Saturday, December 25, 2010

One Step Ahead of Myself

Bonjour, mes amis. Merry Christmas!

It's that time of year again; time for reflective entries where I think about the type of person I'd like to become and ways I plan to get there. On the plane on the way home from Edinburgh, in a bid to distract myself from my fear of falling out of the sky, I made a list of resolutions. Not one of my resolutions is weight related. I think that's progress. My healthy eating and positive habits are just life now, I will continue to lose weight because I've changed. I don't need to put unnecessary focus on it.

It's mostly career-related, this list. That's fairly amazing when you consider that this time last year I didn't have a clue what I wanted to do. I thought event manager. Funnily, that's still part of the package.

I'm not sure if I've written about it here yet, but I've decided to pursue being a singer/songwriter. My core of family and 2 Cork friends have been just really supportive. As in, no one has tried to talk me out of it. When I told Martha she very calmly said, "Yes. I think that's probably right." As if it'd been staring us all in the face. I suppose in a way it had?

So my resolutions are as follows:

__..::  Write and/or play music every day.

__..::  Record three albums.

__..::  Record one Wizard Rock album.

__..::  Become an inspirational performer. (Totes easy, guyz.)

__..::  Achieve the next grade in piano.

__..::  Spend time promoting myself.

__..::  PLAY AT LEAKYCON!!!!!!

__..::  Book at least one live show of my own music.

__..::  Write more letters.

__..::  Gain an acceptable level of French. (Be able to hold a conversation.)

Before the 16th December I honestly thought that the Snow Ball in Edinburgh would be my last Wizard Rock show. I thought I was finished writing music about Harry Potter. Being there, spending the weekend with my friends, meeting new friends, singing, drinking endless tea, singing, hugging, eating porridge and singing.... It's just reminded me what friendship can be. It's reminded me of why I got into it. It reminded me of how amazing people can be, how you can have a group of friends around you who look out for you and care for you the way you care for them. It's something that I encountered twice in America and something I don't think I've ever really encountered in my own Irish life. It's incredible. And so, I feel inspired to keep doing it. Until I have to stop...

I'm not the kind of person who will keep flogging a dead horse. When the time comes, I will stop. If I'm not inspired, I won't write. But the people in the community, especially here in Europe and Scandinavia just surprise me with their warmth, their support and their willingness to give of themselves. When I see someone come from Norway or Germany to come to a Wizard Rock show that I'm playing at, it really amazes me. And no one is horrible. We don't seem to have any drama over here.

Okay, I need to stop gushing. Long story short: ♥

Here are some photos of what I got up to...


Cathrin, Ellie, Laura, me, Lucy

Singin' at the Snow Ball.

Snowball fight with Kylie in the Tom Riddle Graveyard.

I wrote this.

I didn't write this.

My voice was fairly wrecked by the time I came to these two songs so please don't judge. D:

Sunday, November 21, 2010




I'm so inspired right now! I need to be singing! <3

Friday, November 12, 2010


An example of a time I wanted to be taken seriously

I am quite confident that I don't take myself too seriously. As I go about my life I literally police myself about it. Recently though, I've worried that I try too hard not to take myself seriously. Perhaps I should start, because if I don't, who will. It's possibly a symptom of what we in Ireland consider a very Irish mentality. We don't like to make it seem like we're anything out of the ordinary. We would like to make it seem that what we do or what we have achieved is just a trifle, that it was nothing. And if anyone acts like they worked hard for what they have, we consider them to be snobs and tend to be suspicious of them.

"Ireland is a nation of begrudgers," is a phrase that is tossed around quite freely here. And it's true. And I often worry that if I were to just explode my sense of containment, to say the really arty, stupid things that come into my head, people would think that I'm assuming another personality and doing it for attention. The reason I've been thinking about it more recently is because I want to be an artist. There is, obviously, a type of artist that is very coy and cunning about everything that they say. I would at least enjoy a period of unpoliced freedom to say and create whatever I like.

