Speaker 1 00:00:21 How are you doing? I'm Doug Davan and you are listening to the Plastic Podcasts, tales of the Irish Diaspora, taking you on yet another voyage in glorious Audio Vision. And we crossed from southeast to northwest in one interviewee this week. John Wardle, aka Jar Wobble. Originally the bass player with Public Image Limited alongside John Liden and Keith Levine went on, found invaders at the heart, undertook work at London Underground during the lean years, and returned to music to work with Bryan Eno, dolo Rdn and Tel Avi, a proud London Irishman. His autobiography, memoirs of a Giza came out in 2009 and as we speak, it's the middle of the August Heat Waves, swelter Fest 2022. And John is relaxing at home in Stockport. Our conversation is free and easy with plenty of adult language, but we start off safely by asking John Wardle jar wobble. How you doing?
Speaker 2 00:01:15 Like Swelter Fest? Yeah. Even, even in stock, it's, I've just been out and uh, yeah, it's baking. Absolutely baking. Yeah. But hey, it really happens. So let's enjoy it. I suppose
Speaker 1 00:01:30 As much is true. We'll be back to Tutting in the rain fairly soon. John Ward or Jar Wobble, I mean, which do you prefer?
Speaker 2 00:01:36 Oh, I don't mind. John is right with me. Is it
Speaker 1 00:01:39 Weird when people say it seem to know you?
Speaker 2 00:01:41 No, not really. I, you kind of used to it. So the worst thing if you're an entertainer is if you just got ignored. So, you know, so yeah, I can't complain. And when I chose an angel, Sid know me, Joe Wobble, I said, I'm, I'm gonna keep that Sid cause no one will forget it. So I, it was my own fault. I kept it, you know,
Speaker 1 00:02:01 It works.
Speaker 2 00:02:02 Yeah. You know
Speaker 1 00:02:03 What, London Irish,
Speaker 2 00:02:04 Yeah, that's right. Yeah. East End. Um, so, which is very, you know, like the Welsh in Patagonia developed their own culture. The Irish in the East End really become a particular thing, and in fact morphed very much into the Coney, you know, um, as I understand it, and I, I've got no reason to disagree with it. Mostly Irish who came in were from co. There was a Steam packet that arrived, I think every two weeks from Cork. Ronnie Drew know all about this. I mentioned it to Ronnie, and he was a very culturally aware guy, you know, from the dub. Um, so you could say that fiery angry Coke temperament is very much mixed. That kind of morphed into cos, you know, so the whole Irish thing was a big informer of the Coney Nation, if you like. You know, that, and probably Eastern Jewish people coming from the east from Poms were the two main constituent parts of the Coney.
Speaker 3 00:03:14 So was it parents, grandparents?
Speaker 2 00:03:17 Grandparents? Um, both sides actually on my mum's side out co from a place called Darris near Tre Bay. And they were, hes, I think that was, that was Catherine Heggerty was my grandmother. Um, and my dad's side, his mum, they come from SCO County, so both county co. Um, so the, my maternal grandmother born in Ireland, Joey Fitz, who she married, he was, um, he was born in London, obviously Irish parents. Fitz was the other, you know, family nine on, on that side. Um, with the old man, funny enough, I think he's, his mum was born in Ireland. Um, his old man was the Englishman who, um, but even, even near, apparently it turned out it was Irish there, you know, on his side before the south, you know what I mean? Every bloody wear my, you know, and even a bit of Scottish, I found out funny enough, uh, a gal night coming, you know, so, um, yeah, so you quite a lot of Irish blood there.
Speaker 2 00:04:36 And we very, the not my, my uncle, my dad's brother was a Catholic priest, and he was named up Terence and Sweeney, the nun said to be called Terence. So they were, they were really quite a Republican part of a Republican mil. You know, they used to sing the rebel songs and all that. Apparently that was going on well into the 20th, well, into the 20th century into the 19 sport. And they'd, you know, the women would get nervous when the men had a drink. Were singing too many rebel songs. Keep it down, keep it down, you know, keep, don't sort thing. By the time I came about, you know, it was, you still had the, that have the Irish pipes drum and five bands and fis on their mum's side. They were known as good drummers, you know, so they had all the, all the drum and five stuff going on.
Speaker 2 00:05:35 Um, and it'd be wearing the Irish kilts and all that stuff, and in pipes, elbow pipes and stuff. Um, and then that changed very, very quickly. You know, by the time the seventies was around, I think they're gone that, that day, I think it was near Easter time, you know, was a really, like a big deal. All the parishes came out. There was a lot of drinking in the, in the, uh, Irish social clubs and in the, uh, and in the pubs and stuff. And um, and then that suddenly kind of really decreased, you know? So I was brought up, I mean, it really resonates with you and Irish music. So at home with this into the Dubliners a lot, which I loved. And some of the Schwart Irish stuff, which I'm still not that mad keen on. Everyone had Irish names of Keeners, Patrick's Patricia's Carmels.
