This just in from the Department of Things Could Hardly Get Much Worse (Or Could They?).
I see that on RTÉ Brainstorm Dr Miriam Haughton of NUIG is calling for daily arts reports, just as we have daily sports reports.
She suggests it would be good for the arts world: “ . . . if exposure to the activities of the arts and lives of the artists were funnelled into our homes, phones, laptops and newspapers on a daily basis. Daily news exposure won’t fix the arts crisis in Ireland, but it will widen the conversation. It will provide space for debate, signal the nuances involved--“
Okay. We’ll hold it there.
Miriam, I know you are trying to improve the standing of the arts in Ireland, but I feel I must urge caution; in fact, I must call for a full stop to this campaign, here and now.
Because this is what daily arts reports would sound like.
“ . . . and that’s today’s news, weather will follow after the arts report. Sarah, what’s new?”
“Well, I’m sure everyone is still just catching their breath again this morning — will we ever forget last night? What a performance!
“If you’re just tuning in I’m referring of course, to the opening of the installation, Cleanliness = Isolation Two, in the Irish Museum of Modern Art last night. We caught up with the artist, Triple V, at the end for a few words, and here’s what she had to say about the evening . ..
"Lookit, I knew well coming up here this evening that I had a big job on my hands. The IMMA is a place every artist wants to be but it’s a tough place to come out of with a result. It was all made worse, of course, by the fact that I was written off by everybody, that nobody gave me a chance, but you know something, that creates a better atmosphere within the camp, and I’m just delighted now. I left it all out there tonight which was what I wanted. I wanted to give a performance and to see where that brought me, and thank God it went my way in the end.’
“Yes folks, that was Triple V. In other news, novelist Kay White has responded to the criticism of her newest book by fellow author Ron Trumpet. Here’s the audio: ‘I’ve got nothing but respect for Ron, I know his form and I know that he’s just not that kind of author, this is completely out of character for him — it’s obviously just something that’s happened in the heat of the moment and not something that should influence how people view his whole career. I certainly hope he’s not facing a long suspension for it because I’d hate for him to miss out on any future books just because he’s stuck on the sideline.’
“And finally this morning, poet Kris Carpetman on his new collection, which hits the shops this week: ‘Look, just glad to have fronted up, to be perfectly honest with you. It was a big ask to come up with the goods and I’m happy that I backed myself and was able to come through with the goods. Sometimes it depends what poet turns up on the day but thankfully I’ve always been a writer who knows where the finishing line is.’”
I think the lesson is clear.
We all want the arts sector to come back strong after the lockdown — we all want every sector to recover — but be careful what you wish for when it comes to increasing visibility.
More coverage can mean more questions, and more questions can lead to . . . there’s no nice way to put it.
To more cliches.
Do we really want to hear more about fifty-fifties and savage honesty? More hanging in there and closing it out, more it is what it ises and we are where we ares? More work-ons? More learnings? More gutteds?
Leave us our cliches. In this terrible time, they’re all we have.
Did road bowling come from Long Island?
I wrote here recently about
The British Are Coming: The War For America 1775-1777
by Richard Atkinson and a terrific book it turned out to be — broad sweep accompanied by some terrific detail, just what you want in a weighty lockdown read.
I was surprised, for instance, to tumble across a detailed breakdown of the role played by Cork in provisioning those British forces in America in Chapter 10: The Whipping Snake.
The chapter begins with “War was good for Cork” and Atkinson continues with a terrific description of the work of the abattoirs sending beef to America: for that to happen, “eighty thousand bullocks had plodded through the markets north of Blarney Lane”.
Recruitment of soldiers could prove more difficult in the area, however, as “Many Irishmen had vowed never to pull trigger on the Americans, ‘among whom they all have relations’, according to a report from Cork.”
However, what also caught my eye was an offhand reference to American officers being released from New York jails to while away their time working on farms out on Long Island: for recreation they resorted to “throwing long bullets (an Irish game that involved throwing heavy stones)”.
This is surely bowlplaying, right?
My question now is this — did the American officers learn the game from the “cousins” back in Cork and carry it across the sea as colonists?
Or did some of the British officers passing through Cork pick it up and share it with others in the New World?
Mallow GAA run for charity
There’s no shortage of good causes going, but a word here about one that’s going on not far from your columnist’s front door.
Next May 23 and 24, the footballers and hurlers of Mallow GAA will each run 19km to raise much-needed funds for three local charities.
The charities involved are Mallow Search & Rescue, St Vincent de Paul, and Autism Assistance Dogs.
I’m told the players greatly appreciate the support they receive from the community, and in the absence of match action they’re hoping to put their energy to good use in helping these charities at such a difficult time.
All monies will go directly to the three charities involved and any donation will be much appreciated. For more information, go to gofundme.com/Mallow-GAA-19kms-in-aid-of-covid19.
Dining out history of eateries
You might think in one way it’s a form of torture, but I’m enjoying a terrific book at present precisely because it details something we can’t get out and do right now.
The Restaurant: A History of Eating Out by William Sitwell is just the ticket in the lockdown. It reminds you of the simple enjoyment of going out to consume, though that’s hardly a straightforward story.
What may resonate in the time of distancing is the gradual move. The medieval food stall, out on the street in all weathers, drifts indoors to become a restaurant — ironically enough, as we may be heading in the opposite direction soon.
(There’s a sports angle, of course: the mid-European explosion in soccer theory a century ago is linked directly to the coffee shop culture in places like Vienna, for instance.) I recommend highly. And demand respect for the lack of tortured food-service puns to be found in the lines above.