Tuesday 26 September 2017

My cultural life: Singer Wallis Bird

Singer Wallis Bird will play Killarney next weekend
Singer Wallis Bird will play Killarney next weekend
George Orwell's 1984
Star Trek The Next Generation
Soap Dish

Singer/songwriter Wallis Bird comes from a large family from the village of Galbally, Co Wexford. Her dad gave her a guitar when she was six months old. She was born left-handed and when she was young lost her fingers in a lawnmower accident and had them sewn back on. Her unconventional style of playing is a result of becoming used to playing a right-handed guitar upside down. She left home to study at Ballyfermot Rock School, where her career as a musician kicked off, playing small clubs and pubs. Since then she has moved between Germany and London. In 2012 she moved to Berlin, which she finds an inspiring place to live and work. Wallis shares her apartment with her girlfriend and all her guitars! Her latest album Home is out now. She plays at the INEC Killarney Acoustic Session Weekend this Friday.

Film: Soap Dish

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Soap Dish
 

Never heard of it? Sadly, I'm not surprised but 26 years after its release it's garnering cult status as one of the funniest, yet overlooked, modern classic comedies. It's a behind-the-scenes movie following the uber-vain, under-talented lives of the stars and developers of a terrible daytime soap called The Sun Also Sets. Soap Dish (above) has stellar, fast-paced dialogue volleyed with comic genius from one of the best 1990s casts on paper that includes Sally Field, Kevin Kline, Whoopi Goldberg, Robert Downey Jr, Carrie Fisher, Cathy Moriarty, Elisabeth Shue, Kathy Najimy and Teri Hatcher.

Artwork: Maser, Repeal The 8th

An artwork so important that it even garnered more importance when it was painted over. For so many reasons I think this artwork changed Ireland. Here's how I see the piece: it is a soft heart, with a tilted opinion - so that this most tough of subject matters is asking us to 'approach with love and care'. Its logo is highlighted by primary 'male and female' blue and red colours. Its casual and interesting beauty made it an instant icon, thus super viral. Cian O'Brien, artistic director of Project Arts Centre Dublin, and graffiti artist Maser worked together knowing the power and thought it would provoke and ultimately desire, with the statement 'There's a New Ireland in town'. This is what art is: passion and skill that can change everything.

Book: 1984

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George Orwell's 1984
 

George Orwell's 1984. This book is so prolific I'm not sure if we are life imitating art, or if our end was painfully clear to Orwell. I have to say that this book has in many ways prepared me for my path through this world. I fear for the future but I've already read it and it seems as if we're sticking to the book. In fact I'm going to crack it open again today, and take some solace from its poetry.

Design: A Guitar

I've recently fallen in love with a guitar! I designed the body of the guitar based on that of my girlfriend's torso. The wood was carved from a 100-year-old hazelnut tree and is being made by a fantastic Belgian luthier, Francois Massau.

TV: Star Trek

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Star Trek The Next Generation
 

It took me until now but I'm finally into Star Trek, The Next Generation. It's deeply moral, beautifully acted and shines a light on the human condition; its trails and interconnections with peace, the unknown, nature, war, working as a team, with friend or foe, borders and foreign rules, and harsh decision making when dealing with (in this case) foreign planets but choosing respect as a default method of action. I love that it decided not to bother itself with 'action', rather it focuses on what can be learned or taken away from each episode. inec.ie

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