So what’s on your santa list?
I’m eagerly hoping for a number of books. Books I’ve been pencilling onto a mental list – inside my head over the last month – as I’ve been going in and out of bookshops buying for others. Shopping for books is a hard task. They are like magnets. There you are purposefully trawling through shelves looking for a special book for someone else when all of a sudden your hand is inadvertently pulled elsewhere, towards a particular book, a beautiful book, your future book. You pick it up, look at it, want it desperately, think about it, realise what you’re there for and then reluctantly put it back. It’s so, so hard.
Near the end and out of the year. On a wimper. This year has come to a desperate end. No work and nothing on the winter horizon. Like many in this banana republic Christmas is now a time of mixed emotions. It’s expensive, stressful, there’s little work…
I for one am trying to block all thoughts of that harsh reality out of my mind and enjoy the last dying moments of the year. I love Christmas; the family gatherings, reading all day, cold walks, wine, old films, sporting occasions in the pub and above all the excitement of having a small daughter revelling in mountains of presents and paper and attention and play. I can wait, we can wait until the cold, harsh month of January before the truth of living in a country that is on its knees comes into focus.
I thought I’d post this up as it’s one of the sweeetest things I’ve come across in a long time. A photographer decided to propose to his girlfriend by making a muppet film starring himself and his other half and showing it in an actual cinema. To know more about how he went about it, the event itself and the answer to his question go to his blog it’s well worth reading. Here is his trailer
WikiRebels is a new in-depth documentary on WikiLeaks and the people behind it, produced by Bosse Lindquist and Jesper Huor for Sweden’s SVT. A rough cut of the film is now available in 4 parts on YouTube.
From summer 2010 until now, Swedish Television has been following the secretive media network WikiLeaks and its enigmatic Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange.
I watched the X – Factor this weekend. There I’ve admitted it. I’ve outed myself. It was the first time I ever sat down and watched it. Honestly. Generally I find these kinds of programmes unconscionable. And they are. But they make for great television; perfect hangover, wrecked, stupid, idiotic, silly entertainment. The X-Factor itself is a potent combination of the worst pop, brand and television imaginable making it extraordinarily compulsive viewing.
The songs picked are mutilated by blandness and destroy whatever integrity they originally had, the contestants are treated as cheap products and tabloid fodder and it’s designed to work inbetween adverts in order to maximise advertising revenue. On top of that you have a judging panel – who work to a tight script that would be more at home on a second rate soap opera – that bandy false praise around with no abandon. All of these elements make it incredibly successful and with the semi – finals and finals on this weekend it was unmissable (well that is if you have no friends, life, energy or desire to do anything at all).
I spent the morning looking online at innumerable Word Press themes for a temporary site I’m putting together for work (my paid work that is). The current site is a disgrace and is ancient by web standards. It’s badly built using HTML – making it very unwieldy and labour intensive whenever I need to update it – and is next to impossible to optimise for search engines.
There are literally thousands of free and low cost themes you can buy and download off the web (I use one for the mutantspace.com ezine) and if you’re not careful you can spend days trawling through them pulling your hair out, forgetting where you saw the one you saw the day before. So, because I am brain dead today and have nothing of consequence to write about I thought I’d put together a small list of quality WordPress template sites for you. It’ll save you much heartache and time (as well as hair) should you require a good quality theme for a small website or blog.
Thank God for Christmas. Thank God for an occasion that must be celebrated. Thank God for a time, a moment – that gives us space to put away our self – pity and egocentric notions – that brings family and friends closer, if only for a short time, at the end of another year. The thought of having to deal with the future is not something I feel like I can deal with right now. I simply don’t have the energy to do anything about it at this moment in time. I’m just looking forward to celebrating the end of a year in a DMZ before the reality of 2011 hits me and my family like a tonne of bricks.
Yes, the future doesn’t look so bright anymore. It will take more energy, more time, more thought and more effort to make ends meet. Having said all that this is the moment in which we do or die. This is the moment for enlightened, creative, lateral thinking of which the arts sector has been noticeably absent. It seems that the arts establishment is happy to simply make speeches from its perch and pat itself on the back for a campaign (run by the National Campaign For the Arts) that has resulted in a small 5% cut in Arts Council Funding (it is a great achievement as countries such as the UK cut their Arts budget by 30%). But that’s it. So what. We’re in a bigger moment than that now.