I'm always drawn to song-writers who don't follow the rules. Marina and the Diamonds, Regina Spektor, Elbow, Florence and the Machine, Lily Allen. In art class at school, I used to detest when I was making something I was excited about and my teacher would tell me how to fix it and what I shouldn't do. It's that age-old argument of "What is art?" At that point I just wanted the freedom to explore my abilities and what worked and what didn't.

That's what I want now. I'm writing all these slightly absurd lyrics. (One song is actually inspired by the Absurdest play "The Sandbox" by Albee.) And songs about the change that has happened, the way I understand my brain, the people I know and how I feel about what's occurring (<---pop reference!) Even though the speed at which I'm turning out complete songs isn't what I'd hoped, I'm still getting into the lyrics which I always found the hardest part.

In the end, if I start Tweeting or blogging completely teenage things and just seeming a bit pretentious, please don't hate me. I probably won't even get past my self-preservation reflex anyway, but I thought I'd just jot it down... in case.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Not a Slacker!

(At the risk of sounding American:) I HAVE TOTALLY NOT BEEN SLACKING OFF!

I've written a LOT of sets of lyrics and thought an awful lot about things. Tomorrow I'll be back in the music room and it will be fabulous.

It's interesting, this project. It's particularly interesting that ALL my lyrics are about the time in life when you are young and expected to understand what the heck is going on and who you are and what you want to spend the rest of your life doing. That time that I hope I'm coming out the other side of. So, I'm going to write some music for those songs and choose something else to write a song about. Last night I forced myself to write about something else. And I was quite happy with the result. But let's see how it is with music. :)

When I'm out and about, of even doing something as mundane as peeling carrots, I seem to have these great sparks of inspiration for songs. But I forget them almost as soon as I'm finished what I'm doing. Ah, so fickle is the nature of creativity.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bumpy Road

I am extremely unwell. All my energy today went into doing work-work. (As opposed to work.) At the moment I am going to concentrate on battling this chest, throat and sinus infection. But hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to write again. Listening to myself rasping on the last two recordings is driving me around the twist!

Naturally I'm really inspired at this time of not being able to write. ;)
I am enjoying this spoon's face.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Song numero 2

Well. Body has decided that now is the best time to have a chest/sinus/throat infection. So in case you were wondering why Song Numero 1 was so breathy, this is probably the reason. I mean, I can't be 100% sure, but the evidence is certainly pointing that way.

Today and yesterday I learned a few things:

1: If I want to be a musician, I will have to live...
     a) Not under a flight path
     b) Not next to neighbours with a strange LOVE of construction

2: Don't leave the condenser mic on top of the piano because it WILL fall down and give me a heart attack.

3: I'm going to have to work harder at writing non minor melodies. I just don't know how to do this. Maybe I should collaborate with someone happy.

So I didn't write anything yesterday because I was in bed except for when I had to teach. I've nearly finished the entire series Gavin and Stacey. It's amazing. I love it. This means I'm one song behind. When I feel better I'm going to have to catch up.

Okay, so here's today's offering. Please excuse my DISGUSTING voice and any ambient noise such as men with electric saws outside. It's not very finished, it's more of an idea that I've recorded.


Start out closed and almost frozen,
When you go your mind will open
Letting in all sorts of crazy
Things but will you let them win?

Shoeless art, attack the heart and
Deconstruct what already does
not make any sense and put your
Hand up so that you can gain a

Feeling that you know what's going
On the inside you feel so bewildered
Spoons and cows and toes and
Political blanket-throws...

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaSoWriMo: 30 songs in 30 days!

Cathrin Cowdrey, me, Laura Crow @ a show we played in Cumbria, UK on Saturday

I have an announcement to make. It's quite serious. I do hope you're sitting down. Are you ready?

I'm coming out.... as a singer-songwriter. It's my career choice.

