Tag Archives: memories

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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Remember that time..

I’m feeling a bit nostalgic at the moment. In the past day or two I’ve realised how much I miss certain people, places and events. There was something that I loved alot, that I just got, and I no longer have it. Life’s different, and sometimes you just forget that amazing thing ever existed. Then, something happens and you can’t get it out of your head.

I kind of think I want to get out of this city again soon. I miss something that’s gone, and I’m loving the break I have from something else at the moment. But that thing will come back again soon, and I know for sure that I’ll want to leave again once that happens. It’s not like I’m bored here or anything. I’m doing plenty at the moment, and loving it. But it’s the prospect of all this ending and other things beginning that I’m not quite looking forward to.

I don’t want to have to go to Dublin every time I get sick of the daily routine here though. A coffee with someone new would do, or even a day out west somewhere. But Dublin’s always there if I need more space.

It’s weird in a way, how I feel like I have more space in a much busier city. In Dublin there’s crowds of people crossing at traffic lights, the DART and Luas are packed during rush hour and there’s people everywhere. Still though, it’s easier to get lost with so many people around. Sometimes that’s good, but other times you might need a smaller place like Cork where it’s pretty impossible to walk down the street without seeing someone you know. That can be good too, but if you want something new, it can be a bit annoying.

I haven’t had one of these posts in a long, long time, but it’s late and I felt like rambling. It’s just that I miss the big city, and I miss the small city of days gone by. And I know I’ll miss June when it’s finished too.

Christ I know this is all very thoughtful and shit, but it’s a bit of a one off. because sometimes this blog needs a bit more emotional rambling even if I tend to exaggerate a lot.

I just miss the buzz of Dublin like. But Cork’s cool too.


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News, some good, some bad.

I guess the pretty obvious bad news that emerged today is that of the death of Gerry Ryan. We were coming home from school and my mum had to park at the end of the driveway because there were vans and stuff in the way. My cousin the builder was doing some stuff down there, and he said he’d gotten a text that Gerry Ryan had died. This was seconded my some other workman person whom I’ve never seen before. Then I came inside and saw it on twitter, then irishtimes.com. It’s a shock to say the least. I mean I didn’t listen to his show that often, what with school and everything. But there’s no denying that he was a huge part of Irish radio and media, and undoubtedly he will be missed. He’s an inspiration to me in certain ways, as he did law in college, but went on to work in media. Rest in Peace, Gerry.

On a brighter note, today we got word of the nominations for the Irish Times SchoolMag competition. We were supposed to have known by March 26th, but things got delayed, and finally we were told today that we have been nominated for three awards. An overall award, and award for design, and an award for my article on Plugd. I first posted that article here actually, and then changed it around and adapted it for the magazine. So I was particularly pleased with that one, but the design one too as I did do alot of that myself. So I was happy out today. However, I was unusually quiet at tennis, because I had read over my Plugd article again, and it made me miss the place even more.. I’m glad that I’ve gotten to voice my opinion about it though, and that someone’s taken notice and actually thought it was good. It’s true what they say though, you should write about what you know.

I got a nice message from a nice person today too. Nothing spectacular, but they were just doing a small favour for me, and talking to them brought back good memories, and made me look forward to some other stuff too. It’s weird how you don’t talk to someone for a while, but their personality is so strong it’s like you were only talking to them yesterday. Or maybe that’s just because the year has flown by. Perhaps a mixture of both.

I’m tired now, so I think I might leave the laptop. I wish we had more books in this house.

And apologies for the lack of pictures. I’m feeling lazy.

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2009: Month by Month in Photos

January - Dublin

In January, we took a little trip to Dublin, disguised as a visit to the Young Scientist in order to take a day of school too. That was a nice day.

February - Paris

February entailed a nice trip to Paris with school. I fell in love with a city and felt close to a certain person. It’s a beautiful place. Je l’adore.

March - Work Experience

March brought adventures into the world of work, with me spending a week hanging with the surfer/skater kids in Tubes, and then rubbing shoulders with the legal eagles in the courthouse. (Only pic taken from Google Images because I have feck all photos from March.)

April - Coolaboola gig

April brought with it the first Coolaboola gig of 2009 featuring Alterosa, Daithí Ó Drónaí and Spitvalve @ the Pavilion . April also had magazine awards in TCD, hiking through mountains to Kenmare, and the musical, Chicago, with yours truly as Miss Velma Kelly. [Pic – Brendan Canty]

May - Coolaboola gig #2

May saw us bringing Delorentos to Cyprus Avenue, supported by the mighty When Good Pets Go Bad and the Truffle Shuffles. May also entailed a few summer exams, and then the glorious holidays.

