Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Jesse Jones at The Project Arts Centre, Dublin

Jesse Jones was the artist chosen to represent Ireland at last year's 57th Venice Biennale. As I had met Jesse briefly a few years ago, I was curious as to what she was going to exhibit, and then followed the presentation avidly through social media and the catalogue. So when I heard that the complete presentation of "Tremble Tremble" was going to be shown at The Projet Arts Cente in Dublin this summer I was completely excited and chomping at the bit for the opening day.

The exhibition opened nearly two weeks ago and I met an artist friend to attend.

We were both blown away! Although I had read the catalogue essays with interest, they could not prepare me for the exhibition. Essentially it was a multimedia performance, where the main performer, Olwen FouĂ©re,  was present on film via two huge, oblong video screens.

What a presence! I cannot describe this artwork adequately - it defies description. But the mythic exhibition continues in Dublin till July 18, and I am under the impression that it will tour to other venues around Ireland. Have a look at Project's website here for further information on the exhibition.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Bray - summer

A few weeks ago I took this picture of Killiney Bay on my way home from Dublin. That is Bray Head jutting into the Irish Sea in the middle of the image. Bray nestles below and around the Head -- my home these past few decades. 

We have had an amazing summer, blue skies, lots of sun and warmth. It is a wonderful reminder of why I have been here for so long -- I love the place! Foxgloves are out and they are wild and extremely tall here in Ireland.

Bray is ideal: it is close to the countyside, the sea, and Dublin. Everything is at your doorstep. This cliff down to the sea is on the side of Bray Head.

One of my neighbours has a brilliant collection of irises growing in her side garden. I have to pass them walking towards the park on the way out of the estate.

Especially when on a mission to pick elderflowers on the edge of the park -- elderflowers bloom in June and make a fantastic cordial and wine.

The grass on the edge of the estate is full of tiny, pink-tipped daisies.

Looking through tree branches the sky is blue.

The sun is shining and the leaves are lush. Can it get any better than this?

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Summertime - music gigs!

I think it is common worldwide that musical people equate summer with gigs. Although bands play year-round, there is a proliferation of outdoor festival gigs in the summer, and there are also other annual music events that mark the beginning of summer.

Here in Ireland, where I live, the May bank holiday weekend (always including the first Monday of the month) is marked by the annual Bray Jazz Festival. It has been going strong for 19 years now, and though the Town Hall gigs are no longer free (as they were in the first few years), there is still the pub trail that sees a huge amount of free live music in bars all over the town. One of my locals, The Harbour Bar, was hosting several live gigs daily over the weekend and I saw that The Tommy Halferty Trio, who I had seen and heard and enjoyed a number of years ago, were scheduled to play the Sunday afternoon of the festival..

Halferty is a jazz guitarist extraordinaire and the first set included some great improv jazz from Halferty's latest album, Station Midi, as well as "standard" work by the likes of innovator Thelonius Monk. Since it was a gorgeous, summery weekend, I refused to stay in the cave of a pub (often in Ireland you could miss the summer by blinking) so I only stayed for the first set and gave up my prime seat at the bar to people arriving for the second set and the rest of the gigs taking place that day and night..

Some friends had invited us to spend the warm evening with dinner and drinks in their gorgeous garden that evening, so leaving the pub was not a hardship! By my good fortune, those same friends had a spare ticket to see The Rolling Stones in Croke Park a few weeks later. And summer persisted, so it was a completely unforgettable evening by those four legends. I definitely have to hand it to those wrinkly rockers for putting on an incredibly amazing show.

Last night the summer of gigs continued for me as I headed off to Malahide Castle in north Dublin to see LCD Soundsystem. The gig was fabulous, helped by the atypical continuation of summer weather - even James Murphy (LCD's front man) declared incredulously "this is the longest sunset I have ever seen!" We never saw the castle because the grounds are huge, and the gig was in an outdoor area. It is a good venue to see a band in fine weather, but boy what a trek from where I live!

My love of music has really worked out well this summer, winning tickets to the Bryan Ferry gig at Trinity College in July. And I was absolutely over the moon to win tickets this past weekend to see two more rock legends in the autumn when Van Morrison and Robert Plant (with the Sensational Space Shifters) play a double bill at the 3 Arena in Dublin. Wow! Many, many thanks to Radio Nova, the Dublin radio station that I listen to constantly.