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Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin

The Sandman 22 May 10 - 05:55 PM
Joe Offer 22 May 10 - 06:16 PM
The Sandman 22 May 10 - 06:45 PM
Dave Hanson 22 May 10 - 10:57 PM
Herga Kitty 23 May 10 - 01:56 PM
GUEST,Saoirse 23 May 10 - 02:22 PM
The Sandman 23 May 10 - 03:37 PM
Paul Burke 23 May 10 - 05:39 PM
Herga Kitty 23 May 10 - 06:51 PM
GUEST,Betsy 23 May 10 - 08:08 PM
The Sandman 24 May 10 - 10:34 AM
Dave the Gnome 24 May 10 - 11:24 AM
matt milton 24 May 10 - 11:45 AM
The Sandman 24 May 10 - 12:05 PM
Rain Dog 24 May 10 - 01:12 PM
Edthefolkie 24 May 10 - 02:17 PM
Dave the Gnome 24 May 10 - 02:43 PM
The Sandman 24 May 10 - 03:10 PM
Dave Hanson 24 May 10 - 03:21 PM
Herga Kitty 24 May 10 - 06:39 PM
Steve Shaw 24 May 10 - 06:55 PM
Betsy 24 May 10 - 07:09 PM
NICKB 24 May 10 - 07:45 PM
NICKB 24 May 10 - 07:51 PM
The Sandman 25 May 10 - 07:03 AM
Brian Peters 25 May 10 - 07:25 AM
SteveMansfield 25 May 10 - 08:41 AM
GUEST,Continuity Jones 25 May 10 - 09:12 AM
GUEST,Gail 25 May 10 - 09:17 AM
The Sandman 25 May 10 - 09:57 AM
GUEST,leeneia 25 May 10 - 10:56 AM
Ruth Archer 25 May 10 - 11:30 AM
GUEST,Jim Martin 25 May 10 - 11:44 AM
The Sandman 25 May 10 - 12:34 PM
Herga Kitty 25 May 10 - 02:03 PM
GUEST,Continuity Jones 25 May 10 - 02:40 PM
Herga Kitty 25 May 10 - 06:30 PM
Ruth Archer 25 May 10 - 06:55 PM
Seamus Kennedy 25 May 10 - 07:14 PM
The Sandman 26 May 10 - 03:01 AM
SteveMansfield 26 May 10 - 04:14 AM
Ruth Archer 26 May 10 - 05:21 AM
Dave the Gnome 26 May 10 - 05:35 AM
GUEST,Colin Irwin 26 May 10 - 08:33 AM
Dave the Gnome 26 May 10 - 09:17 AM
GUEST,leeneia 26 May 10 - 09:27 AM
Gavin Paterson 26 May 10 - 10:48 AM
The Sandman 26 May 10 - 11:00 AM
The Sandman 26 May 10 - 11:01 AM
Ruth Archer 26 May 10 - 11:56 AM
The Sandman 26 May 10 - 12:32 PM
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Ruth Archer 26 May 10 - 01:00 PM
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The Sandman 26 May 10 - 01:14 PM
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Subject: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 May 10 - 05:55 PM

This book which has some references to Irish Music,and has[on the back cover] a glowing recommendation by Folk Roots,might better have been called in serach of a map or alternatively in search of a good grouse.
This book is faintly amusing on occasions,despite some very irritating Irwinisms[why does he refer to his wife as Mrs Colin]does she not have a name of her own,or an identity of her own.
Irwin is clearly a hopeless map reader,the [Irwin route from Killarney via black valley to Glencar on my map does not exist,neither does it exist in reality,IRWIN musat have driven along a cart track[for some of the route.]
Irwin comes across as a pretty good grouser,he even manages to complain about being served a full Irish breakfast,The poor fellow even had to knock someone up to ask for breakfast, and grouses about the fact the employee said she had a head like a cows udder,
oh for the days when the sun never set on the British empire,and Brittania ruled the waves.
he grouses about not being able to find Tommy Peoples,he grouses about Wexford not being the sexiest town in the western world[for god sake people go to Amsterdam for sex [not Wexford].
He grouses about The Irish having road signs in kilometers as well as Miles [its all dont to confuse himself and mrs Colin,or other tourists]and so on.
plus much talk about The Fields Of Athenry,and where is Tommy Peoples
I recommend that this book should be in every dentists waiting room.
what Colin does not understand is that going in search of the Craic is a waste of time,the whole point about Craic is that you have to make it happen yourself,it is not a voyueristic sport.
This book is faintly amusing but it Illustrates how English ,Colin Irwin is.
it is occasionally humourous ,although it gives an inaccurate overall picture of irish music,of course places do exist such as those Irwin describe,they have to be to satisfy people,such as Colin who go looking for the craic.
Colin you should GO to Ballydehob,a Trad festival[TommyPeoples was booked] plus a Jazz festival,guests have included Joe Davidian,Michael Buckley,Andreas Varady etc etc