June - Cork Midsummer Festival

In June, I spent my days behind a sound deck with a theatre project called Out of Order, created and directed by my two favourite Belgians, as part of Cork Midsummer Festival. June led us down to Bandon also for BandonMusicFest where we saw the one, the only, MUNDY! I also got a job. Selling scratch cards on the street. Moving on… [Pic – Sinéad O’Brien]

July - Cannes

My favourite part of July was Kinsale Arts Week with all it entailed, but then the dream was shattered and two days after it finished I had to board a plane and fly off to the South of France with the rents and the brother. Death.

August - Surfing

There were a few nice trips to Garrettstown for surfing in August, along with a KAW reunion/party thing which was nice. And we got our new puppy Zico! ❤

September- Mooosak!

September brought us back to school. I started this blog, and my friends and I formed a band. Ha!

October - Coolaboola gig #3

October brought Daithí Ó Drónaí back to the Pav, supported by Fizzy Make Feel Good and guests from Argentina. October also witnessed many free gaffs, including my few days staying in my friend’s house with her while her parents were in Paris. And Halloween just squeezed it into October too. Not a bad month at all at all.. [Pic – Brendan Canty]

November - Cork floods

The rains came bigstyle in November, flooding everywhere from Inniscarra Dam to the city centre. Water was cut off to a large part of the city also. And there was one very memorable party…

December - Plugd Records

December was lovely and horrible all in one. It brought Christmas and my birthday and presents and Christmas Eve. But it also brought the news of Plugd’s closure, and the final shutting of its doors on the last day of the year. December saw the final time our Zico closed his eyes, icy roads, and the ringing in of a new year.

It’s been a good one. So long, 2009.

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Plugd Records to close its doors..

Oh the antics Jim got up to..

The end has begun.

Plugd Records, Cork’s only independent record store, announced on Monday via a thread on  the PRoC that it is to close at the end of this year.

Here’s the bad news in the words of the boss, Jim:

Hey all,
Wanted to get on to some of ye personally before this got out. But well, here you go…
Some news on the plugd front. I’ll try and keep it short.
We are shutting up shop after Christmas. Feels weird writing it, but there it is. The plan is to close the doors before the new year. To be honest we don’t know yet if this will be permanent or temporary. It will definitely be a few months and if anything does happen in the future it will be in a different premises with a lot of changes to the business.
After 8 years here it was a difficult decision to make, but it has become increasingly obvious over the last while that things are not working out in our current situation. We really have gone to the wall and we can’t see things improving.
The reasons are straight forward enough – business is down, like most others at the moment – and overheads are staying up. Simple as that. Besides the current economic climate the plight of record shops has been well documented. Sadly, there have been a few in Cork that have closed before us, and there are examples in any city you could mention.
Myself and Albert have been throwing ideas around over the last while, thinking about ways to improve matters. A couple of simple things became apparent – selling music is not enough to get by anymore. And we can’t develop further in the premises plugd occupies. Hopefully after we close, we will have a bit of time to come up with a plan b.
Apologies about the inconvenience this might cause people. I will get back to ye over the week with details of our exact closing date and our pre-closing sale. There’s a couple of things going on in plugd before Christmas I will let ye know about too.
Finally, a huge thanks to everyone, from the rockers to the ravers, who have been through the door since we opened – especially our regulars, who kept us going for so long. It’s been a real good time.
Jim / Albert

Words can’t begin to describe how awful this is for any music lover in Cork. Plugd has been in residence at 4A Washington Street for eight years, and there has been a record store in that premises for over 20 years, with Comet there before Jim moved in, only in his mid-twenties at the time.

Jim really does have a big green eye.

Anyone involved in the Cork music scene will realise how disastrous this is for Ireland’s second city. To quote StevieG, a DJ, promoter and radio presenter in Cork, ‘Plugd was the epicentre of the Cork music scene.’ I couldn’t agree more.

For anyone at all who decided to put on a gig over the past eight years, Plugd was their first stop. Both Albert and Jim had unlimited time for everyone who walked through the door. They sold tickets for independent promoters, as well as being the main outlet for Tickets.ie. Posters for gigs lined the walls, and there seemed to be never-ending space for flyers.

Albert has given me so much advice since I’ve been going in there. I’ve been involved in putting on a few all ages gigs in Cork over the past year, and he has answered my questions and told me to learn from his mistakes. Not only music advice, but he has been a huge source of wisdom in all areas of life. I’d be a bloody lunatic without him.

