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Showing posts from November, 2012

In the House of Colour

I've just returned from a long weekend in Dublin. It's a strange place to go for a weekend retreat away from it all considering that I just left Ireland six months ago on the grounds that I don't want to stay in 'that hole of a place' anymore.
But Dublin was being its usual seductive self. The sky was blue, the streets were getting ready for Christmas and there was that buzz about the place that you just don't get anywhere else. When you've been away for a while you begin to see things with different eyes. And when you've been living in Germany for a while, you begin to value things like chit chat and common courtesy. You don't mind that the guy in the O2 shop who's title, I swear,  is 'account guru', does not have a clue on how you can reactivate your old account and scribbles down some vague phone number of a place to call, no, you only care that he was nice about his incompetence, and you leave the shop feeling good about yourself.

The Definition of Insanity

I used to deliver training with a colleague who liked to kick off the session asking if anybody knew what the definition of insanity was. There would be the odd grunt, but the standard next sentence would be that she would tell them. 'It's doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results.' Then there would be a few more grunts and the odd time somebody might pipe up that they had heard this before, yes, and that it is a quote from Einstein.  I've been reading a wonderful biography on Einstein recently, and he definitely did not say that. No, there are a lot of misconceptions about poor old Einstein, and he did say and do a lot of genial things, but  the closest I can get to finding this particular piece of misinformation by anybody of note at all, is Rita Mae Brown, and if you think about it, it definitely has a bit more of a Rita Mae ring to it than Einstein. 
So after a while of hearing this quote once a week, I began to wonder if I might be insa…

A Strange Affair

My mother had an affair with a married man. An affair! A married man! It sounds like the stuff of movies was happening in catholic Auburn Road way back in 1980. But things are only ever as sensational as you want them to be, and the arrival of this man to our house on foot of my father's untimely death, was, well, something happy in the house for a change.
His name was Tom for the first 17 years, but when I named my own son Tom ( yes, a child named after somebody's illicit lover), rather than the usual 'Tom junior' being donned to my child, mother's Tom became known as 'big Tom', and that stuck.

Big Tom. I can only say what they all say about illicit love affairs: 'It's not like you think'. But really, I swear, it wasn't like that. You see, Big Tom and my mother were an item before either of them ever got married. They went out. She was never the mother to get close to her children and talk facts, so all I know is that he took her to Bray He…

Karlsruhe Poetry Slam

You do strange things when you move country. You start eating different food and talking another language. You drive on the wrong side of the road and if it is Germany you have moved to, before long, you start wearing sensible shoes and thinking that it's perfectly normal to hang out naked with strangers in a sauna.
So I shouldn't have been surprised when I found myself coming out of my retirement as a poetry slammer and performing in very bad german to incredibly large audiences who show up to see a bunch of the oddest people in the universe spout about anything at all for seven minutes. In Ireland it's three minutes, but that would be an Irish three minutes so it works out around the same.

But it's not just the time that's different, it's all a bit German over here. Last night I was invited to participate in a slam that took place in the castle at Karlsruhe. I mean, hello, the actual big huge castle, in a proper posh room with big chandeliers and about 200 pe…