As you may already know, it is November, AKA: NaNoWriMo or "National Novel Writing Month." As a former participant, I understand how fantastic and awful writing 50, 000 words in thirty days can be. When I considered the month of November, examining my schedule I realized that I can't do this. Not in a negative way. It's just not the right time for me. I need to be focusing my creative energies in improving my songwriting skills and creating a body of work that I'm proud of.

And so I have invented NaSoWriMo.

Because I am trying to improve, your input, constructive criticism and comments would be VERY much appreciated. And before you say anything about how awful the recording is, I know. But it's the song we're looking at, not the terrible recording. Kthanks.

I'm going to design some sort of meme-style form to remind me what's surrounding the songs.

This song is for everyone I've ever met.


Feel this star inside your soul
And know that I'm not the one
That holds the holds the answers 
To what's haunting you
Stop looking around, 
It can't be found

Inside the darkness 
You have found
A way to keep the ground 
Beneath your feet
One move and you'll collapse
The pieces of you don't quite match...

All you want is someone to

Believe in you
To help you through
Things are not so easy now
Nothing's clear
The path is what you fear

Inside the darkness 
You have found
A way to keep the ground 
Beneath your feet
One move and you'll collapse
The pieces of you don't quite match...

Can't move, can't see
Feel this star and start to breathe

Inside the darkness 
You have found
A way to keep the ground 
Beneath your feet
One move and you'll collapse
The pieces of you don't quite match...

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Chocolate Hazelnut Torte from Sunday lunch today. Got to have the dark chocolate! ;)
Hooray! I was tagged in this meme thing by The Cottage Smallholder. The rule is to tag eight other bloggers and make your own eight questions. 

I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

__..::1* What have you learnt from blogging?
I started blogging when I was an angsty 17 year old. Over the years I've learned that it's a very good idea to just let all the ideas, troubles, annoyances, happiness sprawl on the page. Once they're there it's much easier to be reflective and to work things out. I'm actually looking forward to meeting more bloggers. I'm new to the public blogging thing, really. If anyone has any tips, I'm open to learning!

__..::2* What was your proudest moment and why?
Graduation day at university. I have never worked so hard or suffered so much for anything in my life. It was an incredibly tough course (Music and Drama and Theatre Studies) and I learned so much about the world, people and myself.

__..::3* What is the naughtiest thing that you have ever done?
I picked up all the business cards for a rival soprano, put them in my handbag and replaced them with my own. I feel so guilty to this day. I think I'll put them somewhere else because I can't live with the guilt.

__..::4* Who or what populates your nightmares?
Men with knives coming to stab me. My mother.

__..::5* Do you have “me time”. If so what do you do and why?
I love meeting up with my friends in Cork and Tweeting/Facebook. I find the internet so relaxing. It's better than a bath. I also enjoy tidying....
The whole social thing is good for me. I like socialising and meeting with people and the internet opens up the possibilities of who I might meet. :) It's very useful for keeping in touch with my friends in other countries, which I do every day. I prefer real life contact though, and that's why it's important to me to see my close proximity friends regularly.

__..::6* The one food or ingredient that you fret about running out and why?
Dark chocolate. Things can never go completely wrong when there's good quality dark chocolate in the store cupboard.

__..::7* The best book that you have read in the last five years and why?
OH MY GOD, HARDEST QUESTION EVER!!!!  I'm going to say 'His Dark Materials' which is a trilogy by Philip Pullman. It sucks you right it to its world and almost makes you into a character.

From my LiveJournal:
Jan. 5th, 2005 at 1:16 AM

"I've been reading Northern Lights and thinking about daemons. When I'm reading it/thinking about it I'm like "Wow, thank God no one will ever separate me from my daemon." It's actually surreal to think that I don't have one. I feel like I do."

__..::8* If you could erase a person/experience/mistake from your life who/what would it be and why?
No, never. Nothing. I don't think I'd erase anyone or anything. I've learned from everything.

