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  • Leon 11:58 am on April 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: doors bootlegs, doors covers, ,   

    My Doors Covers Album! 

    So around about 2003 I decided to record an album of covers from my favourite band, The Doors. I sold 1 copy online! But it was to a friend of Jim Morrison’s in Paris who collects rare bootleg versions and covers of Doors stuff. I was happy enough to retire on the back of that!

    All songs use professional backing tracks which I purchased and all feature my voice as the main vocal. Some are decent, some are not!

    Doors-Covers

    Alabama Song
    Back Door Man
    Been Down So Long
    Break on Through
    Hello I Love You
    LA Woman
    Light My Fire
    Love Her Madly
    Love Me Two Times
    People Are Strange
    Riders on The Storm
    Roadhouse Blues
    The Crystal Ship
    The Unknown Soldier
    Touch Me
    When The Music’s Over

    Download full album (Zip)

     
  • Leon 4:59 pm on January 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: catholic, charlie hebdo, muslim, religion, respect religion   

    Is it time we stopped respecting religious beliefs? 

    This blog post has been inspired by the murders yesterday in Paris by Muslim fundamentalists at the offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in the name of religion and also by the response of Salman Rushdie who said this:

    “Respect for religion has become a code phrase meaning ‘fear of religion.’ Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.”

    I don’t know much about the Charlie Hebdo magazine. Seemingly a lot of their most religiously controversial stuff is a bit vulgar, smutty and just silly rather than smart satire that makes us think but no matter what they say or print, coming in and murdering some of them, including a fellow Muslim policeman is just fundamentalism gone off the scale.

    Salman’s quote above sums up how I’ve been feeling about religion in general for a few years now. Having been an atheist most of my life, skipping baptism, communion, confirmation etc, no easy feat in Ireland in the late 70’s/early 80’s, I’ve never really had time for any religion. To me it’s been plain to see for a long, long time that it has no place in a modern, secular and scientifically enlightened civilisation. But still it lingers like a disease infecting, sickening and killing people. Religion is still all around us, from events like yesterdays in Paris, to imposing churches around every corner, to pressure from grandparents to christen our kids, to baptismal certificate requirements when starting school and religion being such a big part of the education system.

    In this age of political correctness we are all told to respect other people’s beliefs and leave them to them. We all have immense fear of insulting one religion or another. It’s become a taboo almost just to dare to question any aspect of any religion publicly. Should we continue to respect people’s beliefs or even the people who hold those beliefs no matter how ridiculous they are or what people do in the name of those religions such as murdering, abuse and torture? Is it time we stopped living in fear of religion and stopped respecting it?

    The only thing that gives me hope is that most younger generations seem to be giving religion less if any place in their lives and when the current older generations are gone maybe we will be free from religion once and for all. I’m talking about Catholicism in Ireland mostly of course. Religions such as Muslim, Islam etc may not die away as quick unfortunately. Perhaps what we need to do is stop attaching such significance and importance to religion by constantly talking about it, practicing it and making it part of our lives in some way.

    Maybe Charlie Hebdo should have found something else more relevant to write/joke about than “a mediaeval form of unreason”, not because of the fear of retaliation but more to help bury religion to a distant memory?

    I’m even fearful writing this damn post..

    Fuck you religion…fuck you.

    Charlie Hebdo

    Illustration by Dave Brown for The Independent

     
  • Leon 2:30 pm on November 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: aq test, aspergers syndrome, autism spectrum disorder   

    Do I Have an Autism Spectrum Disorder!? 

    First off I need to say that I’m not writing this in the spirit of jumping on the Autism or Aspergers bandwagon, looking for sympathy, support or anything like that. I’m merely feeling a sense of curiosity, relief and the desire to tell the world that there might just be a long overdue “label” or explanation for all the weirdness that has been ME for the last 39 years!

    I’ve always felt a bit different to everyone else and found things others seem to find simple a real challenge. Things like making friends, social events, school, large crowds, maintaining eye contact etc.. I’ve also shown signs of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). My family and friends regularly joke about me constantly tidying and organising stuff! I also seem to have mysterious talents doing things I’ve never trained for or studied, like running an IT business for the last 9 years! I’ve often been called aloof, arrogant and cold too but I’m not really. For the whole of primary school for example, I stood on my own in the same spot at lunch time. Every day for the best part of 8 years. I would have done the same in secondary school but preferred to cycle home instead. The school was damn far away and I only got a few mins at home to actually have lunch but it was better than staying among people. All these things are allegedly symptomatic of Asperger’s Syndrome or “Arse Burgers” syndrome as I like to call it. I’ve wondered over the years, although never in any great dept, if I might have some kind of mild mental deficiency. It would have explained a lot.

    lalala

    So I seen a link on Facebook a few months ago that got me wondering even more! It was a link to a generally well respected online Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) test, devised by Simon Baron-Cohen. I took the test a few times then and again just last weekend too prompted by some autism awareness training that I had to do as part of working with local kids. Stuff mentioned in the training sounded uncomfortably familiar to me. Anyway, having done the test a load of times now, answering as honestly as I possibly could, more honestly each time, I score around the 30 point mark give or take a point or 2 either way. A mark in that range is supposedly indicative of a “borderline autism spectrum disorder and possibly Asperger’s Syndrome.

