Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The two realities of Christmas

Christmas is a magical time; a time of being with family, friends, loved ones. A time of sitting round an open fire or a gas fire or an electric fire or no fire. A time of stuffing our faces with rich laden food, drinking too much alcohol and too many fizzy drinks. A time for experiencing the delight in children’s faces when they open their presents. It is a time of getting in touch with our Christian roots and our Pagan roots. It is a time of myth making, Santa Claus and believing in things that do not exist. Father Christmas and the birth of Jesus on the 25 of December are fictitious but both are representative of gift giving and new beginnings. There is celebration of a new hope and a new beginning but in order for that to happen there has to be death of the old. At Christmas time all above the ground is dead whilst below the ground new life is emerging.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Demise of the Letter

In The Celebrated Letters of John B. Keane, Keane opens with a preface on the humble letter, stating that it is “the simplest and most permanent form of communication”.  Furthermore, he sees the epistolary form as a vastly underused resource in the literary world. John B. Keane put together a collection of ‘novelettes’ as he terms them from a series of “stock” Irish characters that includes the farmer, the matchmaker, the parish priest and the T.D. (a government representative in the Irish parliament).  Writers such as Samuel Richardson and Daniel Defoe used the letter as a literary device to give the reader an insight to the character's thoughts but also as a means to further the plot through time and life-like realism.  This resulted in the emergence of the novel as we know it today.  The epistolary was the earliest genre used for the novel.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Film Review: Adam & Paul

If Trainspotting is accused of glamourising heroin addiction and creating heroin chic, then Adam & Paul  is its grim, socio-realist counterpart, but there is nothing chic about this film. On any given day hooded scagheads lurch around the streets of Dublin city centre. They either have a look of desperation to score their next fix or they are spaced out in heroin heaven. Figures of hate, derision, fear or pity, they are the untouchables of Irish society. Adam & Paul charts the day in the life of two such addicts. It is an intensely funny and tragic film. It is a very Irish film that juxtaposes humour with pathos. Originally released in 2004 and written by Mark O’Halloran, the film is set during the height of the Celtic Tiger boom with Dublin as its epicenter. The life of Adam and Paul is contrasted sharply against this bright new consumerist world.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Beauty; in the eye of the cardholder?

Five hours (and who can do it less in?)
By haughty Celia spent in dressing,
The goddess from her chamber issues,
Arrayed in lace, brocade, and tissues.
                 (excerpt from The Lady’s Dressing Room by Jonathan Swift)

Written in 1732, The Lady’s Dressing Room deconstructs and mocks the fashionable dress of court women by detailing and parodying the products that created the ‘haughty Celia’.  Consumerism was rampant amongst the eighteenth century aristocracy which trickled down to the remaining social classes in England [1] causing Swift to challenge this rise of materialism in The Lady's Dressing Room.  The poem challenges manufactured female beauty and mocks those men who fall for it.


If you like literature, art, film, the human condition, religion, what makes us tick, the odd Victor Meldrew-like rant and a melting pot of other topics, then you have come to the right place. I am the bag lady and like a bag full of shopping that bursts across the floor, I will be spewing out random collections of scribblings, I hope to edify, enlighten or entertain you.

The Bag Lady