1. What inspires you to blog?
2. What's the best thing about blogging, for you?
3. What is your favourite book of all time?
4. It's 9pm and for some reason you've been hungry all day, despite the three square meals. What do you rustle up?
5. Who are three of your style icons?
6. What's your current favourite song/piece of music?
7. What's the last book you read?
8. What is your current favourite recipe?
aaand I fail because I need more blogs! I INVITE YOU  TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS! :D

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Making of the Pumpkin Pie

Welcome autumn! It was really fiery and gorgeous for about two days and now it's lashing rain. It's pretty in a different way. Wet or grey weather is never something that I complain about. It's just very Irish, isn't it. It's a different sort of lovely and amazing.
When I was in school I used to imagine that college would be this endless autumn with scarves and coffee. It kind of was, but colder and rainier. There was lots of coffee, anyway.

When it's all moldy and slimy outside, it's makes me feel much more justified in staying indoors and baking. Last week I bought a GIANT pumpkin for six euro in the English Market in Cork. Last year I had my first go of cooking with a pumpkin and was informed after the fact that I was using the wrong sort of pumpkin.

It seems that in Ireland we seem to only use one sort - the big jack-o-lantern kind. Trust me, it tastes amazing. I am so completely unconcerned with it not being a "pie pumpkin."

Last year I scooped out the innards of our actual jack-o-lantern so I had to be quite careful of damaging his beautiful visage. But this year I was free to do whatever was necessary (bwa-ha-ha >:D ).

This pumpkin provided enough for two pumpkin pies, a vat of pumpkin soup, a tray of pumpkin pasties and a lot of purée has gone in the freezer for later.

Have you tried pumpkin? I don't think it's that common in the UK and Ireland. If anyone has any other suggestions for how to use up the rest of the pumpkin, please comment! :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Oh my Jo.

I've paused the interview that J.K. Rowling did with Oprah Winfrey. It's just that I feel quite overwhelmed. At the moment the huge messy ball of my thoughts is not showing any signs of organising itself, but I'd like to at least attempt to convey what it's about.

For over a year I've felt quite distant from the Harry Potter fandom, and from the story and "The Feeling." Without getting into a massive debate about tier systems, I have very much felt that the fandom as I knew it has disappeared and what is left is a community where we have made certain people celebrities. It makes me hugely uncomfortable. I couldn't exactly tell you why. Perhaps some part of me feels that celebrity is not what I signed up for. What drew me to the fandom was the people all over the world, from different families and religions and countries, who were on the same journey that I was. We were all Harry. We were all learning about how important love is, how important loyalty, friends, hard work are.

Me and Martha, queuing for Deathly Hallows. 2007

Listening to Jo Rowling speak about what it was like for her on the other side of the typewriter, about how she had no idea that there were children and adults alike reading the books and becoming involved in such a dramatic and emotional way, rekindled The Feeling for me. Honestly it really has been a long time. And how can I put into words what I've been through with these books, what they've done for me or how I've experienced them?

Let me explain for a moment what The Feeling is. (Although, I know that if you are reading this as a HP fan, I don't really need to.)

When it's an early autumnal  morning, everything's crisp and quiet and there is a mist hovering above the grass, you may experience The Feeling. It's almost as though the world is completely yours and only you know its secrets. That there's some strength or power you get from that. It's very difficult to describe an emotion in the first place. If all your friends and family turned up to surprise you with love and hugs, the feeling you would experience in the middle of the night when they're all asleep and it's quiet is "The Feeling."

It's kind of like "I feel so lucky to be alive that I'm slightly melancholy." Strange, but so am I.

I first read Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone when I was twelve years old. I've always felt different to my peers. And adults. And people younger than me. For some reason I've always felt just a little bit out of step. I tend to think of things differently, or imagine things differently. I'm convinced that this is a reason that I can't fathom poetry: it resonates COMPLETELY differently for me. I never saw what everyone in my class at school saw.

Don't get me wrong, I've never been shy or felt that being different was a very bad thing. It's just always been that way. Even something as small as like being the curly-haired girl in a class or straight-haired people. I've just always felt different. I've never seen a reason to be shy. When my school friends avoided raising their voices, I'd be the one shouting or singing or just asking questions.

