Dancing at Lughnasa – by Brian Friel

This is my favourite part of the film. The dance scene [Act 1]. I shall be watching it again over the weekend. There is always great expression of hope via dancing where oppression is concerned. These women express the angst, the torment; the rigidity of their lives, the lack of freedom, their being tied down, the way society sees them as nonentities through their every steps. They become high on a potion of temporary happy madness, that releases all the pent-up frustration of daily life in rural lreland and what better time than at Lughnasa.

The women go into a trance like state, they become euphoric, as if they were on morphine, and everything just goes. To hell with the men, to hell with the problems of life, to hell with repressed sexuality, just for the moment they let every thing hang loose. Yeah, dance, dance where ever you may be, I’m the goddess of Lughnasa who’ll set you free.

Dancing at Lughnasa is on the Leaving Cert curriculum. The film takes artistic licence with the dancing. As do a lot of films in general  The film industry must appeal to the box-office. My tutor brought that aspect across to me very strongly, so I always make sure not to mix up the two.

Here is what actor Doug Krehbe from the Quotidian theatre site in America has to say regarding the dancing in the play. [BTW, great name for a theatre.]

During our rehearsal, I watched in Act 1 as the sisters danced madly and joyously around their tiny cottage in pre-war Ireland. Five amazing women whooped and cantered and flew and laughed like children around our rehearsal space to tinny music from the director’s laptop. And then I waltzed through the garden with the beautiful Rebecca Ellis (playing Chris), as we felt the other sisters watch disapprovingly yet enviously from the windows. And I watched as our Father Jack created a ceremony in far-away Africa with just a pair of sticks and his splendid imagination. And even as I drew a blank on the opening choreography of “Anything Goes” in Act 2 and flummoxed about with the grace of a hippo on methadone, my partner, Laura Russell’s sweet Agnes, made it all work. Dance is release. Dance, like Friel’s gorgeous memory play, is a way to capture the pure feeling of a moment. Lughnasa’s ghostly sisters and the men who orbit around them know this. They dance like no one’s watching. And what begins as a technical chore, somehow morphs into a beautiful thing. That’s why we do this – spend spring evenings in stifling rehearsal rooms, stepping (literally and figuratively) on one another’s toes. If you come across me at the next wedding you go to, I’ll probably still be leaning on the bar, trying to look invisible. But maybe not. Some occasions, like the Lughnasa festival, need more than words alone.

Somewhere over the rainbow

There is one song that every time I hear it, it resonates over and over in my brain for sometime afterwards, it is that beautiful. I absolutely adore this rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. It seems I’m not the only one. I first heard it on RTÉ.ie Radio1: The John Creedon Show and, as with the latter, being mesmerised by the song, so too was I. [There is another singer that J.C. finds very moving, his name is Jer Wolfe, I too concur, when I heard him sing Down the Curra Road.] I shan’t, however, go down that road on this occasion. It’s very saddening to know that the former singer has departed this world. His name was Israel Iz Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole. I went in search of information and discovered that he was an iconic figure on the island he came from – Hawaii.

Israel “IZ” Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole

“(Hawaiian pronunciation: [kaˌmaka,vivo,olay]) translation: “The Fearless Eyed”; May 20, 1959 – June 26, 1997), also called Bruddah Iz (“Brother Iz”), was a Hawaiian musician.

His voice became famous outside Hawaii when his album Facing Future was released in 1993. His medley of “Over the Rainbow” and “What a Wonderful World” was subsequently featured in several films, television programmes, and television advertisement commercials. Through his skillful ukulele playing and incorporation of other genres (such as jazz and reggae), Kamakawiwoʻole’s music remains a very strong influence in Hawaiian music.” Wiki.

I was astounded to see how many hits Iz got on just one YouTube video = 20,036,733. Gosh, there was an industry surrounding him, so John Creedon, whom I mentioned at the outset had the same gut feeling about him, as I did and millions more besides in the far outreachs of the world.

Am so glad to have made the discovery. I was of the impression beforehand that the singer was African American, jazz /blues because of the sound, but it appears that Iz was influenced by reggae, so I wasn’t far off the mark.

