Tich looks back on life
WRITER DAVID ‘TICH’ ENNIS LOOKS BACK ON A LIFE RICH IN EXPERIENCE
AN eclectic life full of twists and turns eventually brought David ‘ Tich' Ennis to the beautiful Vale of Avoca, and it proved the ideal setting for him to write.
Last week he launched his first ever book, ‘Pub Talk – Laugh and Cry and Wonder Why’, at Bridge Street Books in Wicklow town, no mean feat at the age of 73 years.
Originally from Glenageary in Dublin, David and his brother George moved to Avoca in 1992. They had lived together in their family home until then but decided to sell up. Having looked at several options the duo bought the architecturally designed house at auction. ‘We didn't expect to get it, we thought it would go too high but we managed to secure it. We had looked at other places and would have preferred to live where we grew up but it was too expensive. Houses were half the price down here.'
Now, however, David said he wouldn't move from Avoca, having taken to rural life with gusto.
David has a number of strings to his bow and worked at everything from a journalist and solicitor’s clerk to a fisherman and a businessman.
David took a job in the Southern Star newspaper in West Cork when he was in his early 20s after a friend of his was working there got another job.
‘He asked me did I want the job and so I moved down there for a couple of years, covering court cases and council meetings. I never interviewed anyone though and now I find it strange being interviewed about my book.
‘After I left there, I did nothing for a while and moved back home and went to a lot of parities. I became associated then with Focus Ireland Theatre Group in Dublin which was being run by Irish American Deirdre O'Connell. She was married to Luke Kelly of the Dubliners.
‘It was a 70-seat theatre and myself and my brother designed scenery for it in the early 60s for a while. Then my brother and I started a metalwork business which we kept until 1980, when the recession hit. I've done a lot of little jobs – most of which I've forgotten!'
David had a great interest in pop music and amassed an impressive collection, which he still has today although he rarely plays the vinyl records. However he dismisses any suggestion his collection might be worth a pretty penny.
‘ They are not valuable at all. I asked a man in the Arklow record shop. He said people think vinyl records are worth something but they aren't unless they are very rare and unfortunately mine aren't. I rarely play them now.'
As a boy, David was small in stature and picked up the nickname Tich, a nickname he still goes by today.
‘When I was younger, people called me Tich after the famous music hall comedian Tich Little. When I was looking into getting my book published I came across a book by Catherine Ryan Howard. She said you need a unique name as a writer. She had taken her mother's maiden name and added it to her own so I decided to start using Tich. There's only one David Tich Ennis,' he chuckled.
David took up writing about five years ago after he misheard his brother say something and David thought, ‘you could make something out of that', and so his first poem, A Metaphor, was born.
‘After that I just kept writing and the more you write, the better you get. I write the way I speak. I never studied it but there has to be a rhythm and a natural feel to it.'
David finds inspiration everywhere and doesn't have any set routine.
‘I write when I feel like it. I have no set time. I write wherever I am, in a pub, a hotel, the car, anywhere. I write whatever I'm feeling. I suppose it's art. In journalism you have to stick to the facts and write in the style of the paper you are working for. In creative writing, you don't have to stick to a style. You use a style natural to yourself.
‘You have to be yourself so it's revealing.'
David was undaunted by the thought of self- publishing his book when he couldn’t find a publisher. ‘I submitted it to several people but doors were slammed in my face so I self-published. I only got 250 printed. When you selfpublish you have to do everything yourself, be your own agent and lawyer everything. Publishing is not something I want to be doing. I'd rather be writing than organising.'
David laments the politeness of the past when people responded to letters. ‘I've written to people looking for support but often you don't hear back. It's like when young people are job hunting. In the past you'd get a letter back. Now the only way you know you didn't get a job is when you don't hear back.
‘People used to reply. People are much ruder now. In the past people had time for each other. They would visit each other. Nowadays you nearly need an appointment to visit people. I like the informality of things.'
Although he travelled in the past David has no plans to leave Ireland.
‘I don't like being cooped up. I like to sit around and talk to people. There's nothing I can do on holidays that I can't do here.'
David's book, which contains photographs by Michael Miley, is on sale for €10 from various shops around Arklow, Avoca and Woodenbridge and also from Bridge Street Books in Wicklow.
David Tich Ennis with Magdalena Kurdziej, whose picture appears on the cover of Pub Talk, and Laurence O'Bryan, writer of The Istanbul Puzzle, who edited Pub Talk.
David aged 17 (above left) and (above right) siblings (l-r) George, Helena, David and Brian with their aunt Kathleen on O’Connell Street in Dublin.