Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Irish Examiner newspaper 21st December 2015 A tribute to late Cork musician Mick Lynch

Ellie O’Byrne pays tribute to Cork music legend Mick Lynch who passed away last week
Link to article

MICK LYNCH, songwriter, performer and former frontman of Cork new wave band Stump, passed away after a short illness in Marymount Hospice last Thursday. He was in his mid-50s.

Tributes and anecdotes poured in for the larger-than-life character, a familiar figure on the streets of Cork, within hours of his passing. Friends, family and admirers gathered to commemorate him at his funeral on Saturday.

Lynch grew up on the South Douglas Road, one of five siblings born to the late Tadhg and Noreen Lynch. He is survived by three sisters, Julianne, Noreen and Marie.

He attended Douglas Community School, and by his late teens was embroiled in Cork’s burgeoning punk scene, centred around venues like the Arcadia, where bands like Nun Attax were emerging in an economic landscape beset by unemployment and lack of opportunity.

Among his early bands was a version of Microdisney with Cathal Coughlan, Sean O’Hagan and drummer Rob McKahey. He also worked at both the Arcadia and Sir Henrys, two of Cork culture’s greatest landmarks.

In 1983, when McKahey and Lynch found themselves as part of the emigrant wave to London, Rob got in touch to see if he’d be interested in fronting a newly formed four piece, Stump.

Lynch’s surreally subversive lyrics, quick wit and dynamic performing ability made an enormous impression on McKahey, as well as bassist Kevin Hopper and guitarist Chris Salmon.

“Mick was a star, an enigma, one in a million,” McKahey said. “He’d come in for rehearsals and read out the lyrics he’d written to one of our crazy tunes and we’d all just be in awe.”

Live performances were raucous and at times hazardous, with Mick goading the audience in between chaotic renditions of songs like ‘Buffalo’ and ‘Charlton Heston’ whose musical complexity and humour generated a cult following for the band to this day.

The latter song also contains one of the great rhymes of the era: “And Charlton Heston put his vest on.”

Stump enjoyed a brief but meteoric rise to fame, finding a dedicated supporter in the form of legendary BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel, for whom they recorded four Peel Sessions before signing to Chrysalis records. They also made several appearances on Channel 4’s music show, The Tube, presented by Jools Holland and Paula Yates.

However, differences emerged between band members and after recording one album for Chrysalis, they disbanded and Lynch eventually returned to his home town.

A revival of interest in music of the era had seen Stump reform for one gig in 2015. They were in negotiations for a season of festival appearances when Lynch received the news of his illness .“It was so strange, because we had been rehearsing, and the day we got the news that we were going to tour festivals, we called Mick and he was in the Mercy Hospital,” said McKahey.

After he had returned to Cork from London, Lynch got involved in acting and toured with several productions, also appearing as a character actor in a Murphy’s Irish Stout ad in the 1990s.

He also developed a one man show based on an alter-ego of his own invention, Don for Chickens, a solo act that involved performing songs accompanied by rhythms pounded out on a stringless guitar.

The surrealism, humour and lyrical talent that defined his contributions to Stump remained evident in these performances.

A meeting in the late 1990s with Tasmanian puppeteer Cliff Dolliver led to the foundation of Dowtcha Puppets, a puppetry and street theatre company where Lynch’s performing talents and love of writing saw him pen several shows in Irish and perform all over the country.

“He had this combination of a love of Irish traditions and culture, and a punk attitude,” Dolliver said. “His shows always encouraged people to go back to their roots, but at the same time made sure they were awake enough to think for themselves.

“He was a huge and uniquely talented character.”

