Good news, a chairde. I’ve been nominated in the Best Writer for an Animated Series Category at the Irish Animation Awards (full programme here) for Royal Re-Enactment, my final episode of Royals Next Door! Staying true to my nerd roots, the story explores Princess Stella’s first experience LARPing, which leads her to question her father’s rosy view of the family’s monarchist history. You can watch it here, on the RTÉ Player.
I’m heading to LA today, and just want to take a moment to say that Annecy Festival absolutely lived up to the hype. Back to back meetings, daily lake swims, 3am bridge parties outside the Captains Pub, and some exciting deals to be announced once the paperwork is signed.
Not only did it look like this…
But the company was excellent. I FIIIINNNAAALLLLYYYY got to meet all my Nordic pals – the lads from Ja Films, Pikkukala and Ink&Light. And fellow KPA writers Pam and Dennys from Lyon!
Just FYI, I’m 5’7”, and only look tiny because everyone working in Nordic animation is STATUESQUE.
Shout out to all the pals I didn’t get photos with, too – monster-comrade Jon Daalgard, cartoon power-house Kristina Yee, Pete O’Donogue (the South African Sian?), Greig Cameron (self-described Police Composite Sketch of an animator), Berlin’s finest Moritz Beine, and the incomparable Irish producer Vanessa Robinson!
Annecy, I loved you. Next year, we’ll do it again. Just turn down the heat, OK? I can’t eat melted raclette in 33 degrees.
I’m travelling again, after a long hiatus. And it’s all about TV, baby! I’m turbo-networking in the hot, hot summer sun, which is as exciting and sweaty as it sounds.
Mid-June is MIFA at Annecy – the Venice of France, and cute as a button – and then on to Los Angeles from the 20th June. Then I’m having some family time in Boston for the 4th July, before a weekend in New York from the 8th-11th July. And home!
One of the many ways in which Jean Kitson, Agent Supreme, has helped me blosson into a functioning adult is the introduction of professional Calendly schedules for networking purposes. So if you’re around Annecy (13th-19th June), LA (20th June – 2nd July) or NYC (8th-11th July) and want to book in a meeting with yours truly, click on the links above!
Now – time to snap some canal pics, and eat dessert for every meal…
Some of you have heard this already from the horse’s mouth, or perhaps from the whisperings of other animals. Maybe a bird tipped you off, or a marmoset. Anyway, the end of 2021 means the end of an incredible journey, for me, as the Artistic Director of Super Paua.
With more TV work coming in, I have made the decision to step back from the company I founded, and hand it on to one of my best friends, and the coolest theatre maker in Dublin, Mark Ball.
It’s a truly exciting time for the company, as I had always hoped Super Paua would find its own feet in the Irish landscape and outgrow my own capacity to lead it as a producer and AD (neither of which, perhaps, I am best suited to) . It was a kind of Field of Dreams thing – we built it, and the awesome collaborators, artists and producers came.
You can read a full statement here, if you care to. But the statement highlights are – Mark Ball is awesome, they’ve already crafted a 2022 programme with Heather Rose that is full of audience engagement and artist support, and I wish the company the very best of luck for the future! I’ll be around in an overseeing capacity for a while, and who knows! I might write them a few bits and bobs down the line…
But for now? I’m hanging up my theatre hat, and moving on to the next adventure.
(Still figuring out what that is – I don’t make work decisions in December, because that’s not what December is for)
It finally happened – this gal got covid. Never hang around with sexy, filthy theatre people. They’re riddled. Thank God* covid is all I got.
The good news is I’m almost totally asymptomatic. A bit tired, but I got the diagnosis duringa real week, if you know what I mean, and so the fatigue could just be a cumulative, burnout thing.
Anyway, pray for me*, light a candle and, if you have some spare cents, donate them to the MS Readathon!
Remember the Readathon, pals? The competitive literary event of the Irish primary school calendar. Well, this year adults are allowed to take part, and as every day is a Readathon in Sian’s house, I thought it would be negligent for me NOT to shake down my associates for MS money.
I haven’t publicised my fundraising page much because the start of November, being full of officially certified ‘a real week‘ weeks, meant that I was distracted, over-worked and reading less than usual. Then, covid came a-knocking, and I was gifted with ten days of unlimited reading time. Every cloud had a silver lining, folks. Let’s get this fundraiser on track.
Here’s what I’m attempting on my reading list…
I always read a selection of fiction, non-fiction, and kids books (being a writer for children, I have every excuse) and usually something in Irish as well. In this batch, Richie Conroy’s awesome sequel to Dialann Emily Porter is the Irish candidate, and the stand out favourite, so far. Thíos Seal, Thuas Seal is already laugh out loud greannmhar and I’m only about a third of the way in. Maith thú, Richie! It also contains illustrations from Richie’s Dad, Don Conroy (THIS POST IS BACK TO BACK NINETIES NOSTALGIA, PEOPLE) that includes a drawing of David Bowie in The Labyrinth on VHS. Foirfe!
Aside from these ten volumes, I’m also going to put two audiobooks on the list – Cixin Liu’s science fiction classic The Three Body Problem (already finished – it was awesome) and The Master and Margarita by Bulgakov. The later was a strong inspiration for Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, which I’m a big fan of, so I thought I’d give that an audio-go, too.
In case you missed them, here are two short films I helped to make with the incredible director Pat Comer and the acting group from Exchange House Ireland. Shot in 2020 and 2021 respectively, It Doesn’t Matter and John Boy were both co-created with members of the Traveller community in Ireland. It was a real honour to have a part in these projects – fair play to all the incredible actors involved for their strong performances.
(Content Warning – the films deal with themes of suicide and bereavement)
I had the pleasure of working on my first short documentary this year! Queer Cornwall explores the legacy of three trailblazing artists who lived in Lamorna Cove in the twentieth century – Marlow Moss, Gluck and Ithell Colquhoun.
Very grateful to Scott Morris and the team at Tate UK for another fab collaboration (check out the short film and article I worked on for Tate Kids, too!)
I’m back from my French travels. And I would be bitter-er at having to leave the sun, if it wasn’t full on Spooky Season in Dublin. I am, after all, a woman of my time, and I can’t resist Halloween – our pagan High Holiday. Ah, the smell of smoke on the wind, the shower of conkers, and the siege of the city by young fellas with fireworks.*
Carving pumpkins, while a very wholesome tradition in its own right, is not how the Old Time Irish Crones celebrated the thinning of the veil at Halloween. We carved turnips (I count myself amongst the OTIC’s) which is *far harder* to do, on account of the turnips tough, woody consistency, but the results are much more terrifying. Turnips also shrivel and rot more quickly than their North American cousins, which gives you twice as much spook for your buck…
As befits the holiday season, I searched for the scariest movie of the year to watch this 31 October, and landed on John Patrick Shanley’s Wild Mountain Thyme. A film so monstrously strange, so full of non-sequiturs, so wildly inaccurate in its portrayal of Ireland in the 50’s, 80’s and 2020’s (WMT can’t make its mind up when it is set, and gets all timelines wrong simultaneously, like a three-phase current of error) and so ABSOLUTELY BANANAS IN IT’S PLOTTING that I ran the full gamut of emotion watching it.
It inspired hatred, sorrow, nausea, laughter (of the ‘at’, not ‘with’, kind) and a strong urge to engage in narrative anarchy myself. There were moments of humour and joy within this lumpen creation, but as soon as such moments appeared there was a faint sucking sound, and the film sank back into the mire of confusion and hate-crime from whence it sprung, and to which it will always returns. If you’re not going to watch it, click on this link for the main attraction of this film, the famous and genre-defying plot twist (an over-generous phrase, perhaps, as it pre-supposes the existence of plot).
I actually think this cheesy, unsettling, absurd, sexist calamity of an Irish-American, bot-generated fever-dream will become a cult classic in the Irish household, in times to come. Because, despite everything I’ve said, I have never, ever, ever, ever, ever seen anything like it. If you want a spooky trip, call the friends over, rack up the cocktails, and get into the madness.
Samhain Shona, a chairde!
Next stop? London, baby!
*Firework season in Rialto starts in late August, no joke. From Lúnasa to Samhain. The real question is, who is cross-border-smuggling all this illegal spectacle?
This post is a two-in-one because the last leg of the trip was a much less energetic affair. My Mum will kill me for this, but there’s nothing like hitting six European cities in a row to make you sick of Les Beaux Arts. (And Basilicas. And Botanical Gardens.)
By the time I reached Lyon, I was dodging the art museums. By the time I reached Montpellier, I gave them one more go (results presented below, without comment) and by Marseilles, I had given up again.
I mean, I was down south, the sun was out, seafood was on the menu… basically, Montpellier and Marseilles were just about the food, the weather, the wanders, and the moules frites.
Montpellier, first. A large town / small city (about a quarter million) which is, architecturally, 87% small restaurants, and, demographically, 87% students, retirees and – strangely – doctors.
(There’s a large medical school nearby. Also, doctors just love the good life).
I didn’t manage to get the best pics of the incredibly cool, winding allies of the centre ville, decked out with lights, little tables, and bustling with cosy summer evening vibes. This was mainly because I feel awkward taking pictures of hoards of students, retirees and doctors I don’t know, with forks of marinated cuttlefish half way to their mouths, especially after they’d had a hard days of radiography or triple bypass surgery or whatever, so I tried to get some snaps of the less-populated streets.
Also, here’s a lovely chateau! I shamed my countrymen by turning down the wine tasting (three years sober in a fortnight) but enjoyed the sweaty, sunny wander around the grounds.
And then there was Marseille.
Marseille. Is. Cool.
Don’t be offended.
You’re cool, too.
We all just need to make peace with the fact that Marseille is a little bit cooler than we are.
Also, sunny. It’s very sunny. Three 22° days did wonders for the existential crisis I was having by the end of the voyage.
Here’s the famous Notre Dame de la Garde, and the views from it.
Here’s what I did on Sunday…
Here’s what I did on Monday…
And here’s what I did on Tuesday…
(A reminder, friends, that these pictures were take in mid-October.)
And then, it was time to head back to rainy old Dublin. And not a moment too soon.
I sorely missed… high quality conversation. Je prends café au lait, si vous plait doesn’t cut it. I suppose it’s my own fault for not speaking fluent French.* Then again, with so much to eat, why say anything at all?
Next stop? HOME
*Definitely also the fault of the locals. What’s the French for Hard. Work?