More courage than conviction

July 15, 2010

“Doubt requires more courage than conviction does, and more energy; because conviction is a resting place and doubt is infinite; it is a passionate exercise. You may come out of my play uncertain. You may want to be sure. Look down on that feeling. We’ve got to learn to live with a full measure of uncertainty. There is no last word. That’s the silence under the chatter of our time.”

So wrote John Patrick Shanley in his Preface to ‘Doubt, a Parable’, which was written in 2004.

I went along to Shift Theatre Company’s production of ‘Doubt, a Parable’ last night.

I wasn’t familiar with the play at all (it’s a film too with Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams, so it’s one to add to my list I guess) but I thoroughly enjoyed the performances and the production. Shanley won a Tony award in 2005 for the play, and it really is a stunning piece of writing, tight and evocative.

Starring Niamh Clancy, Glen Forbes, Sarah Allen Clarke, Donna Anita Nikolaisen, directed by Joyce Ward and produced by Bernie McNelis, this Shift production was a wonderful and though-provoking night’s theatre.

Set in 1964 in a Bronx Catholic school, the principal grapples with her doubts, doubts about the parish priest and about her own faith. Still very relevant in the Ireland of 2010, the ending led to an interesting discussion after the play, over a drink in the bar of the Teachers Club.

The performance on Monday night raised over €700 for the charity One in Four, which supports adult victims of child sexual abuse.

The play runs (8pm nightly) until Saturday 17th July, with a matinee (2pm) on Saturday 17th July.

The venue is Theatre@36, 36 Parnell Square West, (The Teachers Club), opposite The Rotunda Hospital, Dublin 1.

Tickets are available from for €15/€12 (booking fee applies).


I was always falling

July 4, 2010

I tripped over a kerb again today and grazed my knee a bit. I’m so unbalanced.

When I was a little girl and I fell, I used to say that the ground came up and hit me, not that I knew about the whole ‘may the road rise to meet you’ business.

I was always falling.

I think the most momentous was when I fell out the front door.

I’d gone running out to play in the cul de sac, after lunch. We had a long hallway in the house and I ran along it and caught my foot in the slight lip of the door frame and fell and cut my chin. Evil driveway.

Mum and Dad were there in a moment and Dad scooped me up and walked me to the doctor’s surgery, a couple of minutes away.

“Why didn’t you drive her?” asked the peeping talking heads and eyes.

I had to get two stitches, I think. I still have the scar, just about.

No stitches or scars today, just a bit of a graze really. But tripping over in public? It’s still really embarrassing.

Beverages, minerals and drinks

June 27, 2010

I returned from a brief railroad trip to Kilkenny this evening.

There were beverages, minerals and drinks available on the train. So said the electronic display in carriage (coach) B.

Phrases in triplicate comfort, console and calm me.

Sex and the Desert

June 25, 2010

Eventually got round to seeing Sex and the City 2 last week. Eventually getting round to writing this post, which has been rattling and rootling around in my head and my notebook since then.

While it was clear from the trailer and the reviews that this wouldn’t be a good film, I was curious to know would it be enjoyable in any way. And by enjoyable, I mean how much shopping envy I’d have afterwards.

Alas, dear reader, it was not to be – upon leaving the cinema I was too devastated for shopping. And that says a lot.

It was when I saw the greengrocer’s apostrophe in Carrie’s Vogue column that I knew I was in for a tough ride with this film. Shoddy, just shoddy.

And then they went to Abu Dhabi (filmed in Morocco apparently) and sang Karaoke (Helen Reddy’s I Am Woman) and Smantha got caught having sex on the beach. Yes, it’s as bad as all that. It’s politically incorrect in the wrong kind of way and very, very patronising.

I love a good coinage as much as the next person, but this film took it to a different level. Coinage for coinage’s sake is not to be recommended. Some examples for your delectation:

Brooms – Stanford and Anthony get married and call themselves this, an amalgamation of bride and groom, but it just made me think of people with bad hair. I was, however, impressed with their wedding, which featured Liza Minnelli and swans. Yes, Liza Minnelli and swans. And Carrie in a tuxedo and a mad looking headpiece.

Interfriendtion and interfuntion – no comment.

Sandwedge – Charlotte falls off a camel while trying to answer a call from her husband. This is Miranda’s lame quip. Miranda, I missed the old you.

