“Curse that Roger Pollam and his bones, curse the ground on which he walks upon and the oxygen that he breathes. I curse his name, his soul, his life and future. I curse him for what he has done, he took my darlings from me, Algernon and Theodore would never abscond willingly. My precious darlings out in the big bad world with that bastard. He knew that this act of betrayal would boil my blood, he knew that my plans for world domination would be spoiled. I feel so angry, I should have had my minions eliminate him, I should’ve extinguished his life when the chance offered itself to me”.
“My poor darlings all alone with that monster, my poor uneducated, rather repulsive looking troglodytes. Oh Why has this man forsaken me? Oh woe is me, woe is me. I Alexander Harmonious Bridalvice, swear to seek vengeance, you think you are so clever Roger, you think you have escaped my grasp. Well think again my slender friend, I have eyes and ears everywhere, everywhere!”.
Roger awoke in the back of the Cadillac, Algernon and Theodore were close by but out of sight. Roger knew this, he had asked them that only request. His new friends may have been abnormally strong but they were still immature, he had to watch out for them. Roger exited the black car, stretched and yawned a contagious yawn. He wondered if Alexander’s threatening words were just a dream. He knew that the dream was real and once Alexander was out of sight he and his buddies would be okay.
“What do we do now boss“? Asked Algernon. “Don’t call me boss” said Roger, “okay boss” said Algernon. “Algernon”, exclaimed Roger, nodding his head and smirking. “What did I say yesterday, guys?”, Algernon had forgotten , “I know” shouted Theodore raising his hand like a child. “You says that we are equal and Mr. Bridalvice had just used us”, he wasn’t our friend, he only needed us to take over the world”. Roger asked the guys where they had been, “uh me and Theodore were hungry, so we looked for breakfast”, “yah” continued Theodore,“we got to the restaurant ,but then we realized we had no cash”. “Don’t worry” said Roger,“I have some cash”.
All of a Tuesday I was dead inside, yet I could have cried. I thought she felt as I did, but I was just a fool. Wanting to be more than dead inside, I just wanted to run and hide. I couldn’t give up, and I had to be mature, then something happened that never did before.
Girl Wielding Axe
Axe wielding girl, grinning from ear to ear, wearing her blueberry dress ,with her curly ginger hair.
Her mama didn’t want her and her pa just ran away, now this isn’t the reason, why she likes to slay.
In actual fact, she was dropped on her head, that’s probably the reason, why you’re going to be playing dead. She likes scabby knees, and sequin dresses, but please for your own sake, don’t ever mention the early morning messes.
I don’t believe she is psychotic or even mentally ill, you may get very lucky though, if you were to stand really still. The thing is, she has pretty bad vision, but it’s the whirling axe that’ll make the final decision.
Last month and over the next two months of themutation.com we will be presenting interviews with activists from three social centres from the Barcelona area and Madrid: El Ateneu Candela in Terressa, Exit in Barcelona and Centro Social Seco in Madrid. All three, in different ways, are concerned with reworking the politics of autonomous social centres. Last month the interview was from El Ateneu Candela in Terressa outside Barcelona. This month it’s from the Centro Social SECO in Madrid
What’s most remarkable about these projects is their ability to recognise the exhaustion of the classic forms of radical organising while insisting that the urgency of transforming capitalism is as clear as ever. How do we create new forms of resistance, of organisation and of intervention that can deliver social change in today’s world? This is the question several social centres across Spain have been asking over the last decade or so, and have been answering through a series of political experiments. They’ve sought to explore the potentials of social centres, not just as a resource for movements or as an alternative cultural space, but as a key weapon in combating advanced capitalism. They wanted to reinvent the social centre for the 21st century.
But this desire immediately brought into focus some of the limitations of the squatted social centre model prevalent in Spain in the 80s and 90s. The price of squatting (evictions, conflict with the police, legal trials) often preculed a stable political project capable of transforming the city. Social centres are always going to have a relationship with the authorities and with the institutions of power. The question was, how to change this relationship into one which works for social movements rather than against them? How can we change this situation into one which opens up the possibility for politics rather than drowning that very possibility under an avalanche of legal processes and evictions. The social centres discussed here have all confronted and attempted to overcome this problem. In two cases by pressuring the city council into granting them a permenant self-managed space and in one case by renting, these social centres have achieved the creation of more permanent and open ‘citizen controlled public spaces’.
