Wednesday 30 December 2009

Hut roof stalactites

Hut roof stalactites, originally uploaded by here comes lucy.

From a series of local pictues of the first snow wave of this winter, on my Flickr site.

Our palm tree in the freeze, 2

A glimpse of blue

A glimpse of blue, originally uploaded by here comes lucy.

Saturday 26 December 2009

Snow tree

Snow tree, originally uploaded by here comes lucy.

Or a green pyroclastic cloud.

Thursday 24 December 2009

I read a tirade against mulled wine a few days ago

About how it was cheap shit, heavily diluted, and harshed the writer's carefully tended ongoing Christmas buzz with its nasty germs and commonness.


If you make it with a nice wine, and don't add water, add cointreau, nice spices and lemon juice, you end up with a kind of take-it-seriously mulled wine. Recommended.

I set up my flickr account to auto post my photos on this page, but it doesn't seem to have been working out. Anyway, you can go here and see them.

Happy Christmas!

Wednesday 16 December 2009

Down under, at night

One of my favourite things: the London Underground. Getting worked on.

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Hard not to like him

The Guardian published an interview with George Michael a few days ago. Got to love his frankness.

Thursday 3 December 2009

Eloquent woman alert

This woman is pretty cool. Her name is Diane Savino, and she's the Democratic senator for Staten Island, who made this speech on Wednesday for the state senate gay marriage bill, which went down 36-24. Though frankly, I think if you give it some time, you will also see endless tv series' where 30 gay men compete to become the husband of someone they have only previously seen in a sportswear catalogue.

Go Diane.

via the awl and Paula's facebook status.

Sunday 29 November 2009

See the Seams

This got voted #1 in The Guardian's Best-Of-Decade best-in-show album list, which I think says more about British broadsheet criticism than it does about albums that were made in the last 10 years. The criteria they used to decide this were also boringly fashion based. But the guy clearly has a playful and energetic way with words. I think I'm going to sit down and listen to this all in one go, because it describes a kind of journey through itself, though on first listen it's got similar qualities to what I found in Speech Debelle: musical mind-numbing monotony and a lot of earnestly over-worked lyrics. You know, you can see the seams, you can feel the effort.

So here's another journey I just took on the internet this past hour.
From Brian Eno, talking
to U2 at 19 years old.
to what Brian Eno did to U2

Dig that bridge on Unforgettable Fire. Fuck were they smart to get Eno in.

Once Eno is on your mind, he's on your mind.
And you have to end up here.
Every time I get there, I get the goosebumps.
Speaking of which, this is an interesting thing. So good you could listen to it twice, you say? Well... more than 20 years later, but you can really hear what it's made of.

And after all that, you end up inspired. Disclaimer: your results may vary.

Tuesday 17 November 2009

Friday 13 November 2009

"The hit song is hard to come by these days..."

Do you sometimes write poems? Do you harbour a secret desire to one day hear them set to music, sung by a silky smooth crooner, or just someone who can sing? Well, for the small price of $99, you can have somebody spend 48 minutes 15 seconds with your song on Protools and have a real genuine actual CD made of your song-poem.

It's an industry, and though one of the operators in this documentary is quite young and is making a living from it, it's got to be a dying business these days. This is a 54 minute documentary I discovered on clicker. If you're interested in the lives of people who oneday wandered down a cul-de-sac of some faraway part of life, met some other people there, commerce was traded and nobody ever returned, then you will probably find something terribly compelling about this documentary.

Watch out for the writer of the song, "The Thing". His face upon listening to the work of the studio guy is priceless. These guys have skills, no question. You can see the onetime Grammy winning, Elvis backup singer sighing in sheer desperation, but it is entirely inaudible on the recording. That's gifted.

Also viewable larger, here.

UPDATE: I've just been looking through old archives, and look what I found. Think this might be a candidate for the song-poem industry makeover?

Wednesday 4 November 2009

James Lovelock goes to space

The Gaia Theory independent climate scientist is now past his ninetieth birthday (must be surely 91 at this point?) and he's as interesting as ever. In this video interview, he talks about his forthcoming trip into space. This was recorded back in April, so I wonder if he's gone yet?


Tuesday 3 November 2009

I watched A Ma Soeur last night

Have any of you seen it? God I would love to discuss this movie with someone. Maybe we could have a skype-in or something. Thoughts?

Latest pics from the Hut Insulation Project

are now posted to my Flickr.

Monday 2 November 2009


November is Drawmo (Draw month, Draw More)! A bunch of internetistes will be drawing and posting every day for the month of November, and you're welcome to join us. There is also a flickr.

30 Days, 30 Days of Drawing.

You can come. We are friendly.

