Saturday, December 29, 2007

dis located

so. i find myself in dublin. the auld stomping ground. but only for one night. i'm en route to County Waterford for a rather extravagant version of a classic irish wedding. 18th century mansion converted to a luxury hotel. for four days of celebrations. my youngest step brother is getting married. so colour me getting into the swing of things with a G&T in hand.

this has been a beautiful Christmas thus far. peacefilled from midnight mass at Clonard monastery on christmas eve. filled with good friends. lounging by the fireplace. feeling comfort. and warmth. and goodwill.

and disconnected. from my surroundings and from myself...i am divided in two down some unseen but very felt fault line. a piece of me... not here. but out there. somewhere. living a whole new adventure of a life that has already begun and yet, not yet... all of this is to come... that is i guess what it means to be a beginning. here at the start we have more to come than has been before...

but then, as he says, there is a beauty in having someone to miss... i guess this is a kind of privilege. a gift for sure... i feel connected as much as i feel i am missing... having someone to miss is having someone... and i find myself shaking my head in wonderment as to how all this came to be... all this... with so much yet to come... i have no real sense of whether i chose this or it was chosen for me... i'm not sure i even need a distinction... something is profoundly alligned in these days as much as they are time (zones) out of joint...

i feel like i've come home. and immediately plucked from it. i feel like adventure waiting to happen... but it is already happening... i was already home, and already adventure... but now i find myself on a path with another... the lesson of these days is how to live in the present. how to focus on what is here and now. when so much of me wants to be elsewhere... present in other moments... other places... to be mindful of all that one has... and be gratitudinal to my very core for the homecoming and the adventure of who i am, of who he is and of what we are and may become if the fates allow... the past requires me to take each fragile gentle step in turn... and each step is meant to be lived for itself even as they bring us closer together... the journey is everything... moments stringing together... to make a future on which to look back... may i always be gratitudinal to be sojourning with another soul like his, even now, with so much distance... because distance is only miles... these days apart are only time... and where there is profound encounter... deep resonance of souls... where there is love unfolding... there is no distance at all... but only possibility... and the eternal yes that we can only hear when we are truly present...

patience is a virtue. why do virtues always seem to test us...?


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

i've gotten a little warm in my heart

Merry Christmas one and all.

i killed my laptop. don't ask. no. don't. new one arrives later this week. then normal service really will return.

needless to say, i've been falling fast and hard in love with a bohemian grunge mountain boy. and all is well with the world. so very very well. there is a big chunk of me in Denver, Colorado right now overlooking the rockies and snow covered fields.

hope you enjoy this... i've been saving it for months for this very moment...

have a blessed and meaningfilled season...


Saturday, December 15, 2007

where to start...?


we have a functioning laptop.
we have a functioning relationship.

and i have no idea where to begin...

read the saftey instructions in the back of the seat in front of you until further notice.

normal service will resume shortly. as soon as i've worked out what kind of narrative this ought to be...


Monday, December 10, 2007

Read between the lines...

ok. 6 days. No laptop. This is being posted from my iPhone. So please excuse the limitations of formatting. Back safe from Tucson. I've left a big chunk of myself behind. Amazing time was had. Ikon/ la aldea (aka Ik/ea) collaboration was productive and rewarding.I got myself a man. Out there in the desert i was found. It was beautiful. Fotos to follow when my little white baby has the power cable she needs. So having returned safely, I have some work for advent. Got a Christmas tree today. He shall be known on these pages as WillO.
Jayne and I decorated said tree and it looks beautiful. I plan to spend some chunks of 2008 in Tucson.
Before she heads to Nepal for the holiday season. Colour me feeling love, peace and joy. Listening to Ohio by OtR. So beautiful. LB's somebody's baby. So beautiful. Like home.

It's all transforming.
it's all to come.
it's advent/ure...


Saturday, December 01, 2007

it's coming to soon

Tucson feels like ireland right now. it's rained for 2 days solid and the air is fresh and cool, the big sky filled with pale grey clouds. the earth has soaked up every drop.

i have gotten to know some beautiful people in this past week. i can't believe it's only been that long. so much has gone on, seen so many new things, been awakened to a landscape that has moved me in a unique way, been surprised by joy.

and i feel sadness creeping in around the edges, each hour now seems coated in the patina of the precious as i know i have to leave. i am looking forward to choosing my Christmas tree, hanging out with Jayne by the fire as we hang each decoration with care and talking and singing carols... of seeing familiar faces and reconnecting with those i love. but Everything But The Girl had it so right and this weather is not normal. dryer days are gonna return and this will only be a memory...

this has been a great trip for ikon. today we will be collaborating for the second time in a week on a service and we've a unique ikon gathering under our belt, called ::broken::
but personally, this has been a
deep experience of living and being. this place and the people in it have got to my core. buried their way beneath my skin with a sense of connection i didn't think i was capable of with unfamiliar faces. i sat last night on the porch trying to memorise every curve and line of every feature, every look and sparkle in each one.

i am so blessed to live within a community of friends that are the best kind of family by choice. and here i sit surprised to find there's somewhere else i could embed myself. to want ::here:: is to know i can't be in two places at once however hard i try...

i just realised i don't have an advent calendar. and here i am counting the days 'til i can get back.

once you've had it, you're in an awful fix...


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

home in the desert

word up.

alive and well and having an *awesome* time in Tucson, AZ.

no time to write. but all is good. very very good.

colour me happy under the widest sky i've ever known...

i may never leave.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

blonde ambition

my head's filled with a load of stuff right now all vying for attention. and in my heart too. i'm gonna be hanging out in London this weekend and plan to spend a good few hours at a cafe table scribbling so we shall resume normal outpourings of inner stories shortly...

in the meantime, here's the frivolous side of life...
something's changed round LB's personhood. it's behaving itself here thanks to having had on a cap but i got to hand it to peroxide. i can now do some wild stuff with my now much more textured locks.

here's me. with my buddy DF. who was quite delighted, as was i, that we are not just friends, but now friends who match. more fotos will follow displaying the magenta hidden in the platinum. and no doubt celebrating jude's birthday in an outrageously irresponsible fashion. here's hoping anyway.

love the one's your with...

