Here’s hoping that the orthographical conventions adopted throughout the various entries- those of Australian English- are not too off-putting for American readers and others… In any case, if you like songs, poetry, literary anecdotes and thought-provoking visual text, read on. What’s on offer (thus far):
The Summa Quotidian. The main song sequence of this site is a series of 10 albums featuring 12 songs apiece. Each song is preceded by an essay in the form of a journal entry of about 850 words, canvassing a variety of topics, with accompanying illustrations. The songs were written over a period of 50 years or so. The essays, in the form of journal entries, were written in more recent times over a period of 14 months. The first song of every album is its title. Sample these essays and songs sequentially or at random.
1- Everybody’s Story 2- Let Them Not Fade Away 3- Cannery Row 4- Foss Hill (The Old Comedian) 5- Changes 6- A Touch of Ireland 7-Old Dog 8- Sylvia 9- The Self-Unseeing 10- Easter Rises 11- The Mark of Cain 12- Surprised by Joy
13- Starting Over Again 14- All the Women 15- Looked at my Stars 16- Open Your Eyes 17- Is it a Dream? 18- Diving for Pennies 19- The Good times of Doris and Ronnie 20- Straight and True 21- When It Isn’t Heaven 22- Unhallowed Ground 23- Still on the Move 24- Just For You and Me
25- Belfast Calling 26- Penelope’s Song 27- Paddy Went Home Today 28- Mountains and Trees 29- Home 30- Perfect (as you can be) 31- The Cycle of Love 32- Dreams of the Elemental 33- I’m Supposed To Be 34- This Cold Bed 35- Sing Along 36- Staring (in the Antrim Lounge)
37- Harlequin’s Poles 38- Airman 39- Outlaws 40- Patrimony 41- Rose 42- Oblivion Mountain 43- Pandora’s Box 44- Paul 45- The Ballroom of Romance 46- -Everything Goes/Restless Paces 47- Waiting For the Drought to Break 48- Coda
49- Old Fool 50- Since You Walked Out of My Life 51- Strange Meeting 52- My Good Friend Joe 53- How Did We Get This Way? 54- The Younger Son 55- Back to You 56- Somewhere Along the Line 57- Universe of Blue 58- Open Season 59- Where’s the Harm? 60- Come Back an Angel
61- The Answer 62- Desolation Row/1984 63- Hold Me Love Me 64- Whatever Comes 65- Homebase 66- The Long Weekend 67- Anything Can Happen 68- Counting Game 69- Tomorrow’s Zero 70- The Dispossessed 71- The Emperor of Ice-Cream 72- No Surrender
73- A World of Pain 74- Another Mother’s Day 75- Another Saturday in Limbo 76- It’s Been Taken Away 77- The Silver Frame 78- I Can’t Sleep at Night 79- Deadhead 80- Any Old Song/Dancing House 81- The Holy Ground 82- Saturday Night 83- Hiroshima 84- (on what would have been) Your 32nd Birthday
85- Spray 86- Ballyhootry 87- All I Did 88- I Was Taking a Lend of You 89- Woman in Blue 90- Where Henry Lawson Can Be Found 91- Parting Words 92- I’m Not a Merry Ploughboy 93- Looking at Pictures 94- Central Story 95- A Packet of White Powder 96- The Muso’s Lament
97- Autumn Road 98- Fleurs du Mal 99- Over and Over 100- Dumb 101- Mr Brown 102- Roscoe 103- Manolito 104- Rosa 105- The Morrigan 106- I Wonder How They Got So Far 107- Progress 108- An Impervious Wall
109- I Rest My Case 110- Now We’re 64 111- Sidekick 112- BMD (Births Marriages Deaths) 113- Slow Burn (a title for this song) 114- You Ask How Much I Love You 115- I Wish I Never Was 116- The Frost or the Fire 117- Wish You Could Be 118- Slip-jig Philosophising 119- I Won’t Cry 120- Love Everlasting Complete
A Bit of Banter- these posts are associated with the musical output of the group Banter (a folk ensemble which has been resurrected with a number of friends after a lengthy hiatus). It features songs from (and inspired by) the folk traditions from Ireland, Australia, Britain and North America. I know that many people, myself included, sometimes avoid lengthier prose pieces in favour of snack-sized bites. Goldfish attention span rulz! These are just a bunch of songs- each with a short gloss (sometimes it is a song, some times an instrumental piece and sometimes a song with an instrumental), that we like and perform (for ourselves mostly, but for audiences, too, when we can overcome our combined inertia and muster ourselves to appear in a public venue). It is divided into the traditional 12 item CD format. Here they are so far: Banter I 1- The Spanish Cloak 2- A Bunch of Thyme 3- The Diamantina Drover 4- Dainty Davie 5- The King of the Fairies/Queen of the Fairies 6- Donegal Danny 7- The Mermaid 8- O’Sullivan’s John 9- The Grand Old Duke/ Heel and Toe Polkas 10- Now I’m Easy 11- Joe Hill 12- The Old Man’s Tale/Instrumental
Banter II 13- Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore 14- Shoals of Herring 15- The Raggle Taggle Gypsy/The Battle of Aughrim 16- The Three Sea Captains 17- Central Story/ The Hag at the Churn 18- Ride On 19- Sam Hall/ The Palmer River Song 20- William Bloat/ The Sash 21- Rhonda Valley Girls 22- The Lark in the Morning (instrumental) 23- The Hills of Kerry 24- The City of Chicago
Banter III 25- Don’t Get Married Girls 26- When the Boys Go Rolling Home 27- Denis Murphy’s/Rathlin Bog 28- The Monaghan Twig 29- Working Man 30- Deportees 31- Sonny 32- Whiskey in the Jar 33- Figuring out tunes 34- Begleys 35- The Irish Rover 36- A Nation Once Again
Banter IV 37- Three Score and Ten 38- McClory 39- The Triumphant and Centenary Marches 40 – Two Irish Tunes 41 – The Overlander 42- Cross Me Heart 43- Hard Times 44- Spancil Hill 45- Three Rivers Hotel 46- The Spanish Lady 47- Where is the Man 48- Let Them Not Fade Away
Banter V 49- The Lonely Banna Strand 50- St Anne’s Reel 51- The Ferryman 52- Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye 53- Two Hornpipes 54- The Lark in the Morning 55- Back Home in Derry 56- Follow Me Up To Carlow 57- McAlpine’sFusilier’s Instrumental 58- Shelter 59- My Last Farewell 60- Ballyhootry
…And Leave Him There is a playscript. (20,000+ words anyone?) Set on the morning of the 11th of September, 2001, in Manhattan, New York City, it encapsulates the tag of this blog: a tale of three islands, Aruba, Ireland and Australia. The songs, which form part of the play, are all accessible as part of The Summa Quotidian.
Making the Living Poetry by Quentin Bega This is a memoir in verse which bridges my first stint as a teacher in Australia, and my first encounter with unemployment upon my return to Northern Ireland. (Again, songs included here can be heard in The Summa Quotidian.)
Wollongong Sonnets Here is a crown of sonnets. First published in 1978 in Poems in Public Places, a real, published poet told me they were the first authentic poems of mine he had read. (He was wont to pour scorn on various effusions I had shown him over the previous five years…)
Quentin Bega is introduced as a character from a novel. This is the first chapter. Whether there are to be any more chapters is in the lap of the gods.
Feel free to leave a comment on any aspect of these posts. All such commentary will be thoughtfully considered…