The First Sun

For a good few years around the turn of the last decade (2009-14ish) our band Anything Goes had a memorable residency in Hargadons.

Friday nights. Move the big wooden table and pack 5 of us (including a drum kit) into the snug on the right just past the bar. Get the earplugs in. Ken, Eddie, Sinéad, Dave and I ready to rock.

And like any good gig should do, it created its own twilight zone. I often wondered what unsuspecting visitors might think as they opened the door from a quiet street and were confronted with this immediate change of pace and atmosphere. The weekly renditions of Riverdance and House of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’ as Gaeilge, sending customers who really should have known better into various states of contortion around the pub.

Our two singers entertaining but also slightly on edge, watching for an over-exuberant punter who could knock a mic stand into their teeth. Declan and Dave behind the bar looking after us, and in return we sang one of them Happy Birthday every week.

It was generally an enjoyable gig, and the place would be packed. Expect the odd time. And as the years went on you could see a pattern.

The first few weeks of September were generally quieter, as back to school budgets curtailed social activities for a while. There were always a couple of quiet Fridays in February and November, and there was usually one around this time of year too.

The first sun, I always called it. The first weekend of the year when the sun came out, and everyone who would usually socialise in town on a Friday night high-tailed it to Strandhill or Rosses Point to make the most of the weather. And all the clichés would come out.

  • “It’s the best country in the world when the sun shines”.
  • “Make the most of it while it’s here”.
  • “If you were guaranteed this weather there’d be no need to go abroad”.

All true. But unfortunately as we all know too well, we aren’t guaranteed it, and for that reason we feel we have to make the most of it when it arrives. Especially the first time.

And places like Hargadons would lose out for a few days. But folks would be back the following week, and the week after that. And as the summer went on, business would stay good even when the sun was out, because the excitement of that first time wasn’t there any more, and it was handier to go out in town. You could walk home. Or the taxi wasn’t as expensive.

And I often think of this when starting a new project. There will always be circumstances beyond your control that may count against you, like the first sun of the year, but overall, consistency of product usually pays off.

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