Tag Archives: music

A Life Update (Possibly in list form)

Wow. Hi. Remember me? Probably not. Apologies to the four people who’ve been checking this horrifically neglected blog on a daily basis in the hope that I’d published some more of my world-class ramblings. I’ve been busy. Because I like lists at the moment, I’m going to tell you in list form what I’ve been doing. Or some of what I’ve been doing at least.

1. I went to Amsterdam! I think that’s the biggest bit of news really, hence it’s number one. Although this list will not be arranged in order of importance. Anyway, I visited a friend in Amsterdam and spent five-nights-six-days there. It was lots of fun and Amsterdam is an amazingly chilled out and beautiful city.  If I get a chance, I’ll do an Amsterdam post, because it really does deserve one of its own.

2. I did my pre Leaving Cert exams before that. They were ok. I don’t mind exams; they’re better than having classes and they seem to go pretty fast. I’ve nearly all of the results back at this stage and I’m quite pleased, especially considering the vast majority of subjects were studied solely the night before.

3. The Irish orals are on this week and French next week. My Irish is coming up this Thursday I think, a fact which is slightly terrifying, but not as terrifying as the fact that French is next Monday. There’s a high probability of me crying.

4. I’ve been listening to lots of music, probably just in an attempt to avoid doing any work, but it’s nice all the same. I’m also very much looking forward to various gigs and festivals that will be taking place during the summer.

5. I’ve been talking about getting a summer job. Yeah, just talking about it. God forbid I should hand out CVs or actually do anything about it.

6. I’ve joined StumbleUpon and have whiled away many hours looking at nothing. It’s horribly addictive and I wouldn’t recommend joining unless you consciously want to destroy your education and/or home life/marriage.

7. I hung out in the library there a bit while I was doing the pres. Studying, like. Not actually hanging out reading the newspapers with the old men or anything. Life’s not that bad yet. It was good though. I made a friend when this guy borrowed my set square, I saw hobos being arrested on Grand Parade, I went for lunch and coffee in Gusto lots, I engaged in polite conversation with an old man, I wondered just why that Vans was up on the window ledge next to me, I cursed the loud buttons on my phone, I looked out the window alot and, from time to time, I studied.

I couldn’t be bothered concluding this nicely so instead:

The End.

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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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Since we last spoke..

I’m not going to apologise for talking about my life. It’s all I actually want to write about right now, and you’re here of your own free will so I’m allowed incessantly babble on about myself.

In my last post I think I talked about me feeling rather poorly and how I hoped to make it to The National in Dublin last Friday evening? Yeah well that didn’t happen. And to put it bluntly, it really, really sucks. Bigstyle. There’s not much I can do about it, I know, but it’s realising how close I actually came to seeing them live is what hurts so much.

I’m probably over-reacting. It’s just music, right? Not really though. To most people, Boxer is a couple of good songs by some indie band from Brooklyn. To me though, The National mean a hell of a lot more. Maybe one day I’ll go into it, but not now.

I remember first hearing the rumours that they were coming to Dublin. I was fucking ecstatic. Delirious. It was unbelievable. I was dancing around the house like a headless chicken while my parents looked on in amusement. They understood though. Highs followed lows as the shows sold out, as I managed to get tickets from a friend, as plans got messed up, as plans sorted themselves out, and then the final devastating low last Friday morning when I couldn’t get out of bed.

It didn’t really hit me then. At the time I just felt so shit the last thing I wanted to do was get on a bloody train and traipse around Dublin in the snow. I couldn’t have done it and I wouldn’t have enjoyed it one bit. Today though, on the way home, Bloodbuzz Ohio was mentioned on the radio and immediately I changed channel. For the first time in my life, I couldn’t listen to The National. I couldn’t sit there and let that recording play knowing that I so very nearly heard it live. That moment killed me.

Then I was decorating the Christmas tree earlier and I couldn’t even consider playing Alligator. It sat there in the pile of CDs, but I just couldn’t put it on. No Age, Holy Fuck and Abe Vigoda made up my decorating soundtrack. Not bad, but The National just shoulda been there..

I’ll see them some day, and I know it’ll be worth the wait.

In other news:

  • I had my Irish oral today. Got an A1 (fuckyeah)!
  • Two weeks yesterday ’til my birthday which is exciting!
  • Christmas exams start Thursday which is not exciting.
  • I have a dental appointment on Monday, which may sound like a mundane fact but it is actually a huge event in the life of a dentophobia sufferer.
  • I put up the Christmas tree this evening but plenty of decorating remains to be done.
  • I am going to go to the library tomorrow with Caroline to study for the day. It has been two weeks since I’ve opened a book at home due to my being sick. (Refer to point about Christmas exams)
  • I also hope to get a pair of shoes tomorrow. Grey or black pumps, but a decent pair.
  • I got a lovely, warm, black parka the other day.
  • I currently have a €50 note stuck inside one of my Uggs. I must purchase a harness for the dog tomorrow and I get to keep the change. The harness costs a tenner.
  • I’m tired and I should go to bed (wearing my new pyjama pants!) Good night.