Sunday, November 11, 2007


i'm sitting by the fire with Jude, both companionably typing on our laptops. listening to kristin hersh's beautiful confession of an album, Hips and Makers.
can't think of a better album to be listening to right now...


You can dander on over to jude's blog to see what we got up to last night. i'll be reflecting on that in the next day or two but, having just come back from ikon gathering ::Miracle:: at the black box, i'm gonna post what i wrote and read tonight...

i'm tired in the aftermath. it was an emotional evening.

i head to Arizona in about 10 days on behalf of ikon to explore and create with the Aldea community in Tuscon. so tonight we had an art sale to help cover the cost of getting us there. which given ikon's tiny purse was a huge expense. when we do what we do at greenbelt or folks read pete's book there is often an assumption we have something that might be called a budget. what we have is a threadbare shoestring. we get by on participants not claiming expenses. we struggle talking about money. we never ask for money. at least not for ourselves. so tonight, we asked, and miraculously some might say, the crowd raised more than enough to pay for the flights for me and pete and jonny and in return went home with jonny and jayne's paintings and photographs.

but that was only part of the emotion... the gathering was pretty amazing. it fell together and opened something up. every contribution had a different perspective to offer and left folks with a lot to think about...

needless to say, reading the following was a test of my mettle. but i guess this is what i do. now only if i could work out how to make it pay the bills. mining for the authentic is not lucrative done this way. but it was cathartic. and there's a value in my life to this kind of creation that i can't count... and it led to some meaning-filled connection with people i wish i could look in the eye more often... whom i wish i could do life better with, be closer to... let my walls down with more than i do...

this'll be a little rough as i wrote it to read aloud and so this is not a polished text for the page. there are little changes i made as i read, shifts in pace and stresses not seen here... so you'll have to forgive it's flaws. anyways, here it is.

this, for my sins, is what i do.


Within every life is a story.
This is a slice of mine....

I cannot tell you I believe in God.
Certainly not one who intervenes.

I prayed. I prayed. For strength. and courage. and will. For love.
And there was nothing.
And the more I prayed the more the things I prayed for died.
Until one day, Love died. And with it, god died. And I died with it.

I do not mean simply romantic love. Or familial love. Or platonic love. For sure, I lost those things. Not for the first time.
But Love itself.

I sent a message. It said,
“I have never felt less like living”.

I felt the ground beneath me disappear. every last vestige of hope I had evaporated... the final breaking. And with love and god, I died. Or at least, I was no longer living. I remember sending out a message and then the ground gave way beneath me and then the lights went out. And whatever I had been up to that point, when faced with the final unthinkable abandonment in a long list buried within me, whatever I had been was now nothing but a gaping wound emitting a silent scream without ceasing. And there I stayed. In that space I met with the eternal abandonment. an absence so profound I have no words to tell of it. A void swallowing me whole.

I survived this moment not because I wanted to live. Had I tried to physically end my life that would have been an affirmation that I existed.
Was “not dead”. Would have had to have made a choice. And I couldn’t even do that. In the void that sucked me down I let go. Gave myself up. And let the void to take me. I entered a place where there was no hope, no light, no time, no feeling other than grief. Raw ragged sharp mutilating grief like a hurricane flattening a house. A castle. A fortress. Every defense ripped to pieces.

The kind of terrible moment when lips move to whisper, “it is finished”.

I realise now I was a steel fortress. And to heal I perhaps had to become a gaping wound. And then to being a broken bowl. Some days I was fragments. Fragments shattered so hard they could no longer feel or see each other. Could not remember how they had ever held together. and I confess, I retreated again into a steel fortress. But there are gaps in the walls now. I am learning how to dismantle them piece by piece. This is what living is. Unlocking oneself. Daily acts of the risk we call trust. Replacing rivets and bolts and sheet metal with twig and twine and feathers. Learning how to bend so we won’t break.

You might think that ‘the event’ is the moment of breaking, the moment in which the walls and floor of my fortress collapsed into nothing.
But that’s not it. My life stopped. And the past and future were utterly changed forever. But, That’s not the event.

The event is the unseen moment. The i-know-not-what that pulled so that I came back. Saw myself from above lying on an unfamiliar bed. Heard the sound of a beloved’s tears and fears down a phone line that I would take my life for real this time. Surprised. to find I was still breathing. The event was the unknown invisible happening that drew me back into the world. I do not know where it came from. Do not know it’s source. But something happened somewhere in some fragile instant that I do not remember. Cannot name. but I cannot tell you I believe it came from me.

within this story there is a something that is more like a happening. An atom. A seed. A spark. An essence. An event. The push of a match to strike it.
I cannot name it. It is perhaps the something beyond naming. It is so small that it is far easier to believe it is not there at all. It is no thing.
But that no thing, that which is best known by it’s absence, it’s invisibility. Is this what gives rise to god, to hope, to love, to life itself?

It is here. Buried beneath every moment is an eternal moment. A now that does not cease. Hidden. Secret. Always out of reach.

I think I shall be digging forever in my story. Beneath my being there is a something.
I don’t know where it comes from. It is the jewel I cannot find. But I feel it. That something happened.

It is the gravitational pull that draws the hand out to touch the hem of a cloak.
It is the pull that draws the figure in death shrouds from the tomb.
It is the pull that draws my breath in and out in and out.
It is the nothing that happens before the hand lays on the mud upon the eyes.
Before the spit falls on the tongue.
Before the mouth says, rise and walk.
It is the pull that is forever drawing us back to this place.

I cannot tell you I believe in God.
But I believe in a something that is more like nothing. So fragile. So weak. So ungraspable. So unspeakable.

It was there in my mother’s womb.
It was there in her last breath.
It was there in the last goodbye when the back door closed one last time and I found myself alone.
It was in there in the valley of death when I gave up living.
When god no longer existed. When love no longer existed. When I no longer existed.
It was there when I found myself in that strange bed.
And if it can ever be found it is in a place beneath words.

There are no words I know to describe the place I entered, gave myself up to. I have been stumbling forward ever since. A colt on fragile limbs unsteady in the life that comes after. I am still here. From out of the darkness I am stepping forward.

And there are no words to describe the event.
But It is something like miracle.
It has to be.
Because I am standing here.
It pulls me as I stand in this space.

To testify.
To fragment the fortress I carry within me to deal with loss upon loss upon loss. To hope...

