Author: Pierce

Leaving on a Jet Plane (Turner and Kirwan of Wexford)

It was a cold lonely feeling, to get dropped off on a rainy Monday in January at the tall wall of Rosslare Harbour by my Sister Bernie, and her Husband Dave. It was good of them to take us there, but we had already said goodbye to everyone and now we just wanted to pursue our dreams and forget the lament of leaving. We would like to have just slipped away while they were parking the car, but of course we wouldn’t. And so we waved goodbye from the lofty gangplank, my heart in my boots, and seeing in my Sister’s brave smile -the childhood that made me what I was – our deep closeness and passion as a family – yet another tare in the umbilical chord, a step further away from the womb.   Once we got inside the brightly lit Boat, the sadness began to ebb and soon enough we were making jokes and yapping to strangers- eating our sandwiches. We are animals after all, and after we are pulled away from our loved ones, we soon look around for the nearest comfort.

It’s only a short distance from Rosslare in the South East of Ireland to Fishguard Wales, thirty miles or so! But it took us three hours to do it. Shuffling between the Boat to the train on that cold damp Welsh night, the official wooden buildings looked more like sheds. It brought to mind Death Camp Movies from the Second World War. The night train smelled of tiredness and second hand Guinness.   Compartments were lit with low wattage light bulbs, giving it all a soft amberness. There was a hissing noise coming from under the seat, I reached down close to see if it was producing any heat. Unfortunately the heat was just being turned on as we entered; too bad, because that meant adding “cold” to all the above descriptions. This one element, made the difference between quaintness and depravation.

It was a harrowing six – hour train journey from Fishguard to London. I tried to sleep, but the padded seating was hard and covered with coarse material. All I could do was listen to the chugging of the train, a repetitive glitch, like a needle stuck on vinyl. A pleasant murmuring of men talking in Irish accents sprinkled with London-ese hummed like a haunting wind over the percussion of the tracks, there was an air of resignation in their manner, the fun was over, their fate was sealed, back to work, back to being alone with the lonely. Cigarettes were generously shared, and it was a comfort for me to hear them comforting each other. Most of them were married men heading back to England, after Christmas, where they worked to support their Families. They, in part, were the reason that I was going to America not the U.K.- All my life I had seen the sadness of their departure at the Railway Station in Wexford. Just as I would find myself drifting off, a smokers cough would jolt me back. There was a noticeable absence of female voices, where were the sopranos? Where was that brightness? The murmuring droned on, it sounded like a long Catholic Confessional, a requiem I would one day write.

We stopped over in London for a few days with two platonic Wexford women that we knew, we fancied em alright, but knew we shouldn’t, or maybe that they wouldn’t.   Jackie Hayden from Polydor Records in Dublin had arranged a meeting for us with an English A & R man from the same label. He sat us down in his small office and listened to our demo tape over a cup of tea. One particular song struck his fancy “A star shone over Belfast” which sounded a bit like the Bee Gees from their baroque period. He seemed to think we had some real potential. We were delighted, and came to the ludicrous conclusion that if he liked it, they would surely love it in America. Packing up our tapes, we thanked him and bade him adieu.

The next day we were on our way to Heathrow where we hopped on a plane bound for New York. There was great excitement on the way across. We had taken sleeping pills at our Doctors recommendation, however we were too excited to sleep, so they seemed to have a reverse effect, making us very lively. Larry had been to America before, so I made him re-tell stories about that experience all over again. I wrung every nuance out of his descriptions and we conjectured liberally on the brand new world laid before us, two young lads in their early twenties

As we were circling over JFK in the January snow, the pilot addressed us in his in his American twang.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to New York, we expect to land within the next fifteen minutes or so. At minus five degrees Fahrenheit it certainly is cold down there, so I hope you get home to your warm beds all safe and sound, as soon as possible, thank you for flying with us. And hope to see you again”

 

Larry turned to me surreptitiously.

 

“Do you know where we’re going to stay?”

 

“Ha?…… I thought you knew where we were going to stay!”

 

“No, I don’t know where we’re staying” he shrugged

 

“But I don’t know where, do I?” Panic was creeping in now.

 

And so began a relationship based on supposition that was to last for many years.

 

Our cheap, but precious guitars came off the carousel miraculously in one piece. It never even crossed our minds that they should be in travel cases. Our cases were made from some kind of thick cardboard with a faux black leather finish, held together by white nylon saddle stitching. The instruments were typical of what young fellas played in Ireland at that time. Close in visual resemblance to a Gibson, but beyond that there was nothing similar. The strings were so far out from the fret board it was almost impossible to play bar chords, so most of us didn’t. The sound was crude and hollow. Very few musicians in Ireland could afford professional instruments. By ratio of the average wage, the prices were ludicrous. A fender Stratocaster cost around six hundred pounds and a married man’s weekly wage was averaging twenty-one pounds at the time.   I had bought a Hohner Organ when I was seventeen on hire purchase from the local Furniture store. It cost six hundred pounds and I was still paying for it a year after it died. Organs were even more expensive than guitars, I should have been buying the sexy Vox Continental with its reverse couloured keys, I had seen my favourite English and American Bands playing them on T.V. But that was more like eleven hundred pounds, and I didn’t even know a shop that had it in stock. Even though I was a professional musician, I couldn’t afford a professional instrument and it wasn’t rare to see imitation Fenders and Vox’s being used by talented musicians.

 

Once we got our guitars and half empty suitcases, we took them through customs. Big serious looking men, with crew cuts and holstered guns. I was shaking with fear, never having seen a real gun before. They weren’t too friendly either and gave us a long hard look, before stamping the passports. We had business visas, which allowed us to work, but not to earn money. Jackie Hayden from Polydor Ireland had written us a letter saying we were going to America to scout for him or something ambiguous like that. We had to show them our four hundred saved dollars, declaring them as our living expenses.

 

There was so much to take in at the arrival hall, I found myself unconsciously stopping, to look around, Larry had to come back for me and jolt me to awareness, reminding me that this was New York and it was not good to be seen looking awestruck.

 

We found a bank of public telephones, and I pulled a crumpled piece of paper from my under stuffed wallet. Dave Heenan had been the lead singer in y last Band “The Arrows” and had given me his number in case I should ever come to New York. Perhaps Larry and I had been hatching our plans at the time, I don’t know, but I kept his number safely and Larry knew that I had it. I presume it was supposed by him, tacitly, that we would stay with Dave on our first night. Thankfully Dave was full of “wows” and “are you kidding me?…. no problem!”

 

“Of course you can stay with us tonight! Renee it’s Pierce from the Arrows, he’s at the airport with his friend Larry” I could hear Renee giving a hospitable wow in the background, Dave returned to firmly confide his directions.

 

“Go straight out to the Taxi rank and tell him to take you to Washington Square in Manhattan, tell him to take the Tunnel and that you’ll give him no more than twenee dollars! Act like you know what you’re talking about, or those scumbags will rip you off, don’t forget , through the Tunnel and no more than twenee dollars”

 

It was like Calcutta outside, chaotic traffic, Policemen whistling angrily at cars as frantically loaded suitcases and scrambled to leave. We went over to the long line of yellow cabs. I explained in my thick Wexford accent to the first driver at the head of the Queue.

“We’re goin to Washin-tin Square in Min-hattin, I’ll give you twenty dollars, and ye haff te go tru de Tunnel dough”

“ Are you kiddin me buddy?” he snapped. I found myself in retreat, I wasn’t counting on an argument with a New York Taxi driver the minute I got off the Plane. He was a short stocky bloke wearing an old greasy army jacket which seemed to be stuffed with several layers bursting underneath. His small head sat on top with a peak cap pulled over his wild black curly hair. He talked from the corner of his mouth and the words seemed to fall out rather than travel direct.

“Hey Dommy, kim-ay” He beckoned with a cupped hand.

“Tell Dese guys how it woyks, they want to gimme twenee dollas for the ride to Manhattan”

“It’s whateva is on the Meedah Buddy” Tommy wearily replied.

“Well we can’t gi ye enny more dan twenty dollars” I mumbled.

They looked at each other in astonishment. You could tell that this was a familiar battle for them, yet we seemed to be presenting a new slant on the idea. I later found out that some Airport Taxis had been caught driving Japanese customers all over the place and charging them two hundred dollars off the meter. So now they all got tarred with the same brush. However, in retrospect, I think these guys were actually on the level, or forced to be, by Dave’s preventative instructions.

He beckons another driver who is now showing an interest.

“Yo Sandy c’mere! Listen to dese Guy’sss,….gwan kid, tell him what ye sayin!”

Sandy appeared to be about six foot four, and appraising us suspiciously, was clearly not in the mood for us little hippy foreigners.

“well I wuss just explainin to him, dat we want to go tru the Tunnel and dat we’ll pay twenty dollars” I said, reluctantly following the command.

Sandy spat out.

“Waddaye tawkin about? It makes NO DIFFERENCE BUDDY!!!!! Dru the Dunnel or over the bridge, I’m tellin ye, da money is on da meeddaa!!!

 

We were now causing a bit of a scene, people were waiting behind us on the queue, several Taxi drivers had come forward to voice their annoyance. Larry and I decided we might need to confer, we pulled off to one side.

“Jasus, I don’t know? They all seem very annoyed don’t they. Maybe we better give in”

Larry had been thinking the same thing.

“Ok Den” I relented to our cabbie, now looking at us like we were a case study, quizzically cocking his head from side, incredulously inviting agreement from the rest of the motley crew.

“Can we put our stuff in da boot den?”

“Excuse me?”

“Would it be ok if we trow or stuff in da boot?”

“I don’t know what yer talkin bout Buddy”

I put my hand on the back of the cab and said.

“Can we put our stuff in here?”

“Oh, oh, in the Trunk? Sure”

He reached inside the cab and popped it open. We slid in on the well – worn leather seat.

“Em…what’s this I was goin ta say? Don’t forget to go tru the Tunnel dough…please”

 

Glasgow next Friday at the Celtic Connections Festival, The Tron Theatre 8pm  – I’m really looking forward to it, hope you are too.  Love Pierce xx

More adventures of that poor little car

This is Not the Renault 5, an Austin I think from the 50’s or 60’s?

I’m not complaining or anything, maybe the amount of odd things that have happened to me concerning cars are just par for the course after several years of involvement with the four rubbered buggers. However the following is one of the more bizarre events that could happen to anyone through absolutely no fault of their own.

It all happened on a cold wet December night, we were fast asleep up on the third floor of our friend Dot Boswell’s house in London. I had played a gig the night before at a club called Ocean in Hackney. I find it hard to sleep after gigs, so when the moment comes, it’s nice if there are no disturbances, if the delicate balance is scuppered and a thought slips in, it doesn’t take long for one thought to couple with another, and before I can scream stop! to myself, there will be a football field of thoughts running amok in my head. Often this happens because of something relatively minor. A small sound, or a rogue ray of light will do it, so a gunshot would be more than enough I’m sure you can imagine.

I do know what a gunshot sounds like. I played in Northern Ireland as a teenager and witnessed a violent stand off between the police and protesting Catholics, quickly discovering my sprinting talents, when a smoking canister landed near my feet. I also remember kissing a Belfast girl when a bomb went off in the distance, the ground rumbled with manmade thunder. Another time – as I sat in a New York taxi on the corner of 12th Street and 1st Avenue – two guys started shooting at each other across the street behind me, it still seems imagined, I don’t recall even mentioning it to the taxi driver, the light changed, we moved on. So when I awakened in London to the sound of multiple rounds being squeezed out in rapid succession, I leapt out of that bed like a trained marine, taking cover behind the wall as I sneaked a look through the window for the source of my alarm.

I could hear the crunch of shattered glass and people shouting, what could it be? A shoot out between the police and who? It couldn’t be the IRA, that was all over, this was the 90s! There was something different about the sound, it wasn’t the same kind of pop that I had heard from past gunshot sounds (listen to me, I sound like a seasoned veteran) these eruptions were bigger and differed in volume, five or six in consecutive, then after a moment’s silence, a far bigger bang. All that breaking glass made it sound like there was a specific target that was being mercilessly hammered, I had to get a better look. I looked over at Clare, she was fast asleep under the covers without a care in the world, there didn’t seem to be any movement downstairs either, Dot and twelve-year old Jack were slumbering away. Lights began to reflect on the ceiling, the way they swirled suggested the police or an ambulance. My guitar was nearby in its travel case “not a bad idea, they say those cases are so strong that you could drop them from the top of a six story building, might it be bulletproof?” My curiosity was now superseding all rationale (See? This is how bravery comes to be, mindless curiosity!) I turned the case upside down so that the big part was at the top and peaked around the edge using it as a shield. Down to the left, blocking off the street was a parked fire engine with its yellow emergency lights oscillating frantically. The sight of a friendly authority gave me the courage to seek out the source of the commotion.

There it was down below in the middle of the road, a massive crater stretching across its full width and at the centre, a water eruption jetting with great power towards the sky, it had effortlessly ripped its way through the multiple layers of dirt, stones and tar that had been withholding it for many years beneath the ground, all those layers were now been dispersed every which way and not in a benign fashion, but with titanic force! Loud explosions were followed by the sound of damage being inflicted on their haphazard victims. Innocent by-standing cars parked over night along the perimeter were being mercilessly hammered with large stones travelling at frightening velocity. But one car in particular was getting the brunt of it all, bouncing on its springs, recoiling from each wounding blow, the roof dented, only barely hanging on. It was our poor little defenceless Renault 5. I hurriedly took the car keys off the side table, threw on a pair of trousers and shoes, ran down the stairs grabbing Dot’s PVC raincoat from her hallstand, put the heavy Georgian door on its latch, and ran to the edge of the danger. I stood there with my hood up grimacing from the downpour and helplessly watching the poor little Renault, I had to save it, there was still time, it was rescue-able surely! We were driving back to Ireland in the morning, I had to save it. The fire brigade!!! I ran up to it at the top of the street. Inside of the dark cabin, a fireman peered down towards me with a retired expression, he steadily lowered the window. I knew he was trying to calm me with his demeanour, and he partly did, but I still attempted to make him feel the urgency of what I was experiencing, regardless of his outgoing futility.