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Evening Echo, Saturday, July 12, 2008  - Mattie Kiely -  Article written by Jimmy Crowley&nbsp

I MET Brian from the High B at my Monday gig at the Whiskey Bar (formerly the Phoenix), Union Quay.
“That place of yours is an institution,” says I; “don’t ever change it; too many Cork icons have bit the dust and vernacular pubs and eating houses might be uncool in Tigerland, but we’ll be kicking our arses in the future for throwing so much heritage out the window. If as much as a new picture is hung on the walls of either the Long Valley or the Hi Bi,” I continued, “I’m imposing eternal exile on myself in protest.”
Brian, of course, was in complete agreement and assured me that the wheels were turning and already people were becoming more conscious of identity.
But will that kind of talk bring Mattie Kiely’s chipper back?
About a month ago I had the good fortune of hearing Mick Lynch sing a couple of ineffable ballads at Seánie Driscoll’s wonderful Sunday Afternoon session at Charley’s, Union Quay. The singing was straight from the heart; out of his own imagination, to quote John Spillane. The warm ears of love for the musical pulse of the Beautiful City and the cold clinical ears of the ethnographer drew me to Mick like a drawing pin to a magnet.
“I must have that song for the column,” says I. “Indeed ’n you may,” he assured me generously, “and I’ll give you a few more as well.”
Mick Lynch is hoping to be in the studio soon to record an album and his stage show is called Don for Chickens. His influences range from ballad to punk, reggae and country and this rich pot pourri would make a dog strike his father, to quote piper Willie Clancy. There is no nicer theme for a song than the demise of Mattie Kiely’s gorgeous fish and chip shop in Maylor Street. which until quite recently fed us all, and fed us decently and economically. You’d never know whom you might meet at the rail and how I loved that photograph of the sleeping pussycat with the Good Book, no less, for his pillow.

On a cold December evening
it’s Cork, it’s mid-December,
I was waiting for the girlfriend
and I hoped that she’d remember,
conversations from the night before
the both of us were p*ssed,
we said we’d meet at 5 o’clock
or was that 5 a 6?
I thought I’d got a fifty
when the clock read half past 5
when my mobile rung
it was your one,
she was rough but still alive;
I’ve only just got up, she said,
my eyebrows must get lined,
i’ll meet you there at half past 8,
no make that 8 a 9.
As I stood there in the shelter
at the front of Roches Stores,
perused the permutations
and beneath my breath I swore,
I hadn’t had my breakfast;
I hadn’t had my tea,
I was feeling numb I was feeling glum
when a thought occurred to me.
Just go around the corner
to a place where you’ll get fed,
lay out some dosh
for some handsome nosh
by my stomach I got led,
he’s maybe not as tall as me
but he looks a lot like mylie:
ooooh! Mattie Kiely.
I reached my destination,
took my hat off stepped inside,
the temperature was toasted,
the aroma deeply fried,
the atmosphere had a whiff of beer,
the light a battered hue,
I took my place
in the space proscribed
and turned to see the view.
A section of humanity
predominantly older
in a line at ease their mushy peas
their chips their Coca Cola;
for those who chose the cutlery
a plastic fork at most,
their tablecloth a single page
of last week’s racing post.

So come on down to Maylor Street
to a place where you’ll get fed,
lay out some dosh
for some princely nosh
by your stomach
you’ll get led,
he shuts up shop at 9 o’clock
he lives the life of Reilly:
oh! oh! oh! Mattie Keiley.
An order quickly taken;
our hero moves with speed,
it’s passed along with assured aplomb
so the process can proceed.
another thirty seconds and
your table’s deftly laid
and with no delay I can safely say,
your bill is tilled and paid.
Along the polished counter top
your elbow slowly slides
as the tension mounts
you do all but count
the amount of broken tiles,
a wave of paranoia makes
you think you’ve been ignored,
a later ordered burger
disappearing out the door.
And up the length of Maylor Street
from a place where you’ll get fed,
lay out some dosh
for some princely nosh
by your stomach you’ll get led,
in unemployed society
he’s spoken of quite highly:
oh! oh! oh! Mattie Keily.
You raise your hand in protest
as our hero re-appears;
but you bite your tongue
cos the fare he’s brung
is the best you’ve seen in years:
a box of floury fried potatoes
drenched in mushy peas,
on top there floats in a crispy coat
fresh fish from Irish seas.
To finish off this masterpiece;
a healthy dose of salt
shook in and drenched with vinegar
the clear stuff or the malt?
your lips are licked;
your chip is picked,
you spear it with your fork,
it’s raised aloft and a bite bit off
of the finest chip in Cork.
But no more down on Maylor Street
is a place where you’ll get fed,
can’t spend your dosh
on some princely nosh
by your stomach
won’t be led;
he shut the shop in February
quietly and shyly:
oh! oh! oh! Mattie Keily.

