Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Time being Right

Loyal readers will remember that I didn't change my clocks when clocks changed over for Winter, I kept with the Summer hours, and readers I can report that I stuck with the Summer hours all the way through, smugly rolling into work at what felt like 9.30, going to bed with an easy conscience at midnight for me, feeling that I'd been up late...
You can only imagine how irkful the last few days have been for me, with the rest of the world now in full agreement with the timings on my phone and car clock.... I'm nearly thinking of moving my clock ahead another hour, just to go back to my previous "way ahead" kinda timeline, but then I'll be two hours ahead next winter, and then it'll probably just keep going, spiralling further and further out of control until I wind up in 24 years time back at square one, and still having decisions to make every 6 months.
Life can be so tough sometimes.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Poem a day project - quarterly report

3 months into the new years resolution I'm still managing to write a poem a day. I have quite a few about the weather, some disastrous tired rants, and some that are actually ok.
I had been hoping to discover some kind of pattern to my poetry - to see that the third friday or the first wednesday of each month was actually the best time for writing, so that I could just write on those days in future, as yet no such pattern seems to be emerging... although it's possibly too early to say.
I do seem to like more poems from this month than from last month or the month before (as you'll see from the sad little colour coded excel sheet, shown here in black and white - these are the lists of poems per month that might actually be ok), though I'm not entirely sure whether that's because I'm too near to them now to be objective or if I'm actually getting better. I always like my recent stuff when it's recent, but given time some of it goes off, gets smelly and mouldy and is fit only for the dump. It's so hard to judge your own work isn't it?
I guess the daily forcing myself to do something - sometimes ANYTHING - isn't a bad thing. It's nice to always have fresh material to look at. And now that I've admitted it here, in public, I might even have to keep it up...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Poetry Over

So what was the rest of the Poetry Now festival like and who won the prize, and what did the volunteering involve anyway, I hear the voices in my head ask.
Well - I only saw the award giving for the Poetry Now award, and had to head off soon after, so I can't say much more about that. I can reveal that Sinéad Morrissey won the prize, and graced us with the start and end poem from her collection, both of which were very beautiful.

The volunteering involved asking people some slightly personal questions - like how much they were spending at the festival, and then some more social/ cultural ones - like whether they thought the festival would improve their own creativity, whether it attracted people from different social backgrounds etc. It seemed not to be the most diverse of audiences to be fair, but hopefully the survey results will help towards fixing that in future years.
It was for the most part very enjoyable chatting to people, got some extreme reactions though - people not wanting to talk about money, (one drunk lady at 6.30 on Friday evening claiming irritably that you can't put a price tag on art - then saying her hotel cost 700 euro) - some people calling the survey classist.
On the flip side some nice friendly famous poets did the survey with me, without any airs or graces, one nudging Paul M as he passed saying to me "Well there's been some very rough characters" - yes I was part of a joke with PM.

And then we got to be very friendly all of a sudden, me and Paulie standing around chatting and laughing and patting each other on our backs, reciting our poems to each other, him saying:
"No you're a better poet Niamh"
Me saying "No, you're better"
Him saying "Stoppit!!!" and blushing
Seamus interrupting us and saying "Lookit ye're both great, now break it up and have a guddle"

No, actually that last bit didn't happen at all in actual real life...

But this did:

which is almost as good - let's face it...
ps - one of the aforementioned nice famous poets told me of his gentle joking with PM - where he pointed out one of the references missed in his poetical dissection of last Thursday.
"You missed the one about the word car park"
"Well it was an obvious play on the words carp and ark" etc etc
"Yerrah feck off"

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Poetry Bus - Pick a Word

So this week - Rachel very ably took the bus keys and set us the challenge of picking a favourite word to centre the poem around. I found this a tough decision, especially when TFE ran off with "Guddle" but I have settled on the word Essence, and picked out a lot of nice related words from the spice industry, and tried somehow to mix em all together to come up with something semi-tasty. Hope you like.

For Other Bus poems - visit Rachel's Bus post here....

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Poetry Then

So yesterday evening I snuck in to see Justin Quinn, Luljeta Lleshanaku, and Philip Gross, again down in Dun Laoighaire at the Poetry Now Festival. (I'm getting in free by volunteering to help out with a festival survey by the way, in case you're wondering about all the sudden reading-going activity)

Anyway - it was interesting. This is the first formal poetry reading I've been at for a long while, and there are some big differences between this and the Open Mic type stuff I've been mostly seeing of late. For one thing - it's definitely a tougher crowd for the poets, there's no applauding between poems, and little shouting up from the crowd type interaction (apart from the undesirable type reported yesterday!)... Having said that, there was a quieter atmosphere in which to read, which probably suited some of the poets - they didn't have to fight for the attention of the crowd. They were poetry lovers and fans already.

First up was Justin Quinn. He's been living in Eastern Europe for the last 20 years, but read us some sonnets based on his recollections of his youth in Blackrock. He assumed a lot of locals were in the audience in his introductions, which wasn't true of me, but didn't hamper my enjoyment of his poems. For me he was the most touching of the night - with his poem about his Child - and how very young children are both boyish and girlish - a vivid image of his child sweeping hair out of their face like a woman before landing a punch to his groin with the declaration "That's the Batman way" was the standout best moment of the night for me.

Next was Luljeta Lleshanaku, an Albanian poet - and here's the new thing learned - the Albanian alphabet was only standardised in 1909. Anyway - she was a very charming performer, warm and honest, and had some really interesting thoughts to share. One of her comments was from her time working in a carpet factory while it was still a communist country, and her marvelling at how her colleagues adored the characters from literature, idealised the beauty and drama in said characters lives, while not seeing the same in the people and lives around them. Her poem "Old News" captured that thought. She also read in Albanian for us, which was nice, for the local Dun Laoghaire Albanians.

Finally was Philip Gross, a household name - the nice man from Poetry Ireland told us. He came out and without introduction or explanation gave us his first poem. Then introduced and explained after that he had dared himself to do so. He has a quirky delivery style and a dramatic voice befitting a Star Wars narrator (if there was such a thing), and revels in writing about the ordinary - Mud and Water featured highly in his set. He read some extracts from the Water Garden - a result, he explained, of a game where he imagined how you would design a garden completely of water. His final poem was for me the highlight, a poem directed at kids (but he did say he'd never write something for kids that he didn't think adults would like too) - about a boat made out of poems...
(he must've heard about the poetry bus - if you're reading Philip - you should climb on some day)

Off now to see who wins The Irish Times - Poetry Now 2010 award...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Raven On the Radio

So this weekend I will be welcoming the fantastic Raven to the Liffey Sound Studio for his show on the theme of

"America: Undreamt"

Raven's journey to date in his own words:

"Born in San Francisco, 1965. Raised on the edge of America, within earshot of the ocean, in a house full of books, music and politics. My folks – longshoreman, lab technician – were also professional musicians, Socialists, activists for labor and social justice.
Wasn’t much interested in applying myself at school – a litany of alleged facts that both bored and intimidated me – but read voraciously on my own time, questioned everything and, while I had friends, inhabited a private world revolving not on any grand scheme but on the tiniest details.
Studied film, graphic design and painting in college, was called away from studies by the responsibilities of young parenthood -- and an uncontrollable fear of institutions. Worked intermittently as a graphic designer, cinematographer, and at whatever jobs I had to in order to make a living. In the gaps, joined the next generation of activists, applying my skills as an artist – including writing -- to creative protest, guerilla theatre.
I’d been writing poetry since a child – a means of translating the world, distilling chaos to essences I could digest. Found inspiration in the Beats, the radical black poets of the 60’s and 70’s, hip hop. In the early 90’s, started reading publicly at open mics and getting published in local anthologies, small-press magazines.
Moved to Ireland in 2005, and moved from reading to performing, getting the opportunity to support Saul Williams twice during his 2006 tour, perform yearly at the Electric Picnic, as well as in Wales and England. I have been published in two anthologies in Ireland, won Balcony TV’s Best Alternative Performer award in 2008, and currently run and perform at the monthly spoken word showcase Tongue Box, in Dublin. In the past year I have been incorporating live music and soundscapes into my work, and a book and cd are in the works."

You can check out his award winning Balcony TV performance here

Anyway - hope ye can join us then - usual time - 4pm on Liffey Sound, catch up if you miss it on if you miss it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Poetry When?

Went to the keynote address for Poetry Now last night. Paul Muldoon gave a talk on 6 Irish Poets, and 7 of their poems with references to fish. Paul is a genius, everyone left elated and buzzing from the performance.
Two of the poets in question were there and read their poems for us, Seamus Heaney and Medbh McGuckian. He took us through the literary, legendary, political, biblical and personal references that he saw in the individual pieces - sometimes the references were very obscure and tenuous. In one poem alone, there were the 30 pieces of silver from Jesus' betrayal, echoes of an ancient Irish poem by Aengus, a piece of Finnegan's Wake, "Ah" referred to Ahab from Moby Dick and many more. He highlighted threads and connections that may have been unknown to the poets themselves, but he argued their possible (even subconscious) use.
He taught us a new word "Guddle" - which means to tickle a fish - judging by the high level of poets and writers in the audience - that one will be coming soon to a poem, or piece of literary fiction, near you very soon.
All this was after he had dealt with an aggressive heckler at the very start of the evening, who started off shouting at Paul about "Why didn't he take a stance on Northern Ireland politics" - and ended sheepishly leaving, having read on Paul's invitation - the first poem of the night to be tackled. It was really amazing.
He told us some personal stories of his own along the way, and ended with reference to the Pope's Letter to Ireland - how secularism was to blame for the woes of the church and how one of the concrete initiatives was for Ireland to pray about the problem. He finished with the killer line - (which of course I didn't take down, though I should have, so can't quote exactly) - about how it is still the responsibility of the fish to get off the hook.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Man Stands for long time....

.....with mouth open before roast duck flies in.

A wee motivational post today, as today is the day when I have been informed of my second ever poem publication! Hip hip - hoorah. It's going to be in the next Revival Press Magazine, launching next Thursday, and they've invited me down to read it out in Limerick (kinda funny limerick would print my second ever poem to be printed - since it's also the site of my second ever reading) and everything.

The above saying comes from my desk calender for today, and it's actually true - because, you see, they didn't hack into my computer to find the poem, nor did they call over to my house on the off chance I might have something. In fact I sent it to them.
Very forward I know, but these are modern times and they call for modern means.
Anyhoo - thought I'd share the news...... although - does that mean I have to tell ye about all the rejects in future? No, I couldn't burden ye with all of those, I wouldn't have it on my conscience...

Monday, March 22, 2010


So - since I'm on the cusp of my 30th Radio show, thought I'd ask yez for feedback, cos I know you've all been listening religiously. And though my Mammy tells me each show is better than the last, and though I've succeeded somehow in not being thrown out yet, despite my numerous gremlins in the desk etc - I just wondered if any of ye have any constructive feedback for me... Any particular kinds of questions you'd like to see more of? Are there any brilliant stars out there that I can claim are a little bit Dublin based (or indeed any I've missed that are Dublin based) (or indeed if you are a great and wonderful writer anywhere near Dubland anytime, and you'd like to be on the show - do get in touch - the email is niamh dot bagnell at gmail dot com) and hunt down as future guests? Anything that hasn't been done yet that I should consider doing?

Here's a quick recap of the wonderful, generous, talented people I've already had on the show and the themes they have chosen:

Joan O'Flynn: That's Life
Triona Walsh: The Lonely Outsider
Matt Bolton: Home
Colm Keegan: Water
Lisa Rushmere: Forbidden Love
Joe McKiernan: Travel
Cait Bohan: The Writer's Journey
David Mohan: Passion
Stephen James Smith: Mental Health
Kate Dempsey: Divas
Brian Kirk: Elegy, Lament and Sadness at the passing of time
Eileen Casey: The Art of the Idea
Joan Power: Tales of Loss and Lunacy
Blaithnaid Nolan: Unrequited Love
Louise Phillips: Relationships
Fintan O'Higgins: The Context of Poetry
Ailin O'Dea & Sarah O'Reilly: Women Writers
Hannah Bagnell: Survival, Life and Death
Stephen Kennedy: Male - Female Relationships
Brian Conaghan: Racism and Politics
Damien Kinnerk & Paul Hendrick: Non-confined Expression
Mia Gallagher: Rebirth
Honey Fungus Teen Writers: The life of a Teenager
Enda Muldoon: The Art of Comedy
Aiden O'Reilly: Opening the Doors of Perception
Kalle Ryan: Family
Mike O'Flynn: Poetry as Prayer
Ross Hattaway: Place and Belonging
Steve Conway: Going Nowhere

Sunday, March 21, 2010


So the Angry Poetry Bus is leaving tomorrow - people keep getting on the poetry bus earlier and earlier... (makes me so mad!) (not really) -see here for the rest of the poets

I thought a protest poem would be easy, but actually found it very difficult, and realised actually I very very rarely get angry. Few people have actually seen me angry - It's not that I don't think things are bad and things should change - just that I don't see the point in fuming over it... (and If I haven't done everything I can to improve a situation, I guess I don't feel I have a right to get angry about it), so real anger is a rare visitor to me, thankfully I guess (but then that just means I'm too lazy to have done everything I can to improve anything, so I guess that doesn't reflect too well on me!!). So here's the poem, hopefully saying something about anger...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

If you build it, they will come

Herself is too much into the TV. She's been shown "Field of dreams" as well as David Attenborough programs far too often in her previous life - which has led to her tenacious attempts to attract a prairie dog population to the Lucan area.
Either that, or it's a series of Booby traps for when we're playing football with her,
either way - not good.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Steve Conway on the Radio

This weekend, the radio show will be setting sail with the wonderful Steve Conway.

Steve began broadcasting on London rock-music pirate, South East Sound in 1985, before moving to offshore pirate radio station Radio Caroline (Inspiration for "The boat that Rocked"), where he was Head of News and Programme Controller. His memoir, Shiprocked: Life on the Waves with Radio Caroline.which details his involvment with Radio Caroline in its final years at sea was published last year. His short story "Old Haunts" was published in the 2008 anthology of Irish writing "Census", he currently has an article published in Hotpress, (pg 61 & 62) and he now works as a presenter on Phantom Radio. The theme he has chosen is "Going Nowhere"
His blog is over here - where you can read more about his fantastic adventures, both past and
Find us on Liffey Sound, 4pm on Sunday, (that's midnight in Manila) uploaded onto, sometime soon thereafter.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Here's the Plan

So I have a suggestion for next year's Patrick's day.
Every year the news comes on, on the 17th of March and tells us that there were wonderful parades all around the country, and then, with just the slightest trace of smugness (a bit like the expression on herself in the above photo) - the announcer tells us that the biggest parade of all was held in Dublin. Every single year.
I'm not sure whether you are aware of this effect - whether this prevails in your country but here - in terms of media - Dublin is the centre of the universe.
I only realised how much so when I actually moved here and found that all the best traffic jams, murders, best shops, nightclubs etc basically anything really newsworthy in the whole country happens here. The news was no longer happening far away - it was on streets I knew, near places I drove past. And if I had never lived outside the capital, I've a feeling I would think there was nothing else in the country.
Anyway - next year let's for once and for all show that things and stuff can happen outside of the big city. Let's get the Patrick's Day Parade organisers for Limerick, Galway, and Cork together and club all their groups to have a huge big parade in the smallest town we can find out the country...
Everyone should go to this parade in the middle of the countryside, and then we'll set the timers on our tvs to tape the surprised look on the face of the girl on the six one news when she announces: "The biggest parade this year was held in Du.... I mean .... Ballyrathfoylemement (?!) with 250000 attendees and 1342 floats"
Let's do it.
It'll be great.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

She's no Yoshimi

But she does her best against the Pink Robots.*

* Pink Robot - a thoughtful and kind gift from gentle friends on the occasion of my birthday several years ago.

Happy Day of Patrickness everyone!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A cup of Tea

Here's a plan for Saturday - if you're planning anything beyond tomorrow

An event on down in Dun Laoighaire - in the lovely people's park tea rooms - organised by the fantastic Mia Gallagher. I'll be saying a poem or two there anyhoo.

Saturday 20th March

Stranger than Fiction (non-fiction & poetry)

12noon: Poetry Coffee Morning. What better way to get ready for the dlr Poetry Now 10 festival than to share your favourite poems with other lovers of the artform? Poems can be by yourself or another.

2pm: Readings & discussion by memoirist Lia Mills and historical writer Neil Hegarty.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spillane, Mozart, Art and Bollywood

Went to see John Spillane Saturday night - here's a clip of him singing the song we chose as our first dance song when we were getting marriaged there last year.

He's an amazing live entertainer, just warm and genuine, funny and to me very homey - since he's full of his Corkness and constantly - and I mean CONSTANTLY talks colourfully about Cork in his songs. He's great.
Sunday we tripped our way into town to see the Bacon Studio in the Hugh Lane Gallery - since I'd never been to see it, but they were just closing the doors since there was a Mozart recital about to begin in the main hall... Having just finished reading "The Piano Shop on the Left Bank" a book by a man obsessed with proper pianos and classical piano music, as well as having never actually sat down to listen to a live classical music recital up to now, myself and Mr VC decided to give it a go.
Fionnuala Moynihan was the performer, she gave us a lovely introduction - describing what Mozart's influences and intentions were in the three Sonatas (No 6, 7 & 8) that she was planning to play. It was a strange contrast in atmosphere, when she paused between movements - no one clapped by mistake (not even me) - (when John Spillane had paused towards the end of one of his songs and some people started clapping - he shouted "Gotcha" with glee and went on playing saying "I can't stop playing this one ladies and gentlemen, if ye could play it ye wouldn't be able to stop it either")
Also at the Mozart there was the compulsory eejit letting their mobile phone ring and ruining it for everyone, the person getting carried away bopping to a beat no one else could hear, and the one who couldn't stifle their coughs at the worst possible times (me)...
I did feel a little at sea for most of the performance, like as if I was watching a cartoon in a foreign language and just couldn't quite grasp what was going on - the only one that really came to life for me was Sonata 8 K310 (Sounds like a Nokia battery doesn't it?) - which was written by Mozart about his mother soon after she died, you could hear the emotion through that alright. It was a restful, meditative kinda way to spend an hour, it was free, and it provided me with the time and emotional energy to write the work of genius that was yesterday's poem.
We then saw Mr Bacon's studio - my biggest problem with it would be the lack of a comfy seat, but I've seen messier. He used alot of ordinary looking tins of paint too, which was fairly impressive - I liked the interview they were playing too - he seemed, in it, like a likeable mysterious artist type scamp. Can't find the exact one again for you here, but you can have a look at this instead.
In other news - I will be coming to a big screen near you soon - yes the Bollywood film which I partook in last year "Moore Street Masala" is going to be on in real live cinemas soon. I'm fairly near the back in the crowd scene - mainly because the star of the show was feeling insecure that I was actually a better dancer than her, but sure look, you can't blame her, she's spent all those years in professional training and then I just walk in off the street with the raw talent that just wipes the floor with her - full story here from last year. Anyway - it's to be shown before ZONAD in the aul cinema - so do let me know if you see me - I'm in the goldy dress.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The early monday bus - Stella

This poetry bus leaves earlier every week - here is this week's challenge - complete the poem that begins as follows:

I was wearing Stella McCartney
You were drinking Stella Artois

So anyway - twas a tough one, but I managed the following (actually wrote it during a Mozart recital that himself and myself stumbled into today - but I don't think you'd know by the words) - even working in the mention of a mother, for the day that's in it.

All into Stella

I was wearing Stella McCartney
You were drinking Stella Artois
You said your Ma wouldn't like me
Now who are you foolin, boy?

I said "Let's tell her we're all into Stella
We make the most perfect pair
If you just tell her we're all into Stella
She'd see we're a match, to be fair"

We were eatin sambos at your uncle's removal
The topic arose once more
You couldn't marry me without her approval
You're some Mummies boy, to be sure

I said "Boy just tell her we're all into Stella
We make the most perfect pair
If you just tell her we're all into Stella
She'd see we're a match, to be fair"

We went on a holiday far far away
Some place cheaper than Lanzarote
And as I laughed through the surf in bikini I swayed
You said "You know, though you're a hottie

I can't just tell her we're all into Stella
And I know we're a perfect pair
But If I just tell her we're all into Stella
She'd think I'm a fool, to be fair"

Stella alone never held two together
Life's too full of troubles and trials
Stella won't work, won't make us happy forever
We need something more to rely (on)

I said "Come on now fella, we're both into Stella
There's never been such a perfect pair
I'll never ever tell ya I'm not into Stella
Where else would you get it, to be fair?"

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Nothing left to name

When I was a kid I thought the line -

"There is nothing you can name that is anything like a Dame" from the South Pacific song was actually
"There is nothing you can aim that is anything like a Dame"

- I thought alright that the song writer had a point - alot of things that can be aimed - ie darts, basketballs, squirting guns etc - are indeed very unlike Ladies of all kinds...

This leads me neatly to my next point - that being that there is nothing, and I mean nothing in the whole world left to name. For example - this thing,

the fleshy useless lump towards the front of your ear is called a Tragus.

And the sound you make when you say the word "skip" is called a "voiceless velar plosive" sound - which comes from the Velum - ie your soft bit at the back of the soft palate.

I ask you - is there anything yet to be named? If there is I want to call it a "Niavarcush" - let me know if you have a candidate worthy of such a title.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ross Hattaway on the Radio

So bravely joining me on the airwaves this weekend will be the lovely Ross Hattaway.

Ross is a native New Zealander but has been in Ireland since 1989, he can be regularly found reading at the Last Wednesday and Chapter and Verse series, he has also read and been published in Lithuania, USA and Australia, as well as publishing his first collection of poetry in 2006 - which was called
The Gentle Art of Rotting.
His next collection is due for publication in 2011.

Ross's chosen theme is Place and Belonging.

Tune in at the usual bat time of 4pm, Sunday on Liffey Sound - link on the right there, (that's 9 am for my new middle American fans - I'm huge in middle America - HUGE!!!!)

Failing that - catch up as usual on the Radio archive -

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Does this wreck your head?

A picture of a blog within a blog within a blog? No? Perhaps because it's all blurry? so you can't really see it?

Y'know what - now that I'm here, I'll tell you some kind of painful news. My blog - I mean this one - the one you're reading now - didn't make the grade... Hasn't got through to the next round of judging for the Irish Blog Awards. And before you go looking, I've checked through all the categories, it's not that they've moved me to a more prestigious category or anything. They've just decided that there's better blogs out there (pah!)
I'm ok about it. Really. Again my unfathomable depths of bravery come in handy here as I fight the urge to throw the laptop to the dog to chew on...
I want to thank whoever nominated me again - for getting my hopes up only to have them dashed on the rocks of reality... What'll it take eh? Bloody labels to make the blog searchable I suppose, fancy graphics, more followers, maybe even higher quality content instead of the random waffle that I usually come up with for your delectation? I don't know - people with standards eh...

Best of luck to those wonderful blogs linked in my right hand column that DID get through to the next round - ie - Women Rule Writer, Uiscebot and TotalFeckinEejit - pure quality blogs, I'll have my fingers and toes cross for ye all...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Update on exciting goings on

So - yesterday I didn't tell you, but I actually had a big mad flu. I know, I'm so brave really (I even went home from work early, which is probably why I didn't tell you, because I felt guilty for going home, because I never really miss work for being sick - luckily for me). I still have a leetle bit of a sore throat, but am feeling strong enough to let you know the following important update(s).

The dog doesn't care about soccer - here is video evidence - showing her sleeping through tonights Manchester Utd match. Although she does love playing it herself and is nifty with her Winnie the Pooh ball, she can't be bothered when someone else is playing. I can't blame her - I find soccer a great aid to getting to sleep.

The second exciting update is that there is no second update - that's why the "s" is in brackets above.
(The lesson learned here is never EVER trust anything in brackets)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Geographical Meme

Herself is trying to dig to China

Which made me think of this geographical meme...

The first instruction is -

you must begin your post with a geographical joke:

Dublin is the biggest city in the world - it keeps dubbelin and dubbelin... (badoom shhhhh)

Then credit the geographical joke to the source - (my friend Seán in this instance)

Then in as few words as possible - explain your earliest recollection/ awareness of the following;

Europe - being born there, probably first aware of it when the EEC became the EC or the EU.
America - suitcases full of shiny things & sweets being brought back
Africa - the song "Walk like an Egyptian"
Australia - Skippy - the bush kangaroo
Asia - School geography

Then say what is your furthest point travelled -

North - top of jutland, Denmark
South - Beunos Aires for work
East - Athens - there for the Eurovision
West - driving past Toronto

Longest time living in one place and where it was? 17 years in Midleton, Co Cork
Shortest time living in one place and where it was? 1 month in Maryland

Brief list of places lived in, in rough order of appearance:
Midleton, Cork City, Maryland, Boston, Heidelberg, Wicklow, Arklow, Gorey, Dublin.

How many addresses have you had? 17

Monday, March 8, 2010

Women's day - Genji's Tale

Today is International women's day - which again reminds me of Women's christmas - why do we need a women's day? do the rest of the days belong to men?

Anyways - just thought it'd be a nice day to let ye know we started it.

Yes. Women were first at writing classical literature - the Tale of Genji was the first ever psychological novel, and it was written by a woman, and I have to say - while I haven't read it, I think it sounds like a pretty great piece of work. This woman Murasaki - wrote the book sometime in the 11th Century. The plot summary on Wikipedia goes like this -
(summarised further by myself - also a woman - for your convenience)

Genji is a kid who loves his stepmother, then falls in love with her later, when he gets a bit older. She quite likes him too, but they're not allowed get together.
He marries someone he doesn't like much then goes around trying to meet someone else - but everyone he meets either dies suddenly, doesn't like him, or turns out to be boring. He meets the neice of his stepmam and fancies her, so kidnaps her at the age of ten. In the meantime he also has an affair with the stepmam and this leads to them having a son (no one but the two of them know who the dad is).
He makes friends with his wife again and she has another son, and then she dies, so then he marries the neice of his stepmam. Genjis dad dies, so his older half-brother's in power, Genji - the rogue - has also been with this half-brother's concubine - so he gets exiled away out the country where he makes friends with a rich man and gets this rich man's daughter pregnant. Meanwhile Genji is forgiven, and brought back and his son becomes emperor.
Then Genji turns 40.... 40!!! He marries another woman, and the neice of the stepmam wants to join the nuns, then she dies. Then Genji thinks about how short life is, then he dies. (well we think he dies - the author leaves a chapter blank to imply this) Then there's a bit of a bit about Genji's grandson and a guy that everyone thinks is his son - but is actually his nephew's son.

Fair City would have nothing on this would it? a rip-roaring tale if ever I heard one. I'm impressed with the innovation here - with the blank chapter, also the whole extra long - few chapters at the end after the real ending - which sounds like a "Lord of the Rings" precursor... But also - most impressively - it was considered rude to name people back then in Japan, so the author told this story alot of the time without their names and just using their clothes or position in society instead... The book also ends half way through a sentance - which is fairly cool in my .....................

Women are so cool. We rule.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Dog Tanka

And a pic of the dog - this is her blog after all

And another bonus tanka as a tankya to those who made it past the dog picture

First Memory of a Train
Magic fast we raced
a lady older than time
gave the kindest smile
and as well as that, marbles
Net bag of glimmering jewels

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Talk about Fun

The most fun you can legally have with a used bicycle tyre

Friday, March 5, 2010

Michael Flynn on the Radio

Michael goes by Mike or Micheal depending on his mood at the time, he studied English and Sociology in UCC, finishing in 1999, he's been based in Dublin for the past 8 years and started writing 18 years ago, getting involved in writing groups and courses in Waterford and Cork. He has in the meantime worked in everything from Ryanair, to farming, to construction, and has not published any of his written work to date.

His chosen theme is Poetry as Prayer.

Incidentally - Michael is one of the most genuinest people you'll ever meet, and will not give out to drunken young students, even if he has had to carry them home from the pub because they were falling asleep at the table, rescue them from their kitchen roof, put them to bed and put up with them laughing uproariously as they follow him drunkenly back to the pub... no poitín will be harmed in the making of this radio show - but that's besides the point - his poems are lovely too...

See ye then - 4pm - on Sunday - on Liffey Sound

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

an extra long haiku

This poem comes with thanks for the form from Matt Bolton's blog

57577 - looks like a directory enquiries number - but no, it's a poetic form, (no. of syllables per line), and since it's a long time since I've tried a constraint on me poems, I have to admit, I quite enjoyed the exercise. It's nice having a scaffold before you start - knowing what shape it's going to take. Anyway - go over to Matt's blog if you want to know more about the form - I suppose it's really just a long Haiku.... Here it is:

Killing a Beetle

Gingerly she toys
tortures many legged freak
nudges it with care
pounces when it tries to move
Nothing safe from black death paws

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sales blog

I'm not a great sales person, in reality - I'm kind of uncomfortable with taking money in exchange for goods and services (don't tell my boss). It dates back to one time when I got really competitive with the Barry's shop from across the road in my estate. It wasn't fair, all the houses were playing shop and they had a million comic books... and it just looked so much better than my pretend shop with nothing except a few mud pies and sea shells in it.

What did I do? What would you do? I went and got some "real" things to sell, creative sourcing I called it at the time, from inside my parents' "real" house... (theft they called it at the time) with an ensuing painful hunt to find and return everything to their rightful places after the sale of the century. I was only 6 or 7.

Anyway it is with some considerable discomfort that I must tell you that there is a poetry pamphlet now available - for sale - for the first time with more than one of my poems inside... and you can buy it... if you press this paypal button...

5 Euro including P&P

I'm not exactly sure how it works, but anyway - there ya go... - it's a home for a lonely fiver if you have such a thing.

Other homes for your fiver include

1. the Axis theatre in Ballymun - where you can catch Dermot Bolger tomorrow night talking to two writers about parental influence in their writing life - more details over on emerging writer....
2. almost half a ticket for the nighthawks - who got a great and very well deserved write up here. Since they managed to get me to perform there they've just been going from strength to strength - bless em.
3. entry to the next Lit Jam at CFCP - where you'll get to sit on bean bags all night, supping your own home made beer, if you remember to bring such a thing with you - otherwise drink the herbal tea, listen to some poetry, music, do a writing exercise with the group.
4. enter the raffle at Stephen James Smith's lovely Glór sessions every monday night.
5. enter the raffle at the fantastic monthly brown bread mixtape in the Stag's head
6. find another euro and you could go to Literary death match in the Sugar Club this Friday night - only if you book online.
7. get 500 penny sweets!!!! eat one per day for the next year and a bit... only will work with hard boiled types - apple drops perraps...
8. buy a toy for a dog that will have the toy half eaten - half artistically scattered around your house within half an hour, all with her creepy shiny x-ray type gazing eyes never leaving your own.
9. give it to charity

Monday, March 1, 2010

Foneticky tings

I happened upon the following site, spied from over Mr VC's shoulder

At first I thought he was perhaps researching new and improved ways to stop the mongrel from snarling and barking at the plastic ceiling that we have at the back of the house in which she's just found her reflection of late, but no... it's actually a phoneticky website with kids stories written out phonetically beginning with Ladle Rat Rotten Hut (ie little red riding hood) - it's a bit of a puzzle, but in a nice way.