I am here…Today

Oh today, today, today, today. If only you could think about today and what is happening…today.

It’s an easy thing to let life get in the way of today. Yesterday and tomorrow seem to outweigh today in a way that is dismal and counterproductive. We all have a tendency to let things creep in on us and then it grabs us. Before we know it we are absolutely crippled by the thoughts that infiltrate our minds and affect our bodies.

If you think about it today is all we have. If you were to take advice from reformed alcoholics you may say to yourself ‘One day at a time, sweet Jesus’. If you had the perilous misfortune of being an addict it would be much harder to quell the thirst or desire you had to feed your habit each day.

So what habit do we have, what do we succumb to each day. Choosing to be where we don’t want to be, deciding once again to do something you don’t want to do or to give up on something you actually would like to pursue but don’t have the gumption to adhere to a life full of temporary sacrifice. Is risk keeping you back? Past failure or future worry got you in a fluster?

Training yourself to be in the present moment is no mean feat. It takes time and dedication. There are a few useful tools that you may be able to utilise to enhance your existence by putting the past behind you and letting the present day govern how your future may pan out. Don’t let negative vibes rule you or your mind or you will succumb to a numb life of misery.

Tools

There are a few simple tools that I would like to address in order to feel better about where you are at any given time. It has taken me a long time to actually figure this out and I am no genius or zen master but when it comes to balance these are all important in my book.

Meditation/Mindfulness

Upon moving to London 3 ½ years ago I was immediately introduced to the practice of meditation by a friend of mine who let me stay with him for my first few days in Old Blighty. I was not here a wet week before I had been given a book that helped me immensely with my life reshuffle. The book is called ‘The Joy of Living’ by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche.

Now, I have given and recommended this book to plenty of people and some people like it and find it helpful and others have found it quite difficult to grasp or stay interested in. Everyone is different. I found the text quite powerful, descriptive and a great introduction to meditative practices.

You see meditation and mindfulness are things you may already incorporate in your life without even realising. You don’t have to sit on the Side of a Tibetan Mountain drinking yak butter to do it properly or understand why people do it. I am almost 67% sure when you think of meditation you probably think of long robes, bald heads and peaceful monks in silence. This atypical vision of the meditator is an out of date perception of the other. Meditation can be practiced anywhere by anyone.  However I did start off with these Tibetan ladeens because I thought they knew what they were doing. My mate had a wealth of experience in the area so I felt I would enjoy the read in and of itself.

The reasons why I believe ‘The Joy of Living’ was so helpful were 2 fold:

  1. The book breaks down scientific research that correlates to cognition, neurological activity and brain function for those who meditate and take on the practice.
  2. It also delves into mindfulness and how we can live in greater awareness utilising our perception through our senses.

For the purpose of this article I will focus on the latter. Life is a never ending interpretation of sensory input. We are constantly bombarded by sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. How much of this sensory input do we pay attention to? Who knows on any given day how present you have been or whether you have been in the moment at all.

When people think meditation they think of people sitting down in what is known as ‘calm abiding’. Although this is one of the best forms of meditation it is certainly not the only one. We seem to have been shut down to a certain degree when it comes to our interpretation of the environments we find ourselves in.

Just watching a snippet of ‘T in the Park’ last week I viewed a girl on top of her boyfriend’s shoulders taking a video of David Guetta whilst texting in her other hand. It just seemed to sum it all up really. Not experiencing the experience whist having the experience has become the new experience. I know recording big Dave fist pumping his way through a back catalogue of other peoples tunes was the type of artistic genius you must record, but texting your mates at the same time? We are far removed from the audio-visual sensory overload that we have become completely accustomed to.

It isn’t just kids you see at concerts. How many photos of food do you have in your phone? Do you know that those morsels will just become faeces? Of course you do, but that does not stop you from sharing it on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and so on. Eating food is normally done with other people and if you are taking a picture of the food you’re more than likely impressed and excited about what you are about to consume. Or is that because of the name of the haunt you are in and the spot you have just ‘checkin in’ to so all your ‘friends’ know where you are and what you are consuming. Maybe next time you are going to eat anything put down your phone or have a phone ban or my best new trick call the person beside you a ‘Phoney’™ It actually helps to enjoy what you are doing rather than letting a third body take over the meal.

We are in a constant pursuit of stimulation. It is never ending. Meditation and mindfulness is about stopping.

STOP!

Ok, continue. It can be very difficult for people to do that around these parts because we are wound up. The market is also doing its best to drive us berserk with constant access to information and social media. Nobody needs to be this social or to fill up every single second of your time meeting people, going places, consuming food, drink, drugs, sex and knowledge. The boys on the mountains had the right idea sit down, think for a second and then do what you have to do. When you start to see the wind blow through the trees or the little boy pick up a leaf and give it to his mother it will make you think. A great deal of meditation is about compassion and kindness.

The ‘Metta-bhavana’ is an excellent practice in meditation to send your love and compassion to all sentient beings. To spread a kind loving nature to even those people who have wronged you and those who have done nothing but good, thank them. It makes you think that their troubles, anxieties and worries are the same as yours. They are just people suffering through a World that is filled with hardships.

You can meditate on the bus, in a field, on the top floor of a building, in your Granny’s old derelict house or even Piccadilly Circus sitting on the roundabout. You can try and really taste the next bit of grub you have, really feel the touch of the person you hug or kiss, smell the next woman whose perfume wafts by you in the wind as she strolls by or watch the sky as it changes colour. Try to wake up out of the sleep you find yourself in and experience what is happening right now presently in the moment.

Note* – This is much easier done than said

Yoga

If you get it hard to sit down with yourself for any longer than 30 seconds then Yoga might be a better/easier way of approaching a life of more present awareness. Having practiced meditation for the past 3 ½ years I have ventured into a new area, Yoga. I know this may sound like a lot of new age hippy waffle but after years and years of exercise and different types of training regimes I find Yoga to be the single most beneficial type of exercise and meditative practice.

I really have done numerous different sports and gym lark but this is the best by a long shot. If you would like to be more in the present moment without having to take time to perfect your practice then do Yoga. It is as simple as that. The notion that all Yogi’s have to be women or sex massage guru type men (Personal Aspiration) is also a misconception. Anyone can practice Yoga and it benefits all those who do in ways unimaginable to those who don’t.

Many athletes practice Yoga to alleviate muscle tension through its utilisation of long stretches and mindful breathing. The main benefit of Yoga over normal meditation is that it lets you check in with your body and mind simultaneously. When you get used to the practice over time you will realise that your Yoga will coincide directly with your levels of energy and affective happiness. You don’t need Coca-cola to tell you that drinking red cans of caramel gloop will enhance your wellbeing. All you need to do is a bit of stretching.

Not only is Yoga good for your head it is also good for your body. Stretching has always had a very calming effect on me. I have been getting a good stretch on, sometimes sporadically, for 17 years. Have you ever felt how stiff you are when you get out of bed in the morning or after you decided to paint the wall in the hallway? That is because we are living a more sedentary type lifestyle where we are not in tune with our bodies. We don’t have the same physical requirements which in turn are affecting our physiology. Think about your posture and the way you sit at a desk slumped over for 7-9 hours a day. When was the last time you stretched? Or saw if you could touch your toes? Probably a lot longer than you are willing to admit.

My girlfriend found an excellent Yogi online called ‘Yoga with Adrienne’. She is from Austin, Texas and has a light-hearted approach to becoming a practitioner. She is very easy to follow and you can practice in your own living room as long as you have the internet and a device to play it.

https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene

I can honestly say that Yoga is the single most important practice of any I follow in order to stay present and to be focussed on the here and now. The feeling of relaxation and accomplishment after each short or long session surpasses any feeling I get from any other form of exercise I have ever done. I did Yoga last night, that is why I am writing this!

Diet

Diet is a key factor in being present, sated and running on all four cylinders. Humans are fairly resilient animals and we can survive on almost anything that has calories. Were very adaptable creatures and have been surviving by means much lower than the standard most of us in this part of the World have become used to.

