Monday, July 24, 2017

JUNKIES, FAIRIES, TREES, SHEBEENS AND CRASH-LANDING SWANS - ALL DOWN THE SECRET GARDEN

Down by the Secret Garden – Blessington Basin

On the south side, the secret garden was always the Iveagh Gardens. But in recent years music, comedy and food festivals have meant that that garden isn’t so secret anymore. So these days to find the city’s true secret garden, you have to head north side. Up O’Connell St, then North Frederick, cross Dorset and on up Blessington until you come to the black wrought iron gates. In you go. And you’re there.
Yoga (Image: Dave Dowling)
The Blessington Basin, a perfect little gem of a walled park with seats and walkways around the edges of what the locals call ‘the duck pond’. The park is surrounded on all sides by quiet residential areas and the couple of old doors in the walls further enhance the secluded magical feeling. And those lucky enough to live on Geraldine St and Primrose Avenue, which back onto the park, enjoy stunning views.
Originally constructed as the Royal George Reservoir in 1810, fed by the Royal Canal from Lough Owel, it continued to supply water to the north side of the city until around 1885. Right up until the 1970s the reservoir also provided water to two of the city distilleries, Jameson and Powers. Dublin Corporation subsequently took over the basin and turned it into a public park – albeit one with a ‘private’ feel.
But the passing of the years was not kind to the park. “The ravages of time and sporadic acts of vandalism have taken their toll on the former reservoir…” the Dublin Tribune reported in 1990. “Much of the embankment along the water’s edge is subsiding. Iron railings are leaning dangerously close to the water… seating alongside the sides of the reservoir is regularly vandalised… a bricked up toilet provides an unattractive addition…” the paper added.
We all grew up feeding bread to the ducks
As Dublin played host to European City of Culture in 1991, the Goethe Institute paid for Dieter Magnus, a German “urban repair specialist”, to come up with a new design. But as Gerry Crowley tells us in his history ‘Basin At The Broadstone’, Magnus’ design met with resistance from the locals who cooled on the idea of German generosity. However, it did spur the local residents and businesses on into a flurry of fundraising activity. With added funds from the Corporation and with work provided by FAS trainee schemes and corporate donations of materials, renovations finally went ahead. President Mary Robinson and Lord Mayor John Gormley officially opened the Blessington Basin we see today in late 1994. The secret garden was back in business....continues

Monday, July 17, 2017

Beware Donal Trump The Anatolia Man!

This was from Sept 2016. And is still just as pertinent.
It's the standard con. Blame the other. Warn the mark about the ones over there. Don't trust them. Implicit in the cautionary tale is the presumption that you can trust us not them. It's a standard trope that any world traveller, well worldly wise world traveller, will instantly recognise. My old girlfriend Anne Moran n I had a term for it no matter where we were. In fact it became short hand for scam artists -apologies to all the honest decent Turks in question: Anatolia man. Out backpacking the Turkish coast in those halcyon days before the beaches - we left our safe European homes for - were bespoiled by the bodies of Syrian kids, the gravest threat we faced were the herds of men attracted siren like by Anne's red hair. And adding to the allure of the red hair was Anne's spellbinding asset.
"Ms Anne you look like Ms Pam."
That's Pam from Dallas.
Far away Dallas. But that was cool. Sanitised. Safe. American Dream.
No. No. Come here Ms Anne. (I was on the borderline of being tolerated and ignored. And I also seemed to serve as a guide to what was sexually acceptable: if I put my arm around Anne, beach Lothario felt he could too. But every move came with a cautionary tale:
Beware Anatolia Man.
Anne's legions of admirers and Anatolia cautioners grew vastly when food poisoning laid me low.
Back on my feet two days later, it was near impossible to pay for a meal or groceries.
Everything was a present for Ms Anne. The more genuine the gift the less intense the warning about Anatolia man.
A couple of his greatest foes, however, rendered our life impossible. They wld follow our every move. They wld lie beside Anne on the beach whispering sweet warnings of Antolia man. Out snorkelling with conveniently loaned flippers n mask, I wld look to shore to see Anne's red hair sandwiched on her towel by two black haired gents. Both whispering terrifying tales of Anatolia man as they inched up the towel.
Too much.
The next day we hopped the bus to Istanbul.
20 hrs later we walk out of an Istanbul bus station.
Only to hear a taxi horn blaring.
"Ms Anne, Ms Anne," a man screamed.
"Beware Anatolia man!" the taxi driver screamed.
Actually that's a lie.
He screamed
"Ms Anne I meet you in Dacha," referring to the coastal down we had just left.
During a wonderful week in Istanbul, we ended up in a late night bar. A wild dive joint. Dwarfs dancing on tables. A reek of underworld. Around the same time I noticed our dodgy drinking partners were packing pistols I realised they were not asking me the price of my hotel room. But how much for a sojourn with Ms Anne in a hotel room. As I informed Anne Anatolia man was actually at the table, bad lieutenant was warning me about the local Anatolia men. I forgot the name of their place of origin.
Dodgatolia
But we got out of that and many other such scrapes around the world.
In far flung villages in the Vietnamese highlands, it was beware Saigon Man. In Saigon the scammers wld caution: Beware Cambodia Man.
And always throughout the following decade or so, whether talking to the local policeman or late night tuk tuk driver, we wld get the supposed friendly warning that actually signalled dodgy intent.
"Beware Anatolia Man!"
Watch out for the other, I caution, as I rob you.
It became our private warning buzz word.
"Anatolia man is here."
"Your friend's from Anatolia!"
So when it comes to that racist, lying, cheating, daughter leching, hate spewing, tax hiding, piece of filth that is #DonaldTrump, I got one thing to say - and with apologies to the good people of Asian Turkey -
BEWARE ANATOLIA MAN

