"And what about the cutting?" asks Madeleine Schwartz of Sally Rooney’s novels, in a piece for the NYRB. Somebody had to! The question reminded me of an observation by Zadie Smith in this 2017 interview.Read More
Ah, “the Irish diaspora”. A wild and unwieldy group of which I have been a member since 2015. Few categories of people are trickier to quantify or define. This should make us tricky to appeal to, too, but naive politicians and political hopefuls try all the time.Read More
Between June 29 and September 10, I haul a Citi bike over the East River, a body of water as beautiful sparkling as it is staid, and careen down the other side of the bridge to Hamilton Fish Park. My relationship with the park is seasonal. Just one season! Summer.
The traffic of the Lower East Side is plentiful, relentless, and something residents of New York City are more or less inured to. Secure in the promise of my destination, I enjoy a layer of insulation against the urban squall. I wind my way to Hamilton Fish and join the hopeful others assembled silently at its locked gates. Ideally, it is not yet seven o’clock in the morning.
Eating is the best thing you can do at a conference by yourself, and I was busying myself with a third piece of skewered steak when he passed for a third time.Read More
The last car owned and driven by my paternal grandmother, Nancy, was a white Nissan Micra.
I can't remember the cars that predated that one, or predated our move back to Ireland in 1997. But I can remember the Micra's sweet smell, its velour seats, and the packets of Trebor Softmints (blue) Nancy kept in the dash and in the doors.
I remember the driver's seat having one of those wooden covers knotted around the headrest: fat, varnished beads on semi-elasticated cord. I can also very clearly remember the final journey I took in that car.Read More
I try my best to avoid the word “freelance”.
Something about the combination of “free” and “lance”. From the out, you’ve got a lack of value, some type of worthless, unsatisfying giveaway. Then, something — bad or septic, I’m sure — being sliced open, gored, or excised. That action happening free of charge, or without a thought. Nope.Read More
GAZE is an app designed for two groups of people: those who work from home, those whose work takes them away from home. It pairs an at-home worker (a) with a nomadic worker (b) in need of a break in the vicinity of (a).Read More
The string of police checkpoints outside Havana was punctuated by hitchhikers hopefully extending folded peso notes to passing cars. Our 1954 Pontiac was – for four residents of New York City, at least – at capacity, a state interpreted by waiting Cubans as having adequate space for two or three more passengers.Read More
New York Fashion Week, baby!
Little of what we read, view, or listen to in 2017 is not studiously concocted and refined. These are banner days for copy approval and the provision of questions ahead of time. Publicists and PR handlers are multiplying in number. “Content creation” is a dispiritingly profitable business. TV sets are futuristic, clinical, and politicians and others in public life are coached like Olympic gymnasts before release into these arenas.
How truly refreshing, then, to be able to turn to a show in which a green screen glitch might shave off a piece of a jaw or the tip of a nose. How satisfying to know there exists a programme that can’t really be trained for, so rough and disorderly it can be, so engulfed by crosstalk.Read More
"Happy is the house that shelters a friend! It might be built to entertain him a single day."
Cycling through the Lower East Side this evening, I was stopped by a red light. I reviewed two photographs on my phone while waiting at the junction. Taken from the saddle, neither was very good.Read More
Rally writ large.
The address, commentators agreed, was a stump speech. An amped-up, textbook rework of the kind delivered ad nauseam for the past 18 months. Familiar were the words, the pledges, and the two-mode index fingers.Read More
I thought the piece was a crock. But, whatever.
However. If the Irish Times is as serious about "free speech" and the alleged facilitation of constructive debate as it has purported to be, it ought to have printed the piece, unchanged, in the days after its online debut (as planned).
The failure to print is the only evidence that there was anything other than consensus at the paper as to the merit of Pell's piece and the soundness of the editorial judgment that led to its publication. Which is interesting! To me.