Thursday, August 21, 2008
“One man's remorse is another man's reminiscence.”
Many years ago my mother and I accompanied an elderly neighbour to an out-of-town concert. The neighbour had entered a radio contest and she won several sets of tickets to see a fellow named Johnny McEvoy. Mater was quite a fan, I liked his songs well enough and we thought we would make an evening out of it. He was rather well known around Ireland and we were delighted at the imminent and unexpected prospect of seeing a celebrity.
Mater and I were surprised, upon arrival, to find that the venue was no theatre: instead we stepped into a diminutive community hall. The chairs were of cafeteria quality- hard backed plastic- and there was no visible stage.
We looked about and wondered at the diminutive area Johnny McEvoy would have to perform in. We lamented that his career must be at a low ebb. The whole scene left us with the distinct impression that we were about to witness a cheap and amateur routine.
The mystery was soon solved when the singer emerged from behind a curtain- and it was not him at all.
It turned out in the end that we three spent the entire evening listening to the low-key warblings of local man Larry McEvoy- not a celebrity, not related to Johnny, not even, dare I say it, a particularly notable singer, our high expectations aside.
The old woman, whose mishearing had led to our deep disappointment, was the sole satisfied listener of the three of us. Indeed, I would go so far as to say she had not an inkling of who either Larry or Johnny were and could not, then, have told the difference between them, between an evening with a music star and a bleak, monotonous stretch of slow-ticking time. Mater and I kept each other awake with intermittent prods and, too, saved each other from tumbling into grim despair at the melancholy tunes.
When all is said and done, though, I know this for certain: had it been Johnny who played for us that evening; had things gone according to plan; had the old lady known whose concert tickets she was in possession of, I might not remember the event to this very day.
Mater and I are still laughing. That must count for something.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 7:29 AM