Tuesday, August 31, 2004

It’s a cool clear crisp morning in the city. The kind of morning that wakens you up. There’s not a cloud in a pristine bright blue sky. At last with what summer we’ve had practically over I get to take two weeks holidays. Next week and the week after I’ll be free. I’ve no concrete plans, though a week sleeping on D’s floor in Madrid might be on the cards. Other than that all is quiet right now.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Hey Ireland just won a gold medal in the Olympics. Celebration time.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Panel from "Hicksville" by Dylan Horrocks Posted by Hello

So you find a book a novel, a biography, an autobiography which at long last has perfection. Love, loss, death, life. Perdition, salvation, redemption. It grips you from the off. It gets you in the guts, infects your soul, makes you want to stop people in the street point to the cover and say "Hey have you read this?. Well if not you should". You are full of an evangelical zeal.

You go into work and hide in the bathroom and read for half an hour. You call in sick and spend the morning sitting at the kitchen table forgetting to eat breakfast, mesmerised. You can recite whole paragraphs by heart and you're still only half way through. You read too fast carried by the sheer wonder of the writer. You miss half of what the writer says but the half of what you do get more than makes up for that.

If its the weekend you hope no one phones wanting to meet for a drink.

You skip on speeding to the last chapter, the last page, the last paragraph and close the book. You, smile, laugh and shake your head. You turn the book over, open the cover, go to the first page and begin again.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Q music magazine has brought out a Ska music special this month. Yahoo. That’s my first musical memory. In the early 1980’s every second guy in Inchicore, where I’m from in Dublin was into ska and two tone. The Selector, The Specials, The Beat, Fun Boy Three, Bad Manners and of course Madness. Where did it all go?

Then I discovered reggae so things didn't seem so bad!

Saturday, August 21, 2004

The Long Hall Pub Posted by Hello

Friday, August 20, 2004

My friend T is burning out fast. I work as a volunteer with him for A. I. We had a specialists group meeting last night. To tell the truth I was a bit tired myself and wondering what the hell I was doing there. T looked forlorn and downcast. I thought that perhaps he was tired like myself or else it was something to do with the weather. Last evening the rain came tumbling down with a vengeance on Dublin City. "OK" said the chairman "We'll be out of here by 8 o'clock". That suited me down to the ground I'd been out the previous two nights and was tired.

Well 8 o'clock came and went and no end of the meeting in sight. I could see T getting anxious. I thought to myself, perhaps he wants a cigarette. 8.30 and we're still there. 8.45 meeting over and going out the door and T tells me his finished. What! You could have knocked me down with a feather. T is a great guy. He's co-coordinator of the local group we're in and is one of the nicest and most unassuming guys I've ever worked with. I've watched him grow into the role of group co-coordinator with relative ease, and do the job with the minimum of fuss and showmanship. All the group members really admire what he's achieved in the past two years. It's certainly a job I wouldn't relish doing. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt and in a different context experienced the burn out. So no thanks.

I can't help but contrasting T with another guy I worked with who loved the limelight and the sound of his own voice. Truth to tell this guy is a useless backstabber. Two flies going up a well and he'd volunteer himself on the committee but watch as he'd make a fool of himself and captain the enterprise toward disaster. Such are the trials and tribulations of work in the NGO sector.

Quite a contrast in stories from the Olympic games. First of all we've got the motorbike accident involving Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou. Conveniently enough the pair missed a drug test because of the above-mentioned accident, which is currently under investigation by the Athens police. Now they face more serious charges. In contrast you have 18 year old Robina Muqimar from Afghanistan, one of the first two women to represent their country in the games. She's taking part in the 100 meters heats today. Under Taliban rule in Afghanistan Robina was forbidden to attend school never mind take part in athletics. Robina’s personal best is 13.76 seconds, which means she probably won’t win a medal but neither will she fake an accident in order to avoid a drugs test.
I'm still ploughing through Ulysses but I've also started "Beijing Doll" by Chung Sue. It's best described as a Chinese "Catcher In The Rye". The writing is both lyrical and memorable and well worth a read.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Ok I'm like a child with a new toy. I bought a very cheap digital camera yesterday(€29.99 in HMV) , and this morning downloaded Picasa.

