Thursday 27 June 2019

My cultural life: Aoife Abbey

Aoife Abbey
Aoife Abbey
Call the Midwife
A girl is a Half-formed Thing
Inside I'm Dancing

Aoife Abbey grew up in Tallaght and is a member of the Royal College of Physicians and fellow of the faculty of Intensive Care Medicine. From 2016, Aoife wrote a blog under the guise of the British Medical Association's 'The Secret Doctor'. Seven Signs of Life is her first book and it's out now, published by Penguin. penguin.co.uk

Film: Inside I'm Dancing

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Inside I'm Dancing
 

This is the first mainstream movie I know which came close to portraying disability in a way I'm familiar with. My brother, a wheelchair user, was passionate about the independent living movement and though this movie isn't perfect and received some criticism for a lack of disabled actors in the cast, it was so positive to see those issues highlighted. Everyone deserves to feel like they are represented in media, to see themselves occasionally. I'll never forget my brother laughing as the central character, Rory, joked about writing a letter to Dublin City Council to lament a lack of accessible bridges, from which he could throw himself.

Design: The Library of Birmingham

The Library of Birmingham is a fascinating building and the book rotunda is an incredible space. It feels a bit lofty, for me, to refer to something as 'a space' but truly this is one. The rotunda is an expansive five storeys of curved, book-lined walls. Gliding through it on the escalator with its blue-lit handrails, it's hard not to feel like you've entered some sort of temple.

TV: Call The Midwife

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Call the Midwife
 

Shows like this are what Sunday nights are made for -beautiful looking drama with fascinating history. That's probably the geek in me: never one to pass up an opportunity to make learning fun! Thankfully I'm old enough now not to have to feel apologetic about it. The costumes are superb.

Art: Almond Blossom, Van Gogh

This painting caught my eye in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, I think because the striking blue and delicate pale pink seemed unexpected, contrasted against all those bolder coloured pieces. I am lucky to live near a beautiful park and standing beneath a tree, looking up, is the sort of 'art' I try to keep in my life. This painting reminds me of the hours of springtime I frequently try and claw back between consecutive night shifts, with a quick walk in the park.

Author: Eimear McBride

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A girl is a Half-formed Thing
 

Eimear McBride uses words in a way that makes you want to stand back from the page and just stare at them, like looking at a painting, or a tree that's caught the light in a certain way. She moulds sentences into art - and this is before you even consider that they're also telling a story. I think it seems strange that somebody can use words like this and yet the end result is something that is ultimately very familiar; as if she's figured out the language that your insides speak. Her description of death in A Girl is a Half-formed Thing is unapologetic and probably the most accurate one I have ever read.

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