Music and Roy the Boy!

I finally got a photo of me, OJ and Roy Keane. I had to buy it from a newspaper in letterkenny and it came in the post at the beginning of the week. Apparently it looks good! Now I need someone to scan it so I can put it up here.

Roy recently did a short interview for
insight radio
About his involvement with Irish guide dogs. You can find it on the early addition page.

I don’t have a credit card, so borrowed my mum’s to buy the photo, and also bought some other stuff on amazon. I finally found an original copy of the frames first album ‘another love song’, which has been deleted and is very difficult to get. I got a copied version about 7 years ago, but it is worn out and doesn’t play anymore. I’ve been looking for an original since, and there was only one on amazon being sold from the UK. Its not exactly their best album, and their lineup has changed many times since, (Glen and Colm are the only original members), but it’s interesting to hear how the music has changed over the years. It’s worth paying the extra money just to have ‘the dancer’ on a cd that doesn’t scratch.

Someone was wondering how Dougal is getting on since we bought him a crate to housetrain him. He absolutely loves sleeping in it and we’ve had no problems since we got it. I wish we’d got one two years earlier. We all would have had a lot less cleaning up to do!

Currently reading: ‘Rachel’s holiday’ by Marion Keyes.
Currently listening to: ‘the loner: Nils sings Neil’, an album by Nils Lofgren, which I also bought recently and really like. He played a song from it during a brilliant interview he and Steve Van Zant did with Tony Fenton on today fm the day before the boss gig, and I was very impressed! Its my new favourite album!

Second trip to Dublin

As I already mentioned, I came home from Dublin on Sunday, exhausted after the Bruce gig, and went back down on the bus on Monday morning. My mum and OJ came this time. He had been to Dublin before, but never to the city centre, so I was interested to see how he would cope working somewhere that busy.

It was lashing rain when we got off the bus. We went to meet the lovely
Kerrie and Zonta
for the first time. The dogs were very excited at first. We had a nice chat and I would have liked to have stayed longer, but we had to meet my mum’s friends. After lunch with them I did an interview for the
stuartlawler.ie podcast
It was great to see Stuart again, but I’m not looking forward to hearing myself on the next podcast!

We stayed in Clontarf and had a lovely relaxing evening. OJ really didn’t like my mum’s friend’s cats and kept barking at them, making them run and hide. He slept in the same room as me, which he doesn’t get to do too often. Because of this he woke me up so many times. It was like having a small child in the room!

I was very impressed by how well OJ behaved in Dublin, and how relaxed he was on both four hour bus journeys. I specifically wanted a dog that would work in a busy city environment and on quiet country roads, as when I applied I didn’t know where I would be living when I got my dog. OJ doesn’t like very loud noises, but I could see from how he worked in Dublin, (even though he was mostly just following people) that he can adapt well to different situations. I probably mentioned before that he has very high body sensitivity, so therefore doesn’t like his harness on him when it isn’t needed. I always have to take it off when he needs to lie down, but he lay on the Dublin bus with the body piece and handle on, no problem. It’s only taken him two years to do it! Well done OJ!

Currently listening to: Rick O Shea on 2fm

Bruce and the E Street Band

When I saw Bruce Springsteen
last year
I thought it was the best gig I’d ever been to and that nothing could beat it, but last nights one was even better.
Myself and a friend got the bus to Dublin yesterday morning and, eventually another one to a mate aka Hollocaine’s house where we were staying. We weren’t really sure where we were going and wanted to get there as soon as possible. A woman who was a passenger on the bus complained because she got a small rip in her trousers from something sticking out of the seat, so we were delayed for about 10 minutes. It obviously wasn’t funny for her but we did laugh!

We got to the R.D.S at 3,30 and began the lovely wait until the gig started. We got wrist bands and got close to the stage, but had to wait for three hours inside the arina. It rained from 4 until after 10 but when the band came on nobody cared.

