On Music: Kate Bush and other muses…

Kate Bush turns 60 today, and I am reminded now of her extensive catalogue of creativity, and the impact her music had on me as a young one. The debut of Kate, and many other female artists who emerged in the mid 70’s and 80’s, gifted to me some powerful, creative role models to admire and each of them were inspirational to me in believing that there was nothing wrong with having dreams and creative visions, whatever your gender and background.

I will always be influenced by music in general, and there are women from past and present that I love to listen to, from Judy Garland to Pink to Florence Welch and many, many others. However, this is my tribute to Kate and to these incredible women in music that I was listening to in my formative years; the soundtracks that accompanied my coming of age and beyond.

This list evokes not just an era of development and discovery, but also a rich and sensuous collection of talent, strength and individuality, more powerful because every one of them have endured and are still creating. It also reminds me that no matter the light or shade of the day, I was, and am, in the best of company. When the voices in your head get too loud, turn that music up!

Note: While I would love to include favourite songs and images, being mindful of copyright infringements, I am linking to official websites only. 

 

KATE BUSH

Mesmerized from the first time I saw her ethereal performance of Wuthering Heights. Website HERE

 

SUZI QUATRO

Guitars, leather and catchy rock songs sung with a voice that could shatter glass, what’s not to love! Website HERE

 

STEVIE NICKS

Still singing to my soul, a goddess! Website HERE

 

BLONDIE (Debbie Harry) 

Show me a woman of my generation who didn’t worship Blondie! Seriously! Website HERE

 

CHRISSIE HYNDE

A bad girl with good intentions, Chrissie keeps rocking! Website HERE

 

GRACE JONES

Fierce. That is all. Facebook Page HERE

 

ANNIE LENNOX

From The Tourists to the present day, Annie is spectacular! Website HERE

 

SHIRLEY MANSON

I played the debut album Garbage to the death! Website HERE

 

SINEAD O’CONNOR

In awe of her talent from Mandika to present day. Website HERE

 

Dressing His Former Self…

A couple of times a year, usually in summer and in the lead up to Christmas, I replenish my father’s wardrobe with the essentials – vests, jumpers, shirts, trousers and socks. I won’t, and don’t expect to get any thanks for it. He doesn’t know me anymore. He will talk to me as he would a stranger, if he’s in the mood. Pleasant and vacant – the ‘spick and span’ Da in his suit and tie that I grew up fearing cocooned now in mysterious, cruel layers that are painstakingly consuming his former self.

I have this ritual of ironing his name onto everything, an important task as otherwise, it will all get lost in the wash of the care home laundry process. Even his socks will be labelled before I place all of it in his wardrobe, in the bright and clean en suite room that the independent rebel still fighting inside him propels him to spend as little time in as he can possibly get away with. He paces the corridors most of the time. Going somewhere inside his head. Going nowhere outside it.

This ritual, I’ll put off for days, even weeks, the new clothes, still bagged and tagged in the corner as each time I find it harder to psych myself up for it. And even when his name is carefully placed securely on each item, I know full sure that the next time I venture in to visit him, another ritual that grows more difficult with time, some of the clothes will still be hanging, unworn in the wardrobe, and I’ll be frustrated when I see him wearing someone else’s jumper, or track suit bottoms – the latter an item of clothing his former self would, I know for sure, prefer not to be caught dead in.

Such is the experience of living with Alzheimer’s, my father’s personality, his style, his essence, his basic autonomy, slowly devoured by this cruel disease.

I didn’t always see eye to eye with his former self – anyone who has watched my film IN RIBBONS may begin to understand why – but the man I knew then is not the man I know now. The process of watching him disappear to a state of mind that only he will experience but will never be able to communicate to another human being is a dismal, morbid process to witness.

And the rituals hurt like fuck.

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Caroline

The Haunted and Fantastical: Short Film Programme 2017-2018 Season

The Maynooth Film for All Club season finished this month and will resume in October 2018. I was delighted to be invited to present another programme of short films for the season, and had great fun devising a theme and selecting some wonderful films. As always, the standard of submitted productions was very high, but unfortunately, I could only include seven films in the final programme. The theme I chose this time around was ‘The Haunted and Fantastical’ with an aim to screen films that were chilling and unusual and would most likely leave a lasting impression! With a mix of horror, fantasy and even some comedy, we received great feedback from the MFFA audiences, so here is the full selection and congrats to all the filmmakers on the amazing work.

