World Cup memories: 1990

This is the latest in my series of World Cup recollections. They’re turning out to be a snapshot of what I was up to at 4-yearly intervals. Italia ’90 strikes me as a feel good tournament for many nationalities; English, Irish, even the Scots, though apparently it is “widely regarded as one of the poorest World Cups ever” because of its low goal tally and negative tactics. But it’s not really the goals we cherish in our memories, it’s the emotions we went through, isn’t it?

Having finished my Edinburgh student days in 1989, I was now living back in Belfast and working at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in Musgrave Park Hospital of all places: a computer programmer researching the diagnostic potential of knee vibrations. Clickity, clickity. After the memory loss of the student days, my recall of events from 1990 is much clearer. Continue reading “World Cup memories: 1990”

Sunday Spotlight: The Chicken Song

For my Sunday Spotlight this week, I’m going right back to my songwriting beginnings with a song that was born back in 1985 on a Friday night in Kelly’s Cellars, Belfast. It wouldn’t be accurate to claim it as one of my songs as it was a spontaneous collaboration – a blues number that sort of wrote itself between a bunch of 18-year olds out for a bit of a laugh with a few pints and a sing song. For me, it became a fun song to belt out when the mood was right and it has endured in my repertoire down through the years.

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Sunday Spotlight: Napoleon’s Nose

In the spotlight this week is a song I wrote in my student days in 1987. Napoleon’s Nose was a deliberate attempt to add a “happy” song to my repertoire. Many people complained that I always seemed to be singing sad songs. Maybe learning Dick Gaughan’s A Different Kind of Love Song would have been a more appropriate response, as the sad songs are the best, aren’t they? But secretly I longed to sing the odd happy love song and I also thought it would be nice to have a happy song that was a celebration of my home town, Belfast, in some way. And so, Napoleon’s Nose was born.

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Napoleon's Nose / McArt's Fort / Cave Hill / Ben Madigan, Belfast
Napoleon’s Nose / McArt’s Fort / Cave Hill / Ben Madigan, Belfast

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Footsteps of James Connolly

Recorded at Shay’s Studio, April 2005

Also recorded by Patsy Mack, c1995

A hundred years before I saw the light of morn,
In Edinburgh’s Cowgate James Connolly was born.
The streets of Little Ireland were his home for many years,
From the West Port to Saint Mary’s Street, you feel him very near.

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