I was not familiar with the poem, or its author Patrick Galvin, until I heard Spillane, who added the music. Among the madwoman's dreams:
"I want to sail in a long boat, from here to Roche's Point. And t here I will anoint the sea with the oil of alabaster…" Which led me to Photoshop a Wm. Steig image (from his profoundly groundbreaking book of art-cartoons "The Lonely Ones") with a cork in a bottle.
Paddy Galvin (1927-2011) was, of course, more than an Irish poet, as the best of them always are. He was also a playwright prone to vehement works that promoted his particular political views and damned social traits that he found complacent. A colorful colleague to Brendan Behan, and showing the influences of Dylan Thomas (in his poetry readings), Galvin also was a singer and issued several albums in the late 50's. His colorful personality made him a favorite with the ladies, including some he would marry and divorce, and a few he'd borrow from friends. One of the more notorious examples was the affair he had with poet Ewart Milne's wife. Milne's book "Time Stopped" tried to turn the catastrophe into something poetic and literary. Milne, by the way, is somewhat immortal through his cat poem "Diamond Cut Diamond." The title reflects the way he arranged the words on the page to form, yes, a pair of diamonds.
Spillane is a well-traveled performer who is not only popular in the U.K., but as far from it as Australia, where he's also appeared at many a folk festival. That's the mark of an enduring professional, a road warrior who just brings along his guitar and a good memory for traditional and self-penned songs. The definition of a hack would be anyone who tours…via cruise ships, performing oldies in front of middle-aged drunks, accompanied by inept guitarists and some birdshit drummer who sounds like he's bouncing a pair of turkey legs off a dinner plate.
John's latest album is "Life in an Irish Town," and he's got a TV show in Ireland on TG4 called 'Spillane na Fánaí' . For tour dates and other information, visit his dotcom, which is JohnSpillane (dot com!)
MADWOMAN OF CORK! John Spillane
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