“Hello! That car over there getting most of the pounding, that grey Renault, is mine, can I get in there and drive it out of there, do you think?”

“Oh, sorry to hear that, no I’m afraid I can’t allow you to go near it, it’s a burst water main, very dangerous, we have had fatalities with these situations before”

The other fire men sitting behind him dressed in theit full gear, seemed curious about my dilemma and maybe my half Irish, half American accent. It seems to become more American when I am in a neutral country like England, not sure which way to go, it can choose either direction, sometimes in the middle of a sentence.

“Really!! But we are driving to Ireland in the morning” I pleaded; now almost talking to myself.

“We really can’t do anything until Thames Water arrives I’m afraid”

He was polite but firm. They seemed almost bored with this trivia, it looked like they would be sitting there all night with their arms folded, one face peering from behind him seemed incredulous, I supposed it was for my willingness to brave the flying rocks, in order to save a car.

I turned to face the scene in disbelief; the damage was increasing with every passing moment. The front windscreen was now battered in, the mirrors were smashed and the water was pouring in through the back window, this mains burst seemed intent on putting all its might into destroying Clare’s precious Renault 5, the first car she had ever bought brand new, it was her baby she said. She loved that car.

The next morning I broke the news to Clare, we looked out the window at the devastation, she took it well, considering, the spectacle of it all blew the setback out of the water – so to speak. Jack ran to get his camera and photographed the car from every angle. We were surprised that the engine started, but the stench inside was horrendous, it smelled like the bottom of the Thames. At that point the car was about ten years old, so the insurance company scoffed at the idea of mending it. We, however were still intent on fixing it up and driving to Ireland, after a few phone calls we found a place in Wembley, a long way from Dot’s house in Primrose Hill. We covered the side windows with plastic and tape and drove there without a windscreen. Other drivers looked down their noses at us as we shivered along, lowly beggars driving in a battered tin can. The seats were soaked in water, so we covered them with black garbage bags, there was one saving grace, the radio worked! so we listened to music at least as we brazened our way through the heavy London traffic.

Once we got the windows fixed we packed her up and headed off on the five hour journey to the Irish ferry in Fishguard, Wales.

I suppose we got used to the smell, but we had very uncomfortable sweaty bottoms from the garbage bags, I began to feel like a fish, humidity was everywhere. That cute little car, Clare’s baby, was now a holy show. There was no shortage of comical comments in Wexford when we got there “Were you in a shoot out?” “I’d like to see the other car!”

That poor car, just wasn’t meant to go to Wexford.

Love Pierce xxx

Please say something, squawk or squeal, inspire me, humour me.

Glasgow Tron Theatre January 20th as part of the Celtic Connections Festival.

The Seamus Ennis Centre Naul Co Dublin Feb 4th (last gig this tour)

Fergus’s Tractor and the Christmas Geese

Come to Glasgow’s Celtic Connection Festival on Jan 20th – first time I’ve played there in years.

http://www.celticconnections.com/events/Pages/event.aspx?ev=d19ab5be-59e5-4789-90f7-a6a601314b39

Seamus Ennis Centre Naul, Fingle Co Dublin Sat Dec 4th last Gig this tour.

 

Fergus’s Tractor and the Christmas Geese.

It was Christmas 1988, I had flown from New York to London to do a photo session and talk over promo plans for my up and coming album “The Sky and The Ground” I stayed with Clare at her London flat in Holborn. We were now a couple and planned on our first Christmas together. Once the tasks were all wrapped up, the presents purchased and dispatched and the cards in the mail, we loaded up the Renault 5 with everything we could possibly fit in her, including a portable TV and more than ample food supplies. We knew that we would be staying in my family home on the Wexford Quay, an unoccupied three story house with all the furnishing and curtains intact, almost as if my parents still lived there, a ghost house I suppose, but with remnants still of Molly and Jem’s warmth and all the songs, laughter and love that had permeated it’s walls. There would be scant luxury, it had electricity and that was it, it would be a bit like camping. But we’d be fine, we were young lovers and the idea of basing ourselves in the large 2nd floor sitting room with windows looking out over the bay and a blazing fire in the hearth seemed both romantic and bohemian. So off we set for Fishguard Wales where we would board the ferry for Rosslare Harbour just eleven miles outside my home town of Wexford.

 

It takes about five hours to get to Fishguard and another four on the ferry, even though the latter is only a distance of thirty miles. So altogether it takes close to ten hours. Clare of course organized everything down to the tiniest detail, including bunks on the ferry and a meal in the restaurant, luxuries I had never bothered with before.

 

When we landed in Rosslare it was dark and the harbour appeared all the more Christmassy because of it. The multi layered Ferry glowed like a Christmas tree as we drove out of her belly into the bustle of home going travellers. We would drive out on to the main road past the multiple warning signs in German and English “WARNING –ACHTUNG- KEEP TO THE LEFT SIDE!!” It had been too common for Europeans to come out of there exhausted from the journey and drive on the wrong side of the road into an oncoming car in the two way traffic; being extra mislead by their left side steering wheels. Just a couple of miles beyond the harbour the road turns back towards the mainland, bypassing the once popular beach Village of Rosslare. Being in a festive mood and excited by Clare’s first visit to Wexford, I suggested that we deviate our plans for a moment and take the slip road into Rosslare Village.  It’s a place filled with very fond memories for me, a place that I looked forward to as a child all year long, when (provided my Parents could afford the splurge) we would rent a hut in Boyles field for the month of August. I guided Clare up over the hump back railway bridge down past the white washed Edwardian Summer homes, and up along the main street lined with Palm Trees, past a couple of elite hotels with rear access to the beach, that café on the corner where I would suck on a Brazil Orange and daydream to the Village’s only jukebox, usually preferring the B sides “Got a feeling” by the Mamas and Papas “See that Girl” by the Righteous Brothers; I wasn’t aware, at the time, that the Café was owned by Larry Kirwan’s no-nonsense Aunt.