A further limitation that characterised the squat movement was the inability to intervene in their area and, as a consequence, ghettoisation and isolation from social conflicts. This was partly a result of state repression and partly due to an identitarian aesthetic code and a preoccupation with political issues which were unrelated to the problems faced by those around them. Inspired by the Zapatistas and the alter-globalisation slogan ‘act local, think global’, the social centres interviewed here recognised the need to create a new form of organisation which would open the social centre to the world around it. In doing so they’ve created spaces for the cross-contamination of different communities, the de-individualisation of social problems, and the creation of hybrid political movements capable of responding to the complexity of contemporary capitalism.
Bill Coleman released his debut album in 2003 back when he still had a real job. Since then he’s performed regularly, both in Ireland and the UK, with various people (David Kitt, Heathers, Declan O’Rourke and Grant Lee Phillips to name but a few), making waves with a guitar, a laptop and a whole load of live-recorded loops.
He releases his second album ‘You Can’t Buy Back Your Life’ in October of this year and will bring his live show to Cork on November 6th as part of the mutantspace.com Trash Culture Revue. The event will take place in the home of Plugd Records and the Triskel Arts Centre – the ESB substation on Caroline Street – and the backdrop to the music will be the special edition artwork conceived for the release.
To individualise each album cover Coleman put 1,000 together and spray-painted them with the name of the record – ‘You Can’t Buy Back Your Life’. The final piece is nearly 36 metres square, about two stories tall by three parked cars wide.
Found Magazine collect found stuff: love letters, birthday cards, kids’ homework, to-do lists, ticket stubs, poetry on napkins, doodles – anything that gives a glimpse into someone else’s life. Anything goes.
Singer-songwriter Jamie Lawson is set to release his new EP, Real Thing on Oct 29th. The lead single on the record is REAL THING. Taken from his album The Pull of the Moon. (The album is to be released in Ireland early next year). Lawson is not the typical watered-down coffeehouse troubadour, but instead a mesmerising and affecting singer songwriter that takes you through emotional highs and lows, with his majestic music. Having joined Van Morrison and Bob Dylan on the bill for Hop Farm, as well as playing with many Irish acts including the Frames and Damien Rice- its evident to see that he has picked up a thing or two from the luminaries he has graced the stage with. The EP includes Lawson’s more slower tamed down honed on Love orientated songs: Real Thing, a gradual uplifting plea of real love and need.
This is Love, a staggeringly beautiful song about not letting go of love with textured layers of luscious guitar plucking, followed by an ease of Drums and String section honing in the feel of the song. I’m gonna Love you, is a epic love song, which you are likely to hear on a Greys Anatomy/One Three Hill back drop- slightly clichéd, but with Jamie’s vocal delivery, we can forgive him this much. The touch of your hand is again, another lament to a love lost, or desired. Some Ships shows off Jamie’s innate Guitar style, however not veering away from his typical love lost/yearned for subject matter (Can someone find this man a woman to love!). Its slightly overdone on the Love factor, this cd is not for people who do not do romance.
EATcork is over. A first time food festival that proved itself with flying colours, has the legs, has many avenues to explore over the coming years. It was a great success and the proof was in a delicious 6 course dinner – courtesy of the festival – on Sunday night. Very yummy food and copious amounts of wine. However, it’s now Tuesday and I’m still affected, badly affected. I’m getting old, getting to the stage where I’m debating whether I can continue drinking, in excess, after events are done and dusted, the traditional wind down piss up. Fact is that it’s just taking too long to get over the alcohol, 48 hours to get back on track, in order. How sad. Woe is me. Not. What makes this all the more harder is that I’m working over the coming weekend on the Cork Folk Festival. It’s one of Corks best, a vintage. Even if folk isn’t your thing it’s a great weekend of music with everything from Irish traditional sessions to Congolese reggae to Balkan gypsy reels, pub trails, workshops, jams, classes. The festival committee also work alot in schools, run workshops, host a large market and an outdoor Ceili Mor in which thousands of people attend and dance to traditional Irish jigs and reels.