Wednesday 28 October 2009

Mad World

Usually when a pop or rock song is remade as an acoustic piece of melancholia, especially if it involves strings, it bores the crap out of me. But I have been mesmerised by this song, and go through bouts of listening to it over and over. It's gorgeous. It is like Gary Jules excavated the original Tears For Fears song and made it vibrant again. The piano riff is a very lovely thing, it really makes the song. There's not much to the song, really. But I love it. If you haven't heard this version before, you are in for a treat. But you probably have. It was the song over the credits of Donny Darko, and it elicits the mood of the movie so beautifully.

Saturday 24 October 2009

Oops! Looking a little orange there...

This is my favourite picture of the week. Ladybirds at the seaside, and worlds side by side.
More ladybirds at the Guardian, including the really really evil ones who eat the really really good ones.

Wednesday 21 October 2009

Tuesday 20 October 2009

Nellie sings!

This is Nellie, who stayed with us for a while a couple of weeks ago. She is a very smart and talented and silly dog, and her favourite song is the Coronation Street theme tune. Every time we played it, this was how she responded. In this video, Nellie is singing along to the old version of the tune, and as it turns out, she didn't like the bridge. Maybe it is just that she didn't know the bridge, and it wasn't very interesting.

Monday 12 October 2009

The Stanley

fig 1

fig 2

I am rejuvenating my work hut in the field with some cool silver covered fibreglass insulation. When it is done, my work hut (see fig 1) will look like a wooden cabin from the outside and Warhol's Silver Factory on the inside. I do so love contrasts. This work involves a lot of 'space blankets' (see what I mean?) and a staplegun. A fancy staplegun. A Stanley staplegun (see fig 2). So.

I would like you to get up now. I would like you to get up and walk around your house. Get up, walk around your house, and look for home improvement and creative projects that require the use of a staplegun, a fancy, eternally reliable staplegun. A staplegun you don't have. And call me. Because I have such a staplegun. I am now the Staplegun Lady. I am Cool Hand Luce.

Monday 21 September 2009

I think we all need this today

Marlene Dietrich playing the saw. Short and sweet. If you want to skip the repartee, start about 1:15.

Saturday 19 September 2009

How to make limoncello!

I'm quite taken with the old guy in this video recipe for a good basic limoncello. It sounds very good. But where the hell does a person get 'pure alcohol' that isn't Poitin, in Ireland? Or this 'Everclear', for that matter?

Thursday 17 September 2009

So, humans make horror films and think they're really scary

Well, have a look at this.

via Radiolab.

Fantasy of a Jimmy Carter past future

I just spotted this on a comment thread following a Michael Tomasky article about Carter's comments about the Joe Wilson fandango, and I thought there would be a few people who read this blog who would enjoy it. It comes in the context of a number of people on the thread talking about how Carter's presidency was a failure and how great Ronald Reagan was that he came in and saved the Americans from themselves and the Soviets from Sovietism. The commenter's nom de plume is 'Sheepishly':

i sometimes speculate about an alternate reality where jimmy carter won re-election and kept reagan out of the white house. imagine:
the usa still has the smallest gap between the rich and the poor, the cost of living never quadrupled relative to wages, the majority of americans do not live in debt. we have transitioned at least partly to alternative energy sources, and are not wholly committed to foreign wars for oil. we never armed or trained osama bin laden and his cronies, never gave saddam hussein weapons to gas his people, nor had to waste lives in two iraq wars--there was no 9/11. also, the arms race with the soviets never happened, and the ussr crumbled anyway--but when it did fewer people starved. we never raked up unprecedented debt on useless weapons, and loose nuclear material is not spread across eurasia waiting to be used by enemies of america. money was used to stop the spread of aids before it became an epidemic, to revitalize our cities, and build the best public transit system in the world.

if it weren't for ronald reagan, my generation would have the same opportunities our parents had under FDR. instead we are born in debt, and are coerced to go to college so we can be debt slaves for the rest of our lives, the economy is crumbling around us, we are quagmired in two wars, and our taxes are going to shore up corporate waste. we have no affordable health care, no social safety net, no job security, no vacation time, no funds for retirement, no clean air, no clean water, no decent food, no future.

thank you, thank you ronald reagan.

Saturday 5 September 2009

Loving earwigs

Gosh, this blog has been full of dead old guys lately, I've just noticed. Phew. Here, read this article about the sensual, passionate, feminine natures of earwigs instead.

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Been off

cycling in the rain through the countryside of Cork. I had no idea that getting soaked for hours on end, monsoon soaked, tropically soaked, can be having the time of your life. I am very happy to have made this discovery.

Friday 24 July 2009

Please touch

Friday 17 July 2009

Frank McCourt is unwell

I was born and reared in Limerick city. We have some good writers here, amongst them: Kate O'Brien, Michael Hartnett, and of course the one who travelled the furthest, Frank McCourt.

Frank McCourt had mixed experiences when he returned to Limerick after the book was published and had become such a runaway hit all over the world: a small but vocal number of people didn't like what he had been writing about and made it difficult for him to live in Limerick, but by far the majority of people in Limerick did what people do everywhere in small cities that suddenly find a hugely successful home grown writer in their midst: welcome and celebrate him. I have heard that whenever he came back to Limerick he could sometimes be found joining in the 'Angela's Ashes walking tour' here. Just wandered by, like another tourist. Signed books and chatted away, unassumingly.

I have heard that Frank McCourt is very unwell. I am sorry to hear that, and wish him well, really. There's something of the sheer eejitry about the way that some people in Limerick responded to that book, a very peculiar Limerick combination of snobbery and shame, and you know, it's not particularly my cup of tea either but it really touched a lot of people who read it, including people from Limerick who remembered that time in its history, who lived alongside him. That book succeeded mostly from word of mouth. And that's a real kind of success.

God bless you, sir.

Wednesday 15 July 2009

The Red Man In The Door

Do you have to be on facebook to see this? Is that how it works? A short play of mine will be performed in London on Sunday. You're welcome. The play is called "The Red Man In The Door" and it has been described as a "brilliant new short play" by Rebecca Atkinson-Lord. We will see.

Sunday 12 July 2009

Ok so it's a few days late for the 4th

... but it's never too late for this.

(via Cosmic Variance)

Wednesday 8 July 2009

The 2 Train: sweet and groovy

So I'd like to introduce you to The 2 Train: my new band! The 2 Train is me, Lucy Foley (voice) and Ross Bonadonna (guitar). We play a mixture of jazz, pop and bossa nova songs. Ross and I have been playing together since he discovered I could sing, and this past March we recorded a bunch of songs by the fireplace here in Clare. You can hear them on our myspace page. We're also busy making my first album in Wombat Recording, and I look forward to being busy with both projects for a while yet.

We're available for bookings throughout Ireland, Europe and New York, and you can contact us at the address on both the myspace page and from my website.

Sunday 5 July 2009

Missus, today

Missus, who knew a cushy number when she climbed in my window and saw it. About halfway down the comments on this post, we're talking cats and rescue.

Thursday 2 July 2009

Two wet squiglets

There is also video. Who wants to see video? Please register your interest in the comments.

Inevitably, this has to happen

Four squiglets in the bath

Hey, if you don't like the occasionally cute moments on this blog, there are plenty of other uncute places on the internet for you to loiter.

Wild mothers

In yet another example of how callous mothers often are in the wild, a koala mother has flung one of her newly born twin babies out of her pouch, to be delightedly hand raised by a human in a Crocodile Dundee hat who has thought fully provided a koala soft toy for it to climb on, instead of a pouch. We are so judgmental about our own species' examples of indifferent mothering, when cute furry creatures seem to abandon or eat their own young as a matter of course.

The Unfit Koala Mother was last seen climbing a tree, serenely, with the remaining twin secure in her pouch. There are thus far no indications that other koalas are going to prosecute. A nursing mother koala at a nearby zoo was asked for her opinion, and she just shrugged.

So here is the moment you've been waiting for: video of the koala baby getting bottle fed, with a feast of other wildlife video snippets on the page.

Monday 29 June 2009

This is the kind of thing I have to deal with lately

Leaving New York, from the sky

Looking for Lucy

This guy made a tumblr and postered downtown Manhattan with these posters and postcards, apparently in the hope that he would find some chick he walked a couple of blocks home one evening. This is the kind of madness that New York sets off every minute of every day.

Actually, the site and postering campaign seems to be to publicise this internet tv series. It's pretty grim. For the real deal, go to the Craigslist missed connections page.

Sunday 28 June 2009

Ordinary people, at picnic

Apparently Michael Jackson spent some time in Ireland a couple of years ago. He was trying to find a place to live here. None of it worked out, but some stories have emerged from that time. This anecdote was one I thought illustrated something very nicely. Something about massively different worlds, at picnic.

Pat O'Hagan of estate agents Savills showed the star and his children around a "large, important country house in Co Meath" in September 2006, then priced at "around €20m".


He was told to arrive at the house to show around an unnamed client and that there was to be nobody else on the premises. There was also a request that the party be permitted to have a picnic on the grounds of the property. "The picnic request made sense -- they could hardly stop in McDonalds or Supermacs on their way back, and he had to feed the kids. We had salad and sandwiches and crisps and a glass of wine," said Mr O'Hagan.

"Michael chatted away . . . He spoke about doing three concerts a day from the time he was very young. He had a certain amount of resentment against his father because of the amount of pushing that was done when he was young.

"The kids were there, rolling down the lawns, which were wet, and they went to feed the chickens in the yard. They were lovely, they were very well-mannered kids and he was very attentive to them. It was a group of ordinary people having a chat and a picnic out of the boot of the car."

The Black Toad

Alphabet street

This is short, but kinda cool. Also the only actual youtube video of Prince singing Alphabet Street that I could find at 3am last night. Sometimes you just need it.

Saturday 27 June 2009

A few interesting Michael Jackson links

Ok, well if you're looking for some way beneath the MJ myth, you might want to start with this. Oh, love of Lisa Simpson has revealed some of the finest humanity in many human hearts, and this is very sweet indeed.

MJ wrote "Do the Bartman"! because he loved Bart Simpson so much. Well I feel Michael Jackson's heart here. This is lovely.

A journalist who knew MJ personally for years, talks.

Lisa Marie Presley is having a unique experience of MJ's death. (via LA Times)

This is pretty mesmerising. I wondered on facebook how MJ might have looked if he hadn't been interfered with, and Tabitha came up with this and this. Wow. How open and plain human those possible versions of himself look. The Mail version looks the most plausible to me. That kind of fame does not lead a person to looking like a binman. It has its own sheen, its own patina.

It all went arseways after Thriller. A generally good wnyc Soundcheck show, looking at Thriller, and the impact it had on MJ's career. Specifically, the crippling effects of success. He never made another great album again. It's such a pity. He clearly had it in him, still. The man was a phenomenon.

An article about the album he had (partly?) recorded when he died.

Man, his affairs are so messy. So much debt, and motherless children. There is some talk that Debbie Rowe will probably reclaim the two children of hers, and she is likely to get custody, being their natural mother. So what of the third child? Is the family to be split up? Isn't the whole situation bad enough? It's a mess.

So. He sold over 800 million records in his lifetime. His appeal spans generations of childhoods. Off the Wall and Thriller are such profoundly groovy records. I mean, they just groove.

But I don't know what he was trying to pull off with the London gigs. I think his whole relationship with fame was so deeply enmeshed with his own sense of self worth and existence, that it was just folly all the way down. How can a man of 50 try to recreate the kind of spectacle that he was famed for 25 years previously? It is a pity he could not just start with what he actually was, rather than endlessly clawing for the next thing that could kick his fame into what it had been. That time is gone, probably forever, for everybody.

Because deep inside all that crazyshit that Michael Jackson had become, there was this:

Thursday 25 June 2009

A balloon on Houston street

Less than a minute later, a yellow cab ran over it and it burst.

Wednesday 24 June 2009

Oh the jetlag

Ok I got up early today but I am absolutely fecked. I'm hoping an early night tonight can do it.

The guy in the middle was a depressed fish in the window of a restaurant on 5th ave around the corner from us, who just stayed in this position the whole time I stood there gazing at him. It is like he knows.

I never saw him again after this.

The man in the blue suit; the man in the white suit

So the security queue at JFK was a nightmare of inefficiency and chaos, with a guy in a blue suit and blue latex gloves in a desk in the middle of it all, looking around at anyone who sniffed and took everybody's passports and put a little mark on them. I suppose they had to give him something to do. His job was to look out for sniffles. Seriously.

It's not going to be so easy to get rid of swine flu but they have to look like officialty is making its moves to get the situation under control or some other suitable platitude. The lousy news is that swine flu is expected to run riot this winter. The good news is that fatalities are commensurate with any other normal flu, which is to say, very very few.

I cannot believe I am blogging about swine flu. It is so hard to care. It was the guy in the blue suit in the madly inefficient JFK queues what made me do it. Here's a picture of David Byrne's gig at the Prospect Park Bandshell a couple of weeks ago. Yes, I know you can't see David Byrne. He was wearing white. He's in the middle.

Tuesday 23 June 2009

Wing of the plane as dawn broke


Radiolab has made a fantastic episode about stochasticity, the nature of chance and randomness. They pack a hell of a lot of stuff into 59 minutes.

Monday 22 June 2009


Delicious dancing.

That's all you're getting out of me today, after 3 whole minutes of sleep in the past 24 hours and more. The Jetlag gods are tossing me like a baby seal between the noses of playtime whales. Too many trains (2) planes (2) airports (3) cars (2) and now, a bed I can splay out in. Tar is playing it cool. I will try to bribe him with great big American chewtreats. Meanwhile, he licks pee with great tenderness, so tender and loving I cannot stop watching him. He knows.

Thursday 18 June 2009

The Yes Men: new action today

You remember the fake New York Times that was distributed last November announcing the end of the Iraq war? Well, there is a fake International Herald Tribune being circulated today, in an action by Greenpeace, which is being released in advance of the Copenhagen summit on December 19 2009. In it, EU leaders thank the European public for having engaged in months of civil disobedience leading up to the Copenhagen climate conference that will be held this December. "It was only thanks to your massive pressure over the past six months that we could so dramatically shift our climate-change policies.... To those who were arrested, we thank you."

The Yes Men have supported a website which is urging non-violent civil disobedience in confronting climate change in the face of reluctant bureaucrats and politicians.

From a press release sent out today:

"Non-violent civil disobedience has been at the forefront of almost
every successful campaign for change," said Andy Bichlbaum of The Yes
Men, who helped write and edit the newspaper and are furnishing the
technology for "Especially in America, and especially
today, we need to push our leaders hard to stand up to industry
lobbyists and make the sorts of changes we need."

You can get the horoscopes here.

Sunday 14 June 2009

Our local pigeon

The white one. The black one approaching is probably also from the neighbourhood but I don't recognise him. In other news, I just had a brief frank exchange of views with an adult cockroach who appeared for a late night chat beside me, on the sofa.

Central Park at night

By the lake on the east side.

Thursday 11 June 2009

When life is like a movie (set)

So there was this film set at JFK when I arrived there last month. It was very strange after spending 7 and a half hours in an airplane and walking through JFK the airport, and then JFK the movie set, with literally nothing but these weird signs (no contact info, barely the name production company indicated on the first sign but not the second one, no right of reply, the 'area' indicated by the first sign is literally the entire front and inside of the main foyer of terminal 4 of JFK international airport) and a couple of arri film lights to indicate the difference.

Saturday 6 June 2009

Thursday 4 June 2009

Advice of the day

“It’s all about character. Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

Watch yourself become a paranoid maniac.

I just came across this on someone's otherwise interesting tumblr. There's so much of this kind of idea. It sounds like a version of being grown up and it has some truth to it, but it basically appeals to people who are desperate to control their lives and who find the suggestion of how to achieve that as appealing as a piece of glittery tinfoil is to a magpie (allegedly).

The Toads

Tuesday 2 June 2009

Meeting yourself as a young ghost

Over on Sentence First, Stan posted a photo of a local crow's hangout in Galway that used to be an indie club back in the day, and is now derelict. This put me in mind of a flat I lived in once, and revisited a few years later. It was a flat I lived in my second year in Trinity, in Grosvenor Square, Rathmines. I went for a walk one evening and found myself knocking on the door. Mumbled something to whoever answered: it was always a studenty house, absent of commonwealth. And I went downstairs, the door was locked but very easily unlocked, something I had not done before, and was really remarkably surprised to find the door coming free and opening into this apartment that I had spent 10 months of my life in, from 18 to 19 years of age.

It had been a two bedroomed apartment, so completely barely: it was mostly a basement/ground floor shack, with some lousy chipboard partitioning. There were three of us: I shared a room with Caroline, and Tadhg, being the bloke, had a room to himself. This seemed inherently unfair to me, I wanted us to rotate occupancy of the single room, but it never happened. We all paid the same rent.

So I took to sleeping on the couch in the livingroom, by some kind of default. It was as grotty as a reasonably clean flat can be: old lousy furniture, thin chipboard 'bedsitland' wardrobes, awkwardly shaped tiny rooms, formica kitchen table, primary school type kitchen chairs. Cold surfaces and some kind of whiff of institutionalisation in a flat shared by 3 teenagers, all freaked out by life in different ways, and nobody talking about it.

The house I lived in immediately before this was a three bedroomed house in Fairview, still filled with the personal belongings of the old people who had died in it, some indeterminate time before I tumbled in there, with Gavin and the very hairy John, who at 24, was the old man of the raggle taggle group. Gavin and I had just turned 18. Most people had gone to work as chamber maids in Europe or wait tables in America for the summer, like they knew this was how it went: you go abroad in the summertimes. I had no idea that that was how it went, and so I never made it abroad for the summertimes. I did not know how other people did it. I stayed in Dublin and rolled with whatever way the wind was blowing.

Anyway, sometime around September, I hadn't given a thought to where I might live come October, but Caroline and Tadhg rolled back into town and we somehow got the notion that we were going to all live together and the basement in Grosvenor Square was the first place we looked, and with none of us over the age of 20 and thus incapable of holding out for a better offer, we took it.

There were adventures with the gas meter (an economising tip shown to me by the previous tenants, long haired third year English students who came to visit us randomly to see who was living there now) discovered by our matronly farmer's wife landlady; I was sleeping half the day and staying up until everyone was leaving for college in the mornings; eating weetabix with tomato ketchup and various other supernoodle influenced delicacies; probably the only time I had to myself, alone, was on friday evenings when everyone else was gone and I would put on some Billie Holiday songs and sing along to them, before I went into the Buttery (oh for then it had a functioning student bar in it) for the remainder of the evening. Everybody then was older than me. I had gone to college at 17 and most of the other people there seemed to start around 19. Anyone over 22 was just some faraway kind of oldness with no nuance or fathomability. 30 and 50 were basically the same, as far as I was concerned. When I was 18, 22 year olds seemed very old and way more mature than I ever thought it capable of being. Once you had graduated from your primary degree, that was it, really. I just never thought about any of that. Never thought about how I was going to make a living, never thought about careers. Knew I had to write, then one day Richard Beck came up to me nervously and said he heard I sang, and I was sort of in awe, I mean, how the hell did he hear that? I hadn't really seriously sung much of anything since I did Annie as a kid. But I didn't ask him how he had heard, just nodded nonchalantly, and we proceeded to practise singing and playing together for a couple of years after that.

So this evening in Dublin, a few years after all that, and on the wrong side of maturity for my 18 year old's sense of it, I went for a stroll and ended up in Grosvenor Square. I knocked on the door, mumbled something, found myself downstairs, and found it easy to unlock the door, there was a hole in the door under the lock, and in I went.

It was as if it had last been inhabited 100 years previously, though it had only been a few since I lived there. Looked like they either had big plans for the place, or had abandoned all notion of having human beings inhabit it at all. The furniture was all gone, and there were long thin strips of wood from ceiling to floor, taking up the whole space, all the rooms like that, but they were stacked diagonally through the rooms so you could walk from room to room and you could see between them out the window. It was a lot like I remembered it; a shithole, but a shithole with memories. I spent about 5 intense minutes there, pure pounding silence, tore a little scrap of wallpaper off the wall, and closed the door behind me, intending to go back and take pictures. I never did.

Saturday 30 May 2009

Keep left

A New York city dustbin

looking unusually clean and neat.

Thursday 28 May 2009

If it's Wednesday this must be New York

It is, and it's also 6 am. The jetlag gods are gently letting me know who's boss for the next day or so. I can hear the subway trains roaring underground, through the street grills on the end of the block. The sounds of birds, the dogs and the dense thick silence of Clare has been replaced by vehicle beeps, traffic, subway sounds. Everyone has an American accent. The Mexican food is still magnificent. Everything smells differently. The air is dense with new york.

This place is very intimate to me. It is very good to be back.

Oh look, it's the 28th of May. A boyfriend I had once has his birthday today. I don't know where he is anymore. Happy birthday, Gary! I wish you a wonderful new year.

Wednesday 27 May 2009

Fancy investigating the alexander technique?

Here is an article from a practitioner, with some easy exercises, designed to loosen the posture and free the voice. I haven't tried it yet, but I am very interested in the alexander technique. It is a system of posture retrieval that aims to peel away the layers of awkwardness and stress that may have been put on the posture, in order to allow it to be what it is, naturally and in the raw. It's an onion-peeling approach that I find heartening generally, wherever I find it.

Especially when you are spending the day in an airplane.

A cheerful community in difficult circumstances

I find this daisy community very very inspiring. Living the vulnerable, open, cheerful life, in some remarkably precarious circumstances. Appreciate your local daisy community!

Tuesday 26 May 2009

Instructions for an adventure

I found this on the road into the village a week or so ago, scrunched up. I de-scrunched it, and saw that it was, in fact, a series of very specific directions:

Go over new bypass heading towards the Lahinch Road
Come to roundabout on Lahinch Road
Take 1st left on roundabout
Head toward Ennis
Go 200 yards, see stone wall
Take 1st left after stone wall
And you are there.

On the word 'there' was sitting a small slug. I took this as a friendly sign. I have not yet taken the adventure. I am on another adventure, tomorrow, in another direction altogether. Please feel free to follow the directions. It does not say where to start. Best off starting where you are.

Good luck.

A train journey, revisited

A lovely interlude, as Laura Barton revisits Philip Larkin's 1964 train journey that resulted in his poetic meditation on England: The Whitsun Weddings.

Oh yes and listen to the audio on the Poetry Archive page. Just listen to this poem. As you fall asleep...

Saturday 23 May 2009

Clusterflock presents... live from the 19th century

We are having a history post frenzy over at Clusterflock today. You should join in!

An afternoon in George's Arcade, Dublin

Friday 22 May 2009

Nora, the amateur

Amateur: lover of. One who does it for the love of the thing, the passion, the rapture of the moment. This is Nora. The following two videos are likely to make you cry if you're sensitive to this kind of thing.

Sunday 17 May 2009

Eek! We ate Grandad!

So we were supposed to be the smart, cool ones, right? New theories circulating in fossil circles suggest that we hunted, killed, ate, and made jewelry out of the Neanderthals.

Now the leader of the research team says he believes the flesh had been eaten by humans, while its teeth may have been used to make a necklace.
For added colour to the evolution topic, see also here and here.

I bet there was a little interspecies breeding, nonetheless. You can see it sometimes.

Anyway, it may not have been all happy cannibalism and species war:

"We do need more evidence, but this could indicate modern humans and Neanderthals were living in the same area of Europe at the same time, that they were interacting, and that some of these interactions may have been hostile.

"This does not prove we systematically eradicated the Neanderthals or that we regularly ate their flesh. But it does add to the evidence that competition from modern humans probably contributed to Neanderthal extinction."

Saturday 16 May 2009

And here is a photo of the name of the street

I used to walk down to get to the beach, when I lived in Barcelona last year.

Here's a totally boring photo of a beach on a sunny day

and I bet it fills you with longing. Probably moreso if you're in Ireland today, where it is raining, relentlessly, than if you're in Texas, where it is warm/hot already, or New York, where it is heating up, or where this was taken, Barcelona, where the parrots roam wild and free.

Thursday 14 May 2009

Jumbo puffed pig snouts

This is one of those things you come across when looking for something else and you've just got to put it somewhere. Show others. Illuminate.

Where's that bloody Chinese Flyin' 'orse, then?

Pete n Dud talk about art.

Wednesday 13 May 2009

Why do we have no fur?

We have had a Scientific Discussion over on Clusterflock, to debate the issue of why it might be, that humans evolved to a state of furlessness.

Tuesday 12 May 2009

So you think banks are out of touch, eh?

Bank advice, in queue. I'm guessing the answer is... fuck no! Just leave it all up to my bank!

An intriguing tableau

Monday 11 May 2009

Pooches, pooches who need poochhomes

Dude just reminds me of Tar, who also has this issue with ear rebellion. This is Mister Bigglesworth, a "cheeky mongrel puppy" who has been in Battersea Dogs' Home for approximately half of his young puppy life. UPDATE: ok. This one reminds me of George Michael. I can't hold it in anymore.

Liberty, described as "affectionate... loyal... highly responsive", who is currently Battersea's longest resident, at the Home since last August.

Penny, who is very sweet and talented but mustn't be given any chewsticks because she will bury them. Tar also has this difficult compulsion, even when there is only carpet to bury his chewsticks in. We have not thrown Tar out on the street, despite his foibles. Please don't throw your lovely dog out on the street because you discover their foibles.

Photos of dogs who need homes. Most of the dogs in this photo shoot are variant Bull Terriers. My guess is they have all been chosen because of their good temperament and cute physical appearance, to highlight the need for new homes. Bull terriers tend to top these Lists of Dangerous Dogs that have been made mostly arbitrarily, in order to ban certain breeds in Britain and Ireland. Not all bull terriers are Bad.

All the dogs in this photoshoot are all at Battersea Dog's Home, and I hope after this, they will all find new and loving homes, tout suite.

If these photos remind you of how much you need a canine in your life who understands pain and sorrow and has vast capabilities of empathy and paw offering, you will find your own local pound stuffed full of them. Some of these dogs have been at Battersea for months. They usually don't get more than a few days of a chance in your local pound.

How sad, how lovely

Take an hour to listen to this hour long documentary about Connie Converse. Listen to the songs, and her voice. There's an uncanny quality in her. Her songs go on journeys into yearning, into the uncanny.

This is an incredible story. Connie Converse wrote songs on her guitar and sang them in the mid fifties: songs of such intimacy, wit, hip, poignancy and unconventionality that would not be really heard at all in the mainstream until Joni Mitchell came along, and that was just a totally different epoch later. Say what you like about Bob Dylan, intimacy was not his strong suit. This woman was writing these songs before any of these people showed up. Before the Beatles showed up, for Christ's sake. Before Elvis showed up. Before rocknroll showed up. Long before the lone human singing her own songs on a guitar showed up.

It's an hour long radio show, and there are also photographs of Connie from around the time the recordings were made, in Greenwich village in 1954. These songs have just emerged for the first time, a couple of months ago.

Connie Converse left New York, dispirited at lack of record industry interest in her songs, in 1960, right when Bob Dylan was arriving in town. She moved to some city beginning with M: somewhere she never really felt right in, though she had by the sound of it a very close supportive group of family and friends around her. One day in 1974, she packed up her volkswagen, dispatched a bunch of farewell letters, and headed off. She has not been heard of since.

She would be 85 now. I so much want to call out to her, to tell her that people are listening, that we love her songs, that there will be so many people who will listen to and love her songs now. That she was living out of time and place, that people care about her story. That I care about her story.

Connie Converse! I care about your story. I love your songs. You matter. You absolutely matter.

Connie Converse website
on myspace

Saturday 9 May 2009

Ok one more

Play him off, Keyboard cat!

You can get more here.

Friday 8 May 2009

Health club type places, part 2

On a perhaps related topic of humans gathering at some ungodly hour before noon to go on some shared quest, though they don't perhaps understand why the hell they're doing it, I recall a fire alarm going off in an apartment I found myself staying in, in Memphis Tennessee, one August. Within 24 hours I was staying unexpectedly in an apartment there, hanging out with a bunch of local artists, and was getting woken up by a mandatory fire alarm pretendy drill thing early in the morning.

I had to climb down 10 flights of stairs to the street, with absolutely no idea of whether the whole fucking place was on fire or what the hell was happening. It was a time of ridiculous things happening. Everything was intensely calm. I would have been chill if Chicken Licken had come running up to me that very minute. Out on the street, the alarm stopped, I sniffed the air, got the notion that nothing was on fire after all, figured they'd probably wake me again if it was, went back upstairs and slept for another hour.

Health club type places

So I have just been to a health club type place in the basement of a hotel, where all hotels keep their health club type places, and I spent a couple of hours meandering between sauna, freezing cold plunge pool (coldest I have ever been in, other than winter ocean) and steam. The sauna and steam room were good and properly hot, and I now feel magnificent. It is as though there had been a layer of crud all around me, like in my aura or someshit, and it has now been cleaned away. And I only know this because I can feel the absence of the layer of crud from my aura. That is how I know. By tomorrow morning this feeling of the absence of the layer of crud will have vanished, and I will again no longer know whether I have a layer of crud building around me.

I've been trying out various health club type places, and this is the only one with a cold plunge pool, which really is an essential aspect of the whole thing for me. The cold plunge pool is where it all happens. It's the salt in the sea, the msg in the chop suey, it's the butter in the mash, the gravy on the roast. I feel intensely clean, relaxed, profoundly contented and very, very antisocial.

UPDATE: ok, as I was falling asleep for my nap directly after having written this, I found myself thinking: not antisocial, of course, but unsocial. Antisocial would be flinging peanuts at people having chats. Unsocial is crawling under your duvet for the winter, because you understand burrowing creatures' need to hibernate.

They do this only to get what they want

This is what we're up against. Try arguing with that.

Thursday 7 May 2009

How do they hold up? How do they survive?

Baby pandas milk it. Except for the general tone of playful friendliness, these guys remind me of Cartman.

A year on twitter

I recently passed 1000 updates on ze tveeter, and in a couple of days I will have been on twitter a year. I am recalling my first ever tweet. I remember thinking, this is fucking ridiculous. Has it really come to this? I'm sitting here, trying to think of something to put into this fucking box, for christsake, that is what I'm fucking doing right now. But if I was to be completely honest about what I'm doing when I write in this fucking box I will always be angsting over the whole fact of doing it, and that won't be fun at all. So how do I proceed? Am I to be dishonest in my dealings with this 'twitter'? And to what end? For what purpose? I only know about three people on this thing anyway. Okay, ten. But they're all fucking computer making people and designers kvetching about font details. I don't even understand them half the time. What the fuck am I doing here? This is very unpleasant and I need a cup of tea.

And then in my exasperation, I turned my head to the window. Some flies were standing on the glass, enjoying spring and clearly horny. My fingers flew.

Sunday 3 May 2009

So you think nature is fragile and cannot possibly withstand human whim?

I just noticed yesterday that there are some weeds here that have pushed their way right through the tarmacadam here. The weeds are poking right through it.

Whoever thinks that human activity will indeed blight the earth's surface irretrievably, has obviously never ever met a weed like the one growing through the tarmacadam in front of this house right now.

Black on black

Tar, the profoundly handsome pooch.

Saturday 2 May 2009

Alternative Miss World

What a terribly lovely thing for a rainy saturday evening. (video)

Friday 1 May 2009

Show tonight, Location one, Soho NYC

I have a photograph in a show *tonight, May 1* at Location One, Soho, NYC.

Open Call, curated by Brina Thurston, starts at *8pm*, Location One, 26 Greene St. DJ and light refreshments served. I believe there will be beer and I believe it will be free. Please go and spot my photograph: this is what you're looking for. A few ooh and aahs when beholding it would really send things where they need to go. Thanks.

OH YES ALSO: There's a Laurie Anderson show there at the moment, closes tomorrow. If you're in New York and you're reading this blog and you haven't seen her show yet, you might want to sort that out.

Thursday 30 April 2009

Considerate poo

This picture speaks 'considerateness' to me. It is dog poo, neatly sitting on top of a cigarette box. Whatever way you look at it, it's considerate. I would like to meet that dog someday and give him a chewstick.

UPDATE In case you didn't notice, the poo is rocking the health safety warning. Considerate!