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June 2008

a trip to a Certain Scandinavian producer of Semi-Disposable Furniture

After our abandoned attempt to get to Belfast or bust on Wednesday of this week, we deja-vued all over again yesterday, me and my mother. This time, Dundalk slipped by dreamily, unlike our previous non-trip which had us studying the railside flora minutely out of the window for an HOUR and a HALF, while the mood of our companions lifted and plunged from giddy hysteria to despair in a perfect wave-like pattern. There was a man sitting near us, with his wife/partner/companion/who knows and their toddler son. He was wearing a shirt which had the following on the back: TAKING ALL OF IRELAND FOR JESUS with an image of a shamrock encompassing what was indeed the whole of the country. There was something vaguely threatening about it. I mean, I am all for Whatever Gets Your Through the Night, and why not, but what with the vaguely militaristic language (the taking of a country?) and the Republ*can overtones, and the religious zealotry, I think we are looking at a threefer.
People. Weird, them, sometimes.
The trip went well, though.
I don't like the word BINGE, do you?
I don't like the word GROUT, either.
I remain, your word-fussy traveler,

~I saw a man in the supermarket with a entire trolley full of full fat and light dairy spread and nothing else. The expiry date was August, I noticed. I wonder if he was going to make a art piece with it? After all, only last week in college, for the degree show, a colleague of mine got into a bath of coke lying belly-down and made humping movements that alluded to the sexu*l act. So why not, I suppose.
[Incidentally I was interested to hear that C*ke turned down the opportunity to sponsor him. Shortsighted of them, I thought, not to want to be associated with a bearded art student humping their product. Could have made a great new campaign. Move over, The C*ke Side of Life. You are so yesterday!].

~Am still a cleaning lady. We put up the curtain rail yesterday, and yes, by me, I mean JB.

~It's surprisingly obsessively fun though, cleaning. Strangely satisfying.

~Have begun to chart my cycle, in the spirit of have a go. It's quite a novelty so far.

Time will tell.

For now I remain, your charting cleaning lady,

Jack of all trades

And so it is that I am transformed with a speed that makes even my head spin, from temperamental artist into a property developer. It's weird. I simply seem to be programmed to do whatever is in front of me. Honestly, it would appear that I have the attention span of a gnat, or to put it in a more flattering light, and why not, after all it's my blog, I am highly "adaptable" - I swear if they gave me a microphone and a balcony from which to denounce, I would become a dictator, in a heartbeat. High vis jacket? A surveyor! White jacket, why, a pastry chef!
It's disconcerting to be such a jack of all trades. The lack of a single clear identity (lawyer, dentist, web designer, you know, normal walks of life) makes me yearn sometimes for an easy answer to the question: what do you do? To which I would have to answer, at present: well, I was a linguist, a teacher, a translator,  a graphic designer, a localiser and then an animator, and then I did a MA, but now I clean my apartment and wonder what I am - hey, where are you going? Come back!
I confuse myself with the array of possibilities, my heart speeds as I peruse the recruitment sites, and I have little fantasies about being a Multimedia programmer in Dublin West, or a lecturer in the tech, or a barwoman or a liontamer or a baker or a candlestick-maker. I imagine myself getting on the LUAS and sliding out to a millenial office block in my sharp suit. I see a montage of myself walking up the steps to work, laughing with my colleagues, having a drink after work in a warmly lit bar. For that minute, I swear, it's like I have bought wholesale that illusion that is promoted to us in every ad and every film we see - really, I am seeing myself pulling up my sleeves in one of those American TV dramas like, say, The Practice, you know? * where everyone is like family and the work is deeply absorbing and somehow fun, too, despite the late nights and constant coffee. And yet, there is a part of me that wants to be a part of that, that is so fascinated by the workplace, by the rivalries, alliances and hierarchies, that is seduced by the status, by being in the Real World - there is a part of office life which is so compelling to me - the intrigue, the gossip, the accidental friendships, the being familar, the sharing of time. (I need to find a way of writing about that, maybe in comic reportage style.. hmmm. Maybe I can get myself another parttime job and report on it. Definitely interesting. Kind of like the Worm that turns.. the voice of the little woman, reporting (one can hope) occasional scandals and everyday heroism. Only disadvantage is the early mornings :( which do not please Twangy).
This week started with the demolition of the show. Sisyphus would be so proud, all that work, now in the shape of so many piles of MDF and dust. It was sad. Everyone disappeared off, with no marking of the occasion. I wonder when/if I will see them again?
And then, it was the birthday of the JB. 34, you know. I made him a cake, which can only be described as a COMPLETE DISASTER. Either there is something seriously wrong with my new oven's thermostat or else, you know, avec moi, but the thing was charred black on top and swilling about in a liquid way within. So we went for a early bird pizza (excellent value! Ciao Bella, you are nice) and the next night, to see S*x and the city, which I really enjoyed, despite the lukewarm reviews, and for an excellent Chinese on Parnell St. It was the week of the Dining Out of Excellent Value & Quality.
Last night we went to see a famous organist improvising to the silent movie of The Hunchback of NotreDame. How many people could (want to) say that, now? It was mildly diverting, to a philistine like myself, but after a while, bum-numbingly uncomfortable and maddening, and from there, pretty quickly to fervent silent urging: Oh go on, die already! When we escaped I felt like I used to after double Maths, all giddy with relief and pent-up energy. (As I review this post, it occurs to me that it might behoove me to write more often and less. Perhaps with some more planning, and less erratic structure?)
For now however I remain, your philistine jack of all trades,

