Friday, June 25, 2004

Many thanks to Barbara and the Lepatard concerning birthday wishes. Much appreciated.

Nothing much to write about. Saint Stephen's Green is ringed by amateur painters selling their paintings. It's their annual weekend out where they get to display and hopefully sell one or two paintings.

Hodges and Fidges bookshop have a sale on. I'm going to head in there on the way home from work. Too much temptation I'm afraid. Can't wait.

Football fever continues unabated. Portugal beat England last night after extra time and a penalty shootout. Figo and Deco never really got going for Portugal, while the less said about Beckham, for England the better. The skill level wasn't too high but it was an exciting, pulsating and nerve tingling contest.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Dublin City has a new Lord Mayor. Michael Connaughton was elected by his fellow city councillors for the one year term of Lord Mayor last Monday June 21st. We have a doer in the city's highest office now. Not just a mouthpiece.

I've reached half way in Ulysses, the chapter "Oxen of the Sun". I read the first page and went "NO!". Time for a break, another hiatus. For a week or two this time. Though what did I see on the bus this morning only a guy totally lost in Ulysses. As Arnie says "I'll be back".

Gotta go now the Czech Republic, Germany game is on the TV. Adios.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Wow, there’s been some great football matches in Euro 2004. France-England, Czech Republic-Holland, Spain-Portugal. Greece and Latvia are putting up a good show also. I’m a bit disappointed Spain are leaving early. In every tournament I expect them to do well but they flatter to deceive. Well I suppose you can take nothing for granted in sport.

There’s a really good add for Heineken beer on Irish TV at the moment. It’s set in Prague in 1971. Basically the camera follows a young woman dressed in a brown leather jacket and a red beret as she travels through Prague. She walks the streets, she catches a tram. Shady looking characters who are members of the Czech secret service follow her. Eventually she gives them the slip. She passes several people on the street.

Eventually she enters a building walks up the stairs then after hiding in the stairwell after hearing someone approaching rings a doorbell. The door is opened and she’s admitted into an apartment. Inside people are talking, a false bookcase is opened and the woman is handed a bottle of Heineken. A man she passed on the street greets her.

But all is not well and one of the men glances toward a room. In the room we see a man sitting down. He’s a slight old man, deadly serious, dressed in a dark suit. He’s reading a book and drinking from a mug. Unsmiling he lifts his mug in salute to the people looking on. We’re left wondering who is this guy? Friend or foe? The add ends.

It’s a classic, an absolute classic. It’s very atmospheric. The background music is wonderful. I think it’s by a Czech band called “Plastic People Of The Universe”, who were formed after the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact forces in 1968.
PPOTU were later forbidden by the Czechoslovak authorities from staging concerts and had a twenty-one year battle with officialdom.

The music of PPOTU is heavily influenced by The Velvet Underground and Lou Reed. The name of the group is inspired by Frank Zappa.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

I’ll be 33 on Saturday. Kind of get thinking about things around that time. You reach a stage in your life when you have to leave certain people behind. Ain’t going to take their nonsense anymore. One person in particular springs to mind. We’ve clashed many times and then again just recently. I’m beginning to ask myself is it really worth the effort. I’m only really friendly with this guy for the sake of the other lads we hung around with. Adios amigo from here on in. I’ve more important things to concern me right now.

The festival of Leon in Spain lasts from 20th to 30th of June. During this festival a young woman will from that town will marry. Christina will become a festival bride. I’m sure she will look quite beautiful in the bridal gown.

I have known Christina for many years. For many years I have known that we could never be just friends. That would be impossible. The last time I met Christina was in December. She asked me to her wedding. I replied yes I’d go. In reality we both knew I had no intention of going. In reality we both knew why. What’s the words of that old song, “You don’t know what you got till it’s gone”. Can’t really describe what I mean just that it’s best if I stay away.

Two weeks ago I was at my cousin’s wedding. She is 26 years of age and a ball of delightful energy. Her mother and father were very proud. It was a joyous occasion. The bride’s mother went around encouraging everyone onto the dance floor.

A week after the wedding the bride’s mother complains of pains in her stomach. She is brought to hospital. Test are carried out. Five days later she is told she has cancer and has 9 months at most left to live. She is 64 years of age.

Something’s get put into perspective very quickly.

Monday, June 14, 2004

The elections and referendum are over and first of all I’d like to congratulate both John Gallagher, on his re-election to the Dublin City Council and Kathleen Sinnott on her election to the EU Parliament.

