Sunday, December 13, 2009


“Then this blonde, about 19, with rimless glasses and a smile walked up. The smile never left. “I want to fuck you,” she said. “It’s your face.”

“What about my face?”

“It’s magnificent. I want to destroy your face with my cunt.”

“It might be the other way around.”

“Don’t bet on it.”

“You’re right. Cunts are indestructable.”

Image: Diane Arbus

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


As time and age distill me, i am fortunate to have people in my life who speak their minds and are unafraid of hurling themselves into new experiences. Bright pops of color amid a grey landscape.

"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!"

Jack Kerouac


I'm slightly in awe of artists -specifically sculptors- who embrace technicality in their work. I've met a few over the years and they appear to have a similar way of working things out: part artist, part mechanical engineer.

One such artist is Reuben Margolin. Based in the Bay area he creates kinetic wave sculptures. He utilizes materials ranging from wood to plastic piping to salvaged objects. Truthfully a still image doesn't do his mesmerizing work justice. His intricate sculptures range in size and he explores elements and aspects of nature such as tidal current or how a drop of liquid behaves as it hits a body of liquid. The video below give a brief glipse at how he creates and his workspace.

Friday, November 20, 2009


“You know how often the turning down this street or that, the accepting or rejecting of an invitation, may deflect the whole current of our lives into some other channel. Are we mere leaves, fluttered hither and thither by the wind, or are we rather, with every conviction that we are free agents, carried steadily along to a definite and pre-determined end?”

Thursday, November 19, 2009


It appears the secret to eternal youth is a solid diet of sugar and chocolate chips. Cookie Monster and his Sesame Street cohorts haven't aged a day. despite celebrating their 40th birthday on November 10th . The following is taken from McSweeneys and always makes me smile ( by Andy F. Bryan )

Cookie Monster searches deep within himself and asks: Is me really Monster??

Me know.
Me have problem.
Me love cookies.

Me tend to get out of control when me see cookies.

Me know it not natural to react so strongly to cookies, but me have weakness. Me know me do wrong. Me know it isn't normal. Me see disapproving looks. Me see stares. Me hurt inside. When me get back to apartment, after cookie binge, me can't stand looking in mirror—fur matted with chocolate-chip smears and infested with crumbs. Me try but me never able to wash all of them out. Me don't think me is monster. Me just furry blue person who love cookies too much. Me no ask for it. Me just born that way.

Me was thinking and me just don't get it. Why is me a monster? No one else called monster on Sesame Street. Well, no one who isn't really monster. Two-Headed Monster have two heads, so he real monster. Herry Monster strong and look angry, so he probably real monster, too. But is me really monster?

Me thinks me have serious problem. Me thinks me addicted. But since when it acceptable to call addict monster? It affliction. It disease. It burden. But does it make me monster?
How can they be so callous? Me know there something wrong with me, but who in Sesame Street doesn't suffer from mental disease or psychological disorder? They don't call the vampire with math fetish monster, and me pretty sure he undead and drinks blood.

No one calls Grover monster, despite frequent delusional episodes and obsessive-compulsive tendencies. And the obnoxious red Grover—oh, what his name?—Elmo! Yes, Elmo live all day in imaginary world and no one call him monster. No, they think he cute. And Big Bird! Don't get me started on Big Bird! He unnaturally gigantic talking canary! How is that not monster? Snuffleupagus not supposed to exist—woolly mammoths extinct. His very existence monstrous. Me least like monster. Me maybe have unhealthy obsession, but me no monster.

Me wrong.

Me too hard on self. Me no have unhealthy obsession. Me love cookies, but it no hurt anyone. Me just enthusiast. Everyone has something they like most, something they get excited about. Why not me? Me perfectly normal. Me like cookies. So what? Cookies delicious. Cookies do not make one monster. Everyone loves cookies.

Me no monster. Me OK guy. Me OK guy who eat cookies.

Who me kidding? Me know me never actually eat cookies. Me only crumble cookies in mouth, but me no swallow. Me can't swallow. Me no have no esophagus. Me no have no trachea. Me only have black fabric throat. Me not supposed to be able to even talk.

Me no eat cookies.
Me destroy cookies.
Me crush cookies.
Me mutilate cookies.
Me make it so no one get cookies.
Everyone right. Me really is cookie monster.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Aqua Nexus

Spotted the video below on Huffington Post and was amazed at Paul Nicklen's experience (not to mention his courage!) in Antarctica. Nicklen is a photographer and National Geographic contributor. He grew up in Nunavut, Canada. The Inuit living there taught him how to survive in the Arctic and read the weather. These skills combined with a deep love of nature and 4 years experience as a wildlife biologist in the Northwest Territories serve him well as a wildlife photographer.

Nicklen travelled with the intent of capturing images of Leopard Seals, one of the top predators in Antarctica. The Leopard Seal is the second largest seal in the Antarctic and its only natural predators are sharks and Orcas. They are huge animals averaging a weight of 1,200lbs,a body length of 11 foot and are viewed by many as being dangerous towards humans. Aggressive behavior and attacks have been documented and a biologist was dragged to her death by one in 2003.