Perhaps that’s what miracle is... It is beyond me. It is beyond everything we can name.


i read from the exact same spot that i had watched Mark Koselek a week ago.
just before we opened the doors i climbed onto the stage and put my lips to the boards.

sacred ground. sacred space.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007


this is for the lovely gail, she of all the W's. she requested reviews from her autumnal home in decatur. and what lovely wants, lovely gets. so here you are, lovely... my memories and musings from an incredible night...

where the duller "attach bracket A to supporting upright B using bolt F and nut G" run-of-the-mill review
meets the meaning infused, freeflowing straight from the heart, fireside review:

so. imagine us. sitting there, only a few feet from the stage, front and centre. that's cazi, chris, jayne, willow. and me. paul the poet is at the next table and steve toner's behind us. the room is packed. and bar one eejit who was encouraged to leave after a few sshhh-ings (this was for talking loudly between songs!) everyone was there with the absolute intention of listening.

goes without saying, the guitarmanship from kozelek and his accompanying guitarist was stunning. a joy to watch. his voice fragile and sure. we could see every sinew in his hands. only the air and the microphone between us. the initmate air was full of anticipation and expectation. i've never been to a gig like it in belfast. and here we were in a room with a stage that's been so significant in our story of 2007. that experimental deconstructing delusioned stage. that cunt loving feminist stage. that jesus in an orange jumpsuit stage. our stage. and he was on it.

highlights for me:
a beautiful downturn take on San Geronimo.
Trucker's Atlas.
Rock and Roll Singer. almost unbearable. and i have no idea why.
Carry Me Ohio. had me bent double in my seat. sent shivers up my spine that weren't a result of the air conditioning unit above us. air conditioning. in november. in a venue with no heating. tsk.

at the end he tried to leave stage right through the black curtains. finding no way through he climbed down off the front of the stage, where, as the crowd applauded and called for more, he shuffled awkwardly and then turned and got back up again for an encore. he saw the humour in the awkwardness of the moment. and it seemed like a perfectly kozelek moment. a not-sure-where-to-put-yourself moment.

socially awkward when not at home. can't quite fit in or say the right thing when he tries to talk to the crowd. like he's carrying an inept heart on his sleeve. just can't pull off being cool. notices he can't see the room and you're not sure if that's a relief or a shame for him. or maybe both. maybe that's the point. and for a moments in each song he'd lose himself behind closed eyes and the microphone. and yet as each song closes he seems to come back up and perhaps realising he's gonna have to connect without music he just stops playing. brings the fade out to a sudden end. as if he doesn't know how to do anything but an awkward ending. and when he did connect with his eyes, as he spoke and i wondered if i shouldn't be regretting that chris's first place in the queue got us the best seats in the house, it was paralyzing. and i hoped he knew that as i pulled back beneath my cap while aiming at my best if fragile welcoming smile that i (like him?) find the world easier to face when it's in my peripheral vision. that looking another in the eye is daily unbearability. even beauty can be unbearable. it makes you want. and it reminds you of what you had and can't have.
it makes you feel.
when i think of kozelek i think of that adam duritz line, ...all the lovesick rejections that accompany the company i keep...

we know the open parts in us as if they are gaps in the walls in us. that hope and regret sometimes feel intertwined like lovers in us.

when he performs there's no doubt that this is the only thing he knows how to do. born to do.
he'd had dinner in an empty restaurant and wanted to know where he could hang out in this "sleepy" town. said he was tired at the end of the tour. wanted to sit in a dark corner and smoke some blow. but i imagined he wanted it to be the dark corner of a place with people, and life and awakeness. but exist in its peripheral vision. and let it be in his. not have to small talk with it. just melt into the edge of things. or maybe that's me. but it's that feeling, that's kozeleky to me. feeling the inside so much that dealing with the outside is like falling in slow motion on a banana skin...

so many kinds of music fill this world. there's music to fall asleep to, music to wake to. music to work and work out to. music to spin another to, to sway to, throw your hip to. music to throw your body 'cross the room to. to jump to, shimmy to. music to mourn to, cry to. music to remember and regret to, to eat, drink and commune to. to sing to. to drive and scream your lungs out to. to kiss to, fall in love to. make love to. fuck to. create to. birth to. part to. arrive to. desire to. hope and wish to.

and there's the music to be to. to dwell in and feel to. to reflect and imagine to.
and the music that reaches down like a tender fist inside of you. it's sacred. music to be religiously human to. to commit to. to be yourself to. to be nothing less than fucking real to.

when i hear his voice and his hands i think of what it means to be human... to want to be safe... of the weight of being human... of wanting an elusive simplicity of emotion... so much of what he sings is about other places, other times... as if what is desired, wanted, loved, regretted is somewhere else... a catalogue of departures... as if joy exists in another room... real and remembered...but elsewhere... held at a distance... as if love is easier to deal with when it's gone... that loving is someone being your everything and to lose it is to lose everything... despair, loss, confusion are all sung of without the mask of metaphor... all straight up confessions of the void...

his music speak to life hard won. trust hard won. and defiance. survival. in living by telling. revealing the inner story with honesty that's so often uncomfortable but not being able to do it any other way... it's beautiful. he leaves me feeling an emotion that can't be pinned down... but the feeling is as deep as it is diffuse... these bittersweet recollections are a gift... honesty deserving an honest witnessing...

CARRY ME OHIO (mark kozelek; god forbid publishing (BMI))
sorry that
i could never love you back
i could never care enough
in these last days

her tears fell
on her pages
found me well on her words
i don't know what to do or say

wading through
warm canals and pools clear blue
Tuscarawas flow into
the great lake

back where the highway met dead tracks
ground that's now cement and glass
so far away

heal her soul
and carry her, my angel

green green youth
what about the sweetness we knew
what about what's good, what's true
from those days?

can't count
to all the lovers i've burned through
so why do i still burn for you?
i can't say

sorry that
i could never love you back
i could never care enough
in these last days

heal her soul
and carry her, my angel

sorry for

never going by your door
never feeling love like that

heal her soul
and carry her angel

children blessed
gather round the home she rests
so poor and cold in their midwest
moon and sun

flashes bringing on
my open eyes to lightning storm
the touch of mist felt soft, felt warm
on my face

graving dreams
a million miles ago you seem
the star that i just don't see

words long gone
lost on journeys we walked on
lost her voice is heard along
the way

sorry that
i could never love you back
i could never care enough
in these last days

heal her soul
and carry her, my angel


this post was written with the musical accompaniment of little drummer boy - live. available on Caldo Verde Records.
* from trucker's atlas. lyrics by Modest Mouse. 'covered' by Sun Kil Moon on Tiny Cities.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Carry Me , Ohio - Sun Kil Moon

