History for sale

One of the weird things you see when wandering about Dublin is the number of abandoned buildings. In some ways, this isn’t a surprise: Ireland is known for its ghost towns, unwanted hastily-built leftovers of the boom (the NYT has some excellent pics here). What’s pretty shocking, to me, though, are the old, listed buildings … Continue reading

Summer in Ireland

It’s been a long, slow summer, so long and slow that I feel as though I’ve slipped from view (from a digital perspective, my inactivity means that I have). Earlier this year I debated intensely with myself whether to stay in New York or not, and I reached a compromise: I would stay one year … Continue reading

#5: There’s always somebody more paranoid than you

I crib this slightly from the Village Voice, but it’s true. As I write, we are eight hours and sixteen minutes into the Rapture — an international event (occurring at different times across the time zones) but one that has been heavily advertised in New York. Indeed, when I made my way out this evening, … Continue reading

#3: Coming apart

My plans to post daily are almost coming apart. It’s due to that book I’m working on, a collection of essays, based on work that I did in academia, co-written and edited with a friend of mine. We’re in the midst of the index, and I can tell you, if you’ve never had to compile an … Continue reading

#2: Ex-pat Eurovision parties

When you’ve lived away from home long enough, you gradually garner a group of ex-pat friends. Last year the Eurovision passed me by without blimping onto my radar, but this year, I had a party to go to. When I arrived at the 8th floor Mid-town flat at 3pm, my host, V., urgently handed me … Continue reading

A truly divine fashion show

Goods of Conscience — what better name could you think of for a Catholic priest’s fashion line (in fact, the longer you consider it, the more puns and coinages come to mind, and the temptation for bloggers and newspaper subeditors has proved irresistible)? The man behind the label is Fr. Andrew O’Connor, a priest, designer and … Continue reading

A note about noise

People like to say that if you complain about loud music, it’s because you’re getting old, but that’s not true. As an underage 15-year-old in Peig’s nightclub, near Trinity College, I’d sometimes go to sleep in a corner, worn out by the pressures of attempting conversation. It would be unseemly to do that now of … Continue reading

Election aftermath

So the Democrats didn’t fare well in the election. That seems pretty clear. On the other hand, at least (for them) they still control the Senate … I spent Tuesday in the town of Peeksville in Westchester, campaigning on behalf of Democrat incumbent John Hall. Obama’s grassroots volunteer group, Organizing for America, paid for the … Continue reading

Rally to restore sanity?

I arrived at Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity just as it started. It was huge, so thronged with people that we weren’t anywhere near speakers, and couldn’t hear a thing on the stage. The Guardian estimated that  250,000 people turned up but there may have been far more. I’m not yet sure what I think … Continue reading

Why I like grafitti

An angry and rather clever, if not technically gifted,  grafitti artist is at work at the Fort Hamilton Park subway stop, adding a glint of light and humour to an otherwise grim station. The subversive scrawls are much easier on the eye than the patronizing, commercial messages of the ads that they deface. Hurrah for subterranean … Continue reading

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