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

JOHN CUMMINS POETICIAN - MR TIPIDDY HOP

Phil Lynott, Dr Seuss and Eminem stroll into a bar.

They sit down, have a few drinks and start to have a raucously good time. That’s the sort of vibe you get from writer and performance poet, JOHN CUMMINS.
John would argue that Bob Marley has a place at the table too. “Bob Marley was huge where I was growing up. You’d hear him out of literally every window. And sure Dalymount Park was one of his last gigs.” John cuts a curious figure. Skinny. Tall. Thin. Bearded. But with a wild braided bardic beard, not a hipster one. Overall there’s a gentle, affable groove to his tripiddy-hop style. city-of-words-john-cummins_0135_360x420
So this poetry business? How did it all begin? Well, not that he makes a big issue about it, but John grew up in Darndale. And poetry was a pursuit you didn’t broadcast. It was kind of secret and furtive, he says. But words intrigued him right from a really young age....

continues




Tuesday, March 7, 2017

DIG IN. HERE COMES THE TRUMP CIVIL WAR

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1YhWR7zbi4&t=78s


How a suspect president used the war on terror to change/subvert the world and sculpt the domestic US landscape. Giving birth to the world of suspicion. Suspicion. Not inequality. Suspicion. Them. Out there. Out to get US. A new world - aided by the internet and defined by government lies - provided fertile ground for the marginalised and the loons to join in, in the execution, the assassination the death of fact. Post fact broadcast by the net and nourished by trauma. All that overseas wars and domestic financial meltdown shit. All those coke head big swinging dicks who robbed and scammed with total impunity. But look we are old, established, integral, too big to fail. Throw the fucking dice. Who cares? Impunity. Occupy. Occupy the fucking toilet. Don't make me laugh. Laugh - like the great white/black hope that was Obama. Barack death of hope. Occupy the flagrant blatant Wall St excess. Bulls. Horns. Toredor. Keep the red flag flying? Fuck off and die. Bankers bailed out. Homeowners evicted. Out there ongoing warfare. Back here the mugging of globalisation. The seismic slap - manual goes digital. Get off yr arse. The buds not for you. The Mexicans are downing it. All of it. All this. And the Muslims. All the fucking immigrants. Somebody got to take the rap. Snowden says Big Brother is on the line. And who the fuck is flying the black helicopters. Russians. UN. Democrats. Liberals. And again the disappointment of Obama. Uppity. Downer. The emasculation of the globalisation. Balls. I got balls. A Glock too. Don't mess with me snowflake. And then treason? The Republican party? Get your head out of the meth lab and you can smell the robber barons lurking behind the party. What's going down man? Are you an American citizen? Extraordinary. Inequality. Militarisation. Rendition. Water board back to the Stone Age. Their families too. Enter a conman. White rage. Appalachian desperation. Snake oil salesman. Lies. treachery. Sociopath. Creature of the net. Reality tv. Glass beads sted of Glass-Steagal. KKK. Nurembourg. Walls. Immigrants. Rapists. Bad hombres. Crime. Gangs. Drugs. Carnage. Pure crystal rage. In the mirror a sociopath. In the white house, sociopaths. Up above the whine! The whine! The whine! Reaper. Drones. Hell. Fire. And brimstone! Shit. Just a wedding party. Hey it's a rock n roll world. Look! Russians in the cloud. In line. On the line. Raining golden showers. Who took my privilege? Send in the hookers. I want it back.Clowns. Back now. You hear. Don't talk too me about technology. Goddamn gay marriage. Uppity niggahs. Michele's arms. How very monkey. Donald- i know where I come from -Trump. Prez pervert. Porn star first lady. Smile! Terror. Fear of her sociopath. Tweeting in the meth-amphet dawn. Up there. Way up there. In drone land. Swamping the drain. Oiling the oligarchs. Fracking. Not Putin up with it. Dissent. Vlad wouldn't. There's a man. Fascism comes to America wrapped in a flag, tweeting insanity. And supposedly carrying a cross - doesn't seem that necessary anymore. Discrimination is the new family value. Them. Them. Them. Us. Us. Us. US is US or Them? Dig it. Dig in. Battle lines drawn. Here comes the war. Time to fight. Now or never. Hopefully see you on the far side. #RESIST

