Sound, silence and snow.

On a day when Ireland was, for a moment, very loud, and very angry and the future seemed more unpredictable and volatile than ever before, there came, after nightfall, a moment of brief reprieve. A palpable stillness fell over the land and from the sky came a generous flurry of snow right on cue. I stood out on my balcony for a moment and was overwhelmed by the silence and beauty as the night sky was filled with swirling flakes of white.

Then the silence was broken. But this time it was a different kind of loud energy. Revelers emerged from pubs, and children scrambled from houses, and all descended on the square outside my apartment to throw snowballs, to skate, to slide, to make snowmen and to fall on the ground and roll around with reckless abandon. Four men, no doubt fueled by a steady nights intake of stout, stood on the corner and sang Irish ballads, prompting one child to do an impromptu jig around them, in defiance of the deadly slick of ice across the street. It was a surreal and wonderful scene. Some European brethren built a mighty snowman, whilst local kids tried to engage all and everyone in an exchange of snowy artillery, all set to the sound of a drunken, but sincere rendition of “The Fields of Athenry”.

I glanced over at Twitter, and someone had remarked that the IMF delegation was seen leaving Dublin Airport, having finalized their deal with our Government. As their private jet arched up into the sky through the snow, I wondered if when they looked out the windows they saw anything like we mere mortals do when we see a blanket of white across the land. Or do they just see numbers and figures and calculations to be adjusted? Regardless, whatever they and our political masters do to us, they can’t take the snow.

It is a testament to the mystery that is the sum totality of the Universe than in order to have politicians, and debt, and greed, and fear, and anger you must also have silence, and snow, and snowball fights, and laughter, and song, and children dancing at 1 in the morning. Don’t ever forget it.

Wake Up! [A Blog post in Three Acts]

Act One:

From The Irish Times:

THE PUBLICATION of the National Recovery Plan has coincided with a dawning of political reality across the political spectrum. Whatever manoeuvring takes place over the next two weeks, the budget, however unpalatable it is, will be passed by the Dáil on December 7th because the country has no other option.

From The Journal.ie

THE DEPARTMENT OF Finance has acknowledged that EU/IMF has power to seek changes to the four-year plan during negotiations.

Act Two:

From ‘The Shock Doctrine’ by Naomi Klein and Alfonso Cuaron

“Friedman understood that just as prisoners are softened up for interrogation by the shock of their capture; massive disasters could serve to soften us up for his radical free market crusade. He advised politicians that immediately after a crisis they should push through all the painful policies at once, before people could regain their footing. He called this method ‘Economic Shock Treatment'”

Alan Watts:

At anytime the world is full of threats, mostly from other people. And there are monsters. There are all sorts of things that scare you, but beyond every monster is death. Dissolution is the end of it all.

And by and large the art of government is to fill that void beyond death with threats of a rather unspecified nature, so that we can rule people by saying if you don’t do as I tell you, i’ll kill you. Or you’ll kill yourself. And so long as we can be scared of that, and so long as we can be made to think of death as a bad thing we can be ruled.

Act Three:

John Legend & The Roots cover The Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up”

Assorted Links // 20.11.10

Just a bunch of stuff i’ve linked to on Facebook/Twitter etc. over the past few days.

This is an amazing TED talk / animation linking our innate sense of beauty with evolutionary theory.

My mate James linked me to this; a chillingly accurate description of Ireland’s bank armageddon…..from RTE in 1998

Noam Chomsky chimes in on a bunch of stuff in this lengthy recent interview. Irish folk may want to pay particular attention to the IMF stuff….

But its not all doom and gloom. Here’s some new music:

New Jay Electronica feat. Jay-Z “Shiny Suit Theory”

Speaking of Jay-Z, here’s an interview with Jigga from the Guardian. Best not to read the comments. Like most articles in the Guardian the comments seem to mainly consist of “WHY IS THIS IN THE GUARDIAN?” They are a bitter bunch.

Finally, some new Mogwai. Great song, great artwork, and I love the title of the album “Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will”. I also read there will be a track titled “George Square Thatcher Death Party”