Day four – Role Model(s)

People who I look up to and aspire to be like….or just plain envy!

Joe Keenan & Niall Walsh

Joe Keenan & Niall Walsh

 

These two have brought so much joy to the people of Cavan. They founded the Café Sessions a bi-monthly night of entertainment held in a small café in Cavan town. They have introduced me to some of my favourite artists! I was there when Raglans first played the café, there when The Strypes were warming up for The Hot Sprockets…The Amazing Few serenaded me for my birthday and showered me with trinkets and i was there when The Strypes had their first headline gig and packed the place.  (Which reminds me i must do a blog about The Strypes…..I have meant to for the last year but i just don’t know where to start!!!)

The point is none of that would be possible without the work of Joe and Niall, What would i have to look forward every second Thursday!?

Joe and Niall….musical messiahs….role models

Raglove 2013

Here I am with friend enjoying the first Café Sessions gig of 2013…. Raglans were playing, supported by an acoustic set from Josh McClorey (The Strypes) — More on this gig in another post!
Photo by Darren Lynch….check out and follow his blog @ lavaghlynch.wordpress.com

365 Photo-A-Day Blog

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Liam’s last night in Cavan before he returns to Dubai and a great night too. [04/01/2013]

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The Devil’s Ceili

The Devil's Ceili

The Devil’s Ceili

 

So I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned my crippling stage fright/nerves/anxiousness….. but yes i do suffer from a nervous disposition. I get stomach cramps watching somebody i know perform in front of people. I worry for them and all the things that could go wrong.

During the summer Darren was involved in an amazing play called The Devil’s Ceili- written by Philip Doherty and Kevin McGahern. In true Phil Doherty style it’s hilarious, strange and highly entertaining.

The play is set in a Ceili House in Ireland in the 1960s,  it centers around three characters, a cocky arrogant footballer( Darren), a womanizer and a power mad priest who are central respectable figures in the local community until a stranger  (American hippie ) turns up, spikes their drinks with LSD and we see the characters true nature. The Devil himself also makes an appearance. The addition of a live band, multimedia projections and clever lighting made this play a talking point of the summer. It ran during the Fleadh and was a huge success- sold out every night!

Here is a link to the original promo video….http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQvNnAYGgBc
Yes it turned out almost as crazy.

I was helping out during the Fleadh, doing tickets, cleaning, general bits and bobs….meaning that I was there every night. I watched all of the rehearsals, saw people struggling and then shining. I knew the play inside out, I could have been a prompter if anyone had forgotten their lines……that thankfully didn’t happen. As I watched nervously from backstage every night, laughed with the audience and paced the floor when i sensed things weren’t going as planned I wished that I could be a part of it. I saw how elated everyone was after each performance, how the audience loved the show and I cursed my nerves and stage fright from holding me back.

Due to it’s success the play was to be held again over the Christmas break……….Eight nights!

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And this time I was to be a part of it……reluctantly.

When Phil said he had a small part for me I said…..”Really? Ah cool” no excitement, I didn’t think much of it I thought he’d forget. Then lovely Paula messaged me to see if i’d be at rehearsals….

Rehearsals? Sure that must mean i have an actual part….which i needed to rehearse.

Panic struck….. I immediately leapt to my own defence…

*Internal Monologue*

“No, no, I simply cannot do this.

Yes sure you’re in college until the 13th December, you have two presentations to prepare and essays to do… there will be no time to rehearse.

Exactly….if you miss the rehearsals then you won’t feel at ease you won’t be able to do the show without rehearsing.

Great I’ll just explain that I won’t be around and it would be better off to get someone more dependable.”

Breathe…….

So i told Phil I couldn’t do it….. but he answered me with

“It’s a small part you already know it and you will be able to make the dress rehearsal and we’ll go through it then. You’ll be brilliant.”

So that’s how I was roped in.

I turned up to rehearsals the day before the dress rehearsal. Here I was told that I would be playing the part of the “sexy nun”.

This involves donning a “sexy outfit” consisting of black shorts, suspender tights, a tight t-shirt, stilettos and of course a nuns habit.

Panic reared it’s ugly head.

I am not sexy….I can’t wear shorts, I can’t walk in high heels never mind stilettos- I don’t wear tight clothes. I actually felt physically sick at the thought of it.  Noelle Slacke who is an absolute angel helped me by telling me to wear what I felt comfortable in…..alas boots tights and a dress are not the style of a sexy nun. So we compromised with a black skirt-faux suspender tights , high-ish heels…and a black t shirt.