So how does diet affect being in the present moment. First things first hydration is vital. I am not sure if people realise that they probably don’t drink enough water or anywhere near what they need personally. Everyone is different but we all need water to survive and if you think about that we need it plentiful to thrive. We all have taps for our water supply so we literally have as much as we can drain from our pipe, there may be a cost for that both financially and environmentally but it is available. How much water do you drink each day? Is it more than 5 pints? I don’t need to reference research to say that 2.5 litres a day is my staple, everyone is different, but it is definitely a good start. I find if I am hydrating every day at certain times I feel a lot sharper and not as hungry. Water is an appetite suppressant and a lot of the time when you feel hungry you are actually just thirsty. Just think about all of the people who actually don’t drink water. They will only have juice or fizzy drinks because of conditioning. If you want to feel full for longer, sated and sharp then bring a bottle of water with you everywhere you go and fill it up along the way. Water, water everywhere and ALL you CAN drink (Except for cryptosporidium dense water reserves in parts of Ireland)

Food is fuel. I bought my Mother a mini retreat in Co. Cavan there for Christmas. She waited a couple of months to go and ventured off after Easter. The retreat is run by Buddhist monks and is called ‘Jampa Ling’ for anyone interested. Meditation aside they thought her something very valuable and important about food. When they sat down to eat they ate lots of fruits, vegetables and legumes. The Master of the retreat centre spoke each time attendees sat down at the table to chow down. He reminded them that the food was not there to be relished but to nourish their bodies and be used as a medicine. What you put in is what you get out. It resonated with me, for how long have humans been using the food we eat in order to fix ailments and to sustain good health. We have grown accustomed to food that is far too rich in things that are found rarely in nature.

When you sit down to eat that next Big Mac are you going to thank the powers that be for its medicinal qualities? It is more likely you will scoff it down due to the sheer ‘convenience’ of a quick bite. Nowadays everything is bad for you, and you know what, it is! From the industrially manufactured meat we consume daily to the plants and grains grown with oil derivative pesticides to the somewhat extortionate ‘organically’ grown veg of little to no backing or provenance. As mentioned earlier we can survive on anything but in order to thrive we must consume what is natural and fitting for your own personal needs.

Everyone has a different body and unique physiology. Being in tune with your own personal make up has everything to do with consumption and mindfulness. If something makes you feel poorly then limit it in your diet if it makes you feel good and energetic then keep it coming. It is simple to say but most of the things we are being sold is there to make profit rather than promote health and wellbeing. If you are mindfully aware of things you put in you will get a lot more out of it in the end. A plant based diet is now proven to work retroactively against many age related illnesses. It won’t kill you instantly but heart disease, cancer and obesity are all directly linked to the foods that you consume over time. It can be astonishing how much your mental state of being can be affected by poor dietary choices. I am not saying you should cut things out completely but meat and dairy consumption should be kept to a minimum if possible. Substituting meat dense dishes for some healthier vegetarian or vegan options has proved beneficial for me personally so I would highly recommend it. Plus anyone of my mates who have tried even a bit more veggie food have all claimed it was beneficial for both mind and body.

Also I would not be afraid of skipping a meal or practicing intermittent fasting to recalibrate your cognition and brain function. You also really enjoy food if it has been a longer time, than normal, since your last meal. One of the only ways of growing new brain cells is to fast at different periods as your body goes into survival mode and increases brain cell growth in order to find food more affectively. It makes sense so skip breakfast sometimes in order to enjoy the next meal and make it count rather than eating something that is lacking in nutritional density.

Sleep

If you want to be more present when you’re awake then try and be more at rest when you are asleep. There are a few different things you can do to enhance your sleep when you are awake. Diet, exercise and meditation are all key factors for me when it comes to sleeping better.

I believe that I probably need a bit more sleep than the average person. The least mindful I am is when I am tired. I get extremely cranky and aggressive with a lack of sleep and know myself that I need rest. Alternatively if I have had plenty of sleep I feel energetic and ready for action.

If you want to be more aware and active then sleep is essential. It is like water, your body needs it in order to function properly. Just find out how many hours you need personally and then try and stick to that number as rigidly as possible. We are creatures of habit and strive on structure.

All of the things that I have spoken about work best in balance.

If you go out on a bender you can be sure that you will not be able to focus your energy on health and wellbeing.  So Alcohol, Drugs and a life filled with yarn spinning debauchery will affect your ability to thrive rather than survive.

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LinkedIn is Class for getttin Ahead in this fuckin Unfair WoRld.

Check this fuckin shite out:

https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/ron-swan/a9/7aa/591

Thats a fuckin wealth of my experience to date, I always save a bit for the interview though to really punch them in the throat.

(DISCLAIMER-To a fish in a fish bowl the world is a Fishbowl-YOur man that said all that wise shite 04.03.87)

There is this yoke called LinkedIn and I fuckin tell you one thing it’s totally oats amazing-balls. I can’t believe all of the connections that I have made over the past 90 days or however long they keep telling me that I am on it. The fuckin gas thing is that this blog that has been as stale as my job prospects (Pre Linkage) actually has more views than my Network of social development for my aspiring career as a complete/whole asshole. Who’d have thought that so many men that I have ventured into the world with have endorsed me as a Coaching expert. I mean we all know I am well able to live my life in as clendestine a way as possible but Linkin In is just something you couldnt possibly go without. How the fuck would you ever get a job?Or even be in the mix?

I get all these class updates about different shite that famous whoors have done with themselves and they lives. Wow I am so inspired I decided to write this. Where the fuck would I be if I hadnt read that article about the 10 worst things to do after you have a shite on the first day at work and the toilet brush is broken! Lolicaust. Tip number one blame it on the new guy!!! Chuckle chuckle chuckle.

Or when the link updated my ass on the market and how shes fucked altogether because some Greece-y cunts decided it would be a good idea to fuck over their pimp. Well I tell ya one thing that bitch slapper is gonna turn around and give you a royal sodomisation. This is due to your inept approach to Modern life and getting rode, fucked, ssssspat on and overall turned over wiped down and back on the conveyor belt. Heres to the LINK!

Then again they are always letting me know your only ever as fucked as your weakest link. So make sure and be as much of a clurichaun (/ˈklʊərɨkɔːn/) as you can in the office or on the photoshoot or if you are a very interesting career junky on the playground where you practice professional free running.

Whats trending you say? Go into your god-damn spam folder and open up that shit. The link is always there to tell you that roof top-vegan-happy hardcore-drug free-raving is all the fuckin rage down in Zimbabwe. Check Ezekial and his motley crew of fledgling ON-Trop-En-ERS. Venture capitalism knows no boundaries. SHIT OR GET OFF THE POT these CUNTS say. My god I am ready to have a big massive steamy horseshite for myself that could probably garner a .000001 on the richter scale! And I am gonna do it outside in public whilst I wipe my arse with a note of MONEY! Yes I said it wiping my arse with £$£$£$£$’s, I know its unorthodox but if people see me do it they will probably know I am important enough to let at it.

In other interesting news The link decided it would start looking at alternative industries that are breaking down some social taboos. Oh yes they are there to be broken chuckle chuckle chuck the fuck off. Cannabis is the new big bi’ness over in AmeriKAY and they are reeping the harvest of a place that up until now had a demographic representation (Prison and Convictions) that showed it was only Black people that could possibly partake in such a heinous act of social degradation. BUT! Alas it actually turns out white people love getting high on the old Mary Jane also. Tut tut, what will we do now…Hmmm we cant fuck all the white people in jail, lets make this a business and call it a medicine. Bingo Rupert your fuckin onto something here. Linked IN actually finished with this sentence on the topic.

‘Just goes to show when good old white folks decide to do something its A, O, K :)’ (04/06/2015 The Top Link Et Al)

You know its a good thing I found this linked In lark, I have been seriously wasting my fuckin time and breath worrrying about what I am going to do with my future and where I am gong to be in 1, 3, 5, 7, 10 years time. Now that I have the link I have no need to worry!!! With a cutthroat profile like mine I could become the Warren Buffet of Wigan. Can’t believe my luck I mean to think that I wasn’t on any social networking sites up until now really is worrying. That is why I am posting this shit is so that as many people as possible can join in order to fuckin sort out there careers because lets face it the grass is fuckin danker on the other side and who wants to be smoking shwag when you could be meltin Budder.

I have been having conversations with some very successful people lately and they are class at making money and letting that be the thing that defines them most. I cant wait to be like that its gonna be savage. When I am I will turn around to everyone I know and tell them they are fucking idiots for giving a shite about anything other than money because you know what being content with yourself and who you are is a load a bollocks. I want to wank underneath a Golden Calf every night while I burn notes and shove them up my hole. Bring on the orgy, I am ready!

Why Artists Are Wankers

Hmmm….

