The time to accept and the time to reject Narcissism…


Have you ever been really annoyed with your boss, your ex, your friend or your neighbour and thought ‘Man that f*cker is such a narcissist’…??

Ah you probably have..we all have..because that’s because most of us are narcissistic. We live in a society consumed by self-image and that can at times be projected negatively onto others…

So are we all narcissists? I’d say we all have an element of narcissism in us. And at times we label assholes as narcissists…but most of the time they are just assholes (with the same amount of narcissism we all possess).

On the other hand have you ever been really annoyed by somebody who you suspect may have taken this inherent natural inclination towards narcissism just that little bit further? The people who build you up only to tear you down when your purpose no longer serves theirs.

Well if you have that’s a whole different ball game altogether …they are the ones to whom you need to say ‘Nope, I’m cutting all ties with you, I can never see you again, I don’t care how much I liked your friends, I am 100% prepared to lose them if it means no more contact with you’….they are the ones you walk away from and  you don’t look back.

I am posting this blog as a word of warning. I believe the music industry attracts the malevolent, malicious narcissist and while I think the industry is waking up to this and it is a lot less tolerated, it is something to be wary and careful of .

My advice would be, seek out the friends or musicians you believe to be caring, truthful and honest. Pursue your own agenda truthfully. If an opportunity seems too good to be true then it probably is. If you meet somebody who tells you are that you are the most awesome person to ever grace the music industry, tell them to take a hike.

Keep it real, keep it honest and keep the self-image aspirational, inspirational, and beautiful.

Caoimhe xo

 

 

 

Advertisements

So Who Was Captain Boycott and How Relevant is He in Today’s World?

When I was in school my favorite subjects were history and languages. In a way they go hand in hand really don’t they? Languages are very much influenced by what is happening in the world around them.

I went to a fairly academic school, and although I did well in my Leaving Certificate, if I’m honest all I really cared about was getting an A1 in history. Points mattered but I didn’t really care. The history exam was such a gruelling exam at the time-  5 essays in 3 hours (although one you could learn off as a project in advance).

I remember so well coming out of the exam, distraught, probably exhausted after sitting Honours Maths 2 in the morning (if memory serves me right). The first person I met  was my history teacher (who at that time was God to me), and I told him I thought I had only got a B1, and cried my eyes out at home much to the bemusement of my parents. All this drama for a subject that I was way better at than honours maths (which didn’t worry me at all).

Thankfully I got the A1 in history and the honour in the Maths. The history result was helped in part by the project I learnt off by heart which was about the Jews in Ireland between 1880-1910. A suggestion from my Dad who had a keen interest in history and Middle East literature and politics (in particular Israeli and Jewish literature).

It is strange that I subsequently visited the Middle East in my thirties (not Israel though), just Jordan and Syria, and I am now assisting with Palfest Ireland’s Alternative Eurovision – Palestine – You’re a Vision on May 18th. The event features a host of Irish stars including Frances Black, Katie Laffan, Christy Moore, Sky Atlas, Kila, Mary Coughlan and many many more.

One of my favorite stories in history was the story of Captain Boycott.  I just absolutely love that us Irish took a period in history and in so doing an oppressor’s name became a word that is used worldwide.

In 1880, as part of Charles Stewart Parnell and the Land League’s campaign for the Three Fs (fair rent, fixity of tenure, and free sale) and opposition to evictions which were numerous and heartbreaking, action was taken against money grabbing landlords.

Captain Boycott was a Mayo Landlord who set about evicting several tenants, often times in a bloody and cruel way. The Mayo branch of the Irish Land League urged Boycott’s employees to withdraw their labor and began a campaign of isolation against Boycott in the local community.

This campaign included shops in Mayo refusing to serve him, and the withdrawal of services. Boycott found himself a marked man, not fearing violence but even worse the scorn, silence, and disdain of simply everyone he encountered.

It worked. He retreated to Suffolk in disgrace and his name became a verb and a term used when wanting to bring down oppressive regimes.

And so this brings me to the boycotting of Eurovision 2019, being held in Israel this year.  Should we ‘boycott’ the event or should we keep art separate from politics?

I have to say given my own love of Irish history, and what we achieved as Irish people in the stance we have always taken against oppression, I believe the right thing to do is to BOYCOTT this event. What is happening to Palestinians is an abuse of their fundamental human rights. The perpetrator of this abuse is Israel.

It is apartheid and I personally am standing with the artists who wish to stand with the Palestinians in solidarity . On May 18th I will be at a concert celebrating Palestine and I will be boycotting the Eurovision (which will be held in Tel Aviv )

The concert is SOLD OUT but will be live streamed. So if you too want to #BoycottEurovision2019, turn off the TV and live stream ‘Palestine – You’re a Vision’ coming from the National Stadium in Dublin, Ireland.

EurovisionPalsetineFinalFinal

So how did I end up working with Kíla anyway??

Fate maybe?

1988 – I’m 12, bored at lunch and sitting outside in our clós beag (schoolyard) thinking crap I’ve got 5 more years of this!