San Francisco – Scott McKenzie R.I.P.

I  listened to a great song I adored as a teenager. “If your going to San Francisco be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.” Sung by the late Scott McKenzie.   Nostalgic feelings overcame me, for an era in life that brought about a counter culture movement. A time when some young people would have wished they were born because it brought peace, love and harmony. I was in St. Joseph’s holiday home Rathdrum when this song came out first. I think I may have heard it on the duke-box in a tiny chipper up the way from the summer home. As sometimes we sneaked out the side gate to get the left-over chip cracklings that were given to us in newspaper wrappings. I think the proprietor felt sorry for the poor *orphans* who didn’t know what money was at all. Think Ballykissangel, and you can visualise the environment. In fact the church we went to on Sundays was the one used in the telly series. Our lives in Rathdrum were far more normal than in Goldenbridge. I know children would have thrived far better there.

This a a lovely pure version of the song that was composed by the Phillips [Mama’s and the Papas] who wrote and co-produced “San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)” for McKenzie. What a powerful tuneful voice. So sad to hear of his passing in August 2012.

Scott McKenzie, who sang the 1960s hit San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair), has died aged 73. The singer was a close friend of Mamas and Papas star John Phillips, who wrote and produced the San Francisco track. Released in May 1967, it became a global hit and an anthem for the 1960s counterculture movement. “I am amazed at how San Francisco continues even now to evoke dreams in the hearts and minds of people all over the world,” McKenzie wrote in 2002.”

Continue reading the main story at BBC News. 20/08/12

Related Articles:

Welcome – Scott McKenzie 

San Francisco singer Scott McKenzie dies at 73 | Music | guardian 

Scott McKenzie – Telegraph

Folk singer Scott McKenzie, whose hit ‘San Francisco’ soundtracked 

Just love retro colours here, and the one up above. I derive great joy in also looking at vintage clothes / furniture from the sixties/seventies/eighties in the flea-markets. I find myself pondering on the patterns for ages. It’s hard to explain – well, I suppose, if one was to find out the brain side of things, it would make sense.

Some of my favourite designs are polka dots, Paisley and abstract designs and shapes. Take for example the trendy shirt Scott McKenzie is wearing in photo. Blimey, that is, if you can lower your eyes from the handsome features. I was in a shop the other day looking at a gingham tea-cloth, for the same reason above, and was on the verge of buying it just because it reminded me of Switzerland. I find that clothing designs, and certain perfume sends one back to past times, I know it does me, so it must do with everyone. It obviously goes back to the pong and the nature of the beast. Think survival! I liked apple blossom, then in my kind of hippy era I liked, patchouli and Afghan embroidered coats, embroidered bell-bottom jeans, and light denim embroidered jackets. Joy sticks, the whole shebang. Not to talk of reggae music. As I got older I was into Estée Lauder. My enniscorthy friend, Joan used to give me her half-empty Youth Dew. It doesn’t half stain the clothing, though, so that would be a negative to this otherwise heavy perfume, if you’re into strong pungent aromas. It doesn’t come cheap at approx. 70 euro a bottle. I now settle for Inis Perfumes & Colognes Inis means fragrance as Gaeilge. I don’t think there is any ill-treatment with animals. I was talking recently to a gentleman who had a jacket that reminded me of a coat I think I had when I was very young. I know that the coat was taken from me in Goldenbridge and piled up in the locker room that was between St. Teresa’s and the rec. [wreck]. I actually said to the person that his coat transported me back to my childhood. I’m running off on a tangent here. So will get back to San-Francisco. San Francisco is a must to see, as with Mendocino. Maybe, I should get practice at learning to drive on the opposite side of the road before my trip to all the wonderful places in America.

