Monthly Archives: December 2011

Santa’s ‘Winter Song’

“I want!  “I need!”  “I have to have . . .”

Santa’s head was melted!

He felt a sharp tug; his ever-present smile wavered, as his eyes began to water.  He peered down, through his half-rimmed glasses at the little boy on his knee.

“I want my lolly!  Santa, give me back my lolly,” pouted the little boy, as he tugged harder.

“Molly, can you bring the scissors again?” called Santa to one of the elves.

Molly arrived into the Grotto and carefully cut the red lollipop from Santa’s snow white beard.

“Maybe a cuppa and a Twitter break?” asked Molly kindly, as she raised the volume on the music; ‘Little Drummer Boy’, she knew, was Santa’s favourite.

Santa nodded as he spoke gently to James, telling him to keep his room clean and help at home so that his name would be on Santa’s Good List for Christmas Eve.  James nodded, smiled for the photo, grabbed his present and was gone.

Santa always got the words wrong, but he tried to sing along, “little baby, pa rum pum pum pum, me and my drum . . .”

As he sipped his cup of tea and munched on a gingernut biscuit, Santa scrolled down through his Twitter account to check that his elves were manufacturing the most requested toys.  It was then that he came across some unusual Tweets about #TwitterXmasSingle.  He looked at his watch, gulped back his tea and shouted to Molly that he had to fly, but he would be back later – and just like that he was gone!

Twenty minutes later he was unrecognisable, dressed as a Friar, with his white hair and beard now brown.  It was 1.00pm on Sunday, 27 November as he entered The Westin Hotel in Dublin.  His heart was thumping loudly with anticipation, but he did not want to get his hopes up – just in case!  As he came to a Reception desk he was asked to put his Twitter name on a label and wear it – so that everyone would recognise him.  He scribbled @Santa, but conveniently lost the label as he opened the doors in front of him and walked into a magnificent room, crowded with over 140+ characters – all with smiling, happy faces.  His heart soared.  He could not believe it.  Over the last few days he had become sad at the shouts of “I want!”  “I need!”  “I have to have.”

But here, in this room, it was all about ‘giving’ . . .  He sipped a cup of tea and listened in to snippets of conversation all around him.  “Hard to believe that a random Tweet from @BrendaDrumm to record a Christmas charity single . . .”  “it’s in aid of the Neo-Natal Unit at The National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, some of those babies are only the size of a bag of sugar, you know . . .”

All of these people had turned up today, most only knew each other through Twitter, and everyone was keen to introduce themselves to squeals of joy as they were ‘physically’ recognised.  Santa hoped that his disguise would hold and that no-one would recognise him!

Then it was time for the singing to start.  Santa thought things might go downhill a little here.  It was great that all of these people had given up their time and energy for others, but he hoped it would not be like some of those reality TV show’s.  Would there be screeching divas and walk-outs and sulks?  But, he need not have worried.  Brenda Drumm advised how they were going to record ‘Winter Song’ and Ian Callanan had the rows of singers, wearing their Santa hat’s, practice until they were pitch perfect – only then was it recorded.  Santa decided to stay at the back, close to the wonderful Twitter cakes which had been donated for the day.

Eventually, there was a break and more tea and coffee.  The scrumptious cakes were sliced and eaten – the sugar-hit improving the vocals even more, if that was possible.  Santa felt better than he had in days but thought he should return and get on with his job of talking to the young boys and girls to make sure they were ready for his visit.

He kept an eye on #TwitterXmasSingle and decided he would return at 2pm the following Sunday, when ‘Winter Song’ would be launched.

This time, as he walked into The Westin Hotel, he could FEEL the excitement!  Twitter friends, united in their cause, had returned and were catching up on the previous week over a cuppa.  Everyone donned their Santa hat’s again and a hush settled over the room.  They sat, waiting with baited breath, to hear ‘Winter Song’ – for the very first time – as it was officially launched on Twitter.

You could hear a pin drop, as the haunting music, the beautiful solo’s and the heartfelt choir sounded around the room . . .

When it was over, thunderous applause and cheers filled the room.  Mixed among the smiles and cheers, Santa noticed plenty of sniffles and moist eyes as the crowd stood as one, to hail their mighty leaders; Brenda Drumm and Ian Callanan for all they had done to make it happen!

Santa headed back to the Grotto, but not before he had downloaded ‘Winter Song’ by #TwitterXmasSingle from iTunes.  He kept an eye on photo’s and blogs and video’s all showing the fun that went into the making of something so wonderful.  Best of all it would benefit the little baby boys and girls; and their children; and their children’s children, that would, over the years, come to his Grotto.  What a wonderful story he would tell them . . .

Molly stuck her head around the door, “Santa, will I put on your new favourite song?” she asked, with a twinkle in her eye.

Santa nodded, the sound of ‘Winter Song’ bringing back all the goodness in the world . . .

The Written Word

Little did I know, as I walked into Eileen Casey’s Creative Writing class in September 2008, the world it would open – the Narnia of my childhood resurrected . . .

From the age of seven I’ve always been an avid reader.  Then, the libraries of my home and my grandmother’s, from North and South of the Liffey, were scavenged to reap the finest rewards.  The little bookcase above my bed, filled to capacity with birthday and Christmas presents, mainly Enid Blyton, in those early days.  Now, a bookcase in the family room sits three-deep along with an eReader I swore I would never buy.

I love books too much, I thought, but, it appears, I love the written word, in any shape or form, even more! 

