My first foray into the world of blogging those bizarre, potentially irrelevant or irreverent and at times no doubt dull musings that occur at the oddest of moments but that are at all times part of the human condition.
It is New Year’s Day, 2014, and I spent some of my day driving from Dublin to Cork, listening to the radio. I was struck, not for the first time, by how commonplace reports of fatalities and serious injuries have become, often accompanied by the explanation that a fight had broken out at a house party or outside a nightclub.
I’m not so naive as to believe that fights are a new phenomena. As young stags have tested their emerging strength with head to head challenges in the forest, so we humans, since time before time, have engaged in similar antics. I’m not justifying this, just setting a context for a more sinister turn I am sensing. The young human bucks fighting with only their fists typically emerge with a bloody nose, a broken jaw and a sore head. Nothing pretty about it.
And then occasionally, and usually where alcohol and or illegal drugs are a factor, the situation takes a turn for the worst and a young man or woman is beaten to death. No chance here for either party to think better of it the next day. Lives lost and others ruined.
The change I sense in Ireland of 2014 is in the carrying of weapons.
Since when do our teenagers travel in gangs and carry knives? Since when do our twenty somethings have apparent ease of access to guns?
Carrying a weapon, to my non-legal brain, shows a willingness to injure another person.
A precursory search for statistics on violent crime in Ireland suggests that it is reasonably static and from this I take heart. My intention here isn’t to frighten or to take from any of the hope and positivity that the new year brings but simply to contribute to a dialogue – one I hope will contribute to a dissipation of the anger being vented senselessly on our streets.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’d love, especially, to hear that you think I am reading the tea leaves incorrectly.
[Terry: Welcome to America, Grace!]
Last week University College Cork hosted an evening on Climate Change to include a screening of the documentary Chasing Ice, http://www.chasingice.com/ . It provides time lapse imagery of the depleting Arctic ice mass; the ‘canary in the coal mine’ on climate change.
Since childhood I have had an interest in all things environmental, feeling a sense of connection with and consequent responsibility for, the awe inspiring planet that is Earth.
Recently though I’ve fallen off the wagon. Well done to Dr Paul Bolger of the Environmental Research Institute of UCC and his colleagues for shaking me up again. And well done on the standing room only attendance on the night.
Chasing Ice is a visually breathtaking documentary which is worth seeing for the photography and videography alone. Choose to avoid the moral message if you will; the ability of photographer James Bulag to capture the sheer sublime beauty of the Arctic landscape is awe inspiring. Lets face it, most of us will never get to experience this in the first person and rightly so: We cannot have it all and maintain the delicate balance of our finite planet at the same time.
My life, no doubt like your life, weaves disparate threads into the one narrative that rolls out before me and adds a semblance of comfort to the chaos.
Yet this week the threads held some relationship to each other. For a number of days I have been largely confined to the house as my daughter has a viral fever. A text early on in the week from a friend, a mother of older children, reminded me to cherish the few days I would spend with her and this I did. We watched every episode of Little House on the Prairie that was ever made. What a production!
It is in one of the episodes, where Mr Edwards is wooing Grace, that the first of these threads wove its magic. Edwards displays his optimism for his love match by singing ‘Old Dan Tucker’ with varying levels of brightness. An American folk song of uncertain origin, my only previous encounter with it was as a cover by Bruce Springsteen on his 2006 album, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. It became a staple in our house and most especially our car, following a Bruce concert in Cardiff, Wales, that my sons, then 9 and 6 years old travelled to with their dad. Such lucky boys.
Tonight I was driving home in the dark, alone, and was delighted to tune into an interview with Brian O’Driscoll, Irish rugby legend, and his father on RTE. It was an interview interspersed with the guests’ choice of music and Brian’s first piece was Bruce’s Dancing in the Dark, released in 1984. At that time I was 11, Brian was 5. When asked why he had chosen the song Brian’s response was that Bruce was a timeless legend, that our grandchildren’s grandchildren will be listening to his music.
The final thread in this week’s tapestry? Bruce unceremoniously releases a new album this week, High Hopes.