Silence and Singing

The contented band of Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Gaelikaa, Ginger, Judy, Magpie 11, Maria, Ramana and I, of the Loose Blogging consortium (Helen is on sabbatical & Ashok might be otherwise engaged right now) once more entertain us with their offering on the topic for the week, chosen today by Ramana.

The Perfect Life

Playing in the background as I type is a CD of Gregorian Chants – Sacred Hymns of Peace and Inspiration – I wonder if it will bring inspiration to my fingertips?

For some the silent life of contemplation and prayer would be the ‘Perfect Life’, and although I do spend long hours on my own, I certainly would not consider it perfect. Perhaps my fathers teasing when I was a young girl, of me joining the Poor Clares has something to do with it. His description of the life included: silence, a rough woolen habit and bare feet, waking to dig 2 feet of my own grave every day at 2am and never seeing my family again or being allowed to go home. They would of course visit once a year and speak to me through a covered grille. Is it any wonder I still have trouble sleeping!

Right! Time to change the record I think.

Back in March 1965, Ireland had not heard of the Irish Blog Awards and the great craic that that event was to become (It is such great fun that I have my bed booked already).  Instead our little nation joined the 18-strong line-up for the first time at the Eurovision Song Contest in Italy. There was fierce competition in Dublin for weeks as every showband and soloist worth their salt wanted the honour of performing Ireland’s maiden song and a free trip to Naples for a slice of the action. After a series of heats, that honour went to local hero Butch Moore with ‘I’m Walking the Streets in the Rain’. Just look at the suit, the shirt and tie… pay special attention to the haircut… my mother would give him points for that alone!

We sat round the fire and watched in perfect harmony as each entrant was announced and sang their little hearts out for their homeland. The eighteen names had been drawn out of a hat before the proceedings started and we all had special interest in the names on those scraps of paper in our hot little hands. Well at 1s. per name, the pot stood at 18 shillings! There would be a First, second and third place divvy at the end of the evening. If I won… I could buy a new pair of nylons for the dance the next week!! Ireland came sixth but I have no recollection of which countries I was shouting for, or indeed who won the pot at the end of the night. It didn’t matter; the fun was in the banter. And for those few hours life was perfect.

17 thoughts on “Silence and Singing

  1. Rummuser

    Do I detect a yearning there? You started off conventionally with a story worth reading and switched tracks and bowled a googly. Your Muse was working overtime indeed.

  2. Grannymar Post author

    Ramana – No yearning. At this stage in my life I have seen enough to know that perfection is fleeting.

  3. Magpie11

    I love Gregorian chant…and some of the music of the orthodox Churches..they have some amazing bass singers.

    Way back I was off work for some time and my colleagues had a whip round and gave me some vouchers to spend:
    I used them to buy myself my first ever CD of music:
    A feather on the Breath of God…music by Hildegard of Bingen…Emma Kirkby Soprano:

    This link might help those interested to find some wonderful music:

  4. Nick

    I have to say my perfect life would certainly not include the Eurovision Song Contest, I find it totally excruciating. But as you say perfection is fleeting anyway, you may think you have it for a short time and then reality sets in.

    The most we can hope for is not perfection but happiness and a meaningful life.

  5. Grannymar Post author

    Conrad – The banter was king and we had plenty of that round the dinner table in our house.

    Magpie – I was in a choir at one time many moons ago, and we sang some plain chant. You really need an old church for the proper acoustics.

    On holiday one year I attended a Greek Orthodox Church, it was tiny but I loved the cantor’s chanting of the service. Boy, was it long, no wonder they kept bowing so low. I think it was to bring the blood back up to ones head! 😉

    Nick – Nowadays I would not bother with the Eurovision Song Contest, but back in 1965 it had a certain unattainable glamour for us. Contentment is what I would rate highly.

    Looking out my window right some people might think the white world outside makes a perfect picture – we have snow again – my oldbones do not agree.

  6. Maria

    I do understand. Your perfect moment captured the love that surrounded you, the warmth of the fireplace, and the fun of a little gambling on the outcome of the Eurovision Quest.

    Now, my question is “Did you win and get that pair of nylons?

  7. Judy Harper

    It’s the fleeting moments in time that makes life perfect. Be it as a child where every Friday night your parents cooked homemade hamburgers, with chips and coke. There would be a closeness and comradery between siblings and parents. A less stressful night. A relaxing night. A perfect night. Good post Grannymar!

  8. Baino

    Ah the old Eurovision isn’t what it used to be. More like a three ringed circus but we watch it because it’s funny. They take themselves so seriously. I think Sunday night was our ‘family night’ we were allowed half a crown to spend at the local sweet shop and hunkered down for sandwiches for supper and watched Juke Box Jury and Dr Who.

  9. Grannymar Post author

    Maria – I don’t honestly remember who won, but I doubt if it was me.

    Judy – All food in our house was home-made and slow cooked. The fun in the kitchen was when we were washing up.

    Baino – In those days it was all about the song. Sundays we always had visitors and usually had a sing song round the fire.

  10. Nancy

    Well, I just wish I had been around in 1965 and was a judge at the Eurovision Song Contest.

    My vote would have been cast for Butch Moore. I thought his song was very nice and he sang it well…

    My brother, Bob, was once in a singing contest. He lost! Perhaps it was because he didn’t sing a lovely ballad like “I’m Walking The Streets In The Rain”. No, our Bob sang his rendition of that popular cowboy hit ” There’s Blood On The Saddle.”

  11. Conrad

    Nancy, it reminds me of my piano recital in the second grade when I played, “Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie!” And, when I made a mistake halfway through, I simply stopped, turned to the listeners, and informed them that I would begin again – from the beginning.

  12. Grannymar Post author

    Nancy – Back in those early days it was the singer and the song. Nowadays you spend the time working through the distractions of flashing lights, backing groups, sounds systems, outrageous costumes before you can work out who is actually singing or what they are singing about.

    Conrad – I can just see you, and more power to your elbow!

  13. gaelikaa

    Oh I loved the Eurovision. I often watch the winners on Youtube for a bit of light relief. I’m particularly partial to songs in French and Greek. Listening to some of the sixties and seventies Eurovision entries and winners brings back great memories.


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