Straight into the thick of it in Dublin

I’ve had a bit of a difficult relationship with Dublin at times. While I’ve had some great times there, I often find it a frustrating city, or at least I did last time round. Since moving back, though, I have to say I’ve seen it in an entirely different light. Perhaps it’s living so central (though I was hardly a long way from the centre last time), or perhaps it’s the busy lifestyle I’ve fallen into straight off, something that I always found incredibly appealing living in Korea. Whatever it is, I’d have to say I’m slowly starting to see what it is that people love about the place.

Our new flat is impressively tiny, but so far that seems to have only helped us to get out and do more. It’s a living room combined with kitchen, small bedroom, bathroom and little corridor leading up to it all, which you could probably only comfortably fit about three or four people in for any length of time. But it makes up for it with insanely low rent (especially considering the location) and being really quite nice and cozy apart from the size. It also has a take away next door, which I’m not sure is the best thing in the world, especially considering we’ve already made use of it twice…

Coming back to State Magazine (yes, I still wrote for them outside of Dublin, but it wasn’t quite the same) has been great, in part because it’s kept me so busy. Last weekend I reviewed both the Kerrang! Relentless Tour and an incredible Glen Hansard Haiti Relief Concert, which also included Damien Rice, Natalie Merchant, Paddy Casey, Paul Brady and Mundy, who all played unannounced. Probably one of the best value for money gigs I’ve ever seen, especially considering they played for a total of over four hours. There was a good State social on Wednesday, too, which I managed

We’ve been watching a lot of the Villa games at Murrays, where there’s a big Irish Villa fan club (the Carling Cup Final’s going to absolute madness – see my last entry for my take on the carnage that was the semi final), which makes the games a whole lot more interesting to watch (I even got Helena in a villa shirt, though she’ll probably crucify me for telling anyone that…). We haven’t even got round to setting up TV service yet, partly as we’re waiting on the TV being dragged up from Mayo, but equally because we’re so busy it just doesn’t seem that important.

I’m now teaching three evenings a week, which is pretty much the perfect supplement to the writing. AU Magazine (Alternative Ulster – they’re Belfast based) have become an increasingly major outlet, and I’ll have features running in at least their next two issues as well as the usual album reviews. The first is on a guy who lived next to a phone box for ten days and answered 180 hours worth of calls (before very nearly going insane), while the second is an interview with a North Korean defector now living in South Korea, with some very odd pro-communist undertones to it. I’ll even be doing my own odd little follow up to the first article involving a Phoenix Park phone box and a very warm coat.

I also have some pretty major State Magazine interviews coming up. I met with the (incredibly friendly) local star Fionn Regan last week, while I have a confirmed interview with Lost Prophets for next week. There’s a strong chance I’ll be doing Gorillaz, too, though obviously that’s a bit of an odd one. For those who aren’t up on their pop culture, Gorillaz are cartoon characters who ‘play’ the role of a band. The actual band is former Blur singer Damon Alburn and a few friends, but a writer answers the interview questions playing the role of the cartoon character, so it’s an extremely odd sort of interview.

On the teaching side, I have two big groups at a mobile phone company and a Spanish woman (who also works for a mobile phone company, they’re taking over the world), and teach each one once a week, which is enough money to cover the rent, food and bills each week. Can’t argue.

Anyway, this is a bit of an odd, bitty update, but I need to cram it in before Glasgow this weekend, so hope it wasn’t too unreadable. Just letting you all know where I’m at!

Now, free press trip coming up!

Love to you all,

James x

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