You Always Remember Your First . .

A collection of some of the milestones in my life, some important, some quirky!

First memory . . in a cot in my parents room, playing cars by driving my fingers around the blanket . . into transport and machinery even before I could walk!

First (earliest) memory that I can specifically date: the night before my third birthday, travelling down to Mitchelstown in our old Ford 100E sitting on my mother’s lap. The alternator/dynamo was failing and the car lights were dimming . . I remember being carried up the boreen to my great grandfathers farmhouse at midnight after we had broken down just short of our destination. Then I remember my third birthday itself, and my Great Uncle Billy telling me I was a “big boy” and giving me a toy tractor to play with.

First book read. .  Can’t remember what was first, but I was an avid reader. I was really into Greek mythology as a child, and had read the Illiad and Odyssey by the age of 8.

First girlfriend . . When I was only about 6 I had a thing for Laura from down the road. Start as you mean to go on!

First time on TV . . There exists in the RTE Archives some footage of a nine-year-old me wandering through a field in Kerry picking blackberries, as part of a “Landmark” special on farmhouse holidays.

First record bought . . Jeff Wayne “Forever Autumn” from War of the Worlds, in 1978.

First Kiss . . Maggie from New Cross, where are you?

First dance . . some very kind Co. Clare woman took pity on me when I was all alone at the disco on our school trip to The Burren, and whisked me around the floor to the envy of my classmates. I can still remember the smell of her hair . .

First proper job . . (excluding working in the family business), my first actual job was a week as a door to door salesman in 1982. I must have have knocked on half the doors in Dublin, and made only £13 in commission before giving it up.

First car . . A lovely Fiat 500 passed down from my mother. If cars could talk, it would have a tale or two to tell!

First heartbreak . . Yes, it’s Maggie from New Cross again. If you want to know what went wrong, see pages 11/12 of Shiprocked, Life On The Waves With Radio Caroline.  It’s true, I really was that innocent!

First record I played on the radio . . Joan Jett – “Bad Reputation”  (on South East Sound, July 1985)

First record I played on Radio Caroline . . Percy Sledge – “When A Man Loves A Woman”

First time abroad . . England for the 1966 World Cup. (actually it was my Dad who went for the football, I was just a toddler).

First words written to start writing the book (that became Shiprocked) . . “The call came at the worst possible time . .”  (Later I realised that I needed more background about what had happened leading up to my joining Caroline, so that first line written is now many pages into the finished version).

First Draft (of Shiprocked) . . 225,000 words. Redrafted on my own account to 176,000 words to tighten up. But then cut down to 90,000 words for publication . . that was tough!

First (of many!) rejection letters . . 1993 from an agent in London. It would be another 15 years and many more rejections before I came across Seven Towers Agency, who have been utterly brilliant in supporting me, and in refusing to take no for an answer.

First interview as a published author . . The day Shiprocked was published, I was interviewed by Sinead Ni Mhordha on Phantom’s Access All Areas show. I was used to hearing Sinead interview great rock bands, and was just blown away that she was interviewing me. Forget TV3 forget The irish Times, it was sitting across the desk from Sinead that I really felt like I’d arrived!

First show on Phantom . . November 2000, the breakfast show. I started with a news bulletin, so my very first words on air were to inform the world that George W Bush had just been confirmed president following the final court hearing into vote counts. My first record was Greenday – “Minority” – as good a musicical start as any!

That’s it for now – let’s hope I have many more “firsts” still to come.

Steve


Feb 2009 events from Seven Towers

Seven Towers, the Dublin-based publisher and literary agency have a host of events taking place throughout February 2009, in addition to their regular “Last Wednesday” open mic night.

Seven Towers represent me for my forthcoming book “Shiprocked – Life On The Waves With Radio Caroline” which will be published by Liberties Press on March 31st, and I’ll be reading passages from the book at a number of these events.

Highlights for the month:

Wednesday 11th February 9-10 am – Hear Eamon Carr – acclaimed poet, musician and broadcaster and author of The Origami Crow, Journey into Japan, Word Cup Summer 2002 chatting with Dave Fanning on The Tubridy show – about Beat poets, and other interesting happenings – including the publication of Eamon’s first book, the aforementioned The Origami Crow.

 First themed reading of 09 Chapters of Parnell Street, Dublin 12 Feb 6.30pm – Valentine’s reading – ‘My love is like . . . ‘ with Barbara Smith, Steve Conway, Oran Ryan, Noel Ó Briain, Ross Hattaway, Anne Moran, Catherine Ann Cullen.

 And for anyone spending a Valentine’s weekend in Kerry, there will be a Census launch and Valentine’s reading on the theme of Love and Chocolate in Rueben’s Cafe on Ashe St in Tralee at 2.30 on Sat 14th Feb, with Oran Ryan, Steve Conway, Noel King, John W Sexton, Tommy Frank O’Connor, Eileen Sheehan.

 On 18th February  (1.15 Chapters of Parnell Street) the lunchtime reading will feature bi-lingual poet Greagoir Ó Duill  and Donal Moloney.

 Keep an eye out for other events – including 24th Feb 9pm – RÁ performance poetry event at with Raven and Sweeney and special guest this month is London performance poet and rapper Martin Dawes.

 And on  23rd February at O Bheal in the Upstairs at The Long Valley, Winthrop Street, Cork, Eamonn Lynskey will be reading and performing.

 And on 25th February the Last Wednesday Series Reading and Open Mic at Cassidy’s of Westmorland Street, Dublin, featuring a full lineup of Seven Towers writers and guests. Regular readers include Oran Ryan, Ross Hathaway, Steve Conway, Noel O’Brien, Eamon Lynsky, Donal Moloney and more.  Doors open 7pm, admission free, all welcome.

Further details of Seven Towers events at www.seventowers.ie

Steve


Naked Ida and Other Unbalanced Songs


Ida Maria’s song I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked has been around for a few weeks now, and shows no signs of growing stale. I’ve heard a few other tracks from the debut album, and must sit down and listen to the whole thing soon.

The song is catchy, but what I really like is the attention to detail in the lyrics.

Ida’s singing helps reinforce the image of the protagonist of the song as a little flakey, but it’s the unbalanced lyric in the chorus that really seals the deal.

“I like you so much better when you’re naked

I like me so much better when you’re naked”

The line catches you out, because you expect her to follow from the preceeding like by liking herself much better when she herself is naked. The fact it is still about him being naked changes it from a general appreciation of nakedness or fun, to a signal of her discomfort with social as opposed to sexual intercourse – the latter is a situation she can cope with, so his nakedness puts her back in the comfort zone.

Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I like the lyrical device in any case.

It reminds me of another “unbalanced lyric” in a song by Canadian artist Amanda Marshall, in the song I Believe In You. Marshall sings about how “I Believe In You” and then demands in return that “You Believe In You” when we might have expected the reciprocation to be that “you believe in me“.

It highlights the unselfish nature of the love being offered in the song, and again catches my attention as a great lyrical hook.

Steve