I knew what I had to do- walk across the stage carrying a sign….help the Virgin Mary castrate someone. Easy peasy compared to what everyone else had to do. I had no lines, why should I be worried?

On a high after a show

On a high after a show

Well a major, major factor in my worry is that I felt like i looked stupid. I am not sexy, I am overweight and I hated having to act sexy and slinky- i felt as though people were looking at me wondering “why the hell is she playing the sexy nun-surely they could have got someone sexier?”

Another factor was during the castration scene, which involved me bringing several items onstage to aid the Virgin Mary  in cutting the womanizers balls off… timing had to be perfect, and I was hyperventilating trying to make sure I came on at the right times. The castration itself involved me slicing into a huge bag of fake blood and bursting it into a bucket.This had to be performed in sync with the Virgin Mary’s moves. Now…. I wasn’t allowed to look at the bucket, I had to stare straight ahead…and let me tell you….it is scary slicing a sharp knife through the air into a bag of blood which bursts EVERYWHERE.

Following the blood bursting everywhere I then had to clean the floor to ensure that the dancers wouldn’t slip and kill themselves…..I had about a minute and a half to clean this blood  as best I could….(impossible to dry the lino floor) pick up the bucket, a table, a crucifix, a bottle and Holy Mary’s robes and exit the stage…..in high heels….whilst an audience stared….

So that was pretty stressful.

Here is me demonstrating that in fact the lino cannot be made unslippable

Here is me demonstrating that in fact the lino cannot be made unslippable

I always felt bad for worrying about my part…because it’s so small compared to the other cast members. Some nights I didn’t burst the bag right….it didn’t gush properly, or I left the crucifix onstage or the floor was slippery.  I felt like I let everyone down. There was one day I left the bottle on stage and it had to be kicked out of the way… that night I went home and bawled my eyes out. I was so annoyed and disgusted with myself. I hated how I looked, I hated that I couldn’t get this simple part right, I hated the fact that people probably thought that I thought I was sexy enough to be the sexy nun. I was convinced people thought I was awful and only got the part because I’m Darren’s girlfriend… It was a bad night…lots of tears, but Darren comforted me and I think it really helped because the show became more enjoyable after that, i suppose i just got over myself…. I wanted people to know that I wasn’t under any illusion that I was a good actress, or sexy or confident… but i suppose i acted as though i was and perhaps that was my best achievement in this play.

For the past three years or so I’ve watched my friends in the Gonzo from the audience and more recently from the sidelines, I’ve watched and wanted to be a part of the community not just a supporter. Being in The Devil’s Ceili allowed me to become an insider, with every  day spent in a freezing cold warehouse rehearsing, sipping mulled wine and every night drinking at gigs with the cast and crew you couldn’t help but feel warm and fuzzy.

I had to take two Xanax’s on opening night to stop myself from bolting out the door and by the time the final curtain came down on December 30th I was smiling and clapping with  the other cast.

Take a bow

Take a bow…….Note the “Sexy Nun” on the far right

Darren said to me before the play began

“I know you’re nervous now, but you will be so proud of yourself when it’s over. You can do this and we’re going to have great fun.”

He was right. With each reassuring pat on the back from Kevin,a “good job jenny” from Phil and a squeeze from Darren at the end of every show I began to feel like I deserved to be there and that is something that I will treasure and remember every time I start to feel like I’m not able to do something. What a great way to end 2012.

Ceili Couple

Ceili Couple

 

This will be the start of something new

Image by Aimee O Reilly

Stage is Set

The Upstairs Venue in Whelan’s holds 120 people. Last Tuesday night 200+ Ragfans crammed themselves into Raglan’s end of Summer gig….

A testimonial of Raglans ever growing popularity has to be the three girls (Natalie, Aimee & Niamh) who arrived straight off the bus from Cavan wearing awesome home-made Raglan T-shirts. They’ve christened themselves the Ragladettes. I want one of these t-shirts!!!!

Awesome

This gig marked my tenth time to see Raglans this year, and as usual they didn’t disappoint.

Their support on the night was from the delightful Adela and the Meanites, whom I had never seen before but thoroughly enjoyed.

