Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ever dreamt of Invigilating?

Don't mess with the Invigilator... It'd be a kinda cool job title to have on the aul CV wouldn't it? No? Just me? Again?

Sometimes I need Invigilation - click here to see what I mean

## Volunteering Opportunity ##

Installation & Invigilation Volunteers

RUA RED, South Dublin’s flagship centre for the arts is seeking enthusiastic and committed volunteers to become part of its project team for the upcoming Year of Craft exhibition ‘Ornament’.

‘Ornament’ is a stunning exhibition of over 100 brooches, designed and made by over 30 of the finest contemporary studio jewellers in Ireland and the UK. The exhibition is curated by Angela O’Kelly and supported by the Crafts Council of Ireland as part of the Year of Craft.

RUA RED is seeking two teams of volunteers to assist with the smooth installation and successful run of this ambitious exhibition.

Installation Volunteers

This team of volunteers will assist the Technician and Curator with the handling and preparation of the work for installation. This will be intricate and delicate work.

Invigilation Volunteers

This team of volunteers will be the main point of contact for visitors to the gallery. You will be equipped with in-depth knowledge of the work to guide visitors. You will also be responsible for the safety of the work within the space.

In addition to gaining valuable experience in an arts environment, you will receive in-kind benefits in the form of access to our multi media and music rooms or vouchers for our cafe.

You should be able to commit to a minimum of a 4 hour shift between the hours of 9.30am – 6.30pm Monday to Saturday.

Applicants must be aged 16 or over.

How to Apply

Visit our website to download an application form and role description or call reception on 01 451 5860 to request that an application pack be emailed to you.

Completed application should be returned to Fiona Ni Leime by post or email:

RUA RED, Civic Square, Tallaght, Dublin 24 or

Closing Date

Closing date for applications is 5pm, Thursday 14th April 2011.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

An Chuid Shootings

A bus driver from the gaeltacht once picked up Mr VC and told him that there were "An chuid Shootings" in Dublin - ie a lot of shootings, this while he drove away from the city at break neck speed, terrified of being caught in a random crossfire with his bus load of dublin teens bound for 3 weeks of Irish speaking in the West.
I was going to talk about how much more this seems to be so when we no longer live in the place and are just hearing about these incidents on the news, and therefore how a different perspective can completely change your, well, perspective... and then I realised how silly that would be,,, so decided against it.
Instead I thought you should all watch this and mail me your order for official south of Eire Air (guaranteed gunpowder free).

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Muse's Amusement

This week again we had a choice of prompts to get us onto the Poetry Bus. I took the illustrative challenge.
I'm not overly excited with the result, am no expert when it comes to "paint" so found my effort less than inspiring, and it's a lot less than chirpy too... I'm sure there'll be far better tickets to be inspected over here though - so do make sure you call over.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Looking For Leon – A Rrrreview

Amn’t I fancy, doing a review? I am sitting beside a copy of Looking for Leon, a book I would normally pass by in any shop, because we judge things by their covers, and the cover for this book is sparkly, with a big old shooting star, twinkling stars, twinkles on the edges of the title, a black skyline and author’s name in pink. And the by-line “What would you do to find the one that got away?” did nothing for me either. So why did I read it? I hear you ask.

Well, stoopid kindle face went down before I got to get onto my next book club book, it’s now forever trapped behind a splodge, at least until I can get it fixed up, so the nearest book to hand was in my hand within seconds. Shirley, the author, had sent me a nice email offering me a review copy too, and I rarely say no to free stuff, and have never been known to say no to a free book, so I said “Yes please, kind stranger” hoping she wouldn’t realise I don’t write for the New Yorker between seeing my response and getting to the post box.