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Duchess of Duke St And the Flower Sellers of Grafton St



The Duchess of Duke Street

Wrapped from head to toe against the hostile elements, surrounded by a riot of colour which cuts a sharp contrast with the grey February day, meet the flower ladies of Grafton Street.
They say the ladies are “the heart and soul of Grafton Street” and what helps save the road from becoming just another English high street. You’ll find the ladies bringing both wit and colour to the corners of Chatham, Harry and Duke Streets.
Tina Kelly tells us she’s been selling flowers all her life, starting off aged 12 helping her mother when Grafton St still had two-way traffic. She has seen a lot come and go from her perch on Duke Street. Tina tells Dublin.ie that one time she even met The Duke himself. “Yeah I met John Wayne.” “Sure I met them all,” she adds. “Sean Connery… I was talking away to him, Liam Neeson, Pierce Brosnan, Lisa Stanfield. I met an awful lot of them. And sure Eric Clapton, well I was talking to him on the street for nearly two hours and I hadn’t a clue who he was.”
A natural born story teller, you can tell Tina enjoys the banter that comes with the trade. Many of the customers are obviously regulars as there’s lots of first name usage. Sister-in-law Susanne, who mans the Harry Street corner, says “you have to enjoy talking to people.” And in case we hadn’t noticed, she adds: “Now I would be a talker!”.....



Continued:


https://dublin.ie/living/articles/the-flower-ladies-of-grafton-street/

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

IT'S WAR BABY AND I'M SCARED, SO SCARED



CIVIL WAR IS A COMING
Chomsky susses the show - we need a 'militant Labour movement' to fight the surreal fascist circus that neoliberalism has delivered to us with #Trump#Bannon of course is aware of the opposition and is into the aesthetics of crushing it.
That's what us normal folks would call 'war' or a brutal fascist state.
Some on the left are thrilled by this 'end of days' prospect.
Neoliberal days.
But civl wars are very very messy events.
With a lot of hate.
And though the Bernie troops and the Trump foot soldiers have much in common.
That common ground vanishes in secs when the victims start dropping.
And the memories linger.
Go whistle Dixie
It's not good.
But I suppose Chomsky is right, it has to be tried.
There has to be organised opposition.
But just remember we are up against a sociopath president with a #fascistwhispering in his ear.
It ain't going to be pretty.
Weird scenes inside the goldmine.
I blame Bush and the whole WMD lie for the degree of alienation that allowed a snake oil salesman like Trump come to town.
All those kids going off to die for a lie.
While Cheney et Blackwater all get rich.
And of course Mr Blackwater is hitched to the Trump snake oil wagon as we speak.
#Tinpot Trump's sales pitch was fuelled by the disappointment of Obama.
Hope?
Dope!
But most of that was down to the nihilistic Reps.
The GOPS that are letting Trump run riot unrestrained, are cowering in cowardice or are actually supporting him.
But these fucks have shown us their patriotism.
They were prepared to fuck their country over just to get one over on that 'niggah' in the White House.
Niggah in the White House.
A smart one too.
Uppity.
Jesus Clinton was bad enough.
But Hussein from who knows where.
Show us your birth cert.
Yet the clown rallied the loons.
Pointing out it's called the White House.
And Michelle's arms.
The audacity.
Yet now we have Trump with his daughter in the house.
His 'hot' daughter with a great body.
His daughter he would like to date.
Who he thinks about having sex with.
Hitler meets King Lear.
Then Iago Bannon.
Whispering flattering facist dreams in his Trumps ear.
Visions of concentration camps.
Rounding up all the Othellos.
And Melania Macbeth?
The price of ambition.
Just cos you're a high class hooker doesn't protect you from a sociopath John. 
Incest, plots, covert deals with foreign powers, talk of civil war.
Game of Thrones goes to the White House.
So.
Yo Mr Chomsky we ain't got no flying dragons.
And the fascists got the drones.
And there's not even military and security professionals sitting there adding more voices, perhaps even challenging their use.
No. No.
We are all talk about our vets and our military.
But could you wait outside please.
Can't have people meddling in Bannon's assassination plans.
Alan Ginsberg and Hunter S - we miss you.
You're needed in this war.
OK kids let's go.
Let's lock n load.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

EVER BEEN HEAD-BUTTED BY A SEAL? WELCOME TO THE 40FT


This article first appeared below in Dublin.ie - the Dublin City Council website promoting the city's people and places

https://dublin.ie/living/articles/the-forty-foot/#.WIeF8iLLv3E.facebook


It’s an addiction. It’s life threatening. It’s awesome.