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A leisurely morning…

It’s been a while since I’ve been into town super early and had a few hours to kill. Having a few hours to kill always makes it sound like you’ve nothing to do with your life and you’re a sad person. That’s not the case though. But I’m going to go ahead and justify my free hours anyway, by saying that if I hadn’t bothered going into town I’d have just been sleeping those hours away. I prefer to be up and about, even if it means I spend money on things I don’t need.

I started out by going to Gusto for one of their amazing raspberry scones and a large cappuccino. I sat there for over an hour probably, reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It was nice. The time sort of flew. I even bumped into someone I knew there, Darren, from Canadian arts company Mammalian Diving Reflex. I like that. Just sitting there, and then you see someone you know and have a quick chat. Eventually I left Gusto and wandered out onto the lonely streets.

Not really, but they were still pretty quiet. That’s the one thing that annoys me about Cork really. I just find it too quiet at times.. Whenever I’m in town with feck all to do and I’ve already had a fill of caffeine, I just go looking around shops. I bought a few bits in Topshop the other day so I didn’t need to look through that fecking shop again, but I did head into Oasis. They had a sale, which is what attracted me in in the first place. I got a green short sleeved t-shirt. It’s a really nice, almost silky, material and it strikes the perfect balance between fitted and loose. Happy.

Then I went to the Crawford art gallery, because I think appreciating art will  make me cool. I jest. Nah, I just like the building. It’s nice to wander around inside and just look at whatever exhibition is on. There’s no need to critically analyse every piece, but just kind of absorb all the stuff around you. It’s really peaceful too, which is nice. I love the contrast between the old collection and the newer exhibitions. You walk through those glass doors and it’s like a different world. The exhibition part is all clean, modern lines, high ceilings, quite minimalist. The older parts of the gallery are warmer colours, with plenty of wooden furniture. The art is, of course, hugely different too.

After that, I went to Easons. I don’t really know why, to look at books or something I guess? And I did end up buying some book, purely because it was €1.99. ‘We Are Gold’ I think it’s called.. Whatever, I wouldn’t even have a coffee for the price of it.

From there I headed over to Plugd to show Albert the article I wrote in the magazine that won the award. He seemed to like it. He laughed a few times, which is always a good sign, and he was pretty impressed with it overall too. Then I listened to some choons, and bought a Sea Lion CD. We had a nice chat, and then Albert told me I should rehydrate before my trek to Kinsale. Maybe he thought I was walking, ’cause getting the bus ain’t that hard.. Still though, I respected the wisdom of my elders and I went to M&S for their savage lemonade, and got a pack of crunchy granola bars in Tesco.

And then I went to Kinsale to work in the box office. It was a good day.

It crossed my mind at one stage though that I was perfectly content going for a coffee on my own, and wandering around a gallery. I know that some folk might find that a bit intimidating, or they just wouldn’t feel at ease on their own. Not in an oh-my-god-i’m-going-to-be-attacked-slash-abducted way, but just that they wouldn’t be able to enjoy their own company. I’m glad that I can sit on my own and just think, or drink coffee, or organise my week, or read a book, or just watch the world go by. We’re always in a rush, to meet someone, to do something, to get some where.

No harm in just stopping every once in a while.

Also, I’ve kind of given up on trying to find pictures for each post. It’s such a pain unless I’ve taken them myself, so you’ll just have to read the whole pf each post to actually see what it’s about. I mean, you hardly still read books with pictures, right? Why should a blog be any different…


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Bandon Music Fest 2010

No June bank holiday weekend would be complete without a trip to Bandon on the 239 to see some choons being belted out by various Irish bands on that stage up the top of the town. Last year we had Mick Flannery, Mundy and the Flaws, and this year’s festival saw FRED, Delorentos and Jack L take to the stage.

In previous years the festival has been free of charge, but this year it was a tenner for the 2 nights, or a fiver for the Sunday night only. Add to that the cost of transport, and we, being the cheapskates that we are, decided on the Sunday night only. That’s not to say I have any problem with paying a fiver to see two great bands. FRED and Delorentos played in the Opera House before and tickets were around the €25 mark, so a fiver is a bargain.

We had chips first of course, joined by a friendly Golden Retriever as we sat on the wall. I love sitting on a wall, eating chips from a paper bag, the sun shining. The only thing missing was the sea, but there’d be nothing special about eating Dino’s in Kinsale if there was a bitta sea water in Bandon too.

Re-creating last year's photos..

Our canine friend

FRED were up first. I was extremely excited to say the least, which led to quite a few people turning around and looking at me when I screamed. Even FRED’s bassist noticed.


And here’s a photo of me with the lovely Joe after their set. I had a huge chat with him, reminding him of the chat we had on Albert’s phone and when I did merch for them at a Coolaboola gig in the Pav. He probably thinks I’m a loon. Everyone who laid eyes on me probably did.