I was slowly winding my way down the country on the bus today. The view out the window of fragile, crystallised landscapes was beautiful and I spent much time gazing outward and mulling over what I might write about when I got home. The last week had seen the country tottering from one meteorological calamity to another and tomorrow we ’re going to be forcibly fed an ‘austerity budget’ that should ensure we we’re once again on the road towards an event horizon. All we can do is hope we never reach it.
After having mulled to no avail I picked up the paper and began reading. It was brimming with impending doom and fatalistic mutterings about this and that, everything and nothing and it took me all of 5 minutes to get to the back page and find an article worth reading, worth thinking about.
It was written by Tom Humphries, a fine sports journalist and commentator who has kept himself out of the ‘rush to be right/prophetic’ like so many other columnists/commentators have over the last number of months. The stampede to cash in on wisdom in the ‘I told you so’ melodrama has become, in my mind, nauseating and dull. Tom Humphries on the other hand took a different view. He proclaimed that the central pillar of Irish life and society was not economic, political, religious, intellectual, social or artistic, it was sport.
Seems everything is on hold; the weather, the economy, general elections, our lame duck government. Everything has been brought to a halt. Next week the budget will be out and every man, woman and child will be affected – those most in need, at the bottom, taking the brunt of the pain – as is the want of the political elite, the wealthy and the speculators who have brought us to our knees. Truth is it hardly comes as any surprise. History has been dishing out the same sorry story for millennia.
I for one am tired of the bickering and politicking of the main parties in this country. We all know the outcome. We all know that the next 4 – 6 years (if we’re lucky) are going to be extremely difficult especially for those of us that are self employed. We, the self – employed are at the mercy of the craven unions, weak politicians and a discredited political system. Only this week I, like many others in this in country, was informed, that the public sector unions make sure that their members are entitled to, amongst other things;
A half day off for Christmas shopping
A day off for attending local ‘cultural/traditional’ events
A half day off to cash their cheques despite the fact that most are paid electronically
Politicians will be a thing of the past we dont need them.
This is a system where it is people who decide policies, and where we employ managers who are directly accountable to us to run the country, with very heavy penalties for those who use their power to benefit themselves and their friends.
Every city and town hall will be turned into a forum. Every month there would be a public meeting where a wide section of society will discuss and vote on all important decisions.
It will be the people who decide the laws of the land.
All local councillors will be abolished.
The money saved will be spent on providing facilities for locally owned business.
The Forum will not allow property to lie idle, if it is not being used it will be rented out at low cost to people with good ideas for its use.
There will be grants and tax incentives to protect and do up old buildings in an environmentally friendly fashion.
” . . . existence seems not to be what it portrays;
sensations relay idiosyncrasies, more and more, day to days,
week to weeks, months to solar cycles . . .
roaming, roving, seeking sources, subjects, sensitive seers
who speak out the living of life
where a world of myriad global discrepancy, dreamlike,
disguises true and real from the species that is
in treaty to an encounter an unmasked reality
of Mother Earth as home in the galaxy,
serial writer, ambrasia kurtz
locates acerbica ”
“Managing Waste Material” – Conversing 7
A year and a half of regular, close, intimate, in depth, collative work cultivates uncanny sensitivity to a profound, communicative telepathy between a scribe and a central source. In a phase where her psyche has willed itself undetected, solitary, in thorough, uninterrupted exploratory, expounding quantum territory wrought, she hasn’t wanted to meet, she hasn’t wanted to engage in talk.
Psyche frequency speak must pre-empt content and thought; she’s been following incremental implementation towards the total intent. It’s almost here. It’s nigh. They really are going to try it and, picking up her wavelengths, feeling the sentiment, detecting sways in mood and temperament, she’s been reverberating at the apocalyptic heaving attempting a devastating detriment:
“Uninformed, sanctimonious citizens agreed, or others just simply abided the prohibition on psychoactive plant cultivation and there were prophetic detractors who were saying, ‘it’s not going to stop there, soon they’ll be after our thyme, sage, rosemary and comfrey’*1 but, no one listened, or they didn’t want to believe it, or it wasn’t really their place to do anything about it, or what was it they could do about it? It’s been coming, people have been warning it’s been coming closer, but how could one possibly credit that they were really going to try and pull it off – hey, I’ve done little else, but try and keep myself abreast, informed, in a hope that my awareness will connect into the growing, collective conscious that works to expose the hidden darknesses where these intrigues are forged. So there’s been this long stasis of eerie foreboding, like the growing of ginger banned in Thailand and then, one innocent day, you’re looking out the window and you’re hearing it, it’s being said:
Black Sun is a space where the adventurous can gather, whatever their musical preference, to find something new, strange and fantastic; a space where the experimental is not something clique-ish for the afficionado, but precisely the opposite – an opening of possibility. Earlier this summer, ArtTrail approached Black Sun to curate the grand finale of this year’s festival. This partnership has since spawned into a two-day micro-festival supported by the Arts Council and the US Embassy. On Sunday 5th Dec, two workshops take place at the former Sawmills site. One in junk-instrument building and improvising with Usurper, the other in storytelling techniques for comics. The latter is led by UK underground cartoonist Malcy Duff, whose comix and other artwork is being exhibited throughout ArtTrail at the festival box office on Copley Street.
