Cindy Gallop – if she ran the world…

Aspire Magazine ran my article on Cindy Gallop on the cover of September magazine.   It was probably the hand action that secured the success of the micro talk at TED2009, that or the fact that Cindy Gallop had broken TED’s porn cherry with the description of her own sex life, the merits of hardcore porn and a personal preference not to watch sex films that resembled open heart surgery. In just ten minutes, a global sensation was born and a Cindy Gallop’s fame washed out of advertising circles and into mainstream social consciousness. Her diminutive frame and well-articulated vocabulary were at direct odds with her subject matter: the creeping ubiquity of porn and its damaging effect on society. However, Gallop is not anti porn, on the contrary she is a discerning consumer of it, but she worries about the effect that male dominated porn has on an impressionable younger generation, both male and female. Gallop explained her problem and how she encountered at first hand the direct impact of porn on Generation Y, or GenY. In short, she dates GenY men and has sex with them. This point is only of interest as Gallop would be considered a cougar, and […]

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Credit Cards have a way with Words

Credit cards have a way with words. Some of the best lines have centred round their use. From the ‘No charge’ slogan in the 80s, to the Not the Nine O’clock News sketch with Pamela Stephenson where she invited her credit card customer to stroke her boob (ok, it was a location joke, a vintage location joke playing on the fact that America Express took an exalted view of its own brand of commerce) to the most recent Mastercard line, There are some things money can’t buy, for everything else there’s Mastercard. Of course, the ultimate irony with credit cards is that while they are selling you a way of life, in reality they are just helping you spend money more easily and costing everyone a percentage into the bargain. Credit cards take their cut, like Shylock’s pound of flesh, and usury is a dirty business after all. Being a credit card is a bit like being a parent. Or is that being a parent is just like being a credit card. It’s all spend, spend, spend on one’s progeny. Unlike credit cards, however, there is not a fixed expiry date. It just keeps bobbing along until the parent expires. […]

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Censorship – Write Like your Parents are Dead!

Censorship is alive and well and living inside every writer’s head. It comes to fore when the topics get tough and every word matters. A clever observer once said the key to finding your true voice was to write as if your parents were dead. As writers, we have to grow up, to mature, to throw off our exhibitions, ignore the urge to self censor and just write (as if our parents were dead). My first act of rebellion was to include bad language. Somehow writing the f word seems much stronger than saying it. For one thing, it remains on the page in full view long after it is written. There is no denying its presence. A spoken curse on the other hand can be an accident or an ephemeral explosion of sound. It may not even be heard. My next was to discover that a central character, the mother, was as horrible as you might even have the misfortune to meet. My third was to include sex, lots of it. In desperation my sister suggested I publish this terrible book under my ex husband’s name; and bring shame on my in-laws instead! My mother politely suggested I write […]

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Friday June 15 – Speaking at the Dotconf

What a conference. This is the third annual dotconf run by the National College of Ireland. It’s all about the web, people in it, doing stuff with it, making stuff for it or simply using it. I can honestly say I have never sat through a more interesting day packed to the brim with interesting people and speakers and thoughts and ideas. The MC was Karlin Lillington from the Irish Times and she was super, enthused and delightful. She told us there were more mobile phones than toothbrushes in the world. Some fact huh? We had Mark Congiusta, and no I still can’t pronounce his name either, from Cisco on the User Experience. That was funny. He mentioned toothbrushes too I think. Then Randall Snare from iQ Content who has apparently read the Pilgrims Progress, she was pretty much on her own in that regard. Curly Dena, or Dena Walker from Irish International was very funny too. She pointed out that if people tell you digital is complex, it’s not. It’s just stuff, more stuff that we hadn’t had before. Then Kirstie McDermott from Beaut.ie who told us about Badgers, hot ones. Another theme for the day, even Eamonn Carey […]

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National Volunteering Week – May 14-21

National Volunteering Week – May 14-21 “We all know that volunteering benefits Irish society, but volunteering also has a powerful effect on the volunteer. We recently carried out a survey with 500 active volunteers, 98 per cent of respondents found that volunteering makes them a happier person.” Anna Lee, Chairperson of Volunteer Ireland, (originally published in thejournal.ie) Volunteering makes us happy. Or perhaps less grumpy. Or maybe able to complain faster! Most parents will volunteer with their children’s hobbies and activities. Typically their children cannot attend leisure activities outside of formal schooling without some form of parental assistance and it becomes a necessity, whether it is coaching the Under 12s, making cakes for the fund raisers or becoming bona fide leaders in the Boy Scouts. It doesn’t mean the politics are any the less or that events run on time, but there is bonding between families and sharing with children. Sometimes volunteering is only for a season. Perhaps your child grows out of their sport or someone else is voted in to a new committee. It does help to spread the load, although of course there are professional volunteering parents and leaders who will stay with the organisation regardless of their children’s […]

