Off the fence
SOMETIMES you write something for The Mayo News and you just don’t get the reaction you expect. In fact, sometimes, you don’t get any reaction. On other occasions, a phone-call before 9am on Tuesday morning from a Mayo GAA Board official means that maybe they didn’t appreciate the ‘sentiment’ of your article.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece for our website called, ‘The diary of a musical husband’, my tongue-in-cheek account of what life was like in our house while my wife treaded the boards with the Ballinrobe Musical Society in their production of ‘The Pirate Queen’.
I can safely say that it’s been a while since I got so much feedback after putting pen to paper (well, finger to keyboard to be honest. Times are tough in the media world but not that tough).
Fortunately, it was all positive, at least to my face!
The article wasn’t going to win the Pulitzer, it wouldn’t require a Prime Time special to be discussed, and it certainly wasn’t going to be the subject of a Dail debate. But it seemed to resonate with people. Ordinary, decent, Mayo News website-reading people.
They enjoyed reading about one man’s struggle with ‘driving’ the washing machine, keeping the house clean, and the fact that he could watch hours of sport without worrying about who was going to be eliminated from America’s Next Top Model.
So much sport and so much time. There was GAA, soccer, rugby, curling, world’s strongest man, tractor-pulling, sheep-dog challenges and darts (that’s a sport, right?) to be seen, analysed, and discussed at length. Some evenings I nearly didn’t know where to start...
And all the while, almost 100 people were cocooned in the local Community School preparing to put on the biggest, most ambitious, most expensive show in the history of amateur musicals in the country. Yes, in the country.
They were husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, and house-mates. All across the county, from Ballina to Breaffy, Swinford to Shrule, they had left people at home while they travelled to Ballinrobe to fulfill their date with destiny.
So it only seemed right that I should share my experiences. After all, I thought, maybe not everybody is interested in filling every second of every day with NAMA, interest rates, the latest political wrangling in the capital, job losses, and the recession.
To paraphrase that great Mayo philosopher of our generation, Ray Foley from Today FM, a native of Ballina. “It was just a bit of fun”.
Sure, there’s a time and a place for serious analysis and forensic debate, but in this newspaper we’ve decided that maybe our readers would like the best of both worlds. After all, what man worth his salt out there wouldn’t like to know the correct setting for cottons on that complicated-looking washing machine?
Check out www.mayonews.ie and go to our ‘local’ section if you’d like to see what got people talking.