'cause i'm feeling all kozeleky...

all telling from the inside

the week that's gone has been filled with music. and flu.

this week saw me bedridden, and watching lots of the wire and queer as folk(usa) from under my duvet for comfort.

the flu was sandwiched between two trips to the grand opera house as part of the belfast festival. the frames' show on monday was astounding and willow and i had amazing second row seats. we were blown away.

yesterday saw me getting a request with only an hour's notice to merch the duke's memorabilia at both the matinee and evening shows making for a long day into night. how could i say no to the man. willow came and helped out in the madness that followed the matinee for which i gave her my slot on the guest list. but the work came with the delicious treat of some reunions with band and crew and a surprise in the shape of iain archer, whom i didn't know was supporting on the evening show 'til i saw the running order for the day. i dandered backstage to stand in the dark calm of the wings to watch him play while on a break and i got to see a significant chunk of the duke too. both were awesome.

tonight marked my most anticipated night of the festival. mark kozelek played the black box. our little table was front and centre and nothing lay between us and him but no more than 8 feet of music filled air.
still trying to get rid of the cold in my head but i'm nestling in the place that only kozelek seems to know how to express. he was spellbinding. and beautiful.

next sunday i have to take to the same stage for ikon and i don't know what i can say to follow his authenticity...
it seems everything is in a state of ambiguity and uncertainty these days. i head to arizona for ikon in only a couple of weeks and before then i'm in london. and this was meant to be the quiet month after an October filled with family. and instead of creating a working timetable i've been lying on my back or bathing in the bliss of others' beauty...

there is something pulling at me. i feel i am in a place where significant choices are waiting to be made...there are things i want to create. i just need to work out how to make it happen...
*just* ... ha...if only it were that simple.

but then maybe it is. maybe i just need to leap...


Sunday, October 28, 2007

between have and have not...

there is a space that exists between what might have been and what we have instead...
there is a space that exists between holding back and embracing...
there is a space where one soul ends and another begins...

there is a space...


if you have ever been lonely...

if you have ever wanted to create from the depths of your soul about how life is both pain and beauty...

if you have ever known the feeling of standing face to face with someone and willing yourself not to kiss them... because life is complicated...

if you have ever had the feeling you were in the presence of a someone who will hold a significance you will never be able to explain in words, let alone truly understand...

if you have ever lived with what you cannot have... and wondered if sometimes that's not such a bad lesson to learn when it comes to hearts...

if you have ever been unsure of which way is forward, and which is back... and had to stand still in the present... and found someone there with you...

if you have ever wondered if someone thinks of you like you think of them...

if you have ever had to live with never really knowing...

if you have ever thought that another human being can be a blessing...

if you have ever loved and lost and loved and lost and loved...

then, do yourself a piece of loving... see Once.
you'll be glad you did.
i promise.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

mourning glory on the east coast line


this is the season of the fallen, the dying. but they're leaving in a blaze of glory.

the clock in the train carriage is stuck at 07:22. perhaps time has stopped and we are hurtling along while the rest of the world stands still. it is easy to imagine such a thing on a magical morning lifted straight out of a fairytale. thick mist finds the fields wrapped in gossamers of silver. the rising sun is a gilded peach crisscrossed in wide skating pond scrapes. we might be forgiven for thinking she's not in any rush to break the spell, such is the beauty she will burn off in her ascent.

too little sleep and the obligatory awful coffee cannot dampen the spirit of welcome that this frosted morning offers. the cattle stand as shrouded sentries at the borders of a kingdom.

i imagine the sun kissed dredlocked boy with whom i share this table has seen far more impressive sites on his travels from Oz. but if i had courage or perhaps a more friendly disposition for a fellow human i would lean across and suggest he turn his head so he can see the sun on her path.

this is a day of departing. were my brother not leaving i would not have been on this carriage. would have not seen this dawn...



“ – the inability to distinguish between the real and the imagined, or rather the attitude that what we consider real is also imagined: every life is also an inner life, a life created.” – Margaret Atwood.



Oh tie me to the end of a kite
so i can go and i can go on with my life...
- Rosie Thomas


breath taken

thanks to cheryl for comment on the previous post. been awhiles since i let the fingers flow straight from the heart.
tonight *this* took *my* breath away... fell upon it by sheer chance. all i know is this guy was in Shortbus, was brought up southern baptist, lives in NY,NY, is gay, and is as beautiful as his voice, although you won't be able to tell on this 'video'...i'm off to buy him up on iTunes. exquisite stuff. this song broke me into little pieces like the most fragile of blessings always do...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

emotion comes before language

well, we're back to the days of the only routine being no routine. but at least i'm back at the page.

i'm sitting with a coffee outside a downtown cafe and desperately trying to ignore a couple sitting in a car not six feet from me who, for the past 45 minutes, have been engaged in a marital dispute with the windows wound down. their passive aggression is sending spikes out onto the sidewalk to slice through the autumn sunshine with black icy coldness of disconnection. so i'm retreating into the iWomb. both wearing grey. sitting in a silver car. this mis en scene is all monochrome. devoid of colour. neutral is not always peaceful. there's your trouble.

you can be sitting in a brand new car facing foward and yet be going nowhere. but there must be something in this shade of grey. something in between, as Adam say.


this past week i have been staying a stone's throw from my old family home in the hamlet of Delgany which nestles above the Wicklow coast with my brother, my sister in law and my neice. our friend heather makes a wonderful host and we felt thoroughly at home. colour. texture. artistry. hospitality. ongoing conversations. connecting. listening. encouraging. celebrating. meeting many faces not seen for six years at least. memories being stirred. realising the things we choose to forget. realising the things we can't. and surrounded by families. infants. little people only just learning how to crawl. seeing the massive achievement it is to cross a floor on soft limbs.

