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February 1, 2014 / angelavbolton

H2O – The Real Young Ones

Anthony 'Anto' McGarry

Anthony ‘Anto’ McGarry

I’ve told you already about my first band, though they were a band before myself and Jackie joined them. She and I had been playing guitar and singing together for a while before we were asked to join what became’ H2O’.

We rehearsed in an old hangar in a football field which was normally used as a changing room for the poor little chaps who trained at football there. The place was freezing, and the lads would lug the amps and everything in and we’d run through whatever songs we were learning. If we couldn’t get the ‘hangar’, then we’d use Paddy’s or Ray’s front bedrooms, which were nice and big.

There was a band in Sallynoggin (I think) called ‘Reflections’, and they were the house support band for the National Ballroom.  However it happened, they chose us as their deputising band, when they went on holidays or whatever. We were delighted – I think we got sixty quid a gig, but we had to use the ‘headline’ band’s gear – this could be problematic. Our sound and volume was under their control (we’d be told not to touch anything!). David ‘Daithi’ Dwyer, guitarist, was a chap who liked to hear his solos and could get quite disgruntled.

The National was a ‘dry’ ballroom – there was no bar. It seemed to be a place that country men came to after a few pints somewhere else, though I have no recollection of what the women were like – maybe Ray, Anto, Daithi and Paddy remember?

However, we did sneak in some alcohol one night (see previous post) and were quite pissed, which was a bit of a novelty as we were all so young! The youngest member of the band was Anto McGarry, aged 12. I kid you not. And a more than competent bass-player, I now know. I don’t think bass was Anto’s first choice but he waded in with a will and was a very assured person even at that age.

All the lads in the band were good-looking – Ray with his easy charm, friendly face and perpetual good-humour (he was my boyfriend at the time, my first love, and a better first love I could not have); Paddy with his gorgeous smile and dark good-looks; Daithi, who was oblivious to how cute he was which just made him cuter; and Anto – long-haired and confident, even swaggering a little sometimes!

One night, during our break, we were just hanging out and, as usual, discussing the first half and what we should start with in the second. Anto had his back to me, talking to Ray I think, and from my vantage point, what I could see was a trim figure in black trousers and waistcoat, sparkling white shirt, and gleaming auburn hair flowing down his back. A man approached him from behind, tapped him on the shoulder, and asked him to dance. Anto turned around, looking a little bemused, and incredulously and emphatically said: I’M A BOY’!

Please remind me of other things – Paddy, you said something about the night you fell off the drum-kit? The times we worked together were brilliant, I enjoyed every second and if you’ve memories that I don’t, please share them with us.

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