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Archive for September, 2008

A Fragile Gift: Friendship

Throughout my whole life, I have felt alone. Perhaps it wasn’t the case in my earliest years, but as far back as I can remember, there’s been this haunting want in my soul. I’m not sure whether it’s been related to the fact that I have Fanconi anaemia, a genetic disorder which only two people in every million suffer from, or whether there are just some of us on this earth who always feel somehow apart from the world of others. And loneliness is so difficult to define because it is not explained by what is, but rather what isn’t. I could say to you, well, loneliness is when you’ve no one to talk to, or when you’re away from friends. And it is both those things, yet it transcends them as well. My loneliness is a constant presence and a constant absence. It’s always there, like a clump of feelings lodged in my gut. When I fall to sleep, when I stroll the streets, it’s a void that tells me there’s something missing in my life.

Revenge and Tragedy

‘When is a door not a door? When it’s ajar.’ It’s just a silly joke that my father used to tell me, but it seems that it also sums up something. This question and answer contain the essence of theatre – a play on meaning, how one thing can become another in our minds… It is telling that for us in the West our first theatre was tragedy. In the era when democracy was born, tragic drama had its prime. It is equally telling that in times without democracy, tragedy has given way to morality play: be it Everyman or Triumph of the Will. Tragedy lives questions, morality plays answer them. That’s not to say that tragedy is without morals; on the contrary, what constitutes a tragedy depends entirely on one’s moral viewpoint. To use Geoffrey Brereton’s real-world example – we would not think of the death of Hitler as tragic, ‘though for a Nazi sympathiser it must be supremely so’.

Appreciating Theatre

But where should a respectable bourgeois youth go for his or her entertainment? Certainly not the cinema. One is bound to find oneself akin to an island of sanity amidst a sea of raucous plebeians feeling each other up and hurling popcorn at one another. Even the art galleries are out, for nowadays they are simply flooded with jabbering children from comprehensive schools.

The West Wing in Ireland in ’03

The later times presumably mean dwindling viewership, and RTE no longer shows ads advertising new episodes of the programme either. Lucky for us Irish fans, RTE is a taxpayer-subsidised company, so it isn’t in the habit of dumping foreign shows when they become less popular – it just sends them further and further into the night. So, looks like it’s stock-up-on-coffee time!

The West Wing in Ireland

Irish politics is incredibly boring. And that’s speaking as an Irishman. There are ‘coalition governments’, and overly complicated proportional representation general elections, and endless ego battles in the Dail (parliament) between six different party leaders.

Shenmue II Short Review

The Shenmue series is an incredibly powerful piece of work.

On… The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather

It’s called The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather even when Dan doesn’t present the programme (every few weeks he takes a week off), and then it’s funny, ’cause the recorded intro announces: ‘This is The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather’, and the replacement anchor comes on and he’s like: ‘Dan is off tonight, I’m John Roberts.’ Ha! What a loser!

Workin’ Day And Night: Hardcore Nepotism

Since September, I have been working in my dad’s accountancy practice, and it has been a most interesting experience. Interesting, in the sense that there has been literally nothing about the experience that I haven’t hated. I’ve gained a new and vivid understanding of why office workers look forward to the weekend with such unnatural fervour. Not even at the height of Leaving Cert. hell did I anticipate Friday-evening-home-time with such utter desperation as I have these past weeks.

TV To Go

Now, I’m about as far away from a TV snob as you can get. But anyone who can gawk at the box at 7am while they’re preparing to go to work needs to be in therapy. I mean, seriously. I watch TV to relax. It’s that or pot. Sharing glances between Ireland AM and the spoon in my hand bearing Bran Flakes, while I scald my throat with coffee that hasn’t managed to cool despite my adding milk, and attempting to not strangle myself while navigating my tie around my neck, is not my idea of a leisurely morning. Yet there they are – TV3’s Ireland AM, C4’s RI:SE, UTV’s GMTV, BBC’s Breakfast, and more. They must have an audience, or else they wouldn’t be aired, right? But I can’t figure out who or where this audience is.

‘Let’s Just Focus On This Now’

One particularly highly strung day, Sinead informed me at the outset of our session that she had consumed an entire litre bottle of Coke at lunch break. The ensuing hyperactive hi-jinx confirmed her sugar overdose, as she proceeded to crumple up sheets of blank paper, dip them in water, and throw them at me. Later, she took a paint brush from her pencil case and used it to ‘paint’ water from her drinking glass all over her trousers. She then wondered if she should put glue in her hair, and I said: ‘Most people wouldn’t even have to ask themselves that question.’


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