Rhob Cunningham’s ‘Seven Further Seconds’ – a whimsical, wild, original short story

Dublin troubadour Rhob Cunningham recently released a new album, Last Ditch Innovations of a Falling ManHe plays the Spirit of Folk festival in Meath this Friday September 18 and his native city’s Fumbally Stables on September 23 and Galway’s Roisin Dubh on September 27  with the album sales counting as tickets to next Wednesday’s Dublin show.
Ahead of those dates, he has penned a little story about the third track on the record; ‘Seven Further Seconds‘, the only old song amid all the new recordings. Read and enjoy the wild and rambling tale below. Presentation and punctuation utterly intentional… 

Seven Further Seconds

The biggest house in which I ever did dwell
was a place shared for three months near an area known as Two-Mile House, in Kildare,
a good hour walk to the closest post office cum shop.
I don’t mean post office, forward-slash, cum shop.
That’s here in Berlin.
I was aiming for Latin.
Like when sports commentators use the phrase “shot cum cross”.
As in, it counts for both.
That is to say, it was mostly a shot but also wayward enough to qualify as a cross.So I mean: there was a post office that sold milk and bread.
Or a shop where, whilst buying your milk and/or bread, you could also mail letters to Germany complaining of the new sperm-shop-post-offices of Berlin.
Come to think of it, I’ve only ever heard people SAY the phrase shot cum cross,
I’ve never seen it written down.
So I don’t know the correct spelling. If I was from ancient Rome, that’s how I’d type it.
…Magna Cum Laude?
That means something, I’m sure…
… the more I type about it the more I doubt ever …even actually hearing the phr——Fucks sake, rhob, the STORY!
Ah yes. The story.
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The house was filled with musical folk and one of the music people mentioned at the start of this sentence was set to move to pastures new; I usurped the last three months of her contract on the grateful cheap. It was a lovely time of learning how to unsuccessfully bake bread and climb fences and…Look, without getting tooo much into the house itself, it was grandiose.
It had plum trees for godsake.
Nought but quadrupeds, friends, rainbows and a resident Zen storyteller.Trees as far as your eyes could ever want to see!I was there on my own from time to time; weeks of keepy-uppies whilst the tourers toured.
I remember a keyboard-toting International comedian dropping by of a fillable day, winning the I-Bet-You-Can’t-Score-From-Here trophy with a jaw-dropping right-foot instep curler,
usually reserved for the Van Bastens and Seamus Colemans of this world.
I can still see it now.
Finesse 1 Physics 0
(Keepy-uppies, to clarify, is the game wherein, without using your hands, you try and keep a round white ball off the ground, by kicking and kneeing and heading it away from Earth. Think of it as using your sticky-out body-bits to prevent one tiny, tiny, tiny white sphere from gravitating successfully towards the comparatively larger blue sphere.

In Summary
Remain between the two spheres. Game ends when participants are no longer arsed.
Purpose: Delay inevitable.
Notes: May be played by one or many. Not recommended near traffic…



Rhob. The story.



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Shot by Myles O’Reilly of Arbutus Yarns

Well, as with all inevitabilities –
see? I had this all sewn up.
Remember? “Purpose” “Delay the inevitable.” “Keep the ball moving”
-well, as with all inevitabilities,
there came the day
where we all had to move out of the lovely big house.

I was due to depart last,
and, already sitting on the front steps with a few hours to kill before collection,
one of the more electronically-minded groovemaker housemates overheard me humming a Sam Cooke tune.

Packing her boxes with Tetris-like accuracy, she informed me, to my great delight, that the wife of …wait, something, …one of the Womacks… the wife of the late, great Bobby, had stayed in the house a few decades ago and had written, co-written maybe, a biography about Sam Cooke – in the house, the house we were so soonly consigned to leave.

See, Bobby Womack had married Sam Cooke’s widow, Barbara Campbell, ten years his senior. A lot of the folk around the scene back then thought that it had all happened a little too soon, three months after Sam had been shot by a hotel receptionist as he ran, naked, into the lobby, raving about how he’d just had all his belongings robbed by an opportunistic would-be lover.

Anyway, I didn’t even know that stuff yet, but i do know::
if i’m humming a hero’s tune with a few hours to kill
and a friend draws a direct path from all of this particular hero’s theres to my only now, lordy, it casts a spell!

Cupping my ear to any magic in the air,
hugs and send-off waves ensued.
Their carload pulled away, my now ex-roomies laden with labelled boxes to beat the band.

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I went inside the echoey house and, in the basement, found a gig poster from this group, One Day International, a class act whenever I’d seen them weave.
I had asked their pianist to sign the poster and he had drawn an arguably oversimplified version of a penis thereon, but it meant that, with a pen to hand, the back of this now-unique poster was everso invitingly blank.So there came the song. Written quicker than I can remember.
Now, I’m not going for the “and the spirits came to me and gave me this song” mumbojumbo. Please.
I’m just saying I was so inspired by that place and the friends and the peace that i found there, that it planted a calmness that i can still source to this day, whenever i’m in need of a shake o’ the aul shoulders.Later, I got to sing this same song at the Olympia in Dublin when opening for Bobby Womack.
Nearing the venue, i had dropped fifty precious quid and a kind stranger chased after me to return it.
The gig was great.
Cap’n Una Molloy keeping the ship steady, reminding me to eat.The man himself was rather crowded by the entourage, so, though I got to say hey, we didn’t shoot the breeze like I had prepared for the previous night,
“Whats that, Mr. Womack?
It’s a cheese toastie and a pint you fancy?!
And then a weekend stoop??
I know just the place, Bobby
Trees as far as your eyes could ever want to see!”
Seven Further Seconds features on Rhob Cunningham’s new album Last Ditch Innovations of a Falling Man available now on OLS. More info @ www.rhobcunningham.com and usual media outlets.
Featured Image Credit: Emma Doyle