…. thankfully, as she would not be very impressed with some of the contents of today’s blog, which goes Behind The Lines of the 40th offering from Unreconciled Doors, “White Wash”.
I once painted a landscape, that proudly hangs in my friend’s house, using only one colour-blue. This piece of poetry tries very hard to use just one colour too-white.
I tried to crazily juxtaposition similes for the colour- “like the bouffant of a dying wave”/”a middle class American’s teeth” etc.
The parts of the work that my Mother would not be happy with follows all of these.
The below photo is where I spent the first few years of my life-“White City”
This council estate in a seaside town seemed about a million miles from the sea , and it felt like you had to cross oceans just to get to school via a large green double decker bus.(If it hadn’t been burnt out or it bothered to show up).
You will see that the dwellings had no chimney (a major concern for a child worried about Santa Claus), no central heating, and I keenly remember being the only house with a landline phone-yes the only house with a f**king landline (so please don’t complain about your smartphone battery!). The public phone boxes were usually vandalised.Neighbours would put on their fake smile, knock on the door and sit on the stairs ringing whoever they needed to get in touch with,leaving change as payment.
I remember one neighbour was nicknamed “Speedy Crutch”-on a disability payment but very light of foot when it suited.
My mother would not be happy with me writing about this, as she came from better stock-think Yellowstone- transported to just south of county Dublin.
But, she was her own woman and raised kids who went onto be top of the class in primary, secondary and university schooling, while also being pretty handy on a sports field or a stage. Growing up like that also gives you some “gumption” and a sense of social justice and a sense of when it is lacking in the world.
She loves a lot of things-poetry, art, Manchester United, but most of all-Music.
And not just any music-“Showbands”. Showbands were Ireland’s answer to Elvis I guess, with Dickie Rock, the Miami Showband and… Joe Dolan and the Drifters being some of the chief exponents of the “craft” (or craftiness, of covering America’s latest hits). One band was even called “The Indians” (yes you are imagining that one correctly!!).
Fun fact-In what is now a bowling alley in my old home town, stood the Arcadia Ballroom, where believe it or not… the great Roy Orbison himself even played with showbands the supporting acts on the bill.
The aforementioned Joe Dolan, below, was famous until his death in Ireland. He was the “Joe Show”, wore a famous white suit, and sang amongst other things, “Good looking woman” and …..”House with the White Washed Gables”
He was a perma tanned, perma- young performer ,whom women, in particular, middle aged women, loved, though, I don’t think he had the same affection for them.
Legend has it that my Mother and her pal, a good natured lunatic from Dublin, were in fact, thrown out of a sit down concert about twenty years ago for… launching their wares at Joe. (She will never read this, so this is very liberating for me).
My mum had/has a good voice, but when she went high, she went full Ave Maria, whether at a football match or in the kitchen singing along to the radio:-
“An octave above the Joe Show”
My mother is 78, still writes poetry, still speaks French,and still has very strong opinions on modern music and film- ” Would he ever learn to play that instrument?” / “That Banshees film is awful, we are not all that f**king backward”/ and the classic… ” What is she wearing?”.
I sent her a copy of this latest collection of poetry last week.
I will be saying a decade of the rosary,