Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Breathe by David Begley


David Begley has built a reputation on his haunting and surreal charcoal drawings - one of which featured at the last RHA annual show. The eerily atmospheric animations in this show are generated from the ghosts of charcoal drawings past. An initial drawing is photographed and then slightly modified, photographed again and modified again. The animations are built from thousands of these minutely altered images. The artist has also composed moodily apposite sound tracks to accompany us on our visits to his dream worlds. The overall feeling of the show is sombre and elegiac - with more than a hint of the Gothic weirdness of Mervyn Peake. Metamorphosis is the only constant. The tender and idyllic is transformed into the sinister and apocalyptic. Certain themes recur: birth, death, and especially regeneration. In Breathe a storm-tossed sea turns into a woman who proceeds to breathe life into a variety of exotic forms. Images of moons and eggs abound betokening fecundity. The piece ends alarmingly with a wolf-like creature looming over the landscape. These works eschew narrative. They are playgrounds in which we can immerse ourselves in Rorschachian reveries.

At he Linenhall Arts Centre




John P. O'Sullivan


Friday, March 13, 2015

Cheltenham Day 4 - Thoughts and Strategies


Bloodied and bedraggled I'm struggling to stay in the battle. Ptit Zig made a bad mistake when in contention but would not have beatedn Vatour in any case. Edeymi ran as if he wasn't interested in winning and Whisper was just not good enough for a moderate World Hurdle.

But I'll fire a few more salvos to see if I can turn things round. Today is Gold Cup day and it's one of the most open ever. I'll try a few bob each way on Smad Place - the horse likes the course and has run a couple of solid trials. 25-1 is too big to ignore. Elsewhere Peace and Co should win the Triumph and I like Jessica Harrington's Modem in the county hurdle (I'll have a saver of Cheltenian). Martello Tower could plug on in the three miler for Margaret Mullins.



Thursday, March 12, 2015

Cheltenham Day 3 - Thoughts and Strategies

Day 2 was a betting disaster for me. A combination of bad luck and bad judgement. In the first Vyta Du Roc was challenging for the lead at the last when he mistimed his jump and clattered it hard. Kings Palace just wasn't good enough in the second and while Activial made me a few bob by being placed in the Coral Cup he looked all over a winner two out and was only just run out of it. For the rest, silence.

Day 3 is my least favourite day but I will hang in there. The opening Chase could be won easily by Vatour but his price is wrong so I'll risk a go at Ptit Zig for Nichols. In the Printemps that cute Meath hoor Tony Martin has clearly laid out Eydemi - who may or may not stay up the hill. I'll do him and Henderson's Dawalan. I also like Henderson's Whisper in the World Hurdle and will try a few bob on Eduard in the Ryanair chase.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Cheltenham Day 2 - Thoughts and Strategies


Yesterday was the most memorable day's racing I can remember - Mullins' achievments were truly historic and the quality of his Grade 1 winners was exceptional. On the betting front I broke even thanks to Sizing John's 33-1 third and Polly Peachum's agonisingly close second. I had another second in Thomas Crapper but Theatre Queen sadly was put down after a bad fall. Jezki was a huge disappointment in the Champion Hurdle and clearly he was an inferior winner last year.

But hope spring eternal in the bosom of the bettor so off we go with Day 2. Nicky Henderson is due a winner and Vyta Du Roc is a tentative choice in the first - Beast of Burden may also be close. In the RSA Chase I always look for course winners and Kings Palace looks best. The Coral Cup is the usual lottery but you get fancy prices so I'm going for Activial in the hope that he stays and in a Henderson outsider Hammersly Lake. I'll watch the Champion Chase and hope that Sprinter Sacre is back near his spectacular best and will steer well clear of the Cross-Country chase. I like Arabian Revolution in the Fred Winter - although I'll be pushing Barry Geraghty's luck as he rides two of my earlier fancies also. In the last race, the Champion Bumper, Dermot Weld (my old buddy) runs Vigil the horse I backed unsuccessfully in this race last year. It's most unusual for a horse to run in this race twice (they usually go hurdling) so I'm assuming Weld has a reason for returning.



Monday, March 09, 2015

Cheltenham Day 1 - Thoughts and Strategies


The first day is my favourite with the Supreme Novices, the Arkle and the Champion Hurdle to relish. This year it's all about Willie Mullins and his short-priced favourites for all three of these. I rarely back favourites, especially short-priced ones, so I shall be looking elsewhere. Paddy Power has encouraged this strategy by offering your money back on all losing bets if the favourites win in the Supreme and in the Arkle. So I'll be backing L'Ami Serge in the Supreme and Vibrato Valtat in the Arkle. The odds around Sizing John (33-1) are too good to resist so I'll also be having a saver on him in the Supreme - remember money back if Douvan wins.

The third race (2.40) is a three mile, one furlong handicap chase - a race type I would usually steer well clear of. But it's Cheltenham so I'll probably back Ned Stark because he's trained by the classy Alan King for the company that sponsors the race. These big-field handicap chases at Cheltenham generate serious attrition so even finishing in one is an achievement.

Next up is the Champion Hurdle - with the great Hurricane Fly relegated to a supporting role by most pundits. Too old, ground too fast, doesn't like Cheltenham are amongst the various reasons for his neglect. And of course Ruby Walsh has chosen his stable companion and hot favourite Faugheen. I'm looking elsewhere again. I feel Faugheen hasn't beaten much in his prep races and could be found out on the day. Jezki won it last year and thrives in the spring on good ground so I'm going for him at a generous 9-2. Also, Jessica Harrington is making encouraging noises.

The Mares Hurdle has been farmed by Willie Mullins for the past 5 years and this year he's got Annie Power whose at odds on (8/13) - prohibitive for most folk. Also, she hasn't raced since last May having been injured. I like the look of Nicky Henderson's Polly Peachum. She can be backed each way at 9-1.

The last two races are novice chases - not a medium for any serious betting. In the 4.40 there's a horse called Theatre Queen who's made a habit of refusing at the start, or at best taking off tardily. She's 33-1 and stays forever, when she does start, so I will risk a minor punt on the fickle jade.

In the last race (5.15) Thomas Crapper has the right kind of profile but then so do half the field. I will tempt fate and rely on him to get me out of the mire in which my previous bets have almost certainly deposited me.

Cheltenham is one of the few race meetings where the quality of the racing can compensate for the inevitable financial disappointments - to an extent.



Home at the DLR Lexicon


While local aesthetes may decry the brash intrusion of the DLR Lexicon on the Dun Laoghaire skyline, few can quibble about the quality of the interior and the state-of-the art library facilities. For art lovers, there is also a fine new gallery named, with stunning originality, the Municipal Gallery. Why not the Orpen Gallery, for example, after the famous artist born in the borough? Its shows will encourage local artists but not exclusively. The first 15 months will feature eight exhibitions, five with a DLR focus, two national and one international. It has also put out an open call for three exhibition slots over the next two years. The current show features the responses of local artists to the theme of Home. Fifty pieces were selected from a submission of nearly 400. There is a very high proportion of photographs - perhaps reflecting nearby IADT's excellent photography course. David Stephenson's two images of Raymond stand out - all character and musty detail. Adele Chapman's acrylic The Home is a muted study in poignancy and Joyce Duffy comes up with a witty juxtaposing in Remembering a Home.

Municipal Gallery

DLR Lexicon

Mon-Sat: 10am-5pm

Tel: 01 236 2759

John P.O'Sullivan