarney.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Life in the Ashram

Dead Beat remembers his time well hanging out with John and Paul and George (Ringo had already gone home for his egg and chips) in the ashram in Rishikesh, in the foothills of the Himalayas. Dressed in my best Eastern robe and sporting my best drooping moustache we sat cross-legged and wore garlands of flowers. We levitated for sure. Higher and higher.

Anyway, the Maharashi, levitated his body right out of this world this week, but his spirit soars on.

By the way, listen to Ol D.B.'s backing vocals on Sexie Sadie - never earned a cent from it - those old misers.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Bertie - The Completion is not the End

So Dead Beat has been diligent in taking his class of Double Speak 101.

"So Patrick Bart. When you said what you said, did you say what you thought you might have said?"

"Good point Dead Beat. I just took it up wrong. If it sounded any way complicated yesterday, I was just trying to make it clear. I understood from my own advisers that Revenue couldn't resolve this issue until the tribunal was over. That's what I took up from my own advisers.
And when I said that in public last week, they contacted me and said I was wrong in that. They said that it's when Revenue come to complete it. I thought completion meant 'the end'. Sorry if there was any misunderstanding."

"No misunderstanding, there is no end to this. We have all got that clear."