My latest play, now available as a paperback & ebook on Amazon.
PUT YOUR SWEET LIPS…set in the summer of 1963, this play tells the tale of the formation of THE YOUNG DEVILS showband. Formed by a group of youths who work in the packing room of the local mill, and beset by rivalries and petty jealousies, the group at last seem to be on the road to success when they are joined by a new female lead singer from London. Sandra, however, is more than they bargained for, and after a chaotic concert they fall foul of both the parish priest and the parish council. The ensuing squabbling reveals the skeletons in the various cupboards, culminating in an act of violence that leaves a mark on each of the band members.
Did you ever hear about Cocaine Lil?
She lived in Cocaine town on Cocaine hill,
She had a cocaine dog and a cocaine cat,
They fought all night with a cocaine rat.
She had cocaine hair on her cocaine head.
She had a cocaine dress that was poppy red:
She wore a snowbird hat and sleigh-riding clothes,
On her coat she wore a crimson, cocaine rose.
Big gold chariots on the Milky Way,
Snakes and elephants silver and gray.
Oh the cocaine blues they make me sad,
Oh the cocaine blues make me feel bad.
Lil went to a snow party one cold night,
And the way she sniffed was sure a fright.
There was Hophead Mag with Dopey Slim,
Kankakee Liz and Yen Shee Jim.
There was Morphine Sue and the Poppy Face Kid,
Climbed up snow ladders and down they skid;
There was the Stepladder Kit, a good six feet,
And the Sleigh-riding Sister who were hard to beat.
Along in the morning about half past three
They were all lit up like a Christmas tree;
Lil got home and started for bed,
Took another sniff and it knocked her dead.
They laid her out in her cocaine clothes:
She wore a snowbird hat with a crimson rose;
On her headstone you’ll find this refrain:
She died as she lived, sniffing cocaine
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
That woman’s days were spent
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights in argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers
When, young and beautiful,
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school
And rode our winged horse;
This other his helper and friend
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,
So sensitive his nature seemed,
So daring and sweet his thought.
This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
A terrible beauty is born.
Hearts with one purpose alone
Through summer and winter seem
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road.
The rider, the birds that range
From cloud to tumbling cloud,
Minute by minute they change;
A shadow of cloud on the stream
Changes minute by minute;
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,
And a horse plashes within it;
The long-legged moor-hens dive,
And hens to moor-cocks call;
Minute by minute they live:
The stone’s in the midst of all.
Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven’s part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse –
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
This old photo – courtesy of Waterford Co. Museum – show locals enjoying their bottles of Guinness in Ciss Kirwan’s pub in Bonmahon Co Waterford, Ireland c 1950. I grew up not half a dozen miles from Bonmahon, and I think it is my favourite spot in the world. Well it was until we visited LA last year! A seaside village in what is now called The Copper Coast region, it was in its heyday in the 19th C a thriving copper-mining area. Then the copper ran out and all that eventually was left was a warren of mineshafts and a decaying main street where most of the houses had either fallen down or were knocked down. Once the copper had gone most of the people left too.
I t was our mecca in the summer though; we cycled there most Summer Sundays, content to play football and other games…
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“New York is a giant sinking pile of crap compared to what it used to be. Literally sinking, now that the waters rise much more quickly, the winds blow even much harder that the scientists predicted. Lately I like to imagine that I will have the privelige of seeing in my lifetime real estate values in the city plunge wildly, in free fall, as Climate Events force Permanent Visitors to admit that they pay top dollar to perch on a coastal landfill…”
This is Rebecca Wolf writing in Goodbye To All That, a compilation of stories written by current and past NY dwellers, most of them telling how the city ruined their lives. My view is that they themselves ruined their lives; never before have I come across such a bunch of neurotic, self-obsessed third-raters, who couldn’t make it no matter where they perched their scrawny arses. New york…New York…