Saturday 5 March 2016


When I started work at The Institute just over 3 years ago, we acquired a red Toyota Yaris, low mileage, one lady owner and it has been transporting me back and forth the 40km to work and back home in the evening. When I'm not piling the motor up a ditch, that is. I don't really pay much attention to cars [or clothes, haircuts, watches and other fashion accessories] but there are some features on the Yaris that are neat:  there's a little bucket in the door handle that is really convenient for road-toll coins; there's a glove-compartment on the dashboard behind the steering wheel where I can dump petrol receipts, a penknife and a spare pair of socks [black wool with dark blue clocks on them, naturally].

Fashion accessories are those things that you don't really need but which you are persuaded, by advertising or peer-pressure or 'normality', are desirable - nobody cares tuppence about cuff-links nowadays, but they were until recently essential parts of normal dress for blokes.  I was writing about how, when Dau.I and Dau.II were growing up, I'd gone mad about buying CDs and then DVDs. I must have a couple of hundred of each.  My laptop used to have a CD/DVD player and indeed we had a dedicated DVD projector at one time.  But, iTunes and The Cloud and Youtube mean that I don't need music or film as a physical plastic disc anymore. Indeed they are now wholly redundant because I lack the machine to make them play; they are as useless and outmoded as my extensive vinyl collection of Brahms, Brubeck and Bob Dylan.  A few weeks ago, Dau.II came to visit and she presented me with a CD containing the sound-track for the film Powaqqatsi the sequel to Koyaanisqqatsi. Don't bother unless you like Philip Glass but these pretentiously intellectual video extravaganzas are my sort of film: a) pretentiously intellectual b) absent car-chases, kalashnikovs c) nice to look at.  Glass and Co don't play it for laughs, but you can't have everything.
Dau.II "I thought you'd like this soundtrack for Powaqqatsi"
Self "Thanks, I really loved this first one but the sequel is excellent also in it's own way"
Self "But you know I lack the ability to play this medium, except on the CD/Radio system in the kitchen"
Dau.II "What about the car, y'daft pillock?"
Self "What about it? it's only got a radio"
Dau.II (patiently) "Have you noticed the CD sized slot in the housing just above the radio . . ."

These last few weeks I've been driving down to the Waterford Coast on Sunday afternoons to do boy's-night-in with my father-in-law aka Pat-the-Salt. Sunday afternoon is a wireless desert in Ireland - unless you are mad about sport.  The nation would be fitter and healthier if they just had a loop broadcasting on weekend afternoons: "Shift your sorry ass away from the wireless and go participate in the some sport rather than listening to this stuff." ANNYway, with a choice between commentary on a GAA football match on one channel and club rugby on the other I was about  to choose Channel 3 = OFF when I remembered the Powaqqatsi. The slot inhaled the CD and music blared forth. I really love the first track in Powaqqatsi: it's a got a catchy percussive beat with signalling whistles which reminds me of my days as a barely functional sambista in a rather lively Samba School in Dublin. The journey flew by in a heart-beat.

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