popular culture


Love Is Not Just For February


  I love icons and saints and saints’ stories and mark their feast days with the appropriate symbols and flowers. All except Saint Valentine. Poor Saint Valentine, he was hijacked by consumerism and the money spinners turned his celebration into a day fostering loneliness, disappointment,...

Leonard Cohen and Saint Kateri Tekakwitha


Inspired by Leonard Cohen’s “Be With Me” I made this collage of medals and relics in November 2010, possibly – sinfully – triumphantly justifying my hoarding of the family collection of such religious/superstitious – but also historically valuable – memorabilia and taliswomen. Leonard Cohen was...

The US Presidential Election 2016


For months I have been consumed and obsessed with the US Presidential Election, spending so much time on computer, radio and television that I barely got in the harvest before the first frost hit.  I have also become a bore on social media, dealing with...

Irish Dancing


    One of the most enjoyable gigs I ever covered as a journalist was the World Irish Dancing Championships when it was held in Cork. I wish I one of the 7,000 spectators along with the 1,600 competitors at Oireachtas Rince na h-Éireann 2016...

Move Over in the Bed Baby Boomers, Make Way for Millenials


  Woke up this morning worrying about earthworms. In a landscape increasingly covered in concrete, how do they breathe or mate?  Without oxygen, worms suffocate. Earthworms breathe through their skin and come up to the surface at night to mate if they feel so inclined....

Up Down!


(PIC from the “Body Language” blog article “The 23 Best Places in Berlin to watch Euro 2016” reproduced by “Slow Travel Berlin.”) Berlin in summertime is dappled….so many trees and the glint of water, and the smell of dog shit and lime blossom. Being winter...

Stories From Ireland


There is an Irish writer called Kevin Barry and there is an Irish writer called Sebastian Barry and there is an Irish patriot-martyr who is also called Kevin Barry and between the lot of them, I was addled. But not any more.   In Cork...

Tapestry


    Because the world spins so fast and because he is away often, Himself and myself have ‘planning meetings’ when we sit down with calendar, notebook and diary and get organized, make lists, pencil in dates and discuss where each will be, what each...

Richard III at the Schaubühne Berlin


  How do members of the British Royal Family feel when they watch William Shakespeare’s historical plays based (albeit sometimes loosely, with literary embroidery) on the derring-do and dastardly deeds of the British Royal Family? Depending on the name given to one, or the title...

The Sacrificial Chair


We probably all have one, a chair on which no one ever sits, but is nonetheless a fixture in the home.   “Thing Industries” a company in Australia, aware of this phenomenon, has created and are successfully marketing such an article of furniture. Not making...