âTo see the world in a grain of sand, And heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour.â William Blake, Auguries of Innocence William could have been writing about today, this place. Itâs 5/4 time, techno and castanuelas, on a new tune called, for reference, Macaroon, after the French capital’s favourite sweet delicacies. Soon enough macaroons in Macroom become kalimbas in Cameroon as we become the Macroom City Orchestra, the Cork and Cameroon district big band.
Back in the County, at the heart of it, on the river bend, we walk down to the boat house, watch the rowers power up to the jetty and back, up to the jetty and back, like the birds in some long lost song from a distant memory of another life when she had red soft lipstick lips and everything was fine. I study a book of black and whites as maestro reclines on the day bed and the dogs pad about outside, sniffing the air, being dogs, and the reeds whisper sweet nothings to each other through the too clean glass. The work is by Jean Loup Sieff. In the 60s, when everything was monochrome and oh so simple, he made a photo essay on French new wave cinema, including Jean-Luc Goddardâs classic A Bout De Souffle. Up the incline, dogs in tow, sun still beating, and back to base, where we find the trailer on Youtube and start playing with the words. La tendresse, la peur, la petit Americaine, et Dieu crea la femme, le Diable dans la peau. Will there be trouble? Itâs all so evocative, nostalgic, warm, fuzzy and beautiful, like the day, like the light splashing on the divan, like the girl on the river with a pony tail and no name. Itâs all so perfect, how can there be trouble?
He was an oblivion seeker, a lotus eater. Courtneyâs description of Kurt in todayâs paper. Kurt could never survive because, as De Botton so beautifully put it, we know life to be a hurricane. You canât hide or sit still, there is no peaceful eye to this particular storm. All you can do is go with the wind, whatever it brings it brings, until the end. No, notÂ the end, your end, your own personal tailored finality. Maybe it will be like this, eternity, waiting for the bus to afterlife or oblivion, depending on your belief, still not sure, but almost certain, that no matter which destination you buy a ticket for you will end up in the same place. Today I am heading fo Skibereen, for more music making with the maestro. Because, since the club burned down, it feels like a long way but the best way to go.
We (The City Reverb) played at Favela Chic with The Wellingtons, who are about to change their name but hopefully not their style; who are a really cool, two girl, vocal, cello, percussion, megaphone and brightly lit umbrella band. Surely this is a winning combination? For the record we (The City Reverb) played these songs in this order: 1 Swimming 2 Roll On 3 All You Need 4 Wings 5 Morning 6 Corner Wings worked the best. I played A instead of G for half the first verse of Morning. Oops, must try harder.
âDonât worry about genius and donât worry about not being clever. Trust rather in hard work, perseverance and determination. The best motto for the long march is âDonât grumble. Plug on.â Love the sea, the ringing beach and the open down. Keep clean, body and mind.â Sir Frederick Treves in 1903 on the 25 anniversary of the Boyâs Own Paper. Sometimes there are things to be said for things that were said. I found this next to the bed as I awoke to sea mist and drizzle on the morning of my first ever half marathon. Thatâs thirteen and some miles of running with about five thousand other folk of wildly varying abilities and ages round a, by all accounts, gruelling course that loops over the back of Hastings and eventually throws you back into the town for three miles along the seafront. Because of the intensity of the personal experience and the simplicity of the actual experience, we all ran around the course, thatâs all, itâs actually quite hard to remember what happened or explain why it was significant. But there is a real magic in the sound of thousands of pairs of trainers pounding and flopping on a road that is normally filled with speeding cars; there is a beauty in this collective activity, any group with a common purpose, but especially these people, pushing their bodies, raising money for charity, doing something special. No words necessary, although a few exchanged between strangers, each battling with their own will and their own imperfect bodies to finish the course in what they consider to be a respectable time. I do remember: many people telling me there were no more hills, when there were more hills; a bagpipe band that sounded like bombs; some happy drummers that you wouldnât want for neighbours banging and clapping on their door step; a blind man and his super hero helper joking all the way; being passed and then passing Superman before the finish; the taste of the sea and the joy at the extra oxygen; water up my nose; weaving past too heavy breathers; being distracted by a banana that I didnât want to carry then did want to carry because it stopped me thinking about the running; pain that came and went first in the stomach then the feet then the knees; the rhythm; thinking that it was really not about thinking, a purely physical rather than a cerebral journey; the outsides of pubs with fat men holding pints and cheering; people standing at a bus stop clapping; the bare trees on the bypass; uphill being easier than downhill in a funny way; the finish line so far away for so long; never even contemplating stopping or giving up; perseverance, grace, and determination. Naturally. But that makes it sound like a pain when it was really a pleasure; that makes it sounds like hard work when really it just was. And thatâs the beauty of it. It just is. I took no pictures because this was about doing not documenting. I did it, for the record, with much help and encouragement from Ms H, in 1hr 53.35. When my legs stop aching I will, maybe, say more about what, to paraphrase Murakami, I think about when I think about running. For now, here are some pictures of Peteâs farm to illustrate the simple rural life.