Culture File – Sound & Silence with Fiona Newell

Silence, it can be an elusive experience in a modern world dominated by cities, and illuminated by technology. Silence is not only a product of our environment, but also of our perceptual system. In this second in a series for Culture File, I speak to Professor Fiona Newell of Trinity College Dublin, about sound and silence. Fiona was my lecturer at college for a number of courses on sensation and perception. More recently she’s become the go to scientific expert for discussions about how we perceive beauty (neuroaesthetics). Including the fascinating talk below, given last year at TEDxDublin.

Reading Plays – Episode 11 – Picasso at the Lapin Agile

picasso

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Download: Episode 11 – Picasso at the Lapin Agile

His autobiography boasts that Steve Martin began working at age ten in the newly opened Disneyland, graduating to study poetry and philosophy and spend 18 years performing as “America’s best loved stand up comedian”. Martin has in addition managed a career an accomplished banjo musician and movie star. He writes “I was not naturally talented… though working against that made me inventive”. The open question is whether inventiveness is enough to moderate a lack of dramaturgic ability.

Picasso at the Lapin Agile recounts an imagined meeting between Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein, while both are in their early twenties, yet to make their mark on the century. The play is a sweetly antique ribald sex comedy set in a real Montmartre cabaret immortalised in Picasso’s painting ‘At the Lapin Agile’. It was first staged at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago in 1993, and won the 1996 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off Broadway Play.

Reading Plays‘ is a discussion show, featuring Gareth Stack and James Van De Waal. Each week we do a close reading of a modern play, discussing it’s merits, themes, issues raised, and so on. You can play along by reading or watching a production of the play before you listen to the show.

Next weeks play: Some Girls by Neil LaBute.

Music – Amor & Psyche – by Bitwise Operator.

Culture File – Kevin Barry on Silence

kevin barry

My latest report for Culture File is a discussion with Irish author Kevin Barry, about the role of silence in his work. Kevin joined Sara Maitland (author of ‘A Book of Silence‘) on a panel about silence at the recent Happy Days Beckett festival. He was a joy to talk with, and this discussion became the first of a series Culture File are running where I talk to artists and scientists about how silence impacts their work.

Airport Romance

Knives on Planes

Last year I travelled to my girlfriend’s native Ukraine. Bizarrely, many of the places we visited were shortly to become focuses of the Ukrainian conflict, from Maidan Nezalezhnosti to the coast of Crimea. On the way, thanks to the bureaucracy of fortress Europe, we were trapped overnight in Paris’s Charles De Gaulle airport. There are certainly worse places to spend an eleven hour layover (each way). Yet the whole experience, and especially the enhanced security procedures at play in Paris, reminded me unpleasantly of my previous visits to City 17. I wrote this poem, published in the latest issue of Saul Bowman’s never ending zine project, after one particularly intimate encounter.

Airport Romance

I’m going to have to pat inside your waistband.
I’m going to have to pat up and down your arms and legs
with the outside of my hands.
It’s no good, you’re going to have to step through once again.
You’re going to have to go through in one movement,
not stop in the middle like you did before.
You’re going to have to come over here, my friend.

I’m going to have to touch you in a way you will never forget.
You’re going to have to show me Paris from the inside out.
I’m going to have to love every minute of it.
We’re going to have to shower once we’re done,
and comb each other’s moustaches.
Yours is going to have to be the colour of caramel,
mine is going to have to go, or people will think we are brothers.

I’m going to have to hold you and keep holding you till we’re little old men.
You’re going to have to die in my arms tonight.
The earth is going to have to slow and cool,
the stars put out their lights,
our blinding cataract.
I’m going to have to let you go.
I’m going to have,
I’m going to.
I’m going,
I’m going,
I’m gone.

Inside Margot Wadell – Book Review: Inside Lives

This is a review written back when I was studying psychoanalysis. These articles critiquing psychodynamic texts proved pretty popular (I’m assuming with students, or practicing psychoanalysts) when I initially posted them. Having recently uncovered a couple that had never made their way to the web, I thought why not release them. Hope you find them useful / interesting, despite the rather dense academese.

