Being Dan Ryan:
For the last fifty years Dan Ryan has been compiling the anthology of inner Dans that combine to make the collectively unconscious “Are you Dan Ryan experienced?”. Kind of like a Voltron-type situation whereby the whole is greater than the sum of each part. The gathered assembly have each experienced at least one if not all these Dans. Some of us have been lucky enough to see all on one day, which is extremely rare. Various Inner Dans are our constant companions, whilst others are infrequent short-lived visitors. Each Inner Dan has its place and function within the greater work.
Each Dan comes complete with incomprehensible intertwining roots that are difficult to fathom the depths of, and are not, generally speaking, the type that lie on the surface so that you may recognise what it is that you have accidentally tripped over. And lets face it some of those roots can stay down there! What we celebrate here though is definitively the original. He is an absolute classic and he is all Dan.
The Devoted Dan Man
Married Helen. Simultaneously conducts a very passionate music love affair. Brings Helen her cups of tea at any time of the day or night and will always massage Hel’s feet no matter what he might otherwise be employed with…or despite their stench or the hardness of her souls. His is the very personification of devotion, which is further witnessed by an inclination for playing music at every, and any, opportunity, day or night.
The Passionate Dan Man
Known for his forays into the realms of social justice Irish history, East Timor, rabid Carlton FC hater and demonstrates a passionate dislike of pretty-boy-show-ponies (those who wear sunglasses) Passionate Dan has a split personality that I will call Honest Dan. Honest Dan is liable to get indignant to the point of anger and muted swear words when describing the likes of John Elliot, Indonesian sponsored militias, the terrorism conducted by the British, the oranges and the micks against each other.
A community service provided by Dan to those of good hearing. He is known in the underground scene as DJ Whisper and his quietly spoken words of wisdom could be heard at 31.00 FM alongside John Shellew. A right pair of quiet talkers. A silent or at least quiet contributor to Mary Moore’s radio Irish Hour. An hour of solid diddly-diddly fest.
Dan the Family man
Produced a family of many turds. Was dutiful and naïve in carrying his “possums for children” out of the car and into the house after an extended nocturnal journey. Dan gave complete support for his children’s various sporting endeavours providing the taxi for such varied interests as Netball, basketball, football, badminton, tennis and cricket for 6 children who each participated in multiple sports sometimes more than once a week each of whom played in different age groups. For a while there Dan (and Mum) spent Friday nights not sipping gently at the G’n’T that is current practice but rather shuttling kids to and from sporting stadiums…from 5:30 to as late as 11.00pm
Visions of Dan as a Sport spectator picture him agitated, walking the boundary to release the pent up emotion. His is a tremendous passion for sport of all kinds. His ability to involve himself in all his children’s sporting conquests is legendary. Each offspring has witnessed if not been the stimuli of Da’s white knuckled strangling of the railing and his terse post game debrief including all the possible varieties of personal improvement. This was later termed “constructive criticism”. Jane once had a dream of the sleeping variety that she played for Carlton in the AFL. Dad’s response to this unsettling news was an unblinking “Did you get a touch?”
The best circus act this side of Congupna is dad’s ability to juggle automotive Batteries. Spends entire weekends moving the marshall into the shuttle and the Alfa into the tractor and then he needs put petrol in the alpha which requires that he gets the battery out of the shuttle and swaps it with the one recharging on the decking……) His Infamous petrol runs confirm Dan as a red line rebel. He has three stances on petrol gauges. His “fuck da petrol gauge” mentality results in a lot of gauntlet running. His refusal to get fixed perpetually broken petrol gauges lead to some second guessing of the behaviours previous drivers (surely Helen would have put “some” petrol in?) a peculiar strutting on the edge of life and beyond. The third option a complete and utter refusal to accept the finite limitations of the space and capacity of any all petrol tanks, thus allowing the gauge to point at the E for Empty leads to Dan and any unlucky co-traveller sometimes being reduced to walking the wide open road tin can in hand. Historically the smell of an oily rag is enough incentive for dad to think he can drive to Nathalia and back. Dan the farmer is an Animal lover. Sort of. Well he does maintain a degree of mutual grudging respect between himself and the domestic pets. The pact formed between them is of the “you leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone” kind. There are fierce penalties meted out for transgression. Witnessing the drop kicked cat incident invoked fear in any and all domestics that we own and owned. Did he have to put on the gumboot to do it? Pj cowers at the sound of Dads footstep. Mind you Pj cowers at anyone’s footsteps. She’s just that sort of a self-deprecating dog. However on the other end of the sphere he does receive complete and utter blind devotion from his brown-eyed girls. They have been known to follow him around the paddocks in flirty girly groups giggling and marvelling at his cute bum which they ogle through his tatty farmer Dan shorts. They tend towards petulant and jealous behaviour and commonly bellow for him of a morning time. Dan the farmer has left permanent marks on “Dan the flesh and blood man” in the form of some chic Gumboot rings. For those of you who are ignorant of these matters, gumboot rings are bald patches that cannot be hidden no matter how high you pull up your socks. Despite what Da thinks to the contrary. Getting involved in Gumboot ring action every weekend results in “O Silky smooth” sections on your upper calves that defy explanation. “How does a baby’s bum get to a fifty year old mans calves?” The result of pre-longed gumboot rings is skin rubbed so smooth that it can never grow a follicle of hair in that region again. Dan the farmer is a very sensitive entity. We are talking thin skinned in the very literal sense. This thin skinicity comes to the fore whenever dad does This ranges from mowing to fencing to swapping the odd battery or gardening. If dad attempts a job outside he will have some resultant broken skin which will bleed and which he will studiously avoid noticing or stemming. Particularly applicable when completing the yearly hay baling harvest or when fine-tuning the electric fence, after which job the wire drips blood red, Dan is a little light headed and the bull is antagonised no end. The bull then requires anger management counselling and when no such resource is available, the bull leans “gently” on the afflicted fence and Dad is forced to come out and paint it red again.