There was a buzz in the air as the lads took to the stage and blasted out a super charged rendition of Down. It’s hard to know who sang it louder, the Raglads or the audience. But that’s the beauty of all of Raglans songs they are so catchy that after one verse everyone is singing along.

Ste

Liam

To my delight they played High Road, a song that has been omitted at their last few gigs.  The harmonies and the melodies in this tune are just gorgeous, dare I say it rivals Sand in My Pockets as my favourite song. As the lads breezed through their crowd friendly  set list the audience was whipped into a frenzy, their “last song” was Home, a beast of a tune which had everybody  ferociously clapping along.

I say “last song” because those sneaky Raglads were only teasing the audience….. as they walked (with difficulty) off the stage they were bombarded with multiple chants of

“DIGGING HOLES, GETTING OLD,

NOW YOU KNOW WHY THE PEOPLE DON’T LOVE YOU”

Digging Holes video 

This was repeated at least ten times with a crescendo of feet stamping.

Raglads returned to the stage and belted out the chant along with the audience,   as the song reached the “This could be the start of something new” lyric the audience lost it and the crowd surfing began. But there was one more surprise in store.

Rhos

Conn

At each gig I’ve been to the Raglads have been extending the instrumental part near the end of the song, Liam, Rhos and Ste all provide extra percussion on anything that’s near hand…the audience usually go wild and sing along to the beat. However, this time Ste appeared with a bag full of instruments, mini tambourines, mini maracas, whistles and vuvuzelas, he threw these into the crowd and they were frantically snatched  up by the eager fans, who then participated in the instrumental part of the song.

It was nothing short of magical.

The ending of the song was drowned out by the screams of the crowd, cheering clapping, whistling and hugging. Tired, sweaty and on a high, Raglans bolted off stage with huge smiles on their face’s.

As the crowd dispersed into the cool air of the smoking area, the steady drip of condensation from the ceiling fulfilled the Raglad’s promise to their fans for “the sweatiest, most enjoyable end to the Summer imaginable”

 

Huge credit to Ms.Ragladette Aimee for the awesome photos!x

I bagged a Set List and my very own Tambourine

Satisfied Ragfans
Darren, Natalie, Manus
Me, Aimee, Niamh

 

Sand in My Pockets – Raglans

The reason I love this video so much is that it captures the very essence of Raglans. Four talented lads having fun and playing music. My friend Finn filmed it, and when I asked him how did the video shoot go he said. “Alls I did was follow the lads around for a day.” I knew instantly the final product would be lovely. “Sand in My Pockets” is one of my favourite songs, it has an almost barbershop quartet feeling to it, but as always displays Raglans’ trademark melodies & harmonies. Everything about this song and video screams happiness, it’s a sunny day having fun with your friends and then heading to a gig. Makes me even more excited to be following them around.

Well played Raglans, well played.

I’m William Miller

I’ve never thought of myself as a music journalist, I don’t have the talent or knowledge for such aspirations. I’m not clued into many genres of music, I don’t have a preference. I suppose this is a good thing, I’m not biased, I go to gigs with an open mind…
I want to write about things I enjoy and as you should know I enjoy Raglans.

 

Long Live the Raglads

I love their melodies, their lyrics, their harmonies…their gigs and I really like the Raglads.

Ste(lin) the limelight.

 

 

They call him Mellow Yellow

Seemingly the band like me too, because they showed this blog to their management. Apparently its clear to them that I love the band because I’ve been offered an internship to promote them with MPI !!

MPI want me to keep doing what I’m doing — promoting and spreading Raglove.

So my Almost Famous adventure begins… I get to tag along to gigs and blog about them.

 

Hello my baby, Hello my honey, Hello my RagTime gal!!

Rag Time Gal!!

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It’s a big step for me, I don’t want to let anyone down, especially the Raglads. I woke up in a panic the other morning after a stressful dream.

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I’m obviously deeply insecure about it, but as long as I keep enjoying the gigs and the music the lads produce I can’t see myself doing too badly.

I’ve already broken the golden rule of music journalism…Don’t make friends with the rockstars

Oh well…..

In preparation for my upcoming adventure I’m currently reading Danny Sugerman’s book Wonderland Avenue

It’s a scary, extreme insight into the rock an roll lifestyle…

If I end up somewhere between Almost Famous and Wonderland Avenue I’ll be happy…..and possibly very drunk.
i

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