Our second Cardinal Virtue, chastity, seems harder to write about than lust, so much duller, less interesting. However, after pondering on it for a while, after scratching a little deeper, one realises that chastity and lust are but two sides of the same coin. One is the open pursuit of desire, the other, the resistance of that pursuit. What they have in common is an acknowledgement, a recognition that desire is a core instinct in all human beings. In my post on lust I wrote about the toad and the desire for status, recognition and celebrity. With chastity it shall be all about vocation. I’ve always had felt living as an artist, beholden to artistic activity is a noble pursuit, a higher calling – let me make it clear, God has nothing to do with this – in other words I have always viewed the role of an artist as a vocation. I never thought of it as anything less. Firstly, you recognise the burning fire in your belly for what it is. Secondly, you acknowledge the sacrifices and trials you will need to go through in order to express and manifest that feeling through different forms and mediums whether that be painting, sculpture, film, literature, dance, theatre, music, etc.
The inaugural EATCork Festival starts tomorrow and runs until Sunday. It’s an independent food festival run by two great people, Roseanne Kidney and Dianne Curtin. I can’t wait if only because the very fact that it’s on, that’s its happening, has materialised, fills me with hope – two independent spirits have struck a blow against the doubters and those that think nothing can happen without large benefactors or government support. I know it’s been alot of work, stress, heartache and learning on the go but for the first time Cork – the supposed food capital of Ireland – is actually going to have an event that reflects the wealth of produce lovingly created by small artisan producers in this county. For once those producers are going to be honoured. This will not be a food festival in which they get fleeced by event organisers looking to make a quick buck, will not be a festival in which they get subsumed by large brands and sponsored soirees attended by the great and the good, will not be a festival in which government state agencies and the local authority swoop in and take plaudits for doing nothing. No, this time it’s all about them, for them, for culture.
I’m going back to the beginning, to where it all started. It has been a long time since I visited the end of my beginning and I think it’s about time I revisited it. More than that, I must. When I was 10 years old I began drawing cartoons, well, it was more doodling in class because I was bored. The doodling soon became an obsession and I found myself getting more and more into it – and less and less into my class work – so much so that after a short while I had a range of fully realised characters populating and living in my school books. By the time I was 12 years old I was putting together comic books and using my pen to take out my frustrations on everything I had trouble with.
In my teens I got into 200AD, the Furry Freak Brothers and Robert Crumb and when I was 15 I made a big decision. I wanted to be a cartoonist. That was it. That was my big dream. It was all I wanted. Problem was how to do it, how do you become a cartoonist? It wasn’t on the curriculum and I didn’t know any cartoonists and so I did the next best thing and decided I’d go to Art College. That’s right, I decided to go to Art College, not because I wanted to follow in the footsteps of Giotto, Michelangelo, Titian, Velasquez, Goya, Monet, Rodin, Picasso, Pollock, and all the other great artists that I came across in my art history class but because I wanted to emulate my giants, my heroes; Gerald Scarfe, Herge (Tintin), Goscinny and Uderzo (Asterix and Obelix), Robert Crumb, Gary Larson and Bill Watterson (who drew Calvin and Hobbes my all time favourite). And so it passed. I went to Art College and spent many drunken nights drawing caricatures of my friends, got my degree and left. After that I ended up designing and making puppets and carnival floats with college friends while drawing lonely heart stories for my girlfriend (now wife) at night which I’d then post to America in the hope that she’d come back to me. She did (but not because of my comics). And so it went on, me doing whatever it was during the day; building floats and puppets, etc and at night sitting down and drawing cartoons.
I know the film has been out for over a year and the DVD for a while but I only got to watch ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ – whose original and more potent title was ‘Men Who Hate Women’ (a far more appropriate title given the nature of the book) - the other day. Having read the Millennium Trilogy (this is part one) by Stieg Larsson last year I was always looking forward to the film versions of the books. They’re made for film whether on the big or small screen (infact, I believe this film was originally a two part television film re-edited into a big screen version) as they’re over the top, with plenty of puzzle solving, plot twists, melodrama, violence and filled with well drawn characters engaged in a plot that moves forward at a relentless pace. Underlying the books is of course a number of serious subjects including racism, patriarchal misogyny, sexual violence and globalization – a reminder that all is not well in social democratic Sweden, a country we often view as enlightened and liberal, a country unlike our own. So, for those of you who haven’t read the books I’m afraid you’ll have to go elsewhere for a synopsis. Suffice to say that the trilogy makes for great holiday reading and if like me you’re prone to reading thrillers late at night be warned; this book and its companions are pages turners and the chances of you getting much sleep are minimal.