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 May 10 - 06:16 PM

There's a similar evaluation of the book in the Irish Music Review. I can't tell whether the article was written by Colin Irwin, Geoff Wallis, or both. I take it that one name is a pseudonym for the other.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 May 10 - 06:45 PM

good god, Joe,Colin Irwin is certainly not GeoffWallis.
I am Flabbergasted to be in agreement with Geoff Wallis,Great minds think alike ,i suppose


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 22 May 10 - 10:57 PM

Colin Irwin is a plonker, he is one of the wankers who perpetuate the story that Ewan MacColl was born in Auchterarder.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 23 May 10 - 01:56 PM

What did you expect from a book subtitled "One Man's Pub Crawl through Irish Music"?

It seems to have taken GSS 7 years to get around to reading it though, as it was first published in 2003.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: GUEST,Saoirse
Date: 23 May 10 - 02:22 PM

Geoff was spot on as he often is. He's about the only writer on Ireland's music who isn't afraid to pull any punches. Please don't mention the blessed Siobhan Long!


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 May 10 - 03:37 PM

Kitty,why does it matter when it was written, in answer to your question, I expect something better than what we have been given.
I cant comment on anything else written by Geoff Wallis on this forum [I am not allowed to] but I agree with his review of this book.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Paul Burke
Date: 23 May 10 - 05:39 PM

If it approaches Ciaran Carson's "Last Night's Fun", it's worth reading. Is it?


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 23 May 10 - 06:51 PM

Sorry Dick, I didn't have an agenda, but a friend gave me the book for Christmas a few years ago, and in addition to the review from Folk Roots there's also a quote from a barman in Wexford saying that "There's no such thing as the craic. It doesn't exist. It's just for the tourists." I just wondered why you started this thread now?

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: GUEST,Betsy
Date: 23 May 10 - 08:08 PM

Colin is a fairly honest man and if it was written in 2003 , times have changed , Colin has changed, and the whole thing of selling Irishness throughout the world is a difficult Subject. I read the Irish Music Review ( blue clicky) and it infers " Christy Moore ............big figures of the past ........".
Not nice at all - at all.
I have been to many many "Irish pubs" throughout Europe a few are delightful - e.g Kellys in Groningen , the rest are the most unpleasant place on earth - miserable Irish people behind the bar who despise " diddly diddly music ".
Published in 2003 ? Lets move on for goodness sake .
I wonder why this thread was started in 2010 !!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 May 10 - 10:34 AM

because I had just read the book,no other reason,
.I am not responsible for anyone elses comments about Colin Irwin, all I am doing is criticising the book


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 May 10 - 11:24 AM

I enjoyed 'In search of Albion'. Not likely to read this one as I have no real affinity for things Irish. Apart from a very pleasant trip to Finugue a few years back. I think he is a pretty good writer but, as a jornalist, I suspect he does write to the lowest common denominator. In the case of 'Albion' I guess I fit that bill:-)

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: matt milton
Date: 24 May 10 - 11:45 AM

"The poor fellow even had to knock someone up to ask for breakfast"

The mind boggles!


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 May 10 - 12:05 PM

The Knocker up man,what I meant was wake, someone up for breakfast


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Rain Dog
Date: 24 May 10 - 01:12 PM

"The poor fellow even had to knock someone up to ask for breakfast"

He would have had quite a wait for breakfast then. No wonder he groused about it.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 24 May 10 - 02:17 PM

Poor old Colin, gunned down by the mighty power of Mudcat.

Since when did literature have to be correct to the second and precise latitude/longitude? It's called selection and creative licence. I don't think Laurie Lee, Norman Lewis, Paul Theroux et al would have got very far with certain Mudcatters.

Valid point about lack of proof-reading though, but no publisher seems to bother with it these days.      

I suppose Mr Irwin should really have gone to Geordieland. "CRACK" originated in Northern England and Scotland didn't it? Diarmaid Ó Muirithe in the Irish Times: "The constant Gaelicisation of the good old English-Scottish dialect word crack as craic sets my teeth on edge." Looks like the barman in Wexford was right.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 May 10 - 02:43 PM

From a post above -

Colin Irwin is a plonker, he is one of the wankers who perpetuate the story that Ewan MacColl was born in Auchterarder.

