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Wonderful vignette of Arts and Letters in Ireland at the beginning of the 21st century—funny in the way that someone puking up at the top table at a wedding breakfast is funny. To be honest, I do not know what to make of this guy—I’ve been following his blog for a little while now and, by a very long way, this is the happiest he’s ever been; however, even as you read this you just know it’s going to go sour at some point (days in which you spend all day drinking when the sun is shining brilliantly—as I know from gritty experience—always curdle and stink in the end). Sometimes I wonder if any of the stuff in this blog [‘Letters to Lucy’ on WordPress.com] is for real—is this guy a made-up character? are the people and encounters he writes about actual persons and events? Is the guy’s gloomy worldview heightened for comic effect? He’s like a Dostoevskian version of Ross O’Carroll Kelly—the two should be put together in a collection of grotesque short stories about modern Ireland—or a Martin Amis creation escaped from the Amis menagerie: in Britain there is John Self and Lionel Asbo, in Ireland Ross OCK and Hughie O’Domhnaill. Anyway, whether ‘true’ or not—as with Hunter S. Thompson, for example—I don’t think it matters (as far as the reading experience goes anyway): if it’s all created—or even half of it created—it’s a brilliant creation, and if not, then it is even more amazing. Amazing and, I think, important—the guy makes some bang-on hits on the arts industry in Ireland, in particular the niche prescribed for artists and their arts, which is basically about helping publicans to sell burgers and pints and guesthouse keepers to put sweaty bums on MDF-based beds—arts festivals in Ireland are like the sauna and massage services in a massage parlour.

Letters to Lucy

John Dillon St,
8th June, 2013

Today is day three of the Dublin Shakespeare Festival.  This is absolute Shakespeare-Lite, an undergraduate gallivant around Trinity College, a sort of pseudo-intellectual Freshers’ Week for buoyant, none-too-inquisitive drama students and whatever indiscriminate tourists who’ve been lured to Ireland on their miserable fucking holidays happen to be passing by in search of the Book of Kells.  Does this qualify as art?  Or is it just ‘the arts’?  And whence the troubling, the invidious, distinction?

Tomorrow of course comes worse: the beginning of what has now become, apparently, a Imageweek-long Bloomsday.  More straw boaters and opulent dresses will grace the streets of Dublin than any bona fide Dubliner circa 1904 could possibly afford.  Christ.  Did you know the original Bloomsday organisers, Flann O’Brien and Patrick Kavanagh and some others I’ve never heard of, couldn’t even get through a full day of it: they gave up…

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