It's my nature to be that way, definitely. And even though I never felt that I had to seek solace anywhere, I definitely found reinforcement in the Harry Potter books. Hogwarts was a place where EVERYONE was different. No one tried to be the same as anyone else. Each character had their own strengths and each character was on his or her own personal journey. They got through it all because they had individual power and the love of their friends.

I needed to see that. To this day, I'm not sure if a world exists where everyone feels okay being themselves all the time. I am myself all the time and I certainly feel that in some places Amy is frowned upon. But I needed to see that someone else believes that it's okay to think differently, or to be 'strange.' In the Harry Potter books, it's the idiosyncrasies of the characters that makes them so lovable and so memorable.

Jo Rowling didn't know it, but she and I were having a long conversation. She was teaching me how to feel things like loyalty, friendship, strength, love and grief and to understand what they meant.

My mother died when I was 15 years old, a good three years after I had started reading HP. It was sudden and unexpected. One day everything was fine, the next day I was told my mum was dying. Obviously it wasn't as straight forward as "I understood grief because of JK so I was fine," but I was certainly familiar with the concepts and emotions that came next. I recognised what I was going through because I'd been through it already with Harry. During my particularly dark periods, I could relate to Harry. I never felt a hundred percent alone.

The WZRD Staff. Terminus, Chicago, IL August 2008
There is so much I could say. I could talk about Terminus, about how much it meant to me to go and spend time with people who had been on the same journey as me. I could talk about how much I've gained from being the the fandom in terms of work experience and life experience. I could talk about you, my friends, who I'm sure wouldn't be reading if not for J.K. Rowling. Yet, I feel sure that she doesn't understand what she has done for so many people. I know that, simply because she is human, she can't begin to fathom the way she has touched so many people's lives. Maybe she thinks that we read and enjoy and are inspired.

We are.

But it's so much more than that.

Birmingham, UK.  October 2007
New Canaan, CT, USA. January 2008

With Squib Girl. Providence, RI, USA. January 2008

With Camie and Grace at FAO Schwartz, NYC January 2008

LeakyCon, Boston, MA. July 2009

The Snow Ball, Edinburgh, Scotland.
December 2009

Ellie, Laura, me, Cathrin and Lucy. After "The Cork Show"
June 2010

If you can relate or have any thoughts about this, please comment!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Vibes and Scribes

My amazingly fantastic and beautiful bookshelves. Back when it was new and i didn't want to overburden it.

On Tuesday I met my friend Martha for Coffee in Cork Coffee Roasters. That's irrelevant (but nice!) When we were finished I insisted we went into Vibes and Scribes, the bookshop next door because it's literally against the law to be near a Vibes and Scribes and not go in.

Let me just explain a little bit about Vibes and Scribes...

IT'S BEAUTIFUL! It's kind of like the bookshop of your dreams. Kind of. Not only do the have the best selection of cookery and bakery books in Cork, they also sell CUTE FABRIC for dressmaking and crafts. They have three branches in the city.

1: The craft shop.

2: The new books and fabric shop.
So many books on art, photography, cooking and baking, classics, young children's books, Irish writers, novels and random kitchen equipment.

3: The new and second hand book shop.
YAY SECOND HAND BOOKS AND DVDS AND ALSO MORE COOKERY BOOKS! There's a really heartbreakingly beautiful gardening section and a humour section and a young adult section.

And on top of that they have craft demonstrations for FREE every week in bookbinding, sewing, jewellery making and more. AND they hold weekly knitting groups and book clubs for children and adults.

Right, back to the story.

Martha saw a notice in the window that said they wanted full time staff. Suddenly my eyes grew as large as my head and filled with stars, just like an anime! And now I've completely convinced myself that I will work in Vibes and Scribes and it will be beautiful. I stayed up stupidly late last night editing my CV and even later just fantasizing about what life willwould be like if I worked there full time.

