11 May 2016

‘On a rainy night in Bray
The wind was whistling all its charms’

Vespa for Vespers … a Vespa on a rainy evening in Bray (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2016)

Patrick Comerford

Someone I know has an interesting combination of interests that includes Anglican liturgy and small Italian scooters.

He is the ideal person to show a humorous interest in organising a cathedral event for enthusiasts that will be billed “Vespas at Vespers.”

I mused about this creative concept as I went for dinner in Bray yesterday [10 May 2016] and in the late evening rain spotted a neat little yellow and black and Vespa parked outside Platform Pizza on the seafront in Bray.

The original Vespa patent was for a “motorcycle of a rational complexity of organs and elements combined with a frame with mudguards and a casing covering the whole mechanical part.” The name Vespa means “wasp” in Italian. For the past 70 years, the Vespa has remained a style icon.

Meanwhile, the promised heatwave had not only failed to arrive last night, but heavy rain continued to pour down all evening, like the rainstorms that brought floods to many parts of Ireland only a few months ago.

As we left Platform Pizza, the rain was too heavy to even think about a walk on the promenade my mior on the beach. And on that rainy night in Bray, my mind was brought back to the lyrics of ‘Rainy Night in Georgia,’ a hit in the 1960s and again in the early 1970s.

‘Rainy Night in Georgia’ was written by Tony Joe White in 1962 and was a hit in 1970 for the R&B vocalist Brook Benton.

Brook Benton recorded this melancholy song in November 1969 and it became an instant hit, topping the charts by Spring 1970.

Since then it has been covered by many singers and musicians, including Ray Charles, Randy Crawford, Hank Williams, Tony Joe White and Rod Stewart.

Rainy Night In Georgia

Hoverin’ by my suitcase, tryin’ to find a warm place to spend the night
Heavy rain fallin’, seems I hear your voice callin’ ‘It’s all right.’
A rainy night in Georgia, a rainy night in Georgia
It seems like it’s rainin’ all over the world
I feel like it’s rainin’ all over the world.

How many times I wondered
It still comes out the same
No matter how you look at it or think of it
It’s life and you just got to play the game

[Instrumental Interlude]

I find me a place in a box car, so I take my guitar to pass some time
Late at night when it’s hard to rest I hold your picture to my chest and I feel fine

[Minor Scat]

But it’s a rainy night in Georgia, baby, it’s a rainy night in Georgia
I feel it’s rainin’ all over the world, kinda’ lonely now
And it’s rainin’ all over the world
Oh, have you ever been lonely, people?
And you feel that it was rainin’ all over this man’s world
You’re talking ’bout rainin’, rainin’, rainin’, rainin’, rainin’, rainin’, rainin’,
Rainin’, rainin’ rainin’, rainin’, rainin’
[etc. to end]

Heavy rain in Knocklyon last night (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2016)

And by the time we had arrived back in Knocklyon last night, it was still raining, raining, raining …

But while I was in the restaurant last night, I had posted a 30-second video clip on Facebook of a flickering candle on the table, with the caption: “30 seconds of candlelight in Bray this evening. Keep the flame of light and love alive in your heart.”

And in the rain in Knocklyon, thinking of love in the rain, the lyrics of another song came to mind: ‘Rainy Night in Soho’ by the Pogues.

Rainy Night in Soho, The Pogues (by Shane Magowan)

I’ve been loving you a long time
Down all the years, down all the days
And I’ve cried for all your troubles
Smiled at your funny little ways

We watched our friends grow up together
And we saw them as they fell
Some of them fell into Heaven
Some of them fell into Hell

I took shelter from a shower
And I stepped into your arms
On a rainy night in Soho
The wind was whistling all its charms

I sang you all my sorrows
You told me all your joys
Whatever happened to that old song
To all those little girls and boys?

Sometimes I’d wake up in the morning
The ginger lady by my bed
Covered in a cloak of silence
I’d hear you talking in my head

I’m not singing for the future
I’m not dreaming of the past
I’m not talking of the first times
I never think about the last

Now, this song is nearly over
We may never find out what it means
But there’s a light I hold before me
And you’re the measure of my dreams, the measure of my dreams

In Platform Pizza in Bray last night (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2016)

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