My Fairview Youth Club trips to Blackpool and Rhyl, and ‘Oasis’ school hops had been swiftly followed by a couple of years counting the days, hours and minutes to ‘The Grove Social Club’ in St. Paul’s College, Sion Hill Road, Raheny – Ráth Eanna (formerly of Belgrove Football Club, Mount Prospect Avenue, Clontarf).
My pinkish ID card Nr. 5120 ever at the ready, Junior Flinter on sentry duty at the door, waving me in with a smile on his face, and a fitting rugby gesture of a big friendly hand.
A billowing cloak room out to the left.
D.J. Cecil Nolan up on the Stage.
His box of vinyl records and turntable to the fore.
Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Joan Armatrading, Rory Gallagher, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Carole King, Steely Dan, Dire Straits, Supertramp, Janis Ian and Neil Young ...
With dozens of young heads standing in the hall nearby, on up the front, or way down the back, their grandfather shirts hanging out of baggy blue jeans, all trying to look absolutely, unconventionally and effortlessly cool.
With carefully combed, long flowing hair, ponytails and shaggy big mops.
Hands in pockets, or simply holding on to strong glass bottles of Fanta or Coke.
No Alkopops then.
Groupings of teenage girls decked out in colourful, long flowing dresses from the Dandelion Market and George's Arcade, most especially from Shree.
Clouds of patchouli, wafting in the air.
Loving long slow dances after lively head-banging sets.
If I was lucky.
To the mellow strains of James Taylor’s “Carolina in my mind” or Kris Kristofferson’s “Loving her was easier” than anything I had ever done before.
With beautiful Bernie B.
Or with the hazel-eyed, long blonde-haired, Irene.
During the course of a night.
Should they happen to have been there.
All very exciting on Saturday evenings and on Sunday mornings
But a terrible thing all the same if you were dreaming you were awake on the Stage and just about to arrive before you even had left.
Interiors and exteriors, historic, old, modern, new, colourful, comfortable or simply just bland.
St. Anne's Park out to the back.
But what the matter!
Weren’t variety and a bit of a change good for your health?
Something to spice up your life, your body and soul.
Like a dollop of deadly hemlock in a cup of hot Assam, or Darjeeling tea, of a windy and cold, and chill February morning in Dublin.
Cecil 'Starman' Nolan, R.I.P. - Go dté do n'anam slán i saol!