Saturday, 27 November 2010

Snow Snow Snow!

Snow for two years on the trot, so where's the global warming?  It looks so pretty.  I'm going to a Christmas Market in the city centre tonight and one of the special events is an hourly fall of false snow lol!

Who's been out in the snow then?

A Christmassy tree in my garden

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The Celtic Tiger's Roar Turns into a Whimper

Over the last few days, like many others, I've been following the financial woes of Ireland that has resulted in the country receiving a massive loan from the E.U. 

I've been visiting Ireland, mainly Dublin, for over twenty years.  In the early years it was a rather down at heel city, but  what it lacked in modernity and riches it more than made up for with character, warmth and friendliness.  We grew very familiar with the Docklands area, (U2 fans will know why ) which was grimy, partially derelict and oozing history.  I especially remember the smells - coffee from Bewley's warehouse, and curry wafting from somewhere near Hanover Quay, we never did nail down exactly where that smell was coming from.   O'Connell Street was trashy, Temple Bar didn't exist, Bewley's waitresses still wore their black and white uniforms complete with pristine aprons.  Our favourite watering hole was Docker's pub, a wonderful old-time "real" pub, complete with snug, that served the best Guinness and sandwiches in town.  The Clarence Hotel still held tea dances.  And you could bump into U2 members in the street.

Then, Ireland joined the E.U in the 90's, and the Celtic Tiger started stirring and before we knew it the country was booming and Dublin was changing by the month.   The entertainment area of Temple Bar sprung up, O'Connell Street was tidied up, the waitresses in Bewley's lost their smart uniforms, Docker's pub didn't fit the new modern image for Dublin and now is no more.  The main change was all the building, the Dublin skyline became a mass of cranes.  New buildings of steel, concrete and glass lined the quays replacing the old stone structures.  More homes were built than were needed and house prices shot up to an unbelievable level.  But in the process the city was losing something, that innate "Irishness" . 

Don't get me wrong Dublin did need to modernise and the building brought lots of employment for people.  But a boom of those proportions couldn't last and again it seems the banks are to blame for this financial crisis.   And who is going to be hit hardest, yes, as usual the ordinary person in the street.  I consider Dublin my second home and I really feel for the Irish.  But they are resilient people and that Irish spirit will prevail,  they have weathered other hard times and I'm sure they'll get through this.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Wide Awake In Europe

Rather ironic that something with that title is not available in Europe!  Shame, as it has two songs on it I'd love to have.

Tracks:  'Mercy’ recorded live in Brussels on September 22nd 2010
             'Moment of Surrender' (Live)
             'I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight'  (Live)

Further details can be found by following the link below.

'Wide Awake In Europe' for Record Store Day

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Aung San Suu Kyi - Walk On!

Aung San Suu Kyi has been released from house arrest today.  I watched her on TV being greeted by crowds of cheering people at her gates after her release with a lump in my throat.  There are few politicians that can inspire, who have true integrity and who have given up so much of their own personal lives as her.  She has grace and a quiet determination and I respect her so much and only hope that this time her freedom will last.  Bono's lyrics for the U2 song dedicated to her, Walk On, are a beautiful and fitting tribute to an amazing woman.

And love is not the easy thing

Aung San Suu Kyi at her gates after her release
The only baggage you can bring...
And love is not the easy thing...
The only baggage you can bring
Is all that you can't leave behind

And if the darkness is to keep us apart
And if the daylight feels like it's a long way off
And if your glass heart should crack
And for a second you turn back
Oh no, be strong

Walk on, walk on
What you got, they can't steal it
No they can't even feel it
Walk on, walk on
Stay safe tonight...

You're packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been
A place that has to be believed to be seen
You could have flown away
A singing bird in an open cage
Who will only fly, only fly for freedom

Walk on, walk on
What you got they can't deny it
Can't sell it or buy it
Walk on, walk on
Stay safe tonight

And I know it aches
And your heart it breaks
And you can only take so much
Walk on, walk on

Home...hard to know what it is if you never had one
Home...I can't say where it is but I know I'm going home
That's where the heart is

I know it aches
How your heart it breaks
And you can only take so much
Walk on, walk on

Leave it behind
You've got to leave it behind

All that you fashion
All that you make
All that you build
All that you break
All that you measure
All that you steal
All this you can leave behind
All that you reason
All that you sense
All that you speak
All you dress up
All that you scheme...

Friday, 12 November 2010


Went to my first Zumba class last night, two friends were going and asked if I wanted to go.  As it was very close to where I live and I enjoy dancing, I said yes.

It was certainly full-on!  Geez, one hour of fast, frenetic dancing to Latiny/rock music.  I didn't think I'd manage it but I did.  I found it quite cathartic in an way, shaking my bits, screaming and yelling, above all it was great fun.  It didn't matter if you couldn't keep up (which I often couldn't) as long as you moved.  I know I need to do exercise but I find aerobics/gyms simply boring, but I actually enjoyed this.  Though I suffered for it,  lying in bed last night my back muscles ached as I breathed - there are a lot of arm movements in Zumba and my upper body muscles were testament to that.  Today, I woke up aching all over and it took a good few hours to ease off!  One of my friends had been to another Zumba class which started with a warm up, then the full-on dancing and finishing with a relaxing wind down.  I like the sound of that, so I'll try that class as I do think this is for me, but would like a slightly less vigourous work out.

