Thursday, August 30, 2012

Paris, Texas (1984)

He thought if she never got jealous of him that she didn't really care about him. Jealousy was a sign of her love for him, and then one night - one night she told him that she was pregnant, she was about three or four months pregnant and he didn't even know and then suddenly everything changed, he stopped drinking, he got a steady job, he was convinced that she loved him now that she was carrying his child and he was going to dedicate himself to making a home for her. But a funny thing started to happen, he didn't even notice it at first, she started to change. From the day the baby was born, she began to get irritated with everything around her. She got mad at everything. Even the baby seemed to be an injustice to her. He kept trying to make everything all right for her. Buy her things. Take her out to dinner once a week. But nothing seemed to satisfy her. For two years he struggled to pull them back together like they were when they first met, but finally he knew that it was never going to work out. So he hit the bottle again. But this time it got... mean. This time, when he came home late at night, drunk, she wasn't worried about him, or jealous, she was just enraged. She accused him of holding her captive by making her have a baby. She told him that she dreamed about escaping. That was all she dreamed about: escape. She saw herself at night running naked down a highway, running across fields, running down riverbeds, always running. And always, just when she was about to get away, he'd be there. He would stop her somehow. He would just appear and stop her. And when she told him these dreams, he believed them. He knew she had to be stopped or she'd leave him forever. So he tied a cow bell to her ankle so he could hear her at night if she tried to get out of bed. But she learned how to muffle the bell by stuffing a sock into it, and inching her way out of the bed and into the night. He caught her one night when the sock fell out and he heard her trying to run to the highway. He caught her and dragged her back to the trailer, and tied her to the stove with his belt. He just left her there and went back to bed and lay there listening to her scream. And he listened to his son scream, and he was surprised at himself because he didn't feel anything anymore. All he wanted to do was... sleep. And for the first time, he wished he were far away. Lost in a deep, vast country where nobody knew him. Somewhere without language, or streets. He dreamed about this place without knowing its name. And when he woke up, he was on fire. There were blue flames burning the sheets of his bed. He ran through the flames toward the only two people he loved... but they were gone. His arms were burning, and he threw himself outside and rolled on the wet ground. Then he ran. He never looked back at the fire. He just ran. He ran until the sun came up and he couldn't run any further. And when the sun went down, he ran again. For five days he ran like this until every sign of man had disappeared.

Paris, Texas, 1984, dir. Wim Wenders

New German Cinema pioneer Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire) brings his keen eye for landscape to the American Southwest in Paris, Texas, a profoundly moving character study written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard.


One of the most powerful monologues I have ever encountered on film. Little wonder, with Sam Shepard as screenwriter. I sometimes listen to this before I drift off to sleep, if I'm in a particular mood. The whole monologue is available on Ry Cooder's soundtrack for the film. You have to listen to Harry Dean Stanton utter it to comprehend it.

After viewing I recommend this article by Keith Phipps on The A.V. Club: "Sometimes road films are about pointing characters down roads whose ends we can see even if they can’t... Other times, they’re about destinations imagined but never reached."

UPDATE 4/9/2012:, the whole film is available to watch on youtube!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The West is Best

A few weeks ago I travelled down to Westport (recently voted The Best Place to Live in Ireland in a recent Irish Times poll) and Tourmakeady in County Mayo, to visit one of my best friends in her fraternal hometown, who was on leave from her work in Dubai.

Tara and I, Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo (August )

We took some lovely pictures, that she had fun playing around with in instagram, the garish colours have a sort of picture postcard quality. I'll treasure them nonetheless and want to share some of them here, to celebrate what a wonderful part of the world I am lucky to have close at hand.

Lough Mask, near Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo

Tourmakeady, Co. Mayo

Paddy's Bar, Tourmakeady, Co. Mayo


Before I left I hurriedly scheduled a number of posts, and this is one of them.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


So my blogging will be even more sporadic than it usually is -but- I have a legitimate reasoning this time, as I will be in Venice for 4, perhaps 5 weeks. I am flying out today as from this weekend onward I am going to be working as a Steward at Venice Takeaway, in the British Pavilion space at La Biennale di Venezia, for this year's architectural Biennale.


