HISTORY LESSONS

 

HISTORY LESSONS by Tom O’Brien

 Ring of Kerry, Lackendaragh

Fachta Finn and Gougane Barra

Ollam, Piper, Beann a Ti

Farmer, Fiddler and Land-Lease

Viking, Norman and Wild Geese

Erimon and Fionn Macool

De Danann and No Home Rule

 

Clonmacnois and The Dail

Men of Erin, Fianna Fail

Democrats and Labour too

Gombeen men, the Dublin Zoo

Loonies, Moonies, Lords and Serfs

Poets, Painters, Suffragettes

Cowboy Pictures, Travelling Shows

Ceoltas Dancing, Frightening Crows

 

Tyrone, Tyrconnell, Red Hugh and Owen Roe

Cromwell, Robert Emmett, Dev and Strongbow

Pearse, Kevin Barry, Colm Cille, Maud Gonne

St Patrick, St Brigid, Mac Murrough, Wolf Tone

 

Aonach, Feis, Connemara

Irelands Own and Hill of Tara

Rock n Roll and fireside stories

Sorse Eireann and Mickey Magories

The Colleen Bawn, O’Donnell Abu

Leprechauns and Faeries too

Bloody Sunday, Black and Tans

Easter Rising, Bobby Sands

Oisin, Cormac, Tigernach

Cashel, Cratloe and Armagh

The Hills of Tullow, Conor Pass

Sarsfields Ride and Dorans Ass

The Croppy Boy and Ninety Eight

Sassanach and Fenian blade

The Clipper Carlton, Dicky Rock

St Stephens Green and Glendalough

 

Kilmainham, Kilmichael, Kilwarden, Kinsale

Dungannon, Dunmore, Enistymon, Rathkeale,

Fedelm, Eithne, Aofi, Kathleen

The Shamrock, the Harp, the Flute and Crubeen

Master McGrath and Brian Boru

Famine, Firbolgs, the H Blocks too

Ard Ri, Mountjoy, Parnell and Rynanna

Step-dancing, Morris Minors, Big Tom and Setanta

 

Tir Na Nog, the Galway Blazers

Bord Na Mona, Macs Smile razors

Mummers, Druids, Unionists

Catholics, Jews, Adventists

Malin Head and Poitin stills

Ikes and Mikes, the Book of Kells

Shannon, Suir, Boyne and Nore

The Gallowglass and Take The Floor

 

Blackleg, Wrenboy, Blackshirt, Whitethorn

Whiteboy, Boycott, Blueshirt, Blackthorn

Plantation, Emancipation, Emigration, Liberation

O’Connell, O’Brien, O’Hanlon, One Nation

Cuchullian, Rebellion, the Taylor and Ansty

B Behan, O’Casey, Riverdance and Planxty

Sean T, Mick Del, Sean Kelly, Glenroe

James Joyce, Christy Ring, Arkle and Mick’O

 

IRA, BBC

UVF, RTE

IRA and UCC

LDF and IRB

ICA and ESB

GAA and C of E

Saints and sinners

C’est la vie

Everyone is you and me.

 

PISS FACTORY by PATTI SMITH

Piss Factory” by Patti Smith
Sixteen and time to pay off
I got this job in a piss factory inspecting pipe
Forty hours thirty-six dollars a week
But it’s a paycheck, Jack.
It’s so hot in here, hot like Sahara
You could faint in the heat
But these bitches are just too lame to understand
Too goddamned grateful to get this job
To know they’re getting screwed up the ass
All these women they got no teeth or gum or cranium
And the way they suck hot sausage
But me well I wasn’t sayin’ too much neither
I was moral school girl hard-working asshole
I figured I was speedo motorcycle
I had to earn my dough, had to earn my dough

But no you gotta, you gotta (relate, babe,)
You gotta find the rhythm within
Floor boss slides up to me and he says
“Hey sister, you just movin’ too fast,
You screwin’ up the quota,
You doin’ your piece work too fast,
Now you get off your mustang sally
You ain’t goin’ nowhere, you ain’t goin’ nowhere.”
I lay back. I get my nerve up. I take a swig of Romilar
And walk up to hot shit Dot Hook and I say
“Hey, hey sister it don’t matter whether I do labor fast or slow,
There’s always more labor after.”
She’s real Catholic, see. She fingers her cross and she says
“There’s one reason. There’s one reason.
You do it my way or I push your face in.
We knee you in the john if you don’t get off your get off your mustang Sally,
If you don’t shake it up baby.” Shake it up, baby. Twist & shout”
Oh that I could will a radio here. James Brown singing
“I Lost Someone” or the Jesters and the Paragons
And Georgie Woods the guy with the goods and Guided Missiles …
But no, I got nothin’, no diversion, no window,
Nothing here but a porthole in the plaster, in the plaster,
Where I look down, look at sweet Theresa’s convent
All those nurses, all those nuns scattin’ ’round
With their bloom hoods like cats in mourning.
Oh to me they, you know, to me they look pretty damn free down there
Down there not having crystal smooth
Not having to smooth those hands against hot steel
Not having to worry about the (inspeed) the dogma the (inspeed) of labor
They look pretty damn free down there,
And the way they smell, the way they smell
And here I gotta be up here smellin’ Dot Hook’s midwife sweat
I would rather smell the way boys smell–
Oh those schoolboys the way their legs flap under the desks in study hall
That odor rising roses and ammonia
And way their dicks droop like lilacs
Or the way they smell that forbidden acrid smell
But no I got, I got pink clammy lady in my nostril
Her against the wheel me against the wheel
Oh slow motion inspection is drivin’ me insane
In steel next to Dot Hook — oh we may look the same–
Shoulder to shoulder sweatin’ 110 degrees
But I will never faint, I will never faint

