Monday, May 14, 2012

Debris fing

There’s a lovely bit in Amadeus where the king ventures to share his appraisal of Mozart’s music by repeating the witless comments of his advisors and telling him “There were too many notes in it”, thereby leaving himself open to the composer’s riposte; “Which notes would you have me take out, your majesty?”

In criticising the performance of ‘Debris’ in the Belltable last Saturday night,-
I may be in danger of leaving myself open to a shade of the exact same folly in the following statement; but this reaction, though glibly expressed, is at least my own, and it is this:

There was too many words in it.

Now, just like the Austrian monarch of Amadeus, I can’t exactly pin which exact words would warrant removal but I do think there must have been too many words because how else can I explain my own original thoughts, being ‘Hmmmnn…maybe the Actor’s are speaking a little too quickly here?’ with my final conclusion: i.e. ‘I’m glad they spoke as quickly as they did,- otherwise it would’ve gone on forever’

Before I go any further with this, I should perhaps interject that the acting was top-class, it showed work, it showed courage, it showed bravery, understanding and talent…and both cast members I found utterly mesmerising when they had engaging material to work with, but the play didn’t work. For me. No.

It began, (as had Equus, the last play I saw) with the actors on stage, not ‘set’ but moving and messing about and interacting with each other. I’m not crazy about this, personally because without some clear, ‘official’ beginning it feels weird for me to stare openly at people ( I don’t know ) who may or may not be acting, but Erah…’twas grand. No biggy.

The setting seemed to be the end of a party, although this party wasn’t an actual setting of any of the stories ( that I could make out) and nor did there seem to be a reason for the tailors dummy, or the heads-on-sticks dotted around the place other than coming in handy for multiple characters later on. So picture the scene, two actors, chatting and throwing sweets at each other for a while, one stands up, and with a pop of a party popper, it began.

The ‘play’ itself was a collection of opaquely connected ‘chapters’: usually spoken directly to the audience by one or another cast member alone, and sometimes in combination. These chapters were lyrical and surreal stream-of-consciousness typey things depicting a suicide-by-crucifixion, a number of messy possible births, child abduction, child abuse, child neglect and something about god at the end that I can only presume was deemed climactic because it was about God with the capital ‘G’.

Chapter headings were provided by a kind of powerpoint display of words or icons, with a variation of lighting schemes and some strobe-lighting for the more violent ‘action’. Some really nice mad descriptive prose in places, but apart from the abduction story, there was not much that I found followable, there was not much to for me invest in, and I find it hard to see how switching around the ‘chapters’ would have significantly affected the whole experience.

I guess I just didn’t get it: I wanted to.
It’s always great to be in a room with people who are primed to deliver a real and solid performance to the best of their ability, and in this case, to my mind, the best of their ability was a truly high standard indeed. My only problem was with the script.

Too many words: not enough drama.

Debris’ by Dennis Kelly, featuring Dominic McHale and Claire Mullane. Directed by Brian Fenton.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Kenny Rogers Kiera Knightly II

The tickets Tony Hawkes
are for the prizes A.J. Raffles
And the first prize is a car,
What's spanking-new.

Jeremy Irons each single ticket,
And Tom Waits to let Wilson Pickett,
They let Lou Reed out the winner,-
( It's the ticket that Ronnie Drew).

Unfortunately for Ronnie, Where Rosa Parks it:
Alicia Keys, and Howard Marx it,
Stevie Nicks the spoiler and hubcaps too.

Kathy Bates the door right in,
Ed Burns that bit the drink rests in,
The sight makes Huey Green and Betty Blue.

Guy Pearse out, while Bobby Sands
off all the paint with his bare hands,
Una Stubbs a fag out on the headrest too,
Britney Spears right through the tyres,
and it drives to a swamp, where Mike Myers it.
The eye of H.G.Welles up with a tear or two.

It's so upsetting, that Jimmy Greaves,
And Taye Diggs her own grave in a pile of leaves,
Tom Cruise a lifeboat,(what else can he do?)

