Wednesday 18 October 2017

My cultural life: Des Keogh

Actor Des Keogh
Actor Des Keogh

Des Keogh is a veteran of Irish stage, TV and radio. Having studied languages and law at UCD and King's Inns, he threw caution to the winds and abandoned himself to a life in show business. Now in his 82nd year, he has just completed a run at The Gate theatre and a tour in the USA in The Importance of Being Earnest.

He is married to violinist Geraldine O'Grady for 51 years; his daughter Oonagh is also a professional violinist, and his grandchildren are Ruadhan (16) and Aobhin (14). He is reviving his award-winning one-man show The Love-Hungry Farmer, by John B. Keane, for two weeks at The Dolmen Theatre, Cornelscourt, from Monday, October 3, and two weeks at The Viking Theatre, Clontarf, from Monday, October 17.

TV: House of Cards

I am fascinated by American politics and am currently relishing the Trump/Clinton saga. This is why I so much enjoy TV programmes like The West Wing and films about John F. Kennedy, Nixon and the Watergate episode. I remember the British version of House of Cards, which was great, but this elongated American version is keeping me up long after my bedtime. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are the closest thing to Macbeth and the missus I've come across.

Artist: Paul Henry

Connemara is undoubtedly my favourite part of the world. My wife Geraldine and I have been going there regularly on holidays for about the last 40 years. Once we pass through Oughterard and begin to see the mountains and the lakes we feel as if we are entering a different world. Our daughter Oonagh is director of the summer school for strings, Ceol na Mara, which is held every July in the magnificent Kylemore Abbey. Is it any wonder that my favourite works of art are the paintings of Paul Henry, who has captured so amazingly the unique colours and contours of the Connemara landscapes.

Composer: Tchaikovsky

I wrote in the introduction to my book Music for Middlebrows that my favourite fantasy is striding out onto the stage of a great concert hall, where the most distinguished conductor and most magnificent orchestra in the world are waiting for me. I acknowledge the rapturous applause of the capacity audience while peeling off the white gloves. Then I seat myself at the Steinway and launch myself into those opening bars of the Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No.1.

Author: Joseph O'Connor

I enjoy The Irish Male, His Greatest Hits, by Joseph O'Connor, because I can dip into it again and again and always feel the better of it. It's the ideal bedside book. There are few things as funny as Joe's account of his interview with Lord Archer (if the Lord can call him 'Joe' why can't I?). As for the World Cup Diary I can't read this in bed any more because my chortling would deprive my wife of her beauty sleep

Movie: The Jolson Story

Strange choice, eh? Well, maybe. This is a really old movie starring Larry Parkes as the legendary singer. I have always loved Al Jolson's songs - Sonny Boy, California, Here I Come, Mammy, The Red, Red Robin, every one a classic when sung by the great man himself. It was, of course, his singing voice on the film soundtrack, and what a voice!

dolmentheatre.ie / vikingtheatredublin.com

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