Weird Science

July 5, 2009

Remember I said how I loved gadgets? Well, last week, not only did I recieve a Slendertone, I also gained, thanks to the F.B.B, a pair of Fit Flops. I suppose it’s only fair, being a fan of impartial judgement, to compare and rate them. Let’s use some headings:

1. The Silly Tagline

FIT FLOP: “It’s the flip-flop with a gym built in”
SLENDERTONE: “There’s only one Slendertone”

WINNER: Fit flop, I think. Not only is it a ridiculous mental image, it also encapsulates the apparent appeal of the item.

2. The Science Bit

FIT FLOP: Unique MicroWobble-board technology.
SLENDERTONE: Electric shocky things

WINNER: Em, I’m not sure. Perhaps the Slendertone, for erring on the side of actual scientific logic.

3. Practicality

FIT FLOP: These are rank-looking. Like MBT’s but in sandal form. But, while it doesn’t feel like walking on clouds, neither are they massively uncomfortable.
SLENDERTONE: The item claims that you can work while wearing it. Not if your job entails doing something that requires any kind of steady hand. Jackson Pollock is the only person I can think of, and even still, it’d probably annoy him.

WINNER: Fit flop.

4. People I Know That Own One.

FIT FLOP: Nobody. But I’ve seen women around the place wearing them. So clearly there’s a market.
SLENDERTONE: Those two girls from band camp years ago.

WINNER: Fit flop.

Well done, the fit flop. Of course, we should have known that from the start, had we only examined the ‘wearer feedback’ on the press release.

Let’s leave the final words to Tahira:

“I just bought a pair from Victoria’s Secret and they are the most comfortable shoes I own. They help me to WORK OUT ALL DAY LONG. I have difficulty finding comfortable ‘cute’ shoes. Well, FitFlops are amazing. I love them.”




Anyone else feel a bit overwhelmed?* Me too. Katie-Lilga three. Hate April. HATE it. With the force of my Granny’s love for the Pope. (Srsly, Gran got a letter from the Pope the other day). So, what could make April better?

1. Snacks. For defs. Banana on crackers p’raps?

2. Bangin’ choons like the new Patrick Wolf.

3. New internet people in the vein of the now long-lost Eoin NEIL Changes His Look.

4. And this song. Always this song.

*BTW, for the etymology of ‘whelmed’ check out Bianca’s thesis in TTIHAY


The Living Dolls

February 12, 2009

My Granny has a fur coat. Actually, both my Grannys have a fur coat [plural of Granny- Grannys or Grannies?]. One each like. Not one to share. Obv. I’ve had my eye on these coats for a while. Alas, I’m at the bottom end of The Will on both sides, so the odds are not in my favour.

The other day I was wearing a big fake fur hat that I found in my dressing up box (see smug looking photo above, taken by the adorable Loreana Rushe.) Someone came up to me, and asked ‘Are we allowed wear real fur now?’ Firstly, I pointed out that my chapeau was, in fact, made from old carpets/teddy bears, then I answered that I didn’t have a problem with wearing vintage fur at all at all. I’m sure it sounds callous, but the animal is dead already. And has been dead for at least 20 years. If I was an animal that had become a fur coat, the least I’d want would be some longevity.

It seems that protesting against fur is an easy cop-out, like vegetarians who eat fish. I understand that there is massive amounts of cruelty to animals in the fur industry, but, equally, there are very strict sanctions in place also- especially in Ireland. Here’s the rub, it’s a business, like everything else. Just as there are battery hens, and organic chickens, there are good furriers, and bad furriers. I honestly don’t know how I feel about wearing a brand-new, freshly-killed mink coat, but I do know that it’s unfair and ignorant to slam an entire industry while still wearing leather shoes (like the protesters outside Barnardo Furs the other day).


BTW, can’t wait for the comments to this. ‘OMG UR so INSEnsitive. H8 u and ur blg will nvr read it agn…’ Let the backlash begin.

Pledge of Alliegience

November 18, 2008

Who do you love more? Daddy or Chips? Ailbhe or Katie-Lilga? Analogue or Soundcheck? Northside or Southside? It’s ok. You can like both. We like both. Luckily so, you can combine the two in one fell lovely wonderful swoop this Thursday night.

Firstly, hit up Soundcheck for some free-in action, and wonderful 2-for-1 cocktails at the official Swopshop afterparty in Spy:


Then, make your way across the river to the Twisted Pepper to see some superace music live. Played by musicians. In the flesh. :



The H&M/CDG collaboration hits stores (including the new supershiny one on South King St) on November 13th. There’s no reason not to be civilised about this. I’ll just say what I want, and everyone else can have the other things. Make sense? Yeah. Great. Fab. Awesome.