Clare Danes to speak of it to the police,-
And for her trouble she is stabbed by Reese,
, a sharpened spoon,- that goes right through...

"The Dirty Harridan!" Josey Wales,
Someone make Stephen Fry: or put him in jails,
(I'm certain Edward Woodward know what to do).
It'd make Gene Hack, man, what're you at?
To let a load of people get away with that:
When Kenny Rogers Kiera Knightly and nobody ever says boo!

So Ralph Fiennes everyone involved in the crime,
But the car's still fucked, and stick in the slime,
Melvin and Billy Bragg that they know what to do...
They say " It's stuck where it is, and there it'll stop,
Let Kathleen Turner into a toupé shop",

Go there today and you can see Renee Zellweger two.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Return of Manic Monday.

Completing the set: Manic Monday by the Bangles meets Return of the Jedi

Click on this to hear the music in a new window

A twin-sun dawn already,
and we're right
in the middle of the scene,
Look, there's two robots
at the front-door
of a palace,
somewhere on

But they're both made slaves,
because the Hutt
is not a reasonable man.

He captures Leia:
'cause Skywalker
is the man with a plan:

Yes Lucas made another Starwars (oh-uh-woah)
For filling up the Toy Stores (oh-uh-woah)
Directing's been out-sourced (Marquand)
The prequels were far worse (oh-uh-woah)
(Than when) Lucas made another Starwars

So every-one
es-capes'n'Jabba dies,
'n' Luke goes back
to Yoda
to train,

It turns out Leia
is his sister,
And we have the whole:
"related?!" again.

And also-
There's another
Death Star.
With a hole in it,

Do I really care?

I think it's pretty
safe to say
that the plot's
been already there

Yes Lucas made another Starwars (oh-uh-woah)
He's filling up the Toy Stores(oh-uh-woah)
The directing's been out-sourced ( Marquhahand )
The prequels were far worse(oh-uh-woah)
(Than when) Lucas made another Starwars

Why of all films,
why could not Lucas
not have left
three alone?

(left them, a-lone)

It can't be dough:
The fucking bastard must be rolling:
all the shit he owns,

I just honestly cant say what's worse...

The prequels or Greedo firing first

( Bang, bang, bang, bang!)

But tweaking is fun (when you’ve no ideas)...

Yes Lucas made another Starwars(oh-uh-woah)
It's filling up the Toy Stores(oh-uh-woah)
Directing's been out-sourced(oh-uh-woah)
The prequels were far worse(oh-uh-woah)
(Yeah) Lucas made another Starwars(oh-uh-woah)
It's filling up the Toy Stores(oh-uh-woah)
Directing's been out-sourced(oh-uh-woah)
The prequels were far worse(oh-uh-woah)

(Than when) Lucas made another StarWars.

The Empire strikes an Eternal Flame

As one thing leads to another...

Click on this to hear the music in a new window
( There maybe an ad on first)


Close your eyes
open your mind,

do hear how I'm speakin'?
Yoda will explain ,
I dont
speak plain,
I speak Kinda freakeh...
lackwards banguage
all the time,
speak I .


That is why
explain do I
to you,
in this arse-about face way,
talk like this I do,
to screw
with you
I speak Kinda freakeh...
lackwards banguage
all the time,
speak I .


Hurting brain,
Never speaking plain,
Yoda's way,
it is when,
Jedi he must train,
So it is that
lackwards banguage,
all the time
speak I....


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A New Hope of Walking Like an Egyptian

Wrote this a few months ago: thought I might as well stick it 'ere...

Okay:Click on this to hear the music in a new window


(to the tune of 'Walk Like An Egyptian' by The Bangles then)

All the Tusken raiders,
on the plains:
They do the sand-dance
dontcha know,

in single file,


They're leaving, but
they'll be back with mo'.