The band came on and hardly stopped at all between songs. Every musician was brilliant as usual and Bruce interacted so much with the audience, who loved every minute of it. They began appropriately enough with ‘who’ll stop the rain’ and it didn’t stop until after Bruce pointed at a cloudless part of the sky and played ‘waitin on a sunny day’. I was so happy when I heard the beginning of ‘thunder road’ as I really wanted to hear it live. The crowd singing along to ‘the river’ gave me goosebumps, and I loved the fact that you thought a song was almost over and the band would go into it again and play for another few minutes.
For anyone who doesn’t know, Springsteen fans make signs requesting songs and hold them up for Bruce to read. He went into the crowd a couple of times and collected lots of them, before organising them and playing a selection of songs that were requested. You never know what to expect at this point so it was good fun. Roadies had to keep coming onstage to mop the water away, but it didn’t stop Bruce from running around and going crazy. He must be very very fit!
There is a small guide dog connection in all of this. My friend noticed someone with an Irish guide dogs hat standing behind us at the end of the gig.

I have never sang and jumped so much at a gig, and my calf muscles are aching today. We got home at half 5, tired but happy that we had just seen the best gig possible. I would have went tonight if I could, and can completely understand why so many people last night were going again.
I’m off to Dublin again in the morning, but I’ll talk about why when I come back.

Set List:
July 11, 2009
Dublin, Ireland
RDS

Who’ll Stop The Rain
Badlands
Cover Me
My Lucky Day
Outlaw Pete
Out In The Street
Working On A Dream
Seeds
Johnny 99
Ghost of Tom Joad
Raise Your Hand
You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)
Seven Nights To Rock
For You
Thunder Road
Because The Night
Waiting On A Sunny Day
The Promised Land
The River
Kingdom Of Days
Lonesome Day
The Rising
Born To Run

Hard Times
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
American Land
Bobby Jean
Dancing In The Dark
Twist & Shout

We met Keano!

I tempted fate by posting my last post. About five minutes after I posted it my dad came home and told me that I was going to Ballybofey to meet Roy Keane during the Finn Harps V Ipswich Town match. My dad is involved with a local football team and has been for years. He was helping to sell tickets for the Finn Harps club and happened to mention to one of their supporters about Roy being the patron of Irish guide dogs. He told him to take me and OJ to the match, and he was sure we could at least get a photo with Roy.

We went to Ballybofey straight after work on Tuesday. One of my work colleagues is a photographer and a big Keano supporter, so he came too. It was great because he kept me company during the match and took pictures. The Finn Harps people took myself and my dad into the club and told us we could meet Roy after the match. I was just ringing J to tell him we’d meet him outside to watch the match first and Roy came over. He was quite shy but friendly too. He hasn’t lost that Cork accent at all! He asked about O J and petted him and we got some photos. J came in past the security and managed to take a few. It was all a bit crazy then because people kept trying to get in. He didn’t have time to change the lens on his camera so you can’t see OJ in his photos. I know a newspaper and some other people got OJ in their pictures, so If I get copies I’ll put them up.

Roy asked me if I was looking forward to the match and I said that this was OJ’s first one. He said he hoped he would be well behaved and wouldn’t distract his players. I told him that if Ipswich lost he could blame OJ! They did!

I enjoyed the match more than I thought I would. OJ was very lively and inquisitive and attracted a lot of attention as usual. A lot of people I talked to didn’t know that Roy was involved with Irish guide dogs and they were impressed. Finn Harps won 2: 1, so it was a nice boost for them.
After the match we went to a nearby hotel. I promised my nephew I’d get him an autograph and didn’t have a chance before. There was a press conference and we had to wait for over an hour. We finally met Roy again as we were about to leave. We had a laugh about the score and he gave OJ another pet. He spent time before and after the match signing autographs and meeting people, even when security were trying to take him away. I don’t envy any celebraty with that lifestyle. You would need to be very patient.

I got a very appologetic phone call from a member of guide dogs staff on my way to Ballybofey. Apparently he didn’t know that I had contacted the organisation about meeting Roy until recently and said if he had they could have helped. We got there in the end anyway, and I was glad I had the chance to go after all.
You can read reports on the match
in the Irish Times

God loves a trier!