From Colin Irwins book 'In search of Albion' -

Less famously, Salford was also the birthplace of Ewan MacColl. Not many people know that. I was nearly excommunicated from the family after a quiz in which I callenged a mass of impeccable documantation insisting that Ewan MacColl was a true Scotsman. It certainly suited his purpose to let people assume that and, the son of a Stirlingshire iron moulder and militant trade unionist, Ewan was fiercely proud of his Scottish heritage. But the fact is that MacColl was born in a two-up-two-down in Salford in 1914, and originally answered to the name of Jimmy Miller.

Sorry, Dave. I appreciate that some people do not like Irwin's work. I have no axe to grind myself. But I think it best to quote facts rather than rumour if getting involved in such things. No hard feelings, I hope, it was I had recently read it and the MacColl thing stuck in my mind.

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 May 10 - 03:10 PM

no , he didnt have a long wait for his breakfast.,read the book
Famous Grouse would have been a better name for this book,Colin Irwin is possibly a very nice bloke, I dont know him,I have never met him, I am criticising the book ,not him as a personality.
this book is marginally more riveting that Pincher Martin, his references to Mrs Colin are irritating and tedious,as is all the nonsense about Tommy Peoples,and The Fields Of Athenry


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 24 May 10 - 03:21 PM

He must have done some research Dave, he did repeat at one time.

In the sixties there were only two journalists writing about folk, Colin Irwin and Karl Dallas, who being a musician himself was far better than Colin Irwin.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 24 May 10 - 06:39 PM

I thought Robin Denselow and Michael Grosvenor-Myer (who posts on Mudcat)both wrote about folk in the sixties..? But Karl of course published song anthologies.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 May 10 - 06:55 PM

"Guest Betsy" wrote:

"Colin is a fairly honest man and if it was written in 2003 , times have changed , Colin has changed, and the whole thing of selling Irishness throughout the world is a difficult Subject. I read the Irish Music Review ( blue clicky) and it infers " Christy Moore ............big figures of the past ........".
Not nice at all - at all.

There is no inference that Christy is a big figure of the past. Your chopping-up of the quote from the review serves to misrepresent what Geoff Wallis said. To clarify, here's the salient part of the review:

"Sure, some of his accounts of festivals and the musicians he knows best (Christy Moore, for example) are well written and enjoyable, but there tends to be an over-emphasis on the big figures of the past to the exclusion of those more recently relevant."

He isn't really saying what you imply he's saying, is he?


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Betsy
Date: 24 May 10 - 07:09 PM

Thanks Steve for quoting the full sentence "Sure, some of his accounts of festivals and the musicians he knows best (Christy Moore, for example) are well written and enjoyable, but there tends to be an over-emphasis on the big figures of the past to the exclusion of those more recently relevant."
As far as I am concerned CM is still a leading light and certainly was in 2003 when the book was released.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: NICKB
Date: 24 May 10 - 07:45 PM

Pincher Martin is a WONDERFUL book. It's a very odd comparison to make. I read Colin Irwin's book some years ago and didn't immediately think to compare him to Golding. I would guess also that Golding didn't aim for the same market that Irwin was.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: NICKB
Date: 24 May 10 - 07:51 PM

GSS - I'm guessing you're not a great fan of 'The Life of Pi' either


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 May 10 - 07:03 AM

I think Lord of the Flies was a very good book,Pincher Martin I was not impressed with,Golding is[generally speaking] of course in adifferent league to Irwin, but both seem capable of writing tedious books


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Brian Peters
Date: 25 May 10 - 07:25 AM

I thought 'Pincher Martin' was a brilliant book - and it looks like the scriptwriters for both 'Ashes to Ashes' and 'Lost' admired it as well, since they seem to have based their respective concluding episodes on Golding's basic premise.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 25 May 10 - 08:41 AM

If it approaches Ciaran Carson's "Last Night's Fun", it's worth reading. Is it?

Nowhere near, not even in the same county.

Last Night's Fun is about the emotional and social value of traditional music: the subtleties and the joys of instruments, of sessions, of making music with friends and strangers, and of the way that a good tune, like a happy memory, gets in your head and stays there. Carson is a poet as well as a flute player, and combines the two passions into an evocative and meditative book that bears repeated re-reading and would probably be one of my top 10 favourite books ever.

Irwin's book is a trite skate across the very top of the surface of Irish traditional music, all about namechecking his famous mates and seeing how many cliches he can pack into every sentence. I enjoyed his journalism in fRoots, but the book is far too superficial. (The follow-up about English music, 'In Search Of Albion', was far, far, far worse, or maybe I just know more detail about English music and so was even more acutely aware of the grinning stupidity of his pronouncements.)

