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I’m only a cock-eyed optimist

Starting with her virtual experience of Culture Night, and ending with a fond farewell to man’s best friend, this week’s Sparkles are a wild ride.
Nothing like a rainbow after the rain.

Hello readers!

As I write this, the sky is half ominous clouds and half glorious sunshine, and I find my eyes darting between the two. As I may have said in many of my previous posts, I’m an eternal optimist. And although I would still self-identify as one, my optimistic leanings have been heavily tested by 2020. Still happy to say I’d rather look towards the sunshine this morning than worry about the clouds, but it has been tempting.

I know what you did last Friday

Although I worked until about 9PM on Friday, I jumped on my bike to try and get a feel for the city on the oddest of Culture Nights. On a usual year, the city would be packed, restaurants fit to burst, and the all-over buzz would be too good to miss.

And yes, for a few moments, before I left work, my silly brain forgot that we’re in the middle of a world-wide pandemic, and I became SO excited to spend a bit of time in the middle of that buzz. But as I ventured towards Temple Bar, down the south side of the Liffey, skirted by Project Arts Centre, Smock Alley, and looped past Dublin Castle, I became more and more depressed. Although I could see the Culture Night flags flying proudly on the riverside, there wasn’t a buzz. A few people smoked outside a tattoo shop, gaggles of young folk would occasionally pass me, but it didn’t feel like the nation-wide cultural event that it has been in past years. Granted, on my bike, at 10PM there was no way I’d get the full picture of Culture Night in Dublin, but I had high hopes (eternal optimist remember?).

Eventually I found my way home, boiled the kettle, and hopped on the computer. Although it wasn’t the Culture Night anyone was expecting, scrolling through the offerings on socials and the Culture Night website, I was drawn in by two pieces in particular: Inni-K: Dawn & Dusk Song & Film Project – A Celebration of Dublin City Parks through Song AND ‘On in-between’ by Paul Regan.

The first was a stunningly simple serenade, and the rendition of ‘Fáinne Geal an Lae’ or ‘The Dawning of the Day’ made me equal parts homesick, heart wrenched, and hopeful. It’s an exquisite collection of sounds and song, making me desperate for those quiet moments as the world wakes up. It left me meditating on the liminal spaces in my life, and how precious these doirse can be.

The second, Paul Regan’s ‘On in-between’ was enthralling, and to be honest, I didn’t think I was going to watch the entire clip initially. As it continued, I remember thinking, ‘what next’? I was agitated, and in stark contrast to my calming (almost meditative) experience with Inni-K, it made me quite unhappy. Images of the Falling Man from the tragedy of September 11th came immediately to my mind, and as Regan floated down the Liffey, only occasionally checking his trajectory, I found myself looking for signs of distress, or alternatively, acceptance.

I had clicked on the video, I knew this was a response to Culture Night’s prompt, and yet, I found myself wondering how much power Regan really had as he made his way, seemingly accelerating (this feeling exacerbated by the steady and stealthy sound design from Daz Disley) in the thick darkness of that river we can almost smell through the screen.

Check out these pieces and more on Culture Night’s YouTube Channel here, and don’t forget to check out what online creations your local counties supported! (There are many still available, so don’t miss out!)

For those of you kind enough to make it this far (WHERE ARE THE SPARKLY SOCIALS ABBIE?) thank you. For your patience, I have compiled a quick collection of things that caught my attention and tickled my funny bone.

These Sparkles Are Bananas

Yes, as I was writing the heading, I was definitely singing the song. It is the only way. BANANA…..B!
I can’t. Even if this is fake news, it’s far too ‘pun’ny to be ignored.
Stop the spread. Stick to your Bublé.

All Dogs Go To Heaven

On a slightly sad note, hearing that President Michael D. Higgins had to say goodbye to his beloved dog Síoda. If you haven’t seen the AMAZING clips of these two stealing the spotlight at countless events, you haven’t truly lived.

(And if you haven’t ever experienced the lean of the giant breeds, you need to find a Bernese, a Newfoundland, or even a Tibetan Mastiff and get some puppy cuddles, because they are the absolute best.)

View this post on Instagram

#sneachta #bródagussíoda #Aras

A post shared by Bród and Sioda Fan Club (@dogsofthearas) on

Yes, these two have their own fan page on Instagram. They are cooler than I will ever be.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the spectacular people working for Dublin Theatre Festival, who hosted their virtual opening night this week. We know they’ve been working themselves ragged trying to comply with new and changing government guidelines, and although their initial reimaging has to change yet again, we have no doubt that the team at DTF are going to bring us an exciting festival, no matter what.

Now what I want to know is:

Who is in your holiday Bublé?

Take care of yourselves and each other.

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