John Gallagher ran what he called a "green campaign". It was green in the sense of being environmentally friendly. For example; in this campaign and the previous local election campaign of 1999 John put up a sum total of zero posters. Yes that’s right, Zero posters! Guess what, he even increased his vote. So a big YAHOO and well done to John Gallagher long-term community activist in the South West Inner City.

As regards the Citizenship Referendum personally I voted "NO". I wasn’t on the winning side. Indeed the No’s were defeated 4:1. I’ll fully accept the democratic decision of the people. However John Waters in his column in today’s Irish Times newspaper accurately reflect my own feelings. I’ll finish with a quote from said column.

“Ireland can hope never again to become poor and have to send its children out into the world in search for livelihoods and opportunities.

Certainly, we have provided ourselves with a massive incentive to ensure such a fate never again befalls us. For now we have established a benchmark for the way we can expect our children to be treated if it does”.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

I've decided to introduce some culture to this blog, can't keep writing about politics the whole time. The following is a poem entitled "Death of an Irishwoman" by Michael Hartnett and it comes from his collection "A farewell to English". By way of explanation the title of the collection refers to the poets desire to cease writing in English and to continue writing in Irish his native language. Economic realities hit home and Michael Hartnett later returned to the English language as the conduit for his art. He translated from Gaelic into English the works of O'Brudair and Haicead.

In "Death of an Irishwoman" the poet uses the word "pucas". A puca is an Irish shape-shifter or else it is a ghost. The phrase "Dark faced men" refers to men who have evil on their mind. They are dark of heart.

Here then is the poem.

Death of an Irishwoman
by Michael Hartnett

Ignorant, in the sense
she ate monotonous food
and thought the world was flat,
and pagan, in the sense
she knew the things that moved
all night were neither dogs or cats
but pucas and darkfaced men
she nevertheless had fierce pride.
But sentenced in the end
to eat thin diminishing porridge
in a stone-cold kitchen
she clenched her brittle hands
around a world
she could not understand.
I loved her from the day she died.

She was a summer dance at the crossroads.
She was a cardgame where a nose was broken.
She was a song that nobody sings.
She was a house ransacked by soldiers.
She was a language seldom spoken.
She was a child's purse, full of useless things.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Was out on Howth Head early on Sunday afternoon. It was glorious to look over the city then turn your back and see the ocean. I couldn’t believe how quiet it was earlier on though Howth was certainly buzzing with people. I had to go to a family social so I missed the Dubs match but I’m not that bothered. At the moment I’m not that interested in Gaelic Football.

Driving along the coast road though was something else. It was great to see everyone out walking on the coastline. Bull island looked wonderful. The old Dublin mountains seemed almost purple in the distance and the lights of the city had just begun to come on. A perfect evening.

Right now I’m almost half way through Ulysses. I just put my head down and read, lost for hours on end.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Am in trouble in work for spending too much time on the net drat. I knew it was too good to last. In the meantime……

I’m back reading Ulysses again. Last night I read 30 odd pages. It took me the best part of an hour, I’m a very slow reader. It turns out RTE Radio One has a programme on for a half hour every Thursday night at 7 pm dedicated to a chapter in Ulysses. Inspired by this I decided to take up the challenge once more. Right now I’m in the Ormond Hotel with Bloom

I’m still reading Fugitives and Refugees by Chuck Palahniuk. An unusual but enjoyable read.

My beloved Saint Patricks, third from the bottom in the league, are playing Cork City tonight in Cork. Gulp. I’m not holding out much hope. We’ll by lucky to get nil. Meanwhile the Republic will play Holland tomorrow in Amsterdam in a friendly. Now that should be interesting.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Yesterday I published a post concerning the Magdeline laundries and their commemoration in Leeson Street. The names of many women who died in that institution are engraved on brass plaques. Reading them I realised that one woman named has the same surname as one of my relations. It's an unusual surname. The famiiy concerned are very religious. They attend mass every Sunday and the family include members of religious orders. The family themselves like most people are hardworking. I disagree with many of their social views. Glancing at that woman's surname I couldn't help wondering....

I've decided to take a brief three day hiatus from Ulysses. I'm reading "Fugitives and Refugees" by Chuck Palahniuk. All I'll say is that its a case of truth being stranger than fiction. Read this book and you'll discover where the inspiration for Chucks novels comes from.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Ireland has a dark past. The religious institutions abused the power the government handed them. One group of people who became victim were the women of the Magdalene Laundries.

Playwright,actor,artist and writer Gerard Mannix Flynn, himself a victim of institutional abuse has constructed a piece commemorating these forgotten women. It's stands at 8 Lower Leeson Street Dublin. It is entitled Requiem for Remains Unknown

It is truly shocking.

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