His encounter with a female leopard seal resulted in a stunning series of photographs. After an initial encounter where she took the underwater camera and Nicklen's head into her mouth as a threat display; she accepted his presence. Over a four day period they interacted with each other; with the seal attempting to bond and feed him penguins. To see more of Paul's amazing photography click the link below.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bullseye on Bullshit

It appears that F.Scott Fitzgerald and Bill Hicks took a similar stance on Advertising:

"Advertising is a racket, like the movies and the brokerage business. You cannot be honest without admitting that its constructive contribution to humanity is exactly minus zero."

"By the way, if anyone here is in marketing or advertising...kill yourself. Thank you. Just planting seeds, planting seeds is all I'm doing. No joke here, really. Seriously, kill yourself, you have no rationalisation for what you do, you are Satan's little helpers. Kill yourself, kill yourself, kill yourself now. Now, back to the show. Seriously, I know the marketing people: "There's gonna be a joke comin' up." There's no fuckin' joke. Suck a tail pipe, hang yourself...borrow a pistol from an NRA buddy, do something...rid the world of your evil fuckin' presence."

The Milk of Human Kindness

From an album that's 4 years old and still sounds as fresh as the first day i heard it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Architectural Anomaly Part 1: The Broken Angel

One of the things that I really miss about Europe is the architecture. After moving from a place where thousand year old cathedrals and Georgian architecture exist alongside newer developments; Vancouver (a relatively young city) was a shock to the system. Downtown Vancouver is mainly constructed of glass and steel; developers appear to prefer to bludgeon older buildings in favour of throwing up yet another skyscraper. I’m drawn to decay, crumbling structures and the unusual. A walk through an older building serves to fuel my imagination and leads me to wonder about the people that have previously walked the corridors. Over the next few months I’ll be posting a series of my favourite buildings.

One of my all time favourites: The Broken Angel building in New York. It’s located at 4/6 Downing Street in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Artist Arthur Wood originally purchased the building, which was the former Brooklyn Trolley Headquarters, in the ‘70s for $2,000. Arthur and his wife Cynthia raised their son Christopher and over time they created a unique amalgamation of art and design. The building evolved into his largest work and was a work in progress over three decades. Wood used found objects and explored design as he added new floors and rooms to the original building. Gradually the structure rose about 104 feet above the sidewalk and had a wood-and-mirror Floor which appeared to float in mid air when viewed from the ground.

The inside of the building was like a huge cathedral with arches and colorful stained glass windows that were made from found bottles and glass. The house is a neighborhood institution and was featured prominently as a backdrop in the film Dave Chappelle's Block Party (You can see it in the clip below at 0.56 and 1.37). Christopher Wood said “Many of you wonder what the hell my parents are doing with that building. They always were building an outline of a dream, a building that was different from the usual architecture of today. They did this while never having enough money to complete their dream. But that didn't stop them for using found or discarded objects that we throw away ever day like the glass bottles that they used to create a stained glass windows.”

A fire broke out in the building in early October 2006 and the department of Buildings of New York city seized the building claiming that it was an unsafe structure. This meant evicting Arthur (75 years old at the time) and Cynthia (65 years old at the time) from their home of 30 years. A couple of days later police arrived, cordoned off Downing Street and had battering rams ready to strike down the door. When Arthur defied the vacate order by staying in the building, he was arrested. The police also arrested Cynthia. The Woods were not given an opportunity to challenge these claims and were denied access to accommodation in a shelter as they owned a property. Buildings inspectors issued numerous building code violations and as a result of this they were forced to sleep with their pets in a VW van near the building.

The Woods did everything they could to raise awareness of the issue. In order to try and save the building they removed the top structure and parts that may have violated any codes. Wood took out more than $1 million in loans to fund the demolition and rebuild the structure but it wasn’t enough for the Dept of Buildings who blocked additional work on the building. In early 2007 it was announced that Arthur Wood had partnered with a local real estate developer Shahn Andersen to renovate Broken Angel. The plan was to build a new addition to its side and to convert the building to residential condominiums and artist spaces.

Unfortunately things didn’t work out and plans to renovate it under the direction of Shahn Anderson were never completed. Facing foreclosure from Madison Realty Bank and with Cynthia battling cancer, the Woods attempted to fight the foreclosure and get their house back. After a 2 year struggle, Arthur put the remainder of what was once the 108-foot Broken Angel building up for sale. Now all that remains of a once truly individual building are the red brick walls and four floors of boarded-up windows.

All photos: Christopher Wood

Saturday, November 14, 2009

"Shock & Awe"....Puscifer in Vancouver Review

I can't remember the last concert or gig that i attended where i was filled with trepidation and anticipation in equal measure. As i walked through the doors of The Vancouver Centre for the Performing Arts i had no idea what to expect from the beast that is Puscifer. Puscifer (rhymes with Lucifer) is a multifaceted creative outlet for Maynard James Keenan; better known to some as the vocalist from Tool and A Perfect Circle. The debut album "V is for Vagina" was released in 2007 and was followed by some remix albums and EP's.

