Thursday 19 September 2019

Declan Lynch: 'Kings of cabaret are falling away'

Go on, smile: Sonny Knowles
Go on, smile: Sonny Knowles
Declan Lynch

Declan Lynch

The second article I ever wrote for this paper was about Sonny Knowles.

I can't quite recall what was in the article, but I assume it was not a judgmental piece, that it was more about Sonny's stature in the strangely fascinating world of Irish cabaret - strange and fascinating to me at any rate. What I do recall most clearly is the editor liking it, and asking if I wanted to write anything else for the paper.

That was a great day, and then there had been a great weekend when the controversial rock journalist George Byrne and I went down to Butlin's to do a sprawling feature for Hot Press magazine on the fading old resort which by then - according to George - was "not so much a holiday complex, more a complex holiday".

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As we started to drink in Dan Lowrey's bar, which was adjacent to the pool in which the swimmers would occasionally "flash" the drinkers through the underwater windows, we realised that Sonny Knowles would be performing on the Saturday night. And we were very, very happy.

Controversial though the rock journalist could be, he had a deep appreciation of the modus operandi of the cabaret artiste - and I think that that night in Butlin's when Sonny Knowles worked the room was one of the all-time great nights that I had with George.

So I have to thank Sonny Knowles for one great day and one great night. And George has gone on ahead too, though I know he'd have some astute observations to make about the fact that Butlin's has been turned into a Direct Provision centre.

Then again, maybe there are no words, even from George.

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