Stuck Inside, by Norman Rockwell.

Stuck Inside, by Norman Rockwell.

Inside lives (Waddell, 2002) attempts a phenomenological object relations account of psychological development, from infancy to advanced age. Margot Waddell considers the stages of life as states or meta-positions (Waddel, 2002, pp 8), contingent and dependent on earlier developmental negotiation, rather than inevitable developmental milestones. These states represent individuated matrixes of attitude and biological development, in which the positions articulated by Klien and others shift in the context of emotional and intellectual development, external stressors and interpersonal relations. The book examines the impact of biological changes, family of origin, adolescent affiliation, adult individuation and finally the difficulties of coping with degeneration and impending mortality.
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Reading Plays – Episode 10 – Disco Pigs

Disco Pigs

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Arriving at the end of the nineteen nineties, at exactly the time Martin McDonagh was exploding the Irish national theatre with the first of his Leenane trilogy, Disco Pigs articulated a radical new vision of Irishness. An Irishness deracinated of nationalism, appalled by republicanism, raised on television and clubland. A dissolute Irishness – frozen in the decaying embrace of the still powerful church. Our soi-disant twin protagonists Pig and Runt are, like the nation, awakening just before the dawn of the 21st century: Becoming self aware in a final desperate defence against perpetual inferiority. The plays ostensibly simple dialogue takes us deep into an expressionist teenage universe, where sex, violence and imagination dissolve the surface of a mundane world.

First staged in 1996 at the Triskel Arts Centre in Cork, Disco Pigs moved on to the Dublin and Edinburgh festivals. The first production starred Killian Murphy and Eileen Walsh. Eileen would go on to star in the Magdalene Sisters and win best actress award at the Tribeca Film festival for her performance in the 2008 film Eden. Although she was to replaced in the role of Runt for Kirsten Sheriden’s film version, by Elaine Cassidy.

Reading Plays‘ is a discussion show, featuring Gareth Stack and James Van De Waal. Each week we do a close reading of a modern play, discussing it’s merits, themes, issues raised, and so on. You can play along by reading or watching a production of the play before you listen to the show.

Next weeks play: Picasso at the Lapin Agile by Steve Martin.

Music – Amor & Psyche – by Bitwise Operator.

The Gareth Stack Show Live – Episode 6 – Dublin Characters

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Download: Episode 6

The Gareth Stack Show is back! Dublin’s most obscure chat show, featuring interviews with some of the dirty auld holes most fascinating characters, both pro patria and ex. Today’s episode comes complete with acoustamatic musing from Dublin low-fi warbler and nouveau booky wookie Bobert Ahern, monsternational filmist Donal Foreman, and Dublin scenestress Joanne Stack (yes relation).

14:00 – 32:00 – Donal Foreman, Director of ‘Out of Here

Donal, director of the award winning new Irish film ‘Out of Here’, talks about the movie, being a first time director, crowd funding, and creating a movie that integrates improvisation, non-professional actors and a real directorial point of view.

34:30 – 42:00 – Joanne Stack of ‘Secret City Dublin

My wee sister talks about her knew event listings project ‘Secret City Dublin’. Secret City is a new way to find out about what’s going on in the city. Particularly underground and arts based events that are free or cheap, and open to all.

42:00 – 80:00 Bobby Ahern, author of ‘D’You Remember Yer Man’.

Writer, punk rock chartreuse, leprechaun expert, Bobby Ahern does it all. We have this fresh faced Dublin impresario join us in studio to chat about his brand spanking new book ‘Do You Remember Y’er Man’, and play a whole bunch of acoustamatic songaroonies.

79:00 – 82:00 Andrew’s Teacher, Professor Dereck Polly

Featuring jingles by the one and only Roger Gregg. And hosting by Andrew Booth, with special guest Gareth Stack.

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