Friday’s Child - Colum Arbuckle

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Colum Arbuckle presents ‘Time of our lives’ on BBC Radio Ulster every Sunday at 2pm. A well known musician, he originally played with Jim Whiteside and the late Gerry Anderson in Toejam. He is married to Sharon and has three daughters, Julie, Rachael and Gracie.

How would you describe yourself?

Young, tall, dark and very handsome. You, on the other hand, might say that I am short, fat, grey and well past my ‘sell by’. Obviously one of us should have gone to Spec Savers.

Happiest childhood memory?

Spending my summer holidays with my grannie in Convoy in County Donegal. That’s where I learned how to fish, swim, ride a bike and court. Though not all at once or in that order.

What was your first job?

Playing the guitar in the Willie Campbell Band Show. Playing the guitar was the only job I had until I was ‘man big’.

Favourite book?

It changes constantly. I read my four year old daughter Gracie a story every night. At the moment we are big into Aladdin.

Favourite film?

It has to be Its A Wonderful Life staring James Stewart. There are so many lessons to be learned from that film. You never know the influence or the impact you are having on those around until you think how different things might be if you were never here.

Favourite television programme?

Have you seen Breaking Bad?

Favourite expression?

Keep on rockin’ in the free world.

Favourite method of relaxation?

Relaxation? Have I told you I have a four year old at home?

Favourite holiday destination?

It has to be the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Parts of it are like Donegal with heat but Donegal could never be as romantic as somewhere like Sorrento. I can smell the wonderful pasta and taste the Chianti just thinking about it.

Who would you most like to meet?

The man who designed Caw Roundabout.

What makes you angry?

Caw Roundabout.

What makes you happy?

Usually about the third glass of Shiraz.

What human quality do you most admire?


What human quality do you least admire?

Self important pretentious nonsense. There’s a lot of it about.

What has been the most embarrassing thing to happen to you?

Playing on stage with Toejam and realising half way through the first number that I was playing a different song from the rest of the band.

What was the worst thing to happen to you in your life?

Losing my parents was pretty traumatic but this time last year I lost my friend and colleague Gerry Anderson. Gerry and I had been friends a life time. We played in bands together, shared a flat together and ended up working together in BBC Radio Foyle. He was such a part of my life, all my life, that when he passed I felt, and still feel, that part of me is forever gone.

What is your greatest fear?

Losing a loved one. Too dark to even contemplate.

What has been the high point of your life to date?

Becoming the father of ‘my wee late one’ Gracie, at my time of life. I would highly recommend it.

How would you like to be remembered?

As someone who was good craic but who could deliver the goods when required.

What is your most treasured possession?

My Les Paul guitar. Anyone who ever saw Toejam will tell you that it can practically play itself.

If you won the lotto what would you do with it?

Immediately give it all away. As my mother would say “you could never have luck with that sort of money”. I will never prove or disprove that statement because I never do the lotto.

If you could be granted one wish in life, what would you ask for?

Only for good health and a life long enough to see my entire family settled and happy.

If you could write your own epitaph what would it be?

He could ‘Keep ‘er lit‘ no longer.