In Carson's book the focus is on the music - in Irwin's book the focus is on Irwin. Avoid.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: GUEST,Continuity Jones
Date: 25 May 10 - 09:12 AM

i got the impression when I read this book that Mr Irwin was going for a light hearted romp rather than a factual & historical study. It seems to me that it's being criticised for attempting to be Have I Got News For You when really what people wanted was BBC 9pm News.
That saying, I didn't think it was very good. There's a lot of Oirish travel books around from back then - the fridge one, McCarthy's bar etc. And they're all, at best, a little patronising. There was a market for such books seemingly.
I think Colin just released a bad album, that's all. He was going through his drum 'n' bass phase. I think he's a pretty good and taste-reliable music journalist.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: GUEST,Gail
Date: 25 May 10 - 09:17 AM

"The poor fellow even had to knock someone up to ask for breakfast"

Perhaps Wexford really is sexy and all he'd done was ask the time-honoured question "how do you like your eggs in the morning, fertilised?"


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 May 10 - 09:57 AM

Brian Peters, yes I know you like this book[pincher martin]we have discussed this before,you also like LordRandall[personally i prefer Matty Groves]each to their own,


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 25 May 10 - 10:56 AM

I haven't read the book, Schweik, but I think you're right. Just the business of referring to his wife as 'Mrs. Colin' shows that the guy's elevator doesn't go to the top story.

I have done some travelling, and I believe Colin Irwin had a common problem. He had dreamed of travelling and seeing the world, but after he'd travelled a while, he was uncomfortable, ill at ease, never rested enough, and couldn't find a toilet when he needed it. We all have to watch out for the chronic crankiness or the fights that can start when that happens.

As an antidote to this book, I suggest one called 'Round Ireland with a Fridge.'


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 25 May 10 - 11:30 AM

Leeniea, Schweik, et al: whatever you think of Colin's book, please do not speculate about his relationship with his wife or his "elevator going up to the top floor" or whatever other ridiculous judgement you want to make about people you don't know (and in Leeneia's case, based on a book you've not even read). I know Colin and Mrs Colin. They are both lovely people and seem very happy. "Mrs Colin" is the sort of jokey literary construct that anyone who has ever been married to a journalist and featured in their writing would understand.

Here's a crazy idea, Leeneia: before you decide on whatever Colin's "problem" might be (if he indeed has one), or suggest antidotes to his book, how about reading it?

Both of his books are a light-hearted, engaging and fun introduction to their subjects. I know lots of newcomers to English and Irish folk who have enjoyed them, which is great, as that's pretty much what they are for.

But anyway, as you were: don't let me interrupt the bitch-fest. I feel fairly certain Colin would be appalled if his books were met with general approval on Mudcat anyway.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 25 May 10 - 11:44 AM

"I thought Robin Denselow wrote about folk in the sixties..? " - he still writes on folk in The Guardian, articles, obits & reviews.

Oops, sorry, that was me!


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 May 10 - 12:34 PM

Ruth,
[AKA MrsDerek]
I have never speculated about mrs Colin or their relationship.
I am not interested in whether you think he is a nice person,I am talking about this very disappointing, dull book.
I stated that I found the Mrs Colin references irritating, Geoff Wallis found them demeaning,I think I would agree with him.
Mrs Derek before you accuse me of things I did not say,get your facts correct.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 25 May 10 - 02:03 PM

Jim - yes, I know Robin does, I was just trying to remember for how long I'd seen his byline (and MtGM's)!

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: GUEST,Continuity Jones
Date: 25 May 10 - 02:40 PM

I preferred Colin Irwin's book to the Fridge one. The Fridge one had (has) a terrible sex scene in it which seemed so unlikely to me (the scene, not the terrible sex) that I went from considering the book to be a load of old light hearted but fact based whimsy to a load of old fictitious light hearted whimsy. Not a huge difference perhaps, but when the whole book is so light it may blow away at the fart of an accordionist (keeping things folk - see?) such things matter.

No, you're right, they don't matter. I just preferred Colin Irwin's book over the Fridge one. End of.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 25 May 10 - 06:30 PM

The fridge one was about a bet, and just a bit of a lark. Tony Hawkes had a much tougher time when he took the next bet to play the Moldavians at tennis, and I think deserves respect for actually doing it. As does Arthur Smith for paying the forfeit when he lost the bet...?

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 25 May 10 - 06:55 PM

And One Hit Wonderland, Kitty, where he bet that he could have a top 20 single somewhere in the world. He did an Edinburgh Festival show on that one, which I booked some years ago for a festival I used to programme. They were all highly entertaining books and he was a really nice chap - very amiable and obliging.

Any book written for popular entertainment is bound to take a certain amount of artistic licence and create some situations that are not entirely without embellishment. When it comes to Colin's books, I'm sure that the same is true, but they performed two quite important functions: they created a gateway into folk music and culture for "normal" people (as in non-folkies), and they got into regular bookshops, on train stations and such, where, you know, people without any particular interest in folk might actually pick them up and read them. To paraphrase someone earlier, complaining that they are not the books you might like them to be is like berating Paul Merton for not being Jeremy Paxman, or Sid Kipper for not being Martin Carthy.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 25 May 10 - 07:14 PM

She Who Must Be Obeyed - The Present Wife - hates it when I call her Mrs. Seamus.
But then again, we all know about my elevator.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 May 10 - 03:01 AM

Mrs Derek,

I think its more like seeing a book titled Cecil Sharp,and it is in fact about Baring Gould,factually inaccurate.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 26 May 10 - 04:14 AM

If you're looking for a entertaining, well-written book on an outsider's journey into English traditional events and music, I'd recommend 'The Magic Spring' by Richard Lewis. (I know I'm the only one banging on about that particular subject but hey, that's the Mudcat way ...)

I'm not sure I'd agree that everyone is berating Paul Merton for not being Jeremy Paxman, or Sid Kipper for not being Martin Carthy. My personal disappointment with Irwin's books was that someone, with such an obvious love and deep understanding and knowledge of Irish and English music, would produce such superficial material when they came to write about the subjects in book form.

A job-swap between Sid Kipper and Jeremy Paxman would be a thing of wonder wouldn't it ...


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 26 May 10 - 05:21 AM

sfmans, I think they seem superficial to the likes of us because we have a level of specialist knowledge, and so we're not really the intended audience. To dive into the deeper intricacies of the music or the culture for casual readers is a potential turn-off, to be frank. Think about what would happen if you said to someone who likes Noah and the Whale or Mumford and Sons: "Oh, if you like that, you'll REALLY like this!" - and played them several hours of selections from Voice of the People. Some people might get it straight away - others (the majority, I would suggest) would switch off almost immediately. Anyway, from what I remember of the Irish book, in addition to Christy Moore & co (which is really as deep as most "Irish music fans" want to go anyway), there's a really good bit about Margaret Barry.

I think The Magic Spring is a lovely book, too. In fact, I currently possess no copy of Magic Spring or either of Colin's books because I keep lending them out to more "casual" folk fan friends and not getting them back!


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 May 10 - 05:35 AM

Just judging by "In seach of Albion" I would concur with Ruth's comments about Irwins writings. I can't really comment about "Craic", not having read it. I find it unlikely that the 'facts' are depicted as being an accurate reflection of what really happens. In "Albion" the places, people and events are reported as how the author found things. Not as other people did. I don't understand how the description of one man's journey by the man himself can be factualy inaccurate.

DeG


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: GUEST,Colin Irwin
Date: 26 May 10 - 08:33 AM