We've been having wild, windy weather with lots of rain.  I haven't much planned for the weekend which suits me, I needn't go out much in this lousy weather.  Of course I'll have to walk the dogs, one of them, Max, hates the rain, he'd be happy to do what he needs to do and go back home.  But Pepsi loves his walks and doesn't seem to even notice the weather, he's too busy sniffing the air and ground and finding interest in everything around him!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Cold Dream Colour

A dance homage to Louis le Brocquy

Cold Dream Colour celebrates the life and work of this masterful artist in an evening of dance inspired
by his paintings. Artistic Director, Morleigh Steinberg, brings together an international company of dancers
and choreographers, including Liz Roche and Oguri, to create this new production on the occasion of
le Brocquy’s birthday.

Original music by The Edge of U2 and Feltlike with Paul Chavez has been composed especially for the event.

(Taken from the Pavillion Theatre's event guide)

I would like to have been able to see this, sounds good.  Also, it's great to see a member of U2 being part of a tribute to a an Irish artist that is also performed in Ireland! has an interview with Morleigh here

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Bono and the Edge at Anton Corbijn’s Gallery Show

A little light relief, Bono and Edge were at an Anton Corbijn exhibition in New York recently.  Love edge's comment about Keith Richards at the end!

Vulture Hangs With Bono and the Edge at Anton Corbijn’s Gallery Show

Monday, 8 November 2010

LV and the LV

There are a lot of differing views on this out there, but mine fits closely with the one below, it brings up some good points .....(but it is a plane not a helicopter in the video!)

I think Bono's mistake in all this boils down to that he should have just stayed being the activist, getting the world leaders to implement and stick to actions that benefit Africa - he's really good at that.  But he chose to also set up various organisations - in good faith I'm sure - but that's where there have been difficulties.  There have been problems with Edun, One and Red and, even if it's nothing at all directly to do with him, those problems rub off on him and his ability to be taken seriously and make a difference.   This article looks at some of the reasons things might have not gone so well. 

It would be a shame if this eclipsed all the positive things he has already done.

Bono Brings the $1600 Handbag to Africa

Friday, 5 November 2010

Losing My Mind - and Teeth!

God I hate November!  The clocks go back, the weather is shite and the semi-hibernation of winter starts.  November has nothing to go for it, at least December has the social flurry of the "festive season".  January optimism of a New Year (for a while anyway)  and the knowledge that slowly but surely the days are getting longer.  February is a bit grim too but the days are getting even longer and there are the first stirrings of spring and after that it's all for the better.  You can tell I'm not a winter person

So, last  Monday I arranged to meet a friend in town to mooch round the shops and then have a cheapie meal at Pizza Express.  I was relaxing at home when I looked at my clock - which, as is usual with me I had not changed at the introduction of GMT again over the weekend.  I sat up with a start, I was 3/4 of an hour late to meet my friend!  I sent her a quick text, surprised that she hadn't been in touch with me seeing I was so late, rushed out and headed into town.  I was nearly there when I realised that the clocks went backwards at the weekend, not forwards, so I was an hour early!  I sent another embarrassed text to my friend who guessed what had happened and had a good laugh on me!  That'll teach me being lazy and not getting the clock off the wall and changing it when I should!

Tuesday night I was eating my evening meal when I realised something very hard was amongst my mouthful of food - it was a large part of one of my teeth!  I was left with a kind of fang-like stump where the tooth should have been - would've been good for Halloween the other day!  By coincidence I had my six monthly check up a couple of days later.  I was given three options as to what they could do for my tooth.  As the tooth is quite visible when I smile I went for the post crown which will take four visits, a lot of torture and £200.  Just what I need near Christmas.  I do have a bit of a phobia about going to the dentist, well it's the injection in the mouth that is my phobia really (though the rest isn't that pleasant either) I get the urge to up and run away when the dentist approaches with that syringe ugh!  Maybe I should have opted just to get the bloody thing out, cheaper and no jabs, drills, no nerve killing or root canal filling ......

Tonight it was Bonfire Night when it is traditional to burn bonfires and let off fireworks to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night (he and a gang of others tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament hundreds of years ago).  This was Pepsi's first Bonfire Night with me (he was in kennels last year as I was in Berlin seeing U2 play at the Brandenburg Gate).  Max has never been bothered by fireworks at all, but Pepsi could not settle he was barking and pacing about with every whoosh and bang outside.  I couldn't get him settled until the noise stopped poor chap, pity you can't get earplugs for dogs!  It'll probably continue over the next couple of days as the celebrations tend to happen over all the weekend.   There's a big fireshow in a park in the city centre tomorrow night. 

When I was young every area of the city had its own bonfire we used to go around houses in the couple of weeks before collecting things to put on the bonfires.   A "guy" supposedly an effigy of the doomed Guy Fawkes, was put at the top of the bonfire.  Fireworks were set off by the adults, and we used to put potatoes into the embers later and eat them when cooked, I'll never forget their unique taste.  That night you could always smell the fires in the air.  Now you can't just put up bonfires, you need permission etc. life is so regulated nowadays.