about me

I'm an Irish guy living in France. I like music, books, creative writing, art, history, vegetarianism, people, and chocolate.

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Friday 21 May 2010

Blog Migration

I don't have much time to spend on this blog, and it's a bit silly trying to update two blogs, so I'll be concentrating on my other blog for a while: http://www.apostmodernbard.blogspot.com/
See you there!

Sunday 4 April 2010

Saturday 27 February 2010

We don't worry about where your granny was born

A vision I wish they would pay attention to at Stormont:

"Anarchists are not nationalists, in fact we are completely against nationalism. We don't worry about where your granny was born, whether you can speak Irish or if you drink a green milkshake in McDonalds on St Patrick's Day. But this doesn't mean we can ignore nations. They do exist; and some nationalities are picked on, discriminated against because of their nationality. Irish history bears a lot of witness to this. The Kurds, Native Americans, Chechins, and many more have suffered also - and to an amazingly barbaric degree. National oppression is wrong. It divides working class people, causes terrible suffering and strengthens the hand of the ruling class. Our opposition to this makes us anti-imperialists. ... So fight national oppression but look beyond nationalism. We can do a lot better. Changing the world for the better will be a hard struggle so we should make sure that we look for the best possible society to live in. We look forward to a world without borders, where the great majority of people have as much right to freely move about as the idle rich do today. A worldwide federation of free peoples - classless and stateless - where we produce to satisfy needs and all have control over our destinies - that's a goal worth struggling for."

Source: flag.blackened

Sunday 14 February 2010

Sunday 13 December 2009

Emily Says...

One of the authors I'm studying this year is Emily Dickinson. This is a mixed blessing, for while I fell in love with Emily's poems a couple of years ago—she is now one of my favourite poets—, studying them for the French "aggregation" feels like raping the text.
Below I've posted one of her poems that speaks to me the most, especially because of my current situation. The two last lines are interesting as they seem to encapsulate an idea central to postmodern/Emerging Christianity.

Some keep the Sabbath going to the Church –

I keep it, staying at Home –

With a Bobolink for a Chorister –

And an Orchard, for a Dome –

Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice –

I just wear my Wings –

And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,

Our little Sexton – sings.

God preaches, a noted Clergyman –

And the sermon is never long,

So instead of getting to Heaven, at last –

I'm going, all along.

Wednesday 2 December 2009

Top 10 Albums of 2009

It might be a bit early to write these kind of lists—2009 isn't completely over yet—but here goes anyway. My ten favourite albums this year were:

10. The Temper Trap - ConditionsThe hit "Sweet Disposition" of this atmospheric indie rock band from Melbourne was featured in (500) Days of Summer.

9. The Elms - The Great American MidrangeAfter trying out a Black Keys brand of blues rock which didn't suit singer Owen Thomas's voice at all, the Elms have returned to their old rhythm'n'blues/heartland rock sound, but with smoother production and improved musicianship.

8. Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career
Camera Obscura's latest album sounds more contrived than their previous ones, but it's still enjoyable.

7. The Beatles in Mono
I had to include these in my list. I especially enjoyed the reissue of the earlier albums: it helped me understand why their earlier stuff sounded edgy at the time!

6. God Help the GirlBelle&Sebastian's side-project (with female singers, mostly) is the soundtrack to Stuart Murdoch's upcoming musical film. It's far less pretentious than it sounds, and its 60s pop sound is quite refreshing.

5. Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's YouThis is a great sequel to her first album—it's more clever, more mature, but just as fun.

4. Patrick Watson - Wooden ArmsThis album is probably less accessible than his previous one, but it's definitely worth the effort.

3. Tonight: Franz FerdinandMany, many bands are having a go at "New Wave" these days, and it doesn't always work: but I think Franz Ferdinand have the creativity and the freshness that all those other "dance-punk" acts lack.

2. Monsters of FolkConor Oberst (Bright Eys) + Jim Jones (My Morning Jacket) + M Ward. Sums it up, really.

1. M Ward - Hold TimeA fantastic indie folk/alt country album...

Friday 20 November 2009

Balloons, Toothbrushes and Jetpacks

Another great gig at the cabaret of the Cartonnerie... Cultural activities are getting better and better in this city, I do think Reims is slowly waking up.

Libelul was an unoriginal but enjoyable indie pop duo from Brussels, which sounded a bit like Death Cab for Cutie or Jimmy Eat World with a hint of electronica.

Then came the main support act, the Swedish Thus:Owls, (pictured above) fronted by a girl who was sporting a Joni Mitchell-like dress and who sang like Shara Worden from My Brightest Diamond. The band was obviously influenced by celtic music, but there was a heavy dose of psychedelia and quite a dark edge. It wasn't unlike what I imagine goth folk band Espers would sound like if they started covering the seventies psych folk band Trees...

Finally Patrick Watson (below) started playing... I love the indescribable form of baroque pop of his albums (in 2007 he won the Polaris Music Prize for best Canadian album, beating fellow nominees Feist and the Arcade Fire), but I was expecting Watson to be one of those pretentious singer/songwriters who stare at their piano keys during the whole concert.
But he actually turned out to be very charismatic, and great at engaging the audience. He kept cracking jokes with his bandmates and chatting away to us in his Quebecan French. He got everyone singing happy birthday for one of the sound technicians, and for the encore, he walked through the audience, singing into a strange Tim Burton-like contraption which was strapped on his back and that he called the "megasuit". It basically looked like a jetpack with half a dozen megaphones sticking out of it. His band made use of instruments in some of the most creative ways I've ever seen. The guitarist did things I've never seen anyone do with a guitar (he played it with a toothbrush at one point); the drummer/percussionist would often draw a bow against a saw; and there were also balloons, Fischer Price kiddies toys, toothpicks and countless other weird objects-turned-instruments... It was one of the most entertaining and "interactive" gigs I've ever been to. And it just shows you that you can make "serious" music without taking yourself seriously. Very refreshing.

Emerald Champagne

Emerald Champagne

rambling on...

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