Archive for the 'dancing' Category

August and everything after

So as summer comes to an end with a cold, damp, miserable thump (what a surprise) it’s time to review some of what i’ve been up to over august.


I was at a wedding in a castle in Edinburgh (though not edinburgh castle) where they had the most wonderful humanist wedding ceremony. (I think we need more humanist wedding ceremonies, but that’s another blog.)


There was great food, good wine and even some dancing – of which i did not partake i must confess. Even the Bon Jovi.

I picked up the guitar and grew some balls and played my songs in a wee cafe in Portadown. And after the first 4 songs i even started enjoying it.

And in a fit of musical enthusiasm I picked up the old electric again and played with the old band in church. Lamenting my dying guitar amp and how rusty I’ve got at playing the electric guitar.

I await my new valves in earnest in the hope i can resurrect the Hot Rod deluxe to do another 10 years of loyal service.

On a more positive not the new Pod X3 rocks. While a little on the complicated side to set up and run it does sound pretty sweet. These are the days i wish i hadn’t sold my strat to Woodsy.

In between I have actually enjoyed my work. Which is kind of new for me. I have found myself too often pisssed off and frustrated in work so it’s nice to have a wee bit more enthusiasm and positivity about the whole thing. being there less helps. Which i know sounds weird – “I love my job as long as I’m not there…” – but when I do less hours I sleep better and am more sane than usual. This has got to be a good thing.

I look forward to dropping a day a week in the middle of september and going back to cutting up dead bodies with the students.


And then most recently was Jonny and Lynne’s wedding. Dear Jonny, whom I’ve known since I was 6 when he arrived in P2 and stole my lego. Not that I’m bitter. Dear Jonny, who I shard houses with and tears and joy with and made 9 platiunum selling albums with in the Turf Brothers. Good times.

Great wedding, though running around doing musical stuff all day. Including the first ever live turf brother’s performance.

And it was mighty craic playing in Nice Guy Eddie again (my old wedding band) and even nicer to move from dance floor to band and back to dance floor again getting to play just the songs that i remembered.

There was dancing. There was me dancing. There was me enjoying dancing.  But i blame Transfarmer for that. I blame her for everything really.

But above all else what made the wedding was the fact that we didn’t have to drive the 1 1/2 hours back from the Killyhevlin at midnight. Instead we sat about the hotel till 0130 and then dandered back to our little chalets at the riverside for a cup of tea and a nice kip.




And so began our little two day holiday in damp fermanagh. Like the donegal trip simply transplanted to a pre-fab chalet on the bank of the river.

I took the good ship pudge out on my own for the first time but was slightly annoyed that the brisk wind meant that i couldn’t get the thing turned and embarassingly had to reverse the canoe to shore just to turn it.


Everyone else seemed to enjoy their trip too. No one got wet anyhow.


We visited an ice-cream shop, just for the adventure of getting lost in the Fermanagh countryside. Sat-Nav is great and all that but only if you tell it to go to the right place.


Extended weekends rock. And it’s still only sunday morning.

Rockin the suburbs

Now I don’t want to make my life out to sound more busy than it is. In the words of Goldilocks’s narrator, two and a half days a week is ‘just right‘.

This week has been somewhat of an exception. Such that Friday, 8am on the train out of Portadown is the only time I’ve had all week to put pen to paper. Or perhaps fingers to keyboard…

Part of the busyness was good old fashioned work, part was a joyous reunion with the Belfast Empire at a Josh Ritter gig. The other part was my farewell outing with the legendary stadium rockers Nice Guy Eddie.

It was my 6th wedding of the year. Not bad seeing as I missed the first 6 months of it.

It was a good one. A CE wedding, where there’s nothing but wonderful people I know and love on both sides of the family.

Add to this the fact both the wedding and reception were in Portadown so it avoided the long, dull and awkward, three hours between service and reception. Everyone went back to someone’s house to play cards and lie around comfortable seats and drink their own tea.

One of the joys of being in a wedding band is that people know they can get you to play on the cheap no matter how bad you are. Kidding… honestly.
So as long as you have a steady (though rapidly diminishing) group of friends marrying themselves off then you’re guaranteed steady work.