It was dark now and everything was closed but for the Hotels and the Bars. I directed Clare up past the Golf course where we used to hunt for stray balls in the tall grass, golfers were glad to buy them back at sixpence each. And then, just when it seemed like the road was coming to a narrow end, I asked her to keep going around the curve to the right where the water softly ebbed up to the stony edge. I got out and swung open the farmers iron gate so that we could go a little deeper on into the pot holed gravel, I wanted to get us in a position where we could face the car towards the sound and view the lights of Wexford Town across the Bay. In the pitch black with the car engine turned off, the whole scene was reminiscent of a romantic movie; I was Cary Grant in An Affair to Remember bringing Clare to my secret cove on the beach. We had a little puff of the funny stuff to amplify our experience and put Pink Floyd on the stereo. Clare is from Brighton in England, a much bigger Town to mine, but nonetheless, a seaside Town, with many similarities, we pleasured in exploring our history while gazing at the dancing lights in the distance. After about half an hour I looked at my watch and thought of my family, “They might start wondering about us, maybe we better head in”

Clare turned on the engine, and began to back away from the water, we were not moving, she put her foot further down. We moved even less. Realising what was happening I asked her to stop and jumped out to take a look. The tide had come in a bit and even though our back wheels were on solid dry ground we were not gaining traction. It was then that I realized that Clare’s Renault was front wheel drive. I looked at the front and could see in the scant moonlight that we had been only been digging ourselves into a wet hole in the soft sand. I threw my jacket under one of the wheels in desperation, that tide was coming in! All it did was spit the jacket out. Our situation was quickly progressing from a curious problem to a possible catastrophe of major proportions; we could loose the fucking car! There were no phone booths around, we were a long walk from the nearest hotel, looking around in the pitch dark there was nothing except silent sand dunes and black clouds overhead; no mans land to Clare, but this was my country, I had been in Ireland’s butt fuck nowhere, before.

“let’s walk back a bit, I think I saw a little light deep in behind the bushes as we were driving in here”

 

Sure enough, with our eyes now adjusting to the dark, a small yellow light was visible over and above the dense bush. A little inroad became apparent, an entrance into some kind of yard. We followed it in, and before us an old white washed outhouse paralleled the road creating the familiar shape of what I knew to expect in traditional farmyards. Over to the right standing alone where it had been built in far more recent times was a small two-story house. The Woman of the house pulled the door open without hesitation.

“Really sorry to bother you” It was beginning to spit rain now and the wind was whipping up a bit too, I held the collar of my coat up around my eyes, Clare of course was not the overcoat type, she had on a nice little two piece jacket and skirt, she looked perished.

“We were down on the beach admiring the Town whe…” “FERGUS!!!”

 

“Yes Mammy” Came a male voice in prompt response.

 

“Get the tractor will ye? dere’s a nudder wan stuck in de sand!! “

We could hear someone rummaging around for something in the distance.

 

“C’mon in shur, Fergus’ll be here in a minute”

 

“Mammy do ye know where the Battery is?” Fergus, a twenty something fine big strapping chap comes rushing out from the back of the tiny house, with wellington boots up to his waistline, raincoat, and peak cap.

 

“It’s in the tractor already, shur I used it earlier when I was haulin up the straw”

 

An old man sat in a low chair by an open hearth fire, he looked bemused as he pulled away on his white clay pipe. We offered our names and I explained that Clare was English, but that I was a native of Wexford man. She suggested that Clare sit down by the fire while I go off with Fergus to find the car.

 

Outside, Fergus switched on an industrial strength lamp, it cut a bright beam through the blackness and revealed a mud covered red tractor with those typical massive wheels and an iron drivers seat with holes to let the weather through.

 

“Kin you hop on the tow bar dare, and hould de light out so I kin see what’s in front of me?”

 

I looked at where he wanted me to stand, and wasn’t sure it was possible. It was one of them metal yokes that stick out the back of a tractors with a knob on it for hauling trailers, or eejits like us that were stuck in the sand.

 

“Just hang on to me shoulders, and hould the lamp out”

 

I did the arithmetic in my head, one hand to hould on to his shoulder and one to hould the lamp, seemed to me like one hand too few houlding on to his shoulder! But up I got on the slippery bar, and before I could think about it, Fergus had the engine running and we were out the lane and bouncing along the beach towards our sinking car. Desperation is great leveler, I found the perseverance to stick myself to the round bar, a nearly impossible feat, and I was practically having a romance with Fergus with my left arm now wrapped ‘round his neck. It was hard to believe that just twenty minutes ago we had been sitting in our London car listening to Pink Floyd through a super hi fi stereo cooing at the view. Now here I was with the wind and rain blowing through my hair hanging on the back of a Tractor like a chariot, one arm around a strange man and providing his headlights by holding a very heavy lamp up above his head!

Fergus was well used to the routine, in no time he had the rope in under the car where it was secure, and that tractor effortlessly hauled the Renault 5 back to solid ground. I drove behind him back to the house, where Clare was now drinking tea by the fire looking absolutely puzzled by the old mans accent. I thanked them heartily and grabbed a couple of bottles of wine from the boot of the car, they seemed a bit confused about that, and I did wonder would they have preferred money, but was afraid they would be offended.

 

“Really sorry for interrupting your evening, thank you so much, you saved our lives”

 

“Ah shur you’re not the first couple dat got stuck down dare in de dark, people do be up to all kinds of tings down dare”

 

She seemed to be suggesting that we were there for a bit of rumpy pumpy?

 

We pulled out of the farmyard and up on to the main road laughing at our ordeal. We drove down past the hotels and the café and up on to the hump back railway bridge, we were at it’s precipice when Clare announced with a slap to her forehead.

 

“Shit, we have to go back, I just realized, I left my hand bag in the bloody chair”

 

“Are you fucking joking me?”

 

The laughter subsided as we did a U-ee and headed back past the Café, the Hotels and on to the old dirt road facing towards the once lovely view of Wexford town. Clare sat in the car as I fumbled my way in the dark towards the distant light. I sensed a strange presence, an odd animal sound was coming towards me, my inability to see it increased my alarm. I quickened my pace towards the house, disregarding my unsure footing, Honk!! Honk, honk, went the sound that drew me to look left. Coming in my direction with their necks stretched towards me in extreme enthusiasm was a gaggle of angry Geese, I increased my speed dramatically and ran at full pelt for the plain wooden door of the farmhouse. Fortunately Fergus’s Mother was expecting me and opened the door before I touched it. She went over and got the purse from the chair by the old man, who still sat in the same position by the fire smoking his clay pipe.

 

“Fergus!!! Dem Geese are after de man, don’t worry about dem, Fergus’ll send dem off”

 

Fergus came out and waved a backward hand at the Geese.

 

“Gi way outta dat”

 

They ran away, chasing there extended heads. Honk, honk, honk!!

 

I jumped back in the seat on the Renault with my heart still racing. Off we drove again, down past the golf club, the palm trees outside the hotels, the café, and over the hump back Railway Bridge, feeling  less enthusiastic now.

 

When we arrived in Town, I went into my Brother Paddy’s chipper, which was part of our family home, to say hello and get the keys. We told him the story, he raised his forehead and nodded a knowing giggle, I thought that he seemed to assume we had been up to no good?

 

After being in Wexford for a few days, we gave up telling the story, everyone was sure that we had gone to that dark quiet spot for a bit of nooky like all the other couples that got famously stranded there.

