Friday, August 6, 2010

Leonard Cohen in Lissadell House, Sligo

“The curate has called this exhibition
Drawn to Words.
I call my work
Acceptable Decorations.” (Leonard Cohen)

I have, in the past, fallen into the group that would refer to Leonard Cohen as depressing. But after spending three and a half hours at Lissadell House watching and listening to him, his band and an audience of 10,000, I see him in a very different light.

Honest, hard working, creative, wise, energetic, and true are the words I would use to describe him now. His stage presence is up there with the greats. He needs no fanfare, no bells and whistles, no distractions; When Leonard Cohen comes on stage his performance engages and engulfs the audience.

This seventy-five year old Canadian performs for 3 and half hours with a fifteen minute break and gives it his all. His opening words were so honest, “Thank you friends for coming out tonight and because you did we want to be sure to give you everything.”

The backdrop to the stage was a simple curtain with two hearts entwined in each other. The singers and musicians were dressed simply in black suits with little variation in their shirts and blouses. Leonard wore a fedora for most of the night and at times removed it to reveal a graying humble and powerful countenance.

While he reveals himself wholly to us I feel a sense of transparency fall over the crowd. Perhaps each individual is remembering that time is moving on and they’ve “known” Leonard for longer than they might care to remember. But his honesty on stage brings honesty to the crowd and a sense of acceptance and wise recognition that the passage of time is palpable.
“The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what
Has passed away
Or what is yet to be.” (Leonard Cohen)

After all, it takes time and living to have a body of songs and poetry like his and time creates beauty and it takes it away. The body of work grows and becomes immortal while the human body fades into mortality. Cohen appreciates this but somehow it is o.k.

One woman in the crowd in front of me said, “Oh, I wish I could go up there and give him a hug.” Referring to us 10,000 concert-goers as friends many, many times from his simple stage put us at ease and on the same level as himself. That was the message – we’re all in it together and I’m with you tonight as you have chosen to be with me.

For now, Leonard Cohen lives and he is anything but depressing when he skips (literally) on and off stage, and says “thank you friends.”

Friday, July 16, 2010

GAA and the Truth: Bring in the cameras and view footage.

The time has come when we can identify, beyond doubt, where cameras (and recorded sport) can help realize the Truth, and accomplish Justice.

The Louth and Meath Leinster football final is done and dusted! So say the many, and there is more to say that is being said too and it is falling on barren ground. Or is it? Will this situation be the catalyst for the GAA to change something? That is, will the GAA use this as the catalyst that grew the organisation into being one which has more respect for Truth and Justice. An organisation that just wants to do the right thing and wants to see the right thing to be done? ...

An organisation that allows for human error but is more interested in truth and justice. Human error will always be a part of play. Human error is human, after all.

The complexities of viewing footage and analysis of same can be dealt with simply: In the event that review of camera footage does not garner at least 66% agreement on the outcome then the decision goes back to the referee's original decision. It is a shame that after the referee admitted he made a mistake his spontaneous (in the heat of the game) incorrect ruling still stands.

What is the logic of this? It would be interesting to hear why this is the route chosen by the GAA. Surely someone can give us the argument? Many thought a replay would be offered and encouraged.

Some thought a replay would be unjust. Why? Because the game was won by Louth.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Discussion on Social Media and Business

On Wednesday, I was facilitator for a discussion about Social Media and Business at the Mayo Open Coffee Club in Castlebar.

After a short introduction by myself I asked the individuals of the group of eighteen to share "one short story about their experiences with Social Media." The individuals in the group were cooperative and some good stories came through. Some expressed a hesitation about engaging in social media.

The the eighteen made 3 groups of 6 to engage in 5 minute sessions of sharing ideas through discussion from directed questions. The first question answered by each individual in each group was "What have you done with social media for your business already?" Then I asked three members of each group to move to another group for 5 more minutes on the same question. Then a new question for 5 minutes was posed "What do you want to do with social media for your business?" Then three moved from each group to another group for five minutes again. And the final question used was "What do you expect from social media?" The resultant 30 minutes of vigorous discussion was engaging and active (it seemed).

I asked for feedback and got some. A couple of people stayed on to congratulate me on the facilitation and to thank me for my efforts. One individual said that he liked the style of meeting and appreciated the energy I brought to the meeting. One stayed late to give me extensive feedback. He appreciated the energy of the meeting and interactivity of the facilitation. He told me that the introduction was probably useless. (I talked a little about democracy and media, history of media, media ownership and life - in the introduction.) In hindsight, I think he is right.

But every experience is a good one. I'm happy to have facilitated the meeting and look forward to meeting the members again in the future.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Old Media/New Media - What?

