Aslan You Have a New Fan

I love live music. There is something about the experience that feeds my soul. Unfortunately my concert attendance has taken a downturn with the introduction of children into my life. It’s just another thing they have stolen from me along with my sanity and my waist line. All is not lost and I am planning resurgence even if it means one child has to wear flip flops well into the winter. We all have to sacrifice from time to time.

There’s always a bucket list of acts that you might not be a huge fan of but that everyone should see perform at least once. I think Aslan tops that list for the people of Ireland. 30 years in existence they have toured the country extensively yet I’ve never felt the urge to go see them. I only know their big songs and what would I do for the rest of the concert? I’d be bored out of my tree. I was wrong. Yes it’s been known to happen. I went Friday night and I had a ball.

From start to finish I was entertained and impressed. People who have been supporting the band for years will be rolling their eyes but they were fantastic. I felt like I had bought a new album and I loved every song on it with the exception of one. Every song felt familiar and welcoming and sounded just like a recording.

Christy’s voice is powerful and smooth tinged with the right amount of grain when he pushes the notes to the limit. He uses his hands to tell the story along with the lyrics. These theatrics reminded me of a preacher giving a sermon. Each gesture marked an important word that we should all pay attention to. He had the congregation at his feet.

To sing songs that are 30 years old and still feel them in your heart is unique. I’ve been at concerts where popular artists looked like they would rather be anywhere else. Christy’s smile after applause felt like it was the first time anyone had ever congratulated him for his talent. Humble and gracious. I’m glad I went and there’s been a few new tracks added to my playlist that are going to be firm favourites for a long time. It took me a while Aslan but I got there in the end.

The Oscars; Leave the Politics at Home

I love to see glamour and you’ll never see as much under one roof as you will the night of the Academy Awards. Critiquing the outfits is like a sport for me, not to mention the hair and makeup. It’s fascinating to see the individuals express themselves. We are so used to seeing them in their acting rolls and this night of extravagance gives you a small bit of insight into the actual person. It’s so trivial but very entertaining. That’s always how I’ve viewed it, as an entertainment show.

Lately I don’t feel that entertainment is the word that I’d use to describe what used to be one of my favourite nights of the year. Maybe it was always the case and I was a little less sensitive to it but politics is ruining the Oscars. I know people have often used their speeches to get a message out there but it wasn’t the overriding theme. It was perhaps one person out of all the acceptances of the night.

Now I watch the show and I feel like I’m being preached at from every angle. It began with the #Ask Her More. The female contingencies were bemused by being asked about their outfits and jewels and demanded that on the red carpet to be asked about other things. They objected to the camera panning from head to toe to get in the whole ensemble and all of a sudden the dresses weren’t what the night is about. Now in the majority of cases the dresses and jewels are worth more than what I earn in a year so if you don’t place importance on the outfit then why not head to the high street for your gown.

I think of the director or actress who has worked their whole life to reach this level in their career.

 An Oscar is it!

Ten years ago I would wake the morning after to sound bytes of the winners and by noon everyone was talking about who won or lost. Now the sound bytes are of cutting remarks about inequality or lack of diversity. It’s vital that these issues are worked on at ground level but do you need to ruin what is arguably the best night of this person’s life to fulfill an agenda. I couldn’t tell you who won this year but I have seen many clips of snide remarks highlighting the gender imbalance. The director or actress who has worked their whole life towards this night is ignored in lieu of social commentary.

The, me too and time’s up, hashtags are this year’s mantra, not only on Oscar night but across all the awards ceremonies. I’m not for one second taking away from the harrowing experiences that sexual assault victims go through but is this really the time and place? I cannot identify with these women that stand on that stage. They are not the same as me. When a lady is on stage complaining that she gets paid 4 million when her male counterpart get’s paid 6, it just sticks in my gut.  It goes without saying that gender parity is something we should all be striving for but these people are in a position to protest. The average employee is not.

