Archive for March, 2008

Mar 31 2008

I’m An Ambassador

Published by under Blog,Greystones,Music

Following on from Mulley’s post and Anthony’s follow up, I wondered what I am an ambassador for. I’m not sure if I’d call it being an ambassador but I certainly rant about much of the following:


Little Shop of HorrorsToo many guys today are afraid to either admit to enjoying musicals, or afraid to let themselves like musicals. I’m not! I love them and have done so for many many years. A love of musicals is one of the first things my girlfriend and I had in common. Probably the earliest musical I fell in love with was, rather unusually, Little Shop of Horrors. I think I empathised with the beleaguered Seymour desperately hoping for a way to get out of Skid Row……or maybe I just loved the songs. From Rocky Horror to Jesus Christ Superstar, from Blood Brothers to Rent, no other medium can constantly give me shivers of joy as much as when I fall into the worlds created by songs and good storytelling. But am I an ambassador for Musicals? I think so. I’m an ambassador for being proud of enjoying them. I try to introduce people to shows with varying successes.


John CusackI had a brief twitter with Mulley a few nights ago about Grosse Pointe Blank. Whenever someone asks me my favourite movie, I always try to break it down, wondering what’s the most cinematic, most uplifting, most technically impressive, most thought provoking. But if I’m truly honest, my favourite movie must be Grosse Pointe Blank. I laugh out loud everytime I watch it. I love the world and the characters that inhabit it. The music is fantastic and the dialogue is brilliantly witty. Everyone should see this movie, John Cusack’s Best, and while it won’t be to everyone’s taste, I can’t imagine anyone walking away from it saying they didn’t enjoy it.


Juliet TurnerWhen we first moved to Dublin, 7½ years ago, we went out a lot. For some reason we always had a lot of disposable money (possibly due to the cheap hole we were living in). Whenever possible, we would go to gigs and we would make special efforts to see Jack L and Juliet Turner. Jack’s voice should be declared a national treasure and Turner’s quirky sense of humour added so much to the already astounding music at her concerts. Over the years we have converted a good few people to fans of the pair. At one of Juliet Turner’s gigs about five years ago, an odd act, called Duke Special, was her support. His stage presense and eclectic tunes made us immediate fans. While we shouted his praise for years, it’s bittersweet to see him have so much success now. It’s hard not being part of a group of devoted fans, when the group is in the hundreds of thousands. That said, I’m delighted for him and his band – they deserve every bit of success the get. (I’m putting together a post on Jack L which will be up later or tomorrow)


There’s a group of people which I would like to consider myself an ambassador for and that is the bullied, especially kids. No child (and no person) deserves to be victimised and abused. It’s a subject that is close to my heart and while I would be an ambassador, a megaphone for the persecuted, I have not yet found my voice. But I will.


Greystones NO PHOTOSHOPWe moved to Greystones almost three years ago and immediately fell in love with the town. It’s more a home to me than anywhere else I’ve lived. And I am happy to rave about the place. It’s beatiful and quiet, but within easy reach of Dublin; it has great community spirit, as illustrated by Gingerpixel; it can grow outwards without losing any of its inner charm. That last point may be argued by some of the older residents, and while I can understan their viewpoint, the growth of Greystones own subburbs can only bring more amenities and oportunities to the town. Without growth comes stagnation. The people, for the most part, are very friendly, something which I have struggled to find elsewhere along Ireland’s east coast. It’s a great town and I would invite people to visit, to stay a while, to move here – they won’t be disappointed.


9 responses so far

Mar 31 2008

Bright New Sounds

Published by under Blog,Music

Bright New SoundsVodafone’s Bright New Sounds gig is on Thursday night. As Jim Carroll points out, Vodafone’s New Sounds website doesn’t make it very clear what the Bright New Sounds promotion is for exactly, but the less cynical among us can infer that it’s to encourage new, young acts and to give a footing to bands who would otherwise struggle to be heard in the mainstream.

