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Getting to Here

I was born in Dublin and moved to England with my family when I was 6.  My parents struggled hard to make ends meet and settle here.  My Dad was a bus driver and my mum, looked after us kids and worked part time as a cleaner.

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Despite the double shifts and overtime my Dad put in; driving buses never earned enough money to keep up with the mortgage repayments. Things were tough for them and after 10 years of trying to make ends meet decided to return to Dublin with my younger sister. My brother moved back a few years later too. 

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I had pretty much lost my Irish accent by then and I was heavily involved in developing my own version of the generation gap. So I stayed in England. 

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Until I ran out of moneyI

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Over the next few years I moved back and forth between Dublin and the UK. I was young and convinced (for a couple of years at least) that music, meditation, and a hoped for ‘social revolution’ was going to change the world. At the same time I was busying myself exploring the psychedelic universe as The Grateful Dead sang,  What a long strange trip it’s been…’.  It didn’t take too long to realise the world wouldn’t change anytime soon.  But that desire for a better world stayed with me even when the hippie dream had ended. 

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I’ve done lots of different things in my life. I worked in the NHS, Social Work and Social Care. I studied Social Science and Health Ethics as a mature student and spent many years teaching in colleges and universities. My interest in people and my desire to contribute to making this a better world got a new lease of life when I started using digital photography and video.  Developing my new skills and interests as a Visual Ethnographer I fled a number of European Union Higher Education Development projects and through those projects came lots of other smaller scale opportunities enabled me to work with academic partners and local communities in Kyrgyzstan, Brazil, Canada, Kazakhstan and Romania. 

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It was a good time for me.  I developed my ideas around using visual media for collaborative work with communities through our Visible Voice network.

The UK Government’s Austerity programme from 2010 and a growing anti European Union political motivation in some quarters inevitably put an end to my largely EU funded projects.  

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These days almost all of my time is spent running and training for marathons and Ultra-marathons, writing songs, playing and recording music.  I’ve completed three albums of original songs and I’m in the process of recording ‘Wild Child’ an EP of new songs based on stories,  words and ideas shared with me by my Belgian friend Liesel Pauwels. I’m also finishing off an album of classic blues covers. 

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I’ve not had any formal musical training but I’ve been making music since I was a child. One of my earliest musical memories is playing harmonica alongside my Dad when I was about 3 years old. I remember standing beside him and trying to keep up as he played an Irish reel. It was a family get together at my Grandad's flat in East Wall, Dublin, and, for me as a small child, quite intimidating. My Grandad was very big and often seemed quite stern to me. Of course I couldn't play but I just put the harmonica in my mouth and blew along as best I could in time to the beat of my Dad’s foot on the floor. Everyone clapped along, trying to help me stay in time, laughing as they watched me concentrating on playing in my serious three year old way.

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