    It was initially a little shocking to think that maybe I might have a recognised mental “disorder” but I’ve since relaxed into a sense of relief that I might now know what has caused a lot of stress in my life and generally made my life difficult. After all, knowing the source of a problem is the first step to fixing or dealing with it in some way. People who score in my range are advised to go to a local GP and request a referral to a proper consultant who can diagnose officially. I may or may not do that. I havn’t decided. I am aware that self diagnosis, especially involving the internet is not 100% wise but I feel that if it’s an explanation that works for me, then fine. Also, who is anyone to say that being different in this way is a “disorder”? Maybe all the normal people without these so called disorders are they ones who have the real disorder!?

    I reckon a lot of people in our modern society might score highly on the AQ test so I’m aware this could all be nonsense and I may be nothing more than a bit different or a bit shy and to be honest it’s something I feel I may have under control anyway considering I’ve found some kind of moderate success in life. I’m married, I have children, I run a business, I own my own home and car etc.. so I can’t say it’s been a real issue of late but there’s still days when I feel overwhelmed and feel like I just can’t function.

    Maybe the best thing that can happen as a result of all this is that the people who know me best might think twice about me now and be less offended by my weirdness.

    That is the reason for this blog post I guess.

    Leon

     
  • Leon 9:52 am on June 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Mary Agnes Hewson Quinn 

    In 2010 I wrote about  my Mother on the 10 year anniversary of her death. Today I’d like to mark 10 years since the death at 90 years old of another great woman in my life, my Granny, Mary Quinn. I lived with her, my Grandfather and my Mother in the same house for about 29 years pretty much from birth and she was the last of my immediate family to die when she passed away peacefully in Tallaght Hospital, June 4th 2004. I never met my father but I like to say I had two mothers instead.

    I remember not feeling very sad on hearing of her death. That came later. Rather I felt ‘cast adrift’ or abandoned in some way now that all of my immediate family had gone. And even though I had a partner at the time, I felt properly alone for the first time ever when she died. Almost like I’d lost another part of me. She spent the last 7 or 8 years of her life in Sally Park nursing home, Firhouse, where she had been given a special place after suffering long term depression for years before hand. She like my mother made many attempts on her own life including one infamous occasion where she was just about stopped from jumping out a hospital window a few stories up. I was also there the day we visited her to tell her the news of my mothers death and she looked straight at me. Into me. With deep sympathy and worry. It must have been awful for her at that stage of her life after what she’d been through herself with depression to be told a second daughter had died before her but she seemed to take it well.

    She found a little peace in her latter years in Sally park under their close supervision and I’m sorry I never got to visit her much there, especially after we moved to Leitrim. I found it very hard to visit her for all kinds of reasons that I don’t need to go into here, some silly and others important. Unfortunately, she was the only member of my immediate family that my wife ever got to meet and in granny’s customary style, she managed to insult her on our brief visit to the nursing home! It was a nasty habit she had.

    I’ve heard it said from other family members that knew her longer than me that she was a very cold, hard woman and showed very little affection to her own children as they grew up. Whether that was a symptom of the times or just her way I don’t really know but I remember her being affectionate to me and being much fun on many occasions such as the time she let me and my cousin tie her up with scarves and tights! We had many nice holidays away especially in Tramore, just me, her and my mother. I’ve been told she had a soft spot for me. Maybe I was like the son she never had or something having had only 5 daughters. I also remember she was great at giving advice and snippets of wisdom as only most older people can. One in particular was that you should “go out and tend to the garden” whenever you feel down. It really works. She would never have had much time for depressed people. She’d be the type to not tolerate it around her and tell you to pull yourself together and like my mother, it was some surprise that she succumbed so spectacularly to the disease herself although it didn’t totally get the better of her in the end.

    Like my mother and myself, my granny had a wicked sense of humor and a very dry wit that bordered on being insulting and annoying sometimes. She was a bit too honest too! I guess she handed down these traits to my mother and I. If there’s any wisdom or old fashioned values to be seen in me (and there are if my wife’s opinion of how I’m raising my kids is anything to go by!) then it’s my grandparents, in particular my granny that must get the ‘credit’.

