Sunday, July 22, 2018

DUBLIN MAKER 2


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I blogged my visit to last year's DUBLIN MAKER which I found fascinating. So, this year, in spite of being in the middle of a major project of my own, scanning some 600 50 year old 35mm B&W negatives, I tore myself away and headed for town

This time I came in the back door to DUBLIN MAKER 2018. The event is for both adults and children but there is a huge emphasis on the young folk. It's wonderful to see their curiosity and enthusiasm, no less than the warm and wholehearted response of those manning the stands.

This is one huge open collaborative effort which would nearly restore your faith in human nature.



It wasn't long before this oul codger was invited to participate at one of the stands. I must have looked interested. I jumped at the invitation. But before I go any further I would just draw attention to my wee predecessor in the photo above. There must be over sixty years between us.



My thanks to the lady who captured me in this photo
and in the corresponding one at the head of this post

Printing is not new to me. I used to be a letterpress printer, briefly in my pre-career, but I'd never done screen printing. And clearly I didn't get to do the whole thing in the short time available.

Just like (sic) in the National Print Museum, the jigs were already set up and you just did the inking and printing. I have to record that, despite never having done this type before, I was commended on my expertise.



And the result, above, speaks for itself.






My attention was next drawn to the spinning wheel. They had two spinning wheels on display last year but I hadn't given them much attention. They have become something of a national symbol to be noted just. But in a world which increasingly emphasises the craft approach, be it to beer or fabrics, they have taken on a new sigificance.



So I stopped to talk to Grace O'Neill about how it all works. This not a post on spinning so I'll not dally with photos showing the original fleece and its carding prior to it being spun. You'll get the drift of the actual spinning from looking at Grace at work in the photo above. The wheel is driven by foot pedals, just like the harmonium or an older version Singers Sewing Machine, and the trick is to control its speed on the one hand and the tension in releasing the fleece on the other to produce exactly the result you want.



When I'd figured all this out, I was again thrown into confusion when the diplay switched from spinning plain yarn to the bouclé version. Fascinating stuff.

Check it out for yourself.





There was more 3D printing on show this year. The two printers I saw were going for small single colour objects.




This one was making a sort of cage which would end up with a freely moving object inside it. And don't forget that these objects are printed in one single go.

The trick is that they print in ascending layers. It always takes me a few seconds to get my head around this every time it comes up.

I was just thinking about a Schroedinger's Babushka, a series of Russian dolls contained within each other, only in this case there would be no way of opening them to check the output. Hmmm.





Next was this avuncular gent explaining electrical polarity to these clearly fascinated young lads.



Meanwhile, there was this semi-transparent lady perched on a workbench behind him. I didn't stay round long enough to see how she earned her living.






On to yet more participative stuff with no shortage of young takers.



This pair, with a little assistance, are making Galaxy Stones, or in this case pebbles. The idea is to coat one smooth surface of a stone in multi-coloured acrylic to represent a galaxy, or nebula, or whatever. You were invited to bring along your own stone if you wanted. Pebbles were provided on the spot.



As you can see, the results on these larger stones are very impressive. Unfortunately this presentation is in only two dimensions but these are real stones you see before you.






KNIT YOUR ROW

As you can see not everything here is hi-tech, though there is a fair amount of electronic stuff around, from variously controlled robots to flashing bulbs.

This is KNIT YOUR [OWN] ROW, but I didn't stay round long enough to fully tease it out. In any event it's a skill that's been around for a long time and handed down the generations - usually on the female side.

I learned to knit when I was young. Consumed I was at how my granny was producing knitted fabric from plain wool through a series of clickety clacks.

Me and the mother and the granny once knitted a school scarf. We took it in turns as and when time was available. The widest parts (most relaxed stitching) were the granny's and the narrowest mine (a combination of tension and, I'm sure, dropped stitches). The mother was somewhere in the middle.

I wonder how that lady did.






My general impression was that the attendance was greater than last year. It was sometimes difficult to get near some of the stands. Maybe the organisers might think of a two day event sometime in the future?



There was more than just the stands to the day's event. There were various food vans around the large open picnic space.