You could argue that these people at the pinnacle of success are fighting the good fight and that this will trickle down to the rest of us. It won’t. I do not have the luxury of millions in my bank account to allow me to stand up against bad behaviour. I couldn’t risk my job to tell my employer that I want more money. These women that are standing didn’t do it at the beginning of their careers. Who would?

So when I watch the Oscars I just want to see the gowns and the glam and I don’t want to hear about the latest campaign. I’m happy to read about that in a different capacity and will always support those who are trying to make the world a better place for all. But every which way we turn we are assaulted by the harsh realities of life. So maybe this one night of the year you could just lighten up and give us a twirl and be entertaining. It is called show business after all.

 

 

 

 

 

A Letter to an American Mammy

Dear American Mammy,

I feel like I know so much about what life is like in America. Every evening my screen is flooded with portrayals of what it’s like to live in the good old U S of A. From idyllic sitcoms, where everyone is beautiful and successful, to reality tv showcasing teenage mothers who live in the suburbs, we see it all. I do realise that its television but I have more of an understanding of American culture than any other place on earth.

Your children call you Mom, mine call me Mam.  I drive on the left hand side of the road and you drive on the wrong side! I’m not quite sure what a skillet is but I’m pretty sure that I have one I just call it something else. My daughter has a fringe and your daughter has bangs. We don’t have such a thing as a carpool lane and I don’t know what Twinkies are but I really want one!

I think if you were to sit opposite me and we were to chat over a cup of tea you’d tell me that it’s not very accurate. That everything is a little exaggerated for the entertainment of the masses and that our lives are not much different. We are neighbours separated by an ocean but in many ways life is the same for us all.

We get up each day and do our best for your children.

There is one distinction between you and me. I will never know the fear of sending my children to school to wonder if they will return home safe? I worry that they won’t work hard that they might not finish their lunch but it has never once crossed my mind that they won’t come back home once that school bell rings. I cannot imagine and if I’m honest I don’t really want to.

Since the beginning of 2018 there have been 3 shootings a week in schools in the United States of America. The fear of sending your children to school and something fatal happening to them is not that of irrational nightmares. It’s a very distinct possibility.

I read this week a circular that came home from a school in your country advising children to run in a zig zag line to minimise the chances of being shot. I can’t even digest that sentence:

run in a zig zag pattern to avoid being shot.

Children are equipped with vocabulary like lock-down, Kevlar and code red as if it’s the most normal thing in the world. It is not normal. It is not right.

This cannot be the norm for your children. Now is the time to put an end to this. An outdated aspect of the law cannot and must not overrule the lives of innocent children. Whatever you decide to do to take a stand know that every mother is the world is right behind you. I hope the next time I write it will be to congratulate you on change.

Until then stay safe,

An Irish Mammy.

 

My First Internet Rendezvous

If a pile of pancakes hasn’t clouded your memory you may realise that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. First to all you non subscribers to the holiday of love….. baaaahhhh to ye. Yes I get that it’s commercialism at its best but sure our whole existence is commercialised. Our education, our health our homes are all exercises in someone making money somewhere. Valentines is a bit of craic and I love it.

I’ve been single for an age so I haven’t had that someone special to buy something tacky for. Despite my best efforts I have a foot hold on the shelf and the more accustomed I become to the view the less likely it is that I’ll ever leave. That’s alright though, I have more than enough love in my life. Continue reading “My First Internet Rendezvous”

My First Visit to The National Design and Craft Gallery

On the rare occasion that I get to visit another city I would always look up the various attractions on offer. The selection can vary from restaurants and landmarks to museums and parks. I have rarely afforded my own city the same courtesy. There are so many aspects of Kilkenny that I have just never bothered with.  I tend to eat in the same places and not bother with what could be classed as tourist attractions.