Malala’s beautiful Portrait

“Beautiful portrait of #Malala by my very talented darling @ShaanTaseer

Sometimes it’s incredibly hard to express in words the pain some people have to go through in life. The very existence of the Malala painting epitomises the revelation of her courage. I also think about the other horrendously suffering girls who were caught in the Taliban fire-line. I hope they too make a full recovery. Malala has become the education conscience of the world. A heart-beat that will go on ticking and spreading energy to the education-less arteries of the world. When one finds an alien world out there that steps over the uneducated classes – yet, by the same token – reaps the benefits of those already paying heavily to be of educated, well, one can reciprocate their ridiculous privileged callousness by mentally blocking them out and look to the bigger metaphorical portrait of Malala to give one hope. Malala rules, not only the girls’ of today and tomorrow, but also those girls’ of the long distant past, whose lives were destroyed because of deprivation of education, and who resultantly were discriminated heavily against by the privileged educated classes who saw/see them as inferior beings. The educated classes use education as a whip to psychologically beat down the underclasses. Never the twain shall meet. Malala will hopefully change mindsets into the future.

H/t: @ShaanTaseerpic.twitter.com/SiJ4IXvN  View photo

I should mention that the photo was taken approximately a month ago. There are not too many flowers thriving at this time of year.

Marie-Thérèse O’Loughlin

I really enjoy taking photos of flowers when it is pouring down with rain, and this one taken in the front garden is no exception. I don’t know the name of the flower, but it looks similar to the lily. The constant gardner who loves growing flowers is an absolute credit. He plants so many varieties of flowers with so much tender loving care. I told him that I derive great joy in taking photos and, because of all the hard work he has put into growing them I don’t have too far to go to get lovely photos of his hard work.

Photo: Marie-Thérèse O’Loughlin Donnybrook, Dublin Garden Sept 2012

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Grafton St. Buskers

I forgot to ask the buskers the name of the band. I think they play very regularly in Grafton St., so I’ll watch out for them again. They were brilliant, and what a receptive street audience. It says all!

The crowd found it so funny seeing little Julie-Anne helping herself to the tapes and money from the guitar case. The mother looked absolutely mortified, as she carried her away from the scene. The little girl would have much rather stayed there to join in the dancing with another little girl who finally had all the ‘stage’ to herself. I really liked the way the girl with the hat went over to her daddy at one stage to seek assurance by giving him a big hug, and then went back into the crowd after being reassured to do more dancing. I saw that at the outset the father had given her his hand to guide her away from the centre, but she quite flatly refused to be drawn away from centre-stage. She was single-minded. There was such a relaxing atmosphere, as there always is in Grafton St.. This scene here would be typical in the very popular busy shopping area of Dublin.

It’s rather ironic that the buskers played right outside Brown Thomas. It’s a very posh shop. Irish people don’t go in for pomp and circumstance, so it looked out of place seeing a door-man with a top hat outside the shop. It just didn’t seem to fit in with the scene. Ah, well, everything goes.

What I really like about Ireland, is, that not only is it a very young vibrant country. But the young and not so young don’t have hang-ups about doing things together. Everybody simply blends in, there’s just no age discrepancy when it comes to having fun, or going to musical sessions or drama or such like. I did not find it the same in England where a lot of entertainment is peer driven.

A chap with dark hair and blue jumper, who bought a tape looks terribly like Finbar Wright, the ex-priest Corkonian tenor. I see a young woman nearby the band sporting a Kilkenny black & Amber Kilkenny jersey. She must have been up to Dublin for the hurling match final.

I took video footage of the aftermath, just to show how popular the band was with the public. Their CDs were selling like hot cakes. Blimey, I saw a garda having a wee talk with one of the musicians. He then went on and had a chat with the Brown Thomas doorman. All in the line of duty, I guess, sure isn’t that exactly how they work. Nothing goes amiss. I note that the man in the blue jersey turns up again at the end of the video. I think he might be too young to be Finbar Wright, but he is his double, well in my estimation anyway.

