July 27, 2005
HARRY POTTER: The Column
Posted by LiamG at 11:00 PM
July 19, 2005
LIVE 8: That Feel Good Feeling For The Masses
Last Saturday I got home around six after missing the first couple of hours of Live 8 that saturated newspapers, TV and the internet for the past few days. Like a lot of people I watched most of the concert, dipping in and out of it through the evening and late into the night. When it was all over though I couldn’t think of anyway the concert had benefited the people of Africa. I sat there thinking from a personal point of view my awareness certainly hasn’t been altered or heightened. I always knew there was poverty, AIDS and people dieing from starvation in the world. I knew that from when I was a kid. So then I thought obviously Sir Bob isn’t trying to raise my awareness and the public’s awareness because we’re already very aware. He must be trying to let the bigwigs in politics know what’s going on. That must be it. But surely they know of Africa’s problems too? In fact I’m certain they do.
So there I was, in the middle of the night, with only the light from the TV static illuminating the room and feeling terribly, terribly confused. What exactly did Live 8 achieve that warranted so much news coverage? Live 8 raised about as much awareness as one of those TV ads for Concern do. Whereas people usually switch channel when one of those awfully depressing charity adverts comes on, with Live 8, everyone was clued to their sets watching Madonna and Robbie Williams. The rock stars even threw in the odd “Let’s Make Poverty History!” shouts. Oh with what passion they shouted the same slogan out over and over again. It was almost enough to make you run out of your living room and onto the street looking for some poverty and then, eh, making it history.
Ah, but therein lies the quandary. Making Poverty History isn’t like Making People Happy. To make people happy you just need a few rock stars singing a few songs everyone loves but to make poverty history is a much more complex matter and Sir Bob shouldn’t be sending out bite size demands that the public can swallow easily. Some commentators have denounced Geldof’s efforts as trying to put us all on a guilt trip. I don’t agree with this idea. I believe the complete opposite. That Live 8 didn’t make people feel guilty it made us feel the exact opposite. If you supported Live 8 by saying so, going to it or watching it on TV it some how vindicated your lack of charitable spirit when you ignore those Third World Charity Muggers on the streets of Dublin. Because supporting Live 8 was essentially supporting a charity that wasn‘t looking for money. We didn’t have to part with anything at all to take a share of the glory.
Unlike the many rock stars like U2, Madonna and even indie bands like The Killers, the public got nothing but a very small piece of that glory. The bands themselves got something much more tangible - they got boosted record sales. Yup, according to record store HMV every single artist who performed at the Live 8 gig in Hyde park had their albums lifted off the shelves within days. Even the band with the lowest boost in record sales since the gig (Coldplay) can’t escape this fact as the only reason they’re sales didn’t go up very much was because they weren’t down in the first place! Everyone was already buying their album, they didn’t need to do Live 8 just to buy themselves some extra record sales. I expect they supported it for the same reasons as the rest of us - to have the feeling of collectively doing the right thing without actually haven’t to pay for it.
What a wonderful world we live in.
Posted by LiamG at 06:17 PM
A Big Block On My Desk
Writer’s block is trouble. Especially when you sit down to write something. The glaring white screen singes your eyes as you stare at what optimists might call a canvas of possibilities. Yeah well optimists also call getting stuck in a cage full of tigers an ideal once in a life time opportunity to see wildlife up close. “The fools,” I say imagining their demise whilst chuckling to myself. You see writing isn’t as easy as I make it out to be. (Cough, cough.) It is an art that when creating, is fraught with distraction. For example, my gaze has momentarily strayed to the shelf on my left and in particular to the Dogtanian and The Three Muskehounds DVD. The Complete 26 Episode Series. Dogtanian, as if I have to explain, is the epic 1980’s cartoon show based on Alexandre Dumas’ classic novels. To make the story kid friendly and in what some might call a stroke of genius, the entire cast is made up of dogs and cats. Who could resist watching fur fly in sword duels in France? In fact a strong urge overcomes me to stop writing this very moment and immerse myself in “a battle against the forces of evil with legendary swordsmanship helping Dogtanian escape danger in the nick of time.* (*Taken from the back of the box.)
