>I was lying in bed this morning, listening to the news on the radio.

Every year around this time, the government releases files which were formerly confidential. This is done under something known as the “30-year rule”. Since 2009 is almost upon us, the files relating to 1979 have now been released and the news bulletin was reviewing some of the historical issues covered by the files now released.

As a musical accompaniment to the review, tracks from the Boomtown Rats’ 1978 album “Tonic For The Troops” were played, and I was transported back to my teenage years. “Tonic…” was a great album and was released just when the Rats were poised to conquer the UK charts. The first track played on the news was “Like Clockwork”, which, to me, has to be one of the great pop singles of all time. Tight punchy playing with a clear Sparks influence and clever lyrics – what a great song and one which should have been a huge hit. Ironically, the track that was probably the worst on the album, “Rat Trap” went on to be No. 1 in the UK…

I recall buying “Tonic…” in a record store on O’Connell Street in Dublin, known as Harmony Records, in the summer of 1978. If memory serves, I also bought Pink Floyd’s “Ummagumma” album there that day. I seem to remember that Harmony was a fine big store. No longer there now – I think the first Mc.Donald’s in Ireland took over the site pretty soon afterwards. I don’t remember Harmony being there in 1980 when I started working in Dublin.

I have very fond memories of “Tonic…” Unfortunately, my copy of the album came to a bad end. We had a lodger living with us at home who fancied himself as a DJ. He persuaded me, against my better judgement, to lend him the album to play at a disco. He gave it back to me a few days later, horribly scratched and, to my OC ears at the time, virtually unplayable. I lost all “meas” in the album and gave it to one of me mates.

Such is life…