Category Archives: ranting

A rant about music

For the past weeks or two I’ve been contemplating doing a 2010 music post. Not necessarily what I thought were the top 10 albums or anything, but more like my soundtrack of 2010. I still might. First though, I need to get a thing or two off my chest..

Number one. I believe that music is made to be shared (we’ll get into the legal vs illegal debate later) but it can also be an intensely personal and private thing. I’ve made friends through music, and sometimes there’s nothing better than a chat about what you’re currently listening to or what you bought last.

Introducing others to music is all part of it too. A lot of new music is discovered via word of mouth, from friends’ recommendations or listening to some records while in someone’s house or at a gig or whatever. Not wanting to sound too corny here, but I honestly believe a strong bond is created when people share music. It’s unspoken, but it’s just there.

Which brings me onto the slightly contradictory point of music being private and personal. I’m not talking about a couple having ‘their song’, but more so that people can become extremely emotionally attached to a song or album. Music can be a stronger reminder of an event or a period in someone’s life or a person than any photo or diary entry or physical thing. I know people will disagree with me here and say the idea is ridiculous, but I understand why certain people may want to keep certain music to themselves.  It may be the most over-played Lady Gaga song or an obscure classical song; it doesn’t matter. To that person, this album may have changed their lives, helped them through the tough times, or might just serve as the most effective reminder of some time in the past. People can be protective of and slightly possessive over music, but that’s why it’s so important.

Number two. I far, far prefer to listen to music on a CD than on my laptop. It usually takes that little bit longer to find the CD you want and put it into the player, but it all adds to the true experience that listening to music should be. If that record player sitting in the corner of this room actually worked, I’d go for vinyl, but for now, it’s CDs. At least they’re a million times better than MP3s.

I see people with iPods full of stolen music. I’m the first to put my hand up and say that yes, I was a semi-regular downloader at one stage, but not any more. I can see why people, especially younger people, feel the need to obtain music for free. The media never shut up about how easy it is to download illegally, and with people trying their hardest to save a few pennies it’s inevitable that spending on entertainment will be hit.

It annoys me. It really does. I feel sorry for these people too though. When you buy a CD or a record, you part with your hard earned cash, so it makes sense that you’ll value the music. You’ll make an effort to listen to it, get to know it, develop an opinion on it. It’s a physical object too. You can leaf through the inlay, examine the artwork, read the lyrics or notes while you listen, the list goes on.. You download an album without leaving the comfort of your couch, listen to it once, and then forget it’s there. Also, depending on where you buy it, picking out a record and buying it is an event in itself. You talk to other music fans about the artist, the latest releases, or just life in general. You might report back on what you thought of the album, and generally just appreciate the whole process more. Head to a P2P for your illegal download and you’ll get none of this. Your choice I guess..

Then we get into the legality and the morality of downloading from the internet. Well it’s illegal. Full stop. Morally though? That’s up to you. Some people couldn’t give a crap about the artist who created the music, but others do, and rightfully so. If you’re listening to music, getting enjoyment out of it, you should be giving something back. That’s just my opinion. I’m not talking about bands or producers who are just starting out. There is, of course, a time when artists just need to get as many people as possible to hear their work and that’s when people should enjoy music for free. Artists lose out, small record labels fold, and independent record stores close, all because you couldn’t be bothered paying a few bucks for your music.

Number three-ish. I love music. Alot. Years ago, I didn’t love music as much. It just didn’t feature. But thanks (probably) to a lovely little record store here in Cork I now love going to buy new music. For me, it’s worth every penny and I love coming home on a Saturday evening with a new album to get me through the week. I don’t claim to have a hugely extensive music knowledge, because I don’t, but I love what I know so far. So here’s to many more years of new and old music, live gigs, in-depth discussions of an album, charming record stores, CDs, vinyl and maybe the odd song through a tinny laptop speaker.

