As I have stated here recently, this site regularly attracts commercial offers that I rebuff as a matter of course.
These companies want me to write articles extolling the virtues of their products.
The only banner adverts on this site that are not connected to my work is the Famine memorial for Glasgow, and the other is for Celtic Canvas art.
The latter is a commercial operation.
I’m happy to do this for the proprietor free of charge for one simple reason.
I owe him.
The talent and the drive behind Celtic Canvas art is John O’Farrell.
We met in the summer of 2014 when Sweet for Addicts was producing my play ‘The Flight of the Earls’.
It was John’s function to create the scenery for the play.
Amid the throng of new faces and names that I met during that period he was reinvented as ‘scenery John’ in my contacts list.
Since then I saw his visual brilliance with the backdrops he created for ‘Hame’ and ‘Rebellion.’
It was shared with me that the work he did for this Not For Profit theatre group was on a cost of materials basis only.
With an acute eye for detail, he read the script and could brilliantly conjure up visual backdrops that captured the essence of a designer flat in Edinburgh, a comfortable kitchen in Glasgow and Frongoch internment camp a century ago.
His use of colour and shadow was brilliantly effective, and the audience were the beneficiaries.
Yet we were getting this talent and time for free.
I was reared with summer stories in Mayo of the meitheal and when I was about twelve I experienced it.
I remember one summer back home when we were helping an old woman.
She lived out towards Oileán Éadaí and the men in her clan were few in number and working in England.
Herself expressed her gratitude to the men and boys who had turned up to help her.
Her expression of thanks was responded to by the man who was in charge of the hay gathering crowd that I was part of:
“Ar scáth a chéile a mhairimid.”
We do indeed live in each other’s shadows.
It is something that has stuck with me all of my days.
That’s why the Gorta Mór advert and Celtic Canvas art are here for free.
If you are of the Celtic Glasgow persuasion or have a person of that stripe in your life, then John’s work makes a stunning gift at any time of the year.
This one is my favourite.
Then again I’m lucky enough to remember that historic goal being scored.
Celtic winning the European Cup is forever, not just for Christmas!
Outside the stadium, there is now the Celtic Way.
It is a powerful symbol that there is now only one major football club in Glasgow.
However, I like to think that the ‘Celtic Way’ is also a way of doing things.