Article reproduced here with thanks to John Dolan, Features Editor, Cork Evening Echo
Evening Echo, Saturday July 26, 2008 - Cork Main Drainage song
Article written by international renowned balled singer Jimmy Crowley about Mick Lynch’s Songs
THE Cork main drainage scheme is finally at an end, following many years of planning and extensive works. Did you ever wonder how the whole thing works? I mean, the responsibility for public health is enormous and very easy to criticise from where we stand; but to be actually responsible for drains and gullies, culverts and streams — all of which must form a veritable anatomy of discharge into the Lee — would be a daunting task.
I smirked at the enthusiasm and naiveté of those who rightly predicted that one day you could swim with impunity into the very arms of the city. It is wonderful to see not only the Lee and the estuary sparkling in pristine clarity, but many little tributaries and culverts along the way. Don’t ask me how they did it, but the evidence is clear. All of us have paid, and paid heavily, in inconvenience, but the long wait has been worth it. Here is what the City Hall said of the main drainage scheme:
‘‘Since the beginning of 2004, the necessary pipework and pumping systems were in place to convey the city’s sewerage, and also flows from the Douglas area of the county, to the new Treatment Plant at Carrigrenan, Little Island.  
“The Treatment Plant is fully operational and passed from the construction phase of the contract to the operational phase in August 2004. 
“A very high quality effluent is being achieved, far in excess of what is required under the EU Wastewater Directive. The improvement of water quality is already apparent. 
“Cork City Council has responsibility for the maintenance of all the main sewers and culverts in the city. There are approximately 200 miles of such sewers. They also maintain the large interceptor sewers, which have been laid over the past number of years.
“There are, at present, 56 storm overflow chambers and eight storm water holding tanks, which require regular maintenance. There are 14 small pump houses and one major pump house at Gilabbey, all of which require attention.
“Even as we sleep, a huge pipe, over three metres in diameter, is being laid from the Atlantic Pond Pumping Station to the city, a distance of 2.6 kilometers.
“A tunnelling machine is boring away, independent, along the line of Monaghan Road and Victoria Road, towards Kennedy Quay, unnoticed by the road users, cyclists and strollers overhead.’’
I told you two weeks ago about how I had the pleasure of hearing Mick Lynch sing his amazing ballads at Seánie Driscoll’s Sunday afternoon session at Charlie’s Bar, Union Quay. Just as profound a subject and as worthy of immortalisation as his last subject, Mattie Kiely’s famous chipper, is today’s ballad on the Main Drainage Scheme.  You can sing it almost to The Banks, with a bit of embellishment for the extra notes, and you’ll get great mileage out of it.
Ballads, after all, are meant to be sung by the people and not to be let go musty in drawers.
O brave Father Mathew, who’s stood
for so long,
His nostrils assailed by a murderous pong.
Will along with the rest
of us soon be relieved,
To be walking up Pana and able to breathe.
On loungers and lilos all summer we’ll loll,
And stride at low tide on the beach
at North Mall;
We’ll be swimming with dolphins at Sullivan’s Quay,
When they finish the main drainage scheme.
We’ll be reeling in salmon to
keep in the fridge,
Each day at high tide from the
Christy Ring Bridge.
And the ferries from Mahon and
Passage to Cork,
Will sail through the gale just to get
us to work.
Off Morrison’s Island on house
boats we’ll float,
And leave out our scraps for the
otters and stoat;
We’ll see fish, fur and fowl that we’d never have dreamed,
When they finish the main drainage scheme.
When the weather is bad and the rain
it pours down,
There’ll be white water rafting from Sunbeam to town,
Where in all of the restaurants and
all the cafes,
You’ll see freshly caught mullet as
fish of the day;
We’ll be bottling water called Eau de Chorcaí,
And our ales will be hailed as the cream of the Lee;
There’ll be shouts of delight from the beoirs and the feens,

When they finish the main drainage scheme. 