Did someone mention my name?
For reasons of sanity I try to avoid message boards but someone alerted me to the fact that I was being savaged on here and my ever-fragile ego demands that I respond.
I will endeavour not to react to the gratuitous pleasantries of Dave Hanson - though it is a bit surreal to be called a "plonker" and a "wanker" by a complete stranger who has a strange memory if he thinks I was writing in the 1960s - and answer some of Dick's original criticisms, though mostly I'd refer you to the answers provided by Joan, who has offered a very concise and accurate case for the defence and I thank her for her support and understanding.
Sense of humour is, of course, highly subjective and Dick clearly doesn't appeciate mine. That's fine. I don't have a problem with that, but the "grouses" he refers to are all completely tongue in cheek, even - especially - the "breakfast incident". I love Ireland too much to "grouse" about any of it and, yes, I'm a terrible map-reader.
Re: the frequent references to Fields Of Athenry and Tommy Peoples, they were running jokes. Looking back on it now I don't think the Tommy Peoples bits completely worked, though I did want to make the point that this is one of my heroes, a man who should be a legendary figure in Ireland, yet most of his own countrypersons have never heard of him. I also wanted a long, slow build-up to the moment I finally catch up with him in Westport and that moment's importance to me.
I don't really understand criticisms of the title. I'd originally planned to call it "The Craic Was 90" after the Christy Moore track but that was a bit too oblique. I'm very aware "craic" isn't a proper word which has been adopted by the Irish tourist industry with a vengeance, yet it is one that was in common usage in Ireland in 2003 (and even more so now) and - given the Wexford barman's quote "there's no such thing as the craic" at the start of the book, it still seems a perfectly legitimate title. The amazing session I eventually discovered at Jim O'The Mill's farmhouse near Thurles on a Thursday night at the very end of the journey seemed to offer perfect symmetry.
My wife is called Val and she was very much a part of the journey and the whole creative process. The book wouldn't have been written without her input and, far from demeaning, the "Mrs Colin" persona was actually her idea as a VERY tongue-in-cheek artefact for her "character" I could bounce off in the narrative. I thought long and hard about using it, anticipating some of the deeply erroneous assumptions that have been made here, but it made me laugh every time I thought about referring to her as "Mrs Colin." It made her laugh too. And it made us both laugh when I started getting accused of sexism for using it. God help Geoff Wallis if she ever meets him.
I went to great pains in the introduction to emphasise this was in no way a serious, analytical examination of Irish music and pointed out that there are plenty of people far better qualified to write such a thing than me - and referenced some of those who have done. Last Night's Fun is an excellent book but it is a very different animal. I wanted to write a book that somehow told the story of the Planxty, De Dannan era but to put it in the context of geography and social environment, I decided it would work best in the form of a travelogue. It helped that the Tony Hawks book and McCarthy's Bar were doing so well, though I hadn't read McCarthy's Bar when I wrote mine. When I write magazine articles I try to avoid using the word "I" but once I'd decided on the format there was no way of avoiding putting myself at the centre of it, though I did take the piss out of myself on a regular basis (the map-reading thing for one, the Liam Clancy bit) to deflect accusations of an ego trip or that I wanted to name-drop my famous friends (of all the accusations about me in this thread about me that's the most ludicrous).
So my book is a rambling story of my journey round Ireland in 2003, the places I went to, the characters I met and some of the music I heard, with a bit of pontification and assorted anecdotes on the way. Everything I write in it happened, though not necessarily in the order it appears. In that sense yes, it is superficial - though I do include the stories of some of the great musicians of the past, including Michael Coleman, Joe Cooley, Micho Russell, Margaret Barry, etc. In reference to Joan's "gateway" comment, it is indeed largely aimed at real people in the real world and its greatest achievement for me was in persuading my dad's next door neighbour to go out and buy every Planxty album he could find. Margaret Barry and the Bothy Band got a few airplays on British radio as a result.
I now live in Ireland for part of the year and I'd write the book very differently now - parts of it do make me squirm - but then Ireland is a very different place now. Oddly enough I believe it has sold surprisingly well and a new updated edition is about to be published with a foreword by Moya Brennan.
Anyway, even I have lost the will to live now. Sorry if you didn't like the book and sorry for such a long reply.
There ends my first and last message board contribution.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 May 10 - 09:17 AM

Thanks for posting, Colin. Always nice to hear it 'from the horses mouth' While you are on - I was talking to Vera Aspey on Monday - She is buying a copy of 'Albion' just for the comment 'Vera is a saint':-)

If anyone doubts that the craic does not, or did not, exist or thought that sessions were still easy to find, then I can add that it was not my experience back in the early 2000's either - I was very lucky in that there was a Sean Maccarthy festival going on in Finuge and, aside from one other session in Listowel, I found mainly juke boxes and C&W! If you don't believe me maybe you would believe an Irish Musician, Anthony John Clarke, in his song 'Tuesday night is always Karaoke' -

The songs are full of wit as well as insight. 'Tuesday Night is Always Karaoke' is a fantastic song that laments the passing of the live session. With lines like "a priest appeared from nowhere with those 'Fields of Athenry' and a Welshman murdered 'Vincent' and 'American Pie'", you can sympathise with the sentiment if you ever witnessed such musical carnage.

He even mentions Athenry!

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 26 May 10 - 09:27 AM

Savaged? Sir, you are being mocked, criticized and wondered about, but not savaged. Get a grip.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Gavin Paterson
Date: 26 May 10 - 10:48 AM

Colin - I love the book. I planned a holiday trip around some of your comments.

When we went to Dungarvan I met with Donnchadh Gough (Danu) and many of the Clancy's and made some friends that have lasted since. (I sent Donnchadh a copy of the book too). Your piece on Liam Clancy and his subsequent appearance in the Dylan film opened my eyes and ears to his remarkable talents.

Long story short, I appeared on stage as one one the many people who stood-in for Liam at what should have been his last concert (almost a year ago at Clancy Fest) and, as far as I know, I was the only person to travel over from Scotland for Liam's funeral last December. All thanks to you directing me to Dungarvan in the first place.

I have been to places in Ireland that I would never have found, thanks to the book. I have made lasting friendships, thanks to your book.

So I would like to thank you. I always enjoyed your writing. The book has been good to me.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 May 10 - 11:00 AM

Colin,thankyou for replying,so, some have really enjoyed your book.
I think I said it was faintly amusing,it certainly not as annoying as Pincher Martin.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 May 10 - 11:01 AM

yes,these were my words.
This book is faintly amusing but it Illustrates how English ,Colin Irwin is.
it is occasionally humourous ,although it gives an inaccurate overall picture of irish music,of course places do exist such as those Irwin describe,they have to be to satisfy people,such as Colin who go looking for the craic.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 26 May 10 - 11:56 AM

Leeneia, judging from your very evident sense of humour bypass, perhaps it's you who needs to get a grip. Or get a drink. Or possibly dislodge the rod from up your bum. :)

Have you read the book yet?