Tiny jawas drive-
a giant skip,
around the place,
looking out for scrap,
They'll sell you droids


( thay're stolen or
just completely crap)

Jawa guys
with the glowing eyes say,
way oh
way ooh
way oh-oh
way oooh!

Got what you're looking for.

Master Luke is so-
sick of life,
He wants to join
- the rebellion,
His Dads alive!
No way! oh...

( That isn't what
folks are tellin him,)

Stormtroopers waste-
all his kin,
And so he must
go- with Obi Wan,
He's got the force..

Oh way oh..

And that's why the
troop-ers wave them on.
Obi Wan:
He just his moves hand,

way oh
way ooh
way oh-oh
way ohh!

not what you're looking for

instrumental break and 'whistling' bit

They hire a ship
- in a bar,
but some of the
custom-ers are rude,
Obi chops 'em up,

No way! Oh..

Kenobi's a
bad-ass fighting dude,

Han Solo takes-
on the job,
And thats 'cos he-
needs the money fast,

He meets Greedo,

Oh way oh,

He shoots at him,
Greedo has a blast.

Han solo
'pays for the mess',
And gets away,
with this felony,

no-one seems to mind
('bout Greedo!)
They live in a hive,
of villainy.

 Straight away
to the docking bay and..

way oh
way ooh
way oh-oh
way ohh!

Set course for Alderaan.
Set course for Alderaan.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

The bottle to act responsibly.

There was a time, back when I were a gorsoon, that you could bring the bottles of some soft drinks back to the shop and receive money for them from the shop-owner.
I must have been quite young when this practice stopped but I do remember it.

For quite some time afterwards all bottles were emblazoned with the words 'No Deposit- No Return' to hammer the point home that the days of "finding a discarded bottle and turning one man's trash into another man's bag-of-sweeties" were truly over.

That old system went the way of the buggy-whip. Glass-recycling hasn't ended mind you, but now we have Bottle-banks where every right-thinking citizen disposes of their surplus glassware and gets to benefit charities, like Rehab So I suppose you could say that people are paid in 'environmental charity-supporting smug points' instead of money.

I think the money was better: 'environmentally-conscious charity-supporting smug points' are only of value to a certain section of the population whereas everybody loves money.

I think there was a shift in thinking somewhere along the line. With the deposit/return system everybody had a reason to recycle and the that reason was self-interest. It required no training in the importance of sustainability to get children to recycle, it wasn't laid on the head of each individual to
" do the right thing": there was a system there to ensure the right thing was done.

It's just another way of operating.

Speaking of other ways of operating; in Finland, they didn't get rid of the "Deposit/Return" system, they refined it.

I cannot explain what it was like, as a regular visitor to stinking Irish Car-park Bottle-banks, I cant explain what it was like to enter a shop, every shop that sold
bottles and cans, and find a clean and beautiful machine that you just popped your bottles and cans into. I cant explain it. I felt like a Caveman who'd been defrosted and woke up in the future.

Watching the machine read the barcode and sort the recycling ( as the digital total of my deposit money rose on the display ) was staggering.

The shop-owners ( who make a living distributing receptacles in glass and aluminium ) had never passed on responsibility to the customer, but instead dealt with recycling as part of their business.

About six months ago, a bright plastic Bottle-bank was put in place at the top of Wolf Tone Street and was promptly burnt down to an ugly black smudge by 'the youth of today' because 'environmentally-conscious charity-supporting smug points' are of no value to them.

Their actions would hardly be described as responsible: but, to my mind, the fault is in the system: were the shops to accept their responsibility for what they sell and adopt the Finnish model then there'd be no ugly plastic Bottle-banks and the 'youth-of-today' would have a solid reason to clean-up after cider-parties.

A reason that has nothing to do with abstract notions like ' saving the planet' and everything to do with self-interest.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Nothing more than feelings.

When Micheala Harte was murdered on her honeymoon it was a poignant and tragic circumstance. Her youth and good-looks, combined with her father's popularity and recognisability ( as result of his G.A.A work ) made it a shocking and sad story. A story that genuinely touched a lot of people.