Article reproduced here with thanks to John Dolan, Features Editor, Cork Evening Echo
The hurlers on the ditch

We’re the back seat drivers
We’re the hurlers on the ditch
We don’t do much of everything
But moan and groan and bitch
We don’t do much about it
But we’ve got a lot to say
And we’d be the first to protest
If it doesn’t go our way

If asked about your politics
We trot it out by rote
But when there’s an election
Well, we never use our vote
When logic fails we rant and rail
On the problems of our nation
But we don’t do much, we’ve go a crutch
It’s called prevarication

The foreigners, the farmers
The lesbians, the gays

And the basic rate of pay
The French, the Dutch, the English

The Spanish and the Greeks
And that poor man from Kazakhstan
Who lasted here a week
The T.Ds from the P.Ds
Fine Gael and Fine Fail
And every other bugger
That has made it to the Dáil

The single mothers on the dole
The dads that did a runner
The snow and the rain in winter
The heat and sun in the summer
There’s shysters in the paddock
There’s divers on the pitch
‘cos when we get to sport by God
It’s crowded on the ditch

The Pavies and the Romany
The Winos on the tap
The Scumbags in their gladrags
From Adidas, Nike and Gap
The mutton dressed as lamb, who lunch
Their Browne and Thomas lives
Who double park for Ireland

In the Dublin 4 wheel drives
I gave my soles to Jesus

I gave my soles to Jesus
He never gave them back
I lent them for his journey
Down that rough and rocky track
He was coming down from Calvary
His feed cut on the rocks
I had two pairs, he got my spares
But I held on to my socks

Jesus, oh Jesus
I hope you’ve saved my soles
I’ll be needing them in heaven
When I’ve finished growing old

(Jesus, oh Jesus
It’s not just about the cold
If the streets are paved with gold)

I gave my soles to Jesus
For that he gave me thanks
I took them from my rucksack
And approached him through the cranks
He’s come down from the crucifix
He was miserable and cross
He put them on, the turned, was gone
His gain became my loss

I gave my soles to Jesus
By luck or chance they fit
I gave them gladly
But what really go my tit
He ascended into heaven
In a pale unearthly light
But he didn’t leave my sandals
And I really thought he might

Oh Mother Dear

Oh mother dear if truth be told
These Dublin streets are paved in gold
And black and brown and grey and green
And colours mothers never seen

Oh, oh, mother dear
Oh, oh, the fags, the beer
Oh, oh, mother deer
Oh, oh, the fags, the beer

Oh mother dear, oh grá o chroí
This place is great, it’s crazy mad
There’s pubs for guys and gals and gays
And 40 shades of other ways


Oh mother dear, oh grá mo chroí
I’m eating don’t your fret for me
There’s breakfast rolls and Irish stew
That’s meat and veg and spuds, it’s good


Oh mother dear, I’ve met a girl
She kissed me once, she rules my world
She took me home a double room
The baby’s due the third in June

Oh, oh, mother dear
Oh, oh, the crack, the gear
Oh, oh, mother dear
Oh, oh, the crack, the gear
The crack, the gear

The crack, the gear
Sin É

Sin É, O Sine É
Oh, I’d drink there all day
Walk in the door and hand over my pay
If it’s not in the bookies
It’s in the till tray
Thank Josie for feeding us porter

The dubs have their hall, their stag, their MacDaids
In Belfast the crown is supposed to be great
Some say Durty Nellies the best in the state
We’ll leave them away with a caution
To the races in Mallow, we often make tracks
The coach will be loaded with folk for the craic
We’ll be glad to reach Nad when we’re on our way back
For sandwiches, pints and commotion


There’s Princes, there’s paupers, there’s queens at the bar
There’s postcards and regards from near and from far
But if you’re an asshole you’re sure to get barred
You must pay for displays of emotion
When the weather outside it is gloomy and grey
You might stop for a drop not intending to stay
You can try as you might, will you won’t get away
You can wave a goodbye to that notion


There’s pubs that play techno, there’s pubs that play trad
There’s pubs show Eastenders, those pubs drive you mad
So I’ll stay in Sin E for it I’ll be glad
As my life makes its circular motion
When I take my last sip and can’t take any more
I pray lay me out on the counter or floor
And when I am waked take me out and next door
To O’Connors in one fluid motion

Mick Lynch ‘07