The reason for my trepidation was simply not knowing what to expect. I've seen Keenan perform many times previously but not under the Puscifer moniker. Never one to bow to the demands of an audience and judging by recent reports, shows on this tour have ranged from full on country to throbbing industrial. Unfortunately i didn't get a chance to catch the opening act Uncle Scratch's Gospel Revival (Edit:I've just been informed that Sweethead were the opening act) and arrived just as Maynard made his entrance...from inside a tent.

Shortly after this Major Douche (Keenan dressed in military gear standing in front of an American flag) made an appearance on the back screen and warned people about photography "Fucking Rude" and then urged the audience to get involved with a call and response. Indeed. Watching a few hundred people scream Vagina is always a good way to begin an evening :P

Combining numerous musical elements including industrial funk and primal drums; Keenan spent most of the night ensconced behind a fish eye effect monitor or wandering across the stage with a wineglass in hand. The band played a solid set consisting of "Sour Grapes", "Momma Sed", "Dozo" and "The Mission" amongst others. The night was interspersed with brief comedy skit interludes showcasing a tongue in cheek humour; not to mention Primus drummer Tim Alexander dressed as the tooth fairy. One thing that never ceases to amaze me is Keenan's voice; which i have never heard sounding anything less than note perfect live.

Overall i was really impressed and hope to catch Puscifer again. It was also refreshing to see something being given back to the fans in the form of a free copy of 'V is for Vagina'. The only downfall of the show was not the music or the band. It was the fans. At every Tool/APC gig I've been to there has been a small percentage of the audience that i want to bitch slap. Hard. Tonight was no different. It was a seated gig so people had to contend with others refusing to sit down; one idiot that lunged on stage and was dragged off by security and numerous others drunk and screaming through the songs. Puscifer is not a rock or metal band as such; they make music that evokes dancing (horizontally or vertically!) but i can't see the point of screaming or headbanging to it.

The new EP 'C is for (Insert Sophomoric Genitalia Reference HERE)' was released on November 10th and can be found on Amazon, I Tunes and will be available from the Puscifer store shortly.

Monday, October 26, 2009


There are now a few different ways to stay up to date with An Cathach

Updates via Email (see updates box on the right side of screen)

Updates Via RSS Feed (see updates box on the right side of screen)

Friday, October 16, 2009


"Fabulous. If you possess it, you don’t need to ask what it is. When you attempt to delineate it, you move away from it. Fabulous is one of those words that provide a measure of the degree to which a person or event manifests a particular oppressed subculture’s most distinctive, invigorating features.

What are the salient features of fabulousness? Irony. Tragic History. Defiance. Gender-fuck. Glitter. Drama. It is not butch. It is not hot. The cathexis surrounding fabulousness is not necessarily erotic. Fabulous is not delineated by age or beauty. It is raw materials reworked into illusion. To be truly fabulous, one must completely triumph over tragedy, age, and physical insufficiencies. Fabulous is the rapturous embrace of difference, the discovering of self not in that which has rejected you but in that which makes you unlike, the dislike, the other."

Tony Kushner

Image: Still from 'Angels In America'

Friday, October 09, 2009

Natural's Not In It

"This heaven gives me migraine
Coercion of the senses
We are not so gullible
We all have good intentions
But all with strings attached... "

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I Sell The Dead - An Interview With Director Glenn McQuaid

I Sell the Dead tells the tale of 18th century partners in crime Arthur Blake (Dominic Monaghan) and Willie Grimes (Larry Fessenden). After years of profitable grave robbing, events take a strange turn and justice finally catches up with the duo. As Arthur is imprisoned and waiting to be beheaded he’s visited by a Irish priest named Father Duffy (Ron Perlman). In exchange for a share in a bottle of whiskey Arthur tells the story of his life and explains how grave robbery isn't always straightforward. It's a quirky horror comedy that keeps pace through the 90 minutes with a nod to old hammer horror movies and i think it has the makings of a cult classic.

I Sell the Dead is the first full length feature film from director Glenn McQuaid. Glenn, who hails from Dublin, Ireland took the time to speak with me recently.

GOE: There’s a strong sense of enthusiasm and love for the horror genre from ‘I Sell the Dead’. What were your favourite films (horror and non horror) when you were growing up?

GMCQ: I've always been impressed with what British horror from the sixties and seventies. Terry Fisher and Freddie Francis being two directors in particular that struck a cord with me. Religion was always at the heart of a lot of those movies and I was quite religious as a kid. The Wicker Man had a profound effect on me because it spoke very elegantly about religion and sexuality. I probably saw that film too young but the themes really resonated with me. There was something about the pagan world that Edward Woodward entered, that to me was very unspoiled and innocent; you could argue that he was the intruder, the antagonist to that world. So I would say that The Wicker Man has long been a favorite and Young Frankenstein really threw me when I saw it and I still love it, what an amazing cast.

Why do you think horror is usually the genre picked when it comes to remakes these days?

Horror has become a giant cash cow for producers and most of them couldn't care less about originality. It's easier to get something familiar off the ground rather than trying to come up with something original which may not be tried and tested. When you look at people like Wes Craven and Tobe Hooper, and what they were up to in the 70s, it was shocking, it was vital to their times. And now, their work is getting the big buck Hollywood make over treatment and something is missing. The soul is gone, the original intent is missing; what's left is just some grotesque empty spectacle but it sells.

