Sunday, April 29, 2012

Louis in the Sky With Diamonds

I attended the memorial service for Louis le Brocquy in St. Patrick's Cathedral yesterday (28th April 2012). It was presided over by the cathedral Precentor Robert Reed - presumably because the new Dean has yet to be installed. Reed, a homunculus resplendent in floor-length black and gold cloak, greeted the congregation and did a fair amount of meaningful marching up and down the aisle accompanied by a cast of characters who would do justice to a Mervyn Peake novel.

 There was a good turnout but a few empty seats. Our president was there with wife and aide-de-camp, Irish arts royalty abounded including Seamus Heaney, Camile Souter, Sean Scully and Bono. There were also a number of dealers, gallery owners, and members of the legal profession. There were surprisingly few ordinary decent artists. Maybe the le Brocquy team's notable froideur has alienated many on the contemporary scene. Although an agnostic le Brocquy had asked for his memorial service to take place in St. Patrick's - conscious no doubt of aesthetics to the last. He was also quoted as liking its "vaguely ecumenical" role. The music featured Mozart's very moving Requiem. The full choir was in attendance and we were treated to a sublime concert.

 There were three addresses of varying quality. First up was the Abbot of Glenstal Mark Patrick Hederman. He spoke in a slow measured way with much ornate phraseology. He described LLB's art as "a porthole into the bathysphere of our consciouness". He went on to describe the head as "a magic box containing the spirit, behind the billowing curtains of the face". Nice. He also quoted an epiphany LLB had on a sunny Spanish afternoon where he realised that "light was a matrix from which the human being emerges". There was only one bum note in his speech. When speaking of LLB's head paintings he listed all the creative geniuses portrayed: Shakespeare, Picasso, Yeats, Beckett, Joyce, Swift, Lorca and Bono. Hmmm. There was a lot of good arcane stuff about the Paraclete and the Holy Spirit and he even threw a sop to the groundlings when he spoke of the afterlife and "Louis in the sky with diamonds."

 Anthony Cronin, major Haughey apologist and minor poet, was due to speak after Hederman. However the poor man was too crippled (he uses a walker) to make it onto the altar so they led him to a small mike and he declaimed (in a sturdy voice) a short poem called Completed - his own I believe. Then Seamus Heaney took to the pulpit to give a personal and heartfelt tribute with much quoting of Auden and Yeats. He spoke of LLB's intellectual rigour and happy gatherings at Lugalla - Garech de Brun's Wicklow fastness.

 The final speaker was Barbara Dawson from the Hugh Lane Gallery. Her contribution although brisk and efficient was somewhat marred by the number of self-aggrandising references to her gallery. She also failed to mention that when LLB offered the Hugh Lane his masterpiece The Family it was turned down. It's now of course housed in the National gallery.

Leaving afterwards I saw two of our leading abstract artists Sean Scully and a scruffy Felim Egan driving off together in a big 2011 Merc. It's nice to see that they retain some interest in the material.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Rancid Ruminations (Sporting) - April 2012

The myth of Munster invincibility in Thomand Park has been exploded. An Ulster team containing a judicious blend of Orangemen and Orange Free State men implemented a no surrender policy that had Munster battering their walls in vain throughout the second half. Munster need a backs coach and some new personnel. The lack of creativity was sorely evident especially when contrasted with Leinster's example on the previous day. And Munster need a new scrum half. Murray is way too ponderous - you yearned for a Stringer in his prime or even a pre-injury O'Leary. This guy is just not international class for all his tackling and robustness. We could do with Reddan back. Also, Felix Jones, Denis Hurley and Johne Murphy are just not up to it and Earls should be playing on the wing. And dare we ask are O'Gara's best days behind him? And mustn't it be said that McGahan's tenure has been a failure? These are dismal days.

You could be forgiven for getting tired of the Masters before it started with all the guff about the Tiger and McElroy show. Some people just don't get it. McElroy is a flakey putter on a course where excellence in that area is the sine qua non for success - ask Westwood. And Woods is a busted flush. He'll never recapture his former hegemony with that increasingly wayward long game. Bubba Watson is an interesting character - a free spirit, self taught, eschewing coaches, motivators, putting gurus and attendant free loaders - Padraig Harrington et al take note. Nice to see him putting the lips on his mum first after he won and not some standard issue blonde golf bimbo.

Leinster were sublime against Cardiff - the try by O'Driscoll via Fitzgerald was extra special. They have the forward heft and the creativity behind to win the tournament again. The problem is that they're away in the semi-final to an equally impressive Clermont Auvergne - choc a bloc with French internationals and grizzled mercenaries. Hard to call.

I refuse to refer to hurling again until Tipp beat Kilkenny in a significant match. Despite various Kilkenny retirements the signs are ominous again this year. Even Cork are looking threatening again. Meanwhile Lar Corbett tweets about his pub: cheap alcohol shots on student nights, poker tournaments, and dubious troubadours. Do something Declan.

By the way, whatever happened to that fat boy who used to write about sport in the Irish Times (hated rugby and golf, loved camogie)? Are journalists immune from journalistic scrutiny? It would seem so.