Speaker 2 00:06:26 Agnes Agnes was me, mum was me, dad's sister. She, and they married into the o Donovans, the ods as they sort of known. Um, John OD was a love as a docker. He was a lovely guy. Um, tough guy, you know, the ods. And, um, and it was very Catholic. I mean, it still is, you know, and I mean, very, very Catholic, you know, one of from, we discussing a little ago contraception, and I said to him, talked about pre-Vatican who run, which she sees as a very bad thing, baby thrown out the bath water and all that. And, um, when I sort of said, well, it's not all bad conception and you gotta start, you know, you know, that's, yeah. Even with AIDS not a good thing using condoms or whatever, you knows quite hard court, you know. So the atmosphere I was brought up in was very much pre Vaan two, you know, um, primary school I went kindergarten or nursery.
Speaker 2 00:07:33 And, um, and primary school was, that was just as a meer. You were pretty horrible, pretty hardcore. They had no mercy in my experience, you know? Um, uh, and, um, you know, it was, it was, it was very, yeah, it was very, you know, as I say, it was very, very Catholic. A lot of those women were from rural island. Um, but very quickly seventies, I think I would've contact with Ireland itself was lost. So it, I suppose that's what I'm spent the welshire, Patagonia, it become a community very much within itself. You know, very standalone, um, coy thing. Um, and that's, but everyone had become a, just become that thing, become a London have become a coy, and there wasn't so culturally deep resonancies of I Irish stuff. So if I heard Irish Keen in music or something, you know, deep Irish music airs and, you know, brings a tear to the ice still, you know, and culturally you realize that your, your heart's very Irish without even realizing it, to be honest, over the years.
Speaker 2 00:08:39 But the people, you, the way I drunk, drunk, like an Irishman got our suffer from Irish disease, in fact, with the booze, liked it too much. We have a very gregarious race. We like to drink and we like to chat, you know? Um, so that was it. Yeah, that's my background, you know. Um, by the time the seventies rolled on it all sort, you know, it all kind of, you know, slowly started to change, you know? Um, you all my cousins were brought up very much in a Catholic faith. You know, I, I, three of my cousins went to ary London Orry School, you know? Um, and they all know the catechism still and at funerals, they know you can notice, they still know all the catechism, you know, um, you know, uh, but as I see my old, both sides of the family were, um, strict Catholic, you know, um, and all that.
Speaker 2 00:09:32 So, um, yeah, it was, uh, it started to change. And now I think with the Cousins's kids, I don't think there's that sense of, you know, and, and the contact. I went back to my primary school with a mate of mine many years. Ago's daughter up vibe was completely different. So, you know, a lot of that, as you know, Doug was informed by rural island a lot. The dynamics with the parishes and everything, you know, uh, and it's, uh, it's, it's gone mate. You know? And even in London, as I started to, I always make friends with the Irish Ditra, you know, where do you, when I first come up in friends, I make you get on with them. And in a course, like even recently, you start playing football with Geers. You make friends in a cols of Cols. They're bleeding Catholics, Irish Catholics background, you know, they, the Geers are got the mag look in the eye.
Speaker 2 00:10:24 They're up for a laugh, and they've got the, they're on it straight away, you know, building game. One of them, a fellow out Sulfur that was running a building firm. And you just know he, he's a, the little crafty guy. He doesn't miss a trick. And, but what I said, you know, you wouldn't miss a trick. And he made sure he was in a building game on the sites, making sure they got their money every week and a payday failures, you know, all that. So yeah, that's how it kind of was. But he's, it's obviously, it's a, it's a by on, it's a world that's done now for better and for worse, you
Speaker 1 00:10:58 Know, when you were growing up, was it a case that you end up going to the cross of the Irish social clubs and things like that?
Speaker 2 00:11:04 As I say, they were, so, it was all Irish names, but they were, so, even at the Catholic parishes, they were, so, like, when I talked to, to the Denisons there, you Irish fam, very Dennison, you know, very, very pro Catholic. I mean, still very, very Catholic people, but they're, you know, so they're very Catholic. They've got, they've got that Irish way with them, but there's, um, they, they wouldn't even identify as Irish now, even though they've got all that, they've got the, you know, got these Irish surnames, um, they drink like Irishmen. Um, they've got an Irish sense of humor, but they've become very, very, um, you know, they become, become London. They can't become where they are, of course. You know. So
Speaker 1 00:11:49 What'd you put that lack, that breaking of the link down to, was your take on it?