So on with the review. I started to read, and my heart sank a little. I really didn’t like the protagonist, in fact – she made me a bit angry. One of her biggest complaints about a colleague was that he was one of those people who don’t care what anyone else thinks of him, something I fervently aspire to, so I took that personally maybe. There was also the fact that she lived in a totally alien world to me, where her modelling a bikini on Grafton street actually did something major for the sales of bananas, and she said things like “Leon was my spirit in another person. We were two halves of the same entity” when talking about a man she spent a few hours with in a casino hotel in Vegas – the catalyst for the whole adventure and her soul mate.

When I got to the bit on where she was about to lose him for the first time, I actually laughed out loud at some of the writing – where something inside the protagonist exploded in response to the man’s smile (sadly not her appendix), and then he lifted his hand up to hers, took it from his shoulder and to his mouth, where he kissed it so tenderly that she instantly felt like crying with the beauty of the moment... This all made me want to read on – I wanted to see if this would be a book that would be so bad it was good.

So we followed Andie, for that was her name, on her quest to find the man she’d loved and lost. The author had an unusual style, conversational and intimate with the reader, meandering a good bit, trying to make the most of the inner demons of her cast, never losing a chance to make a joke whether the scene was serious or not. (She also sometimes put her sub-points in brackets, which made me sometimes want to skip over them, thinking they mustn’t be that important and then I remembered that I often do that on this blog, and wondered if that is the way you readers feel about them too)(but then I stopped worrying about that because I wanted to keep on reading).

The adventure was kind of predictable, in a nice, satisfying, amn’t I the clever reader – I knew that was coming (ok there was one big thing I didn’t see coming, but you won’t know that if you don’t read what’s in the brackets, like me) kind of way. It was annoying and inconsistent in parts – one of our heroine’s major selling points later on is that she doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. There’s a lot that annoyed me as a reader, but a few little gems too (a mention of Jim Morrison hearing her from his grave all the way away in Paris), and the book in the end I think, kept me looking forward to coming back because of the simplicity and artless style of storytelling – almost like getting regular emails from a slightly annoying younger sister who feels the need to constantly remind you how much she’s learning about life as she goes along, but you do end up caring about where she ends up, and always feel a little teensy bit excited opening it up for another gulp, even though you know it’s complete unreality and exaggeration.

So in summary, I enjoyed it. Shirley Benton’s debut is a bouncing labrador of a read that sometimes thinks it’s a poodle, and I would look forward to having a read of her next book.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The wheels on the bus go...

This week Uisce's driving the bus, and has given us the job of heading out, at least a mile out, into the big bad world, find somewhere that you haven't been before and write about it.

Energy levels being what they are right now, I had to settle for the local tyre garage, who spell the word "Tyre" - "Tire" on their online ad. I should've known I wouldn't like em. (For poetry's sake of course I have over-dramatised and hyped the moment to the last)

People who've actually found somewhere really new and exciting to write from will be found over at Uisce's blog here.



What price did you give her?

I hear them discuss

Low man voices they

think I can’t make out


I sit beside a man

Who’ll be charged less

on a fake black leather

couch from someone’s house


The grease man has triumphant cheeks

Tells me the third tyre’s bald

and maybe I should walk

but I’m used to being a sucker

Too weak to fight it further

so I shrug and let him sell me

what he wants


His loss, I think

We could be friends

Maybe we’d have laughed

together at tree frogs in the rain, or jumped

in skipping competitions, or spread

sincere perfection through someone

else’s sorry life


Too late


I press in pin numbers

He offers a tiny cardboard yellow tree

And I leave

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St Patrick wasn't a saint

St Patrick was never actually canonised, so is not really a saint.

