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Step Right Up spacer Issue 9
Step Right Up - Daniel O'Donnell
by Paul Moore
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Daniel Bosco is a lovely man. I know this because I have lived in Northern Ireland for too long. Any Northern Irish male who has had to bring females home to meet their mammy, who has had to suffer the indignity of having mammy comment on his choice of clothes, or who has had to introduce his mammy to people he felt were of importance to him either emotionally or professionally understands intrinsically the culturally specific meaning of 'lovely'.
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Daniel Bosco is probably better known to you as Daniel O'Donnell but as he says on his official web site Bosco is the family name and he is proud to be known as Bosco. Indeed letters used to be sent to him simply marked 'Bosco, Donegal' and Daniel is effusive in his praise of the stout postal yeoman who knew this was indeed our own Country and Irish superstar. He also writes on the web site of his love for Donegal, his mammy, his family, his sister and anyone he ever came into contact with in Donegal. This is why he is lovely.
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All Country and Irish Stars are lovely. It is mandatory for the form. Hence Hugo is lovely (especially since he shaved the beard apparently!), Dominic Kirwan is lovely and, in fact, anyone who sings with a sickly sweet brogue about coming back to Castlejameswilly is, by the rules of this medium, lovely. So what is it that sets the Daniel man apart, places him beyond the limits of even the loveliest of the others?
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There are a range of factors not least of which is his complete lack of sexuality. Not for nothing do women of a certain age throw tea-bags on stage when he is performing. Anyone who saw the pictures of him on his wedding day kissing his newly acquired bride as though he was kissing a feared maiden aunt and wishing he could rush to the toilet to wipe it off, could mistake the fact that Daniel is safe. Safe enough, in fact, to eat your cream tea off. Hence the attraction for women who want him to be the partner that their mother would have approved off when he came home for tea and who would have loved to spend hours choosing the loveliest frock for the local football dinner dance or the community centre's wine and cheese evening. Safe enough not to be embarrassed wearing a shirt and tie to a barbecue and safe enough not to want ruffle the Dutch drapes on the bed when you got home from the barbecue. Lovely!
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Daniel also has what one other country singer from Tyrone calls the 'Nyeeah'. Roughly translated this means the capacity to remember the first name of every single person you have ever met. So when he hasn't played the Butt Hall in Lifford for two years he can still go back there and between sickly songs point at Agnes and tell her he is delighted to see her again and 'how is the Yorkshire terrier doing?'
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And he sings songs about the things that people who have failed to leave their birthplace for more than three hours want to hear about; things like the fact that there is no better place on earth, that home baked scones are best where they live, that Elvis never really died and that watered-down rock and roll is what music should have sounded like had the Devil not interfered and made a connection with that sex thing that people who live in your area don't approve of. Especially if it means the Dutch drapes get ruffled!
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Most of all though, Daniel is clean. Clean cut, clean clothed, clean-shaven and clean speaking in a world where filth in its various hues has come to be seen as the great plague of the urban life by those who live in rural areas, listen to Country and Irish music and pray on a Sunday that it filth in all its manifestations remains an urban plague.
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Alas for these ardent souls, I have a theory. Daniel is in fact a Janus, a two-headed monster that looks both ways at the same time. Before he arrives at gigs Daniel is a dope-taking, unshaven, rampant sex-god with whom no woman's chastity is safe, But as soon as the van pulls up at the village hall he turns his Janus head and transmogrifies into the Daniel we all know and loathe. And I have to confess that the idea of a slightly subversive Daniel Bosco is, by any stretch of the imagination - lovely!
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