Bright New Sounds was launched at the start of February and was open to acts of all genres. Interested acts had to upload their tracks to, where the best 20 submissions, as decided by a panel, were made available for Irish Vodafone customers to download. The top five most downloaded acts would then be invited to perform in Dublin’s Tripod April 3, where one will be declared Vodafone’s Bright New Sound of 2008.

The winning act will get a prize package from Vodafone and Universal Music. They’ll record their new single in Windmill Lane, which will then be released as part of their recording deal with Universal Music, they will receive a professional photo shoot and launch gig with supporting promotional activity – including extensive coverage in the pages of Hot Press.

Now, it’s clear from Jim Carroll’s post that this is not all it’s cracked up to be, but from a layman’s p.o.v., I’m just looking forward to hearing the acts on Thursday. Having already listened to many of the tracks, including Chaplin’s The Story Goes, Christine Deady’s Don’t Rescue Me and The Kinetiks’ Shuffle Your Feet, it should be a good show.

Even if the Vodafone event is nothing more than an overblown marketing stunt, anything that raises the profile of some overlooked acts must be a good thing. Viva la Indie Music!


Update: The five finalists have been announced!

2 responses so far

Mar 30 2008

I’ve Spent A Lot More Than Five Seconds Watching These

Published by under Blog


You have ruined my afternoon. Your post on the FiveSecondMovies on YouTube forced me to go watch all of them. Damn you!

Here’s my favourite:


One response so far

Mar 30 2008

The Art Of Emlyn B

Published by under Blog

On my ramblings through Bebo last year, I met, through an online friend, this excellent artist. For Emlyn B, his art is a hobby, but I see no reason why we can’t shout out our pride for our hobbies, just as much as for our paid-for achievements. Emlyn describes himself as follows:

Emlyn BArtist, photographer, writer, short filmmaker, animator, lycanthrope, professional snake charmer and occasional cabaret act (but only on bank holidays). Trying to figure out my role in this crazy life, but watch this space for my own skins, artwork, photos and other cool stuff (i hope!)

Emlyn's OwlFrom humble origins, drawing owls under the instruction of Don Conroy on the telly, he obviously took to art and drawing and has found a fascinating, often gothic, style.

If you feel so inclined, have a look at his Bebo site and please drop a comment before adding him.

His focus on eyes in some of his work particularly intrigues me. There’s so much emotion in the large glassy eyes.

Emlyn GirlEmlyn Girl Eyes

But, it seems his passion lies in the obscure, the gothic and the fantastical.

Emlyn Cat

Emlym Gothic

So, check him out.

Emlyn Darren

I love my photoshopped self!

One response so far

Mar 29 2008

Memoirs Are Made Of This

Published by under Blog

Alice tagged Grannymar and she, in turn, tagged me. The task: write your memoir in six words. I remember reading that Hemmingway was challenged to write a story in six words. He wrote something painfully thought provoking: “For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.”

Now, I can’t hope to write something to make people think. So, I’m just going to go with honesty:

Sixteen years, no fun! Everything changed!

My Friends

My turn to do the tagging: Anthony, Ben, Daragh, Laura, Ken and Ross, do you want to give it a go?

The rules:

  • Write your own six word memoir.
  • Post it on your blog, including a visual illustration if you’d like.
  • Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to the original post if possible so that it can be tracked as it travels across the blogosphere.
  • Tag at least five more blogs with links;
  • and Leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

Update: Just found this. Worth a read!

10 responses so far

Mar 27 2008

The Sound System Podcast#46 From Kilkenny Music

Published by under Blog,Music

I finished work today, went through my usually OCD infused routine. I placed my mouse in it’s holder, I put away all my pens and stapler in their drawer, I made sure my four inboxes were neat and uniform, I adjusted and switched off my monitor (Power of One and all that jazz), I put on my coat and set up my iPod. Today’s playlist consisted of Ken and Ross‘s Podcast 46, which I missed last week. So I finally leave my office and happily wander along listening to the lads manic conversations and excellent music choices.
Laughing Kitten
After a while I find myself grinning stupidly and getting odd looks, as the lads give a big shout out to me and my ‘fledgling bloggery’. So, thank you both for making me that weirdo people see laughing out loud as he wanders along the street.

