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...