Steve Duggan Duggan vs Paulson
October 2008
        On many occasions during the current financial debacle I have wondered – 
    why not get a good Cavan man, or woman, to sort the whole bloody thing out?
What, says you, would a person from Breffni do that Hank Paulson could not achieve with his eyes closed?
Now I am quite cognizant of the fact that Cavan people have a reputation for a certain canniness concerning the dollar; in fact one boasted to me that they are the only county in Ireland to have a US state named in their honor – Maine. But perhaps such flintiness is called for in these trying times.
One Cavan man I have no trouble recommending for Secretary of the Treasury is that redoubtable Hayestown native, Steve Duggan of Paddy Reilly’s Music Bar.
Now I know I could be accused of a conflict of interest in suggesting Steve for he was Black 47’s booking agent throughout the carefree swinging 90’s. Still, I would beg you to hear me out as I measure Monsignor Duggan against Secretary Paulson.
On sheer conviviality and optimism, the Cavan man wins hands down for Hank Paulson reminds me of an undertaker who already has you measured for a shroud.
On the other hand, I have yet to meet Steve Duggan where he has not assured me – while rubbing his hands in glee – that “things were never better.” This may seem like a small thing, but rest assured that in the murky world of Irish rock when death, destruction and a visit to the courts are often imminent, a smiling face can be a joy to behold.
You might wonder what Steve Duggan knows about credit derivatives and the like. Sweet damn all! But it would take him less than a half-pint to get to the root of the current fiasco – a lot of money has been bet on many gimpy horses that are still galloping. This is where Steve, a former turf accountant, totally trumps Hank; for the Cavan man learned much about long shots that are still out munching grass far from the finishing line on various muddy racecourses the length and breath of Ireland.
Not only that, but Steve would have no trouble empathizing with the most rock-ribbed Republican conservative for he is an absolute believer in the free market system. Let me give you an example.
In the winter of 1990, he dispatched Black 47 to a gig in a borough that, shall we say for discretion’s sake, was not Manhattan. It was a snowy night and as we set up to play on the floor of the saloon between the ladies and gents toilets, only a half-dozen or so were present. Contracted for four sets, quite early on we became aware that our audience was not only ossified but paying little heed to our attempts at enlightening them.
Towards the end of the second set, one of their number stumbled blindly past us on his way to the Gents. Soon thereafter water was seen to be seeping from under the door and causing havoc to our instrument cables. Such things happen, as they say. However, during the third set, the same gentleman now staggered past us into the Ladies and soon thereafter a gush of water poured forth.
Upon inspection, the barman discovered that the ladies toilet had been ripped from the floor. However, he suggested that the show continue and we – in order to get paid - let her rip. At this point, the gentleman – now legless at the bar - raised the stool above his head and roared out, “this fu!*!n’ music is driving me mad;” whereupon, he smashed the stool into the jukebox.
To cut to the chase, the fat lady had sung in our estimation and we departed the joint without payment for our labors. Steve was aghast at our meekness. He proclaimed that a deal once cut had to be honored, otherwise bands could demand more on a good night, causing the whole system to collapse. He personally collected the full sum owed. I have heard no reports of Hank Paulson trolling Wall Street demanding accountability from his former associates.
All very well, you might say, but how would Steve Duggan look after the 700 billion needed to bailout Wall Street? No bother! Just give him a booking agent’s fee of 10% and he’d be back down to Congress with 630 bil in his arse pocket well before the due date. For, once entrusted with a task, a Cavan man is ready at the drop of a hat to protect his honor and deliver the bacon. Let me give you an example.
Once, while Black 47 was on the far side of this fair country, a dispute arose with a promoter over the amount of money we were to be paid. Negotiations had all but broken down; I had only one recourse. "Get Steve Duggan on the phone!"
The promoter agreed and sputtered down the line at our Stevie busy pulling pints 3000 miles away in Paddy Reilly’s. After about 20 minutes of verbal jousting the promoter grew progressively more distressed and silent; eventually, he put his hand over the receiver and whispered plaintively that he would pay the full amount and more if I “could only get this bloody terrier off the phone.”
I can assure you the taxpayers’ money would be safe – less a paltry 70 billion which would be instantly pumped back into New York nightspots and various racetracks around the country.
So what do you say, Hank Paulson, how about you pulling pints in Paddy Reilly’s for a couple of years while we let a Cavan man sort out this bloody mess you and your posse got us into the in first place?
Secretary Hank Paulson JPEG
I remember that gig when the toilet was broken. It was our first gig 10/12/1990 at The Village Pub in the Bronx. They hated us, I mean the three of us; Larry, Chris, me and a drum machine. It was during the middle of our set when Chris did the Reels. I didn't know how to play Tin Whistle yet, and I was drinking then, so it was a good opportunity to hit the bathroom.
On that paricular night while I was relieving myself at a urinal, another patron came in and took the stall next to me, only instead of using the urinal, he proceeded to piss right on my foot. I told him what I thought of his aim (in so many words) and he cowed back something about how I should be shot for spewing such god-awful garbage from the stage. Later on it was he who ripped the ladies toilet off it's mooring and smashed the juke-box, which come to think of it, was playing a Black 47 song at the time.

11/23/2008 - correction
At our Connolly's show last night, Larry said it was a different gig, not The Village Pub in the Bronx. He remembers it happening in Queens around February of 1990. Hammy still knows the owner even though the bar isn't around any more. He will try to get the name of the bar and I will post it when he does. The incident at The Village Pub did happen. It's just not the one Larry was writing about.
Man, there were a lot of crazy nights that year.