And now it’s time for something to be said again. Artists are wankers, most average people who have a decent grasp of the everyday and reality understand this concept without any great concern. It plagues me though because at one stage or another I have had faith in the construct of Art, capital A, and its ability to teach, express and position an individual in way of opinion.

Who really gives a fuck about opinion though? No one, just those who will inflate your ego to a sense of self aggrandising worth that is unwarranted, unfounded and unacceptable. There are too many artists, far too many. Why do people even call themselves artists? Because they have made something important, valuable, different or new. No they haven’t, when was the last time you saw something that was of any merit or value?

For me it feels like a lifetime. I have seen plenty of shite in the past few months but nothing has left me with any sense of astonishment, wonder or even chit chat with another person let alone group. Art is now irrelevant, there is far too much bullshit out there that people digest, willingly, due to arts funding, Daddy’s savings and a sense of self-worth that is inflated to the level of complete and utter hypocrisy. Every cunt that I walk by up and down the streets, in the watering holes and parks of this languid city is talking about their novel, band or piece of work that they are on the brink of finishing. Por Que, for themselves, other artists, to do the world a favour or worse. Where is the humour, education or level of understanding for other humans. It gone out the fucking window that’s where it is along with the art of conversation. Or was it ever even here to begin with? Yeah I suppose it was.

I was chatting to a friend recently and I said art was a load of bollox which the vast majority of the population should and would probably reach a poignant consensus. He said ‘Art is grand’. That sums it up really, art is fuckin grand, for anyone not Irish reading this here is the Urban dictionary definition:

grand

fine, alright, okay. slightly more affirmative than the aforementioned depending on the tone in which it is delivered. widespread usage in ireland within all classes with perhaps the exception of politicians and the highly privileged.

‘howrya man havent seen ya in a good while? as sure im grand, not a bother on me’

FUCK HELVETICA!

Art is a fucking waste of time. Advertising is the new art, oh yes. If you can feel an emotional attachment to a product or lifestyle then that is the new art. Think of the i(Insert generic faecal matter here) generation. The instant knowledge the Google Cache all infestation that is ruining our intellect. Who thinks anymore, iGoogle therefore I am. That is all it is, an instant gratification of swill and disease that is rotting our consciousness from our empty pockets to our festering notions of what is interesting or entertaining.

Who wants to listen to another Bollocks wailing into a microphone about having to get the tube or bus to work as a project manager. How many ‘Designers’ have you met that don’t work in design, how many artists have you met that supplement there income by working in a bar or a designer fashion shop ‘on the side’. Note: There are FUCK ALL REAL Arteests in the World today. Plus what the fuck is that these wankers want, what is their ulterior motive.

Is it to be famous? Is it to express their insecurities to an adorning public? Is it to make money (This is the most Ludacris of claims) Is it to fuck the most amount of Women/Men possible? (Massive motivator for teenage boys learning guitar) Or is it because they are lazy and haven’t a hope of doing anything else because of their privileged background? Or is it because they are good at it and have something to say? (Rare but certainly possible)

The old ‘Look at me’ syndrome comes back to Hark from the hill tops. I am important, I have something to say, this is interesting…
No it’s not asshole, it’s boring, bullshit and I don’t think you should have bothered your fake bohemian unkempt hair and vintage fashion wearing hole. Oh yes you are a complete and utter wanker. That is a given.
Who are people going to remember in the future, who is making work that is at the cutting edge? What the fuck IS the cutting edge. It’s nothing, nothing is shocking any more. Art as a vehicle is about as useful right now as a broken bottle is for toilet paper. Then again art has only ever been useful, along with culture as a whole, to control the mass and let them think they have something worthy to do with their leisure time, whilst away from the imposed societal slavery that we all have to endure in the Modern era. Does our generation have anything to say? No we fucking don’t we are too busy burying our heads deep into the rectal cavity of celebrity culture and smart phone/facebook derision that lends itself to the regression of evolution.

We are becoming stupider; our instant access to information of questionable merit makes us believe we have the answer to everything. It is fashionable to be an Artist or Design cunt; it is cool, chic and desirable. It definitely is not these things. Being a real artist is a lonely road of self-obsession and tireless promotion, have you looked at my blog? Like my status, follow my tw(Sh)itter. I have something to say, do or act upon now, but it will take me 2 years to complete because behind all the swagger and style the real reason I am calling myself and artist (Not became) is because I am a lazy bastard that will not assert myself and I will ultimately fail and then toe the line like everyone else because, inevitably, I have to live, eat and be part of the system. It is impossible to escape. Cest tre impossible.
Who are the real artists and where have they all gone. What the fuck is the point in going to an exhibition anymore? No point! You have seen it all before and the people who are working in innovation with technology and human development (Otherwise falsely proclaimed as progress) are not doing it because they feel the obligation to the vocation. They are doing it because we are greedy, self-centred, egotistical, individually driven, market dependant/following Mother Fuckers!

Oh yes we are! The market has done its job boys and girls and we are the lemmings filling the gaps. Why do we do it? Maybe it’s because we don’t have anyone bringing this to our attention, maybe it’s because the artist’s job is not to comment on society or to reflect the time and place that we live in.

Real artists are dead and gone. The next time you meet someone who calls themselves an artist ask them what the fuck does it mean to be an artist and see if they can answer you. See what their real job is and maybe give them some advice on not wasting their time wanking up a storm over their ephemeral prose.

At least I know I am a Wanker!

The Armoured Eye

Well Hello! I have been a lazy bastard since I last updated the blog and to be honest I have a wealth of new experiences since Off Broadway. Here is one about The Armoured Eye. I have been requested to take down the website link and the picture of myself that I had previously posted. As he adhered to my request, I have duly granted his wish also. 

It all began just over a month ago, a work colleague of mine asked me to do him a favour. He wanted to know if I would be interested in helping him out with a project he was undertaking. I said ‘No bother’ as I am always out to lend a hand to any artist who would like my assistance as a gesture of good will. I have worked with many individuals in the past and have had both positive and negative experiences, the old ‘trial and error’ technique. Over the space of a few weeks the ‘project’ turned into photography and portraiture which I thought was fine as I didn’t really give a fuck what I would be at. A lad from work had actually already asked me to don some surgical gear and take a few snaps in the staff garden a few months previous, so I had no qualms with the idea.

I arrived up to the studio after work one cool September evening, the wind was blowing the leaves on the trees and my colleague welcomed me in. He explained that he wanted to take portraits of me as he was getting more into the commercial side of things and wanted to potentially start earning a crust from this type of venture. I was content with this and thought that he would be using my image for his portfolio or exhibition purposes. I also thought it would be handy to have head shots if I wanted to apply for any work that deemed them necessary, two birds were getting stoned at once. I returned into the studio after having a quick smoke. The photographer told me he would like to take pictures of me without a shirt along with normal portraits ‘Oooo Controversial’ were his exact words. I wouldn’t say I was completely comfortable, I am still Irish and this sort of pedestal prancing is extremely frowned upon in my neck of the woods, but as long as I didn’t have to get my dong out it would be grand. Like I said I was naively/knowingly entering a realm of vanity that I was certainly not ready for or interested in.

The artist took over 1200 snaps in the space of 3 and half hours. This was hard fuckin work by the end of it! Sitting up on a stool with bright lights blinding you trying to get a good shot with an awkward puss was a struggle for the photographer. I couldn’t really settle into it at all until the end when I was exhausted and didn’t really give a fuck any more. I think I was able to relax at that stage and my colleague got some of the results that he had been looking for. It was all fine bar the few gay moments where the artist was blowing in my eyes to get a shot of me looking like I was goin to cry. I had to bail anyway after the marathon photo shoot to meet my inebriated other half who was hiccupping into the blower, skippin up the Thames path. When I met her I told her that this evening had been a lesson in vanity, but by fuck, I had no idea what was about to ensue.

I was told it would take about a week or so for the images to be edited and then they would be sent on to me. I would have access to all images and I assumed if the artist in question wanted to use the images he would consult me first. I thought that was a fair trade off considering I had received no money for the session. In my eyes I was just doing a turn for a lad, nothing more.  A few days went by at work and I had not really thought about what had happened till my colleague approached me and asked would I sit for him again for a few pound. I said ‘Fuck it, yeah why not.’ We arranged to go back to the studio the next week. He actually asked me to get naked at this stage and I told him to fuck off.