There was a Polish chap playing a violin before this band, and the lads are seen in the footage that I took of same. Even, still, as they sat there waiting their turn to play, people went up to them to buy CDs. Irish music is very popular. Doubtless the band is very well known in the vicinity. I saw tourists and people of various nationalities purchasing their CDs. So Irish music is alive and kicking. That’s not to say that the Eastern European violinist did not have a crowd, he did indeed, though the video here doesn’t do him much justice in comparison to that of the lads. He too was ambushed by people afterwards to buy his tapes, which he completely sold out. I loved his version of the song, which quite reminded me of the haunting rendition sung by a now deceased young singer – Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole that John Creedon regularly played on RTE at night time Somewhere Over a Rainbow  < The video should not be missed.

I remember seeing him a couple of times down Henry St. some years ago when he was playing in a large group. He was drowned out by the drummer. I actually went up to him and said that I felt that he would do exceptionally well on his own, as the violin and the contemporary classic songs would carry him, that it was such a pity he had to be drowned out. As you can hear here the violin is amplified and powerful, so you can surmise what the drummer must have been like. That is not to say that the drummer was not talented, he was,  but it just came across to me, as if he was trying to be too competitive and not playing in unison with the violin, or the rest of the players. So, it was nice to see that he has gone solo.[Experimented with a simple annotation at the beginning of the video.]

Grafton Street (Irish: Sráid Grafton) is one of the two principal shopping streets in Dublin city centre, the other being Henry Street. It runs from St. Stephen’s Green in the south (at the highest point of the street) to College Green in the north (to the lowest point). In 2008, Grafton Street was the fifth most expensive main shopping street in the world, at €5,621/m²

Buskers, including musicians, poets and mime artists commonly perform to the shopping crowds. This scene was portrayed in the 2006 film Once, starring Glen Hansard of The Frames, a former Grafton Street busker.
In the song “Before the Worst” performed by The Script, Grafton Street is mentioned in the lyrics; “It was Grafton Street on a rainy night, I was down on one knee and you were mine for life”.
Bagatelle, an Irish rock band in the 1970s refer to Grafton Street in their song “Summer in Dublin”; “And young people walking down Grafton Street, everyone looking so well”. [I knew Liam Reilly’s sister, who worked in the bank in Ballyjamesduff Co. Cavan.]

Notable buskers
Rodrigo y Gabriela – Mexican guitar playing duo
Roadmage – comedy magic show
Glen Hansard – ex-Grafton Street busker, Academy Award winner, now in The Frames and in The Swell Season
Damien Rice – ex-Grafton Street busker, now famous musician
John Nee – imitated Charlie Chaplin
Diceman – Deceased game store owner and street performer
Dave McSavage – Stand up comedy and music
Paddy Casey – ex-Grafton Street busker, now successful musician.
Mic Christopher – Musician

An aside:

The ghastly looking paving is an absolute eyesore. So it was good to recently hear via RTÉ News that:

A €4m upgrade of Dublin’s Grafton Street is planned to start early next year. City councillors agreed this evening to begin the process for tenders to be ready for September. Councillors were told that the current paving for the pedestrianised street was laid in the 1980s and now has to be repaired daily. A report presented to councillors states that the new paving would be the same grey granite that is in Henry Street. There would also be a dark grey way finding path along one side with sections in pink to highlight intersections and points of interest. The work would take about a year to complete and be phased so disruption is minimised. A special information meeting for councillors will be held within two weeks.

There used to be an olde-world atmosphere in the area, but that has long since gone when the unappealing red brick was laid down. I remember coming back from England and thinking what was Dublin City council thinking when it destroyed an area and put in place such unappealing red bricks in an area that should have been the pride and joy of old Dublin.

Update: 29th Oct.

I discovered at Youtube that the band is called Mutefish. I also found a video that would have been taken by another person just prior to the first one in the post. It was interesting to see the dynamics played out beforehand by the children whom I mentioned up above, who had all been enjoying the dancing.

I thought the following video which was taken on a separate occasion was very good as well.

Published on Sep 30, 2012 by 

Upon our last night in the country, still not having heard “traditional Irish music”, we happen to come upon this young band playing on Grafton Street in Dublin. We loved their music and bought a CD, thinking they were merely buskers; they seem to be touring in Europe, but perhaps when they come to the US, we’ll be able to say “we knew them when”!

