12 November 2010

Whatever You Say, Say Nothing

There is one advantage in living in a highly litigeous society. I cannot remember a time that I did not know the difference between libel and slander and I can remember back to about age 3.

The hyperbole enjoyed by Irish writers is, if you have taken time to notice, practiced by fiction writers. Anybody employed in print journalism carries in their brain the equivalent of a Gormenghast size library of legal textbooks which ensures that even the word "the" is examined for lurking ambiguities.

Freedom of speech is there, but in spots. Seeing that people are being arrested for Twitter comments, losing jobs and generally having their lives upended I am pleased that I did not send birthday greetings or share too much on that particular forum.

As for making jokes on Twitter... with the thought police out in force... you must be joking...

Pink Bokeh

Pink and Teal make good companions.

It's helpful to keep an eye on fashion trends worldwide if a blog is to attract attention. have some good tips on the subject.

However, there are cultural aspects to colour choices that have kept me alert. Many of my photos recently have quite a bit in common with 1950's cowboy films, strong turquoise and earthen tones. This is not really cutting edge, but the serious colours that recessionary times seem to encourage are not really to my taste.

Coffee and mustard shades, with a general sense of flat khaki, the key colours in "Murder She Wrote", may be set to return.

I hope not...

Primula Meadow at Harlow Carr

Wild Singapore

The latest news that a programme to stop mosquitos carrying Dengue fever is in full swing has set me thinking about all the good times we have had in Singapore. Travel brochures praise the malls, beautiful boulevards and warm welcome the country offers. I spend time looking at photos of the wilder areas that are within a short taxi or bus ride from the city centre.

Sungei Buloh is one of the most relaxing places for a walk.
You always recognise tourists in such places. They are, like me, wearing stout boots as a deterrent to snakes and crocodiles. And they reek of insecticide.
Really, it's a wild world. Sungei Buloh Reflections

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11 November 2010

Still Life

Apple Harvest


I love correcting texts for tautology.
The previous post is full of dull repetition and is a reminder of hours spent polishing bits of prose before they could be unleashed upon the public.

The best thing about a blog is that it can be corrected, even years later, and if the reader does not like what they see, they can tidy it up for themselves.

It's Chilly Outside

I set myself a project to write about "John Gabriel Borkman", currently running at the Abbey Theatre.

However the weather is so hideous in reality that thinking about the frozen north, with a disfunctional family that would have engaged Freud's attention for years is "not a good idea". The play is well worth seeing, but I continue to wonder about the bucolic gang of happy theatre-goers who flocked (probably from the pub) last week and who rocked with laughter throughout. The ending, tragic in the extreme, did bring a silence that was in keeping with such a tragic tale.

Audiences at the Abbey are an interesting social phenomenon, a cultural parallel to the opera buffs in Milan who shout and whistle during first nights. I was at a production of "Hamlet" at the Abbey years ago where the school children, delighted to be out for the night, chanted "To be or not to be..." along with the energetic hero who kept going regardless. A shocked visitor to our little country gave off yards during the interval, explaining that "Hamlet is a tragedy, not a comedy". We pretended to know nothing about anything and kept any knowledge of years reading Auerbach to ourselves.

Then there was the night when accompanying a gang of boys who had spent some considerable time in the pub, we were almost thrown out by the front of house managers as the loud comments gathered momentum as "Translation" was somewhat lost in translation along the way.

Get yourselves off to Ibsen's play if you can, don't forget (as we did) that it starts at 7h30 not 8 and be prepared to be very engaged indeed by a terrible tale of emotional disturbance, not to mention money missing from the bank. Dublin, Ireland, Autumn 2010


10 November 2010

Lavandula Lanata Boiss

Woolly Lavender

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9 November 2010

Dreaming of Summer

The weather is frightful.

Staying in, with blinds drawn, and working on Summer photos is a pleasure...

Rose Stamens

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8 November 2010

The Working Poor?

This phrase was associated with poverty in faraway countries until recently. Now phrases like "sustainable employment" "the deserving poor" and other Victorian sounding soundbites have caused me to persistently change tv channel, looking for cheerful people rather than the bores who are in danger of wearing ordinary people down. Like the hurricane that was supposed to leave the country under water last night, the horrors promised by the serious analyst in the media may not happen. I'm beginning to wonder if there may not be money in producing bad news. Otherwise, why are so many of the experts smiling as they speak?

To Understand is...

to, well, almost, understand.
Having found a useful site on, run by kwood (Kieron Wood), I have settled back into a more secure comfort zone.
All the information about the definition of "legally priveleged" is relatively simple. It seems it may be along the lines of notices in public places where disclaimers are posted saying that the establishment takes no legal responsibility for damage to person or property.
However, finding these notices in private correspondence is giving me plenty to think about... Dublin City Crest, Ireland

It Gets Weirder

I was about to send a return e-mail to a friend who works in a semi-state body.
The legal agreement that such an action would imply stopped me in my tracks.
I had already sent a link to my Flickr photos, ignorant of the fact that any e-mail sent to that institution could be subject to being revealed, if such was deemed necessary.
I already treat e-mailing as the equivalent of writing my business in large capital letters on a public pavement. Delighted with news, friends might feel free to send updates round to their contacts, if what they find amuses them.
That is to be expected.
However that thought that my Flickr stream could somehow, at some time in the future, get into the hands of people who, in the old fashioned phrase "do not have my best interest at heart" has ensured that I will not be emailing to that source again.
This is not based on some personal neurosis. A newspaper I used admire used messages left on a journalist's answer machine to flesh out a very alarming story that was, ironically, about confidentiality. Everybody is fussing about the end of journalism as it used to be.
Considering the strange legalities that are embedded in every institution today, I'm not surprised...

7 November 2010

Winter At Night in Dublin