He edited some photos and sent them on to me. I never bothered my arse responding because it was a photo of me and I was hardly going to start saying it was amazing, so I ignored the email. I then got a text message at work asking me what I thought, of which I replied ‘They are good.’ My artist colleague was not too happy with my sparse response and wanted more, that he did not receive. I then received another email about a website and how I should ‘Check out the website!’ I decided to duly ignore this also as I wasn’t able to digest what could possibly be on the other end of that click.

At this stage I was starting to become inundated with comments from people at work who had seen the snaps of me. I thought this was quite unprofessional considering that I was told the images were for a portfolio not the fuckin Tate VA massive! Everyone had a good skit at my expense and laughed their holes off when they saw me. I knew what they were laughin at and made fun of myself, as always, stating that I looked very GAY! Which every single person responded ‘Yes.’ Now the pictures are fairly gay regardless of what the artist thought. I didn’t want to be shown in a gay light as I am heterosexual, contrary to popular belief or the constant bombardment of gay attention I receive from the ‘community.’ People were nice though, they said they were beautiful pictures and I looked really well etc, etc. ‘Fuck that’ I thought, I didn’t realise that they were able to see the pictures on their own accord and that news travels at fucking warp speed through Tate corridors. When it came to my Gay Porn Modelling Career, I had gone viral, well Tate viral!

The next weekend my auld buddy Mitch was callin over to London for a gander. I had taken the weekend off in order to spend time with him. I still hadn’t bothered to look at the website for fear of character assassination. I rang B Fitz and told him to call down to the gaff for a toot. We all sat in the room and I decided to impart the information that I had started my gay modelling career to which the boys foaled laughing. I then told them there was a website I was on and they said throw it up there, ta fuck. I didn’t want to, but for the sake of humour I said ‘Fuck It!’ I threw up the website for the first time, hadn’t seen it at all yet. Jaysus…

My mug encompassed all 17 inches of my computer screen, with a come hither expression that would put Freddie Mercury to shame. I have never heard a Fitzgerald laugh so hard in all my days. Brian was ready to go into spasm, I was ready to have a nervous breakdown and Mitch just had the vacant stare of a bereaved family member. I think he was genuinely concerned for my well being.

‘Mother of Fuck…’ Michael Conlon (Quote)

We then proceeded into the website of which my topless coupon was staring straight down at a pair of lads scissor fuckin the shit out of each other. At this stage I was thinking ‘Oh NO, this has got to go, fast.’ I put a brave face on for the two bucks in the room as they were tearin me a new asshole for my antics, deservedly. Since Francois was stayin until Monday, I would have to physically dump this shit from my memory in order to get through the next few days and try and enjoy myself. Fitzy even had the nerve to say ‘Sure there not that bad!’ Whilst then simultaneously breaking into a catharsis of laughter that put a new layer on my ascending mound of shame.  I says to Mitch then ‘Sure what the fuck is an armoured eye anyway?’ He roared his retort ‘YA KNOW FUCKIN WELL WHAT IT IS!’ So with a bit of imagination I went ‘Oh yeah…’

I didn’t want to be shown in this vain, I didn’t give my consent to the use of my image in any way before the artist had done so, I was told I would be consulted and also have access to all images taken. I received no payment for my venture nor did I want one. I just wanted to do a lad a turn, like I said no harm, till he ended up pullin a stroke. Well that was after rubbin me up the real wrong way and If this didn’t end soon there was gonna be bother. Anxiety had nestled her ugly head in my subconscious which led me to have a fairly hectic nightmare.

All I know is that this thing had to die, soon. Getting fuckin nightmares about this shit, which ended in an aghast fashion was not my idea of a sound night’s sleep. I went into work hoping the artist would be present. Indeed he was, I told him in the canteen we need to talk, outside, now. He asked a question, I just said, ‘Outside, now’.

I am a patient man now, there was a time when I wasn’t so patient. I spoke in a very friendly and polite way about how I felt about being used like that and how it wasn’t a cool thing to do. The artist was compliant and said he would take the images down and that he was sorry that I was freaking out which was fine because I was, understandably. I told the artist I would like to go to his studio to discuss what had happened and maybe resolve the issue. He said he would have to think about it so I just said fuck it, and left it at that. He texted a few days later but to be honest things between the two of were just, well, fucked at that stage.

That was my interpretation of the events which occurred, I am sure there is an opposing argument to this blog post of which I am very open to hear.  I have always tried to help every artist who has ever asked me. Sometimes things go well sometimes they don’t. Next time I think I will have a bit more of an armoured eye meself.

 

Off Broadway

I have finally decided to get up off me hole and do a performance. Its been 7 months since I took a microphone in my hand, I was feeling a bit rusty but needed to dust myself off and get back at it. I live beside a hipster sanctuary in East London called Broadway Market. The Market is positioned directly across from London Fields, of ‘Being a Dickheads Cool’ fame.1 So there are a lot of fruitcakes nestled along the streets, flaking out on the pavement, fringes and basically being as cool as fuck. I walked down to a pub called ‘Off Broadway’ its a little cocktail shack with an open mic night on Thursdays. I sauntered in the door and asked your man what the story was with the Thursday night amateur extravaganza. He told me to pop in and just put my name down on the night, no hassle. I then realised online that it is actually a singer songwriter affair, I said ‘Fuck it I will give it a lash regardless’. So this is how it went down.

It was my flatmates birthday so we decided that we would get some grub on B Market and head to the open mic after for a bit of crack. We chowed down in a place called the ‘Cat and Mutton’. Michael Fassbender popped in for a bit of beef and stood beside me, he checked me out when he heard my Irish accent or else he is gay! I was explaining to my Japanese flatmates who he was, but I was too up tight and baked to actually turn around to him and say hello. This is the second time I have seen him on the Market. The first time he had a pretty lady accompanying him down the road. He was on the phone bitching and complaining about one of his accounts whilst neglecting the beore that I was clocking, hay there. I decided this actually wouldn’t be the best time to ask him for a job, but the thought went through my head as I was as broke as an ass at the time. ‘Good man Micheal, Howaya Fixhed?’ So Fassbender is orderin his shit and I sat there not saying hello because I was too preoccupied thinking about the slurry I was about to spew on a bunch of aspiring Nick Caves, more on the lines of Ed Sheerin though to be fair. I had prepared 3 stories the day before the show, wrote it, read it twice and then recited it three times. This was the first time I have ever wrote anything down that I have said live, also a first time doing more stand up based storytelling and a first for performing on my own. I didn’t really consider these things before I started but I would say they were entrenched in the back of my skull all the same.

I arrived in the door to be greeted down stairs, in the quaint performance space, by the worlds most positive open mic organizer in the history of wannabe musicians. Olly, what an enthusiastic whoore this lad was. I told him my name and that I did story telling, ‘Well stand up, but storytellin’. Ollys retort ‘OH Yeah man, yeah Awesome, amazing. I think your the first one we have ever had, Yeah great thanks thanks, I’m Olly!’ ‘Jaysus Christ’, I thought skipping through the door on my way back outside, Olly had just buttered my ass up like a roll. Mr fuckin positive vibrations himself. I rustled up the gang from the ‘Cat and Mutton’ and we headed over to the icebox basement of ‘Off Broadway’. Once in the door we sat down and listened to about 100 singer songwriters perform before I berated the audience. There were a few that I remember stuck out in my mind. Olly lubed up all the women in the room to start off, the sexy positive bastard! Then we got cracking with the democratic mic. The first was a Japanese young lad who I could only describe as a shrill singer, with banshee undertones. He was fuckin giving it his all, but unfortunately it wasn’t within shrieking distance of mediocre. The next was a dweeb singin shite tunes about nothing that seemed to entertain him at least, ‘One Bottle of wine for £2.99, or two for a fiver’ or some shite like that. Alyssa Chrinokova took the stage like the 6 foot 4 beast of a dominatrix that she is. Jaysus this one was some piece of work. Her first tune was dealing with the humble topic of abortion, her second dealt with Sodomy ‘Not the good type of sodomy’ Quote: Allysa Chrinokova, sexual deviant fetish queen. Her tits were down around her belly button even though the were being aided by an unbelievably stressed halter neck top. Good woman Alyssa, everyone certainly remembered you. The lads that played after me deserve mention as they were class, cant remember their name but there was a fuckin lunatic cello player accompanied by an East London Bruvva MC. The boys were mighty and everyone left with their tune ‘Hackney One, YEAH’ engrained in their consciousness.