 

“Ah yeah, Fergus! ah shur everyone knows him, he’s pulled us all out, one time or anudder! And dem feckin Geese are like guard dogs shur”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep your TV in the closet

I confess to have slipped of late, slipped into a kind of slothery called TV. It all began in earnest about six weeks ago with a suspicious sneeze. I began to analyze its source; did a mere dust mote travel to my sinuses? Or had I finally succumbed to the cold that Clare had harbored in her gurgling head? It had been going on for a couple of weeks, she had sneezed up every tissue in the house and was now well into the ample supply of toilet paper. I had washed my hands after every transaction that seemed remotely connected to Clare’s last action. At first she had been trying her utmost to take care – she knew I had a bunch of gigs coming up and didn’t want me to catch it – but once it got inside her body and began its mission of sabotage, clogging up her head with an ever increasing supply of wall paper paste and slithering down into her lungs where it settled in for the long haul, she lost the will to live and dropped all attempts to contain prospective damage caused by discharge.

Panic began to set in when I realized that fight was all but lost and the first symptoms began to show. I had two weeks to let it in, and then get it out again. They say that it takes a minimum of five days to go through its routine, but if you fight it, you can stall it before it begins those five days, and no matter how much you delay it, it’s eventually going down on your chest and you are going to splutter and cough for another ten bloody days….at best! I began to fortify for the battle. I got the steamer out, dripped a couple of drops of tea tree oil into the water, plugged it in by the armchair and began to watch TV while the oil began to do battle with the rogue bacteria in my respiratory tract. Needless to say, the bacteria won hands down, and within days I was doing multiple sneezes that were infused with deep and desperate submission, sometimes toppling across the room in a series of explosive fits. The infection was down on my chest and wanting me to cough. All singers know, what ever you do, don’t cough! Coughing can cause a blood vessel to blow in your vocal chords, and it can cause the membranes to swell, not only are our lungs not supplying the necessary air that we need to sing, but the mucous membranes that vibrate across the larynx are now damaged as well, and dysfunctional…”Don’t cough whatever you do!!” So I found myself retraining any attempt to do so. Soon I noticed the beginning of a deep – seated lung ache developing during these refusals, I was heading into new territory, I called the doctor. “Bronchitis” said he, and bejasus I took about 2 seconds to succumb to the suggestion of antibiotics. I was sick now for real, and rehearsing as well, driving up and down to the Church in Dublin. In between I was going to have to shut up, the TV addiction, then began in earnest.

Watching TV is about the only thing I can do when I’m steaming, my electric steamer ( a small device with a tiny element which heats the water and creates a steady flow of steam up through a soft plastic funnel) was broken, so I had to use a saucepan and a towel to funnel the steam into my mouth.

Will someone explain to me why TV is so bad between 7pm and 11? Why do the movies begin then? I’m talking about Irish TV and the UK, The BBC used to be one of the best TV stations in the world, making some incredible in-house productions, now it’s just reality shite from morning to night. “I’m (not) a Celebrity get me out of here (and make me famous)” and drivel like “Eastenders” I have tried to like it, my wife likes it and many of my friends do. I just peek in at it through a jaundiced eye to see if I can understand what people see in it. I always come out with the same conclusions, visually so ugly, the story line is ridiculous, they entire cast seems to have divorced and married each other at one point or another. Complete villainous crooks become really soft hearted and sweet, new children come in from afar as long lost relatives, and it’s really hard to keep track of who is related to whom. Even pretty women are made ugly by the clothes they wear and the way they talk. Actors leave to try and make it outside, so they write them out, then they fail (because everyone says, “that’s ye man from Eastenders”) and return, so they write them back in again.

Ah lads, ye can’t be serious about liking that yoke.

But why is it that during normal waking hours the programming is crap, and all the good stuff comes on when normal people go to bed? They occasionally do something good during that time, and it’s often extremely successful, so why do they want to make so much shite? It can’t be a great pleasure to write and record this stuff.

After being trapped to that steamer for long periods with bad TV, I get this strange aching in my head, not a proper headache, but a kind of dark cloud forms in my brain, and I yearn for silence and wisdom, I could die under that towel, just so that I can sing properly.

Now the cold is well gone, but the TV addiction has not gone with it. I find myself wanting to watch this thing that I grew to hate. A friend of mine in New York used to keep his TV in the closet, and only take it out for special programs, like the way we treat the electric carving knife, taken out for occasions like Christmas. Seems like a good idea, it certainly is of seldom use.

How many hours do you watch per day then lads?

Love Px

Pierce Turner photo of santa on 14th street 2015

That Petrol Emotion

East village photo 2

The mood was jubilant driving away from Coughlans of Cork on Thursday night. The gig had been sold out and extra stools had to be employed to make use of every nook and cranny, getting on stage was even a maneuver, getting off was even harder. The atmosphere was magic and I could’ve sung any song really, the more obscure the better, even the new comers seemed to know them.   When the audience sang, they sang out without hesitation, and when they laughed I had to wait for them to stop, and when it got deep, they dove down with me to feel what was there; magnificent people. So the mood was jubilant as beaming Mike and I drove delightedly away up the one-way Douglas Street in the opposite direction of the determined way for everyone else. Cars backed up to get away from our unfettered advance, as we breezed ahead to the nearest turn off heading down the hill towards the quay. After our usual quota of getting lost, our chronic lack of direction became overwhelmed by our unbridled enthusiasm, and we somehow got taken to the Waterford road by a series of one-way streets that seemed to have been designed to ferry the likes of us in the right direction, in spite of ourselves.

It was all going swimmingly as we pulled out on to the open road, with David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” blasting out on the stereo. Mick, the sound man at Coughlans had told us we would encounter a garage pretty soon (we needed fuel) and we should keep an eye to the left. Sure as shit there she was coming up on left, bright clean lights shouting out “we are open”. I was ravenous, and went straight to the Indian gentleman behind the bullet proof glass to enquire about sandwiches. I could hear Mike humming away as he rammed the pump into his car and fiddled with the screen read out.

“Hi, how are ye? Do you by any chance have sandwiches?”

“Yes we do indeed”

He was a young friendly man with an strong Indian accent, but I could understand him clearly enough as his voice squeaked out through the tiny speaker below my side of the counter.

“Would you have tuna by any chance?”

“I have” he replied unhesitantly to my surprise.

“Could I have it on brown bread?’

I couldn’t believe my luck as he nodded in the affirmative.

“Great I’ll have a tuna sandwich on brown bread and a lucozade please oh and hold on” I shouted over to Mike as he delightedly gazed at the sky humming even louder now while allowing the nozzle to administer the much needed gasoline into his car’s receptacle.

“Mike! Would you like a sandwich and a coffee or something”

“Oh, just a coffee will be fine Pierce, with milk, thanks! ” Mike is not a needy type.

Off went the young teller, confidently around the floor of the fair size store, knowing exactly where everything was and returning in no time with all our needs in a white plastic bag. He added the cost of the petrol from pump number 2 to the bill, and I put a fifty euro note in the drawer which he had shoved in my direction. He calculated the change and pushed the drawer back to me with the bag of goodies and the coffee standing up in a carton along side the change. Mike was already in the car and as soon as I hopped in we took once more to the Waterford/Wexford dual carriageway, with gusto.