You worked as an extra on several film productions in Ireland when you were in your teens. How did this experience open your eye with regards to film making? Was there any experience in particular that ignited your interest in film making?

I was obsessed with cinema as a kid but was always quite nervous about speaking up about it, cinema was a million miles away from what I felt was my place in the universe. I literally ran away from home to be on the set of The Field, I got there towards the end of filming but spent about two weeks in Leenane. I got to meet some really great people, even watched a game of rugby with Richard Harris. One of the PAs or maybe one of the ADs was a prick, always hassling me, belittling me and one time the costume designer stood up for me and told him to fuck off, it was great!

Working as a visual effects artist before moving into directing. How do you think this has changed the way you direct?

I suppose it gives me an edge that I take for granted. I have a very graphic eye, composition and color are very important to me. On set I tried to collaborate with the actors as much as possible because that was new to me and I sort of relied on my eye for setting up comps. I story boarded and made a few animatics but I was very eager to roll with the punches and scrap what I had planned in favor of something looser.

‘I Sell the Dead’ is based on your 2005 short film 'The Resurrection Apprentice'. Had the story line or idea been around for long prior to production?

I first conceived the story about five years ago. I was doing a bit of research on cemeteries in Ireland and was reading a book by Sarah Wise called The Italian Boy. It was about the murder of a street urchin by body snatchers who sold his body to surgeons. I had a renewed interested in grave robbing stories and started watching films like The Body Snatcher and Flesh for the Fiends. Finally I read a book on Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn. So I threw all that into the short film. Tonally it was quite different from I Sell The Dead. My goal was to make a somber little drama set in the world of The Wolf Man and The Mummy but nothing really happens. By the time I came around to writing I Sell The Dead, I wanted to let loose a little and have some fun with the genre. I though it was a good idea to immerse the grave robber into a full on horror situation.

As you were going through this research process, what was the most interesting bit of knowledge that you gained about grave robbing?

The lengths people would go to protect their dearly departed from being resurrected were pretty intense. Some graves were guarded until the body was surly spoiled. Wealthier corpses went down in mortsafes which were made from lead to protect from pilfering.

What music were you listening to at the time?

I'm always careful about what music I listen to while writing as it becomes such an influence on whatever it is I'm up to. At the time of writing the short I was listening to an album called Murder Ballads by Mick Harris and Martyn Bates. The mood of that really seeped into the short, very dark minimalist ambient folk tunes. Really beautiful. I even collaborated with Martyn Bates for the score, I've always been a fan of his band Eyeless in Gaza and his solo work. As we got into doing the feature I was listening to a lot of John Williams and Ennio Morricone, two of my favorite composers.

Story telling is something the Irish have done well for thousands of years, albeit aided with Guinness/whiskey and a tongue in cheek attitude :) There is a real balance of humour and dramatics in the way you immerse the viewer in the story. Who have been your favourite story tellers? (film/literature/art /graphic novels etc)

Some of my friends and family are my favorite story tellers. My mum, my mates from college, aunts, drinking buddies. I just take bits and pieces of what they are saying and put them in my stories. I love Alan Moore, there's a pub in I Sell The Dead called The Sinister Duck which is named after a band he was in with a few of the Bauhaus crew.

Hitchcock is probably my favorite cinematic story teller because his work is so calculated, so technical, yet it's all about the audience and feels effortless. Shirley Jackson, James Joyce and Brahm Stoker have crafted some of my favorite stories. Shirley Jackson has a two page story called The Witch about a little boy, his mother and an old gentleman and in those two pages she conveys everything I love about horror. How some people get it and others never will, it's really moving.

The film features some fantastic set design. I was amazed to learn that a huge portion of the movie was filmed on Staten Island in New York. Why did you end up filming there specifically? Did you face any challenges whilst shooting a period film there?

Not really, we had a great art team that got behind what we were trying to achieve. We were also very lucky to find some great locations that we managed to get for reasonable prices. Staten Island was very good to us, over half the movie was shot there, the vampire story, all the cell stuff with Ron and Dom and the cemetery scenes.

Just a taster of what the critics think of the film:

Dennis Harvey of Variety described it as"...droll performances, diverting f/x and handsome B-pic atmospherics ensure a good time for horror fans with a memory past last weekend’s slasher remake."

“Smart, gruesome and inventive enough to more than please niche genre fans who are likely to spread the word to fellow admirers of gallows humor." Jason Coffman - FILM MONTHLY

"A cult hit in the making."R. Emmet Sweeney - IFC

How do you feel about the overwhelmingly positive reception to the film so far?

The reception has been very warm and that's a huge bonus. To be honest, I don't read most of the reviews, if people like it then I am genuinely happy but if they hate it, then fair enough, you know? I love it, warts 'n all. It's my first stab at film making and I think there is much to be improved upon, but as I say, I stand by it and enjoy feeling the love. There have been some really badly written, bitingly critical responses to the film but those people can kiss my arse, I went to the trouble of making the film, you can at least use a spell check.