Speaker 2 00:11:54 Oh, I, I used to think it was a bit weird and a bit strange. And now, I guess it's just how it is. You move somewhere. And I think within a generation or two, it's not my boys, you know, I really wanted them to continue with the, their cultural link. Cause I think it's good. It's good if you do that, you know, it gives you a sense of identity and whether then to, to to know where they came from. And I thought the Northwest would be a pretty good place for 'em to sort of grow up and all that, you know, that'd be good for them, you know? Um, but I guess as they, if they go on to have kids and all that, um, then I would imagine that will still resonate with the grandkids. But then by the next generation, that's probably kind of going right.
Speaker 2 00:12:40 I would've thought, you know, and, and you know, in any way, I remember, you know, when we were at primary school, you'd, we had to do Irish dancing and all that, which I hated, by the way. I hate, I wanted to play football. I didn't wanna do, do the dancing. Um, but it was, there was a thing there with the, with the nuns obviously, to keep the Irish culture going, you know? And it was to be, to still continue to be pushed. You know, one of the things there, of course, the, the Irish community was so ensconced. They were in East London before they were anywhere else. So they probably lost the connections with Ireland a little bit quicker than, than say they would've done in Kilburn or Holloway. But even now, if you, I remember going up Kilburn or, you know, I mean Charlie, he lives near Kilburn now, you know, and he loves that area.
Speaker 2 00:13:32 And I said to mate, this was all petted. It was completely, you know, it was so Irish. I all the dance clubs up Kilburn High Road and obviously Holloway Road, cause I got in very early and I knew all the London Irish there, Johnny Lits from that background, you know, all this and Holloway Road and all that. It was all very Irish. It's just not like that now, is it, you know, still, you see a few of the Shambrook signs, you see a few Irish pubs, but it's, it's probably more, you know, Turkish now around there, there always was, but you know, you got lots of Albanians in now. That's the why you, in the East End, you had, the Jews were a big player. They were a big, you know, they were a big thing in the East End and completely gone now. And, and plus the Jewish, it's very, you know, it's, I don't, you know, it's probably shrinking, you know, so they're all out, they all moved out to and out to Gold Green. And I think there places like Bushy now, but even that just, they become assimilated, you know? So it is,
Speaker 1 00:14:44 You're listening to the plastic podcasts. We all come from somewhere else. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. John Wardle is married to the Chinese musician and Artist Z Land, Lao, and they have two sons. In this section we talk about John's own various heritages and how much influence or otherwise Irishness has had on his children.
Speaker 2 00:15:06 Yeah, well, quite a mix. I mean, bit of Mongolian. I've got, I've, I've got a bit of Eastern stuff in me. I found out as well, the Irish yeah. Know. So, uh, so you got a bit of a mixed there kinda going on. So they've got, they're quite heady brew. I think John, I reckon Johns the Chinese side of things. He's got his background. Um, and he, he speaks Chinese John, and I think he's really very at home with, with that. But then again, you know, he plays Western Drum kit as well. He's, he's a big boxing fan, so, you know, he's in a boxing, um, you know, so he is got a bit, he's got quite a bit of that, you know, British or you could say even Irish kind of humor going on at times, John, he loves, he loves the crack, you know what I mean?
Speaker 2 00:15:58 So, you know, sometimes these influences come in very deep ways. And I realize that the Irish thing, it's deep there within you. It's deep there within you. The thing you do, telling creepy ghost stories all the time, which I can't stop doing. I used do it with the boys, psycho dad, you know, where you say you start to tell a really creepy ghost story, and then you go, well, you're too young. Can't tell you, I'm not gonna tell you. Knowing that they'll, yeah, yeah, then no, you've got, so yeah, all this tormenting people, you know. So, um, but if it's, the funny thing is I, with a lot my, you know, I've got my friend Vince, you know, who's, who's, um, born in Ireland. And you know, he's, I I think very rarely goes back now, you know, um, Dave Lynch, who's another, Lynch's a big, very good friend of mine, Lynch, I don't think n she ever goes back now, you know, they're have relatives there, but they just end up, they're more likely.
Speaker 2 00:16:58 I might, I'm wrong, you know, but they're more likely to go to Spain, unlimit, you know, than, uh, than to go back there, you know? So, you know, that's depend not everybody's like that. And I, I, I think it just as you, you, you go somewhere, you tend to settle down and you know, that's becomes your home, you know? Um, and, uh, and even there, you know, we all, the, the cl whole clan was in one square mile with the East end. That was, as I was born, everyone lived in that square mile, all gone. Now, I don't desire there anyone left in that square mile. Incredible. You know?
Speaker 1 00:17:40 How did your parents meet
Speaker 2 00:17:43 Interest in one that they met? They went to, they both went to St. Bernard's Catholic school. The old man was older than me, mum, I think by about six years or so. And they met at a Ukrainian embassy in Holland Park where that the school held its reunion. That's, which is very, seemed very unusual to me in East London, in West London, because everywhere been bombed to fucking East London. So they, for some, which I still find so odd about that, but they met at the Ukrainian embassy with the school reunion, um, which, you know, all seemed a bit strange to me. But that was after the war, obviously. But they, all the families would've known each other, I'm sure you know. So me mum's family were a whopping family. They got off the boat from CO and never made it further than Penton Street, from what I can understand, right by the dock.