    It’s also because of my Granny that we were able to setup in Leitrim and buy a house here. Who would have thought that old dump of a house in Crumlin we all spent so many unhappy years festering in would have bought such a nice house in which to raise my own happy family?

    As I wrote in your condolence book on the day of your funeral, “Thank you Granny”. For everything.

    Leon

    Mary Quinn

     
  • Leon 11:15 pm on January 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: america, simon and garfunkel   

    America 

    My cover of maybe my favourite Simon & Garfunkel song. Its always moved me, especially the line “Cathy I’m lost I said though I knew she was sleeping…I’m empty and aching and I dont know why….”. Been there.

    Vocal (+ backing vocals), Rhythm Guitar, Bass and Strings by me. Performed, recorded, mixed and mastered via PC in Reverb Studios.

     
  • Leon 1:29 pm on May 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    See You Again 

    First original composition and recording in quite a while. A joint effort with Michael Keane, bassist with the Sunset Strip.

     
  • Leon 3:25 pm on September 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: croatia, dubrovnik, hvar, wedding abroad   

    Croatia – Hvar Trip 

    Just a little recount for posterity of our first holiday abroad in 7 years!

    The main reason for the visit to Croatia was to attend the wedding of my cousin Stephen who had proposed to his girlfriend Emma on the Croatian island of Hvar while watching the sunset one evening. They decided to go back to get married in a civil ceremony and avoid the usual church/hotel type affair. Good call guys! Long way to go for a wedding but we needed the break and nearly all of the extended family were going so I dipped into cash reserves and made it happen.

    The plane flew from Dublin to Dubrovnik and traveled along the Croatian/Dalmatian coast for the last leg of the journey. That was our first clue that Croatia was no ordinary country. I’ve never seen anything like it personally. Looking out the plane window I seen miles and miles of rocky, limestone mountains and probably thousands of  islands. A very fractured and oddly shaped country but very beautiful and striking.

    We landed and got off the plane directly onto the tarmac to feel our first proper sunshine in a long, long time! About 28 degrees it was. Unfortunately, the first experiences we had weren’t great, apart from the fabulous weather. Our coach driver for the journey to Hvar island got interrogated for about 30 mins at the airport then proceeded to bring us on a route he wasn’t supposed to, although it turned out to be probably the best way in the end. It took about 4 hours by road along the coast then a 1 hour ferry trip. We were convinced he was trying to screw us in some way and we would never get were we were going and indeed we came close enough to missing our ferry to the island because of him but it all worked out in the end.

    Hvar island and town is a quaint little place with a lovely rustic, old fashioned feel. Crystal clear sea waters, cobbled streets and wild heather abound but it has a kind of upmarket feel to it too, probably why Prince Harry was there just before us! The food, buildings  and culture were distinctly Italian themed and I found most of the restaurant menus to be a bit short on choice and lacking real Croatian food (whatever that is) so I was reduced to eating pizza all week! Not much fish on menus either considering we were on an island. We did have a great Croatian, bbq meal in the ‘Blidinje’ rooftop restaurant in Dubrovnik harbour on our last night though.

    The Adriatic sea seemed especially salty and buoyant – ideal for floating tan sessions! There were some incredibly expensive looking boats moored in the harbour and prices probably a little more expensive than Ireland although outside the resort in supermarkets etc, prices were much lower. We couldnt be arsed cooking though…

    After much of the the usual lounging around, tanning, sea swimming, hotel pool invading, al fresco dining and beer drinking, it was time to get on with the main event, the wedding. The civil service was held in the gardens of St Mark’s church. Very hot but lovely venue and ceremony. The wedding party then walked cobbled streets to a lovely restaurant overlooking the sea for a champagne drinks reception followed by a lovely 4 course dinner in another open air, balconied restaurant close by. We rounded off the day with a few beers and some skinny dipping down on the beach…as you do!

    I personally got back to my apartment at about 6am after guiding a very drunk bride and groom to their rooms then got up at 8am for an 8 hour ferry trip (on a battered old ship with no comforts) back to Dubrovnik for the plane home. Not wise!

    A short but memorable trip and a highly recommended destination in Hvar but try fly to Split to avoid extensive road and sea travel…unless you want to see a lot of the scenery! Buy beach shoes too as there’s no sand, just stones and rocks. And don’t expect decent internet..I found it very hard to come across free or decent wifi spots, even in Dubrovnik. Croatia is a tad behind the times..

    Here’s some pics!

    Leon

    [nggallery id=3]

     
  • Leon 2:49 pm on August 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cats in the cradle, harry chapin, karaoke   

    Cats in The Cradle 

    My cover of the Harry Chapin song. I remember fucking this up badly with 2 mates in my first ever Karaoke attempt years ago. Hope this makes amends! Acoustic guitar, Bass, main and backing Vocals.

     
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