A slice of real life

Posted on: 10th September, 2015

Category: Music

Contributor: Mark Holland

Ha ha, we’re off! At least I am.  Shut up shop, literally, camper van under my ass, a dozen bottles of water, and a pack of sandwiches to shorten the journey. Once we hit the motorway to Dublin the shades come out, rain, hail or whatever, quick check that I’ve the right change for the tolls and the smile comes across my face, a smile that stays there for the whole weekend! I don’t care ‘cause we’re heading for the Picnic at Stradbally. As far as I’m concerned the other 362 days of the year are a type of support mechanism for the three days of real life that I get every year (if I’m lucky) at the Electric Picnic.

I’m not a great believer in re-doing an event. If, or when, you have a great party somewhere and some one suggests ‘we really must do this again next year’, the height the ante fills me with anticipation, not even of disappointment, but with fear that the joy we have just experienced may be diluted by not quite capturing the same magic next time ‘round. Of course that same demon does haunt me going to the Picnic, but it has never happened (to me).

The whole weekend, Friday to Monday, is like one big long day with a couple of night-time naps, time out, along the way.  Friday can even be a bit edgy, people getting into it, thinking ‘its not as good as last year’ or ‘is this it? I was expecting more’…But the weekend is yet young, we’re only in round one, and the best is yet to come.

The get in of Friday night under your belt, the meeting and greeting of everyone, Saturday is a completely different story, we’re all becoming friends now and so defences are down. That person standing next to you, you may have had a dance-off with last night, it was after all a long night and lots of good things happened. That inimitable, uncontainable, feeling of community begins to emerge, this is the warm fuzzy buzz that everyone has come for, but until the moment doesn’t exist.

Ya, Saturday afternoon is easy, weather permitting, some sound engineers enjoying massive facilities, a few bands comforting us. Caitlin from Deasy’s and Briget from Lettercollum, as always, leading the field with the, all important, can I say that again, all important, foodie delights, not to mention the Black Pudding Bus. The West Cork representation there is ridiculous, really ridiculous, there’s not that many of us but we’re all over the place!

Whether the rain holds off and muck doesn’t become too much of an issue has a bearing over how Sunday can go, but sometimes (almost never) the more muck the better, you got to go with it. But Sunday’s just brilliant, you can enjoy as much as you can here and now but you can’t take it away with you, smile, relax and make the most of it.

Tomorrow you’ll be taking that tent down, answering the phone messages, and wishing you could do it all again next weekend, a slice of real life.

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Lecture by Aileen Crean O’Brien & Bill Sheppard

In May 2016, Kerry man Tom Crean, along with Ernest Shackleton and four other crew members, landed the James Caird lifeboat on the rocky isle of South Georgia. The navigation of that small boat, across 1500 km through icy winds and towering seas, is regarded as the greatest ever feat of navigation. They then trekked across the forbidding and inhospitable mountains and glaciers of South Georgia to seek help for the rest of their crew, who were left behind on Elephant Island after their ship, the Endurance, was crushed by the Antarctic ice.

One hundred years later, Crean’s grandaughter, Aileen Crean O’Brien, set off with her sons and partner to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps. Join Aileen and Bill to hear of their adventures (and misadventures) on the Southern Ocean and the island of South Georgia.
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