Other common myths:

that Trees produce electricity from leftover root juices which they use to light up the forest when no-one's looking, or sometimes at Electric Picnic. They actually don't.

that Dogs enjoy walks. They don't. They just like making you suffer.

that Leg cramps can't last more than a few minutes - they can actually go for days - even when you haven't been silly enough to indulge in exercise.

that Any decision is better than indecision. Simply not true. Indecision can be great, I think, at least sometimes.

that Patricks day is the only day off Lent. Not true - in fact every Sunday is a day off too - there are 46 days from Ash Wednesday to E - day - and 40 days in Lent. The Sundays are free.

that Fair City is not the greatest program in the universe. It actually is, at least as good as anything else.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Jelly Belly

My first visit to the hospital in Cork land was going rather well, only two and a half hours in the door and I'd had my little checkout scan of the babs, with the surreal showing of ultrasound waves - looking like shafts of light passing through the little ones ribcage, and had had my interview with a student midwife answering all the questions that I'd answered some months back in the dubland hospital, and already I was with a doctor... I was delighted to hop up on the chair again when she said she'd take a look at the little un, her screen was smaller than the one I'd seen an hour and a half ago, but sure I had no problem having another peek inside and was in fact looking forward to yet another look. When I pulled up my top though, the jelly gave me away - sitting there in what's left of my belly button, some of the jelly used on the earlier scan. It was either own up or pretend I just put jelly there myself for no good reason... so I owned up "Er, that's just from the scan the nurse did earlier" I sheepishly admitted, and the doctor was delighted, "Well that saves me a job then" and I was back off that chair with nothing more than a quick run over with a measuring tape for my trouble. I'll be more careful in future....

Bet ye all thought with the title this post'd be all about me being as big as a house, well I hope you're not too dissappointed...
Do I use too many ellipses by the way...?

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Snuggle Snorkle and other things that should have been invented

Ya know, growing new people leads to lots of fun and random side effects, like a runny nose prone to easy blockage and reduced space for lungs in your ribcage and an inability to get comfortable contributing to the torturous feeling that can sometimes steal upon you, when for once you have found the perfect position in bed, your back doesn't ache, your lodger is quiet and relaxed, and you are just perfectly snuggled under the duvet in the nicest warmest perfectest spot... until you realise - you can't breathe here - there's just not enough air around when you've snuggled to that sweet extent... So why oh why is there not an easy to use "Snuggle Snorkel" for such an occasion, to allow you to enjoy the cosy nooks of your own bed? dagnammit?! That could have been my protest subject if I'd thought of it in time...
I haven't really thought of anything else that should have been invented... but c'mon, give me a break - have you?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Protesting on the Watercats bus

I had the same problem when we were told to write an angry poem for the bus, yonks ago, but this week's mission to write a good protest ditty has led to utter failure for me again...
there are so many unfair things in the world, and I know it's really important that they have their voice and people standing up against them, but I guess I feel unqualified to go on about them in the way that others can do, and do so, so much more powerfully than I ever could, because they speak from positions of authority about the raw mean-ness of life... But I can't do that, as I've been too darned lucky so far, and life has been too kind for me to really credibly get annoyed about anything much... so instead here's my feeble miaow against the half hearted angsty poem that I might have come up with if I had tried to fool myself with something angry.

For far better poems, and an exciting soon to come protest song (which will completely shock me if this stanza makes it to be a part of) head over to the driver's blog - wonderful watercats - here


I’m against the angry poems

a poem that bites and tears and foams

it won’t make nothing better

Like moo’s against wet leather

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Poem which attempts to dissuade you from bringing your Sheep to Supervalu

I don't mind telling you, this next one was a tough one to write, sheeps pressure groups all over the country are lobbying strongly... but we've got to be strong. Sheep, they're sneakier than they look.
A Poem which attempts to dissuade you from bringing your Sheep to Supervalu*

Don’t bring your sheep to Supervalu

And if she tries to boss/ corral you

Stand up to her, this femme fatale ewe

Is bound to turn into a bully


She’d climb on the deli, and go for a graze

There’d be no keeping up with her sure footed ways

She’d run amok in the veggie displays

How can I tell you more fully?


