GERRY RYAN – Voice of a Generation

Gerry Ryan was the voice of a generation – my generation. Just a few years older than me, be began broadcasting his hugely successful morning programme in 1988, the year after my eldest daughter was born.

His often irreverent view of life in Ireland was witty and very much in line with what many of us, his generation, were feeling. But he also had great empathy with his listeners, particularly when it came to everyday stuff of family life – from crying babies to sulking teenagers. Gerry had been there and could articulate so what the rest of us were often feeling.

It was a huge shock when his split from ‘Mrs Ryan’ (as he always referred to his wife Morah) was announced because, to those of us who tuned in regularly, he was clearly deeply in love with his wife. But he never let us, his listeners, know anything about what must have been a very painful episode for him and his family. He was on air next day, referring to the fact that he himself was in all the papers but commenting no further. This gave a hint at his ability to compartmentalise his emotions. He only shared with us, what he wanted to; a trait often found in larger than life, witty, extrovert personalities. This leaves me to think that there was much more to G Ryan than the man who we listened to on radio every morning. And of his legion of ‘friends’ I wonder how many really knew him?

I was interviewed by Gerry on air, three times; twice in my role as Public Relations Officer for the Alzheimer Society of Ireland and once as ‘stay at home mom’, recently retired from the workforce. That last time, I was phoned and asked would I be OK to go on air in ten minutes time to talk about an email I had sent in to the show on the subject of working moms –v- stay at home moms. I parked the car and said ‘sure’ and waited for the call back. That morning, on a side road in Bray I spoke to Gerry for over twenty minutes (clearly some guest or other had not shown up). He had a great gift for making us ordinary people feel at ease on air and I had to constantly to remind myself I was talking to a large audience, not just G Ryan, although that was how it felt. This special gift is always apparent in his TV series, Ryan Confidential.

I am genuinely sorry that we have lost Gerry, so early. He had clearly lots more to do in his broadcasting career. I will miss his cheery voice going through our national papers in the morning and his weird accents and sometimes warped sense of humour. He was an original and I suppose we were lucky that RTE recognised his gifts and allowed him roam around our lives every morning for so long.

To his family, particularly Morah and his children, his colleagues, friends and partner I extend my deepest sympathy. May he rest in peace.

Ni bheidh a leithead ann aris.

SUNDAY MISCELLANY – FINALLY

There are many of us, writing away in our own homes, most days of the week because that is what we love to do. We write stories, start (and some of us finish) novels and muse about life in general. We write because it is what we do.
But many of us, your truly included, resist calling ourselves writers because we have not had anything published yet. So we down play our writing. We mutter “well, I dabble a bit with writing”, or “when I have time, I scribble bits and pieces”. But if we write then we are writers. But few of us believe that. We feel we are not writers until someone, be it a publisher, newspaper, magazine or radio station says ‘we like what you have written and we would like to use it.’ Wow – what a difference that makes. There is nothing like professional recognition of your words to suddenly make you feel that you might actually be a writer after all. Coupled with the knowledge that this will lead to many people being able to read/hear your carefully crafted words is the completion of the process. Writers write to be read.
Over the last two years or so, I have sent in a few submissions to Sunday Miscellany which is a programme which is broadcast on Sunday mornings on the national broadcaster, RTE Radio 1. So far I have had no success. But on Wednesday the email that all of us ‘writers’ love to get landed into my inbox. Yep – the very one that says “we like what you have written and we would like to use it” and the great thing about radio is that you get a chance to record your work yourself.
So my turn finally arrived today and off I went in to Radio Centre in Donnybrook to record my piece which is called ‘Dad and the Art of Bicycle Maintenance’. The process was fun and very enjoyable. But most important of all, it made me feel like a real writer!
So – if you are in Ireland still lounging in the bed on Sunday morning, tune into RTE Radio 1 just after the 9am news and have a listen. I hope my Dad likes it. It’s a fitting and affectionate memory of a man whose 8th anniversary occurs the day beforehand.
The text of my radio essay, Dad and the Art of Bicycle Maintenance is now up on my creative writing blog My Word Songs

RTE HEROES RETURN TO MOTHER STATION


RTE is currently desperately trying to put together a ‘Debriefing Programme’ to assist their two distressed journalists who are returning to the mother station after deeply shocking experiences out in the Big Bad World. “Post traumatic stress on this level has never before been seen in Ireland” a spokesman for the station reported, “we are most anxious to ease their transition back to the world they know best here in Dublin 4.”

It has been reported that both boys have been seen in recent days wandering the corridors of the station mumbling about “not being listened to” and “no-one knowing who they are” and clearly in a very troubled state. But help is at hand. Duncan Stewart will play a vital role in the debriefing. “Whether it was The White House or Leinster House, I can help the guys identify what the problems are and how best to get over them,” the About The House presenter said. Yummy Mummy Miriam is said to be ready with her special recipe chicken soup which she will serve in two specially commissioned new RTE mugs, George and Charlie. “This will help them to remember just who they are and how valued and important they are,” she purred. And of course they will be encouraged to ‘talk to Joe’. Master Counsellor Joe will no doubt, have invaluable advice for them both. “Jaysus, there’s a lesson for us all. It’s a dangerous world out there beyond Montrose,” he said sagely.

It is thought that the first assignment to be given to the two lads will be a stint demonstrating the toys on this year’s Toy Show. “We will be picking toys specially that shouldn’t trigger any flashbacks that could prove fatal for the boys. I hope that they will enjoy working with other boys their own age” golden boy Tubridy said.

So there you have it folks. Finally RTE has produced intrepid, war correspondents who are willing to brave the outside world for months at a time. A heroes welcome awaits our two brave reporters as they return from the wars of real life and are rehabilitated back into the cosy womb like ambiance of our national broadcasters HQ in Dublin 4. The only place it seems where they are known and respected and loved! Doesn’t that give you a proud to be Irish feeling!

Corr Blimey – What Happened to Jim?

BEFORE READING ON… PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS POST WON’T MAKE MUCH SENSE TO THOSE OUTSIDE IRELAND AND IT WILL BE PERFECTLY CLEAR TO THOSE OF US UNFORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HAVE NO SOCIAL LIFE AND THEREFORE WATCHED RTE’S NEW CHAT SHOW ON SATURDAY NIGHT HOSTED BY BRENDAN O’CONNOR

I almost gave up watching Brendan O Connor’s debut as chat show host, on what will probably go down as another of RTE’s ill fated attempts to find a Saturday night successor to Gaybo or should that be Tubo. It takes a very special talent to make not only the guests but also the viewers as uncomfortable as Mr O Connor did. Stick to slagging off reality TV contestants please, Brendan.

But I digress (although I do feel the better of it)…. What about Jim Corr? What a surprise that was. Mild mannered little Jim, who for years had plucked his guitar in lonely obscurity behind his gorgeous sisters charisma and charm. He was the spare wheel on the Corr’s rocket to stardom. Now we all know what dark thoughts were coursing through what looked like the most vacant of minds. Conspiracy theories on a grand scale and something called the New World Order.

All just goes to show how dangerous it can be to totally overshadow one’s quiet and reserved brother. Sharon, Andrea and Caroline what have you done to poor Jim? As the world’s media jostled to have a word with you and flashbulbs dazzled in your path, Jim was left out in the cold. And here, all alone he was thinking deep and dark thoughts of how we are all on the road to ruin. Poor Jim. And we have all played a part in pushing him over to the dark side. For my part Jim, I am very sorry. I just never realised you were thinking at all!

Photo of The Corrs by bianchi.livia on Flickr.com