but the underground feeling has been of homelessness. family tastes bittersweet. the joy throws shafts of light and the shadows become colder, sharper. provokes deep lying feelings down in the mists. i have felt stranded. orphaned. claustrophobic in the desert. dana scully once said, "Loneliness is a choice." this is not loneliness. this is the crushing pressure of aloneness which makes lonliness seems like a preferable option. the weighing need when feeling connection to put up walls. to push away. shut out. protect. defend. connection is risk. trust is a risk disguised as a promise. we're not dipping our toes here. it is a hard won battle to learn the craft of walking toward what you need rather than running for the hills to weep in peace. there is achievement in crawling. on days like these, love is a painful act of moving forward bit by bit while the mists of the past lick at the heels. history wants to strangle and suffocate. to eat hope with its slack empty jaws.

so we are stepping up to the plate. with the meagre tools we have. the pen. the page. daring to let the past speak. die to it. let the void howl. and stand firm. to use it. to express it. and then choose its opposite. to sacrifice security for moments. to give history a voice not knowing what it will say. to know that the infant is bearing secrets it did not have language for. only tears. but it has my mouth now. it can speak if i will let it. it has my limbs. so the page becomes a battle ground.

all art is autobiography. the muse is the child with a story to tell. time to let it speak again. it will be a painful birth. but it is the labour of freedom.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Lynn & James tie the knot

any rumour that i have been sick as a result of excessive alcohol and dancing at the wedding is strenuously denied.
Mark's in NZ. here's some pics at his request.

the crew...

the beautiful bride...

now that's a good lookin' couple...

two words come to mind. irish. and poet...

my camera must've been on the G&Ts too. i'm seeing double...

Susan and Padraig enjoying the fellowship of champagne...

still smiling after all these years. ah yes. the kids aren't here. freedom...

Fabulous Darling!

Chris and the Blaney twins on the dancefloor...

add some champagne and dancemoves...

Padraig requested i take this shot with the comment,
"Is it usual for the bride and her bridesmaids to get undressed for dinner?"


Recut 2: Scary 'Mary Poppins'

Mark Kermode has cited the Exorcist and Mary Poppins as examples of movie perfection... i thought of him when i saw this. more to follow as the week continues...

Recut 1: Batman Begins

i've been sick these past few days. i've been cheering myself up watching movie trailers recut on YouTube. this is the first of my favourites...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

National Coming Out Day 2007

The Human Rights Campaign Coming Out project called for video stories to celebrate National Coming Out Day 2007. There are some lovely videos posted on youtube in response. well worth browsing...

more info available at and also at GLAAD.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

in which we scrubbed up

Ben & Alyson got married on Thursday and threw a rather marvelous bash to celebrate.
Which meant Jayne, the Willow and LB got to go dancing... the girls glammed up and i got into a suit and we promptly had a wonderful time on the 'floor with Phil at the decks.
Willow thought it the highlight of September, so here it is for posterity.
thanks & love ladeez for a great nite. you both looked lovely. congrats to the happy couple. next nuptuals is lynn and james. which means there is shoe shopping to be done in dublin. oh, what a shame.

LB, x

Friday, September 28, 2007

i am waiting...

i cannot believe it. i am in a near fugue state. totally unproductive. behind in everything. as if dislocated from the present and suspended - waiting. waiting. waiting. unable to believe it's about to happen. in less than 24 hours i meet my neice for the first time.
the expectation has me sidetracked. for going on 2 weeks. i've got nothing completed. no stable routine save for hours spent in a daze where nothing has felt concrete.
tomorrow is the landing back down only to be no doubt thrown again.
nothing is real in these days because she is not real. that i will finally hold her is not real. my world has become an abstract just as she is an abstract. a series of two dimensional images and anecdotes.
soon she will be flesh and blood and everything will become hyper-real.

family has always been about loss. this, her, my neice, she is arrival. i cannot contend with the weight of emotion at seeing this child. this girl. she is blessing without denial or avoidance. loving without condition. she is part of my genetic line. even in the abstract as part of my brother, she is part of my father, and my mother and my grandparents. and she is therefore part of me.

science can prove it. but i do not need dna to know it. i feel it coming. and this girl will be a rupture.

today i am standing on a precipice, awaiting the drop... the fall... the falling in love with. expectancy weighs heavy and yet in the headlong, i will feel pressure lift and falling apart will be a falling together.

love is gonna crush the air.
i am an aunt. and tomorrow it all becomes real. this is the last day i will ever live without knowing what it is like to touch her or look into her eyes and have Sequoia look back... it is beyond comprehension. but my being vibrates under the meaning...

and so for a few more hours, i wait...


Monday, September 17, 2007

ain't no short cut

Gail is off to Amerikay for a few months.
i pulled together a compilation for her to enjoy on the many miles she'll be covering on the me in a country mood.

but it's time to come back to Belfast. i've spent the past few days in the southern states, dreaming of wide open spaces and figuratively being on the open road. so much so that i totally forgot i now have therapy on a Monday morning. which is a rubbish way to start one's week.

but putting lessons into practise in the spirit of self forgiveness and not wasting any more time bashing myself over the head with Mallett's mallet (see exhibit A) - and below is the song that pulled me out of Monday morning self loathing and into a fresh mode of outlook.

Exhibit A. note - handbag sized edition of mallet.

i'm off to get dressed - a package arrived from - now, do i wear my top gun (co-sign Maverick) t-shirt (sleeves about to cut off), my little miss sunshine zip up hoodie or my thundercats belt? or just this once, all 3 in an act of flagrant 80s nostaligic brand overdosing?


The Long Way Around -- the dixie chicks

My friends from high school
Married their high school boyfriends
Moved into houses in the same ZIP codes
Where their parents live

But I, I could never follow
No I, I could never follow

I hit the highway in a pink RV with stars on the ceiling
Lived like a gypsy
Six strong hands on the steering wheel

I've been a long time gone now
Maybe someday, someday I'm gonna settle down
But I've always found my way somehow

By taking the long way
Taking the long way around

I met the queen of whatever
Drank with the Irish and smoked with the hippies
Moved with the shakers
Wouldn't kiss all the asses that they told me to

No I, I could never follow
No I, I could never follow

It's been two long years now
Since the top of the world came crashing down
And I'm getting' it back on the road now

But I'm taking the long way
Taking the long way around

Well, I fought with a stranger and I met myself
I opened my mouth and I heard myself
It can get pretty lonely when you show yourself
Guess I could have made it easier on myself

But I, I could never follow
No I, I could never follow

Well, I never seem to do it like anybody else
Maybe someday, someday I'm gonna settle down
If you ever want to find me I can still be found

Taking the long way
Taking the long way around


let's start this week over... now.


