Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fires in the Skies and the Streets.

Today it rained all day. There was also wind. My umbrella is going to be in recovery for a long time. Thought i'd put up a little creative recount of the this month's Guy Fawkes/Bonfire night festivities. My friends and I, along with most of the city, booked it out to Glasgow Green to watch the fireworks. Fireworks in winter are kind of a new phenomenon for me. They started going off in the streets right around daylight savings time (Glaswegians really know how to make use of the extra darkness).
I have accompanied it with photos gleaned from the Flickr account of a certain Terry Clerkson whom I thank very much. They were taken from a different location than mine but I think they are beautiful and also give a glimpse of the Gorbals. Yeah, there is a part of town called the Gorbals. Look it up.

Bonfire Night

Winter is in the grass on the Green
The cold seeps upward
Through sole and sock
All the city is out
Breathing into November’s early black
As smoke drifts
Across East End sky
And a mist hangs on the Clyde
Where reflected fireworks bloom and sparkle
Lamps light faces
And carnival music plays
Over the hush of the crowd
Hands held for warmth
But more for the fear of losing them to the night. 

Okie doke. That's pretty much it. Oh, and this song. A Scottish-Amurican alliance in music. I am all over this! AberDEEEEEEEEEN! I saw them perform this song here and it was neat. 

Aberdeen - Cage the Elephant by Guns Go Bang

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Do Me A Favour.

I have been lucky enough to catch a few shows starting this past week with the Arctic Monkeys at Glasgow's massive-est venue. I think it was my first ever real, solidly rock n' roll show, with actual famous people. We even had to wait in line, and the place was swarming with kids with mouths full of braces hurling cups of beer into the crowd. It was the first time I have been in a venue that big, where I had to stand so far back that the band looked miniature. Luckily there were huge screens on which I could watch them stomp around and repeatedly slick back their hair. Surprisingly enough it was a really good show, and they sounded great live. Everyone was really happy to see them. Eden is rather fond of frontman Alex Turner so the night before I drew her a picture of him, based off of a recent GQ photo, as a little pre-show souvenir. It looks like this:

I played with the proportions of the hands. I feel like they are key to his career as a musician, so important, no?

And here, in a bit more detail: 

Here's one of theirs from the new album. All of the songs are good. S'hard to pick one. Go listen to the whole thing on Spotify or somethin. 

Arctic Monkeys - Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair by theinsound

Found out he's from Sheffield. A northern lad with a northern accent. His stuff for the Submarine soundtrack is really good. Here's a bit. I like it.

Anyway, I saw Girls last night, and ran into Stuart Murdoch last weekend so i'm still reeling from all this close contact with personal creative idols. I'll put up some writing soon. There's so much good music floating around....... Oh wait, this one too.

Okie doke. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dirty Old Town.

For starters give this a listen. A cover of the classic by some American folk. Aww yeah!

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Dirty Old Town by Great Red North

It takes only a half hour to cross the grey and windy sea in a little plane that shakes and rattles and land safe and sound on the Emerald Isle. A born and raised Dubliner cabbied us from the airport to Elise's sumptuous flat, where we slept on beds made of clouds. Saturday after a breakfast of crumpets, jam and tea we visited the national museum and saw an incredible exhibit of Celtic High Crosses. They were very tall and very old. We headed to city centre, crossed the river Liffey, and took a peek at Trinity College. There we saw the book of Kells, which was wondrous and spooky. We also saw the old college library built in 1712, immaculately preserved and stacked floor to ceiling with old books that smelled delightfully musty. Then we strolled St. Stephen's Green, looking at the ducks, and redheads. On the way to Whitefriar's church we stopped in a bookshop called Hodges Figgis where I purchased a wee book of W.B. Yeats poems. At Whitefriar's we saw St. Valentine's remains after which we headed out for a dinner of fish and chips (in my case chips and curry) in Temple Bar.

Downtown Dubbly. 

Trinity grounds. 

Bicycles and branches on campus. 

The perfect Ireland photo. It was also an accident. 

Elise and Eden by the duckpond in St. Stephen's Green. 


All the birds. 

Fountain time. 

Me and ole' James. 

They don't mess around in Ireland. 

Nighttime in Temple Bar. 

Night lights on the Liffey. It was really beautiful. 

We three. Elise, Eden and I. 

Sunday we walked past the Guinness factory and breakfasted at Queen of Tarts where we had some tasty Bailey's cheesecake. Then we took the train to the village of Howth, on the way passing some local kids burning office furniture in a park. It was well gritty. Howth was beautiful and bleak. We saw the Sunday market, ships, the seaside and even a selkie before a downpour forced us from the quays. We sought shelter and dinner and ended up eating bangers and mash while we watched the rain. Back in Dublin we headed to a pub, where we had a chat while eaves dropping on the fellow next to me who asked the person on the other end of the phone that "the staff have dinner ready at 8." and also " is her ladyship is coming?". All the while this was happening some old guys at the bar, arms round each others shoulders, sang sad folk songs including a prettily slurred rendition of Dirty Old Town.