Blimey, there aren’t too many establishments down Temple Bar that doesn’t have Irish music blaring out of the rafters. The tourists obviously went to all the wrong places. Mind you, if they went to Co. Clare they’d be greeted with Irish music everywhere they went, it’s inbred into the natives there.

I found this information by searching Mutefish.

MUTEFISH are a new innovative 5 piece band from Dublin, Poland, Lithuania and the Ukraine. With a wide variety of musical backgrounds between each member (from Trad, Reggae, Punk etc..) they play not only original pieces but also alternative interpretations of Trad.

I think the 2 Mutefish album covers are something else!

Life in the factory

Photo taken in Oct 2012

I saw the last of some pink roses in a garden, a few doors away from Nora’s wee abode at Donnybrook footbridge, where I took some rose photos a while back. There were none to had at the latter’s house. I deliberately took this one with rose going to the right, as I had in mind to place a verse like the one you see here. I know the pink rose may look out of line with the verse, so I concentrated on the last sentence only, of life not been a bed of roses if you were not liked. Cronies helped those whom they had a gra for and if you were not liked you paid dearly. Indeed… it’s the story of my life?!

Life can be a bed of roses for those who are genuinely liked by people. Because — if you are truly liked by people you get to be a part of their lives in so many positive ways. People who like you look forward to celebrating the joy of being in your company. They look forward to you visiting them and vice-versa. Reciprocity rules. If you’re not really liked by people the tell-tale signs will eventually show, as they will say things, such as – I like my privacy, or that I’m a loner or that I keep to myself, while not appearing to show that side of themselves to the world. When you are genuinely liked by people there is no need to buy friendship. When I was in Goldenbridge, it paid to be liked, as you got the best dresses, the best food, the best attention, the best ladies, people to go out with, the best education. Life can be a bed of roses for those who are liked, because they are not isolated, or shunned, because the people who are liked have all sorts of people flocking to their doors, their blogs etc. They get invited to so many places, and life can be a roller coaster, as they get to share in so many invitations to dinner etc. They have people telling them that whenever they’re anyway near them that they are most welcome to share afternoon tea or visit them at their houses. Life is a bed of roses if you are liked, it paid dearly to be liked in Goldenbridge, just as it pays dearly to be liked now, because if you are not liked you will pay dearly.

Marie-Thérèse O’Loughlin


Photo: Marie-Thérèse O’Loughlin Dodder footbridge garden house, Donnybrook, Dublin Oct 2012

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Marie-Thérèse O’Loughlin

Photo by Marie-Therese O’Loughlin Oct 2012

Goldenbridge industrial school inmates would have never known what it was like to have had dolls and teddies laid out on their beds, much less have toys at all. Toys, as such, were not to be seen anywhere in the institution during my incarceration period in the late fifties / late sixties, barring of course, Christmas time when visitors, from C.I.E. bus company, Bush television factory and other similar establishments gave parties to the children. Besides, the toys children received from santa at the parties, were invariably snatched away from them in the immediate aftermath, and stacked away in a large laundry wicker-basket behind the stage in the rec [wreck] hall The duplicitous behaviour of those in charge was nothing new to child inmates. Children were constantly reminded to smile at the visitors, as, who would want to look at bold miserable unloved faces…

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Autumnal leaves and cats

Update: I’ve discovered from the minder of the cats, that they’re in fact male. I guess it was wrong of me to have jumped to conclusions because of the larger one being rotund in appearance.

Marie-Thérèse O’Loughlin

As I looked out the front door yesterday I saw this autumn cats scene. The two feline creatures definitely must be related, as they are sometimes seen beside each other in the garden. What I really like about the photo is the way ‘mama’ is protectively peeking through the bench gap at her ‘offspring.’ The absorbing contentedness on the young one is so telling. A look that is the preserve of loved ones. The young white one reminds me of Oisin, a wild cat I had in the country. Just like the magpies have made this garden their home territory, so too have many cats and foxes, and two dogs.

Photo: Marie-Thérèse O’Loughlin Donnybrook, Dublin Oct, 2012

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