Ciaran Lavery,
The TVD First Date

“The first time I held a record in my hands I was younger than 8 years old, but no less than that.”

“I had travelled with my dad to see my uncle Paul and his old shaggy dog Shane, who I believed to be part dog, part human, as was his nature to seem so wise and all-knowing. I was standing in the middle of what was the living room on a carpet that looked as old and world-weary as Shane, but had a surprisingly springy feeling underfoot. I remember vibrant colours of red and egg yolk yellow and a truly unique pattern that ran consistently from the centre of the room, sprawling to each corner in designs that I could make no sense of, but figured such understanding of tastes were outside of my lesser learned child brain. Perhaps I would choose a carpet exactly like this one if I were a fully formed adult; I could only assume.

My uncle Paul reached over and handed me this square, card like material as I stood shipwrecked in the middle of the room, and unknowingly I was holding my very first vinyl. It was white with an elaborate design and I treated it as you would some ancient antique, my mind exploding with the visual feast in front of me. I kept turning the record in my hands, from front to back and repeating the process, keen to take in every detail.

On the front in black font was a Greek godlike figure, topless riding a motorbike with one arm wielding a guitar above his head and his long locks flowing freely behind him. I was not only impressed by his ability to ride this huge bike at what I could only assume were high speeds one-armed, but also the cascade of muscles that crawled along his back and cemented the title ‘Greek God’ in my mind. My mind was awash with questions of the Greek God. Who was he? Where was he traveling to/from? Did he always ride with a guitar raised above his head triumphantly? Did he have powers unbeknownst to me and anyone else who only had this image to advise?

It turns out the record was that of my two uncles’ rock band Ezy Meat, which was printed boldly across the top third of the cover. The album was titled Not For Wimps, and blood dripped onto it from above and included song names such as “Vampire Lady” as I found out from the numerous rotations from front to back.

My young, little imagination was alive with battles between the fiendish undead and motorbike riding rock gods, power shifting from one to another in a hell raising furious encounter that transcended the confines of this incredibly spongy and loud carpet below my feet. I was sure right then that life as I know it would never be the same again and I dreamt frightening things that resulted in subsequent nights with the light on to banish the evil ghouls.

In the last few years I began my own collection of records from Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane to AA Bondy and Siv Jakobson, though nothing will grab me as much as my first vinyl memory and the busy imagination of a child.”
Ciaran Lavery

Ciaran Lavery’s Sweet Decay – The Solo Sessions, a stripped down re-imagining of his recent album Sweet Decay, is in stores now.

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PHOTO: CHRIS MOLL

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