“This is very nice coffee I must say Pierce, and Hassy back at the bar gave me a gorgeous cup of coffee at the end of the night, wherever he got it from, I think they had a machine”

Mike had now progressed from humming to singing the words (almost) to Bowie’s “Ashes To Ashes” I was delighted that I had brought that box set along, as I prized open my sandwich packaging in the dark, and shoved it enthusiastically into my gob. Ugh, I thought

“What is this?”

“Eh?” said Mike

“I don’t know what the fuck is in this sandwich, but it’s not tuna”

Mike put some light on the subject, there it was, a ham salad sandwich in cold white bread, a sloppy rag type of white bread, the kind I really hate, with ham (which I don’t care for either) tomato (Bad in sandwiches unless eaten right away, they make the bread wet) a lot of mayonnaise and a bit of lettuce. Christ, did that guy understand anything that I said?

Mike became silent, he stopped humming, he caught my attention.

“Ugh , hmm, that’s a bit odd, she’s chugging” said he, with an uncharacteristic tone of fright.

“ I ope I didn’t put petrol in instead of diesel, cor blimey!”

“Well didn’t it say Diesel on the pump that you used Mike?” I ensued with the calmest voice I could muster, as the car began to lose pace.

“Well, I didn’t really look, the nozzles are supposed to be different sizes, I presumed it wouldn’t fit if it was wrong”

The car was now slowing down and Mike could see his life flashing before him, and in it he saw a green pump (which represents petrol) not a black one (diesel) he now had the presence of mind that he didn’t have back then, his heart sank visibly as he pulled into the shoulder. The car was now screaming out visual alarms on the dashboard “FATAL FLAW !!!”

We had been driving in the fog with low visibility, but now the rain began coming down too, beating heartily against the glass, as the winter wind of the Irish countryside howled around the car. Only five minutes before, we had been driving along in the lap of luxury with Bowie singing and the heater warming the cockles of our heart. Now we were pulled over by a tall wet stone wall in the dark, hazard lights flashing, music halted by the car itself “POWER ECONOMY!!” it now flashed. It dawned on us both that we may not be going home that night, it also dawned on us that we hadn’t the foggiest what to do. It was 1.30 on a Thursday night, everyone would be in bed. Cars and trucks flew past at such a pace, we could feel the car rock from the pressure of their wind.

“ 911!! Let’s call 911” said Mike

“A great idea” said I. But! Said I

“What can they do?”

“They can siphon it off”

“Can they? 30 Euro worth of petrol! ”

I imagined someone sucking a hose (the way thieves do to steal petrol) in the pissing rain with the wind blowing in four directions and trucks flying past so fast they were bending the grass, I was dubious to say the least, we might be doomed.

But Mike was right! After we were piggy backed on the phone from the police to their break down crew, through to their suggestion of someone else because they had to stay on duty, to another guy who was 40 minutes away , to someone else who was 20 minutes away, a big beautiful yellow van with flashing lights appeared in our rear view mirror, oh the brotherhood of man, hallelujah!!

This van, and this man, had everything. He insisted that we get the car way in off the road, he got his shoulder to it and just pushed us in, while I sat there like a twat. I got out as soon as it stopped and introduce myself. He grabbed me by the arm and pulled me in.

“Mind yourself! this road is fierce, they come flying long here shur, ye could be kilt in a flash”

Then he opened up the back of his van, upon opening the door it automatically lit up like an operating theatre on wheels. On the floor in the middle of the very efficiently organized pumps and other gadgets was a big white tank with Gas Scavenger written on it. Sure as shit that was for sucking the rogue petrol out of the diesel engine. All I could think as I sat there – cold enough now – was Mike’s mistake must be common enough. After sucking all the petrol out, and some cajoling with the cylinders or something like that for about a half hour (not sure what they are called) we were repaired, and the Cork break down man sent us off flying towards home again. David Bowie was on “China Girl” now and Mike began to hum again.

“Isn’t that an Iggy Pop song?” I offered.

“Is it?”   mm     ♬   ♪     ♫   mmmmm

wonder what little surprises Limerick has in store for us on Monday night (dec 12) at 1 Pery Square?

Surrender to the present “now is heaven”

st-iberius-photo-o-head

St Iberius Wexford Dec 3rd 2016 with the Irish Ensemble: Mick Egan in the front, behind him Paula Cox, on my other side Garvan Gallagher, and up overhead on the organ, facing us Josh Johnston.

My legs were stretched out as far as they could possibly go landing smack bang before the heart of the blazing fire. It was comforting on my feet to feel the heat, and the stretch felt like I was pulling on a knotted rope, trying to get it untangled and straight. But it didn’t work! Something was tight in my gut and I couldn’t unravel it. I had been subconsciously aware of a discomfort before, but now it had gained a new priority of direct awareness, I began to ponder why? We are all aware that tension is insidiously dangerous, but sometimes it’s impossible to even recognize, at least I seem to have learned how to do that. Once these thoughts registered with myself it became time to launch an investigation.

“What was causing this?”

and

“What was it?”

I couldn’t fix it without figuring out what it was. The last book that I read since attending the school of Practical Philosophy in New York’s upper west side taught me to recognize the power of being present; not dwelling on the past or living for the future. It claimed that most of our depression and pain is derived from this manner of thinking. And that we think this way because of our ego; that voice in our head running a constant commentary is our ego. The idea is to notice that voice and shut it up as much as possible, by focusing on where I was then and what I was doing.

I could see clearly now that that was what was wrong with me! That knot inside my stomach was a knot of anticipation. I wasn’t present. I was only partially listening to Clare talking, only partially aware of my surroundings or where I was, no I was waiting for the gig on Saturday night, then I would let go, and give it a hundred per cent, then I would allow myself to be free and happy. How ridiculous it seems when it’s spelt out, but it’s the truth. Then I decided to try and do something about it, easier said than done.

In reading that book “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle I had found myself facing the greatest challenge to everything that I had come to know. Eckhart presents a very solid case; he says that our ego is the cause of all our insecurities and tensions. That voice in our head says “what about me?” and we become insecure immediately because we think that we are not getting what we deserve. In my case on that evening it was saying “This is boring, this is not important, the important thing is tomorrow night, I just have to put up with this horrible time in between, prepare myself for tomorrow” On these occasions the book advises to surrender to the present, if you are always present at all times, all times will be important, not just the chosen moments. He says desert that voice, that ego, walk away from it , reject it. By Jasus that is like saying goodbye to yourself, of course it’s not really yourself, it’s just this bloody thing we develop with time, a companion for to entertain us when we are alone. The problem is; the more attention you give to it, the more attention it demands, starts off with “where’s my bottle?” as a baby, and grows into “I deserve better than this” It wants to talk to us when we are talking to someone else, it wants to talk to us when are working, distracts our attention when we are watching a movie, when we are trying to sleep, it never stops. I was aware of this before, but no-one had ever spelt it out so clearly. So now I am at war with the bugger, everything that I do, no matter how mundane, I focus on that thing only and try to shut out the commentary. I am definitely feeling steadier for it. But however, some things overwhelm me and the bugger slips in when my guard is low, like the other night!