Ken, you may be right about me podcasting – I’ll definitely give it a go at some stage. Although, I sincerely hope I get an invite down for Podcast#50!!!

The 46th Podcast, in the meantime, featured

Ken McGThere was also some cryptic reference to DeviousTheatre‘s two new productions. Ken and Ross are clever guys. They pretend to stumble and fall there way through talking about the auditions for Trainspotting in June and another project in August, but it just forces us listeners to check out DeviousTheatre‘s website for more info. You kooky guys! Marketing at its best.

Ross CorriganAnd I think it’s important to back up Ross on this one – the local newspapers are stealing his work. Check out Ross’s photography at, just “don’t steal his shit“. If you want to support his artistic reputation, drop a comment on his blog post.

I’m already looking forward to listening to Podcast #47, which can be subscribed to on iTunes here or on the Kilkenny Music Website. Give it a go. It’s a lot of fun and there’s some great music.

7 responses so far

Mar 27 2008

Adoption Worries

Published by under Adoption,Blog

I was asked by a female friend recently, who is considering adoption, whether I am missing a connection, whether I view my mother as my ‘mother’ or simply someone who raised me. It’s a simple answer for me, and one I think (I hope) most adopted children find easy to answer.

Baby Darren

My mother will always be my mother. She’s the one who fed me, clothed me, housed me, laughed with me, fought with me; she is the one who watched The Late Late Toy Show with me each year. It’s easy. I am very happy and proud and excited that I have met my biological mother – but not because I feel there’s been ‘something missing’, not because I needed the connection, or closure, or questions answered. It’s because Biomammy is one of the most loving people I’ve ever met. She has raised four beautiful, clever, funny children. She has a husband who is a gentleman, who has welcomed me into his house like one of his own.

I have been very lucky when it comes to the ‘adoption thing’. My parents always made sure that I could ask any questions I wanted about it. In fact, I cannot remember not knowing about being adopted. As I was growing up, I knew a number of other adopted children. So I never felt I was odd for that (I was always an oddball, but I never felt it was because I was adopted). No, there was nothing missing in me, no need to connect a missing link.

I want this friend of mine to know that she would be giving a very loving home to someone who wants it, who needs and yearns for it. That child, whoever it may be, already loves you. How could it not? You would not be a parent by accident. You, more than most, will be making the decision to give a child a home, a life. The genetic connection is overrated. Love is far stronger than biology.

Baby Feet

6 responses so far

Mar 26 2008

St. Patrick’s Weekend

Published by under Blog,Greystones,Night Out

I said I would return to write a post about St. Patrick’s weekend and, true to my words, I present:

Well, I’ve had quite the weekend. Full of old friends and nostalgia, newer friends and dramas. There were fights and resolutions, there was poetry from an unlikely source and some music to play Scrabble by. ISt Patrick's Day discovered things about myself and my life, but more significantly I uncovered some truths about those around me. I can’t say it was standard weekend, but then again Saint Patrick’s long weekend is not standard.


Much of Friday’s evening is tough to tell a tale about. There were a number of differing events and interactions that were initially negative but on a worldly scale, perhaps a little positive. I’m sorry if this sounds somewhat cryptic, but I think I’ve encountered my first post to require censorship. While I would only write the truth, the truth can hurt and other peoples’ perception of the truth may differ slightly from mine. Therefore, I’ll stay schtum, except to say…I wouldn’t change a thing.

The remainder of this post will not require a degree in cryptology, I promise. Friday night’s official event was an old friend’s birthday party. I’ll call him the Musicman as he was the first person I ever met who instilled in me a true appreciation for music and for making music. Indeed, we had a band in school and wrote songs together. I am forever thankful for meeting this guy. I have covered much of this night in a previous post, so the only thing I’ll add is this…Musicman, why did you abandon the music? Musicman is now a successful scientist (I could go into detail about his career, but I’d just be confusing me and the readers) and will undoubtedly make a name for himself and, most importantly, a fortune in his field. I guess I just envisioned a day when we would both abandon our respective career paths and finally finish that musical we started. It’s a nice dream, so let me dream it.