I went to school in Coláiste Íosagáin in Stillorgan, Dublin. Although Coláiste Íosagáin was a girls school, we shared the campus (and some classes) with a boys school, Coláiste Eoin…so our little schoolyard was a smallish green space between both schools…

A band began to play that lunchtime, they were pretty cool – Rossa Ó Snodaigh, Eoin Dillon, Colm Mac an Iomaire…I began to feel a little more optimistic about the 5 more years that I had ahead of me in secondary school. That band was the beginning of what was to be Kíla…

1995- I am in France studying at University in Poitiers…and we decide to head to Paris for the weekend to catch Kíla. A school friend of mine, Aoife Nic Cormaic was depping for Dee Armstrong. We crashed the car on the way back..but it was a memorable concert.

2004 – I have moved to Melbourne, Australia, and Kíla are touring their album Luna Park in Australia. I head to their gig in St Kildas and Aindrias de Staic is supporting (who also lived in Melbourne). It’s a great gig and we all head out after. A very violent bouncer takes a dislike to the Irish ‘gypsies’ as I think he referred to  us..and we all left. Myself and Colm have a quick chat about getting everyone out of there, into the van and home to bed.

2012 – I return to Ireland having lived in Munich for 2 years. I start to go to Whelan’s once a month to see Rónán Ó Snodaigh who is showcasing each of his solo albums every month for a period of time. I get to know the Whelan’s staff having not frequented Whelan’s much since I was a student. They welcomed me. I felt more at home at those gigs than I had felt in a very very long time. Life seemed to stop for a couple of hours and I could totally immerse myself in Ró’s songs and music.

2015 – I ran my first gig and sold out Whelan’s main venue. I helped out at a second Whelan’s gig and in the course of that work I needed to chat to Colm from Kíla. We reminisced about that night in Melbourne.

2017 – Ró started to do gigs in Whelan’s front bar as part of Donal Scannell’s Call the Dancers. I begged him and/or Kíla to do a gig for me. I spent a long time trying to persuade Colm. I spent a long time trying to persuade Rónán and he caved eventually.  That year I also started working with Rossa at An Puball Gaeilge at Electric Picnic. By December of that year Kila had asked me to come on board.

So in a weird way I was there from the beginning,  I was there at memorable gigs and musically I feel more at home with Kíla’s music than with any other music I have ever heard or listened to (and I love music).

The rest of the band roared laughing when they heard I was at that gig in Melbourne despite it being a long time ago. Everything just seemed to click into place and added to that, I am a fluent Irish speaker. I now have a 100% bilingual job where I speak Irish to half the band…and English to the other half. Agus is aoibheann liom é.

My favourite Kíla album is Luna Park, the album they were touring when I lived in Australia. I listened to it every single day when I was there and it kept me grounded and feeling like I always had my home  and Ireland with me. Go raibh maith agaibh Kíla!

IMG_4094

 

 

NO CHILD SHOULD HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS.. #NOCHILD2020

As part of The Irish Times initiative, No Child 2020, I read this article today. As someone who has been volunteering with SVP on Gardiner Street for several years, I feel child homelessness is an issue that has been left to charities to deal with. The only real solution to this is to build the fucking houses.

It isn’t rocket science, it is pretty basic stuff. Either ignore the vulnerable or support them. The current government is choosing to ignore.

I have attached a link to the article below with some personal observations.

EVERYTHING in the article is true, and EVERYTHING in it I have witnessed with the families my branch of SVP support.

Boiling eggs in a hotel kettle is fairly standard.

In our little branch of SVP we once purchased a mini fridge for a family with 7 children, ( 2 of whom had cystic fibrosis) so that they could store their childrens’ medication there. Most hotels don’t allow fridges or microwave facilities in the room though.

Some hotels have shared kitchen facilities, lots don’t. Some B&Bs have lovely warm welcoming staff who really care about the families staying with them. Many are just happy to have a regular income from Dublin City Council to provide rooms for homeless families.

Some B&Bs let people come and go as they please, many ask that their guests leave at 8am and return at 8pm. Imagine traipsing around town with a buggy and 4 small children for 12 hours! Some homeless families know that they can stay in a particular B&B long term, many don’t know where they will be staying from day to day or week to week.

Hiding Santa presents is tricky. Trying to give your children consistency with education is tricky. Feeding your kids healthy meals is tricky. Nobody’s children should have to go through this. For the 10,000 plus going through this, it is a living nightmare.

BUILD THE HOUSES!

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/child-homelessness-the-worst-thing-i-ve-ever-seen-1.3878776

Palestine – You’re A Vision

As Kíla’s manager I have been helping Dee Armstrong with recent work she has undertaken with Palfest Ireland. Palfest Ireland is an organisation she set up with others to support Palestinian artists who are being silenced by the Israeli state.

