Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Cad é Tharla? (What Happened?)

Yes, folks, I'm back from Ireland!

Describing the whole thing of a piece is too much for me in my still-jetlagged state, and besides, who wants a laundry list of What I Did During My Summer in Ireland (for vacation it was not)? Ok, I know some of you want the big story all at once, but what you'll get (eventually) are a series of vignettes.

For now, though, two short lists.

Momentous Things That Happened

1. I found out that I got the Mainzer Fellowship to Cambridge next winter! I'll be there for two months as part of their gender studies program, and I'm ecstatic about it! While there, I will be doing research about Julia Clifford and Lucy Farr.

2. Jenny & I spent five days in Paris, catching up with our friend Chris, formerly a student in composition in NYU. He moved to France a few years ago, and we got to hang out with him and his fabulous Parisian and ex-pat friends. We felt tres chic, indeed!

3. My Irish language skills are much improved, thanks to the FLAS grant that allowed me to spend about a month and a half studying at Oideas Gael. Of course I have lots to say about that, but for now, I'll leave it by saying that despite its significant flaws (namely its very pathetic food shop) I'm already making plans to get back to Glencolumcille as soon as possible.

4. I perfected my apple crumble technique, sans measurements of any kind other than by eyeball and handful. Once it cools off enough to want the oven on--which, providentially, will coincide with apple season--I'll have to see whether my newfound skills came with me across the Atlantic, or whether they were a magical gift of the cottage in Glen where I stayed for the month of June.

5. I caught my first 4 fish! Mackerel, off the coast near Teelin. I fried them up and they were beautiful.

6. I heard about the song "Automatic Lover" for the first time ever. Stay tuned....

...and a second list--

Things that Momentously Did Not Happen

1. Fieldwork interviews. This omission felt right and good, though--partly because I was busy learning Irish, thinking about my project--and what's more, have not filed any research plans with the Human Subjects Board at NYU (better safe than sorry).

2. A great deal of fiddling. The first three weeks I was in Glen, the good music was elsewhere, and I didn't have a car. I did make up for lost time later in the summer there (more on this later), but also momentously, I spent a total of about 12 hours at the Willie Clancy week. That, for you non-traddies out there, is a trifling amount, because in past years I've spent nearly all my waking hours for a week there. And during that 12 hours or so, I played maybe an hour's worth. Again, more on the whys and wherefores of this later.

3. Drinking. I probably had a total of 5 pints the whole summer, taken glass by glass. My coffee intake was slightly higher, but still fairly insignificant. My consumption of black tea and Donegal bogwater, however, was unprecedented.

As I recover from jetlag and get back into the swing of posting, I'll describe some of this stuff in more detail and post some pictures. For now, here are two teasers: one photo, and the unspeakably stunning and bizarro video for "Automatic Lover." I thank Paolo (Sophie's boyfriend and now a friend of mine) for tipping me off about this song. Too cool, man, too cool.


Sophie said...

Okay, so I risked "consequences" at work to see Automatic Lover. Don't worry, real trouble in unlikely and I suppose on the very off chance I would be proud to be sacked for this er...this...well...was going to come up with something unspeakable witty but words fail me.
But just so happy to have that in my life, though I feel that my own automatic lover is just that little bit cuddlier.

An Briosca Mor said...

Although I haven't been to Willie Week since 2001 and I hear a lot has changed there since then (and not for the better) it seems like each year now East Durham is looking more and more like Willie Week. Everything is all spread out now. Lots of classes are in the Cairo-Durham Middle School. At least one evening session or listening room per night is in some faraway venue that's too obscure to show up on the map they provide - which is now three maps shrunk to fit on one page. It kind of reminded me of my many searches for the legendary Gleeson's in Coore, after always hearing about the great music that was there the night before. Even though I had a map showing Coore, I was never able to find it. It was like some oasis disappearing in the desert. And of course now I needn't bother, because it's closed - as are a lot of the pubs in Milltown Malbay. Similarly, East Durham is losing more and more accomodations and pubs every year. This year it was the Ferncliff, which is now a Jewish kids camp. (Myron joked on stage when he was reading the session list for Friday that there would be no session at the Ferncliff because of the sabbath.) Rumor has it that the Shamrock House may be next to go.

But on the other hand, the staff list gets bigger and better every year and is now definitely rivaling Milltown. The concerts every night are great, and so are the listening rooms. (Bernie O's on the Wednesday still seems to be the best of the week, following the tradition you helped start a few years ago. This year it was Tim Collins, Brian MacNamara, the Kane sisters, Edel Fox, June and Michael, and Joanie Madden and Mary Bergin.) The evening sessions are huge and out of control, though. This year I skipped them all. Josh and Brendan were there, and along with Aaron Olwell and Patrick Cavanagh who came up later in the week they would go off and start their own sessions in Darby's or at the house that Josh and Brendan rented. So I followed them around for the good tunes, although I didn't pull all-nighters like they did a couple of nights.

You're right, I have been negligent in not blogging about ED yet, but I've been waiting to recover from the jet lag of the week (even though I drove up). Hopefully I'll get to it soon...

Anonymous said...

Hiya Tes, welcome back stateside.

Donegal bongwater? Sounds awful.

Yep, I was in the Catskills for the first time, and was really sorry you weren't there. My favorite "listening" experience of the few days I was there was going to the Sliabh Luachra ceili where Jackie Daly, Matt Cranitch, and Paul DeGrae playing. tres inspiring! My favorite sessioning experience was the party at the rental house where the session all of a sudden spontaneously stood up and conga-lined into the kitchen--hilarity ensued!

Glad to see you'll be blogging again--I was getting pretty sick of reading about frozen wine.

-Patrick Cavanagh

T said...

Oh, it was BOG water, not BONG water--thank goodness! Who knows what my time in Glen would have been like had it been bongwater! Mwa ha ha!

Rob said...

Can we start a band called Donegal Bongwater?

And Automatic Lover is much, much stranger if you don't realize it's from the 70s.

An Briosca Mor said...

Only if you let in a certain fiddle player we all know and love. But wouldn't that be TCMTC?

An Briosca Mor said...

And what sort of tunes would a band called Donegal Bongwater play? How about The Narcs of Malin, Doobie Dorrian's and The Hemp in Bloom as a starter set?

Don't bogart that rosin!

T said...

Yes! Donegal Bongwater can be the trad arm of the Fuzzy Kittys of Deth!

John, thanks for the East Durham run-down (what other noun would be nearly as appropriate for the place!). Two questions:

1. Were there any brown recluse bites this year?; and

2. Was I missed? ;-)

Some more tune names: The Block of Hash, Rolling in the Grass, The 420 Points to Roguery. TCMTC, indeed!

An Briosca Mor said...

No brown recluse bites this year -that I know of, anyway. And yes you were missed. Patrick has already come on record to attest to that. But I have to say that Jackie, Matt and Paul seemed to be doing okay without you there. Although actually the only place I saw them all week was up on stage, so perhaps they were just holding it together up there and were basket cases everywhere else.

Oh, another little interesting tidbit. This year I didn't go for lunch at the Oak Hill Kitchen (the cult-run place with the great food) because it was too far away from where my class was, so instead I found myself lunching on sushi from the supermarket in Cairo. Several people scoffed at that when I told them, but (a) I ate it every day and didn't die, and (b) it was actually pretty fresh. One day when I got there the Japanese guy was still rolling up the last few rolls to put in the case.

I don't know who Myron was using for his tune slave this year with you not there, though...

Ann said...

I am so happy right now.
I MUST have that silver cape.