Sixto, Billie and me

A moment with Sixto, Billie , and me.

“And if, and if the night runs over
And if, the day won’t last
And if your way should falter
Along this stony path

It’s just a moment
This time will pass”

  • U2

Two Fridays ago I had Zoom beers with a bunch of friends I was in college with this time last year. Aoife, Lynda, Anne, Noelle, Seamus and I were Group 4 in Cohort A  and we were The Breakfast Club of that course :

Dear Gillian, Joanne & Karl ( our course overlords),

We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice many Mondays and Wednesdays in Tangent for whatever it was we did wrong. But we think you’re crazy for making us write a Lean Business Model Canvas telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us…In the simplest terms a designer, and a brain, and a comedienne, and a campaigner, a Gaeilgeoir, and a criminal. Does that answer your question ?

Sincerely yours,

Group 4, Cohort A

It’s odd how you jump into a group that were randomly assigned together and we all clicked. We spent most of the time assigned for group work to drinking coffee and laughing a lot. Within moments of the Zoom beers starting the only awkwardness was technological. Perhaps, the greatest gift of a second chance at education are those seamless and now timeless friendships that we dip in and out of with ease because they are so welcoming, comfortable and loving. Great moments.

Our call started at 8.30pm and finished at 12-ish. It seemed a shame to put a cork in the bottle, so I sat up with Robyn and watched ‘Searching For Sugarman’, a beautifully sad and wonderful documentary about Sixto Rodriguez, someone who released two brilliant albums in 1970 and 1971 to limited success in the US and faded from view. The missed opportunities, the second chances, the music…it’s just….The documentary is a must watch and I won’t ruin the story for you by giving anything away. You can still get the documentary on Sky. His two albums are up on Spotify as well. Cold Fact is just…

Last Friday night I again had Zoom beers, this time with two of my oldest school friends, Micky and Ronan. It’s only 37 years since we were at school together. We were called the Goggle Gang because we wore glasses and Ronan’s Mum thought it was funny…now that I think about it, no one else called us that except Ronan’s Mum. We live in different places, Dublin, London, and The True Centre Of The Universe, and live very different lives, public health psychiatric nurse, financial finagler in PR, and dreamer in chief. And yet within seconds , no matter how long it’s been since we last spoke, all of the conversations simply pick up from where we last left them. They would do anything for me, and I would do anything for them. Although history up to this point suggests that it’s always them doing things for me.

Micky and I  organised to have chocolate eclairs with a lit birthday candle ready at 9pm during the call and were messaging Ronan’s wife Stephanie so she’d surprise him with the same and we’d all sing happy birthday. And we did. And it was such a simple thing and yet we all got a great kick out of it…and an éclair. Another moment to treasure. Timeless friendships that we dip in and out of with ease because they are so welcoming, comfortable and loving.

Again we finished up after midnight, and again it seemed rude to cork the bottle , and this time Robyn insisted that I watch a documentary “Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry” on Apple TV. Robyn and I LOVE Billie Eilish , and we’d gone to London to see her play in The Empire, Shepherd’s Bush in March 2019 , and stayed with Ronan on his birthday. The documentary , again like ‘Search For Sugarman, is beautiful, sad and ultimately wonderful. And again I won’t ruin it on you, but there was one moment and I thought “That’s it!”, and then marvelled at how she was that wise at such a terribly young age.

There is a moment towards the end of her concert, she’s introducing the second last song, “When The Party’s Over” and she says :

“…I wish I could give you more, but, eh,yeah, but this is all I got. I got two more and for this one I’m about to do, um, what I try to do for this song is just ask that we all, at least try to, live in the moment. And whether that’s a good moment or a bad moment, like if you’re miserable right now, or if you’re super happy right now, whatever you feel, I just want you to live in that feeling, because that’s all you get right now, basically. So, if you would not mind, please, put your phones away, and look me in my face, I’m right here. For three minutes, that’s all I ask, three minutes , this is the only moment we get to be in this moment…umm…so let’s be in this moment…yes ? OK !”

And twenty thousand screaming fans put down their fans, and start humming the opening riff of the song, and then sing every note with her. Magic.

I’ve been to other concerts and seen other artists try and get people to do something similar, Nick Cave in particular, pleaded with fans not to put phones in his face while he was trying to get close to them. But , whether Billie’s audience is younger, or her words sounded more genuine, I don’t know but it was something to behold. A moment.

And this Friday ?

I’m going to be in bed with a book, Tom Holland’s ‘Dominion’,…at 9pm.

Friday night Zoom beers have a drastic impact on Saturday morning runs in Rossmore Park, so I’m never doing it again…until Friday week, the 26th when , fingers crossed a gang of us will be watching the world premiere of ‘Shoplifters Of The World’, which looks terrible, but features twenty Smiths songs as it’s soundtrack. There will be beer.

A moment to look forward to.

Failing that I’d happily watch ‘Searching For Sugarman’ or ‘The World’s A Little Blurry’ again.

Strange that this week two years ago I was in London with Robyn, staying with Ronan, to see Billie Eilish, this same week last year I was doing a pitch as part of my course with my Group 4 buddies and this week-ish, randomly, we’ve all met together again, over beers, and Zoom.

Moments twisting back and forward over time.



P.S. This is Billie singing ‘When The Party’s Over

Author: paul

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