When Dan gets onto a good thing, he milks that baby! In his early days Gourmet Dan was involved in such revolutionary offerings as fine delicately balanced menus of ham steak complimented with pineapple rings, entire months of fish finger based cuisine, his patent pending invention of grapes and yoghurt blend. A five sausages for breakfast man on the Irish leg of his holiday which thoroughly sickened poor Clare and mum who had to put up with such a demonstration of early morning oil and mystery meat consumption. We are talking about a man who despite having six ravenous children still eats his fish and chips with a knife and fork. A man who has conducted a sensual and serious study into curry and its immortal characteristics that ensure that no man, woman, child or taste bud in any form will ever tire of. Ever.
Dan the Soliciting Man
Soliciting Dan bears an unmistakable resemblance to Actor Sam Waterson from Law and Order, and has been called in to act as stunt double for the tricky triplicating document sequences in the show which have Sam Waterson bent over a disused photocopier. The dangers presented by paper cuts and malfunctioning staplers in the law caper are understated. Also known as Dan Divenuto a name which comes from the film “The castle” and the little remembered scene which starred Morrissey & Deane’s very own conveyancing convalescent photocopier. This scene taught Dan how to swear at inanimate objects a knowledge he regularly puts into practise. Soliciting Dan is equipped with a professional high horse, magic pudding cups of coffee, unorthodox and slightly tetchy filing practices and two nimble typing fingers. Hands that are for running through ones hair or Crime Converter ‘just arrived’ stock.
His ominous deathly silence filled phone manners are the things of my worst nightmares. In moments of surreal imagination I have Da as a stand over man, dealing intimately with the nuances of intimidation and whose “frighteners” consist entirely of elongated pauses in conversation. It is enough to provoke truth to the point of babbling for even the most hardened player. Filling all unfinished sentences and uncomfortable empty spaces becomes the bane of any conversant. hand motions for explanations “Da Chi” boxes for his mental processes becoming more exaggerated as the explanation expands). Asking for a reply, even the simplest of replies you are likely to trigger an expansive interconnecting network of invisible “problem” trip wires. Inside of Dan’s head 4 fat problems spring to the forefront of his consciousness and try to squeeze their way through into that channel in which they are vocalised. This channel is very small, dark and frequently affected by what I can only describe as disorientation and poor plumbing. Before the problems get to this dark slippery tunnel, they must first go through a rigorous ordering process. DA must first prioritise them in ascending and descending gravity and risk exposure. To this end, he utilises a combination of approaches including mental simulations, prototypes and complex probability algorithms. He then places them in chronological order, cross-references them alphabetically and biographically before disregarding the whole system and settling on tackling them all at the same time. You can visualise the traffic jam I am sure.
