Saturday 16 February 2008

Mamuska Night, Limerick

There was a gorgeous event last night in Daghdha Dance Space in Limerick city, called Mamuska. Apparently it's been happening there on a bi-monthly basis since last year, and it's a breath of fresh air on the Irish arts scene. I've been part of events of this sort before in different cities, and it's just so great to see one really working very well. The Daghdha space itself is amazing: housed in an old church up in St. John's square, surrounded by a graveyard, with apparently little changed except that they removed all the old fixtures and fittings of pews and altars and baptismal fonts and that kind of thing, and laid down a dancefloor.

Daghdha is a dance company and some kind of a powerhouse of ideas and collaborative activity pulling in all sorts of disciplines and artists from all over the world, and one of their spinoffs is Mamuska. The idea of Mamuska is to make a space every couple of months for people to socialise, for artists to air their sketches, ideas in progress and imperfections, and to keep the airways open for something magical and spontaneous to emerge, should the need arise. That's how I felt there, anyway, and it felt open and friendly and unpreoccupied with itself in a way that was incredibly refreshing for the Limerick, or just about any other arts scene.

There were installations, including a tent with a video piece inside it, a plinth with rows of buns stacked on top of it (for the purpose of eating) and video of bun making and bun arranging beside it, sofas, open seating, a bar, a large video screen that showed projected video and photographs, performance, sound scapes, and a small piece of theatre. I left a bit early, so I didn't catch the last couple of things. No piece was longer than 10 minutes, and everything had an unfinished, loose and open kind of feel to it. I wandered around, taking pictures on my laptop, and chatting to various people around the room. I found it really friendly and fun.

It reminded me a lot of the church on Møllegade, in Copenhagen, and the Meet Da Lama nights that Helle Thun used to run over there, on a total shoestring budget (quite unlike the budgets that Daghdha have at their disposal) and a lot of love and passion for exploration and improv. Each Meet Da Lama was an experiment without any firm conclusions, but it drew a lot of people, and for me, the combination of an open event of lots of artists of various disciplines that welcomed on the spot participation, and hugely importantly, that it took place in English, was about the friendliest hook-up I found in Copenhagen. Ultimately something like that needs more of an infrastructural grounding than Helle could possibly provide on her own, and so it burned itself out at some point of 2005, I think, but it was great to see the spirit of that alive and well in Limerick city last night.

Here are some pics from the event...

Mamuska night pics

What to do in the event of an atomic bomb

I’ve decided to keep an occasional series of posts under the label, Google Searches. People out there in internet land have a LOT of needs, and very often they confess all to Mother Google, in the form of a question, or a declaration of a problem, or something sought after. And sometimes, these searches send them in the way of Lucy Takes Off. I find out about them when I check my stats, and discover how people get here.

If you got spun out here today for the first time like a cow from the eye of a tornado, welcome to the pastures of Lucy Takes Off. If you’ve been hooked up to Lucy Takes Off for months like a bitch to a bag of crack, welcome. I can only hope that you find here a balm to soothe the worry from your brow, get a little kick to get you through the night. We do our best, here at Lucy Takes Off, and her sister site, Here Comes Lucy. Feel free to have a look around.

So this series starts here, with a question from Concerned from Portsmouth, whose issue with Google last night was “what to do in the event of an atomic bomb”. Naturally, Concerned was ushered at once into the safe waters of Lucy Takes Off. And the post he was directed to was this one from December of last year, but we’re an audience friendly kind of shindig around here, so I’d like to address his question more fully, directly.

Well, the first thing that I would imagine I would do if I saw a mushroom cloud in the sky, would be to be very surprised. You just don’t hear about atomic bombs anymore. They’ve just lost their popularity. Sure, there was some attempted resurgence in the last few years, but that all came to nothing more than accusations and threats and bombs dropped on countries who wouldn't play "bomb back".

What with the bubble skirts and big hair and loud patterns of the eighties coming back around recently, there’s been a fondness for all things of that era, and nuclear fright was all the rage back then too. So my best guess for that initial response, is that most people would be looking in the sky uttering variable involuntary invocations on the “what the fuck” theme, and if you’re in a car you might find yourself in a crash-type situation, so I would advise wearing a seat belt at all times, or if you’re a cyclist, a sturdy helmet. But I think you’ll manage that shock response all on your own.