Through facebook, I remember learning that a nineteen year-old newspaper photographer Susanne Morrison had made some fairly unsympathetic comments about Micheala's death, by the time I found out about it, quite a lot of outrage had descended upon this nineteen-year old.

She stopped working for the newspaper shortly after.

I can honestly say I was mystified. Susanne typed in some glib facebook comments. Ill-advised, unsympathetic and most definitely grounded in some bigotry, but facebook comments nonetheless. The comments were nasty, but the only way that they would have ever been read by the amount of people that they were read by, including the people who would be most hurt by them, was by their constant reference & inclusion in articles and posts condemning the nineteen year-old author: I found the outrage directed at her in equal measure both hysterical & hypocritical, and then I forgot about it.

But it was in the back of the noggin somewheres.

When Alexander Aan was arrested it came back into my mind that maybe we need to redefine 'public' in the sense of social networking.
I ask , is it the same, to tap away on a keyboard some half-thought-out comment that should, in theory, be only visible either to one's 'friends' ( in the Micheala Harte situation ) , or to the group 'Atheists of Minang' ( in Mr Aan's case ) and then be pilloried for doing so by people who clearly not one's 'friends' ( or in the other case, clearly not atheists)?

Nowadays, thanks to google translate, I can tell you that Atheism Minang is a page that is frequented predominantly by Muslims who reckoned Mr Aan should be beheaded.

What are they doing there?

Waiting to be offended?

One contributor, Fauzi Arifin Ebs compared Mr Aan's case to the incarceration of 'Sean Duffy' in the United Kingdom. I'd never heard of Sean Duffy so I had to check him out.

And now that I know who he is, I have to concede that Fauzi has a point. Sean Duffy was a particularly nasty version of the interweb phenomena known as a 'troll'.

He was unlike either the nineteen-year-old or Alexander Aan in that he deliberately trawled the web looking for 'memorial' type pages for grieving families and then set about being an absolute shit.

The nastiest shit he could be.
Protected by interweb anonymity , he used each comment box to defame and degrade the memory of dead children, even composing crappy photoshops of the dead child's head to maximise offensiveness.

He even 'impersonated' the dead girls from beyond the grave, claiming at one point " It's hot in Hell" Sean Duffy's behaviour wasn't nice. In the United Kingdom of Great britain and Northern Ireland 'trolling' is an offence under the Malicious Communications Act, which carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison, and Sean Duffy went to jail.

My argument is that he shouldn't have been sent there, my argument is that in a truly free society, he should never have been arrested. My argument is that Trolling is an unpleasant thing but nobody should outlaw it because by doing so, that you do indeed lend validity to the Islamonazi lunatics who want Alexander Aan's head chopped off.

That Duffy was deliberately and wantonly hurtful to people he didn't know, for no reason is true, but here's the thing: Firstly, when you reach out into the big well of 'everybody', I think it's only mature to accept that among thousands of well-wishers you may also encounter the very worst type of attention-seeking idiot. Secondly, I think the hurt an attention-seeking idiot causes is a very different type of hurt than the hurt that can be inflicted face-to-face.

But finally and most importantly, if there is legislation just to protect something as fuzzy and undefinable as people's 'feelings', well then, yes, logically, A Muslim can ( and will ) claim Atheist statements hurt Muslim feelings and should therefore result in some punishment.

You could claim that neither Alexander Aan nor Suzanne Morrison were deliberately seeking to target anyone who basically 'hadn't come looking for them', and so it's different, but it's really only different in degree.

Consider this one last case, of Wayid Husayin. He lived on the West Bank and wrote a blog deliberately getting up the noses of the right wing Islamic fundamentalists around him. The NY Times says he "angered the Muslim cyberworld by promoting atheism, composing spoofs of Koranic verses, skewering the lifestyle of the Prophet Muhammad and chatting online using the sarcastic Web name God Almighty." Wikipedia claims that "The Facebook groups he allegedly created elicited hundreds of angry comments, death threats and the formation of more than a dozen Facebook groups against him. At its peak, Husayin's Arabic-language blog had more than 70,000 visitors."

I think it's fair to say that Wayid Husayin was, in a sense, 'trolling' the muslim extremists, and playing a dangerous game. He was arrested in October 2010 and remains in jail. Palestinian security source have apparently said that Husayin will continue to be kept in jail for his own protection: "It is impossible to release him because we are afraid he will be killed by his family ". Now Palestine does not sound like a free society when you read that does it?

I believe that trolls will always be with us, and that trolling is a bit sick and a bit sad, but we have to protect trolls and other fools like a Black Police officer protects the KKK from a crowd that want to kill them, not because we like 'em or agree with 'em but because this is what freedom means.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Timeo hominem unius libri-faciem

Hello interweb,

I don't think I'm much of a political person but... something's been bothering me of late, and that's this case of the chap in Indonesia who was taken into prison Friday week and hasn't been heard of since.
From the Jakarta Globe:

A civil servant, Alexander Aan, posted “God does not exist” on Facebook. He was beaten by a mob and faces up to five years in prison, as blasphemy is illegal in Indonesia.

Now, you might say that the world is full of injustice, and that foreign lands are far away ( and full of people who think, talk, act and believe in ways it would take me a lifetime to understand)- and you might say to me; "Darren, why- oh- why would you think you have any right to comment on affairs in Indonesia at all? - and shouldn't you not just either mind yer own business,- or if ye want to pick a 'cause', pick something local and relevant like the whole 'Shell Oil' bastardry or 'Occupy Limerick' or, even closer to home, the wanton mismanagement & nepotism involved in the application of an architectural solution to a social problem that is laughably known as 'Limerick Regeneration'? "

Yes you could ask these questions, and in asking them you might raise your voice and poke your finger in an accusatory fashion, and thereby attract fascinated onlookers who applaud you and shout things like:'Hear- Hear' and 'Well done that chap!' and 'That was well said: let's see what this outspoken Marzy fellow has to say for himself now!'.

- and my answer, under such circumstances, would be probably be... to simply look at my feet and mumble "I dunno" before slinking away to jeers and laughter and cheap jibes of type that I wont bother illustrating for you here.

But later, as I scaled the staircase of the seedily elegant Parisian apartment building that I don't actually live in, I would pause... as a sleek and silent cat passed by me rather defiantly on the stair, and, ( as is bound to happen in such contrived circumstances ), it would come to me suddenly.... in a flash,- exactly what it was that I should've said when it first was put to me that the world is full of injustice, that foreign lands are far away , that I'd no right to comment on affairs in Indonesia, and would do better to pick a local and relevant 'cause' instead...

This is what I would say: firstly to a french cat, secondly to the back of a french cat and finally to an empty staircase, I would say:

" Alexander Aan could be me!

I mean, writing stuff that occurs to me and putting it 'out there' ( without properly thinking about the consequences) is what I do... and Mr Aan's offence was less than anything I've ever done... I mean, this man wasn't even a blogger, his comments were on Facebook ; he was hardly standing outside a mosque with a megaphone shouting "Go home, God is Dead": his comments were on the Atheists' page!"


A man decides he doesn't believe in Allah anymore,
He argues his point ( on an atheist page ) on facebook,
He goes to work, a mob is waiting for him,
They beat him up and deliver him to the police because, thinking as he does,
the mob believe, is against Indonesian law.

He is arrested.
That was nine days ago and that was the last I heard of him.

All joking aside- and it may be a strange thing to say, about somebody I don't know, but I'm honestly and seriously worried about Alexander Aan.

Desi Anwar of Jakarta globe newspaper


Yordan Nugraha on the legality of Atheism under the Indonesian constitution

Edit: latest (monday)

Edit2:There are people calling for him to be beheaded (Thursday).

Edit3 Trial not going well for prosecution.