Now I have this weird pain in my chest that probably won't go away until I know that I don't have the job. D:

D: D: D:

Monday, September 20, 2010


I'd like to be a productive, successful person. If only I could find a way of using the internet to help me.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Yaaaay singing! Well, it's all extremely confusing at the moment. I've signed up to sing with a new teacher and I'm not sure how we're going to click. Open mind! :)

Apart from the teacher-finding problem I'm in a much better mental place. I'm reading a great book about technique and tips for coping with being sick and things. (Steam inhalation!) And it's really good to just go back to basics and think about things like diaphragmatic tension in a different way. I definitely pushed through too much air when I was with Hilary. Like, I'm breathy. I hate it. So in my practice at the moment I'm focusing a lot on regulation the flow of breath, keeping my throat open and not holding tension in the stem of my tongue, or in my upper body.

Even just having adjusted a few elements of my posture and the way I use my tongue, I'm able to keep singing for soooo much longer. I think I did a straight 40minute practice earlier. It did include breathing, but I totally think that's a worthwhile investment and it was mostly singing.

Another thing I'd like to change is my visualisation. Definitely with Hilary, the way she's taught me to visualise makes me inclined to be flat. She has always told me to think down when I'm singing up, because the larynx goes down when the pitch goes up.

So I used an exercise from the book I'm reading. It's one we used before in a speech module I did at college. You hum at a low pitch and feel the resonance with your fingers, then change the pitch and feel how the resonance moves. To be honest, I can never feel it with my fingers, but it always alerts me to where the resonance is actually going. So now, I'm imagining the different areas of my face, hairline, top of my head. It seems that when I do this I really do get a more resonant sound on my top notes. And for some reason it encourages me to open my mouth more at the top.

Just going back to the stem of my tongue, it's something that was pointed out in the book. When I studied with Hilary, she taught quite a complicated system of tongue positions. I understood it to an extent and it helped me a lot in my middle register but once I had to go up my upper register I found it constricted my throat. And I realise now it's because I was too focused on what my tongue was doing, and as a result I just tensed the bejesus out of it, which tightened my throat.

It is quite disheartening to come from five years of training to think that you have to go back to the start in many ways. Honestly, I'm relieved this is happening now rather than going on being afraid to sing because of sore throats and just STRESS. I learned a lot from Hilary and I can definitely sing. It's just that I think it's time for some new perspectives.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Wine Lady?

It's nice having neighbours. It's nice to know that if anyone tries to break into your house or murder you there will be people around to call the police or find your body. However, most people will have at least one set or family of neighbours who endlessly amaze with their level of inconsideration.

I have one such family of neighbours.

Last winter we were woken every morning by such trilling beauties as jackhammers and pneumatic drills right outside our window. For four seemingly endless months the house next door was effectively shelled out and rebuilt. In the end we were rewarded with an extension window which faced directly into our living room window. Hello new neighbours.

So, that's all in the past and forgotten, obviously. However, this family has a little boy. He's about five years old and likes to play in front of his house, which is totally fine. He also likes to play in our garden, which is not totally fine. Last week he was playing hurling right next to my car with indiscriminate force. I watched this from inside and the fourth time the ball narrowly missed my dad's car I decided to go out and tell them very sweetly to feck off.

Out I went and in my most teachery voice I said:

"Boys, make sure you stay off the grass here. Go and play in your own garden."


Me: "Nnnoo. This is my garden. That is your garden."


Me: "Play on the green or play in your garden. Don't play here."

Then something quite unexpected happened.

His little friend was mortified and started trying to explain. It just didn't make any sense.

So I was just watching them pick up their toys and move off the lawn when the child turned around and said

I mean, I could understand if he'd actually seen me carrying a bottle of wine or drinking wine. But I don't drink.

My conclusion is that this kid is mad.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I feel quite bad for not having posted at ALL in the last week. Last week literally nothing happened. I slept for the entire week trying to recover from the weekend before.

