Art Kavanagh

Talk about books: a fortnightly publication about things I’ve read

Tasers and water cannon? That would be a very effective combination. Tasers to be given to Public Order Unit and water cannons sought

Every now and then, I find myself wanting to write a post about the unfulfilled promises of technology. Then I remember that I already wrote it, more than 3 years ago. Here it is again, still true: Tech’s unfilfilled promises

I want to go for a walk but I don’t want to go for a walk around here (boring), it’s too wet to take the bike out and the Sunday bus timetable is such that I couldn’t get anywhere worthwhile and back in daylight. So I suppose a boring walk around here is what it’ll have to be.

The iOS Weather app tells me that it’s not going to rain today until 8 pm but a look out the window tells me that it’s raining now. I wonder which I should believe?

Funny to realize that the Eblana’s existence has been forgotten and that it’s now part of “hidden Dublin”. I saw the hilarious production of Joe Orton’s Loot🎭 there in the late 70s/early 80s The story of the secret theatre buried under Dublin’s Busáras

The people I buy my coffee from keep sending me emails that look like this. I think there are supposed to be various offers between the links styled as buttons but they never show up. (I think they used to, in the dim past.) Weird, huh?

A column of links styled as buttons saying: Shop, Sale, Shop, Shop, Sale, with an ad underneath

Cydney Hayes sees a “vibe shift” on Substack since the introduction of Notes: The elite capture of Substack. I must say I haven’t been finding it enjoyable or very useful particularly since the recent change to amalgamate the Notes feed and the Home page. Maybe time to delete my account?

“You don’t always have to stay in your lane. But try not to drive completely off the road into a damn flute store!”

Ah, so “stay in your lane” is a driving metaphor. Without thinking about it, I seem to have been assuming it was from swimming. A Brief History of the Flute in Popular Music

Because of my age I qualified for free bus and train travel a few months ago. Now, I regularly catch myself singing the beginning of Jethro Tull’s “Doctor Bogenbroom”:

I’ve one foot in the graveyard
And the other on the bus …

When the Haughey payments became public knowledge, some joker commented “Ben there. Dunne that. Bought the Taoiseach.” 🤣

Ben Dunne dead at 74

This is the 78th post in Talk about books, marking the end of its 3rd year. Unfortunately, the post isn’t one of my best: I start by saying I don’t know the poetry of Seamus Heaney as well as I should, then go on to prove it! The last word or the first claim: Notes on some of Seamus Heaney’s poetry

The last word or the first claim: Notes on some of Seamus Heaney’s poetry

I’m not as familiar with Seamus Heaney’s poetry as I ought to be. When he was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1995, I was beginning the final year of my BA in English, so I might have been expected to pay more attention to him than I did. I have a hardback copy of his New Selected Poems 1966–1987 (1990), which I may have bought around that time, certainly not much later.

A S Byatt has died, aged 87. I liked some of her novels (Possession, Still Life) very much and disliked others (The Biographer’s Tale 📚, Babel Tower) almost as intensely, and found her short stories a very mixed bag. I’d love to read a comprehensive account/assessment of her fiction.

When they say, “This call may be recorded for monitoring and training purposes”, I say, “Thank you!”, and click the record button.

Quentin Stafford-Fraser

I always think that Gary Oldman looks even less like “a bullfrog in a sou’wester” than Alec Guinness did! Gary Oldman as Smiley in Tinker, Tailor, soldier, Spy

Here’s a fascinating and amusing long piece about aggressive literary agent Andrew Wylie, aka “the Jackal”, who temporarily broke up the friendship of Julian Barnes and Martin Amis, and persuaded Henry Kissinger that he needed “legacy management”.

Here’s Salman Rushdie on the usefulness of fable and the elusiveness of peace

Noah Smith has been taking a penetrating look at what’s going on in the Irish economy and has unearthed a few surprising facts: How Ireland got so rich

Ireland is also part of a small, elite club of countries that is richer than its 19th-century imperial overlord, along with South Korea, Poland, the Baltics, and a few others.

I’d never seen Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation🍿 but read something recently about its 20th anniversary and decided it was time. I watched first 15 minutes and just realized to my surprise that I don’t like Bill Murray. I know he’s given many good performances but I’d rather not watch ’em.

I’ve just posted in Talk about books about Daphne du Maurier’s collection of “long” short stories, Don’t Look Now and other stories 📖

Daphne du Maurier, Don’t Look Now and other stories

Until last year, I hadn’t read anything by Daphne du Maurier. I knew the outline of the plot of Rebecca, had seen the 1970s tv adaptation with Joanna David and had heard part of a radio dramatization of Jamaica Inn. I may have been left with the impression that du Maurier’s fiction was good source material for film, television and radio, but that there was no very pressing reason to read it.

For some reason (?!) I’ve been watching random episodes of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip this morning. I really don’t like Aaron Sorkin’s writing very much but there’s no doubt that Matthew Perry knew how to deliver it.

I have Safari on my phone set up to load Wikipedia pages in Reader View automatically. But I can’t expand the headings in Reader View!

I bought an old DVD in a secondhand shop yesterday, to rip the movie for my iPad. As I was paying (€1), the woman said “It’s 2 for the price of 1”. I didn’t think there was another DVD I wanted but eventually settled on Matrix Revolutions. Today, I found that I’d got the extra disc only, no movie!

When Substack introduced Notes, I said I didn’t know whether I needed a Twitter alternative but that Notes might be it. Starting to think that I really don’t need it. I’m going to stop posting to Notes for a few weeks, see if my blog posts get fewer views and, if they don’t, delete Substack account.