So what the fuck did I do then, well like I said after listening to a load of horseshite for a few hours I wanted to fuckin get up and do my bit. I didn’t really know how it was gonna go down considering I was in a room full of singer songwriters and people suffering from identity failure. I said ‘Fuck the loss, I am here and I want to get this done’. Super Olly called me up to the stage and introduced me as a comedian, which I would prefer if he hadn’t done. I had said I was a storyteller as to purposefully dispel any sort of false expectation that had now become bestowed upon me. A comedian is supposed to be funny, and the type of shit these cunts find funny is being an ass-hole. Anyway , ‘Fuck them’ I said to myself. I wasn’t nervous, but I wouldn’t say I was relaxed. I wanted to get through it, its the same as anything, practice makes perfect and I have been out of this game for a while. I had done more preparation for this though than nearly any other gig, even though it was minimal. I had an introduction, 3 stories and a concluding thought ready. I managed to get through the introduction with little to no reaction whatsoever, I thought ‘These cunts are gonna be hard won over’. I barrelled on through the first story with a few chuckles but fuck all in comparison to what I would have expected, through this lagging time I was lucky to have a few friends in the crowd. My two Japanese flatmates were there, it was cool to have them see me in action for the first time after all the rot I have been telling them about my escapades back in Ireland confusing the shite out of country bogmen across the land. Seb was in tow, as he has been for many of my spiels in the past, and Tracy my new friend-girl turned girlfriend. I was lucky to have her as a main focal point for the first half of the show as I could see that she had a big supportive smile and was enjoying herself regardless of the stoical faces of those that surrounded her. It must be set the first half was laborious. I knew I had to get through the material and that it should turn around, if it didn’t I would have to seriously assess why the fuck I was even bothering to do this.

Alas, I turned the fuckin hipster mob half way through, I have to say the three stories I tell lambaste English people. Its not that I have anything against the English, these three particular stories just happened to be public interventions by strangers and they all happened to be British. It took the crowd a while to warm to this but I fuckin cracked it with a bit of good old fashioned name calling. A roaring match I had with a middle aged woman on the Millennium Bridge in front of Tate Modern was the basis of the story. This finally broke down the brick wall that had been rising in front of me for the best part of 6 minutes. The fuckers were ready to laugh now so managed to settle in a bit better and go with it. At the same time there was a drunk bitch givin me plenty of welly near the stage. This bird did a bit of piece of her own after ‘Divine’, my predecessor, finished his set. Drunk bitch decided to get up to smather ‘Divine’ with affection. Too bad she missed himself with both arms and came face/belly flopping on to a table of drinks followed by a quick roly-poly session on the ground. Thanks drunk bitch, you were great. Yeah so after I cracked the wall of silence she started breaking my balls in an extraordinary fashion. I didn’t let it affect me too much but she was fuckin up my flow. I spent a lot of time in the past going to town on people, slaggin the shite out of them and making them feel like ants. Since I packed in the sauce I have decided to stop doin this, I will mess around but I don’t belittle people any more, its not my bag. This wino was asking for it, but I had already mentioned ‘wanting to kill a cunt’ a few minutes before and people interpreted that as actually wanting to murder someone, which obviously went down like a lead balloon. These singer wrongwriter types wouldn’t be as frivolous with mentioning the act of homicide as much as us Irish rouges. I left her alone and realised I would have to come up with an elaborate strategy for this type of shit in the future, but it will be done from my own past experience with the demon drink and how I used to be a big time fuck up. I think that will do the trick and would give me a few minutes of extremely ridiculous facts that make up the time-line of my alcohol fuelled excursions. She got away lightly but I didn’t mind too much. I finished up without bothering to do the conclusion as I had enough done for my first crack at the whip in London. It was about 15 minutes and I did it well enough to make the coolest people of all laugh a bit. They laughed in the right places from half time, but it was more of a hip-giggle than a hearty chuckle.

These cunts don’t realise I am writing a show at the minute that goes to town on their behaviour, beliefs and lifestyle from an artistic perspective. The material I am doing now is just practice and some fun. If I can write something the day before a gig, about stuff that has happened in the past 6 weeks and make those ‘too cool for school’ laugh then I am not doin too bad. I learned a few things from this performance and it is well and truly good to be back in the saddle, so to speak. Time to hit paper with ink and find some new venues where people want to laugh, rather than rewrite the ubiquitus Love song and tout business cards at the end of a set.

Intermission

For the past few months I have taken a step back from the World of performance art. I had to take some time out to think and work in order to stall the ball here in London. I did a few shite jobs for fuck all money at the start, I knew I was in the wrong place when I lifted a near empty pint of Beer and sniffed it like a well seasoned setter. I needed to find a bit of work doin something remotely related to art. Here is how I got a job at TATE and what I am up ta.

I was bursting my bollocks workin two jobs at the same time. One was in Piccadilly Backpackers, the second biggest youth hostel in London with over 700 beds, the other was working for a slave driving event crew company called Showforce. Now both jobs had perks like sitting on my arse listening to tunes, watching documentaries and chatting young people from all over the globe. With the Force I was exercising for 8-12 hours a shift, constant moving, lifting dragging the time flew. I was pullin the piss though, physically. At one stage I worked 3-10 in the hostel, slept for 4 hours and cycled about 5 miles at 3 in the morning to get a van to Windsor castle for 8, home at 8pm. Paid for 8 hours, it was a balls of a racket.

I got a phone call one day out of the blue from a Wilson James line manager asking me to come in for an induction working at Tate Modern. I had performed at a marathon 3 hour group interview session 8 fucking weeks previous.1 I thought that job was definatly brown bread. Through my confusion I told your one that I would have to get back to her, she said ‘Let me know by tomorrow’. Within five minutes of acute deliberation I decided to call her back and accept the offer. I had been fucked around for weeks at this stage and thought I would have to just put my head down and break my back for the summer in order to survive over here. Everyone works hard to be part of Babylon, that is for sure. I went to the site induction on the Wednesday afternoon and was given a tour of both Tate Modern and Tate Britain, offered work for Friday and took the opportunity. I worked one more day for the Force and then chose to hang up my boots for a pair of cheap black runnereens. The crowd at the Force kept ringin me to work but I decided to be an asshole and not answer about 14 calls. They were not the most savoury individuals on the phone so I let them stew. They were bitchin and complainin about me not takin shifts, but I worked hard for those cunts, so when I realised I get paid 50p more for a ten hour shift doing nothing, turned out to be a no brainer. Fuck The FORCE! So I gave the lipmaster a call on me own time and told him I was no longer a Donkey and had resorted back to the easy life of a lazy artist. I had finally found a job over here that could be deemed doing nothing if you were inclined to be honest.

There was no official training when I entered the power station, but I took to sitting down fairly handy. The remit of the job entails many arduous tasks such as (In order of importance):

  1. Directing people to the toilet

  2. Not touching the work

  3. Not taking pictures of the work

  4. Removing butterflies from visitors

  5. Chatting anyone who has the interest in a bit of banter.

That is basically it, we are just a presence in the gallery. As such the presence determines the behaviour of the observer. We don’t really need to do anything, but be friendly, and sure I am a friendly Irish ‘Man’ or ‘Bloody Fuckin Irishman’ depending on what version you happen to run into. Some people are not able to hack the time spent in your own mind working at the gallery and have to pack it in. I have to say at the start it was testin me too.

I had only taken one day off in 30 days by the time I returned to Ireland for a visit. I was fairly fucked, I did 15 days straight at the museum and near the end I was starting to go a bit mental. Some positions dont lend themselves well to an exhausted brain lacking general stimulus. I suppose spending 36 hours in 3 days looking at art, white walls and varying white light will trick even the strongest of constitutions. I couldn’t look at a stack of sticks in the Boetti exhibition because the fuckin thing was moving every time I glanced over. ‘I need to take her handy’, I thought. That I did not do, failing to remember to walk like a monk in my leisure time.

I returned to Ireland for a four day respite along with my flat mate, Yosuke. Instead of taking it easy I fuckin took it twice! We ended up taxing nearly every heritage site in the country. Newgrange, The Hill of Tara, Uisneach, Lough Boora Parklands, we even climbed the fuckin Reak up in Westport. Sure I was banjaxed after it, but I came to a realisation. I am not living my fuckin life at all over in London, I am not meeting people or socialising, being back home in the land of spare time helped open my eyes. I had a new strategy for my return to London, enjoy life.

I arrived back to work the week before the Jubilee weekend. I decided to start taking time off when normal workers are off too. I met a few new aqquaitences that weekend and ended up having a whale of a time. Social interaction changes your quality of life, I was able to enjoy being in the gallery again and stop worrying about no work in the future.

