“My Boy” is back in town!

1 Oct

Irish rock superstar Phil Lynott’s mom has a #1 bestseller now available on e-book in Canada

Philomena Lynott has been a popular celebrity in Ireland and the UK for years. A gifted public speaker and best-selling author, she is adored worldwide by rock music fans who know her as the sweet, straight shooting mother of Phil Lynott, Dublin’s celebrated “Black Irishman vocalist with the unmistakable voice.”

by Donald Wiedman June 2012, published as “Mother & Son” by Celtic Life International (Halifax, Canada) – Summer 2012

Songwriter, bassist and frontman for 70s rock band Thin Lizzy, Philip Parris Lynott is best known in Canada for writing the song “The Boys are Back in Town” – lyrics that are now a North American battle cry, when the Blue Jays open the season, the Jets return to Winnipeg, or old friends get together and search for the right words to shout out, loud!

Like her son’s brilliant 15-year music career however – one that produced a huge songbook with over 20 UK hit singles from over 10 hit albums – 82 year-old Philomena Lynott from Dublin, Ireland is pretty well an unknown in Canada. Hopefully, only up to now.

With the 2012 e-book release of “My Boy: The Philip Lynott Story” (with Jackie Hayden, 2011, 2nd Edition, Hot Press Books) available from iTunes and Amazon.com, Canadians finally have easy access to the #1 best-seller that sat atop the Irish charts for nine weeks in 2011. Perhaps two of Ireland’s greatest life stories rolled into one, it is available online for tablet readers for only $8.99.

“My Boy” is a strikingly honest, void of hype, review of a 1970s rock star’s childhood, rise to fame and tragic death in 1986, told through the experiences, perspectives and opinions of his mother. A charmed life she writes “played out between traumatic events. The hardship of his birth and upbringing, and at the other end his wasting away though a drug habit.”

Philomena’s own inspiring story of triumph, too often followed by tragedy, begins in Birmingham, England in 1948. When as a 17 year old single white female away from home at nursing school, she accepts an invitation to dance from Cecil Parris, “a tall black man” from British Guyana.

Returning to her chair, she is shocked to find herself rejected by her girlfriends, and later roughed up outside the dancehall by two male friends. “I could not understand what was supposed to be so dreadfully wrong,” Philomena writes vividly. “Indeed, how could I have refused a man who had walked the length of the dance floor to invite me to dance? In my eyes, to have done so would have been an act of extreme rudeness.”

A young Philomena could never have imagined that that controversial dance, and a few more with Cecil in weeks to follow, would lead to a truly ‘blessed event’ that would change her life, and Irish and rock music history forever. “Little did I know it then, but he was to become the father of my son, Philip.”

Neither could Philomena have imagined the drama she’d soon face raising a black child secretly and alone in the 50s – finally confessing and sending him to Dublin to be cared for by her mom. After watching him blossom musically into a true Irish national hero, she then loses him to drug abuse at the age of 36. “Life can be cruel,” she believes. “But sometimes it gives us back what we put in. And a whole lot more besides.”

“A whole lot more” is right! Within new chapters and commentary in the 2nd edition, Philomena confesses to “hiding two enormous secrets that I dared not reveal.” After waiting for her mother to pass away, she opens up about two more children, born to her after Philip – Jeanette in 1951, and Leslie in 1952 – and both put up for adoption.

Concealing the truth “wasn’t a new experience for me.” Philomena states in the forward of the new edition. “The truth about my personal life had racked me with guilt throughout virtually all of my adult life.”

With the new chapters, her already amazing story blossoms into an enlightening tale of a courageous survivor’s triumphs over a long, long string of misfortunes. “It is the story of how a family was sundered all of those years ago, in a way that would never happen now. And of how they came back together through a series of accidents, adventures and clandestine meetings.”

Daughter Jeanette was reunited with her biological mom months before Phil’s death, but regretfully her existence was kept a secret from him. Philomena’s reunion with her second son Leslie is a story of very intriguing circumstances. Mysteriously drawn to her voice on air promoting her 1995 My Boy, he is driven to discover she has the same last name as the one on his birth certificate.

Reunited with Leslie, just before the second edition was updated, Philomena’s life story goes from the hard ending of losing an only child, to the new sheer bliss of finding two long lost children.

Sadly, the book’s closing tale has Philomena needing to muster incredible strength one more time, to guide her through the sad and terrible days losing her life partner, Dennis Keeley to lung cancer. “The depths” of all of her past she confesses “had not prepared me for his suffering and wasting away.”

Since then, Philomena has characteristically carried on. And is doing very well, spending time listening to and appreciating her late son’s songs and lyrics. She is also well known for taking the time to thank all the ‘Rockers’ out there, for helping her keep the memory of her son and his music alive.

One such a ‘Rocker’ is Toronto’s Roger Costas – a Canadian with “a lifelong passion for Ireland.” In 1996 on a pilgrimage to Dublin, Roger called Philomena’s house on a whim to tell her what a huge Thin Lizzy ‘supporter’ he was. She insisted he come the next afternoon to her house for tea!

Touched by her friendship, Roger returned to Canada to launch Toronto’s Thin Lizzy Celebration – an annual tribute to Phil Lynott. Some ten years later, Philomena hasn’t missed recording an audio tape to introduce Roger’s shows.

For more on Philomena, Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy – Please follow @wildeyedboys on Twitter, and visit Lizzy in the Hall-o on WordPress.

%d bloggers like this: