We have come to the final chapter of Geoff’s book of tales but next weekend I will begin to share his last book that he wrote. Tomorrow, one of his favourite shaggy dog stories.
Street Musicians by Geoff Cronin
In the 1930s and early 40s in Waterford there were many street musicians to be seen and heard. They varied greatly in appearance and expertise and they appeared on different days of the week for reasons which never became clear to me.
One such character who comes to mind was a tin whistle player known as ‘Cock Up’ and his repertoire consisted of traditional Irish music. After playing a selection he would call on all the shops within earshot and collect whatever few coppers the occupants offered. In this way he covered the length of the main street and then went on to the areas where doors were closed rather than open.
Another well-known man was an ex-army band master whose pension was not sufficient to match his fondness for ‘the bottle’ and he played the piccolo with a flair which showed that he was not an ordinary ‘busker’.
This man was a practised entertainer and without a sheet of music to guide him, he presented a programme of classical, operatic and popular numbers, always finishing with a military band tune. ‘Colonel Bogey March’ was a favourite and featured a particular part for a piccolo.
There were many others, singers as well as musicians but the pair which really took my fancy were a real Vaudeville turn who became known as ‘The Beery Fiddlers’.
One of them played the violin and the other played the tenor banjo. I fondly remember their version of ‘Lily of Laguna’ which they always played and sang. I can see them now, strolling along the footpath in time to the strains of ‘She’s, my, lady-love’… These guys were great musicians and even played requests on occasion – my mother got the violin player to render a number called ‘Humouresque’, which had been popularised at that time by Fritz Kreisler, and he did it in expert fashion.
Those were the days when cars were few and streets echoed with human voices, the sound of a messenger-boy whistling a tune as he cycled by, an occasional hawker shouting his wares, the laughter of children playing and the sound of a dray cart as it went along delivering heavy merchandise to the shops and overall, completing the wonderful mosaic of sound, the street musicians.
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A bachelor is a man who never made the same mistake once.
How to get the maximum heat from a bag of coal:-
Put it up on your back and run around the garden for ten minutes. By then you will be warm and you’ll still have the bag of coal intact.
A Short Answer
On meeting an old friend, recently, we were reminiscing about our young days when he mentioned the name of a very good looking girl who happened to be an old flame of mine.
I was curious to know if she had married and when I put the question, my friend said, “Well no, she never got married, but to give her her due I’d say she flattened a fair bit of grass in her time.”
I decided to change the subject.
About Geoff Cronin – 1923 – 2017
There were few jobs that Geoff could not turn his hands to, and over the years he mastered an impressive number of professional undertakings. Master baker and confectioner, mobile cinema operator, salesman, band leader, senior executive and master wood turner, storyteller and writer.
Geoff Cronin published his first book in 2005 at age 82. The Colour of Life is a collection of stories of life in Waterford during his childhood and early adulthood in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. This was followed by two further books that related tales of further adventures in Waterford and Dublin.
Thank you for dropping in today and you can read The Colour of Life and the previous chapters of The Black Bitch in this directory: