Wednesday, September 30, 2009
In what has become a string of the most gripping, exciting, fantabulous and inspiring blog posts ever written, I bring you the latest installment. More news of the magical moveable car.
I got the key back today, complete with fashionable new paper keyring that stated in personalised handwriting "Alternator Pulley Fucked"
It moved fine, and carried me all the way home. BUT - my friends, there has been a suspicious change in the car's outward appearance. It has been washed. The Stradbally muck removed, no doubt added to the fields outside of Longford. Who knows, you may find a small piece of electric picnic sparkle somewhere around there some time in the next year, a beer can and a karaoke machine...
In other news - and here I am performing my civic duty, by letting you know about a new virus doing the rounds, that is apparently quite dangerous and comes in an email marked POSTCARD FROM HALLMARK.
Delete it straight away if it arrives with you, no matter who it's from... that's the advice from the experts. Don't say you never had any expert advice from this blog!
Three of my most loyal readers need advice: Should Amelle, Heidi and Jade call themselves sugababes or choose a new name?
Choose a new name? YES or NO - you decide...
Monday, September 28, 2009
At the risk of boring you, here’s a special effects poem on the theme of the same broken car – could be an expensive one to put on.
Without my car
Without my car, I can’t get very far
Can’t drive to the local spar
Or travel up the hill to admire the stars
Find it difficult to get to the bar
No last minute trips to Mullingar
Won’t get to see a travelling Tzar
Or use a multi-storey, how bizarre
No travelling with any more than one guitar
At a time, can’t go golfing, no matter what the par
Going more than 12 miles would surely leave a scar
Can’t even go to a special shop to buy cigars
The following lines are said without reading from the page
“But what’s this? (Car drives through wall into poetry reading venue)
It’s my car.
And look it has several doors ajar!”
(performer jumps into car and speeds off to rapturous applause)
As well as inspiring the above – my hazardous car adventure has resulted in the following documentary appearing on youtube, showing myself in Longford and the friendly locals helping me out. The guy in the checkshirt was the one with the recovery vehicle, and the guy in sunglasses by the brick wall is Mr VC of course.
And yes, I have WAYYYYY too much time on my hands.
Click here to see my cardumentary.
Of course I am played by an actress, as the real event would have been too harrowing to televise.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Anyway, trying to write a poem based on my response to another person’s poem(s) was, I found, a bit uncomfortable. Here is the result below – inspired by a recent event in my life (see yesterday’s post), and with the structure kind of stolen from, and the whole thing heavily influenced by, the first Ted Hughes poem – The Thought-Fox.
I wasn’t too strict on the no of syllables, my lines are a good bit longer, but kept kind of to the same pattern of rhymes (ended up with some more Rhymes than our Ted, not saying I’m a better poet, but… like) and kept strictly to the punctuation; (apart from one little dash that I couldn’t do without) an interesting experiment for me – and it was a bit constraining at times, would have liked a few more commas, overall am happy with how the poem looks on the page – (cos it looks just like a Ted Hughes poem!) Anyway – disaster or delicious – I’ll let you be the judge of that…
Made it almost half way home, was just leaving the outskirts of Longford, about to ring himself and tell him I was home free, on the straight all the way, when the radio flickered, dodgy dance tunes, surely it was just the reception, but then another little light came on the dash, and another, and the headlights started to shudder, and I knew I was in trouble. Pulled up just out of range of the last street light leading out of the town. Sitting on the side of the road, in the dark, hazard lights sounding tired.
A panicked call to Mr VC, and reassurance that he was getting into his noble steed and to the rescue. Couldn't sit there in the dark, so I began to walk. Walking along beside the hedgerows with big sounding animals making noises at me from inside, sudden jumps and crackles of twigs. I walked faster. Clutching the keys with the biggest one sticking out of my tight fist, ready to strike, or trying to look like I was ready to strike if there were any strange people around. Trying to look tall and big, no jacket on, had cleared the car before the journey.
Only rang insurance once I was bathed in the comforting glow of a garage a mile and a half back in towards town. They asked where I'd been headed... back to Dubland, I said, we'll try and sort you out so, they said. I couldn't believe it when they said they'd get me a taxi back home. The recovery man arrived about the same time as Mr VC.
A young kid in a huge truck. Mr VC had driven all the way just to see me, make sure I was safe, my knight in shining armour, I'm so lucky - really. The kid was lovely too, friendly, told us it was the alternator or some kind of belt that meant the car would not be going anywhere. He rang the insurance again to double check the arrangements. I was to get a taxi back, they would drop the car back to Dubland on Monday, to whatever garage I arrange for it. Unbelieveable service really.
Got a lovely taxi driver. A kindred spirit, left handed, creative type, we talked all the way back, about poetry, hypnosis, psychology, life in general etc.
Back in time to walk down for the radio show today - the theme was travel, tis a funny old world.
PS: The above picture of "Muck in the driveway" represents the only reminder I have of my car, chipped off from around the front wheel yesterday, remnants of the rally driving at electric picnic, before we left here to head west in the first place.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Joe is my first non blogging guest, he's a well travelled fellow and will read us a story and an excerpt from a longer piece.
Tomorrow there will also be a mystery suprise phone caller guest, the surprise will be if the technicalities work out and the phone call actually works first time!!
Anyways - usual time 11.00 - link on the liffey sound website - see ye then then
UPDATE: Joke's on me, and my poor car. A show on travel tomorrow and my car got stranded just outside longford town on my way back from Rosland. Thanks to Insurance, knights in shining armour and friendly taxi drivers I've made it back to Dubland in good shape... More on that tomorrow.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Really really short poems are difficult to make work on the stage because the listener is only relaxing into it, and I think sometimes feels cheated if it ends too soon. Continuing the music analogy - it'd be like REM coming out and singing "When your day is long, and the night" and then expecting a round of applause for just that, the audience do need that tiny bit of time to get used to the new poem. Back to the personal aspect; Poems addressed directly to the listener, or very candid poems I find most touching in that situation. Accessibility - poems that anyone can identify with. Special effects - You can only use special effects with live poems - otherwise known as gimmicks, altho you could describe the effect on paper and it would probably be easy for the reader to imagine. Context - live performing does give you the chance to introduce your poems, for some reason there's rarely an introduction on written poems, live work can be more personallised for that reason, and therefore if you have a nice intro for a poem it can work all the harder live for you. I think Slam Poems perhaps belong in another seperate category again in that they are more polemic, alot of them angry, and often are very very.... very... long. They are emotional, and addressed directly to the crowd, so often work really well, but I think perhaps, are written from a different kind of urge to the normal poem.
Thus ends my spiel on poetry for another day...
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Well I’m not just a one trick pony, I can advise on how not to read your poems too
1. Sound Bored. Read the poem as if it’s a technical manual from a microwave that no one ever reads. In fact read out a technical manual from a microwave if you can find one.
2. Don’t let em know when it’s over. Have lots of awkward pauses within your poems. Say the third last line as if it’s the last. Pause, when they start clapping read the second last (or penultamite ooh aren’t I posh? – see point 3) line, repeat as necessary.
3. Use the longest words you can find, in the introduction or better yet in the poem itself, trawl the dictionary for long long words to make the audience feel like ignoramice (plural for ignoramouses – see point 4)
4. Be patronising – explain everything to the crowd. They know nothing. They need to be spoon fed, make all your intros at least five times longer than the poems themselves.
5. Volume Control. Shout – as loud as you can. Whisper – make them all think they’re going deaf. Keep turning it up and down throughout your bit.
6. If you make a mistake, go back to the start. Read the poem as many times as you need to in order to get it absolutely perfect. Treat the audience like a patient camera crew. Say “No, I wasn’t fully happy with that, I’ll do it again”
7. Take at least twice your allocated time. See point 4 & 6 for methods to achieve this – it will make you stand out in the audience’s memory. Oh yeah.
8. React. Cheer loudly at the end of each of your own poems. Boo any other poets. Laugh condescendingly at the serious bits in their poems. Repeat their lines loudly and incredulously where necessary.
9. Dress as uncomfortably as you can. Root through the drawers for that body suit from the early nineties, buy a leotard if you’re a man.
10. Get roaring drunk before you go on. Nothing says tortured artist like a real live slobbering gibbering mess.
Simple really – let me know how it goes. Actually let me know when you’re reading. I'll be there.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Not that I'm an expert really but you see, today marks the first anniversary of the first time I ever read a poem of my own out in public in front of strangers, (happy birthday to me) and i've had a lot of exciting poetry related adventures ever since, so here's my tuppence worth on what I've learned, but please do remember I'm only a year in, would you take advice from a one year old? didn't think so, so don't blame me if this is completely useless - maybe I'll update again after another year. Here it is anyway.
1. Don't try to be something you're not - people can smell bulls**t - and some of the nicest comments I've had are when people feel you're not conning them, that you're being geniunely yourself.
2. Use your nervous energy. Think about a brilliant band or singer you've seen live, and the energy of the main performers, how they hold the crowd's attention just by being full of life. Be full of it - in other words - which contradicts the first point, but i did warn you.
3. Like your audience. If you like someone it's a well known fact that (sometimes) they find it very hard not to like you back. Love them, they're all cuddly nice people, remember that.
4. Take your time - not everyone has the words in front of them, they can't read back if they've missed something, take it as slow as you need to in order to make it clear. This is a recent tip for me, and something I'm only starting to try and put into practise, it is tempting to just want it over asap, but I think it's valid.
5. Enjoy - it's one of the most fun things you'll do, even if you have a bad one, you're doing something amazing that most people wouldn't dream of doing, and it's easier than rock climber - congratulate yourself and celebrate accordingly afterwards.
6. Learn stuff off. Learning stuff off is powerful for a few reasons. It sends the poem to the same place in your head as the stuff you had to learn off in school, this tricks your brain into thinking it's actually a timeless classic of a poem, and you'll believe in it accordingly. Also makes reading stuff out feel like an easy lie down in a soft bed. Warning - this does take up A LOT of brain space, and you will find it harder to write while learning stuff, because any time you use a word from one of your poems you end up goin off on a mini recital inside your own head. Also the info may push out other useful information, such as how to dress, how to drive, how to talk to other human beings - all of which can be seen as a mixed blessing as it will help with your image as an eccentric poet.
7. Care about it - try to relive the moment you wrote the poem as you read it. The emotion will come out more if you are really living it.
8. Think about the introductions to the poems, no intro is better than a half assed one, for some poets the intros can be more entertaining than the poems themselves.
9. Be competitive - no one wants to see you fail except the poet who's on straight after you, size them up, you're not goin to let them beat you are you? Get determined to make them sweat, do your very best and raise the bar.
10. Do it. Get out there and practise, at low risk, high risk, any risk opportunities, take every chance you get to try it out - bar mitzvahs, my radio show, whatever - it'll all help. Your poems were written because of a moment or an emotion, people experience moments and emotions all the time, your poems deserve the chance to get out there and be heard.
Ah if only I could put any of the above into practise...
I'm a bit delighted at the moment, have been invited by Magdalene Eve Buckley, (the American & Irish folk music, Celtic trad and Swedish punk rock inspired Finnish-Australian Singer-Songwriter), thanks to a recommendation from Stephen James Smith, and a submission of my work, to do my first ever Charity gig, a real live concerty thing. It's on at the Sugar Club on 4th October, and there'll be bands and talented musicky types galore. Tis part of
Anyways - get ye to the sugar club for a great night's entertainment for a good cause, see ye then then...
Sunday, September 20, 2009
...another TFE writing challenge. This week he gave us a few songs to choose from, one of which was Tracey Chapman's "Fast Cars". Instead I took "She's got her ticket" as the two songs were kinda confused in my head anyway.
Here it is
months stretch in front, a summer just begun,
feels like it's over,
"standing" in the "sitting" room,
a flying gloom sweeps through and fun
fun fun is all she'll ever have,
so why is her heart sooo deflated?
the "latest" greatest one she's met (so far)
is staying and they're both saying "ok
no promises - alright? we'll just have to see"
three months too long to say they'll wait, too young,
cardboard student rooms and bars all emptied,
posters, beermats stripped from walls,
she's got a ticket for a flight -
beginning of a great adventure... but
she doesn't want to leave,
this perfect dream, this make believe
of spring time meeting, pebbles hitting windows, water fights,
the summer's over,
the rucksack packed, a shrug of shoulder,
it's just begun.
Then it was break time, and meself and himself went in opposite directions. Me into the city just in time to join a pub full of Kerrymen, who cheered as their leaders grasped the cup, and danced on the table. Him back West to study the art of translation.
Met up with two of my buddies and went to see "500 days of summer" - really loved it, a quirky pic with lots of lovely little touches which I think will keep me returning to it years from now. One of my friends thought it was boring, shallow and was actually squirming with embarrassment for the characters. My other friend thought it was alright. We all agreed it was the best sound track we'd heard in a while.
Coming out of the cinema, the crowds in red and green were still milling about, the whole of O'Connell street smelling like an aul man's pub. People shouting friendly jibes all over the place. All of this after a great morning's work with Beedlemama. Not a bad day at all at all.
(though no, I didn't wear the jester's hat in town - for those of you who wonder about such things)
Friday, September 18, 2009
This week brave Beedlemama has stepped up to the challenge of entertaining Lucanland for an hour of their precious Sunday. Despite her hard drive problems she will be there, bright eyed and tailed with a bush, ready to recite her work from memory if necessary, and talking seductively along the theme of "Forbidden Love".
Please do not listen in. It is forbidden....
-but if you feel like breaking all the rules, playing hell altogether, letting loose, and any other clichés that come to mind, we'll be there at the usual time 11 - 12. Follow the link below my blog roll - it should work, now that i have mastered the webymajig, unless we get all rebellious and daring and start pressing buttons we're not allowed press. There is a "panic" button too you know. Really. And it's not for drunk or belligerent guests, it's a technical yokey, that'll shoot the dj clear of the building in case of emergency. I hope I never have to use it.
Beedlemama's seductive show is available by clicking here.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Well actually... today... I had my real live big break. At volunteering, some nice folkies from the Beeb wandered in and took a close up of me at work, doing what I do best, stirring a pot of bubbling gravy with a generous rhythm and knowing sensitivity that the cameraman actually took two shots to capture, such was the complexity and beauty of the scene.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Was really looking forward to TFE's challenge this week, take a favourite piece of music, get all inspired, and write a poem.
I chose "No one knows" by Queens of the Stone Age - probably my most favourite song ever, one that I'm having mixed feelings about lately since I chose it as theme tune for the radio show, and it now induces nervous sweats and feelings of fear in me instead of the old euphoria. Anyway - maybe that's partly why the poem that emerged is so miserable. Hope you enjoy. It is Monday after all.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
So Fun Day happened in the blistering sun of the Saturday. It was pretty good. There are more kids in our estate than there are daisies, and it turns out that many of them have a serious addiction to bouncing on inflatable devices.
There was home cooked grub from several of the various nationalities in the place, there were fake tattoos, gingerbread men being lovingly decorated and mercilessly wolfed down. There were balloons, there was me throwing bags of jellies for the scavengers, the kids becoming my long lost best friend, searching for me and my bag of sweets for up to an hour at a time. There was a bout of tug of war, which we (the rest of the estate) managed to win against the home crowd (the folks who live on the green).
There was drinking and merry making on the green later, with the kiddies still running about in pyjamas like sugared up zombies. There was singing, and discovery after discovery of the amazing people that live near us. People with crazy stories, thought provoking conversations and much hilarity.
Then there was Sunday. I was in early to babysit the computer, as promised. Got to sit in and be the “sound” woman for a really interesting show presented by Colm Grogan, learned a thing or two from his great interview skills, and found his guest’s story about his life with MS really inspiring.
Had a lot of quality time with family members, parents fresh off a plane, uncles, aunts, granny etc.
Picked up our bold picture, which I will fervently ignore until himself comes back and we’ll take it out of the plastic together.
Anyway – that’s the craic with me, haven’t written anything new for a while, so I’m gonna put this up now, and try to do that darned TFE exercise in time for tomorrow – the pressure!!
As advertised last week, took meself off down to the Wellington on Friday night to check out the Non-Confined Expression Open Mic Poetry night.
It was a very lively one. With lots of poets of varied age and experience. There was a real spirit of supportiveness and kinmanship between the poets, several of the guys reading live for their very first time (always a priviledge to watch - brings back shaky memories). Stephen James Smith was also among the readers, giving his usual fantastic performance. There were some very mature readers too, one of whom read some great immature, bawdy, and funny poems ranging in topics from the barmaid to other women.... ok - they were all about women.
Damien Kinnerk generously allocated 10 minutes per reader, so it was just as well I happened to have my entire collected works with me. With all the practise last weekend I was fairly confident that I knew my poems well enough, (the 3 that I do know off) so tried focussing on reading them a little slower than usual this time, instead of being all about getting finished and getting off in the shortest possible time. The result was my second ever standing ovation for a poem (the same poem btw - the thumb tack one - for some reason men love it when women are mean in poetry!). The crowd were also unbelieveably fulsome and friendly in their chat and praise afterwards, which left me leaving the place feeling like I was leaving the set of Cheers (where everybody knows my name - geddit?). It was really cool - a really really nice crowd, as we left, some of them were grabbing the mic for a sing song. Fair play to the non confined poets, they ran a great, inclusive, and happy night, that felt mostly just like a big gang of friends getting together for an aul poetry hoolie - Brilliant.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Normally I don't tell ye till Saturday who's gonna be on with me on Sunday, but since Uisce has totally blown the surprise, I mean proudly announced it to the world, I'll admit it, we taped his show tonight. It's worth a listen, I can tell ye now. He's reading several of his brilliant pieces on it, and reveals the meaning of life, mystery and the universe, all while tying in neatly to the theme of water. What's more I'm going in training this saturday evening, and will be in on Sunday, babysitting the computers of the radio station ensuring they're broadcasting to the world (while almost all other lucan writers sit nursing their hangovers somewhere in the wicklow hills)... so satisfaction is almost guaranteed - tune in then, link on the right there, 11 am as always. Do text in, since I'll be sitting there bored on my lonesome, and email the station demanding a podcast if ye likes what ye hear...
HERE's the podcast of the brilliant Uisce in Action.
In other news - today is international Roald Dahl day. Happy RD day everyone!!
Finally - since I only got one, (very weak), excuse on yesterday's blog, I am looking forward to a very full crowd in the Wellington pub tomorrow night... see ye then then!!!!!!
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
the once off poetry night run by the insane tattooed poets of the city. Should be an interesting night. Starts around nine in the Wellington Pub on Upper Baggot Street - scheduled on facebook to go on until 12.00 Saturday, excuses only in the comments section please (and they better be good!)
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
He's left me again, forsaken me for the Gaeilge, off West for a 2 month course in translation skills. This time at least he'll be off at weekends. So should be back the odd time.
Implications are as follows:
He will at least now read the blog - (hiya btw! xox)
I should have more time to write while no longer busy being a domestic goddess, cooking, cleaning etc etc...
I should get through some more of those pesky books cluttering up the fireplace, while not having to concentrate on being scintillating company all evening every evening.
He might listen to the radio show.
I'll probably go mad again - wearing myself out going to all sorts of open mic things, finding new and exciting outlets for stimulation and fun, burning candles at all possible ends, and generally being totally selfish...
(eh, so not actually THAT much different to when he's around, at least he enjoys em too...)
Monday, September 7, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
So I've had a shower, I've used a toilet that didn't make me want to get sick, and I'm sitting on something other than the cold ground or a teepee cushion, if it wasn't for the sparkly nail varnish you probably wouldn't know that there was anything different about the weekend.
Things that happened:
We got the tent up expertly in one shot (at only the third attempt).
Saw another version of the exact same tent lying dead and abandoned by some unluckier campers on the saturday morning - (further proving our brilliance at eventually getting the thing standing, albeit awkwardly skewed and mishapenly.)
Was repeatedly woken late at night by good natured drunken monkeys singing, all shouty in the campsite.
Tommy Tiernan read a bit from a William Burroughs book that he loved.
I said some poems, some louder than others, some longer than others. One little red haired teeny boy stood up and clapped at the end of one of them.
Got to share the stage with the fantastic poets Kate Dempsey and Barbara Smith.
We watched and bopped along to Madness, crazy brilliant guys.
Someone from the arts council thought I looked like Clare Kilroy from behind.
Imelda May was lovely - really generous to the crowd and her band.
I kissed a barman for a necklace - it's ok, Mr VC gave his full permission.
Theo Dorgan said he enjoyed our stuff.
Saw Mia Gallagher and Colm Keegan wowing the literary tent with their gritty Dublandness.
Kept running into ex colleagues and compulsively telling them I've moved from Poultry into Poetry.
Saw the Poetry Chicks as well, accompanied on the piano by Conor Kelly, who also read some really brilliant poems.
Twas a muddy, messy, marvellous weekend, a good time was had by all, even that girl who was crying in the portaloo beside me late last night, I'm sure they were tears of happiness.
Friday, September 4, 2009
HERE's the podcast of the marvellous Matt.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
If you have - please tell me the idea in the comment box, I will not tell ANYONE else, I promise.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009