With all this time on my hands to think over the past few months I have been developing a show in my head. Up until now I have been far too concerned with making a crust and not being creative. I had to step back from performing to set up shop over here.

Now that the shop is up and runnin I feel its time to start developing my concept to the stage. Today I have made my first preparatory sketches for costume and varying components for the show. I have explained the basic premise to many people and they all seem quite keen to give it a goosey. I want to have this piece of work ready by September, with a bit of luck. As of next week I am goin to start gigging again and updating the blog regarding the outcome of each place, space and audience.

Performing is like drawing you need to keep your pencil sharp to do it right, so now is the time to get back into it. I have waited for long enough, now I feel ready to start again. I have surrounded myself with decent people who believe in me and give me encouragement. I just need to buck up and get my skates on. Open mic next week Yall…

1. By performing I mean I had an unfair advantage over the other people in the group as I am a habitual attention seeker and thrive in situations like this. I am not really myself any more I become a hyper/deranged version that has an undue amount of manipulative ability. I was the only man in our group of apocolypse survivors. My argument for  a position in a limited bunker was indeed ‘For the sake of the future of the human race!’ My colleagues thought I was a bollocks but the observers ate it up. We then performed a group presentation, of which I talked shite and made everyone laugh, but I have an unfair amount of experience in this realm of deceit.

Midlands Review First Quarter 2012

This is what I wrote for the Midlands Review. It was supposed to be in yesterday but I only got it in today. It’s probably a bit too racy for the magazine, at least you can have a gander at it here.

I worked with Man-I-Pulate for one year so far. What brought me on dis Coarse? Two fine gentlemen from different countries to me. One is a Nordie and the other is a Kraut. Now don’t be so easily offended they do not play up to their stereotypes, these two men are of International mind.

Pablo Picasso stated that ‘A great artist has no nationality’. I am a firm believer that a great artist has no borders or boundaries and can see National Identity as a farce in itself, every artist knows that, right? Maybe not. So the two bucks decided that they wanted to have a sit down with me to potentially milk a few bob out of the County Council in order to try and put on a touring show of what its like being a male artist in Offaly. It was a simple plan and we began in January, talking that is. We all understand that half of any piece of art work that is produced must develop over many coffees, cigarettes and certainly waffle. I fucking love waffling, but I also like being incisive and cutting the bullshit. Any time we were veering off course I tried to lasso the idea and bring it back to what we were considering at the start.

Over the next two months we met in Maureen Kelly’s house and discussed tactics. We knew our basic premise and sent in a funding application. I made sure to lay it home that if we did not get the funding, we would do it anyway. By hook or by crook. My two counterparts agreed and we decided to call ourselves Man-I-Pulate. We were three men of different generations trying to make pulate a verb. Our shtick was that of the rural avengers, I wanted to let people know that we are HERE! LISTEN UP, we are artist from Offaly and we want people to realise that its ok to be an artfag from the country side. I have put up with years of stick over being an artist from my contemporaries but I don’t give a shit what anyone thinks of me, I would prefer if they had an opinion, position or angle but ultimately begrudgery does not keep me awake at night. Plus at this stage people have accepted that I am an artist and do things they wouldn’t dream of doing. My skin is almost like granite, any abuse or potential violation of my character is much obliged.

Our first gig was in Dagda, for their closing down shin dig. Nick told me to go to town on Dance on the way down in the car, which was our de-briefing. So I started to go to town, Joachim played his lonesome bass, throbs and wabbles flitted through the air and Nick started to prance around. I made the audience stand up and interact, with me at least. They didn’t know what to think of us. Like so many shows after, I think people get it hard to talk or approach me because they think I am some sort of manic arsehole who has more time than sense and chip on my shoulder that you could deem ‘considerable’. I suppose I am these things but for the performance not on my leisure time. Our first gig was a huge success for me, I got to slag dancers and officianados into thinking they didn’t know what was happening because, lets face it, they didn’t. People act like they know what is happening because they are so clever or learn-Ed, but they are just normal people like everyone else and sometimes what happens in an art space makes no sense at all. To act like you have figured it out when you haven’t is called pretending.

Now I have pretended for long enough that I could be part of something such as the art system, but I cant. I have too big a mouth and I don’t give a shit if people don’t like what I say. Edmund Burke, the Irish philosopher stated that ‘evil prevails when good men do nothing’. Or in this case bullshit prevails when Great men do nothing. Man-I-too-great, but not only me the other members of the group also. Joachim, Nick, Dave, Connor and Anne are all brilliant at what they do and I got plenty of praise along the way also. We did a good job with the limited resources that were on offer. We worked together to try and challenge the status quo. The arse licking, the shmoozing and the body politic were not part of our agenda other than to break it down or demolish it.

We performed for a group of artists in Tullamore at an artists meeting regarding the Tullamore Community Arts Centre. We performed our piece for 40 minutes or so, maybe a little less. Our work is about working together as artists, fusing different approaches and views. We slag ourselves and question our motives and the motives of others. After we performed a bitching session ensued about the lack of Visual arts representation in Offaly. All artists seemed to stick by their artform and verify all the tripe that had been spilling out of my puss for two thirds of an hour. None of our performers engaged, none of us cared. What we had been performing panned out right in front of us, committee/bored style.

Artists would rather bitch and complain and try and get on committees rather than make challenging art with people from different disciplines. The division is astounding and over what, a few bob that wont really sustain you anyway, just that of a project. Is it really worth it? I can assure you there are other ways of doing things and other ways of acquiring money or materials if needs be. Not falling out with half the fucking County over your solipsism. Artists need to get over themselves, stop talking shite, drinking coffee and start doing. Things are abysmal in Ireland at the minute so people need to band together in these tough times, work with lean budgets or no fodder at all. Challenge the machine and be heard.

We wanted to get the word out about being Male artists in Offaly, most time antagonised by our own existence as creative whoors. We do it because we have to do it. I made less than €200 for the full year, It’s not about the money. It’s about the Glamour of it all!

Ron Le Swan

I am a Student of the Drums…

Moving to London is something that has calmed my intent and psyche for the past 6-8 months. I had a sense of clarity once I decided that that was what I was going to do with myself. London an apeshit town in my memory hazed by that of college trips, lenghty sessions of supping sauce till god knows what fuckin day, night or even week. Yeah London sounds good, real fucking good, horse.

So I had decided, what brought me to this decision? I realised I had to better my position because the situation, I wasn’t optimum workin prime-al, I was not going to push myself in a comfortable, controlled environment. People talk about Reality like it is the end phrase. ‘But, I am being realistic.’ No you’re not you’re being pessimistic, pre-determining your own perceptive reality by choice/damage limitation. What are you? You are limited, you wont strive in the comfort zone. I have changed considerably in the past few years, Ireland has also changed back to the lacking nation it had built itself up to be. Although our new penchant for the world is quite the demographic of Socially funded Third Level Educations.

Woop di fuckin DOO! Eriu, Thank You!- air lifted  from the Catstone, this year I will leave Uisneach well enough alone. Ah Ireland the ‘Sow that eats its young’ what have you done? Skill them up, ship them out, but we are not the patriot paddy’s of yesteryore we are a new bunch of indignant whoors ready to blast the bouwl, trouwl and every jowel we can fuckin come across. We are the adapter’s we are the survivors, world players and at home nothing but fuckin ‘Nay sayers’. Well I am tellin all right now back home is wrought with no plough, no harvest will be seen, no scene. What about the alcohol fog? Should it be addressed, or perpetually redeemed.

Lot’s of Pat’s had to fuck off before, and before and before. Oh, yes we have arrived on all shores, but myopic we be because only a few lone years ago we did not want to bore the weight of a foreign dictate. We were cunts roaring and blastin at those who wanted to crawl in and fuel from our bastion. A wealth we didn’t see because she invisible to you and me. I noted the development of a curse as greed and disparity made for new thirst. Hungry whoores, we were a famished bunch of grabbin suckers, failing our brother’s, lackin in lookater’s. Well known to sink too deep to have ever given a fook – Sure, sure…

To ship off away and fend as thy self alone amongst others make sure and not be too stealth, city livin utilise cards dealt. Fodder from every corner of the (h)Earth, synthesis of culture is somewhat of a rebirth . Ready and rocking, sitting and waiting, walkin around on first Thursday and glancin at a paintin. Who gives a shit Duncan there not for our takin. What of graffiti ball alley and other old fair. We went down the stair into the layer and the work was all shite/bare, all decaying wasteland in drippin blue and white, noone cares. Another drop in trendy design, beer bottles popping and black framed rimmed glass bifocals, quite benign. A certain type of jam, not sweet though more on the Hipster jam side of things – HipJam™ , wading in through the design pos(H)se that packed the space was a job, made the fuckin vein in the middle of my forehead throb, beautiful beer not cascading down my gob. In a good way though, being part of something no matter how distant you are from others has an effect on your mood and temperament, GO GUYS! London has still plenty to offer, but who was looking at work, I wouldn’t say anyone really gives a toss only the artist, of course,and his shit-rag Boss when sales go Berserk or dont jerk (Not so perk). Otherwise there is free booze, buy a piece if your a nob with pocket full of chedder, if not get down with the network jibba jabba that would put me in the leaba. I think. The Conversations.

