Time for a #mymusical2018 post.
In May 1999 I was living in Ireland. I had moved into a flat on my own and I had nothing. I didn’t even have a bed. I lived that flat for 9 months and slept on the floor on a a borrowed 1.5inch thick mattress from a sofa bed for the first 6 months.
I was so poor I couldn’t afford to even pay the 60p bus fare each morning to get from my flat in Berkeley Street to my job at Guinness. I walked the 3km there in the morning and about 4km home each night because I’d detour to get groceries most days.
Around that time I had saved enough to make a reasonably substantial purchase. You’d think it should be a bed but, no. There were other things on my mind. Three things to be precise:
May 21 – Gay Byrne’s final Late Late Show
May 22 – FA Cup Final
May 29 – Eurovision Song Contest
You guessed it. I bought a TV. On Friday 21st May, 1999. Just in time for Uncle Gaybo’s last show.
I got it in a little shop possibly in Parnell Street or maybe even Summerhill. I had only moved over there about 6 or 7 weeks earlier and I knew how to get from Phibsboro to St James’s Gate and pretty much all around the city centre but beyond that I was flying blind. I remember carrying this darned heavy thing all the way home. I also remember I came home through Mountjoy Square which was very unfamiliar territory for me.
I hadn’t money left over for dinner that night because I’d spent it on the TV but I think I managed to pop out to the corner store a few doors down to get a packet of Tayto to eat while watching the show. I also had a bottle of wine in the flat which I’d been given. I didn’t have any glasses. So, on a mostly empty stomach I watched Gay Byrne and drank a bottle of nondescript red wine straight from the bottle. All of it.
I don’t really remember much of the show. Between the wine that night, sustained lack of nutrition and constant walking, I fell asleep pretty quickly. I woke for long enough to see him get a Harley from Bono and Larry and then I was gone again.
Jump forward in time to last night. I was in the kitchen and playing some music off my old phone. An old favourite came on and Sean and Snugglepot started dancing to it. It was To Whom It Concerns by Strictly Fish – a very late 90’s remix of the theme tune for The Late Late Show which was released around the time of Gay’s last show. I’d bought the CD single at the time and listened to it constantly back then.
When I hear it, I’m suddenly 23 again and somewhere between buckling under the weight of a CRT TV around Mountjoy Square and passed out on the threadbare armchair in my flat that night. We listened to it again this morning as the working man and the kindy girl got ready. It’s such a happy tune. You can’t help but have a smile on your face.