Thursday, 21 June 2012

A place of memory and desire, part six

On being Irish. In my dreams, anyway . . .

As I was later friends with Phil Chevron and much of the rest of the Camden Town Irish music business murphia, I suppose I got to dream that dream in a refracted but real way. Which leads me back to the Radiators’ Sound City Beat. For the first time, substance has been placed in that part of my dreamworld. I now really do have a feel for what it might have been like for me if my family had stayed in Ireland and I’d grown up in Dublin rather than London and its satellite towns.

It’s now as if I actually got to see all the bands that Phil hymns in his sleevenotes. Oh, the Hootenannys, now they were grand. And the showbands, some of your men there were real players . . .*

As fictitious as all that is, it feels like a genuine sense of completion. Thanks Phil etc. If it weren’t for you, I’d have had to consider employing the services of Rekall Incorporated. You know, the ones who guarantee they will remember it for you wholesale.

Which still, though, leaves another genuine alternative past for me, constructed from a mix of historical truths and imagined possibilities. In this one, I grow up in Liverpool, see the Beatles play the Cavern, go to the same school as Lennon and McCartney. Really, honestly, I’m not joking. It could have happened. Easily. A little decision here, a little change of mind there and that could have been my teenage life.

Also, if things had turned out a little different, I could even have grown up in Bray and, instead of being flown in from London to see the Radiators, I would have already been there, twenty-four years old and enthused about this bunch of Dublin punks coming down for a Sunday afternoon seaside show. So maybe when I did see the Radiators that day, they were also creating for me a memory I could have had. Only I didn’t yet know that.

Memory and desire. Who would want to move beyond them? Why?

* Actually, I did get to see a showband play, at a marquee show in Monstarevin. If you never got to see a showband in a country marquee show, you missed something, believe. Another band played that night, too, for the younger people. Maybe it was the Horslips, maybe Thin Lizzy. I can’t be sure. But I am sure that, myself aside, they were the only ones there with shoulder-length hair. Such things mattered, of course.

Next My cursed contribution to the Euro championships. I pose and answer the question: if Euro 2012 was based not on football but swearing prowess, who would win? Later today, the first quarter final: Czech vs Portugal.

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