David Bowie, RIP

This is another post that isn’t going to make me smile.

This morning the alarm went off – I looked up the weather on my phone and then decided to have a sneaky look at Facebook.  The first post was by the Radio Times with a picture of David Bowie.  The internet has been full of David Bowie the whole weekend – it was his 69th birthday and he had released a new album.  Hang on!  this isn’t about his album – it says he’s dead!  This has to be a hoax – surely- no it’s the Radio Times it must be true – how can it be true?

Pádraig!!!  Quick! David Bowie!!  (the rule in our house is we can wake each other if somebody dies)  what?  DAVID BOWIE – quick turn on the telly.

The telly wouldn’t work so we ran to the living room.

Himself watched it a bit and then headed back to bed saying he still can’t take it in.

I’ve sat on the sofa weeping every once in a while – I don’t know if it’s for me, for him, for his family, for the music, for my youth?

My youth has him linked to Kenny Everett – it’s a strange world.

I know it’s a real, but the body of work makes it a lie.

The Brilliant Bowie – gone but not really.

The Big Snow

Here in Ireland we get two types of weather – warm rain and cold rain – ok that’s an exaggeration but sometimes I don’t think that it’s by much.  I have to admit I don’t mind the rain and given a choice I’d pick cold rain.  However, the weather episode of choice for me is Snow!  probably because we don’t get it that often and so it holds its magic.  I have a feeling if it arrived every year it would turn tiresome and mundane, but it doesn’t, so it isn’t :)

This year I turned 40, yes I know I don’t look a day over 21 but there you have it!  There is one snow event that it still referred to in hushed tones of awe – The Big Snow of ’82.  I was 6 and a half (always important at that age!) and we had only lived in Dublin 2yrs.  As Dylan Thomas said “I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve, or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six”, all I can remember is that it seemed to go on forever.

One of the things that stuck in my memory from that time is Soft Cell and Marc Almonds trousers when he was on Top of the Pops singing “Tainted Love” – he looked like he was wearing black sacks ( I was 6!).

When the snow came people did put black sacks into their wellies and up their legs to keep their trousers dry.  Or at least I think that was it – I don’t think we were that trendy in Portmarnock to have those kind of baggy trousers, and if we were you certainly wouldn’t have worn them with wellies!

So what is it that has brought about this bout of nostalgia?  Well it’s that time of year again when the papers and websites start to predict snow – the coldest winter in 50 years, since records began, EVER!!!!  Happily they are simply reprinting the same stories as last year and simply updating the numbers.  In one such story I saw a link to a home video from 1982!  Yes, Virginia, A home video – smart phones? – ha! this was the hi-tech end of the analogue age (more nostalgia?)  So it’s not as crisp and it doesn’t have volume, for some I suppose the snow isn’t even that high, but for me it was a wonderful time – no responsibilities, no school, randomly no electricity but we had snow and enough of it to make snowmen!

Enjoy!

(And another with more colour and a bit of chat)

Hiroshima by John Hersey

  
Last night I finished reading this slight tome.  If you’d seen me reading it on the bus you would have thought I was just after receiving bad news, I couldn’t help but continually put my hand to my mouth, and in a way I was getting bad news.

If this was a piece of fiction it would be described as a great work of imagination but sadly it’s not fiction.  Yes, we are all aware of the fact that two nuclear bombs were dropped, one on Hiroshima and then Nagasaki.  However this is simply a fact, almost an abstract notion.  It happened and we know it was awful but we don’t know what it was like on the ground, to be going about your daily life at 8am, a bomb lands at 8:15 and if you survived your life was never the same again.

As I said it was a small read – 98 pages, but it did bring tears and heartbroken sympathy.  I don’t normally read this kind of writing but it was worth it and I think it should be recommended reading in every school across the world.  These bombs can’t be used ever again and the fact that it’s a threat that hangs over us on an ongoing basis to some degree or other is truly terrifying.

A big Thank You to Fionnuala for giving us this.

June/July ’15 Finish Reads

I’m rather pleased to say that my last three reads are actually books that I’d previously started but never finished.

The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin – I didn’t think I’d read much of this book but a bookmark still in it tells me I had actually gotten almost 100 pages into it!  However upon re-reading it I couldn’t remember anything about it at all!  On the other hand in the re-read I couldn’t understand why I didn’t finish it first time around!  I have the second book in the series on my shelf just waiting to be picked up.

My second read – previously I had only read a chapter or two of this book.  On the other hand, I’d seen the series, the film, and listened to the audiobook – so it really was time to pick up the book and read the words for myself.  Yes I’m referring to the first in the Karla Trilogy – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré!  

The series and the film follow each other fairly closely.  The book was written in 1974 and the series was made in 1979 so period was in keeping with the book.  There was one or two small changes made – locations – that when it came to the film they too, kept the places changed – I’m not sure I understand why.  On the other hand I did enjoy the book and Alec Guinness was Smiley for me the whole way through.

Finally, I got my hands on a copy of A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr

This had come to my attention last year (or was it the year before?)  I couldn’t find it anywhere so in the end I ordered it in the library.  Unfortunately for me the mood had passed by the time I’d gotten it.  It’s a short read – 85 pages and I only got about 28 pages into it when I had to return it.  So when I saw that Penguin had just released it as a Modern Classic this summer, I knew I had to get my hands on it and try it again.  Now one habit of mine is to find out how many pages are in a book and figure out where the half way mark is.  When I did that here I spotted that the story was signed off as such, as if it were a letter.  So that was how I read it – as a letter.  I devoured it which I’m rather pleased with as I’m a slow reader.  I loved it – I loved that warm summer – slightly struggled with the phonetic accent but that wasn’t the stumbling block that it possibly was last time.

Now I think my next read will be a new purchase but I’m still not entirely sure which.

Waiting

I’m sitting up in a London Hotel bedroom.  It’s almost 07:30 and I’ve been awake since 06:00.

Breakfast will be served soon, although I still have to wait.

I’ve started to read Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and I’m using the map of London to plot Smilies first day in the book.

 

Acceptance

Yesterday Ireland said Yes to Marriage Equality.

However, it was also seen as being about acceptance.

This photo said it all for me:

Relief
Photograph by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
Website: The Guardian

My Radio

I love listening to the radio – I have one in every room in the apartment even the smallest room!

Actually, that’s not exactly true – I did have a radio on my locker but retired it for the telly.  What I mean by that is we get the radio through the television and the signal is much, much better!  However this morning two things happened to be bring the radio back to the locker – I woke up in time to listen to Gloria on LyricFM and the remotes were over on his locker.  The radio was found, plugged in and I snuggled back down to listen.  It really was glorious!  The reception wasn’t too bad either.

Speaking of reception – I mentioned earlier that reception is better on the telly – well that’s not really worth anything if there’s no electricity!  As was the case last week.  I had just gotten off the bus when all of the house alarms started going off.  It seems that when the electricity fails you don’t get silence these days.  I do like having no electricity – it’s like an adventure!  Anyway with no telly or internets there was only the radio left!  So out came my transistor (I don’t think they can be called a tranny any more)  and the reception of BBC radio 4 was PERFECT!  We listened away ’til the lights came back and at that point all of the static electricity that was being generated completely destroyed the reception.  Now I know some will go what did you expect but it had never dawned on me before – yes, electrical weather but household, no!

Here is my old faithful –

IMG_2728 I’ve had her for too many years than I’d care to admit to!