Tuesday, June 02, 2020

The late Brendan Bowyer performing at the 2005 Tall Ships festival in Waterford. Photo: Joe Evans

WATERFORDIANS the world over have ‘done’ The Hucklebuck since Brendan Bowyer and The Royal Showband shot to the top of the charts back in 1965.

Brendan, who died in Las Vegas on Thursday last aged 81, told Pat Kenny in 2008 he’d probably performed the number 300 times a year in the interim.

“It’s such a simple song but it’s infectious and it’s a great dance number,” he said on a ‘Late Late Show’ showband special 12 years ago. “I’m just glad to be recognised by a song – it’s wonderful to have that. It’d be wonderful if it was ‘My Way’ or something but ‘The Hucklebuck’ is a great song in its own right.”

Brendan became a firm favourite in dance halls across Ireland and Britain in the late 50s and early 60s, with The Beatles opening for The Royal at Liverpool’s Pavilion Theatre just months before they released ‘Love Me Do’.

While he primarily performed in Las Vegas since the 1970s, Brendan never forgot home and in the latter years of his career regularly travelled back to perform concerts in Waterford alongside his daughter Aisling. He had hoped to get home last year for what would have proven his final visit but illness prevented Brendan from taking one more transatlantic journey.

Stephen Travers of the Miami Showband put it best in reaction to Brendan’s death when he declared: “The king is dead: Brendan Bowyer was, and always will be, king of the showband era.” May the son of Bailey’s New Street rest in peace.

 ‘Tech Uni’ frustration is undeniable  

News that Cork IT and IT Tralee will become the Munster Technological University from January 1 next has naturally raised eyebrows in Waterford, where the decades-long wait for university status sadly drags on.

That Waterford IT and IT Carlow have yet to submit its formal application for TU status is a source of natural and understandable frustration to the general public.

While WIT’s Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) membership is now backing the roadmap process to TU status, IT Carlow’s TUI branch still needs convincing.

What needs to be done to win hearts and minds up the M9 remains to be seen but until the Carlow branch gets behind the application, any predicting when the bid will be submitted is nothing more than idle speculation. Suffice to say, anyone keen to see this city and region gain a fairer share of the cake wishes we were well beyond the application phase by now.

WIT President Willie Donnelly, while wishing Cork and Tralee well on its new venture, told his staff on Friday last: “The establishment of two universities in Cork and no resolution to the university issue in the South East will cast a long shadow over Waterford city and the Institute…we are ready to move to the next level which is the foundation of a new university for the city and region. We have earned the title of University.” WIT’s house appears to be in better order in supporting the TUSE application terms than its Carlow partner currently does. This position must change as a matter of regional urgency.

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