So I dropped my weight into my feet and surrendered to where I was, tomorrow would look after itself, especially if I look after the present. I felt this calm come over me like pleasant pins and needles, I sank into the chair and smiled. I was stronger for not carrying that knot in my stomach and that weight on my shoulders.

So my lovelies, Surrender!!!! to the present, now is heaven. Love Pierce x

1 Wedding 1 Cat and an Organ

PierceCamille

Camille and Pierce singing “More”

Mike’s cat sleeps in the back of his car, he parks it around the back of his house somewhere down around Rathangan in Co Wexford. He was having a cup of tea on our sofa when he relayed the story about his new car and the cat in his thick Manchester accent.

“I ope no-one is aleer-gik”

I looked at Clare for a minute and wondered about her allergies, they hadn’t been so noticeable of late, but of course we don’t have a cat in New York. However, we’ve been in Ireland for a couple of weeks now and our cat Albert (shared with a Wexford friend) doesn’t seem to be affecting her. So we all tittered in union, and brushed the question aside.

On Friday at one o’clock everyone congregated at our Davitt Road bungalow for the trip to Dublin and after we loaded the gear into the back of Mike’s car we all piled in. I bagged the front passenger seat hoping for a nap. Clare, Paula and Mick, slid into the back (where the cat sleeps) and off we went to Dublin for our show at the Dublin Unitarian. Late the night before, Josh Johnston the organist had slipped into his text a small bombshell, the church had accidently double-booked a wedding rehearsal at 6 p.m. during our planned soundcheck. This is typical of the stuff that happens when you are playing in churches. “Nightmare!” I replied, Josh wrote back that we would start at 4.30 and have plenty of time, and if needed we could resume after the rehearsal at 7.15.

“If everything goes swimmingly Josh, that won’t be a problem, but the doors open at 7.30, what if something goes wrong?” We hadn’t played together yet as a whole unit, I had rehearsed with Josh on organ and Garvan on bass at the church, and with Mick on guitar and Paula on vocals and percussion in Wexford, but we hadn’t played together as a unit yet, the soundcheck was going to be the only chance. I had this kind of thing before and knew how to pull it off, but a wedding rehearsal in the middle of it? Yikes!

We pulled up in front of the church at half three, unloaded and set up the equipment. The heat had been on since ten in the morning because during the rehearsal on the previous Tuesday we found that the cold front blowing down from the North had lowered the pitch of the organ by a ¼ tone. The organ tuner had advised us to put the heat on early with the hope that the organ would move up to the standard A440 pitch by gig time. It wasn’t exactly boiling in there at half three, but the edge had been taken off of it, and Josh excitedly greeted us on the church steps with the news that the organ was going upwards, only two cents below 440 now! By the time we began playing it was only one cent below. Of course we could always tune to the organ, but the bloody piano still stayed at 440, we had only one tune in which both of them played “Sorrow is a Solid Feeling” I had already begrudgingly restructured the set with its exclusion, just in case.

At around quarter to five we were ready to go, so we checked the organ once more, we tried playing “Sorrow” and it seemed alright to Garvan and me , Josh didn’t seem as happy, but I figured if it didn’t hurt Garv and me, it couldn’t be too bad. We began rehearsing and checking the sound at the same time. It was sounding good and we were just about to hit another song when I noticed a change in the atmosphere. A frumpy looking woman in her fifties with a forward keel, and a “here’s me head and me bum is coming” posture, swung her brown handbag like a weapon as she busied across the aisle. I suddenly became aware of her and was clocking her Michael Caine glasses and Clancy Brothers cardigan more than anything else, when a second dawning came upon me (Josh and the sound man Kevin – who lives and works in the Church – had gone into a state of reverence). Of course, this was Bridget the Pastor, and the four people behind her giggling, were the wedding party! Without much being said we all laid down our instruments in surrender and sheepishly crawled away to the basement cum dressing room.

At five to eight Josh went up to measure the organ again, it was a ½ cent short of the target. I put “Sorrow” back in the set. And we lighted the stage for a blinder.

On Sunday Clare woke up coughing a weird kind of dry cough, unlike the ones we both had when she had a chest cold the previous week.

“What’s wrong with you?”

She was wheezing, I found her inhaler.

“That’s odd, why are you wheezing now?”

“Mike’s cat!!” It dawned on me, he slept in the back of the car where Clare sat going up and down to Dublin, Mike leaves the car window open for him so that he can get in and out. Jays, we’ll have to give it a good hoovering before the long drive to Scotland.   Mike will be amused.

Now for the Wexford gig at the St Iberius next Saturday Dec 3rd where the 150 year old organ, with the sweetest sound, tends to hover around 5 cents sharp of the desired pitch, all 1350 pipes.

Synthesizers are for wimps, this is a real living thing. Love Pierce x

Christmas In Ireland

The Turners on Davitt Road with Santa

The Turners on Davitt Road with Santa

Christmas In Ireland

“What do you fancy for dinner?”

“I dunno”

I was hunched over the piano warming down my voice after rehearsing with Paula Cox and Mick Egan, a bit miserable I was; nursing the latter half of a stinking cold. Clare was half way out the door, and was fed up making decisions about food. And tired of looking at me slumped in the corner like a heap of misery.

“Well give me a clue, smoked Haddock?”

“Ugh, no thanks……….. Actually!…….” I lit “I think I fancy a stew”

“Well it’s all there, some of the filling from that Cottage Pie is still there in the pot, and there is a pound of minced Turkey in the fridge” Said she, relieved that I was contributing.

“Frozen?”

“No, it’s fresh”

“Oh ok then I will make a stew, with the Turkey, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, Pearl Barley, onion, stock and herbs ( I didn’t really say all of that) ”

So I made the stew, and we just ate it here by a blazing fire, on this freezing cold Wexford night in the year of our Lord two thousand and sixteen.

Last night my good friend the Wex Doc- David Curtis sorted me out with some penicillin, I begged him for help cos I was losing my mind. Every time I coughed my chest hurt, and then my mind hurt with worry about being able to sing properly on Monday night for the RTE Show Arena, on which they have asked me to sing two live songs. The pills are kicking in now thanks be to Jasus, and I’m on the mend.

Doing these Church gigs is not easy, but they are worth it. I drive to Dublin for rehearsals with the Organist Josh Johnston, and Garvan Gallagher (the bassist) who drives down from Westmeath to meet us at the Dublin Unitarian in Stephens Green. And then I rehearse with Mick and Paula in Wexford. I go up and down like a whores drawers, and with the cold it’s been extra tough, under-singing all the while so as not to strain the voice. We also have a trombone player joining us, have yet to meet him. Each unit sounds great on its own though, and the magic is when they all come together.

It’s been a cupla two tree fy years since I’ve been in Ireland for Christmas. I’m beginning to feel it in my bones. There’ll be night in the day, and everywhere the fairly lights will wrestle with the winters way, and a pilot has dropped me, dropped me down from the Christmas clouds, December 22, 23, 24, I can hear the Angels sing.

I look forward to seeing you.