I must resist temptation though. I must stay focused. I must concentrate. I must . . . My phone is beeping! I swear to Ernest Hemmingway that in the middle of writing that sentence I have just received a text. The irony over powers me. It’s from Tanya and continues from a conversation we we’re having earlier. She says “I’m surely not as talented as you in the writing department but I’m prettier which makes up the difference.” She’s previously admitted to never having read this column before so there’s every chance she could be a great deal more talented in the writing department. She probably never gets writers block either. God Damn It. I text back and thank her because now I’ve got a little bit more to write about. Unfortunately she replies back with “Do not put me in the column or I will be forced to beat you severely upon our next meeting!” As you can see I have decided to call her bluff and possibly face a law suit. So now I’m back to staring back at the computer screen. It’s so easy just to minimize this window and start browsing through music and photo files. In fact I might just do that.
The first file I see is a music recording that I made with Paul “I can’t drive” Winters last week. It’s entitled “The Ballad of Pirate Bill” and it’s a swashbuckling tale told through song. Me and Winters are the new Lennon and McCartney. I write the lyrics and sing them and he writes the music and plays it. We actually did a few studio versions of Pirate Bill’s Ballad but it’s the LIVE recording that stands out because I keep missing my queues for verses and there’s a lot more cries of piratey phrases like “Arrrhh!” and “Pieces of eight!” (You can download the song for free from www.liamgeraghty.com) I suppose I really should try and think of something to write. How can I fully devote my attention to writing this when my would-be arch nemesis is up there in the Vox Pop near the top of this page. See him there with the cheesy smile.
His name is there as Craig O’Connor but his real name is Hank Tree. Look at him there giving some rubbish opinion on Live 8. Sigh. Ok, ok, I’ve been putting off writing for a good few paragraphs so I suppose I better actually start now. In fact that’s it! I feel inspired! I know what I’m going to write about! My writer’s block is cured! Hey it looks like I’m coming suspiciously near the end of the page. What’d ya mean you’re cutting it here? Aw crap!
Posted by LiamG at 06:14 PM
July 06, 2005
A Billion Reasons To Hate Summer
Posted by LiamG at 03:41 PM
July 01, 2005
The Dead Zoo
You have to hand it to Charles Darwin. Even now, almost a hundred and twenty five years since his struggle for existence failed, his theory on natural selection is still infuriating religious nuts everywhere. What an age that would have been to live in - the Victorian world. A world of discovery. The closest I’m going to get to it is waiting for me on Merrion Street. In fact a mere two years before Darwin published his findings on evolution, the doors to the National History Museum swung open in the year 1857. More interestingly what lies beyond those doors has scarcely changed a bit. I made my way up a bustling Grafton St. and continued on down to Merrion St. where the grand old building awaited my arrival. The first thing you’ll see upon entering is the awe-inspiring site of the colossal skeleton of a Great Irish Elk flanked by two smaller Elk skeletons on either side. These three Elk are the beginning of what is known as The Dead Zoo. An appropriate name for a museum that has approximately 10,000 animals on display, drawn from collections of over 2,000,000 specimens. These collections have been accumulating for over two centuries.
It is here in the museum where the Victorian age lives on. The Dead Zoo is famous for its Victorian cabinet style, which houses one of the world’s finest and fullest collections still to be seen today. Quite amazingly the museum is the oldest purpose-built museum building in Ireland, still used as was originally intended when Dr. Livingston first opened it. There’s something about the place. I prefer to walk around in it during Winter when it’s raining outside and the place is empty apart from the thousands of dead animals staring at you from their cases. I can’t help but think about what sort of chaos would be unleashed if they all suddenly came back to life with a jolt! Elephants, lions, penguins, mice, cobras, wolves and a hundred different breed of spider all waking up from a deep and uncomfortable sleep.
Today though, it’s unbearably humid outside and it would appear that every school in Ireland has sent a class on an outing here. Not more than two steps in the door when I’m been followed by two girls from a Dublin school wanting to know where I got my orange All-Star shoes from. They go back to their group with a sigh when I reveal my shoes came from New York. Upstairs in the World Collection my heart skips a beat as a teacher leaning over the railing looking down below at all the glass cases suddenly drops her handbag. It takes a moment to land but instead of the sound of shattered glass I hear a reassuring thud on the wooden floor.
On the very top floor you’re surrounded by all manner of creatures in unique and separate glass jars, preserved for posterity in their glass formaldehyde coffins. Suspended grandly from the ceiling hang the skeletons of a fin whale, found at Bantry Bay in 1862, and a Humpback whale, which was found stranded at Inishcrone in County Sligo in 1893. Possibly my favourite piece though is the Dodo’s skeleton. It stands with the intent of proving it once existed yet if you didn’t keep an eye out for it you’d pass it by. Again.
Trains, Buses & Automobiles by Liam Geraghty appears every week in the Kildare Nationalist (pg.6)
Posted by LiamG at 02:40 PM