For a city as big as Cork, having an independent record store to stock the numerous local bands’ EPs and albums was a massive necessity. The local music scene would only be a fraction of what it is today if it wasn’t for Plugd to support these young, talented musicians along the way.

Plugd catered (and will continue to cater for until New Year’s Eve) for all sorts. From rock/pop/indie to dance to electronica to reggae to Jimmy’s favourite, the ‘deep dubby techno’, whatever you were into, it could be found in Plugd. Or if you hadn’t a clue what you were into, Jim or Albert would find something for you, and their impeccable taste meant that no-one walked back out those doors unsatisfied. I undoubtedly wish I could have spent more money in there. I know I should have bought more, but at sixteen years of age, it’s difficult to find the money. I do know though, that if Plugd does return, I will support it regularly. If it means I have to stop eating and walk to and from town in the lashing rain, then so be it.

To many people, Plugd was alot more than a record store. It was a whole community in itself. People met new like-minded people, and a little population of ‘Plud-goers’ emerged. Every Saturday, the rockers and the ravers would head in, with the obligatory coffee from Gusto next door, listen to music and chat with fellow Pluggers. The atmosphere in there was amazing. Nothing will ever compare.

The customers chatted about what they had bought; Albert gave regular updates on the Premiership matches, speaking just that bit louder when Spurs scored. Gig-goers had a look at the gig listings and Jim or Albert advised them what shows to go to. Plugd even put on their own shows from time to time, hooking up with some other local promoter.

Toby's fans flocked to see him on Cork Culture Night (Photo - Barry Walsh)

And of course there were the in-stores, the most recent one being Toby Kaar’s set for Cork Culture night. The CD racks were pushed to the back of the shop, Toby set up, and the community gathered to listen to his choons. Stoked, as Toby would say himself. It was a really lovely night, people inside, but also outside, sitting along the footpath, chatting and wowing over Toby’s choons coming at them through the speakers outside. It was quite fabulous.

I got to know some pretty cool people from going in there. I’m not going to make a list, but there were a fair few. It hurts a little inside to think that I won’t get to see these people anymore, or that I won’t meet anymore Pluggers. I love Cork, alot. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else, but I now realise that why I thought Cork was so cool was because of Plugd. It was that something extra about the town, when you walked down the street and you saw someone you may have never talked to, but just recognised from going in there, and there was a wave and a smile. Shur why would you want to go anywhere else?

When 4A Washington Street closes, a little part of the city will die too. In 2005 Cork was European Capital of Culture, and rightly so. Now though, I can’t see this great sense of culture so much. Plugd was the music scene. I know there’s plenty of venues and promoters, but what’s a city without a record store like Plugd? Road Records in Dublin announced earlier this year that it too was closing. Immediately, everyone on the Dublin music circuit set about trying to save the shop on Fade Street. A benefit gig was held and Road was saved. But Road’s knight in shining armour wasn’t one night out, but some generous wealthy person who gave Dave and Julie of Road Records a nice sum of money.

We in Cork will be more than willing to do the same type of benefit night. After all, there’s enough promoters, venues, bands and DJs to volunteer their services, but it will never be enough to save our beloved music store. Even if it was, Plugd is, at the end of it all, a business. Coming to this decision has obviously been one of the hardest things Jim has ever had to do, and he hardly made it lightly. We have to recognise that this is what Jim and Albert have to do right now, but hopefully they will be back.

I have too many memories from this little oasis of music to recount here. All I can say is that I’ll miss it. I’ll miss going in early in the morning, and being the only person in there, sitting on the stool while Albert washed the floor. I’ll miss how Jim used to look like the coolest person in the world with his skinny jeans, Converse and various grey jumpers. I’ll miss how I used to go in there and end up chatting to someone I would never in a million years have met if it weren’t for Plugd. I’ll miss putting the CDs back on the shelf for Albert, and telling him about my latest problems in life.

It's the boss..

When I went in there today, for the first time since hearing the news, I cried. I cried when Jim came in and at how everything seemed normal. I don’t know what I expected, but it seemed strange that it was all the same. Albert was typing away on the computer, Jim came down to get some vinyl and bring them back up to the office, and people were browsing away. It’s really, really sad to thing that this will all come to an end three weeks from today.

Hopefully there can be a Plugd v2.0 in a new location and with a renewed energy after Jimbert’s much needed break.

I can’t imagine who I’d be today if I hadn’t been introduced to that little world.

I guess it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. Or at least that’s what ‘they’ say.

Here’s a documentary on Plugd. Good as it is, it will never give you a true sense of what a gem this place was.

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