Speaker 2 00:18:44 That's literally where they settled. So they were a whopping family. Now, the old man's family was always said to be a limehouse. And this is by parishes, by the way. So St. Patrick's in whopping, and our ladies in Limehouse. So it was always, it was, it was by the parish, you know, and the old mans family known as Aly, and our ladies, my old man sew a choir out and everything, you know. Um, and his dad was a lightman. They were all light to him. But it turned out, actually, when I did a little bit investigating, they were all around what, in Shad for years before they went there. So they too, and they would've all known each other, you know, so, you know, the Catholic community, you, they would all, they, all the families would've known each other. You know, my m my old man what interrupted everything, my old man had gone off.
Speaker 2 00:19:37 So his brother was a priest. The other brother Johnny, I'm named after he died, he drown, he drowned. And he, he fished him out. He died a pneumonia. This was before the NHS was, and he died in proper hospital, which was a, a hospital really for the workers. But people falling in the drink was common. They had to get theirs pumped out or the, but he died, but the old man had to go off. So he was in the, so he went off to, um, to, uh, the desert and all that. So he'd come back and he got demo. Now, I, I believe he was nerves with shock to pieces. I didn't know any innocent until after the event. So he come back, knocked himself away in a dark room in commercial Road, and learned to play German piano pieces, which is quite ironic. Scene as you've been killing Germans for the few years before.
Speaker 2 00:20:36 Never had a bad word to say about, actually. And the funny thing is, years ago when Charlie, the boy, younger boy, was at football academies, and it's a tough world there, you know, where they're playing well, but maybe you don't get picked for the next day. There's all sorts of favoritism and, you know, a lot of nonsense kind young coaches in about a lot of football hustlers, and very much like the music business. So I was able to say to them, you always turn up, give percent on time, give percent, but you are dealing with people, people that are not up to much, probably like the music game, you know, it's
Speaker 1 00:21:11 Welcome to Showbiz.
Speaker 2 00:21:12 Yeah, yeah, Tim, the kind of world. But anyway, when he felt under pressure, he'd come on. And I think at that point, I didn't even know about the old piano pieces. And he himself, the play German piano pieces, July, that, so very strange, you know? So, um, yeah, that was it. But, um, so anyway, with the boys, yeah, they're, you know, they're, they're very much, I wanted them very aware of that. But I want, I think you can be the best of both worlds, you know? So they've got the Chinese side of things, and you know, the family, they, they do keep their family connections going more. But even if New Zealand, if you say to her, I said to, when we gone back to China, could you come back to live in? She's like, no, it's a foreign country too. It's just so different. You know, you know, when I'm in Ireland, I mean, I must admit, see when I, I suffer from my disease, so I drunk too much.
Speaker 2 00:22:07 And when I, I went to ai, it was all, it was all pads and a few jock, a lot of them, Celtic jock, you know, like Glaswegian Catholics, and, um, very at home, you know, when I'm, when I'm in Ireland, I do find it very easy. You know, you just, why you get on with people and talk with people was very, very easy. Especially CO and over to the West Coast, you know, there's a gentleness there. People are very friendly and sociable. Um, and people just kind of don't, people just put their cards on the table. Whereas I do find God bless English people, that can be a bit tricky to deal with at times. You know, don't give much away on occasion, a little bit uptight, a bit difficult at times, but especially the, the, I find a little bit's hard to generalize. I find it difficult to deal with, I'm honest.
Speaker 1 00:23:10 We'll be back with John Wardle in just a moment. But first it's time for the Plastic Pedestal, that part of the podcast where I ask one of my interviewees to discuss a member of the diaspora of personal, cultural, or political significance to them. This week, Martin, nutty of the Irish Stu Podcast pays tributes to the historian Damien Shields.
Speaker 4 00:23:31 One of our guests is a gen with a gentleman, and we've had him on the podcast a couple of times, and he still is a gentleman, uh, by the name of Damian Shields. Um, and Damien is an expert in the Irish in the American Civil War. Um, and what's fascinating about the stories that he has told is that more Irish people, uh, engaged and died in the American Civil War than any other conflict ever fought by the Irish. Um, so we're talking about art immigrants, uh, directly from Ireland, leaving the famine and ending up dying on the battlefield of Gettysburg Andum, et cetera. And there are children. Um, it's a fascinating story. Now, what's interesting about Damien is that he is now living in Finland, uh, recently immigrated to Finland. And to some degree, I think, as I understand it, and Damien correct me if he, if I'm wrong here, is he is an economic migrant.
Speaker 4 00:24:36 Why? Because the cost of housing in Ireland as a product of the success of the country, has forced him to go live elsewhere, because he cannot afford housing in Ireland for a extraordinarily accomplished man. Um, you know, doing original research in a particular corner of important history. He cannot make a sustainable living in Ireland. And he has gone to live in Finland. And this is one of the many extraordinary challenges that Irish economic success is causing for many younger people in trying to carve out a place in our world. And I think it is a conversation that we are going to continue to have for the next 10 or 20 years. Housing is not a peculiar, peculiar Irish problem, okay? In many large and successful cities, including New York and London, if I think of a couple, uh, who have extraordinary housing problems that need to be addressed.
Speaker 4 00:25:41 Um, and we, we could spend a whole podcast discussing that, but I would just say Ireland cannot afford to be losing people of the quality of Damien Shields because of their failure to address the housing crisis that is core to Irish news at this moment. So, you know, for people that are listening to this that are not familiar with that, if you go on ar times.com or any Irish news service, you will see a lot of discuss discussion of housing right now. Um, it's, as I said, not a particularly Irish problem. It's a global problem. Uh, and it's a problem that I think many governments are doing a very poor job in addressing
Speaker 1 00:26:27 Martin Nutty there. And if you want to hear more of what Martin or John from the RSU podcast have to say, why not listen to their entire interview? Simply go to the [email protected]
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Speaker 2 00:27:39 I've got expelled from secondary school.
Speaker 1 00:27:42 Oh, what will you like at school then? <laugh>? So that doesn't tell me already.
Speaker 2 00:27:45 I, I was a, I was a bound. Yeah, I was. Well I was, I was a fucking nuisance. Yeah, I was really bad. I was really like a handful. I was expelled from school and I ended up being, um, uh, it was a shame because at primary school I'd been to top of class and all that was the top boy. Um, and clever and everything. And then I just lost it when I went to, uh, secondary school became very badly behind. I off a lot, imagine was I'd go over and watch the schools programs that you had on in the afternoons, you know, and I'd even watched OU and I was very well read. I was probably, well, I'm not joking mate. I was probably better read than my English teachers at the time, you know, I would read. So, um, he was reading the AT 15, you know, so anyway, Greatville.
Speaker 2 00:28:38 And so the, there was a place called Kingsway College for further education. I suppose that's a bit like a six foot college hour of sorts. And that was the end of days when these places would be adult learning institutions in the evening. You know, you remember you had lots, it was a DH Lawrence trip. You went and improved yourself, you know? Um, so I went there. That's where I met Johnny and said, so yeah, again, I always get friendly with the paddies, you know, like John, you know, every time, any anywhere I go, that's a, most of the people I've collaborated with in music are Irish kinda heritage.
Speaker 1 00:29:17 So I was talking to it, Brian O'Neill dimple Disks, and he was saying that you were talking about that.
Speaker 2 00:29:22 Well, I met Brian years ago. He was mega store and he worked with Dave Lynch. So I'll come weight from some new situation. Oh, I met some, sure, I met some fitter Air Dave or Nick or Pat or so, nice guy, you know, very friendly guy. And course that's the Irishman at the place, you know, so everywhere I was on the underground, I made friends with a guy there, good friends who was hol London, Irish boy out Hols, you know, it was always the Irish that I tend to get friendly with. I get on Scott, I get on Scott's as well, actually, to be fair, you know, um, even stern Calvinist jocks. I kind for some reason get on with Kes. I think it's just a thing of there's a friendly thing and a straightforward thing, not around the houses, guarded thing, you know, is there all sorts of genetic thing?
Speaker 2 00:30:15 Um, yeah. But I suppose genetics carries salt of, um, I suppose just put some food on it. I suppose genetics carries Amic thing as well, you know, everything interconnected. So there's amic thing going on with that stuff. Does that make sense? Do you know what I mean? Somehow, you know that where you got genetics, you've got links there, you'll have links on other, on other, um, on other, other levels as well. Do you know what I mean? Somehow, you know, so, you know, um, so I think you do, you do get a bit of, you do get a bit of that kinda going on, you know? So I think culturally maybe how you are kind conditioned, you know, I mean, there was, there was a sort of a thing in the, um, I must in it as I grew up that, um, the, the Catholic community, not my mom and all that would've been terrible.
Speaker 2 00:31:11 They saw the, they saw the people around us who were non-Catholics as sort of not really up to much, you know, um, morally deficient, you know, everything was about the religion, you know, it was a great glu, died in the mass. That's what every, you know, that was a huge thing, you know, which as I say, it's pretty much died out there over the years as I went to weddings and funerals. Um, and I saw the, you know, pops into masses going back a few, a good few years now. And I was amazed, you know, like nuns giving communion. It was like, what the, what the fuck? Like a nun giving communion, you know, and putting a communion in your hand. That was the body of Christ, you know, the priest there and you put your, you know, if it touched any other part of you, you you'd be murdered.
