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Take this survey about creativity!

I recently joined a Creative Network here in Ireland and we have been exploring what makes us tick as creatives, as well as our relationship between creativity and work. As part of that, we are curious to learn more about fellow creatives around the world, so we built this little survey to understand your creative journey, especially as it pertains to your working life, creative process, as well as creative applications & inspirations. If you have 5 minutes, we would be super grateful if you filled in the survey (we will NOT share your information with any 3rd party, that is NOT cool) and if you could pass on the link to other creatives in your network. Happy to share the final results here once the results are tallied and made into pretty graphs and charts. Thanks in advance! 

I wish I could relate the intangibles to you…

I watched the Tony Hawk documentary by Sam Jones yesterday and it was truly terrific. While I have never been a skateboarder, it still spoke to me as a piece of storytelling and an insight into a life well lived. Give it a watch if you have the chance. 

I have been thinking a lot about the the final interview at the end with legendary skater Rodney Mullen. There is such profound beauty and depth in what he says. He is talking about the risks and rewards of what he does, but the lyrical flow of it makes it feel poetic and totally universal. He could just as easily be talking about artists. He is talking about every one of us.

Paschal Quigley – The greatest Irish singer-songwriter of all time?

Paschal Quigley is the greatest singer-songwriter that Ireland has ever produced. He is also a figment of my imagination. For over a decade I have been writing and recording a radio mockumentary about his storied career in the Irish indie music scene. The script for that is almost complete, but I will post more about that in the coming months.

Down the years I have recorded a selection of Paschal’s most vital songs, as he traverses through many musical genres and phases of disillusionment. The song above is his indie smash Damascus that chronicles a moment of blinding realisation about his place in the music industry, while on a road trip to Cork. It might be his best song. 

Throughout Paschal’s story he is a shapeshifter and reinvents himself. At some point in the late 90s Paschal pivots to punk and writes this rage filled reaction to his short-lived stint as an office temp. It also marks the moment he goes “electrical” at the first (and also last) Dungarvan folk festival. Play it LOUD!

Top Gun: Maverick – Top entertainment

I saw “Top Gun: Maverick” on an IMAX screen last night and what a buzz it was. It was such a feast for the senses – booming audio, breathtaking aerial photography, and that iconic soundtrack (surely the best use of a gong in a song ever?). I switched off my critical voice and enjoyed it for the big, bombastic, brainless summer blockbuster it was. That said, the most interesting scene was the one between Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer, which leaned into his current voice limitations due to cancer, and it was surprisingly tender, touching and really nicely done. Overall the film felt like a cool new cover version of a familiar old favourite, and ultimately it is a better movie than the original. Well worth a visit to the cinema to take in the spectacle of this kind of event movie.

Three Men Talking About Things That They Kinda Know About – Limited Edition 10th Anniversary

For anyone new to my website, I just wanted to holler about the recent publication of our award-nominated spoken word play, Three Men Talking About Things They Kinda Know About. A decade ago we staged this show at the Dublin Fringe and subsequently toured it around Europe to huge critical acclaim. It was one of the most fulfilling and important artistic experiences of my life, and you can read more about the genesis and creation of the show here.

As for the book itself, we put incredible thought and care into creating something that was a unique work of art in-and-of-itself, with a cover produced on a letterpress printing press, on high quality handmade paper, which gives it a really unique look and feel. Inside the pages we have lots of gold too, with new forewords from myself and the other authors, archival photos, and essays from our Director, Sarah Brennan, as well as Irish Times journalist Gemma Tipton.

This unique 10th anniversary limited edition book is for sale right now directly from this website, so please consider supporting independent artists by picking up a copy today!

Ways of seeing – A portrait of the artist as a young man

My father painted this portrait of me when I was around 5 or 6 years old. He began painting it when we lived in Sweden, and he finished later when we had moved to Ireland. I know this because I recall posing for it when we lived in our little apartment in Kalmar in the south east of Sweden. I have a softer recollection of the latter phase of the painting but I recognise the house outside the window as our neighbour’s house in Waterford, Ireland, so it was definitely created over a period of years. Seeing it again and studying the painting, it made me think of a few things. Firstly the way another person sees you is always filtered through a certain lens and you cannot control that. In this case I see it as a loving gaze of a father and that shines through in the soft energy of the light. It also feels fitting that I appear to be sitting down to write, which ultimately ended up being my own path as an artist & creative. Secondly I was taken with the idea of the drafts and phases a piece of art goes through, and that the completion often comes long after the initial creation. This gives me comfort knowing that even a painting of this scale (the original painting is 5m x 3m) has a series of iterations and drafts, just like my own work. And finally, the slightly hazy, almost ghostly elements to it feel like it is slightly unfinished, or perhaps it was an artistic choice. I like not knowing that. When is a piece of art done? That is a question every one of us must ponder with everything we create.

It’s A Sin – Compelling viewing

Finished this beautiful television series last night. A brilliantly acted and wonderfully written series about the human stories at the heart of the AIDS epidemic in the 80s in London. Utterly heartbreaking at times but ultimately a gorgeous story of love, queer identity and friendship. A compelling piece of storytelling that is very worthy of your time. La! Available on All 4 and HBO Max.

The Frames – A gig for the ages

The Frames are arguably my favourite live band of all time. Their performances are uplifting and magical in a truly unique way. Glen Hansard has a gift for dissolving the division between performer and audience, which he believes comes from his time as a busker on Grafton Street. The show in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham was a long time coming. Originally billed as a 30th anniversary show back in 2020, the pandemic put paid to that moment, and now, two years later, the gig was finally staged in the glorious sunshine. It was well worth the wait, as I was transported back to the many shows from yesteryear, as they went through their back catalogue of anthemic rock tunes and lilting ballads. Having seen the band over 30 times(!) this was one to truly savour. A band of artists at their creative peak, sharing in a moment with those that adore them most. A special gig and a special night.