Sean’s music 3 … Radiohead

After Nirvana, Radiohead were the next big thing in Sean’s musical world, as I recall. One weekend we were visiting his cousins in Portstewart, Co. Derry, and Sean rang me from a record shop to ask whether Radiohead were a good band. I said I didn’t know much about them, but thought they were.

He then bought the My Iron Lung CD, and would later talk about walking along the sea front at Portstewart and listening to it on headphones, amazed at how good it was and off in a world of his own. That was a vivid memory of time and place for him.

We got OK Computer and Sean also downloaded various tracks … My Iron Lung continued to be his favourite, and we often played it in the car right up to his death. Some Radiohead songs will always remind us of our wonderful brother and son.



Filed under Memories, Music

19 responses to “Sean’s music 3 … Radiohead

  1. Cymbeline

    It is a fine thing to be able to remember your son through the power of music; a fine thing too that you shared the love of music.

  2. Hello Cymbeline. Yes, it is … thank you. I hope you’re well.

  3. Cymbeline

    Hello Brendano. I am fine, thank you, but my younger son is at the hospital with my husband, waiting to have his finger sewn up. He has cut it quite badly.

    I expect you remember all those visits to the hospital with your children. The cuts and bumps and bruises which are part of growing up.

    • I hope his finger will heal well.

      Yes, we had various such occasions. I remember when Susanna was standing too close to Sean as he swung a tennis racket when they were small … he managed to amass a few scars as well.

    • Marya

      Hello Cymbeline .. Sorry to hear of your son’s accident. Hope he is now back home.

  4. Cymbeline

    You speak of how the music sent your son ‘off into a world of his own’. The black-and-white photograph was a good illustration of that. There is a very clear sense of the inner world of his own there.

    At the same time, there is also a very clear sense of your son being open to the outside world too.

    It seems to me that he had a great appreciation of both sorts of life; the inner life as well as the outer life.

    You are right to be proud of him.

    • Thanks, Cymbeline. Yes, Sean was sensitive and a deep thinker as well as being, as I have said, a hyper-sociable extrovert.

      I emailed a woman in America this morning to tell her about Sean. She was over here with her father four years ago … he had traced his roots to this area, and even (partly) to this plot of land (I blogged about that before).

      They visited us and had dinner here. I remember that Sean, typically, said that he wanted to ‘show’ her a song. It was Johnny Cash singing ‘Hurt’, and it moved her to tears.

      • Susanna Malone Wingenroth

        Dear Brendan,
        I am terribly sad about Sean. I remember very well meeting him with my Dad, his poise, dynamic energy and good looks made quite an impression. We walked up your lane and he kicked a soccer ball the entire way. He spoke to us about the ruins of the old house in your yard, something fascinating to my Dad and I, since it may well have been the home of our ancestors, the Malones. Many younger people would have excused themselves from adult company at the first chance, but he stayed and talked with my father and I until he had to leave for a meeting with friends. I had never heard the song that he shared with me, “Hurt” covered by Johnny Cash. His interest and knowledge of a wide range of music was impressive. It did touch me deeply, resonating with feelings of regret, guilt and the inevitablility of hurting those we love because we are human and fallible. My teen years were a struggle and this song expressed the feeling of helplessness of those years, when I hurt myself and those who loved me. Music has the power to do so much, it can open old wounds, perhaps to heal. The trip my Dad and I made was a trip of a lifetime, to return to Ireland, from where my ancestors had to leave to find another life, a million miles away.
        I share this with wishes for comfort for you and your family as you think of Sean, and of the many lives he touched.
        Here is the video of the song that Sean shared with me.

        • Rainer the cabbie

          Dear Susanna

          For some strange reason I had cold shivers running down my spine whilst reading your comment.

          Thank you for sharing your thoughts with Brendan, and to an extend, all of us. It brought Sean a bit closer to our heart.

          Thank you for the song as well.

        • Hello Susi. Thank you so much for this, and for your email. I knew you would remember Sean well. He did tend to make an impression. The ‘Hurt’ song and video had made a huge impression on him. He admired Cash very much.

          We enjoyed meeting you and your Dad, and his book launch in the museum. I remember that we also met you in Virginia, as well as at our house. Soon after, our community launched a book of our own about education in Munterconnaught, to which your Dad had been kind enough to contribute a chapter. The President of Ireland visited us then.

          Two years later, we (the local heritage society) launched the Munterconnaught Uncovered booklet in the museum, for which Sean had taken all the photos. Brendan Smith, a government minister, did the honours that night. He remembers Sean too. I’ll send you a copy of the booklet.

          Again, thank you. Your words mean a lot to us.

  5. Marya

    Hello Brendan … I think Radiohead are a great band and some of their tracks, particularly those of OK Computer, quite brilliant – but I can only listen to them sparingly – for me, there is always an existential melancholy, an undertow, which, like a rip-tide, might sweep me far out to sea ..

    Marya x

    • Hello Marya. Yes, I think you’re right about the existential melancholy … they are not a very upbeat band! I would listen to them sparingly too. Thom Yorke is extraordinarily gifted and creative, I think.

  6. Is “The Creep” about Haslam? I think we should be told;)

  7. Rainer the cabbie

    I like Radiohead, they were a great band.

    But this fellow, Christoper O’Rily does the most amazing interpretation of Radiohead songs. Just two examples.

  8. Shermeen

    Your blogs on Sean’s life and death have brought into sharp focus the ephemeral nature of the life we live on this Earth. Life, which is so fleeting, yet which must be lived to the fullest, which offers us euphoric times as well as moments of deep sorrow, interspersed with everyday mundaneness. The passing away of a single human being is the harshest reality of life, yet we must glean positive thoughts from it and so life goes on.

    Perhaps unknowingly, your blogs have served a greater purpose. Thank you.

  9. Shermeen

    It is good to see you here and hope your young son’s finger is healing well. Wish him perfect healing.

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