December 14, 2010 · 4:59 pm
Sean took this a few years ago, in an outhouse across the road from us. The hand is that of his friend Aaron, I think. They had raised some dust, which gave an unusual effect. The old man who lived in the house had died some years previously, just before Christmas.
Many of the photos Sean took have probably been irretrievably lost … those that we have I shall post over a period of time. Some, we think, were on a battered disk drive that he used to take to college, which was probably discarded. He took some good ones of members of a Virginia rock band, for its promotional use. He also did the photography for a CD by a singer-songwriter.
December 13, 2010 · 10:17 pm
Stevo and Sean
It was eight weeks ago yesterday that Sean died, after just 7,021 days on the planet. We still think about him all the time, of course. We talk about him a lot, and it’s hard to believe that we won’t be seeing him again.
When someone so young and so close to you is taken away, it makes you think deeply about life, death, existence, what it means to be human. It is a huge shock to the system. But the three of us in his immediate family have to get on with our lives … to work or go to school, as the case may be.
His friends are still leaving messages on various websites, saying they miss him more and more. He will never be forgotten … certainly not in the next 70 years, at least. Continue reading →
December 10, 2010 · 10:29 am
Sean was always exposed to Irish music as well as rock, reggae, etc. … in the ‘music’ folder of his computer profile, along with Radiohead, Oasis, and all the rest, can be found The Dubliners. He knew that these songs were part of his identity and his culture, and those things were important to him – he also just happened to like them. They chimed with his own Irishness.
When Sean was around 10 he developed a love for Planxty … I remember him trying to sing ‘Follow Me Up to Carlow’ exactly like Christy Moore, with somewhat unusual results. We encouraged him to try to find his own singing voice.
He continued to like Planxty all his life … we listened to the Well Below the Valley CD in the car quite recently. He also liked The Pogues and, especially, the Dubliners – he was a great admirer of both Ronnie Drew and Luke Kelly as singers, and they embodied a certain spirit of fun and freedom with which he identified. Both Drew and Kelly, sadly, have passed on, like Sean. Continue reading →
December 9, 2010 · 10:47 pm
December 9, 2010 · 12:25 pm
December 8, 2010 · 7:51 pm
Sean liked film. He hadn’t gone to the cinema all that often since he was a child, but he watched a lot of films on television, often with his mum and me, or on the computer. He liked to discuss them afterwards (or sometimes while they were on – a practice that had to be curbed). He often drew attention to technical aspects, such as very long tracking shots; he noticed things that most people wouldn’t (without being taught them in a media class). I think he could have had a career in film-making – he had a great eye.
Sean was an enthusiastic admirer of certain actors, such as Robert de Niro, Al Pacino and Daniel Day Lewis, and would watch anything with one of them in it. Conversely, he had a deep and abiding loathing of Clint Eastwood. He wasn’t very keen on rom-coms either. Continue reading →
December 8, 2010 · 6:52 pm
Filed under Memories
Tagged as Sean O'Brien
December 8, 2010 · 12:23 am
Glancing through my old diaries, I see a lot of stuff about Sean, of course. Christmas 1993, for example … Susanna was six weeks old; she and Pauline were in the hospital – Pauline had gall-bladder problems. Sean was two; he and I were in the house in Dublin with my father, who was visiting.
Saturday 25 December – Christmas Day
Sean woke me at 4.20 talking about spiders downstairs, and insisted that he come downstairs with me for his milk. He then insisted that I turn the kitchen light on (I’d been hoping he wouldn’t see his present). When he saw it he said ‘My slide!’ and was delighted with it. I let him play on it for a few minutes and then took him back to bed. Continue reading →
December 6, 2010 · 7:44 pm
In the past couple of years, Sean started to listen to a lot of reggae music; Bob Marley (and the Wailers) became the last and greatest musical love of his life. He found plenty of early and obscure stuff online; much of this was better, we felt, than Marley’s later, more ‘produced’ and more commercial output.
Sean admired Marley as a person … the football skills, the voice, the song-writing talent, the social conscience, the independent attitude, the single-minded pursuit of his vision. Marley is one of the all-time musical greats, and listening to the tracks Sean played was no hardship for me or his mum (she had Wailers records when she was Sean’s age, and we went to many reggae gigs when we first lived together). Continue reading →
December 5, 2010 · 8:12 pm
Sean was a deep thinker, but was not particularly politically minded. He never voted in his life … the only time he could have voted was in the second Lisbon referendum, but he hadn’t registered. He said he would register in time to vote at the next general election.
At secondary school, history was his favourite subject. Early-twentieth-century Ireland interested him particularly … for his Leaving Cert he did a project on the IRA flying columns of 1919–21.
He admired Michael Collins and knew a lot about de Valera, and, in particular, the Irish Free State’s role in the evolution of the Commonwealth in the 1920s and 1930s (much more than I did, as it has generally been overlooked). He sometimes spoke about this. He didn’t sympathize with the modern ‘Republican Movement’. Continue reading →