DJ Shadow goes to Africa with Oxfam

Friday, September 14, 2007

reclaiming the faith

a visual version to accompany the posting below. praise be!

Take That in praise and worship shocker

this posting, nay, revelation is dedicated to two beautiful gals partial to a shimmy: jude and cath adam, with my love.

how did
this survive under the radar for so long?

picture it: you are evangelical. but in a post-modern world of confusing moral relativism in which the entire concept of Truth is under threat, you have a crisis of faith. a dark night of the soul if you will. and to flagrantly borrow and play with one of my favourite lines from SATC, you are thinking,
"Lord, you're dead. but i wanna disco!"
fear not. Take That, (later rerecorded with the help of Scottish popstrel icon Lulu) have the perfect pop tune to express your doubt, disillusionment and desire for a return to faith, safe in the arms of Jesus, while allowing you to shimmy with your perfectly toned glutes, which you've been working on with the boys down at the local Y.
originally recorded by dan hartmann and topping the disco charts in 1979, and providing TT with their 2nd number 1 in 1993, this praise hymn in disguise as gay club classic provides with remarkable accuracy your need to go back to those days when the Saviour was your only boyfriend ('baby' can be read as typical of the excessive familiarity often found in contemporary hymns), when being strong in your gospel walk was easy and your days were filled with evangelical zeal to spread the Word - of Holy Love - to a world hungry for revelation.

have hope, friend - as you cut your moves with camp abandon dark clouds begin to lift, your arms raise in nothing short of pentecostal worship and the Refiner's Fire licks at your heels. hallelujah!

just in case you are uncertain as to the accuracy of the above interpretation, i have made a minor highlight of the cunningly subtle clue to the true yet hidden nature of this song.


Relight my Fire

Help me escape this feelin' of insecurity
I need you so much but I don't think you really need me
But if we all stand up in the name of love
And state the case of what were dreamin' of
I've got to say I only dream of you
But like a thief in the night you took away the love that I knew

Relight my fire, your love is my only desire
Relight my fire cos I need your love

Turn back the times til the days when our love was new
Do you remember
No matter what was happenin', I was there with you
But if we all stand up for what we believe
And maybe live within our possibilities
The world would be wild for the dream
So baby don't turn away, listen to what I gotta say

Relight my fire, your love is my only desire
Relight my fire cos I need your love
Relight my fire, your love is my only desire
Relight my fire cos I need your love, yeah

You gotta be sure enough to walk on through the night
Theres another new day on the other side
Cos I got hope in my soul I keep on walkin' baby

Relight my fire, your love is my only desire
Relight my fire cos I need your love
Relight my fire, your love is my only desire
Relight my fire cos I need your love, yeah


i think i have adequately made my point. 'nuff said.


cinematic musings and opinons

well, i am nothing if not rubbish at keeping up with this blogging thing these days...

in part because i've been watching a lot of movies, both on dvd and in the cinema.
here's a selection from the past week:

the birds (1963) - DVD
an all time favourite of mine, and part of my growing hitchcock collection - replacing my vhs with dvd. the "making of" documentary to accompany this is nothing short of delightful and the realisation that one of my cult favourites, veronica cartwright, was the young actress playing cathy brenner sent me into a fit of excitement* - and her accounts of working for hitchcock are wonderful. in an age of cgi tricks, learning how hitch and crew made this film before computers came along is quite remarkable. fascinating stuff that only enhances rewatching. the idea of live birds being tied to child actors' collars only makes it all the more disturbing.
i am now desperate to see slavoj zizek's documentary film, the pervert's guide to cinema (2006), in which the birds is one the key films under analysis. as with so much of the master's work - the birds has Freud written all over it.

* this has almost been trumped by discovering her sister played brigitta von trapp in the sound of music

boys don't cry (1999) DVD
was not sure if this would prove to be as impactful as i remembered it, but sure enough, i was weeping and angry by the end. hilary swank is utterly convincing, chloe sevigny is, as ever, the cream of the indie cinema crop. the dvd extras are disappointingly thin on the ground and i wished i hadn't watched this on my own because i so wanted to talk to someone afterword. not for the feint hearted, this one - i found it no less disturbing on repeat viewing. but as an exploration of gender identity, the 'outsider' and indeed the nature of sexual violence, as well as love that sees beyond and embraces the physical exterior (this defies definition as a lesbian drama, yet nor is it straight), this is a film for which i have profound respect.

vera drake (2004) DVD
stunning stuff. i hadn't seen this is in the cinema and watching this the other night left me nothing short of astounded. another film i wished i'd seen with others. this just demands discussion. more difficult subject matter, this time handled with a sensitivity above and beyond the norm. mike leigh set out to make a film about abortion that refuses to cast judgment on any one perspective and allow the viewer space to examine their own views on the issue. giving the distance of time by telling a story from the 1950s it provides a context - whatever your political or moral view, abortion never happens in a moral or social vacuum - and yet speaks entirely into the present day, suggesting provocative questions about the difference between law and morality and the uneasy shades of grey that make up the latter. imelda staunton leads a superb cast and she is heartbreakingly convincing. this will in no way cheer you up on a rainy night but if you want a film with serious moral meat - this is more than worth your time. it will leave viewers of all persuasions on this issue with something to think about.