I said I am a student of the drums. Chums. You have to learn to make noise, and in London it might be safe to say wearing ear plugs to bed is…(Intentionally Ambiguous?) So d’ya Get me BrUv?

I have been here two weeks on Monday. This place is a different planet compared to the homstead, the wood, must be honest rather be here instead. Not a million miles to the side of the bay that was a particular fart in His-storay to that of Long Islands clay. The way seems to be a certain sat, stay. The isle of Eriu will not see you, too far to the future with lots of lads endin up like ultra Zulu’s – you know who’s, who. It’s a disquiet for all those at home, ones not gone will soon stray, gone-fuckeroo on the lay-away.

A ruling system of the well washed elite let one normal pothead sit at his feet. And he stayed quiet fairly snappy and Snarf, Good auld Ming was not long given the lip a shart. It bleeped out so he shut the fuck up, braggin and boasting but this goat had no gumption in his gut. Miow he is more inclined toward glut, the fuck. Not one person but the Achill Avenger has drawn our eyes to the myth of legal tender. People have lost their ability to see, as their visions distorted by ‘Re-al-ity’, but reality is a myth created by YOU, as an excuse to simplify your life and challenge no Truth! So come on ya (Simmental), fuck off across the Globe and start a new rental in some faWncey Abode!

http://www.lukemingflanagan.ie/posts/news/in-the-press/well-look-at-man-of-the-people-ming-in-his-e500-hemp-suit/

http://www.mayonews.ie/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14219:anglo-avengers-achill-antics&catid=23:news&Itemid=46

Ron

I used to have a real long Fringe when I was a gossin.

The Dublin Fringe festival is a two week affair that runs
all over Dublin’s city centre. The acts that are chosen are of a more
experimental nature and the festival itself is a pre-requisite to the Dublin
Theatre Festival for all the true thespians, not the chancers. It is known for
its zany acts and hip attendees, the programme is exhaustive to say the least
and with over 100 shows on offer it can be quite difficult to select one to
view from the sparse explanations laid out in the brochure. So here we were, us
country bumpkins up to the big bad smoke for a week of unforeseen debauchery.
It was quite exciting, but my expectations of an en masse crowd were slight. I had no idea how this was going to go as there are many shows,
exhibitions and performances on-going in Dublin at any given time. Let alone
this week as both the Fringe and Dublin Contemporary were available to the art
enthusiast. What unfolded has, along with the Electric Picnic, reinstated my
forgotten faith in humanity.

Before I begin I must mention that I had no accommodation sorted
for the week as I thought it would be more fun to fill up my rucksack and stay
with different people I know that live in the city. Something told me not to
bother my arse worrying about something as trivial as where I was to sleep. So
I gallivanted up to Dublin on the Monday in the Ferrari. I stayed in my girlfriends friends gaff that night as I was to return to Mullingar to collect my dole the next day. The opening night was our preview
and those invited were, for the most part, on the guest list. We sorted our
sound and lighting early in the day and then I tipped around Dublin hitting
various free venues on offer for Dublin Contemporary. That night friends of
mine and the rest of the group congregated in the Sweeney Mongrel before the
performance began. I was amped up big time for this show; I feel that the rest
of the group were also in the zone. It was what we had been preparing for for months
and now the time had come. A crowd of 30-40 people sat in the snug venue and
awaited pulation. We did not disappoint as this was definitely the best crack I
have had with the group by a country mile. I was in the moment completely, laughing,
joking and enjoying every single minute of the performance. Some of my closest
friends and family were in the audience that night and I really wanted to show
off, which I had no trouble in doing so with my big mouth and attention starved
ways. When you enjoy a performance and have fun it’s the best feeling in the
world. The audience were vibing in such a positive way it would be very
difficult not to feel elated. The performance also built and built until the
crescendo at the end where we were all going apeshit! It was magic, the
adrenaline from every member of the group flowed in unison, together, as one.
We fuckin nailed it and every one of us was significantly high afterword. Our
first night was a huge success. As I had mentioned we had the luxury of fawncy
lighting for the show, both red and blue, this night was filled with passion
and intensity and I remember a burning crimson red glowing all around me and
the performance space. Night #1 had been a triumph, we had arrived. After the
show my friends and I fluted about Dublin and my girlfriend’s friend heard I
had no fixed abode for the week. She then generously offered her parents apartment
in Temple Bar, I duly obliged and a quick phone call later sealed the deal.
Once again like the fortunate mongoose that I am I landed firmly on my feet.

I can’t say that the second night was in any way similar to
the first. Night #2 was particularly hard work and I did not enjoy it at all.
It was a challenge, but with challenges come reward and punishment. During our
sound check I joked around poking fun at our prospective audience numbers. I
was being a pessimistic bastard to be fair. To my surprise the room filled up
significantly, but in the room we had a new variety of spectator, the critic.
Now I am an extremely critical whoore meself so it was a welcome test. I didn’t
dwell on too long before the performance regardless. There were a few other influential
attendees from the Arts Council also in situ. I did not know, or duly care, who
these people were till after the show. One critic sat well back in the venue
whilst the other sat in the corner of the main performance space. So the show
began and I did my thing whilst garnering a wonderful response from almost
every member of the audience except for the critic in the corner. This beore
was one stoical fucker. I got a faint smile out of her at the start but after
that nothing. It’s quite unusual to get no reaction out of someone you directly
confront whilst holding a microphone a foot and a half in front of their puss.
She was not having it and ended up writing this review. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/features/2011/0915/1224304137602.html.
So I am a belligerent bastard! I was actually fairly happy with this review,
believe it or not. It quotes us as providing ‘access to all’ and also states
that ‘Offaly is the last bastion of hope for the arts’ which I would consider a
victory for rural arts development. Sara Keating judged me personally though,
failing to remember that this is a performance, and although sometimes I behave
like this, most of the time I don’t have the energy or wherewithal to act like a
fucking lunatic 24/7. She mentioned that I was aggressive and hostile but the
truth is Sara has some issues with big loud men and decided to vent in her
article. She failed to address our music or dance which seems Ludacris considering
these two aspects of our performance are on-going for the duration of the 40
minute show. She just didn’t get us, and that played right into our hands. She
actually upholds and defines the cultural snobbery of the bourgeois elite in
our Capital. Basically what I am trying to say is that Sara Keating is a complete
snob.

On the other side of the coin came our second review, from
the more accessible entertainment.ie. This time around we were highlighted in a
positive light by Catherine Egan who is originally from Offaly and understood
our shtick. http://entertainment.ie/Theatre/feature/MAN-I-PULATE-%7C-Absolut-Fringe/20/1736.htm?grp=fringe.
This critic understood what we were all about.
The performance is geared towards people from a more rural make up anyway. It
was never our intention to perform to a learn-ed crowd, artists or wankers who
fancy themselves. The stuff we do is for the normal joe sobe who hasn’t had the
opportunity to experience this sort of offering before. Egan stated ‘Man-I-Pulate
is a great introduction to the world of performance, we were glued to it; it
was engaging, loud and very Offaly’. So Fuck You Sara Keating! Basically the
difference between the reviews lies in the fact that the performance is
tailored toward the likes of Egan and not Keating or indeed artists. Artists
actually get it very hard to interpret our work as their heads are so far up their
own arses they can’t understand our basic premise. It’s not for us? But how,
all art is for artists not the proletariat. Well fuck artists, they need to cop
on, if they are spending public money then they are socially and morally
reprehensible. It’s funny though that the reviews are from such opposing views,
Egan states that there is ‘a great
selection of dance, the spoken word and music mashed together like spuds,
butter and milk it was hearty, arty and lots of fun’. This is in direct
contrast to Keatings ‘Although the different strands are enacted
simultaneously, the artistic elements are not brought together in any
meaningful way’. You can’t please em all. What I found about night #2 was that
pressure can make performing a complete and utter job, it is no longer fun, its
hard work. Some of our group were not happy with their performance on the night
but I think we still did a great job as the feedback I got from the audience
was kick ass. No disappointment, just happy heads with boat like grins. I was
content, but a blue hue had surrounded my aura and that burning red from Monday
night did not even peak into my psyche, not even for a glance.

