Picture credit: President Higgins, Mrs Higgins, Comhlámh staff member Philip Mudge and Ed Sheeran tribute act Alan Hayes celebrate Comhlámh’s 40th Anniversary at Aras an Uachtarain.
In the second part of his rather unique look into the history of Comhlámh, Philip Mudge looks at Brit Pop, Dylan and the continuing popularity of Ed Sheeran.
Continuing from my last blog, this one charts the influence that Comhlámh has had on popular culture and indeed the effects of rock and roll on Comhlámh.
1995: Cool Britannia and the so called battle of the Britpop bands was correctly identified by Comhlámh as an attempt by Essex colonialists to undermine the Easter rising and retake Mayo for the crown.
Comhlámh, certain that nothing since Dylan had even come close release a special edition collectors box set of Bringing it all Back Home confident that this will increase their chances of an invitation to Aras an Uachtarain once Dylan fan Michael D Higgins (see Reeling in the Comhlámh years part I) is eventually elected president. Meanwhile in Sheffield, Pulp, the true heroes of Brit Pop were smoozing and dating senior figures from what was to become the Greek anti-austerity Syriza government: Comhlámh, still smarting from Dylan’s decision to go electric at the Isle of Wight, didn’t even notice!
1996: Two years after the release of Tarantino’s classic movie and a staggering 19 since Grease was the word, Comhlámh admits its secret crush on John Travolta and ongoing commitment to sustainable travel with this Pulp Fiction tribute.
Following the September 11th 2001 attacks, Dr Pierre Eyanga Ekumeloko’s piece on the connection between unjust war and terrorist attacks proved to be more controversial than Springsteen’s comeback album The Rising and did not win a Grammy.
In 2002 John Byrne and Ciaran Mckenna pop into Comhlámh desperate for a cup of fair trade coffee (yes still available every day, real or instant why not join us at lunch-time) and instead are given only watered down fair trade currency: which does not make a good accompaniment to a buttered scone.
In 2003 Comhlámh entered the world of modern art when, inspired by the work of Andy Warhol, Focus issue 68 contained free vegetables and a recipe for a justice based spaghetti bolognaise sauce. Comhlámh also showed the influence of Johnny Cash on its work, featuring Fintan Lane’s Limerick Prison Blues in the winter 2003 issue.
After the disappointment of the Irish entry in the 2003 Cancun’s Got Talent event, 2004 saw Comhlámh’s first foray into the competitive world of TV talent shows, promoting George W Bush and Colin Powell as replacements for Louis Walsh and Simon Cowell as judges on the X Factor (https://www.comhlamh.org/40-years-of-solidarity/#jp-carousel-10013) confident that the new judges would vote for the boy band supergroup featuring Tony Blair and Vladimir Putin that Comhlámh had assembled to perform at the WTO Conference in Hong Kong in the following year (https://www.comhlamh.org/40-years-of-solidarity/#jp-carousel-10014 ).
2006 saw the launch of The Comhlámh Code of Good Practice (CoGP) for Volunteer Sending Agencies, an internationally recognised set of standards for organisations involved in facilitating international volunteer placements in developing countries and the last ever edition of Top of the Pops Cheryl Tweedy/Cole/ Fernandez-Versini became the last performer on TOTP but declined to comment on the importance of the CoGP.
In 2009 Comhlámh’s early adoption of the talent show format as a vehicle for international development education is justified when Diversity win Britain’s Got Talent and Ant and Dec warn against the dangers of both International volunteering and chainsaw juggling.
2015: Nineteen years after laying down battle lines with the multi-national petroleum company Shell, and proving once and for all that global is local, Comhlámh hosts the If I could say one thing to other communities…exhibition which documents the Experiences of challenging the Corrib Gas project by residents of Co Mayo.
Internationally renowned Mayoites Oasis remain silent on the issue. Meanwhile in Aras an Uachtarain, President Micheal D Higgins shows that his musical tastes remain up-to-the-minute and invites Ed Sheeran tribute act Alan Hayes to perform at the Comhlámh 40th anniversary celebrations. In up- to the minute news, Comhlámh’s 2004 campaign to replace Louise Walsh as an X factor Judge is vindicated when former Westlife star Cian Egan admits that listening to the band is torturous and should be banned as a war-crime.
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