The Architecture Biennale follows the same framework as the Art Biennale with the national pavilions presenting individual exhibitions in the centre of Venice. The British Council curate and organise an exhibition in the British Pavilion. The Council commissions architects, designers and engineers to put together exhibitions for the British Pavilion.

I'm nervous, but mostly I am excited at the prospect at working again at something I'm interested in, and all the new and interesting people I will encounter.

I will endevour to tweet/instagram/etc while I am there, so watch this space.

Follow Venice Takeaway on twitter and facebook, instagram handle 'venicetakeway'.

The 13th International Architecture Exhibition, directed by David Chipperfield and titled Common Ground, will be open from 29th August to 25th November 2012.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Belfast: Queens, St. Georges Market, The Mac

Maeve of The Plath Diaries has become a close personal friend of mine, and this weekend I had the pleasure of staying with her in Belfast once again. We've got very similar tastes and outlooks, so our wanderings around Belfast were most amiable and relaxed!

Myself and Maeve

Once I'd diposed of my backpack at her flat we went for a walk around Queens University and the park there, bustling with people enjoying the unusually warm weather. After sharing some heart to hearts we went to a ~cool coffee shop, Common Ground and caught up some more. I finally got to see the Queens Film Theatre, and its setting was not at all what I expected. It is linked to the university itself, being part of the QUB Drama and Film Centre and is cosily nestled in a beautiful Georgian house. I can only say that next time, I'll include a trip to the cinema in my visit. The evening that followed was unplanned and of course we ended staying out until the wee hours, I having bought a £4.75 bottle of red to accompany dinner.

Interior of St. George's Market

The next day was exciting as I had been looking forward to seeing Claire of French for Cupcake, who had recently secured a permanent stall at St. George's Market, with her independent bakery Lily Pink Bakery. I think one of the positives of this recession that some people are finding fulfilment in alternative means of employment and Claire is pursuing her dream, and I couldn't be more pleased for her. She works so hard! In fact I'm devouring one of her best sellers, the red velvet cupcake as I type.

Claire at her stall

Claire's beautifully iced cupcakes

Maeve & I outside the iconic St. George's Market gates

St. George's Market was a joy to wander around, independent businesses all plying their wares, from independent artists to leatherworkers, the stall holders were as engaging as the ware of their stalls. I bought a very delicious vegetarian burrito from the father and son team of Sol Catering (I believe that was the name but I can't find them after googling), as well as a Flax Fox Designs postcard illustration of the iconic Harland & Woolf shipping cranes "Samson and Goliath", that I'd seen on my list visit, to Titanic Belfast. She had a lovely range of quirky prints and beautiful tea towels, I wished I could have afforded to buy more.

(Also for Game of Thrones fans, there were some Stark children about while I was there, in fact Claire seems to have her photo taken with a different cast member every week!)

"Samson and Goliath", Flax Fox Designs

A leisurely hour or so later, we meandered through the streets of Belfast, making our lazy way toward The MAC, a recently opened contemporary arts centre in the heart of the city.

Gavin and Maeve, unconciously making good poster candidates for the gallery!

(Gavin's picture)

Rather decadently, instead of making our way up through the galleries directly, I was somewhat awed to see a long, well stocked bar opposite the reception desk. No generic gallery cafe, not for Belfast! The painfully chic black booths were organised along the red brick interior walls. We made our orders at the bar, what better time than now to try out "the hair of the dog" hangover cure. As we later made our way up through the galleries, I recognised Mark Garry's handiwork:

Mark Garry, The Permanent Present, 2012 (Gavin's picture!)

As we resolved that because I was "on holiday", we made our way to a favourite bar of Maeve's, and probably beloved of tourists, I don't know if there's an Irish equivalent for the word Americana, but this place was literally wall to wall of Irish bar paraphernalia. I liked it though, it was laid back with its snugs, mirrors, copper topped tables and wooden benches. It didn't feel forced, more like they had been accumulated and acquired over time.

