2 September 2011

Back to Normal

The past few years have been very instructive. Thanks to the ongoing recession I have the freedom to continue to keep this blog going and learn new photographic techniques.

The thought of gainful employment in a structured institution now seems so horrifying that I can't imagine how I managed to work so hard for years in the past. Friends who stuck the official workplace out are starting to retire and while I thought that this would offer the opportunity to renew old links, the differences in our ways of living now seem to make this unlikely.

Baby Boomers are the World's travel junkies. Try to meet for coffee? Sorry... would love to, but just about to board a long distance flight for China... or South America.

From the limited amount of time I spend listening to the radio, most of the active workforce is furious and obsessed with mortgages. They have my sympathy in trying to ends meet, as the 1980's remain in my experience as the time when an unreparable rift occurred between winners and losers in the society which I had once hoped would be egalitarian. Journalists get to meet a lot of different people in different contexts and while the work was piecemeal for a freelance, it gave a freedom that was not possible to many other trades.

Finally, however, the human condition as she is lived on this island became a difficult reality to describe, so I just retired... like a footballer does when they are no longer fleet of foot.

It was the best decision I ever made and without the years spent learning the infuriating new technologies, I would not be able to offer readers here this little photo of a moment in the National Botanic Gardens.

As ever, many thanks to everybody who has helped me learn.


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Why So Many Words?

Peter Rozovsky is always an "agent provacateur" for the amateur linguist. If you rush over to his blog, there's a great discussion on "good" and "bad" language usage. As ever, this set me thinking...

Authority is being scrutinised in every area of life at the moment. I have always been puzzled by the numerous professions that manage to gain enough power to force the majority of people to conform to the linguistic rules that they insist are "right" and "correct". I know many of the rules, but am often amazed at the number of people who become incensed by "bad grammar" or "misuse" of words. They often write to our national newspapers to the hilarity of the rest of us who apply a sort of "speak and let speak" policy (a variation on "live and let live")

Liz Lockhead has some wonderful poems on the subject of being hauled off to school to be indoctrinated on how to "speak proper".

The snobbery visitors to Ireland have on the subject on how Hiberno-English is seen as a lesser dialect also offers hours of entertainment. I have met many people from mainland Europe who are not convinced by my claim to be "Irish" simply because I do not speak like Darby O'Gill.

Ultimately, language is used to allow people to form into groups where they feel comfortable and which excludes those who do not know the shared code. There is a very bizarre programme running on TV here at the moment called "Made in Chelsea". It is really interesting for linguists.

All that said, there was a documentary years ago where an Irish person spoke at length and the producers put in sub-titles. Very helpful, as I had not a clue what they were saying as I had not visited the exact place from whence they came.

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1 September 2011

Le Jeu? La Chandelle?

I remain eternally grateful to the person who stole a mobile 'phone from a friend years ago. I had bought the 'phone as a gift and when it was stolen I became legally responsible, according to the contracts involved. It took forever to clear the mess up and when faced with buying a 'phone for myself I asked a sensible question... was there anything I had to say that was worth hundreds of Euros and, worse, the extreme confusion that would ensue if the wretched machine went missing.

When it comes to technology, the less energy expended on communication the better... or so it seems to me.


31 August 2011

Art as Consolation

We went to Dublin Castle recently to enjoy the Georgian archicture and the plasterwork and stone heads inside and out of the Chapel Royal.

This has set me back rummaging through photos taken in Verona in May.
Marble Art

The marble pieces in the Archaelogical Museum were a highlight of a very interesing visit.
A place not to be missed.

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30 August 2011

A Bit at Sea

As an organism that finds it difficult to function at a temperature below 25 degrees celsius, or so, this past Summer has sent me into a temporary unseasonal hibernation. It seemed useless to comment on world affairs, the death of the chat room, the sheer morbidity of much contemporary journalism and fiction or the fact that television is not worth the licence fee... or for that matter, buying a television with which to torment oneself. Keeping warm became a priority.

The fruit harvest is exceptional, thanks to dryness during the pollination season I suppose.

However, here's to some basic brain functionality returning, if September should manage to produce a few balmy days. Most photography has been indoors or from the snugness of the car.

Blue with the cold is well expressed by this drive-by shot of Dublin at dusk.

Dublin at Dusk, SOOC

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28 August 2011

The Giusti Gardens, an Update

I'm reposting a piece about the Giusti Gardens in Verona because it is worth mentioning why I found the visit so disorientating.

The statues are arranged in concentric circles, which took some time to work out and this may account for why I felt so unsettled and tired there. The solution was to sit on the rim of the central fountain until I could get my bearings and finally climb up to the viewing point above, which has one of the most spectacular views over this lovely city.

It's worth noting that the famous cypress trees are relatively new, as they were planted in 1946 to replace those destroyed by war. This last piece of information thanks to the link here: "" And here's the original piece, which was inspired by how, in general, sculpture may be the Cinderella of the blogging world.

There is one subject that could be better represented on the Internet... Sculpture.

Statues are everywhere nowadays and they make large and obvious subjects for anybody who has little patience with nature's buzzing and flapping or the impossibility of capturing a "true portrait" of people one meets.

I am always aware of the incredible effort taken to make an object in resistant materials that is meant to last for a very long time, if not forever.

The statues in the Giusti Garden in Verona disport themselves so strangely through the formal hedging that it took several hours before I could comfortably capture them. Whoever placed them where they are must have had a sense of humour, as they don't conform to what the ordinary viewer is trained to expect.

They wanted to confuse the new visitor?
Or perhaps they did not have a classical sense of proportion?

The reason is probably lost in the mists of time.
Statue in the Giusti Gardens

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