2 days in paris (2007) QFT
julie delpy wrote, directed and stars in this small indie film about a couple away from their home in his native new york and in her native paris for the first time. quirky, bilingual, with very clever selective use of subtitles that reminded me of the science of sleep, i laughed throughout - this explores both gender and cultural differences and the challenges of long term relationships. entertaining but not life changing. delpy's parents playing her fictional parent's steal the show.

eagle vs shark (2007, New Zealand) - QFT
even more quirky than 2 days in paris, this deals with somewhat similar subject matter, but this time with a fledgling relationship. as with the other, the lead couple are odd and eccentric, but here, they are far less 'successful' (by which i mean losers) and well, even more odd. heartwarming, and very funny in places this is a small intimate movie about redemptive love. ultimately sweet, which was a little stretching for my tastes but so un-hollywood in every way, i left qft smiling all the same. great closing scene. and a fantastic soundtrack.

atonement (2007) - movie house, dublin road and about to come to QFT
got to see this thanks to radio ulster's sunday sequence. willow will be reviewing this on the next show.
this is gonna be a strong contender for my film of the year. quite simply: breathtaking.
i'm not always a fan of 'epic' films but this is like the merchant ivory of my fantasies. exquisitely shot with immense attention to detail and painted on a canvas that is nothing short of visually intoxicating.

[a tangent in which i will get something off my chest: i barely managed to stay awake during pirates of the Caribbean - and did my best to ignore the hype for the sequels - i being utterly outnumbered in thinking it only entertaining if one tries to think like a ten year old, and even then i think that just might be insulting to some ten year olds. i am a firm believer in the adage that a good kid's movie will enchant one regardless of age but not require one to forcibly forget one is an adult. i found the first in this franchise mildly entertaining at best and ultimately a whole lot of fuss about nothing, in which several actors i previously had great respect for made me feel somewhat nauseous, not least monsieur depp. even when having fun, unless i am indulging in 80s nostalgia, i still like to have my brain working. and we can even combine the two by celebrating the joy that is the princess bride - a kids' movie that stands the test of time with a delightfully clever script. but, the reason i go on this mini rant, which no doubt makes me seem to most still bothering to read a total dullard and cynical stick in the mud, is that even more than depp, i was turned off from the offset by keira knightly. i have never warmed to ms knightly. borrowing lynn's Sofa of Sweeping Generalisation (TM) for a moment, i find her wooden, irritating and unconvincing doing so with the air of one who knows she is the prettiest girl in the room. i didn't even like her in bend it like beckham. i have never been able to suspend my disbelief when she's in the room. well, colour that all changed from here on in. i am always willing to have my opinion changed and so, here it is, the unthinkable has happened... ]

from first sight in atonement i was mesmerized by keira knightly (see above rant for why i was surprised). she is nothing short of devestatingly beautiful and inhabits her character, cecelia, like this is the part she was born to play. even more stellar are james mcevoy and saoirse ronan - both are superb. the soundtrack is wonderful and as grand as the visuals. i can't wait to see this again. the story is gripping and makes me regret not having read the novel. i am led to understand it is a worthy adaption of the original text. do not go to the official website for the movie before seeing this - there are far too many video clips that would only spoil it. and see it you should. after seeing two very small movies in a matter of days, this was quite a change of pace and scale. but on the big screen of the multiplex this is the kind of big budget fare i'd love more of. i wept several times at the sheer beauty of it, and the scene of dunkirk is both cinematically spectacular and emotionally devastating... and the ending - well, it leaves one thinking about equally epic themes of narritive and the nature of living with regret over that which cannot be undone. it had me and willow debating all the way up the street to get a coffee...

oh. and one last thing. i saw a trailer for a remake of Halloween. why this has been remade i do not know. the original is just that. an original. a landmark movie of the horror genre that set a benchmark few films have ever matched. why oh why oh why????


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Mark Kozelek - Bubble

often cited as difficult and awkward, and that's the polite stuff, this man is to my mind, one of the most straight up honest souls in contemporary music. this is just gorgeous. a short interview and then some exquisite sounds... when it comes to tender melancholy of hope breathing through sad moments, i'm not sure anyone comes close... breathe this in deep... LB, x

Almost Famous - today it's all about one man

still haven't gotten around to posting my greenbelt memories... but looks like i'm gonna write something over the next few days for hopefully publishing elsewhere off these pages...

there's a list of things to be done but i am enforcing a quiet morning of doing nothingness other than listening to quiet tunes and running fingers across the keys... finding a place of calm after a night of fitful and fretful sleep...

i'm looking forward to many visitors in the coming weeks, and also a rack of good live music. the frames at grand opera house, ute lemper (also at GOH and a gift from duke special - danke mein herr!) mark kozelek at the black box... this last one is gonna feel very special - a cult icon in my book, playing in nI for the first time to what will probably be an adoring audience, and in a venue i have spent so much time in this year.

in that spirit i am listening to kozelek's back catalogue as i write
there is a lovely biography spanning '92 to '06 on the unofficial site, Sad Reminders
and the link over in the right hand side bar has a great one too...

for a koselek primer, i think these albums should be in your collection for starters... get it sorted...
  • retrospective - red house painters
  • songs for a blue guitar - RHP
  • take me home - kozelek led john denver tribute
  • tiny cities - sun kil moon (kozelek got knocked in some quarters for taking the lyrics of modest mouse for this covers album. those who didn't appreciate the use of the words of others are missing the point entirely. what MK does with these songs is nothing short of genius)
  • little drummer boy - mark kozelek live.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

keep on believing...

another year has passed and my wee brother is 31 today... which makes me...older...

happy birthday bro.

i get to see the man himself in less than a month, along with his beautiful ladeez.

in the meantime i'm relishing hanging with joodles. all is chilled and calm and we're having a lovely time.

so i'm celebrating the joy of these two wonderful folks, whom i love so dearly...


on a sadder note...

got news last night of another suicide within the wider community... not someone i knew but known to some i love...

we keep on living with hope in the face of loss and tragedy around us by not entering into the darkness of others so much that we lose sight of life. empathy rightly has its limits. and if god is love and love is god, then hell is the place where love is absent. there is no such thing as hope in hell. when others are there, it is not good for us to descend into that place. hold onto life, and hope. there are some places you cannot or should not follow others. hell is one such place. stay here. where there is light. and love. and life. live in hope. it's how we keep each other going. it's how we keep anchored, even in the face of horror and tragedy.

it will come...