Maybe it’s a good thing but some people have been to all the same weddings that we play at and surely they’re getting fed up with us. Though maybe not. We have added red ties, waistcoats and many a contemporary pop tune along the way.

By my own (admittedly low) standards it was a good night. Though I still stand with Woodsy that Build me up Buttercup and Dancing Queen are what they’ll be playing in the elevator on your way to hell.
Right we’re at Lisburn, better hurry up.

People dance, even Christians, even sober people dance. I rejoice to see them all with a smile on their face, there’s something about Northern Irish Christians dancing that brings a smile to my face. And I don’t mean a Monty Python sketch type smile. More of a rejoicing over the fact that though we’ve filled ourselves (in fact substitute myself for the ourselves…) with reservations, inhibitions and legalism, that just occasionally we remember how to celebrate and rejoice and bust some moves on the dance floor.

Though it takes a while to get the reserved, inhibited prudes to the floor (we call them adults). Instead we play the first few songs to a packed floor of 4 toddlers, Peter Kay style knee sliding included.

It takes me a while to realise that some of the kids are those of couples whose weddings we first played at some 5 years ago. In fact we’ve played at the weddings of half the couples there (editors note – the last statement is a gross exaggeration under article 4 of the bloggers code pertaining to atistic license. Because 5 didn’t sound near as dramatic).

This does not make me feel old or lonely or scared or angry – which many weddings do make me feel.

As the train rumbles through past Adelaide (‘past old building full of slogans…‘) I see my work here is done. I don’t mean the babies, they had nothing to do with me (your honour…), but I mean it’s a good gig to end on.

It’s like bonehead, the really crap guitarist from Oasis (yes even worse than Noel) being politely asked to pick up his Epiphone casino and royalty cheque on his way out the door. Or maybe it’s more like Robbie leaving Take That.

Though I suspect in reality it’s more of a Pete Best thing. Leaving me old, bitter and peniless as the boys move on to bigger and better things.

It has indeed been a pleasure.

Ahh. Now how did I end up in Bangor…

I bet you look good on the dance floor


I would like this to be an epiphany. But really it’s just more of a climb down. With cap in hand and sheepish look I confess, that I just may be a dancer.

By that, I in no way mean that I can dance, or indeed show an inkling of promise in the field. What I mean is that I just may enjoy it.


I have not danced, nor even tapped a foot in anger on the dance floor since a horrible ‘club’ experience when I was 19, when I first made a commitment never to dance in public again.

I dance in private regularly, head banging to Bloc Party with the best of them.

My problems with dancing are legion, but far and away the most significant is the self-consciousness of my white boy self making an idiot of himself in front of both beloved and complete strangers.

I am not alone in this I know.

Today I was at a friend’s wedding. Indeed this was a regression wedding. A wedding of a founder member of the GFA (Garden Football Association). The GFA was not as some suspect, a paramilitary organisation but a bunch of 15 year olds with two much time on their hands and a back garden and some footy.

This was a wedding of one of those guys that in many ways I don’t know nearly as well as I would like but just enough to know that it’s been well worth knowing him. One of those guys that you see once a year but remains solid in the ‘people I’m glad I’ve known in my life’ list.

The music was neither a dodgy cover band, nor a DJ, but just a ‘throw your iPod in the ring’ type of thing. And so we were all busy regressing into our 16/17/18 year old selves, and trying to reconcile this with our 26-year-old selves and catching up on what happened in between.

There was Mr Brightside, there was also Last Night, there was indeed most of the Nice Guy Eddie play list. There was Living on a prayer, and yes there was jumping up and down and realising that a high G is beyond my vocal range.

I loved it. This is no dirty, secret confession. This is proud and true, that dancing just may be an awful lot of fun. I will always be more comfortable dancing to Mr Brightside and Love will tear us apart than Build me up buttercup. I feel some kind of identity with the former. I feel nothing but contempt for the latter.

Today was in many ways ideal conditions for breaking my dance-fast. It may not happen again any time soon, but I am glad, no longer to be a secret dancer, but perhaps one who will require less encouragement to make a move on the dance floor. Though I would warn you still to keep your toes well clear.


August 2022