How to beat illness: Positivity, music and relentless whingeing

Liam Geddes, his gig, Upstairs in Whelan’s was, for me, one of the best of the year.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m sick. COPD. Advanced. Breathing is difficult.

I know you know because I probably told you. I have a habit of it.

“Hello Paddy, how are you?”

“Sit down. I’ll tell you…”

Friends have learned to say “hello” and leave it at that.

I have three ways of dealing with chronic illness: 1) Be positive. I am. I plan things, I look forward, I make sure I things I’m able to do so I don’t disappoint myself 2) Music. I love music, I listen to music and, most importantly, even though it can be a struggle, I go to gigs as often as I can 3) I whinge relentlessly. It’s important to whinge, at least it is for me.

But let’s talk about music and gigs.

In the past year or so, I’ve seen: Teleman, David Keenan, David Byrne, Liam Geddes, The Stranglers, Travis, Neil and Liam Finn , Paul Weller, Divine Comedy, Pugwash, Lemoncello, Tír na nÓg, Uly, Guy Barker conducting the NCO for Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue and the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets.

Really. The Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, an Australian heavy metal band. I know there are some who would say you’d hear something similar by putting your head into a jet engine, but I saw them in the Grand Social. And enjoyed the gig – and I wasn’t even the oldest person there.

Lemoncello, who supported David Keenan in Whelan’s and who were a revelation

Best gig so far? I’d have to say Teleman in Whelan’s, though Liam Geddes Upstairs in Whelan’s in front of a smallish crowd was brilliant. Dundalk’s David Keenan is a revelation – he’s soon to fill the Olympia and David Byrne in the 3Arena was just stunning.

Still to come before Christmas, Villagers, Inhaler, Two Door Cinema Club and Scouting for Girls.

David Keenan, an extraordinary home-grown talent. In the Olympia next year

I think it’s my upbringing, listening to music in the house as a kid, everything from Tchaikovsky to Brendan O’Dowda and, as my siblings grew up the Beatles, the Stones and the Kinks.

Did you know that there were more than 1,500 gigs in Dublin alone last year? You probably know about all the gigs in Croker and the RDS and the Aviva and the 3Arena and Vicar Street and maybe the Olympia.

I tend to enjoy more Whelan’s, the Academy, the Grand Social and the smaller venues.


I’ve told you about being positive.

I’ve told you about music.

Let me know if you want to hear more about the whingeing.

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