Love Pierce xxxx

The Pierce Turner Ensemble/Christmas in Ireland

Nov 21st at 7pm RTE Radio One Pierce will sing two live songs and talk about all kinds of things.

Dublin Unitarian Nov 25th tix at tickets.ie

London/Irish Film Festival Nov 27th The film “Emerald City” with an original score by Pierce Turner will close the festival, Pierce hopes to attend. Just google London/Irish film festival.

The Wexford St Iberius Dec 3rd tix at Wex art Centre

Cork City-Coughlans Dec 8th

Limerick 1 Pery Place Hotel Dec 12th

Glasgow Tron Theatre Jan 20 – 2017 The Celtic Connections Festival.

Encore at The Church Of Dudes Oct 21st

“It’s come to the end of the season; everyone’s brooding or teething”

This is a line from You Are Leaving, a so-far unheralded track from Love Can’t Always Be Articulate. It’s a favourite of mine: of course it may be favoured by others out there too, sometimes no one speaks out loud, sometimes a song can quietly hum beneath the surface and it’s preferred to keep it there (I had no idea that people liked Drumsna from Boy To Be With until I had several requests for the lyrics during the Pledge campaign). But the real litmus test for a song is when I have to sing it repeatedly. If the song has an Achilles heel, it soon buckles after a couple of renditions before an audience. I sang You Are Leaving with Zach Dean, the church organist at the Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran, and once again I found it moving as I sang it out over the empty church.  Zach added something new to it with his command of the organ, it was clear that he has a rock sensibility.

I have now sung these new songs in churches and clubs and even at the Irish Consulate in front of dignitaries, and there is no sign of fatigue. No sign of the world at large knowing about them either though. That’s just the way it is, they are yours and mine alone: can that be enough? Why the hell not! Van Gogh only had one fan, his brother Theo, but were those paintings diminished by the absence of notoriety? No! Of course if the world knew that he had cut off his ear, they would’ve been more interested while he was alive, “Clare, pass me the bread knife”

I do have one on him though, I can perform, and I love to sing to people, and the performances at these churches have been amazing to take part in, cool places, run by cool dudes. There are a bunch more special shows coming up too.

Starting October 21st at the Gustavus Adolphus Church where the album was recorded, this is an encore of the performance we had there earlier this year (some extra songs though) for the launch of Love Can’t Always Be Articulate – we raised $3000 for the repair of the stained glass window the last time, the window is now in place, we will help pay the enormous bill with this show also, and you will get to see how beautiful it is. The ensemble backing me up will be all these amazing people:

  • Fred Parcells on T-Bone and vocals,
  • Kath Green and Andriette Redmann on vocals, bass and percussion
  • John Rokosny on acoustic guitar
  • Mark Brotter on drums
  • Zach Dean – the house organist – on piano and pipe organ.

Tickets available now here – what more can you ask for? This involves a huge amount of rehearsal and organisation, please spread the word and let’s fill that incredible space – wine and food in the basement afterwards. Maybe you will sing this time?

Then to Ireland, the first 2 shows there will be private, and then on Nov 25th 2016 we – me and the Irish Ensemble – will encore at the lovely Dublin Unitarian Church in the heart of Stephen’s Green. Tickets available here. Then to my home town on Dec 3rd at the St Iberius Church on the Wexford Main St – where last time, the whole gang stood outside arm in arm and sang “Faith Of Our Fathers” incredibly touching for me.  People came from Cork, New York, Gortahork, Kerry, Mayo and Glenamaddy. I love singing in these churches.  Tickets for that show are available here. And if I can’t find a church, give me intimacy, nowhere is more so than Coughlans in Cork city, that will be on Thursday Dec 8th, tickets available here.

Dec 12th will be my return to Limerick through the back door so to speak, it’s an invitation only gig at a hotel called 1 Pery Square. For tickets you should contact Tom at tpprendergast@yahoo.com and say I sent you. There are a couple more private gigs and then in 2017 I will be in Glasgow for the first time in decades, why I haven’t been there is a mystery, it always went down a storm there. This is a big one though, and maybe the romance will re-ignite.  The exact date is not set, but it will be at the Tron Theatre as part of Celtic Connections Festival during the weekend of Jan 20th to 23rd – keep an eye out here.

I think that’s enough for now, as always I am in your hands, without you I am toast.
Love Pierce xxxxstained-glass-window

I’m on temperature control

City photo

I’m on Temperature Control

It’s Tuesday morning; late with the Monday morning milk, again!

Last night we went to a fancy pizza place with our friends Paul and Niamh who were visiting from Dublin.  I knew we were in trouble right away because the double doors were wide open at the entrance, I knew it meant that they were either avoiding the use of AC completely, or that they were trying to do both outside and inside at once, in an effort to attract customers.

It was absolutely boiling outside, with the humidity it musta been at least a 100 degrees, but they were pretending we were in Spain on the esplanade by the water, what a load of bollox, this is Manhattan, and this summer we are under siege by the biggest predatory sauna-like heat known to man outside of Calcutta. I couldn’t wait to get home to the air conditioner, in spite of the wonderful company. They did close the doors after Niamh innocently enquired, “Is the AC in the back?”

This morning came as usual, and the sun was there again, shining bright and appearing innocent enough beyond the protective doubled glass out on First Avenue. Rumour had it that it wasn’t as bad today as yesterday, so I put on the TV to see what the temperature was out there, It said 78 f,

“That’s not bad” said I to Clare.

“What’s the humidity?”

“Fuck knows!”

I leaned down to peer under the blinds at people walking along the pavement on the far side of the street in the shade of the sun-scorched School. How were they walking? Were they struggling along or breezing it?

A young woman wearing khaki calve length trousers seemed to be moving effortlessly enough, but she was young! I’m wondering can we open the windows and let some fresh air in, save some electricity as well. Our last bill was hefty enough, that AC eats electricity.

I know; I’ll open the tiny bathroom window as a tester and see what the air is like? It’s almost good, I can feel something resembling a breeze, and it doesn’t feel like a hairdryer is aimed at me. I decide to take a chance and open up the whole house.  It’s a big decision, a risky one. Clare says that it’s my job to control the temperatures; I’m on temperature control winter and summer.  We have a railroad apartment so it’s important to get the cross breeze. I open the sitting room windows and run to the kitchen so as not to lose a second on this gamble. I’m like a Sailor trying to balance a ship, the AC will be off and we will need air moving in here fast if it’s going to work at all, if I fail and let the big sauna into the house without a rewarding cross breeze, I will have failed, humidity is a bugger to remove. It tends to sit down everywhere and doesn’t like to shift its fat arse back out again. It will cling to the carpet and the sheets, tonight when I’m sleeping it will fill the hollow in my back and surround my neck with a Collar of sweat. The decision is made now and I’m going to the Coney Island for a swim.

Hope to Jaysus I made the right decision.

I’m the captain of the temperature control, tonight as the city screeches past us sleeping sailors, we will feel the heft of my measurement.

P.S We have added the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow to the next Irish visit-Jan 20-23