 

THE CLOCKMAKER’S DREAM
A live action fantasy/art-house short, written/directed by Cashell Horgan (Paddy), starring Joe Mullins (Pilgrim Hill), and narrated by Jared Harris (Fringe, Mad Man, Sherlock Holmes, Lincoln, etc.)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4837506
http://www.facebook.com/theclockmakersdream

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STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT

Horror Comedy written by Gavin Keane, Directed by Conor McMahon and starring Niamh Algar, Michael Hough, Nora Relihan

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4515108/

https://www.facebook.com/StrangersintheNightShortFilm

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TH3 ROOM

When Jean clicks on an email link, it seems to be just a static shot of an empty room but on closer inspection all is not what it appears to be.

Written and Directed by Sean Breathnach

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1855371/

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THE NYMPH

A short fantasy written and directed by Damian Draven, starring Martin Galligan and Anna Ilaya Ozolina

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4536860/

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THE PIGMAN

An outcast creature pines to be accepted by his local village. One night, outside his mountainous home, an opportunity arises. Written and Directed by Rik Gordon, starring Robert Render, Kathleen Bridget Murphy, Robbie Beggs and Jay Dee

https://www.facebook.com/thepigmanfilm

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SANDBOY

A tale of loss and redemption. Written and Directed by Vittoria Colonna, starring Wallis Murphy- Gunn.

https://www.facebook.com/Sandboythemovie

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LOST BOY

A story about the imagination of children, and the unbreakable bond between brothers.

Written and Directed by John Christopher

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Caroline is writer and director of FRAMED (2018)  and has also written and co-produced IN RIBBONS (2015) and ADAM (2013). She is the author of the award-winning novel, LADY BETH.

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The Librarian’s Cellar: At the Cinema – The Shape of Water

The story goes that at the 2014 Golden Globes awards, Guillermo Del Toro bumped into Sally Hawkins, sweeping her off her feet as he told her that he was writing a movie for her, “You fall in love with a fish man!” he added. Well, true or not, Sally’s character, Elisa, does indeed fall in love with a creature from the deep in this fantastical tale and thriller (of sorts!). With a stellar cast that also includes Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer and Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water is captivating, romantic and made wonderful by the remarkable performances from the cast. As you would expect from Del Toro, the production design is spectacular, and there are magical layers to the character ‘Elisa’  a young lady with no apparent family, who does not speak, yet can communicate with more articulation and humanity than any of the characters in her world. While it does not have the depth and darkness of Pan’s Labyrinth or The Devil’s Backbone, this film is a delightful fairytale for adults, worthy of the Oscar accolades it has received, and one I will watch again and again.

Celebrating Women In Horror Month with an interview…

I am currently working on a new novel, an urban ghost story. More on that soon! I have always been fascinated with the complexities of human nature, specifically the unexplained, the uncanny, the strange and the magical. Real life is often frightening, and can be overwhelming at times. Horror fiction is escapism. We can explore the complex issues of life, death and everything in between – be frightened between the safety of the pages – but still control the level and intensity of that experience. With horror too, often comes humour, which allows us to explore the darker side of humanity with a safety net!

In celebration of Women In Horror Month, read HERE for an interview I recently did with Fiona Cooke Hogan on her blog, Unusual Fiction

 

The Librarian’s Cellar: At the Cinema: The Drummer and The Keeper

Gabriel is a drummer in a band. He is also bi-polar. To curb his erratic behaviour and tendencies towards arson, he is persuaded to join a football team. There he meets Christopher, the goalkeeper, a teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome. An uneasy friendship develops between the two as each learn to understand the foibles of the other. Written and directed by Nick Kelly, this is a subtle observation of mental health issues, of living outside of what society views as ‘normal’ and of finding friendship where you least expect to. Praise too for the performances from Dermot Murphy and Jacob McCarthy. A lovely film, The Drummer and The Keeper delivers poignancy with just the right amount of good humour.