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 May 10 - 12:32 PM

Ruth[Jo Crump]is it necessary to be SO rude


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 26 May 10 - 12:50 PM

"ever-fragile ego"

Haven't read the book, and thanks to CI's absence of ability to endure general criticism, I won't be.

Joan, do you ever get off wading in on your favoured artists behalf!
*Please* don't PM me again btw.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 26 May 10 - 01:00 PM

HA! Oh Crowsister, you slay me. I can just imagine the moral outrage if a similar slanging fest took place over, say, the various youtube performances posted by the Mudcat inner circle. But of course, you can't ever speak out for your friends if they happen to have a public profile.

Rude? Oh, not nearly so rude as some people here have been in this thread - and some of them without even first having the courtesy to read anything Colin's written. Of course, some think he was writing in the 60s, so have obviously confused him with someone else, but that's not going t stop them calling him a wanker anyway. But hey - it's all good fun, right? And he published a book, so like any other professional who puts themselves out there, he deserves whatever festering turd of an excuse for criticism any passing Mudcatter feels like lobbing at him, right?


I love Mudcat: lack of knowledge/understanding/information will never keep some people from having an opinion, nor in fact from expressing it. You've got to laugh. :)


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 26 May 10 - 01:01 PM

"Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: GUEST,leeneia - PM
Date: 26 May 10 - 09:27 AM

Savaged? Sir, you are being mocked, criticized and wondered about, but not savaged. Get a grip."

Amen Leeneia, it concerns me that there are vocal efforts to stem free discussion about music and literature here. Maybe artists get offended, maybe those who know and /or hire them get offended on their behalf, but basically I see that as a problem that comes with the territory of putting on your sparkles and saying to the world: "let me entertain you"


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 26 May 10 - 01:09 PM

JC: "lack of knowledge/understanding/information will never keep some people from having an opinion, nor in fact from expressing it."

Yes, Mudcat is definitely a case of folk against fascism if I ever saw it.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 May 10 - 01:14 PM

joanne crump,why cant music critics br criticised for their work, the same as everybody else?
and I do not have an axe to grind,Colin has never publicly reviewed any of my recordings.
J Crump,you are fairly transparent,and some of us have seen through you.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 26 May 10 - 01:17 PM

"the various youtube performances posted by the Mudcat inner circle."

Let us know what you think Joan, I'm sure we'd all like to have your professional critique.. YouTube is after all a completely *democratic* site where ANYONE can make their feelings known. Go for it!


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 26 May 10 - 01:44 PM

I have neither the time nor the inclination, to be honest. But if there WAS a Mudcat thread specifically dedicated to slagging off, say, your Myspace page, what do you reckon your friends would do? Ignore it? Reckon that you deserved whatever nastiness came your way because you'd put yourself out there? Or come to your defense?

What if the criticism extended beyond your singing and, say, had a dig at what your relationship must be like due to the lyrics of one of your songs? Is that all fair too, because you've put yourself out there by puting your singing on a Myspace page? Is that the same as putting on your sparkles and saying to the world "let me entertain you"?

I didn't actually post to this thread until people who hadn't even read the bloody book decided they were going to wade in regardless, making idiotic judgements based on what others had said. Only in Mudcatland could this be defensible; but apparently if you've had the temerity to get paid for writing a book, you're fair game. Even for people who haven't even bothered to read it.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 May 10 - 01:52 PM

J Crump,
if you have the temerity to record or write anything you get criticised,why should Colin be exempt,other than he is a friend of yours.
it has nothing to do with mudcat,people get criticised on Froots,Concertina net,Chiff and Fipple the Session or any other internet forum.
J Crump, I am sure Colin is happy about the publicity his book is getting


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 26 May 10 - 01:52 PM

"Only in Mudcatland could this be defensible; but apparently if you've had the temerity to get paid for writing a book, you're fair game. Even for people who haven't even bothered to read it."

Yes, amazingly - on a public discussion board anyone (even cretins without 'how to be a wine snob' diploma can post their shameful "opinions" ye gods...


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 26 May 10 - 01:59 PM

...and presumably, it is also permissable in such a context for others on that messageboard to say that anyone who slags off a book they haven't even bothered to read (or a song they haven't heard or a wine they haven't tasted - take your choice), and makes faux-profound judgements about its contents and its author based on hearsay and speculation, is a bloody moron.

