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That's Terri, with one I
Eamonn McCann salutes a true Irish musical legend, Good Vibes man Terri Hooley, and argues that music should be free.
Eamonn McCann, 16 Apr 2008
The morning sun touched lightly on the eyes of Terri Hooley.
Ah, groaned the great man, sitting at the bar, scrunching his eyelids.
Chance to show off my knowledge of the oeuvre of poets laureate: let there be no moaning at the bar, I murmured.
Of the bar, growled the God of Good Vibrations. Of.
Always the pedant when it comes to prepositions.
We were in the John Hewitt, fornensed the arcade that fire-bombers destroyed a while back, putting Terri temporarily out of business. He explained he’d been out the previous night until just a wee while ago, which is how come he needed a pint and a brandy as a steadier this time of morning. My 60th, he elaborated.
Hell, I told him, I just had my 65th. Árd Rí, Rea Curran, James King, Poetry Chicks, national treasures, international footballers, three different types of sausage rolls, the social event of the year.
Only in Derry, he disparaged.
I suppose you lost your glass eye in all the excitement. I believe it’s traditional.
Nah. Lost it in the loo.
A horde of snappers and hacks had shown up for Terri’s celebratory celebrity shoot with Snowmen, Patrolmen, Glenn Patterson, Therapists and three fifths of The Original Undertones. Must have been a relief. The number of journos who’d attended Terri’s launch of my Socialist Environmental Alliance European election campaign in 2004 was, approx., none.
At the Waterfront gig on the night before the morning after he’d properly been hailed as a hero by as great and good a gathering as Belfast has seen since the night The Clash didn’t play the Ulster Hall.
Not many people ever make a real difference, but Belfast is a different, better place for Terri Hooley having happened into and upon it, than which nothing more needs said. Until his 65th.
Slumping upstairs to Sandino’s Back Room I hear Cahir O’Doherty challenging the audience.
“How many people have our album?” A forest of hands.
“Now, how many only have it because I gave you one free?” the Fighting With Wire front-man presses on. A scattering of hands is tentatively raised.