MAKING MUSIC Patrick Dexter is pictured playing his cello outside his cottage in Newport. Pic: Karen Cox
Name: Patrick Dexter
A YEAR ago I posted my first video on social media of me playing the cello outside our cottage in Newport. Now through Twitter and TikTok there have been hundreds and thousands of views of me playing music. Irish people all around the world seem to love seeing the scenery and hearing nice music from the West of Ireland.
From the tens of thousands of messages I’ve got, it seems that people get positive feelings from watching and listening to the videos which is lovely to hear.
My wife and I have a nine-month old daughter who shapes our day to a large degree.
The time we wake up at really depends on the baby’s body-clock, but it’s usually around 7.30am. Porridge and fruit is our regular breakfast and we would usually go for a long walk around Newport later in the morning so that she can sleep.
When we get back we’d have lunch, which is usually soup made from root vegetables we get locally, and some homemade sourdough bread.
At that stage I would start working on whatever project I have on at the time, which will involve playing the cello or guitar or listening to music. If the weather is good, I’ll do that outside our cottage and I might turn on the video and record something for social media.
At the moment I’m working for an Arts Centre in London so I might be recording and writing some music for them for films. They enjoyed some of my live performances and approached me after seeing some of my videos; it wasn’t a job I had applied for as I didn’t think a job in London was a possibility given that I live in the West of Ireland!
But all the work can be done remotely. They send me the scripts and the film clips and I write the music and record it in my cottage in Newport.
I don’t think that could have happened before Covid and the lockdowns.
I do a lot of collaborations remotely with other musicians as well; recently I worked with one of Ireland’s best-known jazz singers, Suzanne Savage. It’s amazing really.
Like a lot of other musicians, I had been teaching to supplement playing music.
But that went to zero when Covid hit so I had to re-think things. It all started out of necessity but now it’s become a very enjoyable way of working. It went from a very worrying time to be able to have a dream situation.
Like anyone working from home at the moment, the day is broken up with preparing food and taking care of a child, and then working at various times as well.
I love cooking and a lot of our food comes from Glasrai Organic Farm in Westport. My wife and I go to the market at the weekend and get our vegetables for the week.
We don’t eat animal products so we’d have local root veg with pasta or rice. I like Indian food as well so I’d cook curries with lentils or beans.
During the day I might bring the dog, Naoise, for a hillwalk or if my wife and the baby are with me, we would go to the beach for a walk.
I spend a lot of time in the garden in the summertime, I love gardening. I love the sounds of nature outside.
In the evenings we’re cleaning up, playing with the baby and I like to listen to music.
I like traditional music but I’d listen to classical music or piano to wind down.
I studied for a Masters in Political Science so I have an interest in politics. I’d sometimes listen to politics podcasts or current affairs podcasts, although I also gravitate towards long-form history or philosophical ones.
The baby goes to sleep early so we’d sometimes get a good ten hours’ sleep. Sometimes we’d all be in bed by 9pm but if I’m doing music production work, then I’d do that between 9pm and 11pm. You have to have your headphones on doing that work so you can’t be minding a baby!
It’s been quite a journey over the last few years. The aspiration for any musician is to put together a recording for an album, and that’s being worked on at the moment and hopefully will be released later in the summer.
In conversation with Mike Finnerty
If money was no object, what would you
do all day?
Exactly what I’m doing now.
Tell us something we don’t know about you?
I absolutely adore cutting the grass.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten?
We lived in Vietnam for a while and ate some very strange things. I’ll go with a burger made of river worms. It was really nice actually.
Favourite place in the world?
Mayo. When I was younger we used to come on family summer holidays to a cottage in Aughagower so I’ve some great memories of the county.
What makes you angry?
People harming animals. Industrial farming.
What three things are always in your fridge?
Fresh root vegetables, tofu and sauerkraut.
What makes you nervous?
What’s your favourite TV show?
What do you miss most about being a kid?
I used to swim in the sea a lot in Mayo and didn’t care about the cold. Now I think I’ve gone a bit soft.
What’s your most prized possession?
What’s the best advice you ever got?
Don’t be worried about trying something, because if even it doesn’t work out you’ll have learned something.
Describe yourself in three words?
Spontaneous, outdoorsy, optimistic.