What? No hangover? Fantastic!

I awoke at a reasonable hour and pottered about while The Otter Half studied. Our new bikes are still glaring at us angrily because we have yet to take them outside. We toyed with the idea for a while but then Hugh Laurie had a better idea. We nestled into the couch for some time, watching House MD.

As evening fell, my Otter Half drove me down to the badlands (Wicklow Town) to meet my father for a drink, while she skirted the outskirts of the town in Ashford, to spend the evening with her Grandmother. My dadGuinness Hat and I hit The Old Forge, my once-upon-a-time-local-pub, and embraced the thing that God granted all good men – Guinness.

I will admit that there was much imbibing done, but late into the evening the conversation became philosophical, as such Guinness fueled, father-son, once-upon-a-time-local-pub conversations often do. We discussed our lives – our respective pasts, presents and futures. His past was not as rosy as mine (and I thank him and Mother for ensuring this). His present is a hive of confusion, hardship, a hope that his crises are mid-life and not end-life crises. And, depressingly, his future doesn’t seem to feature in his thoughts.

So, in the midst of his sharing old stories with me, he began to recite in an ancient Seanchai lilt a story about youth and friendship and a night out with the lads in nineteen hundred and something something. When he finished his poetic verse, I asked him where he learned it, where he heard it, who wrote it, who first said it. And he replied, “ah, my man, that’s just your father”. He shocked me. I was all set to hear more from this poet…except it was my father, a man who has more in common with Homer Simpson than Yeats. Unsure of how to feel or what to say, we moved on and had another pint, but it’s a moment I won’t forget and it’s a moment I’ll return to.


St. Patrick’s Day didn’t really feature in our home. I can’t say I’m much of a fan of the parades and brouhaha anyway, but we did have an enjoyable day. After another few discs of House on DVD, we popped down the town to see what all the drum banging and bagpipery was all about. Apparently we had just missed the procession. Oh damn, what a shame, he said as sarcasm smoke billowed up from the sarcasm fire lit beneath his words.

There’s a new ‘EcoShop‘ open in the centre beneath our apartment. An EcoShop is a shop that cashes in on the gullibility of the economic environment that surrounds it. What? That’s not an EcoShop? Oh, my mistake! Apparently it’s a shop that sells ecologically sound produce.

Well, they suckered me in. I bought a can of cola made from fruit juices (surprisingly delicious), some fairScrabble trade honey from Jamaica (so smooth and flavoursome, I doubt I’ll ever return to that homemade Boyne Valley crap again), Green and Black’s version of Nutella (I fail to see the earth-saving relevance of this product, but it tastes great on a bagel) and some cocoa (which I have yet to sample). The whole thing is very overpriced but it’ll undoubtedly be a roaring success. This once niche market fits nicely with the keep-up-with-the-Jones nature and attitudes of Greystones.

We concluded our evening with a few games of Scrabble, some music and a nice few drinks. The perfect relaxing end to my weekend.

4 responses so far

Mar 25 2008

The Bits I Forgotted

Published by under Blog,Night Out

Okay, well, there was an abundance of alcohol consumed on Saturday night. So I can be forgiven for forgetting to tell the story of the yellow balloons.

Like the star that led the wise men to the manger that fateful night, Elly provided us not-so-wise men with some bright yellow helium balloons to guide our way. As analogies go, that one is a stretch.

Yellow Balloons

As the evening progressed and cream eggs were violated, the balloons took centre stage (or centre table at least). It was inevitable that they would go walkies. The first was pilfered by Elly herself, and seeing as she was the one to provide the I guess we can’t be too judgmental. It was much much later, as Ben and I were being gently ushered from the building, that we noticed something lurking in the distance…

Yellow Balloons

Our anger got the better of us and we had to confront these balloon thieves. It wasn’t pretty…

Yellow Balloons

Then, Ben tried to steal their shoes in retaliation…

Yellow Balloons

In his defense, they were just the right shoes for him. He has problems telling his left from his right…

Shoes Left or Right

6 responses so far

Mar 25 2008

Drunken Bloggery

Published by under Blog,Night Out

It’s nerdiness. It’s nerdiness on acid, on LSD, on pain meds. It’s nerdiness taken to a level not normally known by the consensus, the populus. Up until three weeks ago I was blind to this world, but now my mind has been opened.

