Sandra Bernhardt Free at Last //
It’s 2 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon and you’re queer. Post brunch, you are shown some Bernhardt cabaret stand-up – “hey man, this is great!”. She knows how to make a joke out of merely citing the brand name of a shirt, I’ve never seen anyone do that before. The whole piece is a slow crescendo in which she bridges the unwitting to seedy to sexy to joyous, I’ve never seen anyone bridge themes like that before. She is a queer angel, there to make you laugh. I feel like Columbus crossing the Atlantic, I discovered a new comic. Do it Sandra, do it girl!
Leif Podhajsky //
Imagine floating down an inked-dipped river in some tropical land, staring up at the grapefruit sky, while giant leaves bend above you symmetrically. Suddenly your view ripples….hmmm, yep, I think that’s how I would describe the artwork of Podhajsky, the creator of some of the most beautiful album covers of recent years.
See for yourself: www.leifpodhajsky.com/
Your eyes will melt. In a good way.
Girls rollerskating in Barcelona //
This short film directed by Greg Mirzoyan follows a gang of ‘give no fucks’ roller girls as they take over the streets of Barcelona. Using the city as their stage, the women mix elements of parkour, dance with impressive stunt-work. This four minute clip evocatively demonstrates the unapologetic sensuality and freedom of roller girl culture.
Presidential Primary Watching //
The US Presidential Primaries, which began by equally inspiring and incensing, are now nothing but deflating. Sanders’ campaign while not losing momentum seems parochial compared to full-juggernaut Clinton. Trump’s demented demagoguery has lost it’s determination, and has slipped into political schizophrenia, while Cruz remains as irrelevant as ever.
Cast your mind back to a time when Presidents were kindly and wise, not warmongering or flippant. Campaigning meant selling your actionable brand of utopia to the people, not smearing your opponent out of the picture. Winning was about being the smartest person at the pulpit, not a race to the lowest common denominator.
The year was 2002 and Josiah Bartlett, the Nobel Prize-Winning, West Wing incumbent was a majestic bald eagle of liberalism. He soared, everything was wonderful and the good guys won. The West Wing is essential viewing in these troubling times, and perhaps the only Presidential context you can hear the words “What’s Next” and not feel a certain sense of foreboding.
Notable mention for Will Bailey’s The West Wing Weekly Podcast. With co-host Hrishikesh Hirway, Bailey AKA Joshua Malina dissects a single episode per show talking about the history, politics and general television wizardy that went into each, and ask you to rewatch it alongside them. Tempting territory for the fanpersons among us.
Stevie Nicks – Wild Heart //
If this isn’t already your favourite Stevie Nicks video, it should be.
Hate Mail //
Mr Bingo has it sorted. You pay him. He sends you hate mail. The postman gets a laugh. You get a personalised signed illustration to hang in the hallway above that little table where you put the junk mail that never makes it to the recycling bin. Mr Bingo gets to call you a tit. Everyone wins.
He has published his postcards in a book to share with the world. Check it out here: mr-bingo.org.uk
And he is also speaking at Dublin’s very own design festival, OFFSET, this year: www.iloveoffset.com/
Deadly Danish terms which don’t exist in English //
I’ve chosen two terms which both seem to delicately delineate differences which allow the Scandi nation to enjoy the privilege of being No. 1 on the UN’s World Happiness Report.
Janteloven n. (Yan-teh Low-Venn)
Literally translated to “the law of Jante”, this describes a central creed allegedly dictating the behaviour of many Scandi people. The idea focuses on putting the collective ahead of the individual, preventing boasting about personal accomplishments and precluding jealousy of others.
It’s socialistic in a way Marx never articulated, rooted in emotion and social taboo. Dano-Norwegian author Aksel Sandemose (pictured, looking so Scandi), annuciated the idea most clearly in his 1933 novel A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks (En flyktning krysser sitt spor). Jante, a small fictious town, had 10 laws, including “You’re not to think you are anything special”, “You’re not to think you are smarter than we are”, “You’re not to convince yourself that you are better than we are”, and so forth. Sandemose was seeking to describe a prevailing attitude he saw as integral to the Danish and Norwegian psyches.
While heavily negative linguistically, and subject to criticism from some modern Danes, I can’t help but think the idea has a worthy sentiment, of cohesiveness, humility and common cause. All things which we could all use a little more of.
Hygge n. (Hoo Ga)
Hyggelig adj. (Hoo Glee)
A word which has no counterpart, hygge is a concept encompassing cosiness, spending time with friends, warm lighting, the sound of raindrops, and a plentitude of delicious wine and food. The idea is like a Instagram filter softening your very existence. A demi-Danish friend told me that Danes spend more per capita on candles and cushions than any other nation. Now I see why. I want my life defined by hygge. I want there to be a human right to hygge. I’m going to call my child Hygge.
Angel Olsen – “Some Things Cosmic” Live at Pitchfork Music Festival 2013 //
As lovely as she is, Angel Olsen generally wouldn’t make it onto the desert island playlist. However this is one of my favourite live performances ever. The studio recording does not compare whatsoever. The stillness of the crowd is almost eery and the tenderness with which Angel delivers her performance is goosebump inducing. It’s not an easy feat possessing a crowd like that at a music festival – Joni Mitchell knows. (See the 1970 Isle of Wight kerfuffle here).
This American Life: 110 Mapping //
While piecing together this issues “Mapping Dublin” feature, I did a lot of research around unconventional mapping. Dan Colley, a podcast enthusiast and general fountain of knowledge passed on this episode of This American Life. Five ways of mapping the world, through each of the human senses, are explored over the course of an hour. Act three, in which Toby Lester hones in on the world of sound, is particularly interesting. He deciphers subtle everyday sounds such as the hum of the fridge or the fan of the computer and how the combination of these may be affecting our day-to-day moods. It turns out the dreaded augmented 4th, an ominous combination of notes known as diabolus in musica or “the devil in music” during the 18th century, might just be lurking in your kitchen.