View of rolling hills from Elise's penthouse. 

A very candid shot of me and my cheesecake. 

One of many incredible cathedrals. 

Ruins of a cathedral by the sea in Howth. 

A sign in Gaelic. 

Elise and I looking windswept. 

The seaside. This doesn't nearly do it justice. 

So many boats. 

Down by the Quays. 

Another boat. 

Monday we saw Kilmainhom Gaol, which housed many of the leaders of the Irish rebellions, and even saw some of them executed. It was an interesting and sobering experience. Then we watched a bit of a marathon that was happening, and took a drenching walk downtown where we devoured some savory crepes before catching the bus back to the airport.

Run run run. 

Scary snakes above the gaol door. 

The flag in the gaol-yard where the executions took place. 

"Ah, faeries, dancing under the moon/ A druid land, a druid tune!" -W.B. Yeats from To Ireland in the Coming Times. 

Morgan family Christmastime standard. "If there's a drink the the house would it make itself known?" The Chieftains have got so much win. 

The Pogues. Shane Macgowan is a beaut no matter what anyone says. I can't even pick my favorite song this one was just highly applicable. 

Put A Penny In The Slot - Fionn Regan by shuhei

Fionn Regan singing this pretty tune. Makes me wanna cry. Three cheers for Dubin Town!

Ode to Paris.

Paris is magical. It is not hyper-saturated like in Amelie. It appears in real color, feels like a dirty city, and it is so much better!  Even the plane ride was beautiful. Flying in the sun was on the ocean,  with little white boats leaving trails of foam in the blue, and clouds drifting above. The coast was golden and I was so excited. We drove into the city on a bus full of Scots, all straight off the plane. We made it to Angela's little flat, where she was kind enough to put us up. Then we took a night walk through the city starting in Le Marais, past the Notre Dame, eerily deserted at night, and across the seine with the perfect crescent moon reflected on its surface.
The next day we breakfasted on brioche at the apartment then headed to Montmartre, where we saw the Moulin Rouge and climbed the steps up to the Sacre Coeur. We saw the beautiful mosaics inside then it was back on the metro to meet some friends. Unexpected highlight was a dinner of hand pulled chinese noodles. So much delicious.

View of the city from the Sacre Coeur

The Sacre Couer

The Eiffel through the haze at dusk. 

Some pretty Paris rooftops. 

Sunday was icy cold and sunny. We went to the Bastille market, where we watched a man juggle with a fishbowl on his head, sampled mangoes and figs, ate roast chicken and potatoes out of a paper bag, and had crepes with jam.  We went to Pere Lachaise to see the grave of Oscar Wilde (sadly under construction at the time) but also got to see the graves of Georges Melies, Chopin, Edith Piaf, and Jim Morrison. Next we took the metro to Laduree to get some of their famed macarons. I got pistachio and chocolate. They were beautiful. We ate them in the sunshine along the Seine, then walked along the river further to the Ile Saint Louis to get some Berthillon ice cream. Cones in hand we perched ourselves on a wall overlooking the river and the Notre Dame. The sunset was lovely. This was followed by a dinner of fondue served by a crazed racist Frenchman.

At the market. 


The chicken man and his chicken stand. 

Leaves falling at the cemetery. 

Mausoleums and cobblestones. 

The seine with some cute barges in the corner. 

The fence with all the locks of love. 

My shoes. 

Angela, Kiley and I. Smiling despite the fact that we missed our macarons already. 

Pistachio macaron. Thanks to Eden for the photo, and for some of the others as well!

General prettiness along the river. 

The girls walking by some booksellers on the way to ice cream. 

The Seine. Also, on the left is the Notre Dame.

Fall leaves on the trees. 

Berthillon ice cream. 

So much happy. 

The metro. 

Muggin' in a passport photo booth. 

Monday was our last day. We purchased pastries and baguettes from the Boulangerie next to Angela's and breakfasted in the park. She headed off to school, and we headed to the Eiffel Tower baguettes under arm, like true Frenchwomen. It was a beautiful day, and the tower was huge, and wonderfully surreal. We picnicked and pranced, taking silly photos and spoiling everyone's sightseeing by being gleeful loud Americans. We left and met up with Angela, she showed us Sciences Po where we gawked at the pretty boys, and then we went back to her place, hastily consumed some fabulous Greek sandwiches, and got back on the metro headed to the airport.

Crazy stairs up to the apartment. 

Angela's place. 

The bakery. 

Coffee and chocolate eclairs. 

Oh look. It is me and the Eiffel tower. 

Me being French. 

Close up of the tower. 

Goodbye Paris!

Despite all the good eats, and unbelievable prettiness it was good to come back to Glasgow where the streets smell of curry and frying things, and people are friendly. Here is a bit of my Paris soundtrack.