Monday, October 15, 2018

Sunday, August 26, 2018

This Song is an Exercise in Archaeology

Love crops up quite a lot as something to sing about, 'cos most groups make most of their songs about falling in love or how happy they are to be in love, you occasionally wonder why these groups do sing about it all the time - it's because these groups think there's something very special about it either that or else it's because everybody else sings about it and always has, you know to burst into song you have to be inspired and nothing inspires quite like love.

These groups and singers think that they appeal to everyone by singing about love because apparently everyone has or can love - or so they would have you believe, anyway - but these groups seem to go along with what, the belief that love is deep in everyone's personality. I don't think we're saying there's anything wrong with love, we just don't think that what goes on between two people should be shrouded with mystery.
- Gang of Four, "Anthrax" (1979)
This is an archaeology exercise really, going back in time to figure out what these people were all about in '78 or whenever it was, at the time I was talking about the ubiquitous presence of the love song and why it was that people sang about falling in and out of love and anything else that loosely fell into the love bracket, or as Charles Aznavour may or may not have said, I don't think that what happens in people's romantic lives should be processed in language of mystification.
- Gang of Four, "Anthrax" (2005)

Monday, April 30, 2018

Storm Emma

With spring looking like it's finally arrived in Ireland, I thought it was about time I put up these videos I took of Storm Emma back at the start of March.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Waiting for the Storm


The harbour at Dún Laoghaire, before Storm Emma arrives.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

I Want to Hear Now, the Modern Sound/So I Won't Feel Alone at Night


I got a new stereo for Christmas. The old one is the one I've had since Christmas 1995, and is showing its age: there's no DAB, the CD player doesn't play all CDs, there's no way of attaching an MP3 player, and there's a twin tape deck of the kind no-one uses anymore. But this is the only stereo I've ever owned: I used it to hear most of the music I've ever heard for the first time, and it was with me from secondary school and 6th Form on to Nottingham, London, Liverpool, and then back here. It was, indeed, the radio on to help me from being lonely late at night.

It's wrong, of course, to feel emotions about mass-produced items of consumer electronics, but I don't think I'll be taking the stereo to the tip in the way that I did my old DVD player earlier in the year. It also seems unlikely that I'll ever have any kind of feelings about any other stereos.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas at Song Be

At midnight, celebration was interrupted by the sound of machine gun fire in the distance. The revelers trooped outside to see if they were going to have to fight on Christmas Eve. There were hard words concerning the ancestry of the enemy. Across the wire, across the outpost line, across the valley of no-man’s land were the crests occupied habitually by the “opposition.” From these heights there rose a stream of green, Soviet made “tracer.” The celebrants contemplated this for a minute, and then Suarez suggested a reply. An M-60 machine gun emerged from the house, and while one man fired red tracer into the air, another held the bipod above his head and another fed the gun its belted ammunition. The streams of bullets crossed in the black, star-studded sky. The VC gun fell silent, as did the American. There was a hush as warriors waited for some sign that the hope of common humanity yet lived. The VC fire resumed. Now there were three guns shooting green stars into the blackness. The MI men’s gun chattered merrily, spilling a river of shell casings into the street. Red and green filled the night.
- W. Patrick Lang, The Huron Carol (2007)

An account of a small incident that took place in Vietnam at Christmas 1968. Like most stories of Christmas truces during wars, there's a sad epilogue.