The next thing to do would again be instinctual. Reach for your camera, your mobile phone, your mac with photo booth, and take a picture.

A few years ago in Ireland, there was some frenzy about what we would actually do about fall out, if it were ever to happen. I think it started on the Joe Duffy show, where many good national scares start, and we collectively realised that actually nobody had been talking much about nuclear bombs anymore and none of us knew what we’d do. So the minister who was supposed to know all about this stuff turned out not to know anything much about it at all but somebody whispered in his ear that they had heard a rumour on the internet that it would be a good idea to drop iodine tablets into drinking water, and that that would neutralise all the radiation in the fallout, and everything would be groovy. So everybody in Ireland who was registered to vote got sent a little package of iodine tablets. I don't think anyone wrote a song about that phenomenon, the iodine tablets and our salvation. Missed moment.

I read a lovely graphic novel when I was small. It was called “When the Wind Blows”, a story of two old people who had been young in London during world war two and how they tried to cope with a nuclear disaster in the same way as they did back then, which of course didn’t work out too well for them at all. But it’s a pretty gorgeous book, if you ever happen to come across it. You’ll probably have it read in a couple of hours, and it’s a good illustration of what happens when people try their best to apply what they’ve been told they should do in the event of a nuclear war to the reality of it.

So, Concerned, I hope this helps to round out your checklist and sense of preparedness for what to do In The Event Of A Bomb. Good luck. I hope you never have to pop those iodine tablets (available widely throughout Ireland in 2003 or perhaps in a chemist shop near you).

Thursday 14 February 2008

Guantanamo bay knickers

How about this for that special gift for that special lady on Valentine's day..

Sunday 10 February 2008

Yikes, it's a tiger in sequins and fake tan (and she's forgotten her tablets)!

Here's the first line from an article in today's Irish Independent.

Irish women are slowly drinking themselves to death in the comfort of their own homes -- sipping bottles of extra-strong wines as they sit in front of the television.

I was in a large suburban pub last night. The age range was very wide, from 18 to 75, and thoroughly mixed. The bizarre thing was that there were a few groups of young women dressed in tiny sparkly dresses and spindly sparkly sandally stilettoes, tremendous quantities of cleavage on display, bare legs, mucho make up, and there was even one gal who seemed to be inspired by the Pussycat Dolls' dominatrix routine, but with Irish Dancing style dyed black ringlets. She got 'em going on the dancefloor, I can tell you. But I was making my escape when that got started.

There's something really odd to me about dressing up like a drag queen to go to your local pub on a saturday night. But this is part of the Tiger legacy over here. The above mentioned newspaper is always going on about how rich the Irish are, and certainly, there's employment, and drinking money, and houses being built and extensions on houses being built. And there's money, there's no doubt about that. But I think that for most people, it's about dressing up like you're expecting the paparazzi to show up and snap you as you fall out of the pub/your dress/your mind at 3 am. There seems to be a lot of hope in it. Hope with boom, despair with bust, of course. But everybody's trying really hard to be sexy in Ireland, at the moment. They'll do just about anything to be sexy. And in Ireland, at the moment, sexy is defined in streetwalkin' drag queen terms.

I lived in Denmark for three and a half years, where of course everybody looks like a supermodel and nobody wears make up (except the actual drag queens, because SOMEBODY has to have glamour). They're not outrageously rich over there, but the minimum wage is twice what it is in Ireland, and they have a decent health, education and social welfare system for their extra 10% tax. Of course they're all suffocated by their comfortableness, so that's another story.

There was a Mr. and Mrs. style quiz on The Late Late Show on friday night. Three couples answered questions like "What do you think your girfriend would name a baby, if it was a boy: Evan, Sean, or Justin?" in order to win a customised marquee wedding and honeymoon in Capetown, to the value of €35,000. This is what people are paying for their pageboy-scattering-organic-rose-petals weddings these days. And that's just the cheap, common or garden variety version. People save up for years so they can afford to get married. Just to have the day.

As I write, an old woman has been carried out of her jazz brunch in this fancy hotel, to languish on the couch in the lobby. She has forgotten to to take her pills this morning. The French Maitre D' has brought her a glass of water. They're calling her doctor.

Pub telepathy

I drew a picture of the back of a man's head in a bar, last night. He immediately scratched his neck, and looked around vaguely, behind him. He's the guy in the bottom left of this picture.