Larry Fessenden starred in and also produced the film. How did you end up collaborating with him?

Larry and I go back a long way at this stage and I love working with him, especially in the director/actor capacity. We really collaborated on the Willie Grimes character, he's close to both of us, we're like Willie's Dads! I met Larry at the wrap party for a movie he produced called The Office Season and we became friends. He's a hugely generous talent, a great person to have on set because he still has that wide-eyed child like fascination with all aspects of the industry.

Who would you like to collaborate/work with in future?

I'm eager to work with more Irish actors, I think there's a rich history of the arts in Ireland that is somewhat forgotten. Even on the soaps, like Fair City, where you know those actors are getting maybe one take if they are lucky! But the talent is there and the passion is there. I hope to collaborate with Fessenden again, I'd love to develop some more characters with him.

Can you tell readers about the 'I Sell the Dead' Comic /graphic novel collaboration with Brahm Revel?

Yes! Image Comics release it on Wednesday October 7th so you'll be able to pick it up in most comic shops. I just got a box of them and they are beautiful! Brahm did a great job. It's also available as an iphone app from a great crowd called Comixology.

Distribution plans? When will people in Ireland/worldwide be able to watch it?

Anchor Bay are releasing the R2 DVD and Bluray in November, it's a cool package with two commentaries and a couple of Making-ofs.

Future plans?

I am writing up a storm right now and I'm beginning to get excited and passionate about a few things. The next project has to be worthwhile, I will not spend two years working on something I'm not sure about. Hopefully there'll be something on the horizon for me in the new year, we'll see.

Saturday, October 03, 2009


Queen. Bohemian rhapsody. I don't even want to think about how long this must have taken to put together.

For all the geeks out there! It was made using:
Atari 800xl and Floppy Drive
3.5 Inch Hard Drive
Adaptec 2940UW SCSI Card
TI-99/4A and Tape Drive
8 Inch Floppy Drive
HP ScanJet 3C
Eico Oscilloscope

Wax Wishes

After 46 years of collecting and 36 years of running Record-Rama, Paul Mawhinney owns a vinyl collection that includes more than 200,000 45's, 300,000 compact discs and a total of more than 2 million recordings.

Record-Rama closed its doors in February 2008 and the future of Paul's records is uncertain. He turned 70 in September 2009 and has been forced to put his beloved collection (which is the largest in the world) up for sale due to ill health and financial concerns. There have been a number of bids to purchase the collection but none have followed through.The collection is valued at $50,000,000 but Mawhinney is now offering it for a mere $3,000,000.

If i had a spare 3 million i'd buy it in a heartbeat but i can only imagine the work and maintenance that goes into a vinyl collection this size! To read more about the collection and info about the sale check out:

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Being Human

Being Human is a relatively new offering from BBC Three that I've discovered. The original Being Human pilot first aired on BBC Three in February 2008. It garnered such a positive response that the BBC gave a full series the green light. Series one was shown in 2009 and picks up from where the pilot finished (with some major cast changes). Each episode clocks in at a weighty 57 minutes.

To the outside world three flatmates share a house in Bristol and are regular twenty something year olds. However all is not as it seems.

George (Russell Tovey) is a mild-mannered hospital porter who, for one night a month; is transformed into a flesh-hungry and predatory werewolf. Mitchell (Aidan Turner) is a charismatic vampire who constantly struggles with going cold-turkey from the blood he craves. Annie (Lenora Crichlow) is a ghost desperate for company and is still pining after her boyfriend, whom she was due to marry before her fatal accident.

A werewolf, a ghost and a vampire sharing a house...It sounds like a bad kids TV show but after a few episodes i am absolutely hooked. It's refreshingly well written, tackles a jaded subject from an everyday perspective, isn't afraid to poke fun at itself and features a cracking soundtrack. Plus kudos for the use of prosthetics and animatronics rather than defaulting to CGI.

Watch the prequels below to learn more about the main characters

Annie’s Prequel:

Mitchell's Prequel:

George's Prequel:

Series two is due to air in January 2010. In the meantime you can watch and find out more by clicking:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


"A dame that knows the ropes isn't likely to get tied up. "
Mae West

Thursday, September 17, 2009


"With love's light wings did I o'er perch these walls; For stony limits cannot hold love out."

Romeo and Juliet Fantasy overture by Tchaikovsky.There is no other piece of music that I’ve listened to as often. The main reason being I studied it as part of my leaving cert (similar to A-Levels or SAT's for all you non Irish readers) music exam. I managed to complete a 2 year music course in 1 year. I’m still not sure how I did it; all I remember about this period was lots of tea and seeing sheet music in my dreams.

I wasn't a big fan of classical music mainly because I was forced into learning the piano at an early age. I know ‘poor me’, right? I now realise how lucky I was to get the chance to learn. So with 13 year’s experience playing piano I started the course. The nun who taught music was an absolute bitch and was completely obsessed with music. Let’s just call her Sister Staccato. I know some really obsessive music geeks but they have nothing on this woman. She thought about very little apart from music. She taught classes from 7am 6 days a week and we would hear her humming as she roamed the school corridors late at night. I don’t think she ever slept but I digress.

