And in the end it is not the years in your life that counts, it is the life in your years
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Madness, my music


I do not have a section of called or dedicated to My Music, but that does not mean that music or bands have not played a part in my life, or given me much pleasure along the way of my time on earth. I love music, always have and have a very wide spectrum of choice. My iPod is loaded with all sorts of music, from traditional Irish to heavy metal, from pop to reggae, one off songs that have sparked something within and classical, a really wide array. However one form of music, and one band in particular rules my music and has been there nearly my whole life.

The music is Ska, the band is Madness and the influence is considerable. You see if ever you feel down and you need a lift, a shot of Madness and the world is always a better place. The fun and joy of any, every, Madness song is an uplift, and amazingly for me, for over 30 years now the north London Nutty Boys have been there, lifting me up when I needed, helping me smile, and clearly showing me that life is a good thing, a positive thing. Even the sad songs, Arlington House for example, shows me just how lucky I am and so lifts me up.

Madness is all about fun, fun in life and fun with music. Yes there are messages within the songs, serious messages, but even when there is it is done in a fun and positive way. But equally, the pure Ska beat always means that your heart will pulse that bit faster as you tap along at the very minimum.

I remember going to a Madness concert a few years ago, yes when I had become an old man and really was past it. Well for over two hours I was no longer past it, I danced my socks off for the whole thing. I was pouring sweat, I ached for weeks after, my ears had a buzz for at least 10 days, but I just did not care, I danced and danced and danced. Every song just took me back, opened a new memory and so I danced with each one in turn.

When I was very young, maybe the greatest moment in my life up to that point was a Madness concert. They were the headline act at a music festival in Castlebar in the west of Ireland. My brother drove me and I think the only song we played the whole way down was “Driving in my Car”. One thing I remember doing was stealing a bowler hat from my mum, it was part of the uniform along with the Fred Perry shirt. At the concert I found a barrier to sit up on, right in front of the stage. I sat there for hours waiting for the Nutty Boys. And when they came on, well that was it, life was complete. I danced my little ska moves the whole way through. But this day was soon to get even better, suddenly Suggs looked directly at me and said into his mic, “this one is for the gent in the bowler hat, who seems to know all the words”, well that was it, not only was I seeing my musical hero’s, but they had seen me, singled me out and dedicated a song to me, fame and satisfaction at last. The next day, was the crowning glory, the front page of Irelands biggest selling newspaper had a photo from the festival on its front page, and yes it was me, the gent with the bowler hat !!!

In life if you have a band that lasts 30 years they are going to touch a lot of lives, if you have a band that becomes your own personal favourite then you are lucky and those songs will always influence you, for me, I have a favourite band and they also happen to be making music for over 30 years, I always said I was lucky and Madness, those wonderful Nutty Boys, have been with me for all this time, creating the soundtrack to Paul Kavanagh. Thanks boys.




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