From the Department of Criticism: the Irish Times handed my old Dublin University Players contemporary Peter Crawley the unenviable task of reviewing Chris de Burgh in concert. It's fair to say that his notice was less than generous...
Not one to take this sort of thing lying down, Mr de Burgh responds and gives as good as he gets, earning, I think, a draw:“
Certain toes will never uncurl after this experience, but it is almost admirable how unaltered de Burgh has remained by the flow of time. You may have grown out of seeking epic significance in the portentous verses of Spanish Train, you may greet Patricia the Stripper with the same mortification as a faded photo of yourself. This is because you’ve changed. Chris de Burgh has not.
I rarely read reviews, but as yours was sitting on my kitchen table, and after three sold-out shows in the Gaiety Theatre, I thought I should have a look at it; after all, receiving a favourable review in The Irish Times is about as likely as . . . well, receiving a favourable review in The Irish Times!!
I was not disappointed. How the fond memories came flooding back, more than 30 years of them; you must have a Lexicon of Handy Insults, because you managed to use many of the same ones that have been used so many times before, and still they make me smile at their continued lack of imagination. “Small man . . . shudder . . . warbly tenor . . . mawkish balladeer . . . cringe factor . . . squeaky clean . . . snigger . . . cheesy” etc – yes, they were all there, as used by many of your colleagues before, such as Joe Breen (who, I note, has been put out to pasture in the wine section, and I am assured by friends in the wine trade that he knows as much about wine as he did about music – precious little. I wonder what they have in mind for you in your dotage? Searing critiques of primary school Christmas plays perhaps, or judging knife-sharpening competitions in Sligo?).