Stavros Flatley – ‘You Have to See This…’
One day when I was still working for Afloat magazine, my colleague Colin McEndoo asked me had I seen one of those talent shows that were on at the time, and I said no, we didn’t watch them. (I now know it’s Britain’s Got Talent coz I’ve just Googled it…)
Colin says, ‘you have to see this’, gets on YouTube and shows me Stavros Flatley. I am in hysterics laughing. Don’t know why, but I am. The innocence and sheer bravado of these two was uplifting.
A couple of nights later I remember this – Bob is on his night off and we’re having a few beers. I say ‘you have to see this’ and get the YouTube clip going. I have never in my life seen Bob laugh so hard. We were both sitting on the piano stool – which is nice and long – but as soon as the young fella appeared Bob fell off the stool. The tears were running down his cheeks.
Stavros, thank you for giving us that absolutely uninhibited laughter. You will never know how precious that is to me. I’d never seen Bob so child-like and delighted with something. He loves Fawlty Towers, he loves The Honeymooners, but you gave him something different and intense. God bless you both.
I’ve Got You Under My Skin
Bob and I put together a five-piece when we got back from San Diego consisting of me on vocals, Bob on bass and vocals, Martin Brannigan on drums and Dave McInaney (aka Dave Kodak/The Gonzo) on piano/keyboards. Brian Harris played guitar with us later – he’s brilliant: see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knbwLkpfiDM. Not sure if he was at the gig I’m talking about here, though.
Anyway, we rehearsed our asses off. If you’ve read Jason’s memories of his Dad where he says music seemed more like work than fun when he was a child, then it’s very possible he’s thinking of rehearsals. Bob is a firm believer in rehearsing until you can do a song in your sleep – ‘so you know what you’re going to do when you go out there’. Bob only enjoyed a gig when he knew exactly what was going to happen on stage – that’s when he relaxed. The work that was put in during rehearsal was preparation for having a good time – it was obvious that he enjoyed playing and performing once it was well-rehearsed.We lived at Woodbrook Golf Club at the time and rehearsed there. One of the songs we were doing was Natalie Cole’s version of Route 66, a lovely fresh cover that began with piano. Dave took forever to get it down and even then had to be reminded of how it went. I thought it was funny to begin with but it got old fairly quickly.
Martin, the drummer, like everyone else in this line-up, is a hugely experienced musician who has played with God knows how many showbands and cabaret performers over his years on the scene. In fact, he’s mentioned in ‘Craze’ magazine’s first issue (as is Brian Harris as part of a feature on The Creatures, and they’re on the cover) where it says ‘Does rated young drummer Martin Brannigan want to join a group?’… and he later joined The Miami Showband, Brendan Boyer’s Big 8 and Sheeba (pictured left, courtesy of Irish Showbands). Martin didn’t need to be at every rehearsal, especially as the neighbours would have been demented listening to a full band including a drum kit.
Our first gig as that unit was at what I think was called Rosie O’Grady’s in Ringsend. It was definitely Ringsend anyway, and all was going well. It was a summer evening and the venue was still bright with daylight. Dave had mastered I’ve Got You Under My Skin as well as Route 66 and when Bob called I’ve Got You… we looked at Martin to start it off: Martin smiled (as he does), and took off in double time, still smiling at our amazed expression. Poor Dave, after all his rehearsal and being nagged by myself and Bob, valiantly tried to keep up with Martin pissing along on the drums and me singing very very fast… it was actually hilarious. Bob initially looked startled, then resigned and, as the song progressed, more and more amused.
We never found out why Martin took off at that speed – post-mortems on the gig were discouraged, and rightly so. It’s done. But I’ve never forgotten it. Great days.