The show was EPIC! The only hitches happened in my set, which is okay because I feel I can take ownership over Siriusly Hazza P and Harry and the Potters' successes in a tiny way for actually being the person who organised the concert. It was a great weekend. I just can't stress how amazing my friends are. James and Lucy, Mary and Janice, my family - MY PIANO TEACHER, EVEN? All helped in some way and were there to support me. God. Amazing, really. The actually progression of the day went so eerily smoothly. There were no disasters. Well, my friend Martha has a seizure after my set but like, these things happen. More than 200people showed up. I'm still in shock.

The after party was cool too and culminated in me collapsing at 2.30am. Whimp.


Today this happened:

Me:Maybe getting a cat would help you with your paranoia.
Sister: I'm not paranoid!
Me: You called the police on some mice in your house....


God I can't believe how long it's been since I posted, really. Here are some photos:

I was in Cheshire visiting my friends a few weeks ago. They brought me to a BOUTIQUE that was NAMED AFTER ME!

Laura and Cathrin also brought me to a bakery which had SUCH tempting confectionary. I sampled 6 cakes and took the rest home to my father. :D

In the bakery I got a hug from Robert, my man cardi who I named after my boo, Robert Downey Jr.

Later I murdered them at the dinner table.

From the show weekend!

On Saturday we went into town with some Wizards and Witches.

Neil, Mel, James, me, Lizzy, Matt on our way to the Opera House

And in the evening I had everyone over for a barbecue at m'house:


Siriusly Hazza P

Me with a Hazza P on either side.

Harry and the Potters working the crowd!

Me, Cathrin and Ellie doing our thang.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pimping the Maids


Sadomasochism, homosexual, incest.

Moderately coherent thoughts:

'Pimping the Maids' was a multi-media exploration of Jean Genet's play 'The Maids.'

In the original play two sisters, Claire and Solange take turns in role playing the brutal murder of their mistress. It's based on a real story of the Papin sisters; two French maids who murdered their employer in 1933. In 'Pimping the Maids,' the audience was shown a selection from a material from a work-in-progress.

To be honest, it was quite weird. But that's good, to me the original play was weird. The whole concept is weird and it's even weirder when you read about the Papin sisters. It took place in the UCC Drama lab, which is where I expect weird experimental things to go down.

My favourite part was the soundscape. It was a combination of electronic sounds and strings being used in various ways. There was a man sitting to the side of the stage bowing, winding and tapping strings and playing pre-recorded speeches and (once) an opera aria. I found his goings-on pretty fascinating. I spotted what looked like a tiny hammered dulcimer that had a picture of the creepy Papin sisters glued to it.

I REALLY LIKED how they tied in the sense of tension throughout the different media. Over the drama lab's fireplace (yes, fireplace), there was a projected looped video of "Madame" looking down over the audience and actors sternly, portrait-style. The strings in the soundscape played a major part in the creation of tension. At one point the sound guy played the sound of wire strings being tightened, so that the audience is wondering when breaking-point is going to be reached.

Another example of the tension was in what I would like to call "the toilet roll scene." Madame stands on a stereo-speaker/pedestal over the two maids, who unroll and pull sheets of toilet roll. The more submissive maid seems able to break off the paper and bend the sheets, while the more frustrated, dominant maid pulls the sheets taught until they break. All the while a high-pitched whirring noise plays over the rest of the soundscape.

There was some spitting that I'd really rather not think about. But there was some amazing movement by the "Madame."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Different Things.

This morning as surreal. I wasn't at work. Work finished last Friday and yesterday was a bank holiday. There was a weird moment where I'd just cleaned the kitchen and hulled a load of strawberries for jam and I thought "I shouldn't be here." It was bittersweet because I would have been going into a double practical class which I never enjoyed but I sort of missed that sense of very fixed purpose.

So instead of shouting at a load of fourteen-year-olds, I made strawberry jam. :) I used a recipe from out family bible (below) which uses quite a troubling amount of sugar.




strawberry jam pots

This evening I made chocolate chip and hazlenut cookies....


Can you tell I need a purpose?