Tag Archives: Cuirt International Festival of Literature

A Belated Squishy Fishy Booky Space Blog


Ladies and Gentlepigs,

Friday is now known as Blog Day.

In other news, Saturday is now known Friday,

And cookies are now known as pudding bats.

These developments are actually completely irrelevant. I am in fact trying to cover the harsh and painful reality that I have not ‘blogged’ in a very long time , thus making me a failure in two aspects:

a) A failure to my (very few) readers

b) A failure at procrastination, which is absolutely unacceptable.

Because of this failure, I am determined to squish all the nonsense of the past few months into one blog. ALL THE NONSENSE. Yes, they said I could be anything, so I became a blog squisher.  In order to obtain maximum squished capacity I have created a list. Which is odd, usually I don’t like them. They’re just so…linear. I don’t know how, but it seemed to work for the last one so let’s get listing the awesomely nonsensical my little unicornlings.

1) The Cúirt International Festival of Literature 

One of the main reasons I haven’t been blogging that much is because I have actually started an internship with the Cúirt Literature Festival in Galway. Why, you ask? Well I hear the main objective of an internship is to learn how to be a real grown up with real administrative responsibilities. I was to spend all day sending mail, taking bookings and doing marketing research in a bizarre workplace environment in order to procure a sense of balance and stability in how people perceive my maturity in the workplace.   So I opted to work with all the Children’s Literature events.

It’s not that I don’t want to grow up, I would just much rather do so while researching books about time travelling cats (Judi Curtin’s Friends Forever Series).

Seriously though, The Program Launch was on Tuesday and the festival is jam packed with all sorts of goodies for writers and bookworms. Two events in particular intrigue me;

a) The Poetry Depot: Taking place in Neachtains pub and the Town Hall Bar on the 25th & 26th of April, this event requires 3 poets and the general public. The process is simple, you go up to the poet. Chat for a bit about this and that and your mother’s favorite hat. You leave them to their creative devices, come back and VIOLA! Instant poem especially for you. You sign the co-creation and be off on your merry way with a brand new poem and a pint in your belly. Doesn’t that sound marvelous? Of course it does. If you don’t think so then you are probably very boring.

b) Drama Masterclass With Marina Carr: I’m not going to lie, I have read an awful lot of Marina Carr’s plays in the last two years and they are probably some of the most depressing, tragic stories I have ever read. However, they are also some of the most powerful and captivating plays I have ever seen. I’ve also read her essay entitled ‘Dealing with the Dead’ which I very much recommend if you’re a Carr fan. When you consider her influences, use of intertextuality and powerful stage imagery, I just get the feeling that this woman is probably going to give a FANTASTIC masterclass. So if you’re interested in this event, I would check out the Cúirt website and download the program. The only downside is the class is about 40 yoyos but think of all the dramatic goodness you would get from the experience!

Actually, ya’ll should just check the website out anyway, because it’s really going to be awesome fun and if you can make it out to Galway for it then clear your schedule my little bookwormlings!


2) Andromeda (TV Series)

Let me get one thing straight, I was never unfamiliar with Andromeda and it’s characters. I really had only watched little bits during the re-runs and remembered specific episodes. So I decided to watch all 5 seasons out of curiosity. Also, I should mention, when it comes to watching television shows in their entirety I tend to channel most other programs out or else I’ll just watch TV all day and I can’t do that because I’m an MA student with the minor responsibility of finishing an 18,000 word thesis by August. Little did I know that I would soon form a symbiotic relationship with Kevin Sorbo (of  the Hercules TV series fame) and Laura Bertram (Trance Gemini, or ‘hot alien lady’) and need to be surgically attached to my computer screen. I think I may have an obsession that is worse than My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

Andromeda is one of those shows where you end up loving every little awful thing about it. I’m not saying it’s entirely awful, the characters are quite good and the story premise is strong at first, but the special effects. OH THE SPECIAL EFFECTS. And the terrible acting, mostly from Kevin Sorbo. OH KEVIN SORBO. It’s okay Kev, nobody blames you. The transition from mythical character to space captain would be a difficult one for anyone.

Actually, I was very much reminded of watching the Firefly episodes. Now, the writing and story maintenance in Firefly I found to be a lot better than Andromeda. I was more reminded of Firefly through the characterizations. I particularly drew very close comparisons to Seamus Harper, the Andromeda’s engineer and Hoban Washburn, pilot of the good ship Serenity. It is important to note here that Andromeda was aired only a few years before Firefly. Both characters are really the central comic relief for the shows, work closely with the ship and both die in some way or another (obviously one being more permanent than the other, R.I.P WASH) . They even look alike! Sort of.