In the 1936 film Mr Deeds Goes to Town the eponymous character, Longfellow Deeds, is a small town poet who inherits 20 million dollars from his distant uncle. The solicitors responsible for the money arrive in Mandrake Falls to inform Mr Deeds of his new fortune. Immediately we understand that Mr Deeds does not share the same values as the city solicitors who are surprised, and a little exasperated, at his apparent disinterest in the news. ‘Why do I need 20 million dollars?’ says Deeds, satisfied with his life in the small town community. The solicitors don’t understand, setting the pattern for a comedy of misunderstanding.
We, the audience, know that Mr. Deeds is not stupid, while those around him presume that he is. Having moved to the city to take up his new responsibilities we see that his ways of responding to situations are often at odds with the normal functioning of that milieu. One of his responsibilities is to meet with people asking for money. The opera committee, for example, expect that a country poet will be a pushover in their efforts to secure funding for the year ahead. He tells them he likes music. He plays the tuba. They all smirk at one another, hardly suppressing their luck at finding such a sap. A ‘patron of the arts like your uncle’, they tease him. But when Deeds hears that they don’t make any money he makes it clear that he will not invest anything of his own fortune in the opera, even if it is ‘for higher reasons’. The overweight men are frustrated, not so much by his refusal, it seems, but by his insight.
For the season that’s in it, we have compiled a list of Charity Singles:
GLEN HANSARD + DAMIEN DEMPSEY: ‘The Auld Triangle – In aid of St. Vincent De Paul Glen and Damien said they recorded this song to highlight and raise funds for the work of Society of St. Vincent de Paul which includes offering help to the many households each day in Ireland who are having difficulty keeping the lights on.
The single will be available to buy in stores and to download from iTunes. The single features three tracks:
1. The Auld Triangle
2. Raglan Road
3. Not on Your Own Tonight (Part 2).
‘The Auld Triangle’ and ‘Raglan Road’ were recorded by Karl Odlum and mixed by John Reynolds in November 2010. ‘Not On Your Own Tonight’ is taken from Dempsey’s album ‘To Hell Or Barbados’, (Expanded Edition). The single features an illustration by Eyebrowy. Everyone involved in the production of this single has donated their time and services. The single is a good enough rendition of the classic ballad, that can only be given real justice by the late Luke Kelly.
Georgina, since the age of just thirteen, smoked upwards of 20 cigarettes a day. The brand didn’t matter as much as the girth: they had to be thin, much like the beheaded sticks of sweet-shop lollipops. The rich velvet taste was essential, of course, but what she adored more than anything else was the feel and how it looked, clamped in her similarly thin fingers, plumes jutting from its flared top. She was a practised smoker. That is to say, she held a confident poise when engaging in the act. Unlike her cigarettes and the digits which enclosed them, her lips bulged – were bee-stung, as the papers termed the movie-queens.
It was a Benson she was fingering now. The moment, it should be noted, was the advent of the beginning. Or, perhaps even, the end. Galloway Park was alive in dancing shadows; spurges of black were cascading in swift motions along the sloped grassy knolls, the abandoned monkey-bars, and hedged labyrinth with its clipped clown faces at its mouth. The morning birds watched on from low-stooping branches, befuddled by the changing landscape and the wind carrying the leaves in exhaustive throws. Some screeched in confusion, others twiddled their wings, waiting for the passing of time.
our next DIY arts festival, the Trash Culture Revue, will take place sometime towards the end of the year. So if you want to create, produce, get involved, play, experiment, try stuff out, have fun, design, administrate, organise, volunteer or just come along then let me know
we provide free creative and production skills for your arts projects and events through our skills exchange so you can experiment, fail, make and play no matter who you are, where you are, what you do or when you do it