Firstly, thank you Elly. Thank you for organising the piss-up, thank you for being so luverly, thank you for introducing me to some great people. And some odd people – hi Ben. While the early part of my Friday evening may have seen me nestle into my comfort zone and chatting with old friends, my developing evening saw me annoy and irritate Alexia, Red Mum and Anthony, but my developed (read drunken) evening saw me bend the ear of Laura and Sam and become intoxicated by Ben’s suggestion of SubWay.

Darren & Elly

My WWMD sticker and knowledge gained at the blog awards gave me a level of credibility; I have been granted a pass into the world of the modern Irish blogger. I arrived this evening, into a group of people who knew each other, who know each other, and while I make all efforts in my life to portray myself as a confident guy, one who can take on any situation head on, without resistance – I think I hid my crackling nerves well; I think I hid the fact that I was desperate not to feel out of place and desperate not to embarrass myself. And then I asked Elly about her jar of condoms. It all went downhill from there. (Please ignore the self indulgent in-joke and keep reading).

I met Anthony and Sam, who were fawning over Anthony’s iTouch, and while I attempted to be nonchalant, while I attempted to look as though I was not drawn in by the silly gadget, while I attempted to wipe away the drool caused by the kiddie’s toy…I was incapable of functioning without at least touching it. iTouchIt’s beautiful. It’s sexy. It’s now on my wish list. If I hadn’t been bowled over by the perfect multi-touch system or the user friendly, net friendly, add-on friendly interface, the simple fact that it rendered the song lyrics on screen as the track played would be enough to hook me. It’s a faded, empty, throw-away phrase, but this is the future. Clichéd phrases need to come from somewhere, and this is no different. Apple’s latest invention is not just pretty, it shows us what the future is, what the future could be. The iTouch is gorgeous, but the functionality is only glancing at what we are likely to see in the next year or two or twelve from a company that has revolutionised the music industry. We will very soon see the iPhone (and its imitators) replace all of the gadgetry we carry with us. I can easily see a day when, the same device allows us to interrupt the taking of a 10 mega pixel photograph of our cat, with a phone call from our solicitor telling us that he is in the process of sending us an email with a Word document attached, where we can make changes and send the reply without ending the conversation. After we’ve finished the telecon, mailing and amateur cat photography we’ll continue using the device to learn the correct drumming pattern of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing (well some things can never die).

Darren & Elly

But I digress. I am trying to prove that tonight was not about geekery, but about the interactions of people, of friends, of strangers. I’m not sure I’ll be able to sufficiently prove that though, as I’m not sure there’s much to separate. Has the term ‘social geek’ already been coined? Often the term geek or nerd inspires an image of a quiet, inward, social misfit, but none of that was evident on this night out. This was a group of confident, socially aware, funny and above all intelligent people who quickly put me at my ease and I already look forward to meeting them again. More and more I am seeing a world I didn’t know existed and could never have understood had I not become part of it. Three weeks ago, I could not have imagined how much fun it would be Twittering in the pub, or exchanging website addresses. Viva la Social Geek! Viva la Drunken Bloggery!


Incidentally – I do now Twitter!

The photos above are by Elly and thank you for allowing me the use of them.

And I am sad that I didn’t use my time better to talk with Suzy of Maman Poulet fame. It was lovely meeting you again, if ever so briefly again!!

11 responses so far

Mar 20 2008

A Fresh New Morn

Published by under Blog

The sun is up; there’s a cool bite in the air, just right to wake me up completely this morning; everyone seems to be on an artificial high, either due to the beautiful morning or the fact that they have a long Easter weekend ahead; most importantly, there are no school kids around – so we all have a quiet, uncrowded DART journey.

