NO Nay, Never…Enough Already!
By Mike Farragher
I read a quote in The New York Times Book Review that said “great writing doesn’t soothe a wound, it picks at a scab.”
If that’s the case, I am in line for the Pulitzer. And my English teacher and Limerick mammy never thought I’d make anything of myself!
It would seem that my column from a few weeks ago entitled “No, Nay, Never Again Please,” which addressed the tedious “same old, same old” in the Irish festival scene with the same 10 songs played over and over, has raised the ire on either side of the argument in emails and letters to the Irish Voice editors these last few weeks.
Apparently, the truth hurts. Some AOH members who organize some of these blah fleadhs have been trying hard to push through the pain ever since.
“First of all he admits he joined the festival committee just to gather material that would be used to betray them,” complained AOH member Patrick Campbell in a recent letter to the Irish Voice. “Farragher is a creep! How tacky and dishonest can you get?”
How dumb can he get? I do believe I stated my intentions for going to the planning meetings — to try to force a change in the ho-hum hooley cycle and have a younger voice in the process so that the festival tradition can continue into the next generation. Note to self — write slowly and in crayon for those readers who took the short bus to school.
“Perhaps the answer is to allow Farragher to write strictly about Irish rock bands and on alternate weeks, and employ a person with a knowledge and appreciation of traditional music,” reasons one writer.
“I have always saved the Irish Voice as I go back ever now and then to enjoy it once more,” writes Bill Ashe of Corona, California in this week’s issue.
“But now I think I have found another use for the page with Farragher’s column on it. I found that the page is the same size as the bottom of me bird cage so I plan to place it face up with Mr. Farragher’s smiling face there to catch little Liam droppings. And me little bird, Liam, has a deadly aim.”
Beware, Mr. Ashe — petting your bird too much causes blindness.
Perhaps the most definitive voice in the debate came from none other than Larry Kirwan, whose band Black 47 routinely headlines festivals in places like Cleveland and Chicago.
“I think you are very right in one way but a bit off the mark in others,” he wrote to me in an e-mail. “Even at the biggest festivals you still hear those same 10 songs over and over.
“However, the festivals around New York/New Jersey tend to be the most backward for some reason. But even there, the organizers are trying to break out of the norm.
“After all, the Sea Girt people brought us in and immediately the crowd rose 30%, I’m told. You take festivals like Dublin, Ohio or Milwaukee; they always have five or six different stages with a variety of music,” he said.
Variety is the spice of life, I always say.
You can catch Larry and the Black 47 boys as they celebrate their sweet 16 years at Connolly’s (121 West 45th Street at Times Square) this month. For more information, log onto www.black47.com.