Bedouin, Bath and Beyond – just one of the many references to the mysterious Middle East. No further comment.

Erin Go Bra-less – the Irish nanny who won’t wear a bra, and looks like she came from Offaly via The OC. Her perkiness gives Carrie the chance to wonder if Charlotte’s husband will succumb to “the Jude Law” which was amusing. But not amusing enough to excuse the many other indiscretions.

So it’s materialistic escapism of the patronising variety – in a discussion about how hard motherhood is proving, Charlotte wonders how women with no ‘help’ cope.

I have no more words, coined or uncoined.

I want a raspberry scone.

June 23, 2010

I’ve been having a case of the Verucasalts lately, wanting to stamp my foot and wave my fists around and generally get all red faced, so that I can have my own way.

It might be the good weather that’s bringing it out in me, allowing the selfish, tantrum-throwing, heatstroke-prone side of me to take over.

This morning, when the bus went past me on O’Connell Street, I took a deep breath and turned left into the convenience store / coffee shop comboutlet.

There were three girls in front of me who seemed determined to ask questions and questions and questions and to buy all the tiffin slices and flavoured coffees and pieces of withered fruit and thus prevent me from getting my coffee hit.

After about half an hour of consultations and too little purchased to justify the time spent, they folded up their fivers, and went on their unironed and bedraggled way.

“A latte and a raspberry scone please,” says I to the woman behind the counter.

After the customary refusal of the large latte, (upsell, upsell) and the swirling of milky coffee into the cup and the choosing of the scone (erm, no, not that burned one, that one in the middle, yeah, thanks), comes the punching of the numbers on the register of the cash.


The what now? What happened to the €3.50 offer we knew and loved so well?

It seems the offer has switched back to muffins and somethingelses (pastries perhaps) this month. So, I took a deep breath and waved my hands and scrunched my eyes up and threw my makeup out of my handbag and…

Not really. I took the woman’s word that the strawberry and lemon muffin was worth a try. And while it’s no raspberry scone, it’s not half bad.

His mother the longest

June 18, 2010

His & Hers opens in cinemas today. It’s a fantastic documentary by director Ken Wardrop, a day in the life of Irish women, told sequentially from youngest to oldest. Seventy women from the midlands talk about the men in their life, starting with little girls and moving all the way to older women, as they discuss their fathers, boyfriends, husbands, sons.

I saw His & Hers at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival this year, where it won the Audience Award. It’s also scooped the Feature Award at the Galway Film Fleadh, an IFTA for Best Feature Documentary and the Cinematography Award at the Sundance Film Festival 2010.

The tagline is an old Irish proverb:

“A man loves his girlfriend the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest.”

I’d like to dispute the veracity of this statement, but it would be pointless, wouldn’t it?

In any case, if you have a chance to see His & Hers, go. It’s refreshing, uplifting and real. And the final evocative shot is inspired.

Posh language myths

June 16, 2010

I stopped off at my friendly local Oxfam store on the way home this evening, and came out with an interesting book: Port Out, Starboard Home and other language myths by Michael Quinion.

I had a discussion recently about the phrase ‘port out, starboard home’, and whether it’s the source of the term posh. It is not, according to Quinion:

“It’s a legend, though a very persistent one.”

The story goes that, back in the day, some passengers on boats run by the Peninsular and Oriental Steamship Company had their tickets stamped with ‘POSH’ to indicate that they would have a cabin on the port side on the way to India and one on the starboard side on the way back. That way, they would get the sea breeze, and shelter from the sun, during the hottest part of the journey. To afford these cabins, one had to be wealthy, and thus posh.

There’s no evidence to support the claim and P&O have denied the term existed, says Quinion.

He suggests other likely sources for the term, including the possibility that a character from George and Weedon Grossmith’s Diary of a Nobody is the source:

‘Frank called, but he said he could not stop, as he had a friend waiting outside for him, named Murray Posh, adding he was rather swell.’

The most probable, however impossible to prove, is that posh is a London slang word for money. Quinion writes that the Romany word ‘posh’ was originally applied to a halfpenny, then any small sum of money, and then to money in general.

I’m looking forward to dipping in and out of this book and I’m reminded how long it’s been since I read Diary of a Nobody. Another one for the summer reading list, I say, I say.