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Dublin: 9°C Sunday 9 May 2021

Opinion: Goodbye Ray – we've been through a lot together (even though you don't know it)

As a new mum, he was my window into the outside world. My connection with civilisation. Often my only adult ‘mate’.

Claire Micks

WHAT CONSITUTES A rational reaction to a radio presenter resigning?

Me and Ray have been through a lot together. We have a special bond.

Of course, he would be completely unaware of this connection, but no matter. We’ve shared many’s a difficult morning together. Whether he knew it or not.

Come 9.01am of a midweek morning whilst on maternity leave, he was my ally. My partner in crime. My radio ‘buddy’, as everyone else headed off into paid, meaningful employment and I greeted the four walls again. Another day of endless feeds and over-analysed nappies.

He was my window into the outside world. My connection with civilisation. Often my only adult ‘mate’. I wouldn’t always even be listening to whatever it was that he was discussing, celebrating or lamenting, but there was always a level of comfort in the familiarity of his voice when exhaustion threatened to overwhelm and my new mum emotions were getting the better of me. Pathetic, but true.

It was somehow like having my ‘big bro’ there in the room with me. He was reliable, omni-present company – and in the life of a new mum, that is often the one thing that is sorely lacking. He often buoyed me up on lonely mornings when a simple ‘Hello! Good morning to you all!’ was all that was needed. Reconnected me with the outside world. And I’ll miss that.

A middle aged women’s equivalent of the Take That break up?

Then I returned to work and rejoined civilisation, but on my days off, I look forward (or should say look-ed forward, past-tense, sniff…) to catching up with him again. The radio jingle followed by his voice brings back nostalgic memories of times gone by of long nights followed by even longer mornings, when showers were an impossibility and PJs were the staple.

I will miss the ability to tune back into that time, into those memories. I will miss all the mental associations I have with that show, both happy and sad. And I wonder, does that make me a saddo or just very honest? Is the end of the Ray D’Arcy show the middle aged women’s equivalent of the Take That break up? Is that level of dependency on a radio presenter, where they become woven into the very fabric your morning routine, as palpably as your coffee and your teeth, usual? Are we all just looking for a bit of familiar, adult company of a morning?

My mother used to worship Gay Byrne. Of course she would never in a million years have admitted it. But, my God, the respect that used to cross her face when Gay made what she considered to be a valid point on air. Her brow would furrow and she’d nod sagely in the direction of the radio as if to say ‘Ah, yes. Gaybo’s nailed it again. Speaks the truth. As ever.’ Gay Byrne was as much a part of her summer mornings as I was. He was like a member of the family.

My father, by contrast, couldn’t stand him (probably in no small part due to the eternal jealousy he harboured around how much time my mother chose to spend in another man’s company). I hate to think how my mother would have reacted had Gay left his ‘Hour’. She would have felt abandoned. Dumped. Friday night’s would no longer have been kept sacrosanct, if he wasn’t willing to stick around for the laundry slot of a Monday morning.

It just won’t be the same

Ray’s apparently going to be on in the afternoons on RTE from now on. Which just isn’t the same. The morning slot is when I need the pick-me-up. The chat. The company. The afternoons are an unpredictable hotch potch of collections and tantrum management and half peeled spuds. During which there isn’t much time or need for radio. Certainly not in the madness that is my life. So I guess Ray and I will have to part ways.

To be fair, he did see me through two kids and all the ups and downs that entailed. His many interviews and crusades kept me awake and alert and somewhat alive through the many’s a tired morning and I’ll always be grateful to him for that.

But all good things have to come to an end, unfortunately. The plaster was ripped off this morning at 9.01am. A tad brutal, but probably necessary and the best way to go about it. No more Ray. Of a morning at least.

I guess we’ve had our time together and I need move on and make new ‘friends’ on the radio. But I do feel sad that they’ll be no more listening to him as I excavate the laundry basket or chisel dried Weetabix off the highchair. He was good company. He was a staple. He was a welcome addition to my midweek mornings.

For all those mornings you kept me afloat, thanks Ray. You’ll be missed.

Claire Micks is an occasional writer. Read her columns for TheJournal.ie here

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Claire Micks

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