Saturday, 28 February 2009

Corsas and Corpses

Corsas & Corpses

I am writing in response to the recent article in the Mourne Observer “Newcastle park venue for major music festival.”

In recent weeks councilors have been tossing this issue about like excitable children playing pass the parcel. Some of their language and views expressed in the article shows at best, severe naivety, and at worse, blinkered vision on behalf of the councilors involved.

Let’s get a few things straight.

This is not a “Cultural” event.

The adjective “Cultural” as outlined in is, ‘of or pertaining to culture or cultivation.’

Having attended similar events myself, I know at first hand that there is nothing enriching or nourishing that goes on at such parties. This is not to say that they are not a knee knockingly good fun, they are, but attempting to cast up sugar coated images in order to gain the publics' acquiescence is not fair game.

We have all been teenagers, and we can all remember attempting to feel our way into a world full of apprehension and giddy childishness. Cllr Jim Wells stated:

”There are fringe events that go on at these raves and these are the things we have to think about. There are all sorts of extra curricular activities and I don’t know if we should be encouraging this in Newcastle.”

Euphemistic statements like these say everything and nothing all at once. Statements do not need to be coded to protect us from harsh reality, unless there are ulterior motives by those with decision making power. We can say it out loud that “Fringe events” such as vandalism, violence and drug abuse would occur on a large scale. Not very curricular I think you will agree.

Let’s not collectively paper over the real issues, blinded by corporate benefits. It is an insult to our intelligence as a people,

For those who have not danced until sunrise in a field before, let me let you into a few home truths.

1. The only thing pertaining to Irish culture surrounding this event is the fact that it would be hosted in Newcastle, which in turn, happens to be in Ireland.

This is the only cultural connection I can find.

This corporate event would be nothing more, nothing less. Let’s not kid ourselves.

2. Drug taking on a massive scale WILL take place. I am not saying if this is right or wrong, only that its presence is not beneficial to Newcastle’s tourist industry, nor is it an opportunity for cultural celebration. We all (some more than others) know how drug (including alcohol) use in Newcastle has exploded in the last ten years, with participants getting ridiculously younger.

Does Newcastle really need a celebration of cheap chemicals and even cheaper booze on its golden shores?

Cllr Willie Clarke stated, “Unsavory events take place in Newcastle already, and therefore this aspect could not be held against the festival.”

Which unsavory events is Cllr Clarke referring to exactly?

Double parking?

Doing 36 mph, inside the 30 limit?

I find this statement very confusing. It’s like saying, “For sure there are pedophiles in our community, but its fine to have the National Pedophile Convention in the Slieve Donard Hotel.

Cllr Clarke also went on to say that the event would be a “Good economic opportunity” for the town as “hotels and guest houses would be booked for miles around.” As I said before, I have attended events like this and a very small percentage of protagonists stay in rented accommodation. Most people dance, drink, take drugs then sleep in their cars, or drive home.

Now, I am only surmising here, obviously there are exceptions, albeit a handful.

On this basis local hotels and guest houses will not fair so well, although off licenses and drug dealers will have a cash bonanza. Not quite the “good economic opportunity” talked about by Cllr Clarke.

The words of Cllr Eamonn O’Neil provided particular pertinence in shaping my attitude to the matter in hand. He stated “Tourism is what Newcastle is all about. We should be seen to be attracting events to the town.”

There is nothing wrong with what he said per se, indeed, Newcastle does need to attract tourism, but what price?

Public funded parks taken over by big business?

Erosion of loyal rate payers rights to peace and quiet in the face of private enterprise?

I understand the need for councilors to try and drum up support for business in the town and also how economically attractive such an event must look with its flashy PR and corporate backing, but is this really a worthwhile concession to make in the face of public distaste?

I fear not.

Newcastle, with its new promenade now looks like a tourist destination to be reckoned with. Whether you call It the ‘pearl of Down’, ‘the diamond on the Mournes’, or simply ‘home,’ there is no doubt, its special.

Is the council really going to tacitly consent to mass illegal drug use, whilst hiding behind a flag of cultural modernity?

I suppose only they can answer the question.

Pikey (Newcastle resident of sorts)

Monday, 2 February 2009

Topsy-Turvey Emotions

Nights are sticky and hot in Phuket and sleep can be sporadic. On this occasion my slumber was continually broken by a dog's unremitting wine.

This was not the sound of a large animal, but that of a freak creature, rat like, one of those beasts that people love to hate, and on this occasion I started to twitch.

The piercing screeches continued and images of the thing having its teeth pulled with doggy pliers resonated in my sleep deprived mind. I reasoned with myself and could find no logical conclusion for the drama.

A canine gang rape?

Possibly a messy reprisal from a irascible old flame? What ever it was is was dark and it was uncouth.

My mind it felt,was about to burst at the seems with confusion and consternation.

Before I had time to gather my thoughts into some sort of logical and rational order, the vulgar noises stopped and the air was once again filled with the tribalisms and looped sounds of the insects of the night.

I was left feeling slightly uneasy, on edge, excoriated.

Forty five minutes had passed since the scream has spread sonically like virus making me feel queasy and troubled, and now the episode had vaporised into the stillness of the night air.

All I was left with was a strange feeling deep inside me. The night was playing tricks on me I was sure of it, but the sounds of the night can leave one effected and jittery.


Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Extract

At the moment I am reading and enjoying immensely 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' by Robert M Pirsig.

This particular passage jumped out at me and I felt that I needed to share it with blog.

'To speak of a certain government and establishment institutions as 'the system' is to speak correctly, since these organisations are founded upon the same structural conceptual relationships as a motorcycle. They are sustained by structural relationships even when they have lost all other meaning and purpose.People arrive at a factory and perform a totally meaningless task from eight to five without question because the structure demands it be that way. There's no villain, no "mean guy" who wants they to live meaningless lives, it's just that the structure, demands it and no one is willing to take on the formidable task of changing the structure because it is meaningless.

But to tear down a factory or to revolt against a government or to avoid repair of a motorcycle because it is a system is to attack effects rather than causes; and as long as the attack is on effects only , no change is possible. The true system, the real system, is our present construction of systematic thought itself, rationality itself, and if a factory is torn down but the rationality that produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory. If a revolution destroys a systematic government, but the systematic patterns of thought that it produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves in the succeeding government. There's so much talk about the system, a so little understanding.

Food for thought.