Again this week skills exchange member and musician Bill Coleman has posted up a song – in – progress, an idea, a thought. We love having his music in our culture blog and i know he loves getting comments on his music so please feel free to let your views known. If you like Bills music why not check out his tour dates
I posted this from the plush surroundings of The Set Theatre in Kilkenny while eating raspberries AND strawberries in the dressing room here. I’ve been out and about with Mr. Jamie Lawson these last few days. It’s presented a bit of a challenge as regards getting the tune out on time. Also, this one has been mixed on a pair of earphones, so there’s every chance it’s a bit murky, but we’ll have to see when I get back to a good pair of speakers. Anyway, apart from that, I’m reasonably happy with this one.
Most people sleep. It’s still too early, especially for Spain. The sun won’t show for hours. I look forward to its early morning warmth. Now, I just glimpse the cool, hushed blue of dawn, through an open shutter of my kitchen window. Apart from the cicadas stridulating inside the old gardens of Pedro I and Carlos V, cultivated some 500 years ago, a few steps down the alleyway, and over the palace walls, I think I detect the faint scent of Jasmine and bitter oranges wafting in, accentuated by the yet, unspoilt air of a new day. The restaurant that has always been, across from me, on the other side of the alley (the alley is about 1 metre wide) begins to stir; I hear the steam and grind of coffee in the making.
The small cleaning trucks have come and gone; they usually buff and suck the cobblestones in the unseen hours. The alleyways of Santa Cruz, the old Jewish quarter of Seville, are too narrow to receive refuse trucks. Instead, strategically placed about the barrio, are what look like thick periscopes, made of iron. Residents put their bags of refuse down these chutes. Refuse dispensers then suck the rubbish from these underground pits.
I went out for breakfast this morning. It was about half seven. It was still dark. I turned left at the end of my alley, onto Callejon Del Agua (the alleyway of water). This alleyway borders the gardens of the Real Alcazar (Royal Fortress). It used to be a moat. Strolling along this alley, you are overshadowed by the impressive, fortified wall of the royal gardens, and looking up at it, you can see the tops of various species of ancient trees; certainly Pine, because the fragrant scent of it is always drifting through the alley. I imagine this is where the Cuckoo bird was ensconced (not yet mentioned). The fortress was originally built by the Almohads, Moors from North Africa, who made Seville their capital in the middle of the 12th century.
Pedro I (I believe also infamously known as Pedro the cruel) ordered the construction of a royal residence for himself, within the original Moorish palace in 1364. Within the space of a few years, a precious jewel box of Mudejar (The Mudejars were Moors who remained in Spain, once Christians began to rule. Their distinctive style of architecture is characterized by the use of small ceramic tiles, and plenty of arches and patios. The world famous Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain exemplifies some of these characteristics) arches, small passage ways, and patios had been created.
Finally we’ve arrived at The Cork Folk Festival. It’s always a special event. Partly, because it’s a non apologetic celebration of Irish cultural tradition as well as being a welcoming space for musicians and folk artists from all cultures throughout the world but mostly because it has no time for wearing the Emperors clothes out of the cultural tourism closet. It is what it is; old fashioned craic with people, about people, amongst people, with great music and dancing, camaraderie and joy and spirit.
The event is run by volunteers for decades – this is its 32nd year – and somehow it has managed to swim the tide of great change without sacrificing its essence, its soul, its reason for being unlike so many festivals throughout Ireland that are increasingly becoming bland, generic, homogenised.
We sorely missed our regular food writer and skills exchange member, Joseph X, last month and I’m delighted he’s back with one of my all – time favourite dishes, Quiche Lorraine. And yes this is the real, classic, authentic, Quiche Lorraine, not the version espoused by many food writers today. Read, make it and enjoy.
Like many others, I have been on holidays and consequently absent from these pages for many weeks now. In my village here in the West of Ireland, the September gales have been blowing and it saddens me to think that the summer, such as it was, is over. Somehow, I feel cheated. After the cold of last winter, were we not deserving of some bouts of prolonged sun and warmth? Deserving we may have been, but there is still no sign of that Indian summer. Let us now hope that in the months ahead, we shall not have to face the arctic conditions we endured over the winters of 2009 and 2010.
This month, I thought I might engage in a bit of culinary pedantry around quiche Lorraine. Let us first address the meaning of that French word quiche. It means nothing more than an open tart with a pastry base. Thus, one can have a quiche à l’oignon, quiche aux pruneaux and so on. However, for most of us it is quiche Lorraine that springs to mind when the word is mentioned and this quiche contains nothing more than smoked bacon, cream and eggs. I know that you may have eaten a quiche with cheese in the pastry case, or indeed cheese in the filling, which passed itself off as a quiche Lorraine. You may even have had it with some onion or herbs amongst its ingredients. If so, you were not eating true quiche Lorraine, whose history goes back at least as far as the 16th century. In support of this contention, I am happy to pray in aid both Elizabeth David and Nigel Slater and if you want to take me on, I shall give you chapter and verse of their musings on this very subject.
Our relationship with monetary value is far more tenuous than we think. Yes our life is dictated by the cost of everything and yes we value our work, time and skills in terms of what the market will pay for it yet sometimes, sometimes we are confronted with a different proposition, a moment when we are given a choice. And within that moment, however small, we have the opportunity to take control, put ourselves in a position to change things if only for a limited period of time
So what the hell am I talking about? I’m talking about us, you and me not being as subservient to the marketplace as we might think, not as driven downward by pre-determined forces as we might imagine. Sometimes we are foisted into a position of self determination, when one decision can create a change, if albeit a small one. And they should not be taken for granted
Skills exchange member and musician Bill Coleman is going to start posting up sketches for songs, songs he writes every week and generally songs hes working on giving us all an inside look into his process. Hope you enjoy it and please feel free to comment I’m sure he’d love to hear your views
Reckon this is the shortest song I’ve ever committed to 1′s & 0′s. 1min 25secs. Record.