On Friday night, 26th April, Mary Coughlan took part in a frankly bizarre and brief discussion on The Late Late Show about Eurovision 2019. She supports the boycott of the Eurovision in Israel this year and along with Kíla, Christy Moore, Frances Black and others, will participate in “Palestine – You’re a Vision”, a concert organised by Palfest Ireland, as an alternative to the Eurovision that will take place in Tel Aviv that same night.

Dee wrote an email to Ryan Tubridy expressing her concern about how this issue was handled on the Late Late show. I posted this letter to Kíla’s Facebook page this morning and am posting it here too as recognition of my own support for this issue.

Tickets for “Palfest – You’re a Vision” can be purchased from https://www.takeyourseats.ie/events/2019/5/18/palestine-youre-a-vision?fbclid=IwAR3F9ul3EEsBhh1Vq0t6WMopdLP_W8Fceb9vshkKHzdzRrJg4xbrQHonJ_4

Hi Ryan

In 2014 Israel bombed Gaza. The bombings killed thousands of people, including 556 children. In Ireland a group of artists spontaneously came together in horror and in an urge to do something to honour the childrens’ memory and in solidarity with their families and with Palestinian people everywhere.

PalFest Ireland was formed: a group of Irish artists and arts workers who wanted to give their work for free to this end and to work to amplify the voices of Palestinian artists, silenced by the Israeli state through censorship, harassment and outright violence.

As happened with apartheid South Africa – more and more artists are refusing to travel to Israel because of their consistent violations of human rights and human dignity. We support this cultural boycott of Israel as called for by Palestinian civil society. We call on RTE workers to stand with Palestinians call for solidarity in boycott and not travel to Israel to cover the Eurovision there. The Eurovision in Israel is not just a song contest – it is a PR exercise to whitewash an Apartheid state that is killing unarmed Palestinians.

We ask you not to travel because Palestinians of all ages have asked us to support their peaceful struggle by boycotting Israel until it complies with international law.

On May 18th in The National Stadium Bar PalFest Ireland is presenting ‘Palestine – You’re a Vision!’ an apartheid-free alternative to the Eurovision with artists Christy Moore, Charlie McGettigan, Frances Black, Donal Lunny, Farah Elle, Kíla, Avoca Reaction, Mary Coughlan, Sky Atlas, Jinx Lennon, Honor Heffernan and Trevor Knight Band, Mick Blake, Katie Laffan Free Speaking Mionkey and many more.

We’re doing this event to not allow Israel to whitewash it’s crimes against the Palestinian people and to let Palestinian artists know that Irish artists stand in solidarity with them whether they are under occupation, under siege or in exile.

Please think again Ryan. Have a proper debate on this issue. You gave respect and time to the people with Autism on the Late Late last night, and it was wonderful to watch. You afforded them dignity and time. The same time and humanity should be shown to the people of Palestine, who suffer daily under an apartheid system. Please have a proper debate on your show, not just about the Eurovision, which is just a flash in the pan, but a debate about what is actually happening there, and how Ireland as a nation could offer real help and solidarity. These are real people. This is real suffering. It should not continue to be dismissed. The national broadcaster should have the courage and dignity to give time to difficult issues.

Abuse of human rights in any country should be of the greatest concern for us here in Ireland. We should not stand by and pretend these abuses are not happening for the sake of politics or PR. I personally was ashamed of the way you and RTE handled the “discussion” on the Eurovision last night. It was cowardly, inane and depressing.

Yours sincerely
Deirdre Armstrong, Musician, Artist.

Can music be used to navigate your way through grief..

Recently I blogged about whether music can heal chronic illness and today I felt a need to extend that as to whether music can help in navigating grief..

I really really think it can, it can temporarily ease some of the suffering or it can allow you a chance to cry or experience emotions that may not be possible without music behind you to support it..

Today I received the memorial card for Ally, my sister in law who died on the 29th November last year. Like everything Ally did, even her memorial card had an Ally touch (see photos below) – She loved her red lippy!

Last night at a corporate event with Kíla, I met someone who knew me and who had worked with Ally. She brought up how much Ally was missed and asked me how I was? My eyes welled with tears as they always do when someone unexpectedly mentions Ally and I got stuck for words. I really didn’t know what to say…

Grief is such a strange thing..but as I was at a work event, I composed myself and kept going with what I was there to do which was to be there with Kíla at a Kíla concert. I took a moment and took time to listen to the music from the stage and when the mutual acquaintance engaged again about Ally, I was able to have a conversation with her.

Ally was 43 when she died. She was very young. Her children are 10 and 6 and my brother, her husband is 40. Her death hit me hard. It hit everybody hard but most of all it hit her boys hard.

I didn’t really know how to grieve when my grief felt so insignificant when compared to the grief of her husband, her parents, siblings and children .

I decided to use music, to use music to let me cry. I decided to use music, to use music to celebrate Ally’s life.  I decided to use music to teach me how to grieve.

Did music help me navigate my way through grief? It really did and does.

This post is dedicated to Alison Kelly (Ó Riagáin) who is missed enormously by those who knew and loved her.