Roy Keane is the patron of Irish guide dogs, and is also currently the manager of Ipswich football team. Ipswich are playing a friendly against Finn Harps tomorrow night in Ballybofey, about 40 minutes from where I live. I’m sure the match will be well supported and I expect there’ll be some local media coverage, so I thought I’d try my luck and see if I could bring O J.
I’m not a big football fan at all, and meeting Roy Keane isn’t a priority. However I thought that even a photo of him with O J and a mention of the fact that he is the patron of guide dogs would do no harm in the Donegal area, where publicity about guide dogs and more so assistance dogs could be improved.

I contacted the Finn Harps training ground, and got a nice appologetic response from a member of staff. She said that they were only allowed to organise the event that Keane was coming for, i.e. the match and nothing else. I completely understand why this is the case. Celebraties can’t just exactly go and get pictures with every single person who wants to meet them. She said that I should contact guide dogs headquarters and if they gave the goahead she could organise something. She also said she would pass my email on to their PR person and if he could help he would get in contact. The match is tomorrow and I haven’t heard anything.

I contacted the guide dog centre and tried my luck there. They said that Roy Keane is only contracted to advertise shades week each year, and cannot get involved with any other advertising activities for guide dogs. Fair enough. We aren’t going to meet Keano, but that’s not really where I have the problem. When Keane is pictured in the media, the pictures are always taken in Cork or Dublin. Guide dogs ran a competition for a school to have a visit from him last year, and funnily enough a school from Cork won. This was probably genuine, but it worked out handy and he didn’t have to travel far.
Donegal is the second biggest county in Ireland, yet when media are concerned it can sometimes feel like we live on another plannet. I have other issues with advertising and media coverage that I won’t go into here right now. I’ll just say that I think its something that needs to be considered by the organisation. Ultimately raising money is its main priority, but surely publicity helps. They are quick enough to ask for help with collections!

All the PR and stuff you have to go through to meet a celebraty can be very off-putting, and sometimes when you meet the person in question they are completely down to earth and unaffected by the fuss around them. I have experienced this a few times. The celebraties are made out to look snobby, like they aren’t interested in having a conversation with anybody, when in fact they are just ordinary human beings.

I haven’t explained myself very well, but I’m tired so this will have to do.
On a more interesting note before i go, take a look at
Dermot’s Blog
about his time working in Kenya.

currently listening to: Alison Curtis on today fm (one of the best presenters on Irish radio)

Happy birthday Jen’s big sister!

We went for dinner last night for Jen’s sister’s 30th birthday. As usual I didn’t get any dinner but everybody else said it was lovely. We went to
the Beach House
which is the nicest restaurant in Buncrana. We had a table beside the window with a lovely view of the sea. This kept me entertained all evening. I was able to watch boats in the water and the dogs out for their evening walks. I growled a bit sometimes and Jen told me to stop. I couldn’t resist letting out one bark, which made her jump (It’s so funny when I do that!)
Apart from that I was very good and a few people said I was the best dog they’d ever seen. They still didn’t give me any yummy food though.
Jen’s sister is having a party in her house tomorrow night but I’m not able to go. I don’t mind though because the boys are coming down to stay so they will play with me and maybe take me to the beach on Sunday.

Jen got an email during the week from a man that we met when we went to see
Christy Moore in Buncrana.
He said that he was so impressed with this blog and meeting me that he has decided to sponsor a guide dog puppy. That’s a really nice thing to do. He also appologised for petting me because he didn’t know that you couldn’t pet guide dogs when they have their harness on. Jen said it was ok because we were just standing there so he wasn’t distracting me at all. I love people petting me so of course I didn’t mind.

I think we might be going outside now. I’m not sure if we’re going for a walk or if I can play with my toys on the grass. I hope we can do both.
Woof x

Currently listening to: ‘working on a dream’ the newest Bruce Springsteen album. I like it but Jen still won’t let me come with her to see him next weekend. She says it will be too busy and loud. I suppose dogs can’t go everywhere.