My name is Endymion. I am a lowly Athenian shepherd. Good looking perhaps but everybody’s mug. I have always longed for a family but my wage is low and I cannot afford to commit. Up in the heavens Selene, the Goddess of the Moon, is insistent on having a mere mortal as her lover, her soulmate, the father of her much needed children. She approaches Zeus who understands her plight, he looks around and eventually points his finger in my direction. Selene looks, researches and agrees. She approaches me one night as I tend my flock and puts certain propositions to me. She explains how busy she is with her goddess business, how she can only visit occasionally and how she will not have much time but for me to be prepared. “Lie naked under your cloak and if I come , I come” was her mantra and she promised me children. I thought this idea wonderful, it solved all my problems and also realised that any fruit from our liaison would be looked after by this ethereal wonder.
We had been lovers for nearly a year and it was all I dreamed of. In that time she had borne me five daughters and we were to go on and have another 45 girls over the next 20 years, all looked after by this wonderful mother and goddess. All I had to do was father our children, tend my flock and lie naked under my cloak.
This particular day I had taken my flock up into the high pastures where the grass was sweet but the area dangerous. It was the lair of the wolf and I swore to myself that one night would do in this cuisinal heaven. I was also selfish in my deed. Up there in the heights I thought perhaps I was nearer the Gods. Selene had not visited me for a couple of weeks. I was anxious. I thought the Gods had decided our affair was over but I thought I would make myself more available by the proximity. I threw my cloak down on the ground, it was dusk and I was a little careless. I counted my flock, they seemed content in this magical place. I lay down but in my haste I had chosen a rocky outcrop to make my bed. I could not sleep with the worry of the wolves and a particular sharp piece of rock digging into my side. I just lay there wriggling with the stone in my thigh and waiting for the first bleat from my flock suggesting the wolf was on the prowl when Selene came to me, panting and slid under my cloak. She immediately hit my spot and asked for plenty. I told her of my fear of the wolf. She muttered “fuck the flock but on second thought don’t, just give it me”. That night I worked wonders and sextuplets fled from my seminal source. What a night it was her screams scared the wolf away but next morning she was gone. I was left alone and in pain from that accursed rock.
I stood up and realised my metabolism was awry. My first thought usually on wakening is for my bowels to click into gear but not this morning and not for days after and I struggled down the mountain that morning with my flock in high spirits after their day in the heights.
Fast forward nearly six thousand years to 1971. It was the evening of June 21st, a lovely balmy early summer day, in fact just a week before Elon Musk was born. I had just opened Beckfoot, the home of the Conservative party in Longsight in Manchester and the late night drinking den for me and a few cronies. I was the temporary steward but Ted Heath would have had a fit if he knew the antics we grown men got up to in one of his northern shebeens. I had just tested the pumps when Johnny Halliday walked in, his eyes and nose streaming with hay fever. He lit the gas fire and draped his dripping handkerchief over the bars and started to tell me a joke. Johnny was a post office engineer, a technical man who had a girl friend/partner, although that word was never used in those days. Her name was Jean, a pretty sensual girl but no chicken. She had seen the world and made everybody realise this in her friendly charming manner. She was not with him that night but shortly afterwards they were to go off to South Africa. Johnny had been recruited by Jim Fouche, the President and John Vorster the Prime Minister of that burgeoning state to head a team of Post Office engineers to scare the shit out of Black Africa and make them all get their television licences. They had to tour the townships in their Bedford vans with that famous revolving aerial and spot the recalcitrants and bring them to court. This initiative failed then as it still would do today but Johnny and Jean it seemed had a marvelous end to their working lives in one of the loveliest countries in the world.
Enough but the joke went like this. A scruffy looking man walked into a pub obviously parched with the drewth. He approached the landlord and explained his tale. “Look” he said “I am down on my luck, I am parched with the thirst. I am a composer of music, If you give me a pint I will play a few of my tunes on that piano over there.” The landlord having pity told him to play for a few minutes and he would see. Over to the piano this man went, fiddled with the keys for a few seconds and started to play wonderful music. It was wonderful music, it wafted on the evening air into the vault where darts, snooker and talk of horses running that evening stopped as the lads trooped into the best room to listen. It was mind boggling how this scruffy tramp could play music of this quality on the old ivories. The line of pints from these astonished men grew on top of the piano as the men realised they were listening to a genius. During one short break in the rhapsody as the musician walloped back another pint, his thirst unsatisfied, the landlord approached. Now his pub was full, his staff working like demons. He wanted to talk business. “Tell me ” he said “How can a scruffy tramp like you play music of such quality”
“Well” said the man “It is a long story. A few years ago I was doing well. I was working in the industry composing tunes making decent money when I met this woman. She was beautiful. She did everything I asked of her. She was like a goddess, a guardian angel. I wrote a piece for her, she was delighted, she told me to get it published. It was the piece you have just heard. I touted it round the music publishers, the television companies, I tried everybody, I went down every avenue but they all turned me down. For three years now I have been trying, for three years I have earned nothing in my quest. She eventually left me, she could not afford me any longer.”
“I don’t get it” said the landlord “music of that quality must be in demand, What do you call the piece”. The musician stood up from his stool looked the landlord straight in the eye and said “I love you so much I cannot shit”
Fast forward another 50 years and here I am in the County Roscommon in October 2021, my Selene on a jaunt to Galway and me in the same metabolistic condition as my forebears, but what a night.