Joseph and myself..

Delorentos were up next.


And again..

It was a great gig. There was a fab atmosphere, and it was a nice, clear, dry night. Which I usually wouldn’t mention, but it’s sort of important for an outdoor gig. The place was pretty packed, which is really good to see. We even made some friends on the bus home, and I managed to stumble home along the country roads in the dark on my own.

That’s an achievement if ever I heard one.

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Record Store Day

Record Store Day

It’s just past midnight so I can officially say that it’s now Record Store Day 2010. Happy Record Store Day to all music fans out there, and possibly even more importantly to non-music fans. This year, I won’t be able to celebrate what was possibly the best holiday of last year. Since New Year’s Eve 2009, Cork is no longer home to an independent record store. When Plugd Records closed, a little part of the city’s culture and music scene died too.

Now it’s 2010, and exactly a year on from my first RSD, all I can do is reminisce. I’m not going to pretend that I was Plugd’s biggest customer, but I can honestly say that Plugd changed my attitude towards music. It’s true that there’s a sense of the whole thing being more than just a record store, and there’s no doubt that you get alot more from purchasing a CD or vinyl in a shop instead of downloading MP3s. Quality aside, there’s just this feeling you get when you have to set time aside to go into your record store, talk to people, look at album covers, album sleeves, and just have a root through the shelves. Parting with money makes you realise that the music you now have is valuable, and it’s something to be enjoyed. Download an album and you might never listen to it, but generally you’ll appreciate the album you paid for a hell of alot more.

Among the vinyl..

Of course I still download bits and pieces, but it’s even harder now to curtail my downloads seeing as all we’ve left is HMV and Golden Discs. And after over a year of a far more personal shopping experience in Plugd, I’m not prepared to go back to HMV. I’m rambling alot, and I don’t really know what I want to say, because it’s late, and I’m tired. I’d a long day, and in other unrelated news, we got a puppy today! Black lab, he’s adorable.. So my energy’s been taken up with other things.

Seriously though, if you do get a chance, call into your local record store for Record Store Day, or any other day. RSD doesn’t mean that this Saturday’s the only day worth visiting; every day is a good day for calling in, hearing new music, meeting new people, and perhaps parting with a few pounds.. It’ll be worth it, I promise.


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What I missed...

Today, round about lunchtime the first part of the line-up for Oxegen 2010 was announced.

It was really rather amusing in school, as one friend of mine skipped class to sit in the bathroom listening to Cormac Battle via her phone. Having said that, this was really just so she’d miss Irish as opposed to her having any interest in what acts were being announced.

At lunch time, everyone was at it. There were phones out all over the place as everyone frantically disregarded the fact they were using up ridiculous amounts of credit and logged on to Facebook, Twitter, oxegen.ie, or even rte.ie I heard. I got my first glance at the line-up when a friend logged on to Facebook, and I was surprised to say the least.

Eminem. That shocked me. And not in the good way. I really don’t know why. It puzzles me.

Anyway, along with Eminem they announced Muse, Jay-Z, The Black Eyed Peas, Kasabian, The Prodigy, Florence and the Machine, Paolo Nutini, Faithless, Stereophonics, David Guetta, Vampire Weekend, Mumford & Sons, John Mayer, Hot Chip, Calvin Harris, Newton Faulkner, Gossip, The Temper Trap, Empire of the Sun, Goldfrapp, La Roux, Wolfmother, Rise Against, The Coral, Broken Social Scene, Ellie Goulding, Two Door Cinema Club, Armand Van Helden, Steve Angello, Simian Mobile Disco, Erol Alkan, Steve Aoki, A-Track, Aeroplane.

So there you have it. There’s a few that stand out as ‘Yay I want to see’ but it’s the headliners that turn me off. Well Muse, cool, but compare Eminem and Jay-Z to last year’s Blur, Killers and Kings of Leon and I know which I’d have chosen. I think I kind of missed out last year. I remember looking at the poster in Plugd everytime I went in over the summer and pointing out all the acts I wanted to see. Not so much this year so far..

Florence, Vampire Weekend, Broken Social Scene, Two Door Cinema Club and Simian would be top of my list. And there’s always the remainder of the line-up which is being announced on March 8th I think. I guess I’ll go, if I have the money and if the ‘rents let me go. But if I was 18, I know I’d be choosing Electric Picnic. Still though, I guess it’s sort of a ‘coming of age’ thing and there are a good few bands I like alot, but I know my friends will probably want to be elsewhere. (Caroline I’d love if you’d come..)

At one point today actually, a girl in school said she had the line-up on her phone from the Oxegen site, and reading through it, it was simply amazing. I was jumping for joy (not literally). But then it began to sound all too familiar. It was, lo and behold, the 2009 line-up. So much for that.

So here’s to the festival season, eh?!


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