Friday, 30 August 2013

On boredom

"Boredom in its pure form is a resource to be cherished, the last great wilderness. It is basically what we've got left now, our shield, our bunker, our lead-lined helmet against the digital tinnitus, the unceasing transactional white noise of modern life. Against all this boredom stands as something cold and still and grey. Nobody has ever tried to sell you boredom. Nobody has ever successfully rebranded, celebrified or generally ruined boredom with money. In spite of which boredom remains an essential component of anything of any value: it is the thing that tells us what isn't boredom, a state out of which all elements of genuine fascination must emerge."
Well that's intelligent and wonderful a review of a football match!

Listening to my kids this morning I realise from their screams and complaints that they aren't good at dealing with boredom. That's not surprising I suppose - they've spent their summer being kept active and busy in summer camps with little time left to their own devices. I think I'll lock each of them in their room with some books for an hour or two...

In his book "Diary of a Bad Year", J.M. Coetzee recalls Nietsche "Only the higher animals are capable of being bored" and builds on the idea.
"While it may be so that only the higher animals are capable of boredom, man proves himself highest of all by domesticating boredom, giving it a home."
Just so.

On the passing of Seamus Heaney

Sad news today that Seamus Heaney has died at the young age of 74.

He was a wonderful reader of his own works, but although this video isn't one of his better readings I've chosen it here because it was one of his last, recorded in Paris at the Centre Culturel Irlandais this past June, and it begins with a poem about a musician that could also be about Heaney himself:

For he had gone alone into the island
And brought back the whole thing.
The house throbbed like his full violin. 

So whether he calls it spirit music 
Or not, I don't care. He took it
Out of wind off mid-Atlantic. 

- from The Given Note

The newspapers in Ireland are full of tributes and obituaries today but most seem hastily written and unworthy of their subject - the Irish Times is particularly disappointing. By contrast, The Guardian has a beautiful piece by Colm Tóibín who seemed well prepared with his thoughts and reflections on Heaney.

Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a anam uasal.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

More wise words of a 5-year-old

"Dad, you always take the longcut on the lowway!"

- Philou, August 2013