Friday, August 31, 2007


this has been a mixed couple of days since arriving home...

within hours of stepping off the plane i received a call to tell me a colleague from my last job had died in ther early hours of tuesday in a murder/suicide following a marital row. he pulled the trigger.
tully and i worked alongside one another for two years. he was a great guy, brimming with enthusiasm and a truly vocational youth worker. he used to loan me cds and we often talked about music. he loved rock music but was unashamedly a fan of A-ha. we'd meet for smoke breaks and he told me about his life. for sure, he had his worries. but he was not the maniac depicted on the front pages of the tabloids. like all of us he was broken. and hurting. and in the end, i'm guessing, profoundly desperate. and i'm guessing Caroline in her own way was to... she was buried today.

for now i'm avoiding getting too close to the emotions and thoughts what few alleged details i know provoke, until such time as i have a safe space, and i'm living under the motto - what would sigmund do?
for now i'm pretty sure he'd say, wait 'til you're in the room with me... there is a darkness one should not visit without feeling firmly anchored...

love the one's you're with...


Monday, August 27, 2007

nothin' ordinary here...

greetings from greenbelt, and the last night of an amazing weekend. i've loved it. many highlights. lots of happy memories made.

the post match analysis will happen on my return home. for now i'm off to see the duke on mainstage...

i've been busy of late and looking forward to getting back to scribbling... here's a big reason why...
i made this... well, with much help from a lovely bunch of folks... the roll call comes tomorrow...

be well, be happy...


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

a teaser...

i caught up briefly last night at the Empire with another very talented northern irishman who's performing with chris at ::the god delusion:: and needless to say i cannot wait to hear them play together...

pretend you're drowning, by Chris Fry.

Scatter me across the oceans of dismay
Unwind me, dislocate me, toss me to the sky
I feel my mind like a dancer pirouetting absently
At a door that’s been painted many times to hide the cracks

I talk to the trees now
Maybe they’ll understand my pain
They know the bottom
They touch it
They do not fear as I do

Unhook My Mind

And they say that your laws are like opium to the people
But if they were I would pray every night to feel the brightness of their needles
And taste their rest
But your laws are like a fire
They consume me
They are burning me
I have scars from your dogma
You have startled my sky and I am falling
Startled my sky and I am falling…..

Unhook my mind, unhook my mind
Unleash my dreams
I think I’m coming apart at the seams

He says….

Pretend you’re drowning.


gets me every time

"come on come on come on come on come on... my soul..."

a favourite moment of this week so far.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

a whole lotta simply

okay. wanna be in bed early (by, ahem, half one) so this'll have to be quick.

by night i am back in merch girl mode at the ::Duke Special Five Nights at the Empire Extravaganza::
jayne's doing it too and we are having a fair auld amount of fun and enjoying each night and their different themes, despite working hard and late. it's an honour to be representing him.

Sunday night was "music hall". cue crowd being handed song sheets and having a big auld knees up and sing song. last night was the night of the "silver screen". cue big screen on stage and pete playing to silent movies. there were some amazing moments. what looked like 1920s or 30s images of folks being baptised fully clothed in a river while pete played, this could be my last day was truly breathtaking. and there were some incredible quirky films which showed how inventive folks were at creating special effects in the early days of cinema.
tonight was the "big band" show - with a 5 strong horn section led by ben castle. cue covers of the Andrews sisters (mo and lynn, you would have loved it!) and the closing number was an AWESOME cover of ::hit me with your rythm stick:: this show was the strongest so far and helped by a crowd that were totally up for it.
if i understand the plan correctly, tomorrow night features two different choirs with 20 members apiece. i've no idea what thursday has in store other than i suspect i will not be making it to bed between the after show party and the arrival of the taxi at half five to go to the airport.

this week is going to result in the production of a *very* special piece of merchandise, which i cannot wait to get my mits on. keep your eyes and ears open...


by day i am desperately trying to get metres of woolen patchwork sewn together for the ikon gathering. hence, tonight i need an early night.

come friday night i'll be on mainstage doing backing vocals for sarah masen with a group of fantastic women, some whom i love to death (like jude) and others i have yet to meet but know i'll love and as a result i've been hearing a few songs (new and old) of sarah's that i've never heard before. check out her new myspace for details...

and in a burning the candle at both ends week filled with very little sleep and much busyness, need for hardcore stress management, worries for folks i love who are in hard places right now and wanting courage to be strong for them despite feeling useless and scared, and learning to let go of the things i can't control because only the fool seeks perfection...well, these lyrics (which are in the set list) seem rather like a blessing, and the kind of prayer my a/theistic heart can sing to...

Ploughman, by Sarah Masen.

Some men curse and some complain
Beneath the strain, beneath the strain
Break your heart beneath the weight
It’s ok, to face the strain

Ploughman drive the culture deep and straight
Drive it till my man is wide awake
Wide awake

Let me hold you through the night
I don’t mind, well let me try
Who has told you not to cry?
That’s not right, that’s a lie

Ploughman drive the culture deep and straight
Drive it till my man is wide awake
Wide awake
Wide awake

I’m not giving up
I’m not giving up now
Oh I’m not, I’m not giving up now

Bend yourself unto the ground
Just get down
Just get down
watch for the first light of dawn
it will come
it will come

Ploughman drive the culture deep and straight
drive it till my man is wide awake
wide awake

it will come…
It will
It will
It will

sometimes we know god's presence by god's absence... and then some days when god seems entirely absent, something like presence seems to be breaking through like a defiant voice of hope in the strain... somedays i wonder if G-d is simply what we call the will to live life with hope and courage and kindness to ourselves and others... and for a ::simply:: that seems like a whole lot...

so, here's to sarah and jude and the gaggle of goose gals who'll be jumping around and celebrating life on friday night
here's to pete, jonny, jon, jayne, padraig, chris, willow, shirley, cazi, kellie, michael, and norah and the generous others who've come on board as supporting 'cast' in ikon, who'll be celebrating life in a rather different but no less real way on saturday night...


here's to the ::team fury enclave:: and all who eat in fellowship in her and will most definately be celebrating life all weekend...
heck, here's to all travelling over the next few days to 'belt it out and celebrate ::heaven in the ordinary::
looks like we might not need our wellies after all. [cue homer s. woo hoo!]
and finally,
here's to those needing healing... it will come...

so colour me fucking gratitudinal (for once i will not hold back on the expletatives) for the joy of getting to share this journey with folks for whom i *really* admire, respect, and love...

also colour me sporting a new and most dramatic ever (read: asymmetrical) haircut (this is becoming my favourite day of the month).

right, half an hour later than i intended, off to bed i go. i'll likely post next from the fest, with photos. let's do this.