Gavin & I, that was the first outing for the rather wonderful 1960s lurex suit I have had in my wardrobe for a number of months! It recevied loads of compliments at St. George's market, a different environment to small town West of Ireland though!

The 'Duke of York' Irishy bar (the English name puzzled me too, but its Belfast) was down this lovely wee alley with punters taking the opportunity to drink in comfort on the gaily painted red benches outside.

Dali looking over the aforementioned alley

Dinner next, and we enjoyed a curry in the delicious, it was very quiet when we were there which seems such a shame because I really enjoyed my meal. This blissful day ended, I'm not ashamed to say, with a tired Maeve and myself watching When Harry Met Sally, squeeing over our favourite scenes. Feels good to watch it with a fellow fan, rather than introducing it to an indifferent friend!

A really beautiful Catholic church that we passed on the walk home


P.S. I have been neglectful of the blog as of late and not for the first time, there's so much to say and I scribble enthusiastic notes in my notebook, hoping one day to turn them into a tangible post, then I quickly loose confidence... and nothing.

The blog will be poorly attended to for the next number of weeks, but more of that soon.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Land of Heart's Desire

View of Classiebawn Castle, with Ben Bulben in the background, Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo

"… Sligo was a different habitation. A small and beautiful town situated almost at the western edge of Europe, it was bounded by green fields, mountains, and the sea, and its narow streets were lined with small shops. At the quays there were boats loading and unloading, and sailors with stories that made the world seem “full of monsters and marvels”. Over the town to the west loomed the mountain Knocknarea, on its flat top an enormous mound supposed to contain the remains of Queen Maeve; to the north beyond Drumcliff stood Ben Bulben, the long stone outcrop ending in a massive, razor-sharp edge. With its mists and changing colours, its ancient mysterious mounds and dolmens, Sligo was a place where one could easily believe in a world of magic.”

'Prodigal Father: The Life of John Butler Yeats (1839-1922)', William M. Murphy,
(London: Cornell University Press, 1978)

Moving back home with my parents was difficult. I struggled in Glasgow, my last couple of months there were difficult, personally and financially. A couple of days after moving back into my teenage bedroom I asked my Dad to drive me around Sligo, specifically so I could see one of my favourite views in the world, that is what you see above. A picture cannot accurately convey the beauty of this part of the country, in North Sligo. I swell with pride, some remorse and an overwhelming sense of awe. I always feel like I'm seeing Classiebawn for the first time when we drive down this coastline road.

I'm attempting to make the best of what I have. I'm lucky to have this on my doorstep (well, on the road leading from my doorstep anyway). Sligo is cradled between these two mountains of legend. Ben Bulben to the north and Knocknarea to the South. When I was a teenager I was always aching for somewhere else, the Americana of novels, now I can understand Emily Brontë's relationship with the Yorkshire moors. Although, I know that I will have to leave, possibly face the reality of emigration, a part of me nurses the hope that I will someday make permanent roots here, in this ancient, beguiling landscape.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

So Full of Dreams

Only recently came across this dreamy, Pre-Raphaelite editorial So Full of Dreams Eniko Mihalik by Ellen von Unwerth for Vogue Italia July 2012. I couldn't resist sharing, should any romantic souls stumble by here from time to time.

Styling by Leith Clark, of Lula magazine fame, naturally.

I adore the Renaissance revival dresses, the loose waves of hair tumbling from floral crowns, the delicate velvet slippers and glittering headdresses. The wardrobe of my dreams. I want to loll amongst the bluebells, hide amongst the trees. Another time, another place.

You can watch a short video from the shoot on the offical site.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Vagabond Vintage

It's August - new month, new resolutions!

As well as my Etsy I've created a facebook page for the vintage clothing I have to sell, Vagabond Vintage! I'll keep you posted on updates! Meanwhile, please go ahead and like me on facebook!