Huddling together in the bitter cold, on Friday the 13th, under a weak and feeble January sun, they all argue that there’s nothing better. Sure, there’s dramatic stories of nearly dying. But the group is adamant that the buzz is worth it. Great, they say, for the mental health. “It’s the perfect anti-depressant,” photographer Barry Delaney says. Listening to them, you hear the language of addiction, of love, of religion even.
Welcome to Sandycove’s famous Forty Foot and its crew of year-round swimmers. It’s almost like a cult. But the freezing water keeps things real.
Swimmers from all walks of life. Photo by Barry Delaney
And there’s no mistaking the sense of community. Of camaraderie, wit and banter. “It’s like a great pub,” Barry says. Indeed a few of the swimmers say they were a little too fond of the booze in their day. Here it seems they’ve found nature’s 12 steps. But get to the last step here and you still have to dive into the freezing sea.
“Yeah it’s an addiction with me,” Peter Brady says of his 30-year habit. “I didn’t miss a single day last year. I would feel absolutely guilty if I did. I am retired. It’s something to do and there’s always a bit of fun,” he says. Barry Delaney’s ocean journey started when he was struggling to give up drink. He had been shooting swimmers. And was intrigued. “I thought maybe I’ll give it a go.” And he did. And felt better for it. “I found it helped me deal with all the stuff that is going on in my head.” Barry lives just two minutes from the sea. So for him, it’s nature’s caffeine and therapy all in one. He gets up. He dives in. “Then it’s yeah, let’s go, let’s face the day.”
Artist Gary Coyle’s ocean plunge ended up with him making quite a splash on the international art scene. “I didn’t start swimming for artistic reasons,” he says. But he would be out there and would suddenly find himself awestruck. So he started to shoot while he swam and to document his daily pilgrimage. Notebooks, DART tickets, ear plugs all formed part of his first exhibition of sea photos. He even sold a number of signed jars of Forty Foot water: a sure sign of ‘making it’ in the art world! Laughing he says “Yeah I suppose it’s a profession as well as a recreation”, adding that he’s known as “the wave guy” in that world.
“Yesterday was swim number 4,845,” he says with a smile. “It’s very anal, I know.” But it keeps his engine ticking over physically, artistically and even financially. “I’ve had loads of shows,” he says, modestly. “I have a show touring the UK at the moment and I’m in a big show in the US next month. I never intended it to become art, let alone take over my life,” he says adamantly. “Talk about mission creep.” But it was such a good antidote to stress. “It’s fucking incredible, I just feel amazingly good afterwards.”
A Rough Day at the 40 ft. Photo by Barry Delaney
It’s not without its perils though. Barry says he was out before Christmas on a rough day and he saw a swell coming. He swam furiously towards the steps. But he didn’t quite make it. “I got spun around the railing, caught in what they call a ‘washing machine’. It was like a whirlpool. I thought ‘that’s it’.” He said he had gone in with a head full of financial woes. But when he finally managed to get out, his priorities were quite different.
Gary too had his scary tales. “You get a false sense of security on glorious days. And you think I’ll go just go a little further and further. And then suddenly you realise ‘Jesus I’ve gone way too far’.”
Redmond is 90 years of age and still swimming. Photo by Barry Delaney
Staying calm and “luck” are what saved the day for him. Gary also really enjoys the social aspect. “There’s all walks of life. All different backgrounds and ages. Taking your clothes off too is a great leveller. A really good bar is an apt description,” he says.
It seems the only unruly customers are the seals. People are feeding them so they are coming in close to shore. “The alpha male is huge. Jesus Christ he is huge. And he will head-butt you. I don’t know if it’s play or not but it’s terrifying,” Gary says. “He’s the size of a small cow. And he pops up looking at you. No fun!”.
Despite it all, everyone says it’s well worth it. So if you want a taste of the fabled wit, banter and camaraderie of Dublin pubs but don’t want to drink, try a trip out to the Forty Foot. And if you balk at jumping into the Baltic waters, then just sit back and enjoy the company and, of course, the stunning views of Dublin Bay. A great way to spend a day.
Main header image -From the ‘Lovely Water’ series by artist Gary Coyle