Old Negatives,1976, John Creedon, Radio One and Rory Gallagher

Cathleen Clifford / John Reidy and Rory Gallagher Cork 10-7-1976
Cathleen Clifford / John Reidy and Rory Gallagher Cork 10-7-1976

I was sitting here in my peaceful space and trying to avoid any more fiscal space guff on the radio on Tuesday night. On came The John Creedon Show and me and my negatives were in the zone and nothing stronger than a mug of Barry’s Tea at my elbow.

I was going through stuff I hadn’t seen for a while – a long while – and I got a wonderful surprise when I found a batch of very old 110 negatives. I knew then that if I was really lucky there would be a special surprise within.

I had gone through that box before but the sleeve of little negatives had slipped underneath their bigger step-siblings and lay at the bottom of the box.

I held my breath and hoped that a couple of photographs I’d taken in Cork city in 1976 would be among them.

These were no ordinary photographs in a way and I’m not referring to my photographic skills at the time or since. I refer to the fact that no less an Irish Rock guitarist than Rory Gallagher featured in at least two of the frames.

I’m not easily excited at this type of discovery as I have nearly all my negatives dated and filed in shoe boxes and in my head.

But this was different. Magnifying glass to my eye, I discovered that Rory Gallagher was indeed in the frames where I put him almost 40 years ago.

John Creedon
John Creedon

Negative scanners today don’t have the capacity to cope with negatives of this size or vintage and I had to improvise.

To my delight the images made it to the screen and they showed every day of their blurry, grainy gravelly 40 years-of-age but I welcomed them like long lost friends and marveled at the fact that they existed at all after at least half a dozen house moves over all those years.

As I sat gazing at the screen, John Creedon, after a burst of hallmark spontaneity, said “Here’s Rory Gallagher.” And here, he just appeared on my screen as well and it threw me for a couple of seconds.

I did something I never did before and I conveyed the coincidental happening to my unwitting co-conspirator and I emailed the show thus:

The Kodak Pocket Instamatic camera which was my constant companion in those days.
The Kodak Pocket Instamatic camera which was my constant companion in those days.

Dear John,

You almost knocked me off my seat just now.  I am over the moon as I’d just found a bunch of the tiny 110 negatives of photographs I had taken of Rory Gallagher and my then girlfriend and myself, and now wife Cathleen, in Cork on July 10-1976 on the eve of that mad Munster Football Final between Cork and Kerry during which the crowd had to invade the pitch.

And then you go and play Rory Gallagher – that’s uncanny.

A very regular listener ….John Reidy

Cathleen Clifford and myself were great friends that time and we still are. We were in Cork on the eve of that memorable 1976 Munster Football Final between Cork and Kerry. That’s the one during which the crowd had to invade the pitch to avoid what could have been a serious crush or worse.
We were walking down Patrick Street on the Saturday and I saw a man and woman walking towards us and I recognised Rory Gallagher. I thought as I had my little camera in my pocket I’d be bold and ask him if I could take a photograph of him.
He suggested that we stand in with him and then take the picture. There was no panic in him to get away from us and he introduced us to the woman with him. I’m almost sure he said that it was his mother.  All-in-all it’s a positive outcome from a handful of old negatives.

If you’d like to hear the John Creedon Show and the Rory Gallagher picture piece, just click here: http://www.rte.ie/radio/utils/radioplayer/rteradioweb.html#!rii=b9_10525976_1527_09-02-2016_   The piece is on at 01:06:19 and again at 01:19:14.