*(**memo to self: seriously, is this is how impressionable I am? To have absorbed the ideas of work and status from TV?

Self: Why, yes, now that you mention it).

Edited to add. I must have had a fever when I was writing this. Tis the only reasonable explanation. Also, how many times did I use the word "part" as in, a part of me this, a part of me that? By the living hokey, how many parts do I have?

we're done here

or at least I am, done like an Christmas cake that has been overcooked to the point of charcoal. Our show went up, in some cases in spectacular fashion, P6040153 in some cases in a more modest way:

The opening went well - I managed not to go into paroxysms of social anxiety and even (quite) enjoyed the audience coming and playing with my contraptions. One (kind, nice) woman even arranged to buy an etching, for, you know, actual money! the! excitement! JB helped me to the point that he seems to be labouring under the impression that 10% of my Masters degree is his. For yes, beside my student number on moodle there does appear a modest but significant PASS. (Vanity compels me to point out here that it is a PASS/FAIL system and so a PASS is the best you can hope for). And so we transitioned into SHOWTIME, which rather than involving dancing girls with plumes on their heads, entails a large amount of standing around, and watching time go by, and turning on and off of equipment, and the buying of NOTVERYNICE sandwiches from the spar on Th*mas St. It has the sweetness of a time that is ending. A chapter being shut - the last page being slowly turned. People are suddenly fond of each other, the way they are at times like this.

Every day this week I have been cycling in to town, opening the show, for my colleagues Magd* and Em too, and continuing on over to my apartment on the quays, that I bought back in 97. (One advantage of being Quite Old - means that I was at the right point to buy property before the Tiger. That sheer unadulterated luck has made me an unlikely reluctant landlady. Oh, how unbecomingly bourgeois I find myself! I shouldn't complain. Having the place to rent has allowed me to do so much - like this Masters for one thing. My fellow students have horrendous debts. Seems like indebtedness is instrinsically part of youth nowadays, like having luminous complexions.)

That sentence could have been written better, could it not? (Unsurprisingly, I hear no dissenters).

Well. I am aware I just said I couldn't complain about being a landlady. But I can! There is a massive pile of things (armchair, cane chair, mattress, kitchen table) that have to be thrown out after the way they were treated by my tenant's son, whom I suspect might well have been a wild chimp if the destruction he left in his wake is anything to go by. The sofa has to be recovered at vast expense, the walls were written on. I am unthrilled, shall we say, to have to repaint the walls of the hall four times to obliterate the kid level scrawlings.. I mean, did the poor child not have any toys? I blame the parents you know. ;)
So there's that, and it will occupy me with the fixing and the painting and buying and disposing, all performed to a soundtrack of disconsolate muttering.

