Posts

Music education: stifling creativity or generating inclusion?

I read through Charlotte Gill's piece on the problem of learners of music struggling with notation and an appeal to perhaps try to find different ways to cater for those who just cannot get along with notation, thought, "yes, she has a point there", and moved on.Then a few weeks later, I spotted online that no fewer than 600 (600! WHEN do 600 people sign a letter to a newspaper) and saw some of the comments, and realised that Ms Gill had unwittingly released a rage amongst music educators.I was surprised to see this, because as somebody who worked in music education from the age of 18, until I was about 29, and saw at first hand the conflict between musical capability and notational literacy, I agreed that there was a problem that isn't just mitigated by "more money" or "more formal music education."

It also comes from my experience conducting choirs.It was a feature of the job that a very good singer would sometimes resolutely have given up on tr…

Fit Food from Dublin Meat Company: A quick review

I heard that Dublin Meat Company, a large butcher located a short walk from home was now doing healthy meals for those of us who like working out, and watch what we eat, so I decided to drop by and try out some of their ready to go meals.

Unlike the mass-produced rubbish sold in bulk under brands such as WeightGainers and UniFat, the Fit Foot range is carefully curated to suit the eating habits of active people.  In other words, its focused on good quality proteins, vegetables, healthy fats etc.  A number of other butchers have paired up with Butchers to help put together good quick meals to go for customers, who spend so much time in the gym there isn't a lot of time to cook.

From what I could see a lot of the range was already semi if not fully cooked, though the instructions mostly seemed to include both oven and microwave instructions.  With a full dish taking 25 minutes in the oven, this isn't too bad.  Date ranges were decent enough.  I bought at the weekend and everythi…

Women in tech: lessons from other sectors

I went along to a bunch of women entrepreneur events in the summer, when I was out of work, to both kill time, meet new people and potentially help my own career.(I pretty much had a lingering job offer that took a few weeks to formalise, which I ended up taking in any case, which I hope to be made permanent in come the new year).Anyway, in terms of the kinds of businesses I saw pushed, I was very surprised to find myself as absolutely the only woman in a technical field, in fact aside from a couple of marketers and an accountant, the ONLY woman to not be involved in a stereotypical woman's business.

The most common business was beauty, nobody, not a soul, represented sectors such as industrial, engineering, construction or even less "male" sectors such as law.There was one accountant.Just one.Nobody in IT aside from myself.While I am inclined to agree with much of what Cindy Gallop says about female start-ups in tech being denied funding, I'm also inclined to wonde…

Right2Water, Apollo House, Fake News & the coming socialist utopia

In the last few months no fewer than two multiple property owners have deigned to lecture me on the evils of homelessness in Irish society.As a person of no property, I was bemused by their hypocrisy, and explained, yes, of course, when property is the main measure of western society's personal wealth, and that wealth is deeply unevenly spread, of course, we shall have those who fall through the large gaps in the net, and find themselves without a roof over our head.

How anybody in their right mind thought Apollo House, an ugly office, long since disused , was ideal for housing many of the victims of the housing mess in Ireland, was beyond me.Also, how did they get in?How was electricity connected for squatters using a building they don't own?I spent a bit of time working on a business expansion project a few years ago and our biggest problem was gaining physical access to buildings, even after leases were signed.Somebody on the "inside" facilitated this for Apollo…

Where does a liberated world actually go?

Where it SHOULDN'T go:


Into a self defeating hole of endless point scoring between different scores (victimhood contests)Into endless bouts of depression, self-reflection and defeatist acceptanceBack to the past, giving in to the prejudices around race and gender that embolden demagogueryInto an unwinnable street war of protest that enables steam to be let off but doesn't threaten the status quoInto denialInto retreat, to the safe bubbles of the very existences than encourage accusations of elitisminto yet another continuous rant into how cruel the whole world is and how we need to pull down Angela Merkel/Capitalism in general (because that's precisely what has fed Trumpism)
What is helpful
Interpersonal reflectiveness about how to listen to others (have a look at www.cleanlanguage.co.uk)Climate action - this shouldn't just stop because two major nations have abandoned its ideals (start here http://donellameadows.org/)Con…

You're fired

I woke up in the middle of the night in the early hours of November 9th to hear, as I had increasingly started to expect a "surprise" Trump victory slowly taking place in the US.I have to say I was neither shocked nor surprised.I had mixed feelings about the polls that had largely showed a strong probability towards Clinton and the DNC, although I also persistently just had a feeling that things were being missed, sentiments were being lost in the hubris.To me it seemed like a sign of deep anxiety that so many media organisations, many for the first time in history, were endorsing Mrs Clinton.

I would say, I regard Mrs Clinton with deep respect, a hard-working stateswoman and a "safe pair of hands".Her husband's infidelities, I feel, is her own affair, not mine.I would regard most of the blatantly partisan attacks on her as just that: in any case, none of the ridiculous level of investigations into her alleged misuse of power have resulted in anything more th…

Opera in Ireland - lets stop the whinging

I finally snapped after reading the latest whinging letter in the Irish Times today bemoaning the lack of opera in Dublin.  We don't have much opera in Dublin, simply, because audiences do not support what is there.  I'm writing a fuller post, and have sent a letter to the Times, entitled "where has all the opera audience gone?" but here is a quick summary of what the real issues are, and they are not merely funding issues:

1. Audience attendance is middling.  Small productions in small venues sell extremely well, but larger venues such as the Gaiety and Bord Gais Energy Theatre are often spotty and poorly attended.  This goes for both local companies (Lyric, OTC and Wide Open Opera) and visiting companies.  THE BGE resorts to group ticket discounting in order to stem the tide.  The NCH struggles also with both semi staged, concert performances and even recitals of good international artists are poorly - sometimes very poorly - attended.  As a result box office recei…

The Etiquette of "Ghosting": couldn't we all just, well, talk?

I am increasingly finally hearing a word for the phenomena that has existed online since I started using tinernet in 1994: "ghosting."  This is where you enthusiastically communicate with somebody online (it used to be IRC or various chat services, now its mostly social media) then quite suddenly they disappear.  You are unfollowed, defriended, maybe blocked, phone calls unanswered (or changing numbers).  The person literally "disappears".  Congratulations, you've been "ghosted."


That said, with an increasing number of people multi-purposing their social media accounts for business purposes, boundaries often get blurred.  A few incidents highlight the problem of using social media for many different purposes, and especially using the same account.  One acquaintance, a slightly controversial writer and relative of somebody who has recently been subjected to some of the worst online abuse I've ever seen, disappeared off social media for quite some t…

Thoughts on OTC's Don Giovanni...

Firstly, a lot of publicity went into Roddy Doyle doing the libretto for the translation for this.  I'm not sure how exactly this worked: I don't know if Doyle is a fluent Italian speaker, and I'm sure there's already numerous English variants around for the likes of ENO and smaller English houses.  (OTC have in the past worked with small English festivals with similar interests sharing resources).  This added a level of expectation around the production itself, inevitable, since Doyle largely writes not merely about Dublin, but a north side working class Dublin which itself is established enough to have many stereotypical tropes.

Secondly - and I think this was key - the production was placed in the Dublin Theatre Festival which vastly changed the audience.  The Dublin performance were in the Gaiety (much more friendly an opera venue than most).  Cork audiences have even more luck: two performances in the Cork Opera house.  This enables a full orchestra, and OTC have …