A few difficult months followed: studying composing/advance music theory and listening to the pieces whilst following the scores. To familiarise us with the piece Sister Staccato would point out the different parts of the score corresponding to Shakespeare’s masterpiece. After a while I would drift off and let the music conjure images in my mind. She may have been a demon in a habit but she was a brilliant teacher and made me realise how bloody difficult and enormous a task composing a piece of music is. Or the level of responsibility that comes with it.

The work is based on three main strands of the Shakespearean story. It went through 2 radical revisions before the piece we know emerged. Tchaikovsky was blasted by European and Russian audiences when it debuted but there were some fellow Russian composers (known as ‘The Five’) who recognised Tchaikovsky’s talent. Upon hearing the piece Vladimir Stasov declared “There were five of you: now there are six!”

It was years before people realised how special it was. The theme at 8.32 has been mangled by countless adverts and featured in films but when placed in the overall piece it’s truly beautiful. It became one of my favourite pieces and opened my eyes to the power of classical music. Despite thousands of replays it has never lost its power and is one of the few pieces of music that actually makes me dizzy; the parts at 6.08 and 12.25 make my heart race.

I dare you to put 19 minutes aside to plug some headphones into your computer (there is quite a bit of detail you’ll miss without headphones) and listen to this in full.

Painting: Lord Leighton

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Doctor Leaves

I’ll freely admit that I’m cynical when it comes to certain aspects of the Irish music scene but I’ve been singing the praises of a new release from an Irish band. The eponymous debut EP from Doctor Leaves was released on September 9th and has been on constant rotation since i got my hands on it. Doctor Leaves is the musical moniker of 2 musicians better know to their family and friends as Ben Shorten and Dara Munnis.

Both Ben and Dara play piano and guitar; Dara also plays the traditional flute and Ben plays the cello. They formed their first band together when they were in their mid-teens and eventually went their separate ways musically, but remained friends. During this time Dara played with other musicians such as the Coronas, Gavin Glass & the Holy Shakers and Jack L. Ben experimented with new bands. Eventually the pair reunited musically whilst living together and the EP is the result of this.

The 4 tracks on the EP are 'No Step Forward', 'When Darkness Turns to Light', 'Seven Year Itch' and 'Small Fish, Small Pond'. Piano and cello meld perfectly on 'No step forward' and overall the songs have an interesting mix of vocals,strings,guitar and piano. The 4 songs on the EP have whetted my appetite and I want to hear more music from these guys.

The band have stated that they are more concerned with people listening and enjoying the music than they are with making money from it. They have provided an option to download the whole record and the artwork completely free. However if you want to support decent music and independent musicians there are plenty of ways of paying for it too. There is the option to buy a CD which costs a mere €5. The EP is also available for purchase digitally through iTunes, Amazon, limewire and LaLa.

Band Photo: Niamh Farrell

Monday, August 31, 2009

I'm Being Followed By The Rolling Stones

The weird thing is when i hear this poem by Murray Laughlan Young, i think of Mick 'n' Keeeeeef from Stella Street rather than the real glimmer twins. Well arrrrrrrrrrighhhht.

Stella Street

Monday, August 24, 2009


Polaroid pictures were one of my earliest fascinations. Polaroid’s. Ancient Egypt. Dolphins. Go figure, I was a strange kid.

Anyway I digress. I was occasionally allowed to play with our ‘Onestep’ (picture above) camera as a treat. I loved the rainbow strip and wrapping my childish hands around it. I was liable to use all the film in the house if left to my own devices. I couldn't get my head around the fact that the picture developed as you watched. Magic. There are bundles of photos gathering dust in a box somewhere as a result of days spent running around taking shots. As time passed I discovered digital and my fascination faded.

A Polaroid camera would pop up at parties from time to time. Most people I know have a Polaroid camera gathering dust somewhere but rarely purchased film for it. Sales of film steadily declined. The company are moving from an analog Instant Film Production Company to a Consumer Electronics/Digital Imaging company. In early 2008 they announced that film for the iconic cameras would no longer be manufactured.

Enthusiasts were saddened at the fate of their beloved film and began stockpiling any supplies they could find. Prices got higher as supplies dwindled and many vocalized their opinion on the decision to stop production. However an Austrian artist, businessman and Polaroid obsessive called Florian Kaps has made a move to save the format. Kaps is the founder of, which is the largest Polaroid gallery online and Polanoir, the first ever Polaroid-only art gallery in Vienna.

He has devised a plan to re-open a dormant Polaroid factory in Holland and begin manufacturing film again. Dubbed the “Impossible” project Kaps has said that “The project is more than a business plan; it’s a fight against the idea that everything has to die when it doesn’t create turnover”

IMPOSSIBLE will develop this new, modern Integral Film with the aim to start production in 2010. The plan is to produce 1 million films in the first year (2010) and 3 million films thereafter. According to their site "Impossible B.V. acquired the complete production plant from Polaroid and engaged the most experienced team of Integral Film experts worldwide. The IMPOSSIBLE company is founded with one concrete aim: to re-invent and re-produce analog INTEGRAL FILM for vintage Polaroid cameras. Polaroid is fully aware and supportive of this goal." The focus is on developing a new product consisting of optimal components that will fill the void left by Polaroid.