Jacket pleasethanks.

Skirt yeahyou’regrand.

Blouse ohyou’retoogood.


Can we consider this sorted then? Good. I’m glad we’ve had this chat.

Faits Divers

October 22, 2008

Some small small things to round up and put in various boxes. 

Numero Uno: Fair play to Aine and Layla. They’re off to the wonderful wonderful Hat’s Off Party this Friday in the Morrisson hotel, for frees. Everybody else is welcome to go too, but you’ll have to buy a ticket. Luckily, you can do that here.

Uibhir a Do (I know there should be a fada there, but I don’t know how to get fadas on a Mac): Katie-Lilga and I will be throwing down some sweet-ass jams at Soundcheck tomorrow night, under the name Songs for Swinging Children. Come and holla at your girls. Or have a drink.

Numero Trois: Not in Dublin and in London instead? Some dear dear friends of mine can entertain you, with live music, pretty faces and possible chocolate cake. Facebook event ici.

Number Four: Have you booked your swopshop ticket yet? If not, why not? Hurry up!

Normal service will resume soon-some, I promise. We love you dearly.

But not as much as we love John Cusack:

This Remix is for the Clubs

September 24, 2008

There’s a difference between a remix, and a remix album. While a remix is essentially, a stand-alone track, a remix album bears the weight of the title ‘album’. It is more than just a collection of tracks beefed up with club beats; it’s a group of songs under the same banner. It is, for all intents and purposes, a new LP. Or is it? Jennifer Lopez made chart history in 2004 when the remix of her J.Lo album (J to tha’ L.O.) became the first remix album to debut at number one in the Billboard 200 albums. The album featured many of Murder Inc.’s heavyweights, like Ja Rule, Fat Joe and P.Diddy. One of the reasons that the album did so well is that unlike records previous, many of the tracks became totally new songs, not just extended club remixes. In 1987, Madonna released You Can Dance, a ‘concept’ remix album. In keeping with the vogue of the time, it was more of a re-edit of some of her tracks for the clubs than anything else. Tracks 1-4 and 5-7 on the album were edited together in order to resemble a DJ’s set, and the album contained one original new track. While the album didn’t fare exceptionally well commercially, it inspired other artists to release remix albums themselves. Ten years later, Michael Jackson’s 1997 record Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix became the best selling remix album of all time. Remix albums remain popular to this day. Super Extra Bonus Party recently announced their plans to remix their debut self-titled album, and Simian Mobile Disco’s Sample and Hold (a remix of Attack Decay Sustain Release) has received rave reviews. However, what are the criteria for a good remix album?

Should it pick and choose the best bits of a record, creating a new, entirely stand-alone album? Jay-Z released an a cappella version of his 2003 The Black Album, in order to make remixes and mashups easier. While only one ‘official’ remix album was made- Collision Course which mashed together Linkin Park tracks with Jay-Z’s vocals- the a cappella tracks gave a free reign to producers and aspiring remixers. The first of these unofficial remixes was producer/rapper Kev Brown’s The Brown Album (2004) which refocused Jay-Z’s club-driven vocals into a smoother, mellower direction. Hot on the heels of The Brown Album came uber-producer Dangermouse’s The Grey Album (2004). The Grey Album mixed the vocals of The Black Album with various unauthorized samples from the Beatles’ The White Album. The Grey Album melded together the best of rock and roll, with the best of rap and the best of modern production. Without heavy beats to cover it, Jay-Z’s lyrical dexterity shone through. Out of context, the Beatles’s samples sounded fresh and bang-up-to-date. Dangermouse’s disregard for musical boundaries resulted in the best album of 2004. Not only that, but it opened the door for further (unofficial) remix opportunites for Jay-Z, and others- including Weezer, Prince, and Pavement.

Should it become an alternate version of the album, by an alternate version of the group? Silent Alarm Remixed is still a Bloc Party album, but it’s an album by a different Bloc Party. Silent Alarm Remixed lives in a binary with Silent Alarm. They are polar opposites. The track for track remixes break down, then awkwardly rebuild, what made the original album so satisfying the first time around. In place of consummate professionals, lining up hooks and slick finishes, we find unsure vocals, and minuscule details illuminated. Four Tet’s remix of ‘So Here We Are’ de-layers the track, showcasing the clever structure hidden beneath Paul Epworth’s stereo-sound production. M83’s remix of ‘The Pioneers’ accentuates the glorious crescendo at the end of the track, and in doing so, its latent romanticism.