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Short Stories and Long Lies launched by Minister for the Arts

    Minister Jimmy Deenihan launches Book in Tinahely   Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, TD, was in Tinahely on Saturday May 12, 2012 to launch a collection of short stories and poetry by a local writing group. Called Short Stories and Long lies, the book was written by five local writers; Alison McGuire, Tara Quirke, Thomas Clare, Robert Duffy and Jillian Godsil. The launch was held in the Riverside Business Centre, Tinahely. Minister Deenihan launched the book and said: “Tinahley is renowned as a centre for culture and artistic activity and it is great to see new and existing authors coming together to publish lively collections such this one. The village already boasts a thriving arts centre and here at Riverside Art Gallery we have another great venue promoting the arts. “Creative writing can be a lonely pursuit and the presence of a writing group can be very supportive. I would like to congratulate all five authors on their work and ultimate production of this interesting book.” The launch was held in the new Art Gallery. Entertainment was provided by three young harpists, local sisters Miriam and Bernadette Lambert along with their first cousin […]

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#DepressionHurts wins Best Shorts Competition, California, USA

I had the honour of acting in this short film. #DepressionHurts wins Best Shorts Competition, California, USA   Dublin,Ireland, May 1, 2012…#DepressionHurts video has won a prestigious Award of Merit from the Best Shorts Competition,California. The award was given for the special purpose video created by a volunteer team to highlight awareness of mental illness and depression.   The project and film was made with the support volunteers from social media network Twitter, who together with producer Norah Bohan and director Alan Lavender helped co-ordinate Ireland’s first 24/7 Twitter helpline for depression and suicide, which ran for the nine days of Christmas and New Year 2011. Lavender said, “We called the video ‘It Starts With You’ – because it does! It’s how YOU think and behave that either adds to the hurt of depression or suicide or helps the sufferers. We know to change attitude & remove stigma to depression and suicide, ‘It Starts With You’ and we hope lots of ‘You’ will decide to be part of the change. ”Winning the Best Shorts Award of Merit is a tremendous boost to our team. It will certainly help us continue with our important project.” Winning the Award of Merit has […]

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TV people don’t sunbathe!

It’s been a very funny start to the year. My five minutes of fame seem to have extended to twelve months of fame, and it doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. You may be familiar with me. I joking call myself the ‘brokest woman in Ireland’ and that may not be so far from the truth. An accident of divorce and the recession left me holding the baby, or rather a one million euro mortgage on a house worth less than half that. I cannot afford to live in the house and I am at the pin of my collar to support and keep my two teenage daughters. Currently, we live in a rented cottage some ten miles from our original house, but it may as well be 100 miles away. I have sold everything from my old house to pay for bills. This year is a bit bleak as I have nothing left to sell and the bills keep coming. In 2011 I decided to sell my house (the beautiful Georgian Raheengraney House, just outside Shillelagh), come what may. I made a video, posted it on You Tube and it went viral. Mark Little from RTE was in […]

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We are an Island Race

Exporting is part of our culture. Since we learnt we were on an island we have expended as much time getting off as we have expelling invaders. Our monks have sailed boats in far flung adventures while repelling invaders became a part of our lives once St Patrick expelled the snakes. When we couldn’t get rid of our next influx of unwanted visitors we often resorted to down right, low down tactics and married them. Think of the Normans more Irish than the Irish themselves. We consumed our invaders and we exported our under-the-radar colonists. The only difference with our colonising is that we used words and song and music to grab emotional landbanks across the world. A recent comment on WorldIrish had one non Irish commenter suggest there were 40million living today on this small island. The sheer weight would of course have sunk our patch of green but it is a testament to the vast export of our numbers over the years. For an island race we are an interesting mix of conflicting characteristics. For an island race, we don’t really swim that well as a nation, we could argue we don’t have the weather. We don’t really […]

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Get off your bottom and so something!

Get off your bottom and do something! I wrote a short piece about the global phenomenon that is Kony 2012. It ran in www.GoodMenProject.com on March 10, a few days after the video was released. In that article I decided not to mention the criticism of the project or the charity behind it. Any global initiative that involves a viral video with 70million hits in three days and climbing, war lords, the American military, child soldiers,Africa and money is going to attract its fair share of knocks, trolls and copycat videos. So I made a choice and did not include these criticisms. The main reason being I applauded the charity who were actively working on a cause and value system that they believed in. I still do. The third point I made in the article was the Kony 2012 campaign is all about doing something, anything to make the world a better place. Doing stuff – why not? I personally am heavily involved in an equine charity and have been for the past ten years in a voluntary capacity. The charity, The Irish Horse Welfare Trust, rescues and rehomes abandoned horses, retrains racehorses for secondary careers and provides education on equine welfare, […]

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