Just say hello…

Slightly off-topic today, but I had an interesting lunch-hour and thought it was worth writing about. Today I am in Dublin, a city in which I lived for a while over a decade ago. Whatever about then, nowadays I no longer know many people living here, and certainly don’t expect to bump into people I know like I would at home in Sligo. Coming off the train earlier I stopped for lunch, and surprisingly within ten minutes had three different interactions, all with people I had met once before. 1 – I spotted a well-known broadcaster walking past the window. It’s not that long since I met him and I instinctively waved and smiled at him when he looked in the window. He gave me a sheepish wave back, one which said to me that he knew I knew who he was but he wasn’t quite sure who I was. 2 – A lady sat down at the table next

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Denniz Pop and the mere-exposure effect.

Denniz Pop (real name Dag Krister (Dagge) Volle) – was a Swedish DJ, producer and songwriter who in the 1990s produced music for some of the biggest stars in the world and laid the foundation for a golden age of music production and songwriting in Sweden. He was responsible for not only giving the more celebrated Max Martin his first job, but also naming him. Denniz’s first breakthrough was with the Swedish band Ace of Base. He produced their two biggest hits – ‘All That She Wants‘ and ‘The Sign‘ – but it could have all been so different. Ulf Ekberg and Jonas Berggren were two of the four members of Ace of Base. They heard some of Denniz’s work, and loved his sound. They approached him and gave him a demo tape of the song that eventually became All That She Wants, but was then called Mr. Ace. Denniz put it in the cassette deck of his Nissan Micra

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Be like Cows

For centuries, farmers have known that their livestock not only gather in large herds but also tend to face the same way when grazing. It wasn’t until Google Earth images from all over the world were examined by a team of German researchers however, that they realised that cattle generally line themselves up like compasses on a North-South axis. And they aren’t the only animals to do so – deer, flies, bees and goldfish naturally line up in a similar way when left alone. So what looks like a desire to be part of the herd and do what everyone else is doing is actually a more fundamental instinct. As humans we all regularly follow the herd too. Maybe like the cattle however we should pay more attention to our instincts. Sometimes they may line us up with the herd, but even when they don’t, they still might be worth following.

New socks!

I remember seeing my Dad get presents of new socks when I was young and thinking what a terrible present that was. Now I sometimes get presents of new socks and I’m delighted. The intention of the sock-buyer was the same each time – but my interpretation of their action has changed. Actions will be interpreted differently depending on the viewpoint of the person interpreting them. It’s important to remember that when analysing reactions. It’s also sometimes crucial to forget it, especially at the moment of action, or you might never act.

The second longest day…

The longest day of the year (in terms of daylight hours) was yesterday. We were lucky in Sligo with the weather we got and the sunset was beautiful. So – today does it upset you that we have started an inexorable six-month fall towards shorter daylight hours? Or instead do you enjoy the fact that it’s the second longest day of the year?  

Ignition moments

On the afternoon of May 18, 1998, many young South Korean girls had what is known as an ignition moment when a twenty-year-old woman named Se Ri Pak won the McDonald’s LPGA Championship and became a national icon. Before her, no South Korean had ever succeeded in golf. Fast-forward to ten years later, and Pak’s countrywomen had essentially colonized the LPGA Tour, with forty-five South Korean female golfers collectively winning about one-third of the events. An ignition moment is a potent experience when a young person falls in love with their future passion. For Albert Einstein, it was when his father bought him a compass. As Walter Isaacson wrote in Einstein: His Life and Universe Einstein later recalled being so excited as he examined its mysterious powers that he trembled and grew cold…. [Einstein wrote] “I can still remember – or at least I believe I can remember—that this experience made a deep and lasting impression on me. Something deeply hidden

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Don’t fall for the hype…

The Irish state end-of year school exams are collectively known as the Leaving Cert. And these exams are coming to an end this week. The long and often over-heated build-up to the first exam over two weeks ago is long gone and now anyone with exams left is dying to get them over with while they enviously watch their friends enjoying their new-found freedom. At this point you are getting to the less glamorous subjects such as Economics, Applied Maths, Russian. Niche subjects that not many students take. But despite the lack of excitement around these exams, they will count for just as much as the likes of English, Maths and Irish, even though those early exams had far more hype and fanfare attached to them. It’s a bit like releasing an album. Or a book. Or opening a new restaurant. The release date, the opening date gets all the hype while the work happens after that is just as

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Shoot The Crows

There is a famous pub in Sligo with this name. It’s a great pub, and a great name. I don’t know where it came from, but it has stuck. I was reminded of it recently when listening to American financier and coach Jerry Colonna speak of the metaphorical crow most of us have on our shoulders. Many of us will be able to recognise this crow. It sits on our shoulder and chirps away – telling us how crazy our ideas are, how bad our work is, and points out all the things that we are doing wrong. However the motivation of the crow is an honourable one – it wants to ensure that we are loved, that we are safe and that we belong. A noble mission – however the problem is that the crow is so active and protective in this mission that it tries valiantly not to let us do anything that may jeopardise these aims in

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Monday Monday….Monday!

This month marks 5 years of Seamie O’Dowd and I playing together each week. First in Hargadons, then Furey’s and now for the past (almost) 4 years on every Monday in Connolly’s. It’s a baby compared to the likes of Seamie McGowan’s Sunday night residency in the Strand, No Crows on Wednesday in Shoots or Gerry Grennan and the gang’s Tuesday session in McLynns (which turns 12 today I believe), but it has been a huge addition to my week and long may it last. I have written about this residency in numerous previous blogs. I believe that part of the reason why it has been successful and lasted is that we have been given the freedom to invite a guest in with us each week. This keeps us on our toes, because each guest brings different skills and energies and hence requires different accompaniment from us. It means that no two weeks are the same, which means that it

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Another ship sails…

Being part of a new band is always exciting. You have found musicians with whom you click, music you enjoy playing, and the possibilities are endless. Spirits is high and each gig feels like you’re going into battle with people you trust around you. Ready for anything. This latest ‘new band’ features Seamie O’Dowd (guitar and vocals), John Joe Kelly (bodhrán) and Cathal Roche (saxophones and clarinet). Master musicians all. We have called ourselves The Gateway City Project and the music is energetic, hard-hitting, interactive and entertaining. We’ll only ever have one debut performance. And it’s this coming Wednesday 29th in the Hawk’s Well. Come and see for yourself.