And Dublin City Rounders gave us great pulsating quality country from the hill.



Full marks to Rohan,



and brother Al.



Finally, leaving by the front entrance. Back next year.


Tuesday, July 03, 2018

DOLORES - ART


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Dolores left us on 7 May 2016, and though I had known her only a bare two years I miss her. She was a lovely lady, the most serene and open I have met. Though it's now a little past her second anniversary, it seems appropriate to celebrate an aspect of her life - her art.

If I'm to be brutally honest, I must admit that this was drafted for the anniversary but got lost in my drafts. As you'll see below, it's not the first time that family's art "went astray".



Dolores's interest in painting did not surprise me, though I only found out about it after she had gone.

She would have done art at school, Santa Sabina in Sutton, and her father would have encouraged her interest at home.

Were it not for the hand of fate, she would have attended the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art (now NCAD) like her father and aunt before her.



Her father was Gordon Brewster, an RHA exhibited artist and the chief cartoonist with Independent Newspapers. Outside of his official duties he would draw copiously for his children.

Sadly he died suddenly in 1946, when Dolores was only 17, and his estranged wife came back over from England to sort out his affairs and "to claim the children".



That was the end of Dolores's art for for the moment.

In fact it was also the end of Gordon's fine art, most if not all of which went up in smoke in the back garden.









Although she helped her own children with their colouring when they were young, Dolores didn't turn to the painting until later in life when she had more leisure and joined an art group, with which she stayed until the end.

What you see above are just a tiny few examples of her paintings.

I love the colours, but, of course, there are those around me who secretly, and sometimes not so secretly, seem to think I'm sort of colour blind. But no matter.



Sadly, around the turn of the millennium, Dolores's sight began to fail and she retreated to the black and white pencil drawing which she could only do with great difficulty.



I don't know what inspired the man with the creel of turf. Perhaps it was from Wicklow or the West of Ireland. It's unlikely to have been from Howth or Sutton, which is where Dolores lived up to the time she went to England. It may have just been from her imagination.



I was very taken with this one, not for its artistic merits but for what it evokes. I was never at the Raheny trotting but was always conscious of passing the grounds on the train to and from Howth which is where I spent the first four years of my life.



Dolores Brewster-Scott
1929 - 2016

Friday, June 29, 2018

COMING HOME?


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It was almost like I'd never been away. Arriving in Brugge/Bruges at the end of May for a 50th anniversary reunion with my fellow classmates from the Comenius Promotion in the College of Europe, it was like I'd never been away and the last 50 years had disappeared into the mists of time.

The familiar places, and familiar faces - usually recogised after a moment's hesitation, and then the easy slipping into conversations so rudely interrupted by end-of-term in the summer of 1968.

Not all of us made it back. Some had gone to their eternal reward. Others were too ill to travel. But it's fair to say that they were with us in spirit and we were conscious of their missing presence all the while we were there. In ways they had the advantage on us. Here we were in our anecdotage and physical decrepitude while youthful memories of them tripped on ahead of us as we trod the old paths.

Well, I exaggerate, a little. The young ladies from our Promotion who did make it back all looked resplendent with none of their youthful exuberance diminished by a single whit.


And so down to business.



This is all of us. The official family photo as they say at European Summits. And including Iordan (inset) who had gone missing at the vital moment.

I spent the best part of 5 days in Brugge, talked and walked the feet off myself, and came home with around 500 photos. Clearly I'm not going to tell you everything or show you all of them, and there's too much there for a single blog post. So I have opened a new blog for the occasion and done a series of separate posts on different aspects of my visit and I'm setting out links below, grouped thematically.

Clicking on the link should open the post in a new tab, so when you're finished with it just close the tab and you should come back here. Or just click on this tab and new links will simply replace the old.


First the CHURCHES.

I visited four of these, each of which is magnificent in its own way.