Our third night was weird as fuck. I have never done a
performance like this. Long story short the crowd was split into two, there was
a schism that would make Ian Paisley cringe. One side of the audience lent me
their undivided positive attention; the other sucked the life out of me like a
pack of fuckin dementors. These people were Flamingos, the art elite, of the
highest standing in Irish art. I wouldn’t be too keen on this particular type
of bird, they turn my stomach, as I do them. They did not offer up one bit of support,
reaction or engagement. The performance was becoming laborious and I had to
change the pace. So normally in one of the latter stages of the work I berate
the Dublin audience about their enigmatic ability to know and understand EVERYTHING!
This night I particularly went to town, they were sending an undue amount of
negative energy toward me, so I decided to fling it back toward them with an
upending ferocity. They were not very impressed, but I was happy I did what I did.
If I hadn’t let them know they were cunts I would have beaten myself up over
not standing up for myself and my cohorts. I would have felt a coward, which I am
certain, I am not. The performance ended. We departed from what I recall as a
blue room.

Thursday night we got our groove back. A brand new wonderful
friend of mine brought in a good crowd of enthusiastic fuckers who lifted the mood
in an extraordinary fashion. One of my oldest best friends was also there and
he certainly helped spurn a fantastic performance out of me also. I started
showing off again for his sake and homeostasis was once again restored. There
were also a good few supporters of ours in the audience and the vibe was once again
electric, teetering close to our performance of Monday night. When the audience
are there, in the moment, you are running at optimum level. The red lights on
this night made me feel like a wild bull ready to take the fucking head off the
matador. I had become filled with blood, lust and fire. The crowd drove me to
this state, and I have to say I loved it. Afterword a woman from the Craig
Doyle show said she loved what we were doing and said that she might be able to
get us a slot on the show, nice one.  Night #4 you were one RED mother fucker!

Friday night was quiet enough; there were not too many
punters in. A few of my good mates arrived and I put on an intimate show for
their sake, but it is far harder to perform for only a few heads rather than a
raucous bunch or rowdy fuckers. That’s more my style. It went fine though, it was more
of a ‘go through the motions’ job. I did enjoy myself,
and I feel that the audience did also but it is tough with low numbers. One friend who had been to a show four
months ago was quite happy with our development and how big my balls had gotten
since then! #5 lent a slight tinge of rosé.

Saturday was our last show. The week of trying to snooze
over the busiest pub in Temple Bar had become taxing. Yet I
was ready and prepped for our departure from the fair city. I was excited to
perform for friends of mine from the MA course I did in UCD last year. It was
great to have them there on the last night as my energy levels were hitting a low
ebb. One of my colleagues was actually contractually working for the Fringe so
it was cool that the two of us were working in different capacities for the
festival. I have to say that this night, of all nights, I was the most
flamboyant with my delivery and execution of our material. There were not many
people in the crowd, what so ever, so I really hammed it up to the enth degree.
I will honestly say I did not give a shite and that is probably why I did such
a good job I might as well have been in my sitting room at home mydering my
brother or girlfriend. We had been performing for the week, at this stage
anything coming out of my mouth was a formality so I had to make it more fun
for myself. I did this by making the work a far more theatrical affair, taking
my time and flowing like cascading brown aqua from a well situated gutter. I
had a lot of fun, and so did the audience. Our last night was quite refreshing
and gave us the boost we needed to consider future festivals and spaces to
perform in.

There were so many great things about performing at the
Fringe. The people were the most important ingredient. It’s amazing how
different every night was. Nearly everyone I talked to after each show was
really interested, excited and happy with our performance. The stuff we do is a
bit of crack but it is also socially and politically engaging if you want it to
be. The week in Dublin has been one of the best experiences I have had in my
life and has rejuvenated me to struggle on as a starving artist for a little
bit longer. Although it was never our intention to perform in Dublin, ye are
not a bad bunch of fuckers after all. Now back to the homestead.

Promises, Promises @ Electric Picnic

Much apologies over this delayed post but September has been a busy month of bohemian plaumossing. We were offered a spot at the picnic as I swanned around the hill of Uisneach back in May before I gave a mini lecture on cultural offerings in the Midlands. A certain smooth talker decided that he would give us a slot at the picnic without having any idea of what we do or who we were. This suited me down to the ground as I was prepared to re-enter the world of art object making in order to try and trick someone into giving me gratis admission. Nice wan, didn’t have to bother my budgine. I was also informed to place E.P. on all of our promotional material from then until September, for four months. We didn’t bother our holes doing any promotional work anyway, thank fuck. Grand job, waited until August then contacted your man about our slot, but there was no reply. Call after call was made followed up by texts but no response. I badgered him till he eventually sent a text that acknowledged my attempts to sort this shite out.

‘I will get back to you next week regarding E.P.’ I waited another 2 weeks. No reply. At this stage I was starting to get the picture that we were getting the cold shoulder. I was driving through Mullingar on the Sunday two weeks before the Picnic and spotted himself suppin a pint of porter beside Joe Dolan. I parked up the car and went over to see what the crack was. A sob story ensued, but guilt led this man to have an impromptu meeting the next day at his office with me. So I was givin a proposition, no band. The compromise was a bit unsettling considering I had done some fuckin promotional work meself with my big fuckin mouth, telling everyone I was playing the picnic. Once again I rang our Sage bass player, who I consider the patriarch of the group, He told me to go ahead and do it along with our dancer. I said grand and we went ahead with it. Needless to say this is, once again, a nice example of completely unprofessional ‘promise the world HORSESHITE’ you get everywhere in this country. I said we would take the slot, along with another slot at the Green Village festival (which never came to fruition surprise, surprise)

I got absolutely no word from himself until I was to get the tickets the day before the festival. I made sure to get down nice and early to have this fuckin bullshit wacky acid jazz elevator dribble backing track ready for our performance. Our bassist had made it the week of the festival and it sounds surprisingly similar to the music used in Des Bishops Work Experience when he is flinging kebabs at scuttered arseholes in Ali Baba’s kebab palace – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QOeC5Aj0gY&feature=related -the first 3 minutes should suffice in giving you a feel for the extroadinary synth sound that made up my serene sound scape. We got a feel for the tent we were performing in and chilled out for a while. We were supposed to start at 8pm, but due to many headless chickens running around we ended up performing at 9:15. The performance was good auld crack. There were a few people in the tent, 60 or less, some enjoyed what we were at with hearty laughter, smiles and slight engagement. Others absolutely hated what we were doing with bet faces like those who just snorted the fresh waft of a steaming dog shit. Picnickers! I have to say we did a good job and a few slight jibes were fucked in for good measure, I don’t think this went down to well with our host, but I couldn’t have given two fucks at that stage, we were there on time, we performed for 29 minutes and 16 seconds for a set time of 30 min’s, without the aid of a timing device, my timing is impeccable. The performance was a good departure from some of the manure that was dished out in this tent anyway, love it or hate it the show was very different from anything else that was on that night.

Enough tooting of my own horn. I was fairly delighted we performed on the Friday night because I got to do my own thing for the rest of the weekend without the worry of making a complete cunt of myself after three days of self-indulgent hedonism. We were never contacted by the slam master after so I reckon he wasn’t too happy with our performance. He can go fuck himself though because the funny thing was that after the big sob story and rig marole over tickets I realised his attempt to soft soap me was actually a complete farce. Our band had been cut due to the loss of incurring cash to the value of 4 tickets. Which was of course bullshit as all the other musicians I met were allowed bring their beores, family members, dogs, enemies and whoever else the fuck they felt like bringin. This sickened my hole. Cut the band, but don’t act like some sort of evangelical, saviour and then fuck me, or ignore me in the hope that I will fuck off. It didn’t happen but it could have just as easily had I not pulled up the Buick at the Market place to get my spake in.

I am really glad we got to perform at the picnic, it was great fun and I enjoyed every minute of it. It would have been much more fun with my other comrades but sometimes you just can’t have the bun and the penny.