So no matter what kind of sci-fi fan you may think you are, I think there will be some room in your heart for a few episodes of Andromeda. Whether your love affair be with the quirky Trance Gemini, the fact that there are a race of people called Nietzscheans (Yes. They worship Friedrich Nietzsche) who believe in Social Darwinism  and genetic perfection, or the episode with James Marsters (Spike from Buffy) wearing RIDICULOUS platform boots. This show, though it has its cringey moments has something for most people. Especially me.

3) John Carter

I’ll make this section a quick one. I have been anticipating the arrival of this movie for some time now. When I went to see this movie, I found that I went through a specific pattern in levels of excitement and levels of pure anger, I mapped it out in my head like this:

Super Speedy Toad Dog On Screen: YAY!!!

Princess of Helium On Screen: Why is she not acting?

Super Speedy Toad Dog On Screen: YOU GO TOAD DOG! YOU SAVE JOHN CARTER!

Princess of  Helium On Screen: Is this seriously how she acts? WHO IS WRITING HER DIALOGUE?


Princess of Helium On Screen: I am convinced she is writing her own dialogue as she goes along.

Super Speedy Toad Dog On Screen: *pokes boyfriend sitting next to me* Brian, I want one. Can I have one?

Princess of Helium On Screen: I want to punch her in her annoying face.


Princess of Helium On Screen: Oh wait, it’s yer wan from the Wolverine Movie! THAT EXPLAINS EVERYTHING.

Yes, as much as I liked the story, it was fun and endearing and I did really enjoy it… the film would have been an awful lot better with a little more attention on a smoother narrative and the absence of Lynn Collins. I know this is going to sound REALLY pretentious but I felt she didn’t ‘engage’ with the character at all and there were moments where she was seriously ‘over’ acting. I know it’s supposed to be  fantasy/sci-fi fun times but I mean, the book is called A Princess of Mars, I really thought I was going to LOVE her character on screen, but I just ended up being PROFUSELY annoyed with her approach to the character. She just seemed incredibly vacant. Apart from that, I find I am now a lot more interested in reading the book now, I think I’d take it a lot more seriously than I did the film.

Except the Toad Dog. I took that little guy REALLY seriously.

4) The Japanese Devil Fish Girl by Robert Rankin

I found this little gem for 6 yoyos in Chapters in Dublin and decided to purchase it for three very good reasons:

a) It was 6 euro

b) I read The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of The Apocalypse a million years ago and LOVED it.

c) The phrase  “Robert Rankin is the Frank Zappa of the Fantasy world” was printed on the back cover.

(Note to readers, I also love Frank Zappa. Don’t Eat Yellow Snow.)

So obviously I bought it and was transported to a Victorian Era filled with airships, space travel, travelling fairs, evening goggles, Aliens and a man called George. If you are any way inclined towards the steampunk genre and love a good bit of contradictory humor, you will love this book. Now, Rankin’s very specific way of writing is prompt and clear, so if you prefer a more wandering philosophical challenge you may not get it. But the story is wonderful and the imagery pure elegance, it’s a lovely and relaxed little read.  The story follows George Fox and his employer Professor Coffin who owns a travelling curiosity exhibit (the main piece being a big, dead, smelly Martian) and their mission to find the most treasured exhibit in the world, The Japanese Devil Fish Girl.

Rankin creates a wonderful alternative version of history, a typical heroes journey with George Fox at the centre of a long chain of semi-unfortunate events. I also, personally found Rankin’s consistent footnotes on how history is wrong quite enjoyable.  Overall, the book was hilarious and a true Rankin endeavour, I am brushing off my corsets and ankle boots for his other readable  joys A Mechanical Messiah and Retromancer.

And now, a quote from the book that sums up what a Victorian English Space Fleet would sound like:

“Best foot forward, chaps. Do the hokey-cokey and poke my ailing aunty with a mushroom on a stick”

I love Robert Rankin.

I seem to have run overtime today. Never fear, my battle plan is to desginate Fridays for ‘blogging’ (shorter blogs than this I reckon) instead of  forgetting and then having to squish everything into a big blog smoothie. And now it’s time to go back to living with a writer and a publisher. I should probably acknowledge that my friends have been waiting for me to finish this so we can watch Stargate. Their patience requires adequate recognition in this internet space, so here they are:

As you can see, Brian lost his nose.

We have to go find it now.

All proceeds from this blog will go towards the Sparkly Nostril Foundation whose work is vital in helping those unfortunate enough to not have a nose.

Peace Out