Your even toed ungulate sure won’t keep the peace

She’d wolf into freshly cooked breads, such caprice

Is tough to combat when you’re faced with a fleece

Giving dark looks from eyelashes all woolly


Don’t listen if she tells you she’s only being human

And wants something tasty to fill up her rumen

Forget it, watch her close, or you’ll be left fumin'

No Supervalu for your sheep today

(* for the foreigners - it's pronounced to rhyme with value... this is why it's taken this long to write, so hard to rhyme)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Paper v's Kindling

I have a brother who's into IT, he broke open my communion money bought spectrum zx many moons ago and spent that summer happily soldering away at the chip board. He has since spent his life trying to make up for it by gifting me the latest high tech gadgets, such as a Palm Pilot for my 21st (a blackberry when people still didn't even have emails) and now a Kindle...
So now it's time for my verdict, bug gave hers a month or so back, so pop over there if you want an alternative view - most of the below is nicked from an email I sent to a friend who wanted to know what I thought:

The kindle was great for sitting around in public places, nice n light and compact, I like the way you look up the meaning of words you don't know instantly, and never have the fear of running out of book, since you can always get another if you run out - classics are sometimes free, which I know because I got The Idiot by Dostyovsky. Anyway I'd deffo miss the texture, the feel and the smell of paper, and it's sad how no one can notice what you're reading and say to you "That's a great book" (which only ever happened me once in my life, maybe in a dream). Also sad that it's not as sharable/ pass on able as real books (though husband likes the idea of less towers of physical books cluttering up the house), also less readable while in the bath, shower etc... It's far likelier to get stolen on you too. On an emotional attachment front, I'm only into my first read so don't know how i'll react to having a completely different voice coming from the same physical object. Real books are handier for scribbling on, more flick-through-able, you've a better idea of how far through you are (who knows what 52% really looks like in paper?) and a real book never runs out of batteries - how maddening could that be?
My biggest worry about e-reading is that book shops may disappear. How will new generations get lost in the possibilities, fall in love with reading, discover random new titles, wile away the half hours waiting for their companions to finish shopping? I used to endlessly pick up the first pages and have a read in the shops... losing that is pretty terrifying, reducing the experience of discovering new books to the whim of the website...

check out this guy by the way - wouldn't like to be the one telling him that books are no more...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Pancake Drunken Bus

This week Peter Goulding is driving the bus, and encouraging us to share tales of drunkenness or write a pancake centred poem in the style of a particular poet, or write a rondeau (fancy!). Be sure to visit him here to see what the other mischievious bus poets come up with.

I'd have loved to try and do all three, but my poetic energy levels are low, so I'll have to go with just the one. So, I give you....

A Pancake with Guts

After Charles Bukowski


I used to come home drunk from a day losing at the horses

and sit down by the cooker while the woman made pancakes

Me and the 3 legged, one eyed dog

Sat on the linoleum, growling at each other

Listening to the sizzles getting hotter

Each flip leading to a new riot

An opening of a universe

Of shouting pancakes with no sugar, just cutting lemon

Sharper than a razor


And while I ate

the old dog’s whines were a kind of sauce on the side

making everything taste better

while the woman went and showered

and I heard the dog’s heart sinking

to his toes

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Poem which attempts to dissuade you from bringing your Panda to the Creche

Lest you'd think I can't do serious, here's a very serious message. I hope you pay close attention - it might be the last animal in a place of business poem that I can manage for a while, but I'm glad to be bringing something so vitally important to you...

A Poem which attempts to dissuade you from bringing your Panda to the Creche
Don't bring your Panda to the Creche
You know he'd only be getting fresh
with the teddies and toys, he's such a letch
Not a patch on that old gent Baloo
Oh sure, he might look helpless and cuddly
But he's only dreaming of getting studly
with a stuffed koala, in a dirty puddly
yard, while singing a bad Agadoo
He thinks sitting around all day's all that's required
and even at that, sometimes says that he's tired
with the kids running round, he'd soon have you fired
His only real interest: Bamboo
So tell your sedentary black and white
his request is only a load of "not right"
he'll have to stay home for the day and sit tight
No Creche for your Panda today