non-fiction

Lou Reed

Lou Reed passed away on the 27th of October 2013.

Lou Reed Transformer album cover

He was one of the most influential figures in rock music. His first band The Velvet Underground is probably solely responsible for any "Indie Music" we hear today. However he is most famous for two songs, "Walk on the Wild Side" and Perfect Day". The former was a hit in 1972. A most unusual chart song with sparse arrangement of an infectious backing vocal, two note bass line and spoken styled melody of  lyrics about transsexuals and prostitution inspired by characters of the pop artist Andy Warhol's hangout, The Factory. The song surfaced again in 1990 as it's memorable bass line was sampled by A Tribe Called Quest as the backbone of their song "Can I kick it?". The latter was "Perfect Day" (the b side to Walk on the Wild side) which had a resurgence in the film Trainspotting and was released by an all star cast as a charity single in 1997. Both songs were featured on the album Transformer.

Good Bye George.

I lived to tell it all

This year witnessed the passing of one of the greatest country singers who ever lived, Frank Sinatra referred to him as “the second best male singer in the world”, George Jones.
His story is a dramatic rags to riches tale with broken marriages and alcohol problems, subjects which are often the content of country songs. 

His recent auto biography I Lived to Tell It All is available in Dublin City Public Libraries.

As a child he would play the guitar and sing for pennies. He rode on the bus for free because the driver would want to hear him sing. His first hit was White Lightening in 1959, even though he did not pen most of his own hits, like Elvis he was the great interpreter.

Christmas Holidays - time to curl up with a book...

I love the long, warm, bright summer evenings - but the long, chilly, dark winter evenings have their charms too, as long as I have something good to read. The girls in my house have stored up some special reads for those lazy days between Christmas and New Year. We've had to banish the chosen books from sight so we're not tempted to start reading immediately - there lies grave danger of no present buying, pudding making, tree trimming or other essential ingredients of Christmas.

Knowledge Uncovered

Image of dvd Inside jobHave you ever wished that someone would explain exactly how the banking crises happened without having to read the small print? Your wish is granted. This award winning documentary 'Inside Job' does exactly that. It is a well paced easily accessible account, through narration and extensive interviews with financiers, ex-government staff, academics and Chinese factory workers! It won an Academy award in for Best Documentary in 2010.

Let's start joining up the dots with a podcast available on Dublin City Public Library website. This talk by Simon Carswell explains how Anglo Irish bank "broke Ireland". Another very good example is Fintan O'Toole's book, 'Ship of Fools', which is a very readable account of the the property bubble in Ireland. While looking at reviews for this book I came across a very interesting website called Irish Left Review, if you have time click on the Irish Shadow Banking System.

Where Were You?

Where were you A very important and fascinating book was published this year, "Where Were You? Dublin Youth Culture & Street Style 1950-2000" by Garry O'Neil and Niall McCormack.

The book is a compilation of photographs documenting social and fashion scenes in Dublin. What sets this book apart is that there are no staged fashion shoots or celebrities, just amazing photographs of everyday people wearing what was in style and ordinary people with extraordinary style.

It's a very intimate account of street culture in Dublin. This feeling of intimacy is directly linked to the way in which the material was sourced. Posters were hung up in cafes, bars and shops around the city asking people to send in photos, rather then all the material being collected in newspaper archives.

The Irish Cloud Festival

Head in the Clouds: cloud FestivalHow often do you look up? The members of TICAS, The Irish Cloud Appreciation Society are very fond of doing so and at the end of this month (Fri-Sun 27th-29th July 2012)  are holding a festival in the north-west of Ireland.

Cloud watching, or cloud spotting is a relaxing and very enjoyable hobby. Enthusiasts will tell you there are ten basic categories of cloud, in a Latin 'Linnean' system devised by Luke Howard in 1802. Within these 'genea', or basic categories, however there are many different 'species' of cloud, and then within these there are further 'varieties'!

Ah Go On! And Knit.

Pauline McGlynnLike Pauline McLynn, the actress who plays Mrs. Doyle in the channel 4 series 'Father Ted', I was taught to knit by my mother. Knitting is a wonderful hobby, and and really fun and satisfying way to pass the time.

Recently however, the actress known so well for her mantra, 'Ah go on, go on, go on...' has now turned her hobby and her catchphrase into an online enterprise selling knitted tea cosies - the Go Ons. News article on Silicon Republic.

Dublin City Public Libraries has lots of great titles if you're starting out as a knitter for the first time, or if you're a more experienced knitter there are also good titles available.

Game, Set, Match

Tennis racket and ballsIf like me you have been following Wimbledon over the past few weeks and will soon begin to have withdrawal symptoms why not pop by to your local library and learn some more about your favourite players. We have a range of books and also some DVDs which document the lives of some of the greatest players of all time, as well as some of the current tennis pros.

Left-Handedness

The Puzzle of Left-handedness by Rik SmitsI grew up in a household where half of us were left-handed, one was ambidextrous (my dad) and the last two were right-handed, even given this my left-handed little brother came home from school frustrated and nearly in tears, he couldn't do his letters, it was so hard.  When my mum (left-handed) saw that his teacher hadn't considered getting him to use his left hand she saw red.  He was shown how to use his pencil in his left hand and everything went fine for him after that (there was a phone call to the teacher as well). This was in the 80s by the way.

Recently I read a book called The Puzzle of Left-handedness by Rik Smits which talks about the anomaly that is left-handedness, something that about 10% of the world's population is, something that has been (and is still in some cultures) suppressed and discouraged, in fact some countries deny the existence of left-handedness in their population, and social mores link left-handedness with uncleanliness.  Rik is left-handed himself and offers little solutions but he writes this noting the differences.  It's an interesting book with interesting insights into how this minor marker can set people apart.

DUBLIN WRITERS FESTIVAL

Dublin_Writers_Festival

This week the Dublin Writer's Festival is taking place from June 4th - 10th.

There's a taste of everything from philosophy and fiction to poetry, music, film,discussions and workshops. Writers from home and abroad take part in the events. There are some interesting readings and creative writing workshops for children also. It is well worth having a look!  

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