DRINKERS WITH WRITING PROBLEMS

My Writing Life

Image

BRENDAN BEHAN, seen here with Harpo Marx, often said ‘ I’m not a writer with a drinking problem, I’m a drinker with a writing problem’. His brother, Brian, saw it slightly differently;   ‘What Brendan really was was a painter with a writing problem. No matter in what country of the globe he resided, or how many luminaries he met, the would always be a painter in his soul . If he had remained one for his livelihood, he could still be alive today’. In other words it was the fame that killed him just as much as the drink.

This is a poem that Dominic O’Riordan wrote about Brendan

I remember him riding the air

A mixture of Puck and the goban Saor

With ruffled shirt and hair astray

In Grafton Street on a gusty day

Respectable gents and maiden aunts

Held tightly in their briefs and pants

Lest their bowels…

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SECRET CHILD

My Writing Life

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I have just completed adapting the book SECRET CHILD, written by Gordon Lewis, to a stage play. SECRET CHILD is a true story, set in Dublin of the 1950’s and London of the 1960’s, and was published to great acclaim by Harper Collins in 2015.                                                  It tells the story of Gordon, a young boy born an ‘unfortunate’ onto the rough streets of 1950s Dublin and raised as as secret child in a home for unmarried mothers.  His mother was so determined to keep her child, she hid him from her own family and the rest of the world for nine years.

Despite the poverty, hardship and isolation, the pride and hope of this small community of women gave this boy the courage to dream and made…

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JOHN MARTYN -May You Never

John Martyn – May You Never

from album: Solid Air (1973)
May you never lay your head down without a hand to hold
May you never make your bed out in the cold
Verse 1
Your just like a great strong brother of mine and you know that I love you true
You never talk dirty behind my back and I know there are those that do
Won’t you please, won’t you please, won’t you bear in mind
Love is a lesson to learn in our time
Won’t you please won’t please won’t you bear in mind for me
May you never lay your head down without a hand to hold
May you never make your bed out in the cold
Verse 2
And your just like a good warm sister me and you know that I love you true
You hold no blade to stab me in the back and I know that some do
Won’t you please won’t you please won’t you bear in mind
Life is a lesson to learn in our time
Won’t you please won’t you please won’t you bear it mind for me
May you never lay your head down without a hand to hold
May you never make your bed out in the cold
Repeat verse 1
May you never lose your temper if you get hit in a bar room fight
May you never lose your woman over night
May you never lay your head down without a hand to hold
May you never make your bed out in the cold
May you never lose your temper if you get hit in a bar room fight
May you never lose your woman over night

SECRET CHILD

81IwXo3pVSL._AC_UL436_

I have just completed adapting the book SECRET CHILD, written by Gordon Lewis, to a stage play. SECRET CHILD is a true story, set in Dublin of the 1950’s and London of the 1960’s, and was published to great acclaim by Harper Collins in 2015.                                                  It tells the story of Gordon, a young boy born an ‘unfortunate’ onto the rough streets of 1950s Dublin and raised as as secret child in a home for unmarried mothers.  His mother was so determined to keep her child, she hid him from her own family and the rest of the world for nine years.

Despite the poverty, hardship and isolation, the pride and hope of this small community of women gave this boy the courage to dream and made anything seem possible.

The play will have a rehearsed reading  at the London Irish Centre, Camden, London NWI,  on Friday 9th August at 2.30pm – directed by John Dunne –  with hopefully a full production  later in the year. Watch this space!!

Below is a short video based on the book which received world-wide attention and won many awards at various film festivals all over UK, Europe and Worldwide.

https://www.secretchild.com/

 

 

A LOAF OF BREAD AND A CAN OF SPECIAL BREW

My Writing Life

 

A LOAF OF BREAD AND A CAN OF SPECIAL BREW

 He sat on a seafront  pew
A loaf of bread and a can of Special Brew
By his side
Speaking to someone who wasn’t there.
Though these day you can never tell
Whether they are or not;
He may have had a mobile phone in his ear.
Then he spoke to me;
What are you fucking looking at, blue?
Yeah, I thought, that figures

And a happy New Year to you too!                                                                                                    

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