To read more about the project and how it's progressing:

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Vancouver Zombie Walk 2009

"Look, you're the one who got me out in the armpit of the world chasing your galloping cadavers."
- Peter, City of the Living Dead (1980)

Photo taken at Vancouver Zombie Walk 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Warning to Women in Vancouver

I know this isn't really art/culture/design related but i do know that quite a few of you reading are from the Vancouver region. I wanted to spread the word on this and would ask that you do the same, especially to any women you know. Over the past 10 days or so a man has been approaching women in the downtown area-specifically the Burrard/Dunsmuir area.It emerges that he is quite active and has assaulted a number of women. He has approached at Bentall Towers 1 & 2, Burrard Skytrain station and also the Terasen Gas building. There has been no mention of him approaching men yet but that's not to say he hasn't/won't.

He is Caucasian, balding with dark fringe, stocky, 40 – 45 yrs old. Pictures are above. He claims he is from San Francisco/California, working in the movie industry and has given a number of reasons for approaching them e.g: needs to "borrow" some money for a taxi to get to work, needing some assistance etc. He has then punched a number of women.
There are 2 different clothing descriptions – paint on clothes (almost as if he works in construction) or clean cut.
If you see him, do not approach him and call the VPD or 911 immediately.
Update: A man was arrested circa noon on July 13th in connection with the assaults. Investigators are not releasing his name as charges are pending in the case.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Oscar Diaz is a designer based in London, Uk. He has used capillary action to create an unusual and cool calendar. Using a bottle of ink and paper it works by using a timed pace of ink seeping into the paper to indicate the date. The calendar was originally developed for an exhibition at the London Design Festival in 2007 but he has also used the effect on other pieces. I'm not 100% on how you can control the exact flow of ink through the paper but i've yet to see it in action.

According to Diaz ” A calendar self-updated, which enhances the perception of time passing and not only signalling it. The ink colors are based on a spectrum, which relate to a “color temperature scale”, each month having a color related to our perception of the whether on that month. The colors range from dark blue in December to, three shades of green in spring or oranges, red in the summer.The scale for measuring the “color temperature” that I have used is a standard called ‘D65’ and corresponds roughly to a midday sun in Western / Northern Europe.”

To see more of Diaz’s work check out:

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


It’s difficult to comprehend that one of the most genuine and dear friends i've ever known has been gone 12 months. Previously cushioned by an invincible attitude that i have youth on my side and cancer won't catch me,i couldn't get my head around the fact that she was a few years older than me and 10 million times healthier. I’ve lost family over the years but the grief passed and didn't affect me in the same way that her passing did. I hate the fact that took losing her in order to fully realise that life is short. It prompted me to get off my ass and see more of the world. Whilst Vancouver simmers in an unusual heat wave I raise a glass to her memory tonight.

For months part of me refused to believe that she was really dead-Nope, she’s off gallivanting around the world, cracking people up and spreading a little light. She may not be physically here anymore but I still feel her presence at times.

August 2009 brings another loss, but of a different kind. A loss of trust, love and respect. Strange how a deceased person can seem so close and a living one so far away

Image: Distance

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


Civilization is a stunning video installation that artist/director Marco Brambilla created for the elevator in The Standard Hotel, NYC. Brambilla worked with Crush who are a directorial collective and production company based in Toronto, Canada. Comprising of over 400 video clips and containing over 300 individual channels of looped video that blend into a multi-layered seamless scroll. It takes passengers riding the elevator on a trip from hell to heaven as theyascend and from heaven to hell as they descend.

Click here to watch a full screen version of the piece

Saturday, August 01, 2009


"The answer came like a shot in the back
while you were running from your lesson
which might explain
why years later all you could remember
was the terror of the question
plus i'm not listening to you anymore
my head is too sore and my heart's perforated
and i'm mired in the marrow
of my (well... ain't that) funny bone
learning how to be alone and devastated
where was my conscience?
where was my consciousness?
and what do i do with all these letters
that i wrote to myself
but cannot address?"

Ani Difranco


Unfortunately I've been unable to find a lot of information about the designer Charlie Bucket but I'm really impressed with what he has done with some tubes and colored liquid. The above is a prototype for a skirt. Clear plastic tubing which was woven around a loom to get a woven effect and according to Bucket the ultimate goal of the project is to translate this idea into a complete wearable outfit.I love how at 2.15 the piece almost appears to vibrate.Click on the link below to see a large screen version as the clip above doesn't really do it justice.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Saturday the 25th brought an unusual mix to Vancouver-Humidity and heat, thunder, lightening, torrential rain and then the fireworks display battled with mother nature in the skies overhead.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hope Springs Eternal