I’d be very interested in your feelings on the eReader versus the book – if you have the time to comment . . .

I would be lying if I did not admit to missing the look, the feel and the smell of a book with my eReader, but, on the other hand, I can read six books while on holidays without having to extract a couple of pairs of shoes from my luggage to squeeze them in!  I can pick up the classics for free and borrow from the local library without leaving my house – and without incurring a fine when I fail to bring books back on time – they just magically return to the virtual world of the library, ready-and-waiting for their next reader.

And if I thought I’d captured the written word in all of its entirety I was wrong!

Hearing the written word, read aloud, preferably by its writer, really brings the world their words create to life.

I had the pleasure of being one of the many writers involved with the Tallaght Library Readings, facilitated by Eileen Casey, which ran from Monday, 5 December to Monday 19 December.

With Readings of poetry and prose from so many diverse writers; David Mohan, Louise Phillips, Brian Kirk, Mary Guckian, Mervyn Ennis, Doreen Duffy, Michael Whelan, Kate Dempsey and Eileen Casey herself, it was always going to be a success.  The fact that The Echo is currently profiling each of these writers has made it even more special; you can find out more about each writer and read a little of their work here.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and hope you have an opportunity to take a break, in this madly busy season, to enjoy WORDS, in every shape and form . . .

TwitterXmasSingle Part III

Well, it looks like ‘Winter Song’ by TwitterXmasSingle is a hit!

It was officially launched via Twitter on Sunday, 4 December and managed to reach #1 in the iTunes Charts later that same day.  Not bad, considering the only marketing was done by the 140+ Twitter characters and their family and their friends and YOU . . .

On 9 December, with 1,380 sales of ‘Winter Song’ we jumped into the Irish Charts at #8.  A great achievement, but we want to do better!

IRMA Top 50 Singles

We even got a mention in Hot Press – now, how cool is that?

‘Twitter Xmas Single Tops iTunes Chart’
Irish Charity song created entirely on Twitter takes the top
spot, and is a strong contender to be festive No. 1 . . .
The Hot Press Newsdesk, 05 Dec 2011

If we can manage to accomplish all we have, in such a very short time, surely we can now climb to the top of the Irish Charts.

Your turn to get involved in #TwitterXmasSingle – please buy the single and help us get the word out there with your Facebook friends, your Twitter friends, your family, friends, colleagues and contacts all over the world – let’s get ‘Winter Song’ to the very top and at the same time help the Neo-Natal Clinic in Holles Street.

Bord na Mona Fuels are running a poll on their Facebook page asking what your favourite Christmas song is – get voting – VOTE ‘Winter Song’ . . .

Take a look at our short video showing the making of ‘Winter Song’ to get a real feel for the goodwill, emotion and cheer that is #TwitterXmasSingle:

http://youtu.be/v9JwaNtViLM

You can check out more Blogs and video’s from the Twitter people that are #TwitterXmasSingle :

The Tweet Heard Around The World – #twitterxmassingle

We thank you for your support and, with the tiny babies at the Neo-Natal Clinic, Holles Street, we look forward to celebrating our #1 victory with you – one, very small step, to help the future of Ireland . . .

TwitterXmasSingle Part II

‘WINTER  SONG’,  In All Its Glory, Has  Emerged!

Graphic produced by Fiona Hanley (@greenclouds4)

Arriving to The Westin Hotel, at 2pm on Sunday, 4 December, was slightly different to last week.  Then, no-one knew quite what to expect and who, if anyone, would be there.  This time, the Reception desks were unmanned and as you pulled open the door of the Banking Hall you could FEEL the excitement!  The hard work was done – this was the celebration.

Thanks to The Westin Hotel, who once again, housed the 140+ twitter characters.  We donned our Santa hat’s again and live-twittered over a cuppa with friends we’d only made the previous week.  Suddenly a hush settled over the room.  Everyone took to their seats, waiting with baited breath, to hear ‘Winter Song’ – for the very first time – as it was officially launched on Twitter.

As we listened to the haunting music, the professional solo’s and the heartfelt choir, you could hear a pin drop . . .

Until it was over – then, thunderous applause and cheers filled the room.  Mixed among the smiles and cheers were plenty of sniffles and moist eyes as the crowd stood as one to hail our mighty leaders; Brenda Drumm and Ian Callanan for all they had helped us to achieve!

An achievement that is still snowballing; the charity and goodwill of the people on this island and beyond knows no bounds, as donations are starting to roll into the Neo-Natal Unit at The National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street.  Who better to benefit, especially at Christmas, than our future generations . . .

If you were there, I’m sure you have already bought your copy of ‘Winter Song’ for .99c and if not, you can become part of #TwitterXmasSingle now, by spreading the word and purchasing your copy.

With YOUR help, we aim to reach #1 in the Irish Charts!

Available all over the interweb iTunes, eMusic, Zune, Rhapsody, Nokia, VerveLife, NB: AmazonOnDemand

Ireland:  http://itunes.apple.com/ie/album/winter-song-single/id485227782

USA:  http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/winter-song-single/id485227782

Keep tuned to #TwitterXmasSingle on Twitter , for more on our wonderfully Irish, wonderfully charitable version of  ’Winter Song’.

Flying Hats at TwitterXmasSingle © Shane Murphy

Your Christmas shopping list is sorted – you can pick up copies of ‘Winter Song’ for family and friends, while at the same time supporting a worthy cause – surely, you’d agree, the best Christmas present of all . . .

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