Should it, like a decent cover version, retain something of the re-mixer, while still paying tribute to the original? Grizzly Bear re-released their 2004 debut album- Horn of Plenty- a year later with an extra cd of remixes by friends, such as Ariel Pink, Simon Bookish and Final Fantasy. Grizzly Bear are known for their pedal notes, brooding lyrics and repetitive, spider-thin melody lines. The remixes not only fleshed out (and in some cases, funked up) the tracks, they sometimes brought them to an entirely different place. Drew Daniel (Soft Pink Truth) said, ‘I prefer to do remixes when I think there’s some kind of interesting tension between my way of working and the song being remixed, and I only remix music I like: so this was hand in glove.’ In fact, while every remix on the album re-arranges the original tracks significantly, the essence of the original remains- only under a different light than before. In keeping with this, Soft Pink Truth’s remix of “A Good Place” throws in bass-orientated rhythms, underwater vocals and horn samples- all the while drawing attention to the song’s “blow by blow” lyric. Simon Bookish’s version of ‘Eavesdropping’ takes the original track and morphs it into one of his own, complete with an added verse. Safety Scissors uncovers Christopher Bear’s ear for a fine pop melody in their remix of ‘La Duchesse Anne’.
(This is a link to the original, btw, I couldn’t find a remix version on Youtube)

In the case of Horn of Plenty, Grizzly Bear win out in the great remix debate. Unlike The Grey Album, all the material is used. Unlike Silent Alarm- Remixed, it’s still very recognisably an album by the same band. Horn of Plenty really is a cornucopia. The original Horn of Plenty and the remixed Horn of Plenty can sit alongside each other, both containing the same songs under a different campfire-light focus, neither one superior nor inferior, just different.

honey bunny

September 23, 2008

For the attention of: Darragh, David, Lottie, Andrew, Green Ink, Slyscribe, Green of Eye, Ben and Rick.

Re: Dropping it like it’s hot.

We have two choices. Damage our outstanding reputations and make a show of one another in front of the legend that is Snoop Blogg tomorrow night, OR learn a simple synchronised dance routine that will keep us all in step and looking fly. Assuming that you will all make the right decision I would like to introduce you to the fabulous people over at Learning 2 Dance (yes that’s the number two, ingenious, no?). I now present to you their comprehensive instructions on how to master the sensational Bunny Hop:


boy i can’t stand your heat

September 6, 2008

i am feeling very well tonight for three main reasons:

1) we are fast approaching our 100th post and have just welcomed our 13,017th visitor to the blog. more champagne ailbhe?

2) the ‘rents invested in glass tops for our dining room tables recently and i just slipped a receipt under one and look forward to the moment that my mother dear tries to remove it from the table without realising that it is indeed sandwiched between a slab of wood and a heavy sheet of glass

3) ailbhe and i are heading to the fringe festival launch party in the iveagh gardens in two weeeee hours

The Fringe Festival is an unmissable event that i tend to…well…miss…quite frequently. last year i attended La Clique in the Spiegeltent and after an embarrassing episode of trying to stifle my unstifle-able laughter during Les Chiche Capon’s act, i then booked tickets to see their own show in The New Theatre. i’m not all that sure of what went on in that little theatre or why we all laughed hysterically for the duration of the show but i AM sure that it ended with one of the men sort of…kind of…stage diving..quite…gracefully…into the very very small tiered audience because he wanted ‘to be like otter’. so yeah, you get the idea i’m sure. this year, my finances are looking bleaker than they have in a while so my fringe festivities will be limited to cheap shows, free shows, and shows paid for by my parents (La Clique falls into the last category). this is my list of the goings on that are worthy of my time/effort/loose change.

a quick note…embrace the outdoors! remember, most outdoor events during the fringe are free and unticketed (such as the first five below). it’s okay, it’s autumn. so forget moaning about the awful weather (it’s supposed to be awful now, so just can it), feel the soggy autumn leaves underfoot while enjoying the following events…

…click on names for more info and to book tickets…

Bastien and Bastienne FREE

Ireland has never had a flash mob opera before – until today. Crash the party and sing along as one of the country’s most celebrated, dynamic and entertaining opera ensembles present this quirky one act singspiel by Mozart, against the stunning backdrop of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

(Get involved by clicking on the link to learn some lyrics and practice some flashy dance moves.)