When I studied at USF in San Francisco, Professor Andrew Goodwin was always a challenging facilitator. His style of lecturing is something I have aspired to. His planning and his delivery were always very very professional and well thought out and delivered.

Therefore I have kept in touch with him virtually. I see today his blog on New/Old media. Why this topic is not being discussed and evaluated as he has done HERE in all media circles is beyond me. Perhaps the simple and obvious is just not so simple and obvious.

I feel myself spiraling into a quagmire of dichotomies which I believe life, in general, to be- the simple is the most difficult, nature is simple and complex, language is so clear and multi-layered, looking after our bodies is simple and our bodies are extreme feats of innovative technologies, gardening is heavenly, the land is surreal, nature is beautiful and grotesque and so on... So I'll pull back.

Traditional Media is so well ingrained in our societies that it is going nowhere for now... And probably never will. Marketing will always have to be done to grab the attention of the market. Advertising will always have to be catching and aesthetically pleasing to us humans. Money will be the bottom line when working for the mass media.

Check out Andrew Goodwin's observations as he drank a "simple" cup of coffee (which may have travelled thousands of miles to his cup), in a simple bricks-and-mortar coffee shop in California.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Facebook and Summer in Ireland.

Spring is in the air during the day and winter consumes the bright moonlit nights.

Today I was outside working and the daylight stayed until nearly 7 p.m. I thought of the future nights of summer when the daylight will exist from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m. This is a lovely part of living in Ireland - the long days of summer. In San Francisco, the longest days of the year keep daylight until around 8 p.m.

The days are beautiful, dry and sunny. The nights are clear and freezing. Our forecast for tonight is -5 degrees. The moon is bright tonight and it is beautiful outside but yes it is freezing.

The other day I posted a question on Facebook asking for advice on where to erect my clothes line. The problem is that the view from my house is a stunning panoramic of Mweelra. No matter where the clothes line is put, it will be in the view-line. So I decided to put it outside the kitchen and to leave the view clear for the sun-room and the sitting room. I am comfortable with the decision.

On the other hand, I wonder why no one voiced an opinion on facebook. Social media is supposedly connecting us all to share and deliberate and interact virtually. Is it so that a simple question like mine is too trivial for the millions on facebook? For me personally it is indeed the simple, mundane, repetitious issues that are life which can be given new life through social networking.

Some are attempting now to discover new ways of using social media for education, for monetary gain, for networking business, etc. etc. Perhaps the elephant is in the room? Maybe social media is just that - Social Media - nothing more or less? Maybe it is simply an extension of our social networks and as such it should be used for social networking issues.

Issues like - Where should I erect my clothes line? What washing powder do you use? Where is a good spot for grub? Do we over intellectualise some things?

O.k. I know my question is not really interesting to many but I trust that you get my point.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

There are times when...

Here are some shots of what I was a part of today...

Does the media fit into every facet of our lives?

There are times when I realise the fleeting moment that is this life. Engaged in some research for an article about Granuaile today, I found myself at Murrisk Abbey.

Murrisk Abbey was built in the West of Ireland, in Murrisk, 6 miles from Louisburgh in 1547 by the O'Malley clan. The architecture is exquisite. The setting is majestic. And the adjoining graveyard is peaceful and sobering.

The calm quiet of the setting was accented by my recent reading of The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. The noise of media was absent. The glare of competing media was nowhere to be felt. The harmony of all was present.

There was no aggression or fight. The graveyard, which is the end of many a fight, was calm and quiet. In fact there was a fresh new grave opened for another passer-by who arrived before I left. May that individual be peaceful.

I love discussing the media but now and again the noise that is the media and the discussion needs to be resolved to the place that it belongs - in the mortal area that is fleeting. Taking this life too seriously can really intrude on enjoying that which is whole, aggreeable, calm, quiet, powerful and loving.

Life and Death. Photographs are no substitute for the real thing but now and again the media can give "some" view of what is being talked about.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2010: Does the internet foster equality?

Welcome to my blog in 2010. Sorry about the delay in getting back online but I have not had internet connection readily available in my home.

Eircom, the largest phone network company in Ireland and supplier of internet connection is being very slow about hooking up my new home with the internet.
Since the beginning of December we are waiting and cannot get any real info. about the schedule for our connection.
Perhaps this is a unique experience for us or perhaps it is a reality of living in the "sticks?"

Is there equality in the realm of access to the internet? Am I being a victim of bias towards connecting the urban areas and ignoring the rural areas? If this is so it questions the argument that internet access can level the playing field for users in remote locations.