Davy Jones monkeyed around with my perception most memorably when I was but a lad of fourteen.
An opportunity to parlay an 8th-grade Parochial League Basketball Championship (capitalization mine) into a tour of southwest Ireland had landed me in Cork. With a grandfather’s lineage traced back here, the city seemed like a personal mecca. It would function as our home base during the Irish/American “youth Olympics” of a sort called The Friendship Games.
Years later, Alexander Wolff‘s “Big Game, Small World” filled me in on the true story behind these Games’ fly-by-night foundation, supporting Cork’s newly-erected Neptune Stadium. A ladies’ bingo league shoulders an equal portion of the scandal’s saga. Fun chapter, fantastic book.
Even back then, we caught wind of organizational impropriety, a glimpse of how the local community were imposed upon in the name of “Friendship.” Each member of our USA squad was assigned to one of the Cork team’s players – to be a guest in their home. Later in the fortnight we’d learn this arrangement was only made evident to our respective hosts the night before our arrival. The families were given a few pounds to feed us, barely enough.
Of course we were still fed, generously and housed hospitably. Which finds me, a bewildered Yank in Martin Donovan’s home. I struggled to understand his family’s thick brogue during afternoon tea, when a moment of reverie struck. The Monkees’ “Daydream Believer” came on BBC Radio 1.
Suddenly all criss-crossing conversations that had been wreaking havoc through the Donovans’ kitchen came to a halt. My attention was refocused not so much by the silence as by witnessing every member of the family present (which if memory serves, included four generations) softly galvanized, lip-syncing the lyrics. Even the wee one in the high-chair, it says here.
Cheer up, Sleepy Jean.