Friday 28 October 2016

Hey Hey ... we're still Monkeyin' around

John Masterson

Published 06/06/2016 | 02:30

The Monkees.
The Monkees.

'Hey Hey we're the Monkees, and we keep monkeyin' around"…… or …"Take the last train to Clarksville, and I'll see you at the station"…..

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If you are of a certain vintage you have now been sentenced to about ten days of having Monkees songs in your head. They will not go away for a while. By now you are probably humming "Then I saw her face, now I'm a Believer." Such was my experience over the last few days after a friend who knows everything that is worth knowing about music of all types stopped me in the street to tell me that there was about to be a new Monkees album released. And possibly even a tour, though without Davy Jones, who is no longer with us. I woke up last Sunday and the sun was out and the sky was blue and as I sat with my coffee I noticed that I was mouthing "…another Pleasant Valley Sunday." I don't suppose the Monkees had Brandon Hill and the view across to Graiguenamanagh in mind, but it worked for me.

What the Monkees had in mind was the subject of much controversy in my teenage years. There were endless fights about whether or not they could play their instruments etc. This mattered a lot to teenage boys who wanted to be cool and had to work out if the Monkees were cool or not. I didn't care because I loved the TV show. I had got hooked on it over the school holidays. I was a boarder in a school where TV was forbidden. One of my few successful negotiations with the powers that be was to get permission for us to watch The Monkees on the TV in the Science Lab where it existed for the purpose of inflicting Telifis Scoile on us. I was everyone's temporary hero.

They were, of course, a TV creation. Davy Jones was hired as an actor and the other three answered an advert that read "Madness!! Auditions. Folk and Roll Musicians .. singers for acting roles in new TV series. Running parts for 4 insane boys aged 17 - 21…." For me, this was the first time that television was great fun. I still like TV best when it is fun. That is why I always set a reminder for the recent TFI Friday revival.

Davy Jones was the curse of young male adolescents as girls either adored him or George Best and there were posters of the two icons everywhere. When I was working in RTE I was more than pleased one day to hear that Davy Jones was coming to see us. I think a lot of us found it pretty cool to have him sit in a room and play Daydream Believer to us. And yes, he could play the guitar.

But do I want the new album? Probably not, but I will keep an open mind. But if they end up in Croker or Nowlan Park? Well I might have to go.

Sure "it's a little bit me… a little bit you."

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