St. James's

St. Salvator's

Our Lady's

Jerusalem Chapel


EXHIBITIONS

Apocalypse Now

Haute Lecture - Printing

The Chip Museum


BUILDINGS/SITES

Old Recorder's House

The Gruuthuse

Plague House

St. John's Hospital

Casselbergh Hotel

Unfortunate Eating


MISCELLANEOUS

Confessionals

Hendrik Brugmans

Flags

Bits & Bobbins

End of Term



You can see material from my 2008 visit here.

And some reflections from my arrival in the College in 1967, and more, here.

And my chasing up Comenius online here.


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

BLOOMSDAY 2018


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Doesn't time fly.

Another Bloomsday is with us and Ulysses is taken down from the shelf for another airing.

This is not Joyce's Martello Tower though I've embedded him on the Battery Plain. This is the commanding tower above Killiney Bay, No.7 Dublin South, with a view of all nine emplacements in the Bay, sort of. This Tower is unique in being a bit inshore and on an elevation. It's in a position identified just before the 1798 Rising by ex-pat French Royalist Nobleman, Major Charles le Comte de La Chausssée.

So there Leo, Buck and Stephen, eat your hearts out.



Photo: Felix Larkin

This year I have had to come out from behind the camera into the limelight and do my hastily assembled thing.

I was supposed to have passed on a request for a star performer from Niall O'Donoghue, the Tower's proprietor and Maître d'.

I forgot, and time was then running out so I volunteered myself with only a vague idea of what I was going to do. With touching faith, Niall accepted and the rest is history.



Photo: Sovay Murray

I got an introduction from Felix Larkin which made me wonder why, if what he said was true, I hadn't been avidly pursued by all manner of impressarios throughout my life.

But, of course, a little poetic licence is permitted on occasions such as these and I should have been very relieved that he had not just stuck to the bare truth. He created a wonderful feeling of anticipation for what was to come. So Felix, you are forgiven and thanks for the compliments. I have to admire your faith.

And if you want to check out Felix's contribution to this event last Bloomsday, its on his website.



Photo: Sovay Murray

Anyway, I kicked off my contribution with the most explicitly sexual passages I could find in Ulysses in the time available, me never having read the book.

I suspect some members of the audience were getting a little uneasy at this point, but they needn't have worried. I knew Niall had omitted to put the bromide in the coffee so I toned it down for the rest of my contribution.

I think, from a purely Joycean point of view, I cheated. I shamelessly used Ulysses to impart some of the less well known gems of the history of Killiney Bay to my audience, many of whom were locals.

Well, they laughed in all the right places and a hush descended when I tiptoed around the subject of child abuse. They even made fun of poor Edward Ball's predicament as he waited patiently in the middle of the night to dump his murdered mother's remains into the Bay.

Perhaps they were just too polite, but nobody gave out about the meagre content from Ulysses itself in the whole affair, or about how outrageously I stretched the connections to give me the opportunity to parade my knowledge of some of the more obscure aspects of the Bay.



With me done, we moved on to a little music. Neil gave us some Joyce related songs accompanied by a keyboard that was the nearest to a grand piano I'd ever heard from one of those things.

It was a very pleasant and totally appropriate interlude.



I'd like especially to mention Susan Hedigan. It was her husband David who, along with Niall, started Bloomsday at the Tower. So this was a sad day for her, remembering David who died in March 2015. However the day was Susan's birthday, born on Bloomsday and living in Bloom Cottage in Sadycove, and I had the honour of presenting her with a bouquet on behalf of Niall and those present. Neil the musicman immediately struck up Happy Birthday and everyone enthusiastically joined in.

Niall has recorded a tribute to David which consists mainly of David's presentation on Bloomsday 2014 at the Tower.



A short interlude in the open air, where it all would have happened but for the variability of the weather. Felix, still on duty after a fashion, was quietly recording it all for posterity.



Then back inside for the musical peroration with Truly Divine. I had spotted this amazing lady at another Bloomsday, in the Leeson Inn, in 2016, and she is a wow.

With her accomplished accompanist on acoustic guitar, Eamonn Moran, she entertained us royally with Joyce-related songs, including one, which Joyce himself had put to music, from his collection of love poems, entitled Chamber Music.

So another Bloomsday gone. Let's hope the next one comes round just as quick.