One of the nicest parts of the journey is the stretch between Greystones and Bray. The train is all but falling into the sea for much of it, which leads to some breathtaking views that I have thankfully not yet begun to take for granted, despite my two and a half years getting this train.

One response so far

Mar 19 2008

‘Stop Drinking’ Is A Very Big Word

Published by under Blog,Night Out

I wrote this on my way home on Friday night. I had forgotten all about it until now, going through my PDA (I tidied up the many drunken typo’s)…

I am on the Nitelink after a particularly unbalanced evening.

For my part, most of the evening was great fun. It was an old friend’s birthday – fantastic to catch up. I can’t quite explain why, but I feel an unusual sense of pride in knowing that his life has turned out well – he has a funny and beautiful girlfriend and a great group of friend who seem to hold him in high esteem. Many of the group are swing dancers, which all seems very interesting and I would love to give it a try, were it not for my knees, which are probably in worse condition than the newly exhumed Padre Pio’s or maybe Grandad’s.

I thought it funny that I found myself comparing meeting these ‘swingers’ to meeting the bloggers at the Blog Awards two weeks ago. Perhaps it was that I was, once again, in the Alexander Hotel. Perhaps! But I think it had more to do with the air of comradery which billowed from the room. In the same way that the bloggers were overwhelmingly positive, motivated by a common medium but varied interests, these swing dancers exuded positivity and clearly had much more to them, than a simple love of dancing. As a person who loves to watch the lives of others, an evening where a larger group interacts on a variety of levels is very stimulating and is fascinating to watch.

Two rather drunken dudes, sitting two seats behind me are discussing their future. I would guess they are between 24 and 28 years of age. The have both had their obligatory YIA (Year in Australia). Both have had two great nights out separately and have now just met on the Nitelink for the first time in many months. One says he’s started saving for a house, but it’s very expensive and he’s been trying to cut back on the non-essentials, including drinking. Dude 2 suggests Dude 1 should give up drinking for a year and he’d probably save a fortune. Dude 1 replies, “‘Stop Drinking’ is a very big word”. How true!

After that, it trails off into some odd notes about the night. I’ll try put some semblance of meaning to them later and write a post about my eventful weekend.

2 responses so far

Mar 19 2008

Accounting At An Impasse

Published by under Blog,My Working Life


I have reached an impasse with regards my studies, as you may have read. My bothered brain isn’t sure what it wants to do or where it wants to go right now, so I have spoken with my course head and I have secured a six month deferral.

From my point of view, there are many advantages to this. I can use the time to grow personally, blah blah blah. No seriously, I think I need to take a fresh look at my life goals and priorities. There are things I’ve been wanting to do for years that I continuously put off.

I can also use this opportunity to work on my project for college. It is a 300,000,000,000 word piece which aims to show that you can make practical use of all that you have thus far learned. This will help me ensure I don’t lose sight of my course completely.

I have sought advice on this from a number of sources and thank you to everyone who helped me.

2 responses so far

Mar 19 2008

The Death Of Arthur C. Clarke

Published by under Blog

Arthur C. ClarkeSadly, very very sadly, Arthur C. Clarke has passed away. A visionary, a genius and a very entertaining man, Clarke was responsible for my initial fascination with Science Fiction. He introduced me to new worlds through his many short stories and then he showed me the future with 2001: A Space Odyssey and its sequels.

At 90 years of age, he passed away in Sri Lanka. Take a second today to remember an incredible author and man.

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Mar 16 2008

Movie Extras Follow Up

Published by under Blog,My Working Life

Well, my morning of behaving like a loon has been captured wonderfully on film.


I’m not entirely sure how these ads are going to work. I guess it’s a viral marketing campaign of sorts. The idea being that people will talk about it and spread the links, etc. But, apart from the few of us involved, who will be talking about this. I dunno. I don’t get it.

But, it was a lot of fun and a great day out.

So, eh, HEAR MY ROAR, I guess.


Oh, and see if you can spot me!

6 responses so far

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