The past few weeks have launched me onto an unexpected emotional roller coaster and as a result I'm white knuckled and hoping to get to the end of the ride. After a stranger showed me kindness today i was surprised and touched. I was coincidentally (or perhaps not?) sent a link to this site by a friend a few minutes ago and it brought a flutter to my heart. 'Gives me Hope' (GMH) is where people share with the world the most hopeful, uplifting moments of their day and allow others to draw strength from their experiences. It was just what i needed, along with todays incident to remember that the kindness of strangers isn't always a rare thing and can restore one's faith in people.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


"If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more..."
Jane Austen

Image: Broken Column by Frida Kahlo

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Vice Is Its Own Reward

"The consuming desire of most human beings is deliberately to plant their whole life in the hands of some other person. I would describe this method of searching for happiness as immature. Development of character consists solely in moving toward self-sufficiency"

There are a number of people that i would loved to have met and spent some time with: Joan of Arc, Leigh Bowery, Janis Joplin et al. Quentin Crisp is on my top ten list. He was born in England in 1908 and spent most of his life there before moving to New York in 1981. Crisp was distinctive for his
outlandish appearance, his sharp wit, observations and story telling. One of the things i admire most about him was his lifelong refusal to hide his orientation or lifestyle in an era where homosexuality was illegal. His carefully applied make up, dyed and coiffed hair, painted finger nails and flowing scarfs coupled with his unapologetic expression of self often meant homophobic attacks and violence.

Throughout his life he tried many roles: nude model, illustrator, book designer, prostitute, performer and actor but it was his writing that garnered widespread attention. His coming of age memoirs 'The Naked Civil Servant' was published in 1968. The book sold a modest 3,500 copies and in 1975 was adapted into a film of the same name starring John Hurt. It was this film that brought him to the attention of the public and press He published many books which covered his opinions on style, etiquette, culture and movies. Quentin Crisp died on the eve of touring his one-man show in England in November 1999. He was a fascinating intelligent man who I've barely done justice to with my brief post.

The interview below was shot in 1968, it was before he was widely known and 13 years before he moved to New York. He discusses homophobia, tolerance and misogyny with a frankness that was unusual for the time.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Art For The People

Any song that starts with the lyrics "But for the cum in your hair, the cocaine on your teeth" and features such sweet vocals from Julia Indelicate (below) is a winner in my book.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Curiouser & Curiouser

" If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?"

Alice In Wonderland

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

An Cathach Turns 1 Today

This little corner of the World Wide Web is 1 year old today!!

I have difficulty finishing a sandwich or a sentence at times, so managing to maintain this for 12 months has been a surprise in itself. There are a few people in particular that have been really supportive and encouraging over the past year and you should check out their sites if you haven't done so already:

To those of you who take the time to read, comment and email I’d like to give something back as a little thank you. I'm going to put together a free mix cd full of aural goodness. If you'd like one then email me with your name and a full postal address (via the contact button on the right hand side) asap. I'll be making a limited run of these so get them whilst you can.

You. Yes you! Who visits regularly but leaves nary a trace, feel free to step out of the shadows and leave a comment. Who are you wordless people?!

Special thank you to Padre who unknowingly nudged me towards the world of blogging. Your kindness, endless patience and creativity are truly inspirational. Much love.

Right. I'm off to eat some cake! (any excuse really :P )

Cupcake Image: TheresaThompson

Monday, July 06, 2009

Mikros Cosmos

The first time i heard Grouper i was under the impression that it was the combined effort of a band; however it turned out that the melancholy and eerily beautiful music is the brainchild of Portland's Liz Harris. She has released 3 albums to date with the latest being 2008's 'Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill'. Her music is ambient and mixes undulating waves of guitar and haunting vocals. After supporting Animal Collective the last time they passed through, she is returning for a solo show.

Grouper is set to play in St. Andrew's-Wesley Cathedral on Nelson Street,Vancouver on Saturday July 18th. For ticket info check out:

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Turn It Up

"I woke up weak today and needing your voice
Crawled into the speakers and turned up the volume
Felt so sick today but cured by your noise
My head in the speakers is drowning out volumes"

Friday, June 26, 2009


“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten."

G. K. Chesterton

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I'm a sucker for gadgets, sparkly lights and electronica. Media artist Toshio Iwai and Yamaha had the likes of me in mind when they collaborated to design a new digital musical instrument for the 21st century, TENORI-ON. However due to a lack of finances my ownership of one will have to wait a little longer. This little device caught my attention when Little Boots appeared on Jools Holland's show performing 'Meddle'.

What is a TENORI-ON?

"It's a 16 x 16 LED button matrix which is simultaneously a performance input controller and display. By operating and interacting with the LED buttons and the light they produce, you gain access to the TENORI-ON's numerous performance capabilities.The TENORI-ON provides six different performance and sound/light modes for broad performance versatility, and these modes can be combined and used simultaneously for rich, complex musical expression."

Price: £919 / $999USD (Note: the current exchange rate is £919= $1504. Hmmmmmm. Rip off.)

This is the next best thing:
A simple sinewave synthesizer triggered by an ordinary 16 step sequencer that is currently on the lab.andre-michelle website. Whilst it doesn't have as many options, it is a lot of fun to play around and easy to create a tune with no prior experience!
Price: Free :)

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