Archive for December 23rd, 2009
Oliver St. John Gogarty(1878-1957) is the original for Buck Mulligan in James Joyce’s Ulysses. He was an unusual character and he, as a surgeon, poet and conversationalist impressed his contemporaries as an original. There are quite a few anecdotes. In 1939 shortly after the outbreak of war he went to live in the USA. Till 1957 he remained there and he didn’t quite enjoy there. But it was the exciting time what with music becoming livelier. Rock and Roll, Elvis, Chubby Checker took over the music scene while jukeboxes (‘ Wurlitzer’) kept many a teenager on the toes. Ah to be young and in America!
On one occasion Oliver St. John Gogarty was sitting in a bar on Third Avenue, in New York with some six other fellows. Gogarty kept them amused and in rapture with some wonderful stories. ( Story tellers get their second wind at the reception they get and he was raring to go.) ‘Now l want to tell you this,’ and he started with another story. At that time a teenager went over to the jukebox and dropped a coin. All hell broke loose. The story teller’s face changed and he became sad, and with a touch of regret and anger he said,’Oh dear God in heaven, that I should find myself thousands of miles from home, an old man at the mercy of every retarded son of bitch who has a nickel to drop in that bloody illuminated coal scuttle.'(Ack: Brian Aherne)