By the way, if you want to tackle my paper you can find it here.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

JON COMMENTS


As I have explained elsewhere, I will not tolerate comments on individual blog posts where the nature of those comments, usually crass and insulting, would undermine my ability to refer bona fide readers to my posts.

I am in favour of free speech in society at large and do not fear criticism even when it is such as would strike terror into the heart of a grown men.

I have been subjected to crude and irrelevant comments from Jon Howarth over the years and have been quite happy to ignore them. They have turned up under all sorts of totally unrelated posts and as a result on occasions I have had some difficulty knowing what he is going on about.

However, we are here in different territory. I have actually done a post on Jon, sparked by the Commissioner for Standards finding that Jersey parliamentarian, Sam Mézec's, forthright and perhaps slightly over the top, description of Jon is not out of place coming from an elected representative because it is in fact true.

This is quite a departure for Jon who has been "getting away with murder" for years. Yes he did get bound over in 2011 for making threats but, as Stuart Syvret has pointed out, this case only got followed up by the police because Stuart had raised the matter in a courtroom. Par for the course would have been for the authorities to ignore it as was their wont. After all did Jon not do them a big favour by letting himself be used in the disgraceful official campaign to have Stuart's blog taken down.



Islanders got a shock many moons ago when ex-RUC man Lenny Harper, coming from off-island, confiscated their bazookas. Now we have another ex-RUC man making it quite clear that he is not going to lend himself to endorsing frivolous and unjustified complaints. Hopefully we will see him upholding those which have substance and lighting a few fireworks under deserving elected backsides.

Lest, as a southerner, I am taken here as unjustifiably smearing/complimenting former members of the RUC, I have to declare an interest. A friendly RUC man, who I had just met, once offered to mind my southern registered car parked outside the Guildhall in Derry at the height of the troubles. No one touched it.

Anyway my Jon post is clearly a special event. I have had 468 pageviews, some 40 printable comments and a further 30 which I have not passed.

So in a spirit of fair play and free speech I intend relaying some of the points (below in bold type) made in comments that I have held back.

So here we go; hold on to your hats till the storm abates.




Póló is an off-Island coward


Ever wondered why so many comments on the serious blogs are made anonymously. Normally I would expect anonymous commments to be stupid or insulting and not pay much attention to them. However, Jersey is a different kettle of fish. Serious commenters will feel obliged to comment anonymously for fear of retribution. So it is not only acceptable, it is wise in many cases.

As they say down my way "the proof is in the pudding", and a raft of people have suffered severe retribution at the hands of the authorities, including Stuart Syvret, Trevor Pitman, Lenny Harper, Graham Power & God knows how many others known only to family & friends. Mike Higgins is still battling away from inside the States despite their having tried to bankrupt him at least once.

Now I'm off-island and a little more beyond their reach and I am grateful to Jersey for the wonderful times I spent on the island, so I feel I owe them something in return.



Leah McGrath Goodman

And while I'm on the topic of off-island I'd like to pay tribute to Leah, an internationally renowned financial journalist, who has put herself out to report abuse on the island. She then ran into trouble with UK border control on a return visit and her situation was only "regularised" after intervention by a number of highly placed individuals who supported what she was doing. Hopefully she'll soon be landing an unwelcome book on the desks of a few island worthies.

I would also like to pay tribute to Leigh Lafon (Denver Elle) who for a number of years supported the cause from the US with comments that were always perceptive and to the point. Thanks Leigh for all your encouragement and we hope to see you back sometime.


Your Blog has been reported to the Police for harassment because that's all you are doing. McMurray has also been reported for promoting it. One way or another I will win, because I always win and if all you have is old news to hit people with then you are a fool.




Ian Le Marquand, former Justice Minister
& creature of the City of London

Why does Jon get away with his damaging behaviour while others have been harassed by the authorities for doing their job and attempting to clean up the island.



Former Police Chief Bowron

And at the same time others who have complained about Jon at the highest level of the police are just ignored. Check out Rico's story. There is enough evidence around to give rise to the suspicion that Jon is being protected.