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Guidance…

I don’t know why they call it guidance at all really. You sit there, listening to that ‘guidance counsellor’ drone on and on about how to apply and where you can do level 6 courses and blah blah. I know all this shit already, I need you to help me figure out to do with my life, not tell me that it’s good to get into the habit of filling out forms in black biro.
The prospectii that I already have at home are thrown at me, and I have to ‘research’ a course, research here meaning reading the brief course description that I’ve read ten times myself already. Everyone proceeds to scribble down banal details such as number of places, course code and where to apply. You people think I don’t know this already?!?! You actually think that just by reading the prospectus in the ‘Guidance Suite’ it will miraculously all become clear as opposed to reading it in the comfort of my own bedroom?
So every Monday, I leave the ‘Guidance Suite’ more confused than ever. I’m being told to do Arts or go to a post-leaving cert college. Not being snobby here, but I’m capable of alot more than a certificate, you people should know this. Or has the motto suddenly become ‘Aim low and you might eventually get there via the longest possible route just in time to have the degree you want to stick on the inside of your coffin’. I’m all for looking at different options, and trust me, I have. I’ve possibly looked at every possible area and course available to me. And to be honest, that’s the problem. I’ve too much choice. If I work hard, I can get however many points I want, so that’s not a huge issue. But where to start?
When I was young, very young, I wanted to be a vet. That dream lasted for a good while and I thought I’d never, ever want to do anything else. I even remember telling my parents that you could only do vet med in Dublin, and what would I do, not realising I’d be mad to move away when the time came.
I think Science came next, although maybe there was a very short period of time where I was interested in teaching. But yeah, from about 1st to 3rd year I was set on Science. I was looking at Biomed, Medicinal Chem, general Science, Biochem and so on. Then I contemplated Pharmacy and thought about Medicine, and to this day I still do. Law crept in round about third year, and is still a strong possibility.
Fourth year opened my eyes to the completely new (to me) area of media. Design, journalism and TV/radio suddenly fascinated me. This all happened for numerous reasons and I still have this idea of what I want to do. It’s an extremely idealistic view of what I’d like to end up doing, but everything starts with a dream. I think I love writing, and design too. I like organising and running events. I like the arts and culture. I like the Internet, newspapers, blogs, film and graphic design. I like Irish.
So right now, I have two vastly different options in front of me. I have the scientific one, which absolutely fascinates me. As gay as it sounds, I have a hunger for knowledge, and I like knowing the answers and understanding things. Science is modern and the key to our future as Ireland begins to focus on R&D. The option to study the human body and drugs and having such powerful knowledge seems exciting, and I know I would love studying medicine or pharmacy. It’s the job that’s turning me off. I don’t know how I’d like to be stuck in a lab on my own all day surrounded by test tubes and droppers. I’m not sure if I’d be able to cope in a hospital as contagious diseases scare the living daylights out of me. Being able to save someone’s life would be utterly amazing, but I just don’t know how I’d cope in a hospital, married to my job.
Then there’s option two. If I chose that route, there’s lots more choices to make after that. I was thinking of Law and Irish and if I had to fill out my CAO today that’s probably be number one. Law’s a very broad degree and I think that’s what I need, while Irish would allow me study something I love and use it to possibly get into media or something completely different. Journalism and New Media in UL is something I’ve been looking at too, although it’s a very new course. There’s a few in NUIG that interest me too. That’s the thing about UCC, it’s very ‘traditional’ course-wise. While other colleges are looking to the future and diversifying into modern areas, UCC seem to be holding back a little, and it annoys me, because I really don’t know if moving away is financially feasible.
So here you are, with me in the midst of making one of the biggest decisions in my life. This time next year, that form will have been signed, sealed and delivered. I’m merely a teenager, who still has to get dropped here and there by my parents, who can’t even legally buy alcohol, and yet I’m expected to know what I want to do with my life.
Mind-boggling, in more ways than one.

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Rush rush rush

I’m surprised I haven’t done a huge ‘I was in London at the weekend and look at what I did’ post yet, but I just haven’t had the time. Which is annoying, because I think you need to blog about something while it’s still relevant so that you actually feel what you’re writing. But whatever.

In the meantime, head over to http://loladee.wordpress.com/ to see a guest post of mine. My friend Lorna asked me to do this week’s ‘Guest Wednesday’ so have a look at my post there if you’re missing my rants and ramblings and beautiful words in general.

I’ll be back with my daily blogging by the end of the weekend. Promise. And I can do a big long ranty post about why I’ve been so busy and stressed and whatnot.

Grr.

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Now, now children…

The Lough, Cork. (Pic by BMurr, boards.ie)

That’s the Government for you. I have now experienced this so-called ‘nanny state’. I get why they have to protect the safety of the country’s citizens and not waste emergency resources and Garda time and all that. I do. I probably get that more than a lot of other people my age.

I don’t get why they had to ruin my fun. ‘Fun? Fun? Is that what you call it?’ I hear you cry. Well, here’s a crazy idea, yeah, I do believe it’s fun.

In my 17 years on this planet, the Lough in Cork has never frozen over to the extent where people can actually walk on it. I’ve heard about how it froze over before my time. I even remember my Granda telling me his own childhood stories about how he went out skating on the Lough one winter. I thought that story was so magical. In my head it was like one of those scenes from a Christmas card; one of the ones that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Wow, I can’t believe I just said that.

Anyway, finally The Big Freeze comes, something I hope to tell the kids and grandkids about one day, and along with it, it brings a frozen Lough. YaY, right? Wrong. Before we can enjoy this rare event, the Council go out with a JCB and smash up the ice around the edges. Now what happens is it freezes again around the edges, only now the ice is a hell of a lot thinner, but people will still be lured out to the thicker ice towards the centre. Person steps on edge of ice, and crack, splash and aagghhhh! This is exactly what they were trying to avoid, and now look what they did?!

I accept that I am just bitter about the fact that I didn’t get out on the Lough soon enough. The smashed up Atlantic Pond too. My only hope now is the lake/pond in Fitzgerald’s Park, but shhh, don’t tell anyone..

I always have the pond in my front garden with 6 inches of ice if all else fails. Sorted.

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Irish drink culture..

Reading a friend’s Bebo page today I noticed she had listed in her ‘hates’ drink culture and the discussion of it. She has mentioned this topic on numerous occasions, but seeing it declared for all to see on a social networking site (*deep intake of breath*) made me ponder it for a moment or two. And then of course I decided to blog about it.

It’s pretty clear that as a nation we are obsessed with alcohol. No one will even attempt to deny that. It’s not really possible to go out for a night without having a drink, but I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. It’s hardly a crime for people to want to go out and enjoy themselves, and if a drink or two helps, then why not? I remember talking to someone (a little) older and wiser about this once, and they told me that, as in their case, alcohol is good if it’s a behaviour improver. Grammatically that makes no sense, but you know what I mean. He said to me that a few drinks to help a person socialise and reduce their inhibitions isn’t a problem, but if people know they become violent when they drink, well then obviously they should stay away from it.
So I thought about this, and did some research! By research I mean getting “locked” myself before I had any intention of writing a blog on the topic, but I may as well put the experience to good use. I’m not a regular drinker. But if it was easier for me to get away with drinking, the irregularity would be sure to disappear. Underage drinking is another topic altogether, best left to someone not as biased as me.
So anyway, we got our hands on a 20 pack of Miller and a “naggin” of vodka. I’m going to clarify at this point that I do not use the word “naggin” in everyday speech. To summarise events, we got drunk. Three 17-year-olds and three 16-year-olds. One male. Five female. The night’s happenings have led me to conclude that:
1. Teenagers can drink in a sensible fashion. We spent the night in a friend’s house whose parents were away, not out in a field. We even had some pizza with it. Although I was forbidden from going near the oven after a certain point.
2. Even the smallest amount of alcohol can affect a person.
3. Despite the fact that I am a good girl, I ended up becoming quite violent towards one of my best friends after a misunderstanding over a boy.
4. It can fuck stuff up. Emotions, relationships, breakable items, your head.
5. Drinking two litres of water before you go to bed is the best thing in the whole world. FACT.
I’ve gone a bit off the point here, but back to drink culture. What we did last Friday night was fun. It was one of the best weekends in a while, and a major factor in my enjoyment of it was alcohol. I’m not a shy person, but drink makes me lose any inhibitions that might be holding me back. Some may think that’s bad, but life’s short; do what you really want to do.
Social networking and drink are inextricably linked. A quick nose around Bebo or Facebook on a Sunday afternoon will reveal plenty of comments with the words “locked”, “plastered” and “out of it” featuring prominently. In the middle of a recession, is it so bad that people want to show the world it ain’t all that bad? And taking a few pictures and putting them on your profile won’t do anyone too much harm either. Social networks are just a popularity contest. A place to shout out to the world “Look at my life. I’m having so much fun.” Posting photos of nights out is an integral part of that. Of course we’re trying to look cool. Of course we’re trying to show all our peers we have as good a time as them. But we’re supposed to. It’s why Facebook exists. Did you seriously think it was actually to keep in contact with friends and family abroad?!
We’re Irish. We drink. Get over it.

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