Speaker 2 00:32:15 You know, you brothers and sisters? I've got a sister, yeah, she went to um, Notre Dame, which I could state school, school, but like what you would've called a grammar school at a time for girls. So she was bright, very, very Catholic. She was in that order of the girls have being a older of something or other, like, I can't remember, you know, you had them clandestine Catholic groups, like you ordered the Gray Knight or something, do you know what I mean? You'd have the blokes of be in and it was a thing for girl, she was in that. So, you know, um, with, remember her Best Night was Burnadette, you know, but me, me cousins, pat Murray, they, they all went to, uh, I forget the name of it now, the school they went to local girls school, Catholic school, you know, but they're all, you know, I don't, I think they might will go to mass, you know,
Speaker 1 00:33:18 I was just wondering cuz I'm aiming vaguely towards genetic and music and this sort of thing cuz I was uh, reading around you and you said that you kind of took up base because your, your hands were too big for the guitar, but had you always been drawn to music.
Speaker 2 00:33:28 Yeah. And I do think that especially funny enough, those rhythms, the drum and five band rhythms, which converts well to nor style rhythms and parles if you like, you know? Yeah, I've got that in my, for sure. You know, so, um, and I was drawn to bass sonically, I think, you know, it was the power of bass. It's almost a physical thing, you know, I started off with kind of, you know, I started off playing very simple bass myself. But you know, I would hear the connections between Irish music and very early on Irish folk, you know, it's all kind of roots music, you know.
Speaker 1 00:34:16 You've also obviously done collaboration with Z Lan and so forth. Do you find there's there's connections along the way? They're musically
Speaker 2 00:34:22 Yeah. Well, I mean, look at the Chieftons in China. Yeah, it's all, a lot of that. It's pentatonic scales, um, emphasis on melody, not harmony, you know, um, and rhythm. So there's, you know, you hear, you'll hear certain pieces of music from China. I will. And just think caught. It sounds really paddy. It's amazing. It sounds like a paddy kind of a, a tune, you know? Um, so this is roots music and there's a hell of a lot in common there, you know? And there isn't that emphasis, the western barking emphasis on harmony and harmonic progression and all that. It's not to say it isn't sophisticated and that there isn't, um, progression there. Cause there is, you know, but it's in, in a different way, you know.
Speaker 1 00:35:14 And you played with your family on stage altogether, haven't you?
Speaker 2 00:35:17 Yeah. Yeah. What's that like? Oh, it's lovely. You know, we never planned it that way. I mean, it was obvious the boys that play, but we both said to 'em, well, you know, be careful about trying to be a full-time musician. And we meant it, you know, and we kind of said to them, you know, you want to get other professions do so, but they both play, they both play very seriously to a very good level. And it's been a joy. We never pushed them. I probably took more of an interest in their boxing, in their football than the music. I mean, I always gave them loads of music to listen to cuz I'm listening to music was always happy to engage with them. And now John nows John's 24 now talks to me about music a lot and I'm rehearsing for the boys for their band tomorrow.
Speaker 2 00:36:11 So, you know, and I have a point of view on what they're doing and discuss it with them all the time, you know, so, you know, certainly with the more rootsy stuff they do as a, as a, as a pair, as a duo, that's the stuff I really take an interest in. Charlie does all kinds of genres, hip hop and r and b and I can hear it and I like r and b and it's nice, but the the kind of more world musicy folky stuff they do, that's the stuff I think for me's got something, you know,
Speaker 1 00:36:43 Solan introduced me to the, the remix that you did with Tel Avi.
Speaker 2 00:36:47 Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:36:48 And so I listened to the rest of that album and I just thought, oh my god, that's cracking. Um,
Speaker 2 00:36:53 I mean that's really, did you see the videos
Speaker 1 00:36:56 For that? Yes. Yeah. And that, that's as much what, what brought me in is as anything else because that just like pulls me back into another world. My worry is often since like, uh, that any kind of di astro music can end up just being kind of, I don't know, museum pieces or something. It's stuck in Amber. They seem to be taking that kind of nostalgia, trying to move it to somewhere else.
Speaker 2 00:37:12 Yeah, I mean that's what, you know, I hate sentiment. Um, you know, and might issue as well is if a culture is worth anything, it will persist or it will find a way of persisting and continuing. Um, I'm really glad for the culture I grew up in, you know, it's very damaged. It's incredible. You don't get more Irish people that absolutely hate the English, you know, because it was, you know, what was being done on that island in the name of England is appalling, you know, as we would both know, you know. Um, but I haven't got any sentiment, you know, um, you know about it. I think that, you know, Irish were very damaged and I see that in islands, you know, peoples that remind me the most of the Irish are Jamaicans funny enough. And you often got, they coexisted in London, you know, but Jamaican's, very battered people, you know, very resilient, very strong, very sparky, very resonant, great culture like music, you know, and all that. But obviously treat you terribly.