So to the film, let me begin by saying that I’m glad I saw the Swedish version first. David Fincher is directing the Hollywood version next year with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara (Tanner Hall, Dare, The Winning Season, The Social Network) in the lead roles and although I’m looking forward to seeing how they approach it I can’t see quite how they’re going to capture the psychological atmosphere of Sweden well as their Swedish counterparts. I think there’s an inherent problem with all films adapted from a book written by someone from another culture. To visually express the tonal qualities, nuances and spirit of another culture through film is extremely difficult. This is made all the more harder when you’re trying to condense and stay true to a book that has a packed narrative – and enough plotlines to make a number of films – running to over 500 pages. I have no doubt that David Fincher – a Director I very much admire – will do a great job with the pulp aspect of the ‘Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ and its partner books in the trilogy. However, underneath the surface of the books lie important questions about Swedish society. These ugly truths, the sub text, are far more difficult to thread into the film – as they need to be given space to breathe and tell their own story – and are best approached through tone, rhythm, colour, atmosphere and a Swedish cultural sensibility. It is this aspect of the film that I fear will be lost in translation. So America taking on plot and character, yes definitely, dealing with the dark undercurrent that runs throughout the book and the rest of the trilogy, namely the societal issues that preoccupy many Swedish crime writers including; Henning Mankell, Hakan Nesser, Mari Jungstedt and of course Stieg Larsson, I don’t think so.
Now let’s talk about the film itself. It is not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination but it’s a good thriller, its star definitely Noomi Rapace – an incredible performance – as the androgynous, bisexual, computer-hacking twenty-something, Lisbeth Salander. She is a cool chick and uber – nerd, the perfect anti – heroine for the 21st century. She’s odd, disturbed, intelligent, highly moral (in her own way), utterly uncompromising, violent, full of righteous anger and dispassionate – a fascinating character and wholly engaging. To be honest I can’t see anyone matching her. She’s going to be a real hard act to follow. Apparently she got the part after the producer saw her in a Sarah Kane play in Stockholm. If you know the work of Sarah Kane then it might give you some idea of the difficulty and depth of character one would need to have to play the part convincingly.
The other lead character, Mikael Blomkvist played by Mchael Nyqvist, plays his part well as the investigative journalist, the locations are beautiful and bleak, the Director, Niels Arden Opley does a good job of keeping the various plot threads (and there are many) together and the cinematography has a consistent wintery and atmospheric feeling to it. So, if you haven’t read the books and enjoy a fast paced thriller involving complicated relationships (something the film actually leaves out), great characters, violent set pieces and a cracking yarn then buy them, read them, enjoy them. If you want to be entertained any night of the week then you won’t go wrong by renting this film out from your local video shop. No, it’s not a great film but it’s a good Friday night flick to be watched with munchies. I for one am looking forward to the next two films in the series; ‘The Girl Who Played With Fire’ and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest’ and am particularly looking forward to watching Noomi Rapace play Lisbeth Salander again. As for the David Fincher version with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, It’ll make for interesting comparisons.
“We’ve set very stringent targets this year” the brand manager of Beamish Irish Stout – sponsors of the Cork Folk Festival – spluttered out at the launch last Monday evening. I, like everyone in the room that was listening was dumbfounded, dumbstruck, nauseated. Here was a fantastic festival, in its 31st year, being spoken about with utter disrespect by a man in his 30s who hadn’t a clue what he was talking about. The only positive you could say about his choice of words was that he was merely being honest, speaking the truth – it was his stupidity and naivety that let him down. Let’s face it, all sponsors want is increased market share and better brand awareness, they couldn’t care less about the heart and soul of a festival and all this twit from Dublin was re-iterating was “listen lads we’re putting the money in so we expect this for that…” Bottom line; if you make your bed with the devil then you’d better be prepared to lie in it or at least draw up a tight contract that allows you some wiggle room. In our age of brand and cultural tourism it is getting harder for festivals to exist, survive without a major sponsor, a title sponsor. It is a dilemna. Noone wants a title sponsor but everybody needs one – this episode just made it clear and sometimes its a hard pill to swallow.