Thank you and good night.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 26 May 10 - 02:29 PM

I think "ever-fragile ego" was a bit of irony, not evidence of a sense of humour bypass ....? Clearly wasted on some posters, as was the irony in Colin's book. FWIW I enjoyed reading it.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 26 May 10 - 02:37 PM

"I think "ever-fragile ego" was a bit of irony, not evidence of a sense of humour bypass

Yeh..


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 26 May 10 - 02:40 PM

Oh, ffs!


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: GUEST,Continuity Jones
Date: 26 May 10 - 02:50 PM

With the exception of Dick Miles, Colin Irwin's detractors seem more concerned with the act of detracting and picking old / new wounds than anything else.

As Woody Guthrie famously said "You can lead a horse to water but you can't stop the ship of fools arguing it's a cow"

At least read the book!

Right, I'm off to slag off Jamie Oliver on a chef's message board. I don't know much about Jamie Oliver so I consider myself uniquely qualified.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: GUEST
Date: 26 May 10 - 03:51 PM

Ruth,[AKA MrsDerek];MrsDerek; Ruth[Jo Crump]; J Crump; joanne crump:

I suppose by using a variety of names to describe a fellow poster on the messageboard there is a point to it, especially since none of these are correct; but for the life of me I can't see what it is.

Would you are to explain Dick?

And to me, a regular follower of newspapers. "Journalist Gets Facts Wrong" is not really news.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: GUEST,Folkiedave
Date: 26 May 10 - 04:00 PM

Ruth,[AKA MrsDerek];MrsDerek; Ruth[Jo Crump]; J Crump; joanne crump:

I suppose by using a variety of names to describe a fellow poster on the messageboard there is a point to it, especially since none of these are correct; but for the life of me I can't see what it is.

Would you are to explain Dick?

And to me, a regular follower of newspapers. "Journalist Gets Facts Wrong" is not really news.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 May 10 - 05:01 PM

so, is she not Ruth Archer?is she not J Crump?
the point is that one is her mudcat moniker,and one of the others is her real name.and your name is DaveEyre


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: GUEST,Folkiedave
Date: 26 May 10 - 05:32 PM

No Dick my name is not DaveEyre - it is Dave Eyre.

She signs in as Ruth Archer. Not as MrsDerek, which is not her name and she is not married as far as I know but if she was and she missed off her husband's surname it would be Mrs. Derek. She is not Joanne Crump either.

From a man complaining about the accuracy of a book you have written twaddle. So nothing new there.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 May 10 - 05:57 PM

I have written Twaddle? so her moniker is not Ruth Archer? and her name is not J Crump?, this is reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland., are you the Mad Hatter


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: GUEST,Mad Jack Wooley's Dog Captain
Date: 26 May 10 - 07:23 PM

Loving this... keep it up. Woof!


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: Folknacious
Date: 26 May 10 - 07:48 PM

Many of you are completely bonkers, you know **

f.w.i.w. I enjoyed both Irwin's book, the Irish one more than the English one one, but it probably helped that I read them before forming that opinion. Here's my secret though: it was perfectly obvious to me that they weren't supposed to be serious.

So why wasn't it obvious to Dick Miles? Surely his views weren't coloured by his vendetta against a certain magazine for which Irwin's the main folk writer?

Cue illiterate, poorly typed rebuttal . . .

(** that's an opinion, not fact, of course - I know some of you have trouble tellling the difference. I blame the medication.)


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: GUEST,David E.
Date: 26 May 10 - 11:32 PM

I have Colin's book on my shelf and will one day get around to reading it whatever people may think. I have read Last Night's Fun and thought it was wonderful and would recommend it to anyone. Don't know enough about Golding to comment.

Why is it that so often when looking through Mudcat posts I am reminded of Monty Python's re-enactment of the Battle of Pearl Harbor?

David E.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 May 10 - 06:35 AM

Folknacious,whether it is serious or not, is not the point,it is [imo]a bit boring , and on occasions irritating.
I must say I was surprised to be in agreement with Geoff Wallis.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: GUEST,Guest Kevin B
Date: 04 Apr 11 - 03:27 PM

Just finished in search of the craic. Chapter 1 was a bit touch and go for me, taught it was goin to be english paddy bashing but that was finished as quick as it started. The rest of the book i taught was fantastic and a great music reference too. the description of Christys earlier gigs were bang on the money, and the storys throughout the book i taught were grea tto read. Tommy peoples and Athenry got a laugh from me anyway. Its tongue in cheek stuff really with some great knowledge of Irish music thrown in, not exactly Ulyses....much better read than that.


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Subject: RE: Book: In search of the craic by Colin Irwin
From: GUEST,Sylvester
Date: 04 Apr 11 - 05:31 PM

i taught i tore a paddy cat


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