A dear friend of mine asked me to be her plus one at the opening of an exhibition. So many thoughts flooded my brain. What does one wear to an exhibition? I’m not sure my Blush Belly and Babies hoody would cut it.  What if someone talks to me and realises that I’m not an exhibit type of person, the only art I own has been rescued from the bottom of a school bag. Will I stand out like a sore thumb and it was a school night to top it all off. Continue reading “My First Visit to The National Design and Craft Gallery”

Keep up with your Cervical Checks.

Being a woman is a complicated series of biological events. We don’t have it easy. From breast formation to the dreaded periods. After enduring the hormonal shifts every month during our child bearing years we get to top it all off with the menopause. We are so lucky. Your fanny is either sopping wet from a leaky bladder or dry and itchy from when it all shrivels up on you. The body’s polite way of telling you that your baby making days are long gone.

The vagina is a mystery to most women.  Unless you are in the healthcare profession the chances are you’ve only ever seen your own. That’s if you ever bothered to look. I wonder how many women have inspected their own vaginas? I remember growing up not knowing whether certain aspects were normal? The aroma, the discharge and the flaps were all aspects I hoped were the same on everyone else. It was not something that was discussed and remember this is pre-internet times so I had never looked at any pornography (still haven’t Mam I swear).

Once I became sexually active I remember hearing something about a smear test. I had no idea what this was. During a visit to the doctor he recommended that I pop in to the lady doc to have one after presenting with a number of infections in the area. Continue reading “Keep up with your Cervical Checks.”

Everyone Should Have a Home.

Leo our leader has come out and told the people of this country to just go borrow off their parents to get a deposit for a house. My jaw hit the floor and it hasn’t popped back into place yet. I’m not into politics so I only know what sound bites I see on tv or hear on the radio. From those titbits I always thought Leo made sense. He seemed practical and I never remember being opposed to his views. Until today.

I know what it’s like to have no home. When my relationship broke down I had to rely on the kindness of my mam to take me, two children and a baby bump into her home. As my mother there was no question for her as to where I would go. I was very lucky and extremely grateful. Not everyone has a mother to turn to. Continue reading “Everyone Should Have a Home.”

The Cranberries My Favourites

Born Dolores Mary Eileen O’ Riordan on 6th September 1971 and she couldn’t have been more Irish with a name like that. From Ballybricken in Limerick she was the youngest of seven. I’m sure none of them knew the measure of success that she was going to have. She rose to the top never forgetting where she came from.

The music always had an Irish lilt. Her accent came through every now and again. She wrote about Ireland many times and sadly due to the times that were in it the songs weren’t always glowing reports of our beautiful homestead. Continue reading “The Cranberries My Favourites”

I Will Never Get A Dog.

It’s the time of year where my newsfeed is choc-a-block with pictures of adorable puppies. Lucky me I hear you cry. I do enjoy looking at their cute faces and imagining what I would call them if they were mine. My suggestions are always better than the name on the screen because let’s face it I’m a creative genius. I love looking at their little legs struggling to hold up their pudgy newborn bodies. It’s like a tonic.

From what you have just read it wouldn’t be wrong for you to assume that I have a dog. Well I don’t. I never will and I’ll tell you why. Continue reading “I Will Never Get A Dog.”

Are Manners Gone Out Of Fashion?

Since birth I have drilled it into mine to have good manners. Please and thank you before and after everything nearly to the point of overkill. I do think basic manners seem to be going out of style. For me it’s an accessory that’s timeless.

As with everything in life, there’s a certain amount of evolution required. Like it or lump it we are moving further and further away from human interaction and more towards electronic communication. This doesn’t mean that manners have to go out the window it just means they need to be adjusted.

I understand that not everybody has their device in their hands all the time. I don’t think that a text or an email requires an immediate response. People are busy. I get it. However when you see the person you have text commenting on competitions for a new carpet on the stairs and not answering your question, that’s just rude. Continue reading “Are Manners Gone Out Of Fashion?”