Also, as this is now the THIRD song in as many weeks where I played guitar with my knees, I think that qualifies “guitar played with knees” as an official Billy Coleman sub-genre.
The Hotel Deluxe is a new Irish short story by one of our regular skills exchange contributors and concerns the last dying days of a decrepit hotel manager called Wilhelm Vispo.
The Hotel Deluxe sit’s upon Crooner’s row, sandwiched between a Puerto- Rican Deli and a barber shop named Sal’s. It’s blinking, buzzing, crimson neon name, attracts all kindsa low-life’s, hookers, pimps, detectives and even bugs. The Hotel owner slash manager, Wilhelm Vispo is a raggedy old bastard, he’s part Irish, part German and part who the hell knows. Even though his sallow, sunken face is the least bit interesting, he has these real gorgeous grey eyes, the sort poets would write about, 50 years after they buried his pungent corpse. He’s a tall, emaciated looking fellow, he’s got raven black, sleeked back hair and weighs about 98 pounds. He must be about 64 years old and his hands are smokers hands, the fingers burnt yellow and covered with rat bites, cat scratches and the tips of his right index fingers are missing. His teeth are blackened and encrusted with a thick layer of plaque. One time about 10 years ago, he went to the dentist, the dentist could’ve used a strong acid to help dissolve the plaque but then, it would’ve dissolved his gums too, so Wilhelm didn’t bother.
I normally need to learn a lyric reasonably well before I can hope to perform a song properly. Generally though, there’s a few gigs where I kinda know the lyric but kinda don’t. Solution? Take trigger lines (first line of a verse, say) for the whole song. I need to know the lyric well enough that once I read a trigger the rest of the verse will come after that.
So, The Blazing Horse festival, weekend, event, get together, is over. What was it like? Fantastic, stupendous, wonderful, out of time, a crack in space in which much collective spirit and community effort was spilled into, filled, brimmed over, drank. For those members of our mutantspace skills exchange who performed over the 2 days I salute you. You gave it your heart and soul and everyone loved you for it. So before I go on I have to thank Pearse McGloughlin and his Nocturnes (Enda and Sean), Carl Plover, Bill Coleman and Marc O’Reilly. You all rocked.
I’m delighted to promote this show, written and performed by three of Ireland’s leading spoken word performers. It so happens that two of them are part of our skills exchange and all three have performed at our mutantspace DIY festival, The Trash Culture Revue, so if you’re in Dublin between September 19th – September 24th then get yourself to upstairs in the International Bar and support them, watch them and listen to ‘Three Men Talking About Things They Kinda Know About’ by Kalle Ryan, Stephen James Smith and Colm Keegan.
One of our newest skills exchange members, Techseekers, have launched a cloud based Accounting/Bookkeeping solution for people with their own limited companies who want a very simple system to manage their company accounts.
They are currently looking for a simple and catchy name for the web service. The best suggestion will win an all4one voucher worth €100 to spend on anything they want.
The criteria for the website name is:
1. Should be short and catchy 2. Should be available as .com and .co.uk
There is a €100 voucher for best website name suggestion.
Four weeks ago my Uncle Peter died tragically. At his funeral mass this poem by Seamus Heaney was read out by his wife, my aunt. It was Peters favourite poem and took pride of place in his office in Florence. I’d like to think that every time he read it he was brought to his centre; a place of inner peace, calm and clarity.
For anyone who has ever spent time in the west of Ireland these beautiful word images truly invoke the power of its landscape and elemental beauty, something we often take for granted, forget, allow ourselves to be separated from
I’m very excited. On Friday I’m heading into rural Waterford – and I mean rural – to a festival called Blazing Horse. What makes Blazing Horse so different from the multitude of festivals that proliferate during the summer and autumn months in Ireland is that it’s a festival that celebrates friendships, co-operation and collective solidarity.
Running for an entire weekend, the festival is produced, programmed and run for free by and for people connected to one another on a very real and intimate level. There are no sponsors, advertising, press, health and safety plans, red tape or tickets. There is no desire to be recognised by the establishment, it doesn’t sell itself on any level and has no wish to be part of the herd, those other events that try so very hard to position themselves as the alternative, the real, the authentic, the new voice, whatever, blah, blah, blah. No, Blazing Horse is purely about people. But how has it come to this?
On Sunday I finally got to watch the 2011 Oscar award winning documentary, ‘Inside Job’, written and directed by Charles Ferguson. Ever since the crash I have become increasingly interested, fascinated and engaged in how the capitalist economy works, how our economy works, the global economy. Up until 2007 my view was rather vague, I felt outside it and therefore never gave it much thought. These days I feel very differently about it. I have come to understand that everyone on this planet whether they like it or not is affected by the decisions made by a few greedy, corrupt, self interested so called ‘masters of the universe’.
Here’s another video to getting you thinking – this time about the tyranny of positive thinking. Funnily enough, Barbara Ehrenreich – journalist, author and political activist – brings up the subject of a book called The Secret, which someone was onto me about only a few weeks ago – all rather scary and sick to be frank.
Mandatory optimism and cheerfulness drive me crazy so I’m delighted to have found this video and share it with you. I for one am tired of feeling I have to be positive all the time. I’m fed up with people expecting me to be up, positive and ridiculously happy on a constant basis.
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.