Homesick Blues:
by Brian Kenny.

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The Chopper

I first got to know Cyril though his brother and my great friend Garmon. That was twenty years ago and now, twenty years later, I am sitting in my apartment in Bangkok writing about my great friend Cyril Ducan. Cyril is the reason I am teaching in Bangkok as it was he who convinced me to try it out. This was a year ago after the wonderful wedding of Garmon and Lisa in Koh Samui in Thailand. I went with Cyril and other Portmarnock friends to the Island of Koh Penang for a week and we decided that day that we would try and stay in Thailand and get teaching jobs.
We both got teaching jobs and stayed in various apartment blocks until we eventually moved to our current apartment block.

Cyril's class

Teaching was a completely new experience for both of us. We would share the stories of our experiences teaching - good and bad - every day over a beer and plenty of delicious, spicy Thai food. We would regularly meet up with a great friend to both of us, Barry from Cavan, who was also teaching in Bangkok.

We had many a crazy night out and exchanged many a funny story about our travels etc.

Although I had these two great friends, sometimes I would feel a bit homesick. However, a quick visit to 'Dr Cyr-dle' and all would be cured. He did this by imitating radio traffic reports such as:
'Lights out on the Santry Roundabout'
'By the Way, the Weather is Shite'
'It's Bumper to Bumper on the M50'
'You are going to be late for work and get a bollocking from your boss' ...

He would also sing age old RTE radio 'ads' like:
"Northside ... Boing!! Northside .. , Boing! It's a great, great Shopping Centre"
"Hurry on down to Bargain Town where the Prices are only Famous".

Cyril did this to such perfection that I felt I was sitting in a van in Finglas stuck in traffic in the lashing rain - and, of course, it almost cracked me up with laughter and sent the 'homesick blues' packing.

What I remember particularly about Cyril is that he had a special way of reaching out to everybody - in particular the poor people he came into contact with - whether it was Bia who sold whiskey on the street outside our apartment block, or the security guard. I would have to say that myself Cyril were the only people who got to know the security guards in our apartment block. They never knew my name, but they always knew Cyril's name and that shows Cyril's great humanity and ability to reach out to people. It was extraordinary and I have never seen it replicated. I particularly remember the many times when we drove around the streets of Bangkok on Cyril's motorbike (which he used to call 'The Chopper') in search of various restaurants to indulge our love of Thai food and good beer and good nights out.

Travelling around Bangkok now I am constantly reminded of Cyril and the great times I had with him. He was a loyal, honest, generous, humble and humorous person and a great friend. His laugh and smile were contagious and he touched many people here in Bangkok - from his students and friends, to the street stall sellers and security guard in our apartment block.

I will always miss him and know that things will never be the same again. I feel honoured to have known him and like to think that knowing him has made me a better man - although Cyril would probably disagree and jokingly say 'Shut Up Kenny, Ye Auld Gobshite'. However, I know what I say is true and he was a wonderful human being and I will miss him forever.

Cyril & Brian on The Chopper


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