Archive for August, 2016

coco

I’ve been off the performance scene pretty much since July due to illness, but dammit, I am back with a vengeance tomorrow night! I will be a featured performer at the wonderful CO Club in Oldcastle, Co.Meath, which is just the next town over from my own hometown. The CO Club is an arts night with a difference. Whereas the majority of these events are music and spoken word,  this one includes drama, art installations, wood-turning exhibits, photography, interpretive dance- pretty much any artform you can imagine is showcased there. I am super-psyched to be on the bill with the wonderful Pine the Pilcrow, who I’ve seen a few times performing at Circle Sessions, and I’m looking forward to checking out the other two acts, Rory Clarke, a wood-turner, and Robert Ardiff, a singer-songwriter.

My next venture into performance will be next Saturday, September 3rd at 4pm at- drumroll please- Electric Picnic! I have a half-hour slot performing in The Circle Sessions’ ‘Yurt of Infinite Possibility’ at the Body & Soul section. However, I’ll be buzzing around there for a large chunk of the weekend, checking out the other Circle Sessioners, and I’m also looking forward to catching some great acts in the Mindfield, as well as exploring Trenchtown and the Trailer Park. Check out the line-up for the Circle Sessions at Electric Picnic below and more importantly, check us out next weekend!

The Circle Sessions at The Yurt of Infinite Possibility- Electric Picnic

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The Road Less Travelled?

Posted: August 17, 2016 in Uncategorized

The night before my Leaving Cert results were released, some years ago (I won’t divulge the exact number), I penned the opening lines to a song that would never be heard, but would be included in a letter to the then Minister for Education, which would never receive a reply.  The lines were as follows:

“Tomorrow is just another day- so you’d better get on your knees and pray. Ask me no truths and I’ll tell you no lies- tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life. It doesn’t matter which way you may go- you can only make with what you know, you can only do with what you have- if it weren’t so sick it would make me laugh.”

My seventeen-year old self was far wiser than I gave her credit for. She had already been writing poems, songs and stories since she learned how to pick up a pencil, and form her own mark from the indistinct scribbles of the alphabet. She had decided, at the age of fifteen, to diverge from the pre-approved path of college, degree, nine-to-five her seniors had beaten down her peers to. She would skip college entirely, and dedicate her life solely to writing. And two years on, she had no intention of altering her plans.

That said, the day my Leaving Certificate results were released on that wretched monochrome slip of paper, was not one of my better days. I cursed the B1 that smirked at me opposite ‘English’ on that foul page of otherwise meaningless letters and numbers. I, who was destined to spend the rest of my life working with words and letters, who forced pen to paper until my knuckles were raw and bloody, who even convinced my sceptical parents I needed grinds from a Dublin-based English teacher every Saturday afternoon, had failed. Not in English, or any other subject for that matter, but I had failed in obtaining the A1 I’d fought for until my nails were bitten to the bone.

I kept my promise to myself, and I never did go to college and earn a degree. In fact, I remain one of the few people I know of my generation who didn’t.  True to my vow at fifteen, I dedicated my life to writing. The years that my peers spent studying, boozing, travelling, writing theses and graduating, I spent working crappy jobs, earning little qualifications wherever I could (namely in photography, writing, business and computing) and writing my first novel, Empire Evolution, in addition to the foundation work for my second novel, The Katzenjammer Chronicles, and my photo-documentary project Life on the Other Side of the Tracks. I didn’t get what I wanted on this day all those years ago, but if I had, and I had chosen to go to college, Empire Evolution would not exist. Nor would the foundations of my two books to come. Barbed-Wire Cage and Detonation Day may, but without Empire Evolution, none of it would mean a damn to me.

So what’s the lesson to take from all of this? Not to allow your Leaving Cert results to dictate your life. There is a back road to everything, and while the road may be longer and rougher, the destination remains the same. There is no less courage in changing the route. Perhaps had my results been different, I would have a degree, a house, a steady nine-to-five. However, I wouldn’t have created my greatest achievement to date- my first novel- and for this reason, I will never regret the route I did not take.