Easter in Ireland
So maybe I’m not the most prolific of bloggers, but every once in awhile, I have a story to tell. Michael John McCarthy, my current musical co-conspirator, invited me over to his native Ireland for Easter weekend 2006 to play a gig at a cricket club in Cork City. How could I refuse? My friend Caitriona picked me up at Shannon airport, and after tea at Bunrattty Castle she dropped me off at the bus station so I could head down to Cork quick-sharp and start rehearsing. The bus stops were plastered with ads for “Brennan’s Bread,” so I soon felt at home. Once in Cork, I met up with Michael John, and after a marathon rehearsal in a living room we bolted to the cricket club the next day to set up. The band was hastily christened “Johnny Perseus and the Algorhythms,” (I was appointed Perseus), and we continued to rehearse our material outside before heading in for the gig. The club was full of fading photographs of Cork cricket champions over the ages, and before we knew it the band had scored a parallel kind of victory, rocking the cricket club to great whooping, singing, dancing, and merriment.
On Sunday we headed to West Cork and the tiny village of Ballydehob, home to Danno (heavyweight wrestling champion of the world, 1935-1936) and some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. After making friends with the four McCarthy Jack Russell dogs, we all sat down to a mouthwatering Easter feast prepared by Michael John’s mother. After dinner, Michael John’s father, himself a farmer and excellent stonemason, took us on a tour through West Cork and down to Mizen Head, the most southwesterly point in all of Europe. Looking out into the horizon, it was neat realize the only thing between me and my native Canada was a daunting expanse of ocean, and to think of all my ancestors who made the journey six generations ago.
After West Cork, it was up to Dublin on Monday to meet my mate Ciaran and his girlfriend Niamh. Ciaran works at The Village, one of the bigger rock venues in the city, and put me on the guest list for a concert featuring the Californian popsters, We Are Scientists; also hanging out in the balcony area were current Dublin musical sensations The Chalets. On my last day in Ireland, Ciaran took me on a whirlwind tour of the sights of Dublin, where we hung out at the canal with a statue of poet Patrick Kavanaugh, stopped by Trinity College, saw the Book of Kells, and took the requisite visit to the Guinness storehouse. Thanks to all the good friends over the weekend who provided me with bed, food, and more entertainment than was probably safe. You can check out some photos of my trip here.
Posted by matt at 06:45 PM
Ode to a Grecian road trip
I'm back in Scotland again to be a teaching assistant in a class on the British Media and to enter my third year as a PhD student. The pressure is on!
Fortunately, I had time to enjoy myself over the summer, and had some great adventures traveling to various exotic locales. First it was Italy and the music conference, then Canada for friends, family, and research.
I briefly returned to Scotland, but mostly just to pack for an excursion to Greece to visit friends and see the sights. I'm a pretty lucky guy. Check out some of the highlights from my travels through Greece in a slideshow here.
Posted by matt at 04:10 PM
From the city to the country
I had a great time in Italy at the music conference, met loads of nice people, ate wonderful food, and went to a great concert performed by a band called Sigur Ros.
I also presented a paper on the relationship between Down Beat (a jazz publication) and Rolling Stone, which you can read here.
From Italy I went to Canada to do some work, visit family and friends, and attend a free school that some of my friends were organizing out in the country. More on that in the next update.
Posted by matt at 02:41 PM
All roads lead to Rome
Just to update you from my previous post on the G8, in early July I attended a big march in Edinburgh with over 225,000 people. It was a great march and I played with a group of 25 drummers throughout the day, which energized the marchers around us, not to mention ourselves! However, despite big talk from politicians and promises of trade justice, debt relief, and more and better aid, it makes you wonder whether there's been any change in attitude at all when you hear the UN talking about a terrible, foreseen, and totally preventable famine in Niger.
Anyway, I'm now off to do a bit of globetrotting. First stop will be Rome for an international music conference. Then it's off to Canada for some quality time with family and friends, as well as a bit of work doing interviews and reading history books. I'll let you know how it went when I get back...
Posted by matt at 04:43 PM