Speaker 1 00:38:32 You're listening to the plastic podcasts, tales of the Irish diaspora. Email us at the plastic podcasts gmail.com. John Wardle is a generous interviewee, generous with his time, his opinions and his story. He's even generous with the intimate moments. Just as we're about to talk more about Jamaican and Irish similarities. This happens. Yes. Because we haven't finished putting food on it.
Speaker 2 00:38:58 So I, I nearly broke a glass bulb, but I, I trust my abdo mountain save the date. But anyway, go.
Speaker 1 00:39:06 Yeah. See the term heroes overused, but um, but frankly
Speaker 2 00:39:11 I think I did very well there. Yeah,
Speaker 1 00:39:13 Yeah. You were saying you're amazed more Irish don't absolutely hate the English for what was done at for
Speaker 2 00:39:18 Colonialism. Yeah, well that's right. You know, I mean there's terrible things being done in Ireland in the name of England over the years as, as we all know. But anyway, I would then end up, I've discussed this length with my people just who have got that Irish heritage. Um, and they're not spending much time in Ireland, most of them at all or anything, you know, but we talk about how easy we seem to get on with Irish people generally, you know, and how at times this country still feels I'm born here, still feels a bit ie at times. You know, the Brexit thing for instance, all that was, was like, my God, you know, actually I have to kind of reevaluate all this. Should I move to bloody island? You know, you know, cause that's kind, I'm feeling a bit more like I'd be at home there maybe, you know, I mean seriously, you know?
Speaker 1 00:40:16 Uh, but yeah, cuz this all started off because of the Brexit and the passports and things like that. Just that sense that well who are you, what are you, people say you got a foot in two countries, but home in neither it feels sometimes. But also you were saying about getting on with Jamaicans in particular and that kind of cultural psych, I dunno echo.
Speaker 2 00:40:32 Yeah, I just think that they're a, you know, they, the Jamaicans remind me the most of the, of the art always have done, um, kind of been really fucked up, but a very spirited, very resilient, you know, um, you know, very, been very pre prejudiced against in this country, but very resilient. Got a great spirit, you know, very, very buoyant sort of people, you know? Um, and, and find the way, you know, um, to, to keep on going. So, you know, I I d I d what it all means. I, you know, I definitely feel that connection. I dunno what it means to my boys, I dunno what it means for the future, you know? Um, you know, I think Columbia is skull, the Irish cycle, but as a science point it's resisted you, you see damage there at times within Irish, you know, Ireland, what happened and you know, and the Catholic church as well, for better and for worse, it's played a major part, you know.
Speaker 2 00:41:36 Um, and I think religions, it's quite mad. It's quite an extreme religion at times, you know? And I really dunno what it all means, you know, accept, I dunno where it goes. Everything's in a state of flux. Um, I'm really glad that I, I feel that connection to Irish culture I think is wonderful. I've dunno what, as I say, dunno where it all goes. I've dunno what it all means, you know, there's been such huge changes in my lifetime that even apart from the Irish thing, all those people from Ireland settle in the east end of London. They start coming over at the time of the famine. But, but then there's people as well, um, you know, coming, still coming over at the turn of the century, you know, from my family, you know, into the 20th century. And um, and then that is absorbed into, you know, where they're living.
Speaker 2 00:42:31 They settle, make roots, and then it's all changed again. So they're all out the east end now, you know, they go out to Essex mainly, but I think they're starting to go further afield now. And London's completely turned inside out. So everything just changes, you know, and you do the best you can. I wanted the boys to have that cultural connection, you know, not feel alienated, you know, and that's great. Um, so, you know, as I say, I dunno what it all means, Doug. I dunno, I dunno how I can evaluate this exactly. Or in some scientific way, you know?
Speaker 1 00:43:07 I don't think you possibly can. I think it's just simply that you can just experience what you experience and share it and see who, who shares the same experiences. You know, we all come from somewhere else. Yeah. And we all end up somewhere else. I mean, so you've gone from southeast to Northwest. What was that like?
Speaker 2 00:43:22 It was weird, you know, it was like, cool, where am I gonna move to, you know? I feel like I've gotta get out, you know, I feel like it's all really changed and I hardly know anyone here, where do I go? And it was out the South coast and sat Walden sort area. And this came into play cause of Z's mom and daddy. It was my idea to move up here because, um, I just thought, well, the boys will then have their, you know, they'll have their, um, they'll have their roots and they'll, they'll learn to play music and have their grandparents here. So I think grandparents are very involved for the development of kids. You know, they, they've sort of, um, uh, petitioners of the, of the grandkids in a way healthy thing to add, you know? So yeah, come up here. I knew Manchester, I know Newton Northwest pretty well, musician, so I knew Tony Wilson and people when I moved up here.
