Photographs and Memories
This picture was taken by my brother-in-law Tommy in my mother’s house in Pottery Road. Whilst I disliked having my picture taken (I’m not photogenic), for some reason Tommy never made me feel self-conscious. I was half-way through my eye make-up (only one done) when he took the pic. It’s probably the nicest photo of myself I’ve got, and I treasure it for the memories it brings of Tommy. I returned the favour in a way: one of the nicest photos of him is one I took in Wicklow – Powerscourt, I think – and I wonder does he have it.
Tommy was another brother to me, and while the other two either tolerated or tortured me (albeit benignly), Tommy helped me with my homework, gave me rides on his motorcycle, and he and my sister Martha brought me to the theatre for the first time, and to my first concert. Both he and Martha had motorbikes – his a Yamaha 250 (?) and Martha’s a Honda 50, which suited her to a tee: she’s petite and can rock the boots/leather thing no problem, and looked amazing whizzing along. I’d get a lift from school with her sometimes and it was great fun. When we’d get home, there were a series of little ‘ramps’ we’d put out against the kerbs to get the bike safely stowed away.
Martha and Tommy lived in Brennanstown Road for a while, and their apartment was magical: my mate Valerie mentioned it recently as being comfortable and cosy. My very first musical recording was there: Tommy set up a mic in the bathroom (knowing the acoustics were good) and taped me singing ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’.
He helped me buy my first stereo, for which I had to take out a loan, because he – rightly – believed the higher-end product would last longer. My Sony ghetto-blaster cost a fortune at the time but I passed it on to a friend when I left for the US many years later and they had it for ages.