Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Ireland, the Olympics, Snowdonia and Nanci Griffith

 Fáilte! Hello dear blog readers! I love you all!

 I apologise for not having blogged in quite a while, but I have been on holiday in Ireland and since then have been busy with a few things, such as a new project at Cornerhouse cinema/art gallery, about which I am very excited! More about that later.

 Firstly I will tell you about my trip to Ireland. It was lovely. I love Ireland; I have a lot of family who live there and have visited many times. It is a truly beautiful country and I really feel at home there. 

 We stayed in County Wexford, in the south-east of Ireland, where we spent time in the pretty little town of Wexford itself, at the beach, walking in the hills, and at Hook Head with its lighthouse - the oldest intact operational lighthouse in Ireland - and its spectacular coast with crashing blue waves, seals bobbing up and down and hundreds of tiny fossils all over the rocks.

 We then drove across Ireland to County Limerick, to the city of Limerick which is one of the largest cities in Ireland. We met up with family there and had a really nice time. Limerick is a lovely city - and it has the River Shannon running through it! I love cities with a river or a coastline. I just love being near water. 

 I also want to proudly point out that in one day we crossed the two longest rivers in Ireland - the Shannon and the Barrow. I think that's quite a cool achievement, especially when we didn't set out to do it; it just happened that they were both on our route from Wexford to Limerick.

 We watched the Olympic Opening Ceremony when we were in Ireland, and I was quite impressed. More than I had expected to be! I didn't have any prejudices, I just thought it would be impossible to match Beijing. But it was actually really good. I especially liked the beginning section with the choirs and then the industrial revolution and Kenneth Branagh. 

 I also liked the part with James Bond and the Queen, the Abide With Me section - Emeli Sandé is amazing - and the lighting of the cauldron. I think the petal idea was really good.

 I wasn't keen on Paul McCartney's appearance - I like his music but am a bit tired of him being treated like some kind of national treasure and featuring at every event like this. And the same for David Beckham! I think he's very overrated as a footballer. However, I understand he played a big part in bringing the Games to London, so I respect him for that. 

 I loved the fact that they had Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, in the ceremony. The Web really does shape the way we live in the western world in this day and age. I hadn't known he was British. Now he is a national treasure!

 On the way back from Ireland I spent some time with a good friend of mine in Wales, which was lovely. We also got to explore some of the Welsh countryside and Snowdonia. I had never been there before and it was very beautiful and striking; I would love to go back there some day. It was brilliant to see Mount Snowdon, even if most of it was shrouded in mist!

 Since getting back I have been working on a new project at Cornerhouse; I am one of a team of young curators who are curating our very own exhibition of artists' work. I did something similar in January when I was on the curation team for the exhibition Lost is Found, and I really enjoyed that, so it's lovely to have the chance to do it again.

 I have been listening to a great deal of music from the amazing Nanci Griffith. I will do a full post on her very soon, but for now here is a selection of some of her very best songs.

 I Knew Love, which is a simply stunning love song - and very sad too. I learnt the lyrics to this when I was little and used to sing it all the time.

 More than a Whisper; this is a live version which I only recently discovered and which I love. I have listened to the album version all of my life on the Last of the True Believers album (pictured below as the thumbnail for the next two songs which are also both from that album). All the images of the winter and the snow and needing to be woken up always made me think of a badger curled up asleep for the winter.

 Goin' Gone; this was one of my favourite Nanci songs, and probably my favourite from this album, when I was younger. I then went though a stage of not liking it very much, and then I started liking it again! Ah well, there's no accounting for tastes! The lighthouse imagery is a bit top-heavy, but the sentiment is very real and beautiful.

 Fly by Night is a Nanci song I didn't used to really appreciate because it is the second-last song on its album, and I used to listen to Nanci albums going to sleep, and so I'd usually be half asleep by the time this was on, and although I liked it, it never really stood out for me as a favourite. 

 I then rediscovered it years later on YouTube and realised I really love it; it is a really strong, gutsy song about someone who is not taking any nonsense any more, and I love that. The musicality is gorgeous too, as in all Nanci songs. The woman is nothing short of a genius.

 She is so fantastic; she has a beautiful, unique voice, and is a simply stunning songwriter. She is one of the best musicians I have ever known. 

 In other news, I have found out that In Your Eyes by Niamh Kavanagh was the reigning Eurovision winner when I was born, and I am very chuffed about that because I love that song.

 I'll sign off for now.

 Thanks for reading,

 Liz x

Songs: I Knew Love - Nanci Griffith - 1988
More Than A Whisper - Nanci Griffith - album version released 1986, this live version released 1988
Goin' Gone - Nanci Griffith - 1986
Fly by Night - Nanci Griffith - 1986

1 comment:

  1. what a great read Liz, of course I loved the part about Nanci Griffith - a national treasure the folks in the US don't seem to know they have. LOL