Dublin Docks By Night Posted by Hello

National Library Sarajevo Posted by Hello

Cernunnus Posted by Hello

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

My friend BF in Prague is back writing. I arrived home yesterday from work and there was a postcard from the magical city proclaiming the news. I’m delighted writing has always been BF’s lifeblood.

How good a writer is BF? Well a few years back he won a short story competition. The winner of the same competition the previous year was a guy called Michael Collins. He read BF’s winning story and there and then told him that he felt like never writing again. Such was the quality of BF writing. How good a writer is Michael Collins? In 2000 his novel “The Keepers of Truth” was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Other novels by Michael Collins include “The Life and Times Of A Teaboy” and “The Resurrectionists”.

The promised literary success never materialised for BF and disillusioned he left the Emerald Isle and went to Prague to teach English. BF is also a magical guitar player and now writes the most beautiful of song lyrics. Keep an eye out for him in your bookstores.

Spent most of last night listening to “The Boatman’s Call” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, wonderful stuff.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Here's a poem it's called "The Planters Daughter" and is by
Austin Clarke. Always liked it for some strange reason.

When night stirred at sea,
And the fire brought a crowd in
They say that her beauty
Was music in mouth
And few in the candlelight
Thought her too proud,
For the house of the planter
Is known by the trees.

Men that had seen her
Drank deep and were silent,
The women were speaking
Wherever she went As a bell that is rung
Or a wonder told shyly
And O she was the Sunday
In every week.

I’ve decided to add my profile to this blog. Still no developments re two posts back.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Modern unsung literary heroes of mine:

Jessica Abel
Dylan Horrocks
James Kochalka
Peter Kuper
Jason Lutes
Senad Mavric
Alan Moore
Joe Sacco
Craig Thompson

Am sitting in work soaked to the skin, so much for the Irish summer

Friday, August 06, 2004

Friday night and it's time to go out for a drink. But here's a question, is it stupid to ask someone you work with out? just something thats been bothering me of late.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Pride of place today goes to Shelbourne Football Club. Last night they beat Hajduk Split from Croatia 2-0 in the Champions League. Nice, very nice. The next match in the Shelbourne odyssey is against Deportivo de la Coruna. Nice to see someone from the LOI doing well in Europe. Can’t help wishing it was St. Pats though. But that’s another story.

I’ve added a bit of foolishness in the links section. The Cow Parade which took place in Dublin last year is currently on exhibition in Prague, Manchester, Stockholm and Harrisburg Pennsylvania. All for a good cause. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

I made heavy weather of finishing the “Oxen of the Sun” over the weekend. Fifteen pages each day, over four days. I have to admit it was very heavy going, but last night I managed to finish the chapter. Hurrah.

Friday was glorious and having the day off I went out to Howth. Good memories. The sun was blazing and after two hours sitting on the harbour wall my pasty white arms were turning a nice brown. Too nice a brown in fact, one of the hazards of having an indoors job. Rivera a la Howth highly recommended on a sunny day.

I went to see Imbongi a band from Zimbabwe in Crawdaddy on Sunday night. Wow what can I say. Only about 50 people attended the gig, which was disappointing. Though the energy in the music more than made up for that. A performance poet by the name of Albert Nyathi, also from Zimbabwe accompanied the band. What a way to spend a magical sultry Sunday night!

In the meantime the banks leek scandals. The latest is the NIB (National Irish Bank) story. Not being financially astute and what I can grasp of the story it runs along the line of bank officials instructing their underlings to fiddle (rob from) customer’s accounts in order to increase the banks profits. Add to that you have the tax dodge of offshore accounts and you have a rather sordid picture. People were named and God forbid who was mentioned only Bev Cooper-Flynn. You could say the usual suspect is named. Personally I don’t think anyone of the NIB top officials who gave the instruction to falsify (rob from) accounts will end up having a criminal conviction and thus a term in jail. Contrast that with the consequences of a customer missing a mortgage repayment to bank. The whole affair is disgusting.

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