What made the whole episode worse was that it was at the Cork Folk Festival launch that I heard it. This isn’t any old festival, no this is a labour of love that has been passed through many hands for over 30 years. Everyone that works on it does it voluntarily, does it because they want to keep the flame lit, the lights on, wants to draw people into their world, their love of music and we’re all the better for it. The launch is the best festival launch in the city not because of what it has but what it doesn’t have namely; uninterested bodies there because they feel they should be and it’s the place to be seen, the cool and the disaffected, people crawling around on their knees with their tongues out looking to lick a funders arse and bodies dressed up as hoi polloi. No, at the folk, it’s folk. It’s almost like groundhog launch day as many of the same faces crop up every year in the same jumper. No one is trying to prove anything, be anything, other than they are and they do a bloody fine job of it.
Towards the end of the evening I found myself thinking about that utterance and what I had blogged about that very same day – it was strange how the two thoughts somehow found each other – maybe the Beamish had something to do with it. How and ever, if any of you are around Cork at the end of September you should check out what’s going on in the Festival. It’s running from Thursday 30th September – Sunday 3rd October and all details are at corkfolkfestival.com
Too often festivities are caught up in narrow, generic, commercial definitions. We tend to know what to expect from a music/arts/theatre festival, there is a pattern, a formula that’s followed often led by the sponsors, the state funders, the tourist board. This makes events and festivals hard to navigate, you need to be flexible, continually moving, finding new ways of presenting work, selling work, presenting work without losing your sense of priority for ultimately a festival is a platform on which the audience and artist/concept meet not a space for advertisers to sell products. And so it was that yesterday, Sunday, made for a very refreshing change. My wife, daughter and I took off to work in Blarney, County Cork at their annual town fundraising event. There there was to be no negotiation, no hair pulling over bureaucratic applications for one thing or another, no surveys from the tourist board to complete, no CPMs (cost per thousand; the value put on different forms of marketing material), advertising, performance indicators or any other rubbish. No, this was going to be old school.
Every year, the Blarney Town Council organises a fundraising day on the green in the centre of the village. Tents are put up, volunteers organised, tables and chairs borrowed, signs made, shows put together and favours called in. In our case we were the blow – ins, the newcomers. The committee had decided that a few carnival workshops would add to their festivities (and potentially lead onto more in the future) and so I was called and asked to organise it. We duly arrived – all nine of us – with boxes of art supplies and recyclable materials with the intention of making musical instruments and puppets with the kids and then having a parade at the end of the day.
Having never been there before we had no idea what to expect or how many people would turn up. On arrival we were shown to our tent, given a number of tables and chairs and got organised. I was on babysitting duties so myself and my daughter went for a look around. We ambled through a small food market, craft stalls and around bouncy castles, watched various dog show competitions (everything from the waggiest tail to the best dressed up), looked at model tractor exhibitions and funny races involving prams, gawped at a ferret in a hole betting competition (this involved putting a ferret into a large bin with nine holes cut out around the base. The idea was that you bet on which hole the ferret would come out of), a treasure hunt and a rubber duck derby in the local river. It was fantastic.
There was a plethora of people from the weeny to the ancient, all having a good time, relaxing, eating, sitting, lying down, running around and generally enjoying a day off on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The workshops went really well, everyone was busy for the four hours they had and the parade was brilliant. Okay, it wasn’t a Brazilian or Trinidadian lookalike but that’s not important. What was important was that everyone in the parade made something and got involved while everyone in the park clapped and smiled and laughed and cheered. All then went home having actively taken part in a communal celebration; they built bridges between each other and their place, they celebrated their community. And what is more important than that.
I was going to sit down and write about one of my favourite books, ‘The Gift’ (How the Creative Spirit Transforms the World) by Lewis Hyde. The book is ‘a brilliantly orchestrated defense of the value of creativity and of its importance in a culture increasingly governed by money and overrun with commodities’ and planted the seed for mutantspace.com. It, like much of what I‘ve read in last few years, was an articulation of a thought I already had and it gave me space to clarify my own ideas, it was a signpost. My whole life has been full of signposts, often leading me into the undergrowth, unknown spaces, where I have had no map for I have never really known, or cared to know, where I was going or what I was going to do when I got there. The only concern I had was that I would keep following my signposts. I couldn’t imagine it any other way for I believe that the role of the creative individual is to follow their signs, to react, reflect, inform, share and express the experience of that journey. Too often we take the easy path, the guaranteed option, take ownership of it. Keep it for ourselves.
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.