Bootworks Theatre: The Black Box FREE

A five minute theatrical trip performed for your eyes only by a cast of six outside the smallest theatre auditorium in the world. Step inside the darkened box for a brief peep out to this twisted, eyeball slicing, horse-dragging, surrealist Daliesque world.

Equilibre FREE

Dublin Fringe Festival, in association with Dublin Docklands Development Authority, are proud to present a trio of fantastic French physical theatre pieces that explores tension, suspension and counterpoise. Hold your breath! Don’t let go! A perfect day out for all of the family. Supported by The French Embassy and Cultur France. Les Etoiles (Cie Les Colporteurs): Balancing on a structure made of pipes and wires, four tightrope walkers perform two poetic tales of predictable encounters in an unpredictable ballet. Transports Exceptionnelles (Cie Beau Geste) A tender love duet between a dancer and a mechanical digger accompanied by the dramatic voice of Maria Callas. Iron meets flesh with unexpected grace In this witty interpretation of the pas de deux tradition. C/o (Jorg Muller) A cylinder full of water, a gigantic test tube with somebody (or something) trapped inside. Splishy splashy movement, there’s a weird fish bubbling at us! Be transported into an odd world of weightlessness, made up of rhythms, vibrations, unheard noises and moreover…silence.

Urban Playground II FREE

The Urban Playground team and Dublin’s free runners Urban Ghosts synergize and reanimate well known city locations. Four one-off unique performances blend Parkour, breaking and contemporary dance. With only hours to react to each new spot the UPG team will bare their skills, souls and skins on the streets of Ireland’s capital.

War of the Roses III: Back in Black FREE

Lock up your daughters (and some of your sons). They’re back and this time it’s personal! Following on from hugely popular runs during Fringe ‘06 and ‘07 Whiplash and their cast of thousands bring you the final installment of their epic trilogy. Dark, Satanic and as Moody as a transition year student.

Pinocchio €10/8

Shrouded in black in a dark alley, a woman waits by her car. Get in with two others and get lost with her in a cacophony of sirens and radios as you drive through Pinocchio’s city. With new eyes and new ears, you are, briefly, part of this great Dublin diversion, until her car disappears, heading to the sea.

Exposures €12/10

You are led to a secret location where you’re given a disposable camera and a handful of clues. Skulk your way through alleyways and parks, rediscover the city, and capture in pictures a hidden underworld of epic parties, reckless romances and dangerous encounters. All photographs are included in a special exhibition and party in The Back Loft on Sunday 21st September at 4pm.

Etiquette €5

Be both actor and audience for this half-hour experience for two people in a public space. Headphones direct what you say and do, and no one else around you is involved. There is a kind of magic – for it to work you just need to listen and respond accordingly.

Rock Paper Scissors €10/12/14

Sit at the school desk. Wait for instruction. Watch the clock. No talking. The bell dictates everything, creating a game of chance where theatre, dance and visual art clash, compete and combine in a myriad of extraordinary stories under the roof of the disused Comprehensive School in Ballymun.

City Breaks €10/12

Release your inner voyeur and join Samuel in his hotel room, where he locks himself in with the Polish maid and avoids his own birthday party guests. For everyone who has ever wondered what the noises in the next room are. Get away, and get away with it.

Whacker Murphy’s Bad Buzz €10/12/14

When a dodgy deal goes tits-up Whacker finds himself 1,500 squids in debt to Jimmy Mo Mo, the biggest nutbag around. Even Scags Murphy and Ed the Horse Mooney can’t help. Reality bites, and spits, when trying to pull Polish temptress Maria. Will Jimmy Mo Mo get his cash or will Whacker suffer the ultimate consequence?

It’s A Domestic €15/18

Cook and eat dinner with your host as she tells you stories and sings you songs in an intimate domestic space. Fringe regulars You’re Only Massive connect the lines between skills lost and found, parents who always eat fish on a Friday and children who eat strawberries in December.

any other recommendations?


I’ve been whinging to all and sundry about my self-imposed clothes ban. No new things to October. For reals. Only only only, my friend Layla’s headed off to the New World for a month next week, and will be visiting not one, not two, but three different states. All of which have huge American Apparel stores.

We don’t have ‘Merican Appy in Dublin, and elsewhere in Europe, all the prices are directly translated into dollars. So, that means that:

$45 or €42?

$22 or €22?

$25 or €25?

$28 or €28?

Oh dear oh dear. I think I might have to break my promise to myself.