• the boy in the bubble

    I captured this moment on Grafton Street in Dublin while I was wandering about taking a break from P-Con. As usual P-Con was a laid-back, enjoyable event, with plenty of good conversation accompanied by the occasional drink. I had a good time on all of my panels – thanks to the smart, funny panellists speaking with me and the interaction from the audience. Next year the convention will be under new management and will be moving to a new location. I wish the committee the best of luck. Joint Guest of Honours of Pcon IX will be Robert Rankin and Bryan Talbot, and the convention will be taking place from…

  • Upstart

    For those of you not in Ireland we have a general election looming. The country is in “a terrible state o’ chassis”, to quote Captain Boyle in O’Casey’s play Juno and the Paycock. Part of my job is working with advocacy groups for the Arts in Ireland. In the past year and half Arts organisations have been working hard to remind politicians of the role of the Arts to our culture and economy. The above video is from UpStart, a non-profit arts collective which aims to put creativity into the public arena during the Election Campaign in 2011. It plans to do this by reinterpreting the spaces commonly used for…

  • national demonstration on nov 27

    A national demonstration, organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), as part of its A Better, Fairer Way campaign, is taking place from 12:00 – 15:00 on Saturday, the 27th November in Dublin. The ICTU invites everyone to join in making the people’s voice heard before Budget day in Ireland. Assemble at 12 noon, on November 27th at Wood Quay in Dublin. A route-map for the demonstration is available on the ICTU’s web site. I’m unable to attend because I’ll be in Wexford as part of the WexWorlds Science Fiction and Fantasy Fiction Festival. This is a prior commitment I made in a professional capacity, and as much…

  • two nobles

    There are a lot of Holly trees my local woods. Not that you’d notice during the summer, when the other trees flounce about in their finery. Lately, I’ve noticed Holly’s re-emergence as one of the dominant personalities of the woodlands as we spin further into autumn. The above photograph is of a Holly tree growing under an Oak which I took yesterday. In Irish lore there were four classifications of trees, the highest being Airig Fedo, or Nobles of the Wood. There were seven trees in that caste, including Oak and Holly. As I considered the mythology of trees, as well as this image of the two nobles standing beside…

  • Autumn

    I spotted this fine fellow on my way into the woods to walk my dog this morning. It’s a good example of Coprinus comatus, also known as the shaggy ink cap or the lawyer’s wig, among others. I usually refer to it as the shaggy ink cap (or, as I misspoke this morning upon my return – the shaggy inkwell). This mushroom erupted and flourished in the mere 48 hours since my last visit to this location, or else I was singularly unobservant during my previous trip. Change can occur in a day or two, if you notice. It was the first thing I spotted on this occasion, and I…

  • Stop

    To quote Ferris from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (written by the late, great John Hughes): “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. ” Today I stopped long enough to capture the above picture of the Burren Mountains in Co. Clare, as seen from Kinvara in Co. Galway. The good weather is supposed to hold for at least a week. I hope my friends in Ireland enjoy the forthcoming holiday weekend with bonus summer sunshine (enjoy it while we have it!).

  • p-con schedule

    The science fiction convention P-Con is being held in Dublin next week, and the programme of events has been released. Here are the panels I’ll be on: Saturday 10:00 Red RoomIs it time for “Return of the Werewolves”?Nick Harkaway; Brian J. Showers; Laura Anne Gilman; Maura McHugh; R.F.Long 15:00 Blue RoomSocial websites: Bane or boon in the genre fiction world?Cheryl Morgan; Colin Harvey; Colin Smythe; Maura McHugh; Laura Anne Gilman 17:00 Red RoomPictionary Sunday 12:00 Blue RoomKeyboard or pen – Room for both?R.F.Long; Oisín McGann; Maura McHugh 14:00 Blue RoomHas the Internet become indispensable?Cheryl Morgan; Bob Neilson; R.F. Long; Maura McHugh Also, I’ll be chatting on the “Arts Brew” programme…

  • Seamus Online

    Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, is giving a reading today at 1.05pm at the National Gallery in Dublin, organised by Poetry Ireland. Fear not, the event is being broadcast live over the Internet, so you can watch and listen from anywhere in the world. At times like this I must add: technology rocks!