The owner of this Blog must be seriously thick.
This is a member of the Jsy public who you are trying to vilify and re-try over a spent court case I am told is almost 8 years old so is meaningless under the rehab Law.
Any Copper or Court reading this hate campaign would this person is being harassed.



Regarding the court case in 2011 where Jon was bound over for making phone threats, he claims that the lightness of the sentence proves that he never threatened to murder anyone. However, that claim could be stood on its head, and we could wonder, particularly as there is phone evidence of a murder threat, why the sentence was so light. Now there's some food for thought.


I will set the law on you for harassing an innocent and insignificant member of the public.

Jon can only claim to be an insignificant & ordinary member of the public because he gets away with what he does. In any functioning society he would be behind bars or in treatment.

He complains that I am abusing my off-island position, presumably on the basis that I am acting irresponsibly while I am unaccountable for what I do. In the same breath he is telling me he has reported me to the Police and that they are coming for me as there is no hiding place. Well Jon which is it?


You should be ashamed of yourself putting Rico Sorda's private life up online.


I have simply alluded to matters that Rico himself has put in the public domain. These are matters which, were it not for Jon's evil behaviour, Rico would not have needed to allude to at all in public.

It was in fact Jon himself who, in the course of his nasty gloating comments, attempted to put further aspects of Rico's private life in the headlights.


You know stalking is a criminal offence.


This was posted as a comment under a post of mine that was totally unrelated to Jersey. There have been many of these, while I have only very occasionally referred to Jon and in relevant contexts. So it's really a question of who's stalking whom here.


Stuart is under a court order to leave Nurse M alone. He has broken this and will go to prison, the stupid cunt.



Stuart Syvret

Nobody is sure at this stage precisely what legal constraints apply to Stuart Syvret. It was thought that he was subject to a super gagging order and his behaviour would lead you to believe that this was in fact the case.

His efforts to stop Nurse M in his tracks were a dismal failure, no small thanks to Jon, and they resulted in his blog being taken down. There is unfinished business here but the authorities are running a mile in the opposite direction.


You are a thick Irish dickhead ... so go fuck yourself.



Jon is deluded into thinking he is part of Jersey Royalty.

In with the in-crowd.

But Jon, you will be dispensable when the heat comes on.

So gather ye rosebuds.


The COS [Commissioner for Standards] will be removed for the way he has dealt with this.




I have made my views on this clear above.


Pain in the ass because the Police have read your post and now I have to go and make a statement.

I surely hope they have and might do something about you as a result.


You are also being reported to the police for online harassment and abuse.

Jon, go look in the mirror.





Some other comments have been passed on to me from the Voice for Children blog where Jon has left them. I'm just including two below but others have been along the lines of those above.


Ian Gorst, the AG and the SG were apprised about it today. Hope you know what you are doing.


Lets hope Chief Minister Ian, the Attorney General and the Solicitor General are already reading my blog. They are welcome to come on and comment here any time. And that also goes for the next Chief Minister and the Chief of Police.


If he has nothing to do with historic abuse like he says then you are targeting him for the sake of it aren't you?


I don't think anyone has linked Jon directly with historic abuse, assuming he means child sex abuse. His behaviour and the official non-treatment of it does serve as an indicator of a totally corrupt system which we know to have been involved in child abuse and in its cover-up.

Jon cannot distance himself from his, well rewarded, co-operation with this system, for example, in getting Stuart Syvret's whistle-blowing blog shut down.

Equally, Jon's claim to have had sight of Rico Sorda's tax return would, if true, put him in a very privileged and intimate relationship with this corrupt administration.

So, Jon, an ordinary member of the public? My arse.



My aim in putting Jon's comments in a separate post is that those who wish to can "enjoy" them and those who don't can avoid them entirely.

I could go on here all night but I'll just finish with this comment from a perceptive observer of the Jersey scene.
What makes me so irate is that he is trying to portray himself as the victim. He has terrorised people online for years, not least Rico's ex-wife who has virtually no online presence herself. He is a nasty vindictive individual and if I, or any progressive Blogger, had acted the way he has (and does) we would be doing a ten year stretch by now.