27 April 2007

"Pirates of the Corribean," it says here...

The Galway Early Music festival, with a hey-nonny-no and a fol-de-rol and a couple of howsyourfathers. A quick look at the programme shows that they'll be putting on a few things here in Queen's College as well as around ye olde towne.

Real old-skool stuff, from back in the long-ago days when you could drink the water...

23 April 2007

Songs for swinging scribblers.

Nenagh's favourite son, Julian Gough, has just scooped up the British National Short Story prize for his short story The Orphan and the Mob. (Link is to the full story, now amn't I too good to you?)

Gough is not only the author of the darkly comic and brilliantly human novel Juno and Juliet, he also used to be the singer of Toasted Heretic - the rock and roll band that the Tayto man doesn't like.

And yes, the band's original site is down, and typing doubleyou-doubleyou-doubleyou dot toastedheretic dot com now redirects you to Gough's own site. Presumably because the evil Tayto man said so.

Shame on you, Tayto man.

Last week I met one of those proper writer people, one of those people who actually makes money for writing words that real people actually read on paper, and 'twas far away from them fecken blogs he was raised. He was on his way to a launch and asked me to come along, but for one reason or another I couldn't do it. Pity, because it was the opening of an ongoing exhibition of the work of Joe Boske - the German-born artist whose posters, prints and general visual flair have made Galway a damn interesting place to live in for the past couple of decades and a half.

What was it they used to say back in my college days? Drink Guinness and the world looks like it was created by Flann O'Brien. Smoke dope and the world is like something out of a Freak Brothers comic. Take mushrooms and it's not unlike living in one of Joe Boske's fabulously fantasmagorical arts festival posters from way back when. That's what I heard, anyway.

The Works (Images 1972-2007) is running in the Arts Centre on Dominick Street, and if in the locality, you should do your third eye a favour.

15 April 2007

A foodie blog for the rest of us?

A lip-smackingly good guide to diners, greasy spoons and caffs throughout the UK? Or maybe just a excuse for a bit of breakfast porn? Any road up, Egg Bacon Chips and Beans is fascinating stuff. (Yes, I said breakfast porn).

(Sigh.) The proverbial heart attack on a plate.

(Those links are safe for work as long as no-one minds you drooling over fetching shots of high-cholesterol yumminess.)

Discovered via the ever excellent London blog, Diamond Geezer.

12 April 2007

Lonesome no more.

Somehow it seemed appropriate, on learning this morning of Kurt Vonnegut's death, to go and put my hands on some of his books as soon as possible. One of the advantages of working in a library is that you can do that straight away. So I did. I got ten of his books off the shelf and piled them up on my own desk.

As co-workers walked past me they'd take note of the pile of books. Some had heard of him, some had read one or two of his books. Some hadn't but asked about him our of curiosity. Since they weren't really my books, a couple of people even took a book with them, to read or maybe just to skim. But that's good, I guess.

I suppose it's strange to be typing away with a lump in my throat for someone I never actually met. But from the age of 12 onwards Vonnegut and his simple, brilliant stories and novels were a major influence on my life, and the lives of many of my generation and background. I once became friends with someone simply because we'd struck up a conversation about the slogan on the back of their leather jacket - it read: "Schlachthof Funf".

If I were still a smoker, I would have probably sparked one up in memory of Mr. Vonnegut, who chain-smoked untipped Pall Mall most of his life. But, the little plastic nicotine inhaler is as far as I go these days. So instead I spent my lunch break reading his latest book, A Man Without A Country. Though not a "book" proper, more a collection of essays and speeches, it's as warm, funny, moving, bittersweet and ultimately human as anything he ever wrote. This particular bit jumped out at me.

If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:


Fair enough.

02 April 2007

The eyes in his head see the world spinning round.

One feels even more of a fool than usual, at this point, actually. Having got up early, done the usual shaveshowerquickcuppatea thing, and cycled into work on a gorgeous sunny morning. And then arrived to work only to realise that, as Dante Hicks once said, "I'm not even supposed to be here today!"

Because, owing to an administrative snafu, I'm supposed to be taking my Easter holidays a week earlier than originally intended, and nobody bothered to tell me.

This isn't too bad, at the moment; all may yet be well. I'd had plans to head off somewhere, but they didn't materialise for one reason or another. Plus, the beauty of flexi-time is such that I now have an extra half day in my favour.

So now, a whole week (and a bit) to play with. Time for some spring cleaning I guess.