Gilbert takes a break from the city
LONG RENOWNED as the shy, retiring type, Gilbert O'Sullivan bounds onto the stage with an energetic zip that continues to fizzle throughout the Wexford Opera House for the duration of his show. Tonight the former Waterford/Bunclody resident is among friends and he knows it.
After a tentative beginning in which he struggles to get to grips with the intricacies of modern technology, he then oozes comfortably into his number one classic 'Nothing Rhymed'. With a large screen overhead replaying the original video while he tinkles the ivories below, by its end you feel like you have just been served up a delicious meal. And then given time to sit back and let it digest.
Twelve band members line the stage, including a string quartet, and the former pudding bowl haircut-bearing, short-trouser wearing icon that topped the US Billboard charts in 1972 with 'Alone Again (Naturally)', has all his hits in reserve.
He intersperses them evenly during the three-hour show that takes you on a musical rollercoaster dipping into country, up to rock n'roll, out through reggae and back to pop again. By the end of the night the Opera House is rocking. His encore cleverly includes the hipticklers 'Matrimony' and 'Get Down'.
While some audience members bounce from their seats and start swaying in the aisles, I was more impressed with the 63-year-old's agility, as he leaps onto the piano and busts some moves that might put a younger man to shame.
There's something about Gilbert O'Sullivan's world that reminds you of a time when society was less cruel.
It's a pleasure to be there and encouraging to see that performers are willing to leave Dublin and cater for fans that dare to exist outside the capital. More artists should follow his example. It's up to the public to make the effort to show them some support.
BIG SCREEN MAGIC
Most of us can remember our first trip to the cinema. It's one of those experiences that you will pencil in on that select list of firsts that you carry with you through life. Like your first kiss, your first day at school or your first punch in the nose.
My introduction to big screen magic was a Walt Disney tale about a dinosaur called 'Baby'. The first film I ever got up and walked out of was ' Far and Away' with Tom Cruise, and the first film we ever rented out on video was the wonderfully evil 'Gremlins'.
Last weekend we took the young lad to see Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. On entering we weren't sure if he'd freeze with terror in the darkness. We certainly never expected that he'd actually sit the whole way through. He did neither.
He took to the darkness like Batman to a coalmine and got up for a run-about halfway through. Thinking that was the cue to leave we took him outside, only for him to latch onto the door handle and beg to go back in. We did reenter and there he sat for the rest of the film. In fact, when the lights came up there were tears, as he didn't want to leave. At least it gives us another option the next time the rain refuses to surrender and he's all Playzoned out.
As for the Chipmunks themselves, I think the adults enjoyed them more than the kids.
It was a memorable St. Patrick's Day for the thousands that attended and participated in the street parades. It was also an eventful day at Cheltenham as Colm Murphy's Big Zeb won the Queen Mother Champion Chase and Davy Russell scored on Michael O'Leary's Weapon's Amnesty. Afterwards the Ryanair boss revealed he had tried to change the horse's name to Hangar 6, but an Enniscorthy lady had already claimed it. Don't fret Michael, after that performance I'm sure Weapon of Mass Destruction would be a more suitable fit.
Prior to the annual celebration in honour of our patron saint, there was plenty of criticism aimed at some of our politicians, for jetting abroad to partake in events. Their reasoning was that it would showcase our industrial potential and, perhaps, create more jobs.
Our country made the front and the back pages during the past week alright, but it was down to our trainers, jockeys and horses. Racing is a results business. Our politicians should take note.