Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.

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January 2011

Weeknotes #481-482

Looking back over the last two weeks, I find two prevailing themes: reviewing the past, and predicting the future.

The past I’ve already alluded to in my first Blogfodder link dump. Some of those links are nearly eight years old, which is forever in internet time. It’s incredible that so many of them are still accessible. (Yet maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised, as there’s many a site from even further back that hasn’t yet shuffled off this digital coil.)

As for the future? Last night I watched Bob Roberts again for the first time in years, and I’ll be damned if it isn’t prophetic: its parallels to the current social and political climate in America are franky scary.


The cartographers of cinema

From an otherwise unremarkable interview with the Coen brothers in the Guardian last week on release of their latest, True Grit, there’s this:

It is their 14th to date, and the latest instalment in what appears to be a concerted effort to cover the length and breadth of America with Coen brothers movies. Maybe because their preoccupations seem so resolutely antiheroic, or because their ambitions fit so snugly within their love of genre, the scale of this project was hard to spot at first. While everyone else was lost in hyperspace, the Coens have been quietly wallpapering their homeland. They’ve covered New York in the 1950s (The Hudsucker Proxy), Los Angeles in the 1940s (Barton Fink), Mississippi in the 1930s (Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?) and 1990s (The Ladykillers), Texas in the 1980s twice (Blood Simple and No Country for Old Men), Minnesota in the 1960s (A Serious Man) and 1990s (Fargo), not to mention Arizona, Washington, North Dakota, Santa Rosa and now, for good measure, Arkansas in the 1880s. A few more like this – covering Ohio in the 1970s, say, or Wyoming in the 1900s – and their work will be complete: nothing less than a patchwork quilt of America.

Blogfodder linkdump part 1

The ‘Blogfodder’ folder in my bookmarks is a bit of a catch-all location for any interesting links I find and might want to explore later in more detail. That was the intention, anyway — over the years it’s completely outgrown my ability to keep up with it, resulting in a whole mess of links left unfollowed and unblogged.

But they say you shouldn’t keep anything for more than seven years without finding a use for it. My first Blogfodder links have passed that deadline, so now’s the time to wrangle out some usefulness before they rot away completely. Best to begin at the beginning and see what caught my attention way back in 2003…


Weeknotes #480

I’ve been ploughing through The Creation Records Story over the past few days. By now I’m at the stage where my interest is trailing off – I can’t stand Oasis – but that’s only the last couple of hundred pages; the rest is essentially a survey of the British indie music scene of the 1980s, and Creation was right in the thick of it.

The label’s earlier days are the most interesting to me: 73 in 83, The Jesus and Mary Chain, the House of Love saga, and the infamous My Bloody Valentine – as much remembered for almost bankrupting their label as they are for breaking musical barriers.


Notes from New York

New York Skyline, by MacDara on Flickr.

My intention was to keep a mini-journal of our six-day trip in New York last summer. I even bought one of those Moleskine city guides as the perfect notebook for my observations. Sadly the day-to-day busyness and exhaustion put paid to my plans. But I’ve still got that notebook for a return visit, and I’ve had the benefit of a few months to distill the experience into thoughts which are better off here than stuck in my head, unarticulated.


Weeknotes #478-479

Everything gets back to normal a little too quickly post-Xmas, don’t you think?

Little to report from Week 478. No big New Year’s Eve partying for us, just lunch at Nando’s and adding to our puppet collection. Seriously – The Puppet Company and Melissa & Doug come highly recommended.

Oh yeah, and we bought a telescope. Though we haven’t had much chance to use it yet, what with the cloud and the haze and all. When the worst of winter passes we should have more to see.