Dan the Frustrated man
All the intense suffering and mental anguish that this ordering process produces shows itself through small outward signs. There are too many of these finely shaded signs of frustration to detail, and we hope instead that the few will illuminate the many. The most common fare of Da, the frustrated man, are the bitten lip, the grimacing ironic pained smile (a favourite of his), a fierce rubbing of the jaw and in times of extreme agitation two hands run through the hair. A peculiar technique whereby he starts at the forehead and with dragging pressure pulls the forehead and hair up to the back of his head as though attempting to squeeze his head into a ponytail. He never seems to get his hand on a hair tie luckily enough, so all he succeeds in accomplishing is a momentary face-lift. Any person devoid of masochistic leanings cannot but feel empathy for this man in such an obvious state of consternation and inner turmoil. One hopes to end his parallel computations and permutations by narrowing the field from which the problems may “rear their ugly heads” so to speak. There are two most obvious “solutions” to accommodate this “narrowing of the field” and both are complete and utter failures. Simplifying the request results in dad providing additional problems to be solved even for the newly simplified request. The other method, an increase the resolution by further explanation of the particularities of the request have resulted in more material for dad to find problems in, an opening of Pandora’s box or the proverbial can of worms, whichever metaphor you think more appropriate. When these phalanxes, bloody Brigadoons, and battalions of fat impassable problems appear on the radar, Dan’s blipping and beeping nodes on his hidden “problem network” sound their wailing sirens to indicate dire warnings against proceeding. This could result in either a stalemate, problem overload or more information is required to continue. The cycle begins again as does the inaudible thinking music that Dan nods and shakes his head to which masks or marks grand expansive contemplations. The process itself is eternally cyclical which has, as one of its suspected benefits, the ability to return to any problem at any time. has a grandly deductive, problem-driven mind.
From this cyclical styled mental process can be seen the source, the origin as it were, of Da’s mature and adult love affair with Vinyl and Compact Disc. They suite his mental process because they are non-linear, have excellent programmable and random options available. This is perfect for his eclectic nature of track selection. “This track is an absolute classic”, “This version is gorgeous but have you heard the original? It’s a classic.” Here he goes from track three on some obscure soundtrack to track 7 of the Tony Joe White second album. Audio Tapes can only be programmed to perform this function which reduces Dans flexibility and on the spot selection options.
Vinyl and Compact Discs also have larger album sleeves for gathering data and for answering specific queries relating to the album and a complete first time listening hands on experience. Dan is capable of producing multitudes of interconnections of musical data which is then turned into information that can be drunk whole like a pearl in sparkling wine or sucked like a lemon in a Tequila slammer.
Dan has a large encompassing inner library of sound and supposedly connected facts that he carries around with him wherever he goes. Friends, Family, friends of Family and some people who have merely walked in off the streets have gone home wiser for having found Sly and the family stone, Tim Buckley, Nick Drake, Nasrat Fateh Ali Khan, Joe Jackson, Jimmy Little or Rory McLeod through his invisible interconnections. Others have probably gone home a little disillusioned with life having been subject to Musicologist Dan’s entire CREAM back logs or a medley of three Joy Division songs. I feel disillusioned every time he plays me the Allman brothers. Suicidal Sunday mornings are no coincidence, waking up to Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen, Peter Paul and Mary or Pete Sega. His “community service” broadcasts are however styled on SAS head-on Assaults aimed at the propagation of the latest musical love. This relates in the real world to listening to some song by Andreas Bocelli on repeat for hours on end. Da reads the “love thy neighbour” imperative in a slightly different way to most. Most people would have the love word defined by one of its many soppy forms. For Da what greater love is there than sharing a great track with your brother man or sister, and maybe their neighbour? He subscribes to the “if you liked that one then you have to hear this classic by the same artist” school of loving thy neighbour. And he has a lot of lovin’ to share with you all. What’s better than sharing this track? Sharing the next track and the one after that. And its all planned before the first one goes on. All the plans can be dropped to cater for the moment, the interest of the consumer. Da has a most extraordinary giving nature in this fashion. I liken Da’s brain to a Telecommunications Value Added Network (otherwise known as a VAN). He is a facilitator of vital information, a communicator, a friend who wants to share what is his with those that he loves. What is his is the collation of wonderful musical information that is connected through the many ways his packet switched memory may connect two disparate points in the universe. Distance is not a physical space but rather a mental construct. No where is this point proved more than in Da’s eclectic connections and musings. You can name any musician, producer or song and dad can place it with 6 degrees of separation to Daniel Lanois, Brian Eno or Malcom Byrne. Unlike Da gives his untimed access freely without thought to day or night rates or how many users are connected by his knowledge. However the connection quality can vary or tend to go a little hazey or frenetically space-jumped depending on the rate of Tequila injections.
Martyr Dan “Throw another burning limb on the Barbie”
A self-sacrificing man is Dan, willing to deprive himself of the most fundamental of human needs if you are the tiniest bit inconvenienced by those needs. Unfortunately for his children he is not beyond including them in that “little sacrifice” of doing without for the benefit of some other glutton. If there is not enough to go around Da will always be the one who didn’t really want any, anyway.
He just happens not to be hungry when there is not quite enough of the main meal. If the brewed coffee runs out he will be the first to protest that he was just going to make an instant so don’t worry you have it. There is nothing this man will not sacrifice for a cause. Any will do. Get him up at 5 am to drive you to a bus and he won’t even curse you once on the way to the meeting point. He is the sort to tell his mother when she rings at 7:00am on a Sunday that he was “already awake anyway”.