Speaker 2 00:44:19 So, you know, when I first come up here I met him. So I knew all these people. That's all good. And of course you come up, you might cut friends and up and say low and be old. You find, of course they've got Irish backgrounds, mums and dads from Dublin or wherever, you know, and they're Irish and you, you've got Irish background and of course that's who you've got, you know, it's continued. But yeah, I, I, um, everywhere should be home in a way you carry home with you, you know? So I didn't have any doubts that I wouldn't be all right. It was only faulty when I moved up here, but I wasn't drinking, obviously. I was already a few, I was already a good few years sober when I moved up here, you know? Um, so I was really sober, um, a long time and, you know, and yeah, got more people was fine. You know,
Speaker 1 00:45:13 The last couple of questions, when you were bucking off school and watching the OU and reading Ola, what were you listening to?
Speaker 2 00:45:20 Oh, at that time mean, I'd already been listening to lots of Scar because that was the modern urban music of the time, but that was a bit younger than them. But by that time I was Stevie Wonder, the Sound of Philly. It's an interesting question because everybody loved Bow and I like Bowie, but I didn't love Bowie. I saw the Pistols, um, series the other week and they're eulogizing Bowie and I like Bowie, but I've never really been into what we call white music particularly. So, you know, I, I would Stevie Wonder, um, sound of Philly, um, I, I liked Quadrophenia. I thought that was fantastic, you know, uh, everyone hated that album at the time, but I loved it. Um, there was a lot of great pop music at the time, you know, mark Bolen and people like that. Sweet. It was great there.
Speaker 2 00:46:14 I lo I love Linda's Spa and that got me into folk music, you know, I love Linda's Spa. We had Irish music like to, you know, Molly Drew and the Dubliners and stuff, you know, so, um, yeah, it was a lot of black music and black America. A lot of soul music was really getting into it that time, you know? And then that really continued actually from that time I started getting into, you know, getting hold of soul imports and people like the Is Brothers, Jimmy Castor Bunch, that kinda stuff I love and I never let go of. So I always liked Reg, you know,
Speaker 1 00:46:52 So bits of Northern Soul and things like that.
Speaker 2 00:46:54 No, I never really liked Northern two Up 10 punk for me. So it wasn't Northern se. Yeah, no, I never knew of that scene, but I just like the, you know, sound of Philly and a lot the soul imports I got hold of at that time, Johnny Handy. A lot of them were jazz artists who crossed over doing so stuff, you know? Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:47:14 Normally I ask people, what does being a member of the Rfd Astra mean for
Speaker 2 00:47:17 You? Oh God. You know, I, yeah, like I said, I've dunno, these things are so, it's so vague in yet definitely the feeling there's a warmth there. Um, when you meet some, the people I've connected with obviously don't love every Irish person you meet, but you know, there's the exception, but obviously, but there tends to be a warmth there and, and immediacy. You just get to it quickly, you know? Um, you, you, you, there's a warmth and there's a connection there, and you're not beating around a bush and it's not all circumspect and everything, you know? Um, you say kind of what you think and you, you know, the way you drink, you know, I used to drink, you'd be up there, you have a fucking drink with each other, you know, you have a drink and you, you're on it, you know? Um, and you, you just direct and you get to it. It's not all kind around the bush and overly reserved, you know, somehow, you know, um, there's a bit of soul there somewhere, somewhere. And there's humor and I suppose there's a humor that's a lot of it's to do with taking the piss out of a forest. I don't believe in a monarchy, you know? Um, and um, I really, really have always had a huge problem with the English ruling class.
Speaker 1 00:48:38 And last question, I think, and that's cuz we talked in odd and sorts ways about home, and I'm wondering what does home mean to
Speaker 2 00:48:44 You? Well, home should be everywhere really. Actually. You should feel at home everywhere. You know, you should feel everywhere I am is here and here should be home. So everywhere I should be, I should feel like I'm home. You know, there should be that warmth and you take that warmth with you. And everywhere should be, everywhere you meet, there should be, should be showed sociable, you should be at home. Otherwise, everything's contingent on being in a particular place, a particular time. And you know, I think if you're big, the bigger the heart, the more you transcend time and place. You know,
Speaker 1 00:49:23 You've been listening to The Plastic Podcasts with me, Doug Davan and my guest, John Waddel, AKA Jar Wobble. The plastic pedestal was provided by Martin Nutty and Music by Jack Devani. Find [email protected]
Email us at the plastic podcasts gmail.com or follows on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The plastic podcasts are supported using public funding by Arts Council England.