The Hassle

So I think I finally figured it out. And by ‘IT’ I mean the reason for my absence from this self built web-presence (not the Stephen King novel about scary clowns). This blog is over 4 years old. I created it, set it up with its imaginative title (ahem), wrote some blog posts and here we are. This blog, my blog, started out merely as a place for me to share and catalog my taste in music. (Well it actually started its life as a film review blog, but it didn’t take long for music to take over).

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Sicario – Film Review

On paper Sicario is the latest film to explore the violent depths of Mexican drug cartels. And whilst it does this very well I have to admit that when I saw the posters I was somewhat underwhelmed. The plot is one which has popped up in a variety of films, TV series and even documentaries in recent years so hopefully my reluctance and overall lack of interest is understandable.

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A hipo-critic no more

I’m not a musician and I’ve never claimed to be. And so naturally, I’m often asked why I write a MUSIC blog. I can’t sing (although try telling me that after a few drinks) nor can I play an instrument, yet. I have recently acquired an electric guitar but that’s a story for another day/blog. So what gives me the right to judge the merit of anyone’s musical offering?

The short answer is of course nothing. I can’t tell if a guitar player is employing a certain technique of if  a peculiar sequence of notes has any particular value. I can of course Google this if I want to appear “all-knowing” but really what is the point?

It seems that blogs, more-so those pertaining to the arts, fall under a certain pressure to be critical. Of course we all have the right (and  responsibility) to express criticism. Without truly questioning something how can we garner an understanding? But there is a blurred line between opinion and criticism. And whilst the power we wield as self-appointed judges can be addictive if not intoxicating, it is of no use to either artist or reader.

But this is not to say that my music blog is of no use. There is a reason why I put fingers to keys and churn out “reviews”. The only musical asset I truly possess is my taste. That might sound a little pompous, but I do this because I love music. And the reality is that there is no real output for the wealth of musical talent in this country. When I make such a statement I am of course am talking about Ireland. A country with such a strong artistic and cultural history despite such minuscule investment and infrastructure. Whilst there are some good radio shows, publications and of course blogs who strive to put good music in the public domain, mainstream media continues to turn a blind eye to home-grown talent.

Of course my blog can’t change this current state of affairs. But to employ a cheesy and overused cliché, I hope my contribution will act as another “brick in the wall” which puts good music to the forefront (Please excuse that Floydian slip).

Merry Christmas Everyone (okay even I think that was a bit too early)

It’s chhriiissstttmmaaaaasssss!! Well not quite, but it is the first of December so I guess my rather enthusiastic Slade impersonation (imagination required) isn’t too out-of-place. But still, where has the time gone! Seems like only yesterday I was making new years resolution’s and yet here we are preparing to bid adieu to another year.

But we’re not there yet. Not even close! December is a month of celebration and tradition and there’s one very important staple custom that I like to uphold on my blog. That of course being the ‘Album of the Year’ countdown.

2014 has been a particularly impressive year for new albums and artists alike and composing this list has been no easy task. That is to say, I am still racking my brain, chopping, changing and juggling 2014’s audible bounty to fit a more conventional Top 10.

But whilst I continue to deliberate over this all important decision, I also want to hear from you. Which musical offerings have kept your ears captivated throughout the year? Let me know what your favoutite albums were in the comments below.

And now…. Sure it’s never too early for Christmas songs!

Words

Words are great. You can use a thousand of them in one sentence and end up saying absolutely nothing. And in the same breath, you can paint pictures, conjure grand tales and captivate an imagination with just a handful. I was racking my brain earlier, trying to find something to write about, something to say. And I came across an idea in the a supplement in one of the weekend papers.

The concept of which I found so interesting revolved around a short story competition. One where the only resource available to the writers was six words (of their own choosing of course). The idea for this, stretches back to 1920’s when Ernest Hemingway, within the confides of a bet, penned a complete story in just six words.

‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn’

And whilst the concept is far from new, it has sort of, kicked me back into action where my writing is concerned. How can I hide behind the excuse of having nothing to write about when all I need is six words. Now, finding the words is a whole other story, but a challenge I relish and look forward to all the same. Everyone has a story to tell, we just need to find the words. I can write my story in six words, or closer to the mark,  I can write it in six million. The important thing is that I keep writing. Because that’s where inspiration is born, a craft is honed and more than anything else, it’s where a voice becomes audible.


 

And now, in a slightly unrelated note…

Blog Awards Ireland: 2013

As I write this post I am currently siphoning free wifi from a local cafe, so I’ll try to keep this short.  The Blog Awards Ireland shortlist was announced over the weekend and I can gladly report that my blog has been included in not one but five different categories. The shortlist nominations are as follows:

  • Best Designed Blog
  • Best Youth Blog
  • Best Music Blog
  • Best Blog of a Journalist
  • Best Humour Blog

Of course I am delighted to be recognised and included amongst some of the countries finest bloggers. Things have come a long way from my solo shortlist nomination for best newcomer in last years awards. I’ll keep you posted and have more updates once the good people at o2 solve my broadband issues.

blog_awards_2013_badge_shortlist

Introducing: Rohan Healy

rohan healyRohan Healy is an Australian born singer songwriter currently based in his ‘ancestral home of Dublin’. To date he has recorded no less than 10 solo albums and somehow manages to fill the remainder of his free time as an author, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, blogger and professional music producer.

Rohan has written and published two books, the first “Greeks to Geeks: Practical Stoicism in the 21st Century” in 2010 and in 2012 he published his second book “The 7 Things That Made Me Genuinely & Irreversibly Happy: And How They Can Do The Same For You”.

Rohan’s musical style can best be summed up as a fusion of Indie, Folk and Punk Rock, a mix sure to satisfy almost all musical tastes. He has also performing and recording with a wide variety of artists including David Virgin, Dan Rumour, Cat Power, Billy Bragg, Jimmy Willing, Quiffs N Coffins and Christa Hughes (Machine Gun Fellatio).

As for the future, Rohan is currently working on a 7 track E.P. due for release sometime next month. All of Rohan’s music is available to download for free over on his website. Also be sure to check out his blog rohan7things.wordpress.com