I am at risk of becoming one of Those Landladies, that leave irate notes in BOLD CAPS for tenants.

I am watching it, never fear.

Your reluctant Landlady, Twangy.

JANG SANGWICH with no bread though

Got this email from P, a friend who is a project manager for Major Irish Charity. He is in Sudan, working in a camp for internally displaced persons. I love hearing his stories. There's a book there, I am telling you.

---- Original Message -----

Sent: Friday, May 30, 2008 8:33 PM

Subject: Sudan

Hi all

sorry that i have been out of contact for so long . i have had 4 days of utter amazing experiences and i am sitting on a Saturday night with nothing but  a Internet connection and  bit of music so i might as well have a rant at you all.  in the evening  and some mornings i go jogging   i normally have everyone laughing at this silly white guy jogging through a IDP camp . Morn*i  now has 165k people it has around 60k when i  helped set the compound up in 2004. sun rise and sun set are amazing . the kids surround me and swell to numbers or 40-50  jogging and laughing at me.

tonight  i could no longer  live without  biscuits  and i went looking for some  , but to no avail . i really needed a desert so i had  a table spoon of jam!  i hope to catch up with alot of you folks soon  so  hopefully i'll see ya soon.

have great weekend


On Sat, May 31, 2008 at 7:08 PM, Twangy Pearl wrote:

Aw, that's so funny and/or sad with the jam, I don't know which. maybe we should send you a big oul wedding cake or something, to keep the spirits up.


we moved house so party actual feasible possibility -

any day now, P!

see you soon so, take care


----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, May 31, 2008 9:43 PM
Subject: Re: JANG SANGWICH with no bread though


hi, nice to hear from you a party eh! do i bring my own jam?


power down

Last week was hectic to put it mildly. We installed our work in the old warehouse that for 2 weeks every year doubles as the exhibition space for the Masters students. And my. Oh my. It was quite the monument to Sisyphus (if that's how you spell him). One student built A SMALL HUT in there, seriously, a real hut, in block and render, in which she and a friend/actor now lurk waiting for people to step in so that they can glare intimidatingly at them from above. The interview, it's called. Someone else for reasons best known to himself, has built a small (admittedly shallow) swimming pool with a toilet in the middle. Yet another lined her space with stainless steel tiles and a shower which is really a microphone. The whole place is like a demented and non-functional movie set, with pallid students running about muttering obscenities under their breath like so many clapper boys.

To think it'll all be gone in 2 weeks.

My work was easy to install, so I left it to the last minute and then arrived in a taxi with 9 folded cardboard boxes under my arm. My stuff is different to the others, rather than being installation per se was more of a frame for my content, which I have been chipping away at these past months at home. I'm fairly happy with it, I like the narrative layers, the stories and cross-references. I (mostly) loved making it, the process of making it was far more the point than this goal of the show. (This might possibly be a good thing about being 40 - rather than being caught up in ideas about being discovered and catapulted to stardom, like I was in my early 30's, I am more interested in my ordinary dreams, like having a family, someone to love, and a nice house to come home to. To live for a humble cause, as the saying goes).

Being that humble dream as it may, the exams are next week, and I will somehow have to find a way of waking Sleeping Beauty-like from the comatose state I seem to have fallen into. I feel so sluggish and dull-witted today. Like I've been drugged or something - all the adrenaline has drained out of my body leaving me like a pale weak ghost. I slept till 9.30am (!) and then had the nerve to fall asleep again while "watching" 7th Heaven (btw, what wonderful drivel! fantastically bad). Spike was over today too, and going great guns until he fell on a sharp stone and was suddenly tired and disconsolate and had to be carried home by Bobby and yes, that would be me, and yes, he would be a ton weight.

However, tomorrow is, mercifully, a bank holiday, as well as being, you know, another day.