Good stuff :)

I got an email a few days ago, telling me that the blog has received a “2010 Top 30 Vision Impaired Blogs award”, presented by Medical Billing and Coding!
Winners were chosen through a scoring system that included Internet
nominations, which came from my reader base.
I have no idea what that means, or what this is, but thank you anyway! 🙂
If your interested in blogs by blind and visually impaired writers, you can see the list of winners and their blogs
here.

On the subject of good things, I just had an amazing weekend in Galway with my cousin. She lives right in the city centre, so we didn’t have to go far for anything. I didn’t take O.J because there was no grass close to her house. If I’d have known the weather was going to be so nice, we could have easily walked to find some when he needed it, but good weather in Ireland is a rare thing!
We had lovely Thai food in Thai Garden and the nicest pizza in the world in Milanos. We shopped and went to the market, and most importantly, we chatted a lot and just had fun. I got to see a few great pubs, and on Saturday we ended up in the Roisin, which I love. I was two days late though, as David Gray played a secret gig there on Arthursday.

The people in Galway are so friendly! I didn’t bring my cane, and none of the bouncers at the doors of the pubs thought I was drunk, which was a relief. Usually if they don’t know me, they tell me I’m not allowed in, and when I tell them I’m blind they nearly die with embarrassment. That didn’t happen at all this time.
It also seems like somewhere that wouldn’t be impossible to find your way around with a guide dog. Its busy but not too big. I think you’d have to be a student to live in the city centre though.
The best thing about leaving O.J was the enormous enthusiastic welcome back I got from him when I got home!

We’re going to Dublin on Thursday for a gig, and I’m in the studio for Lawler Live with
Stuart
on Saturday. Tune in to
HKC radio
at 3 pm if you can. It would be great to have some participation from listeners to the show, who discovered it via the blog, so give us a shout on skype, msn or twitter if you can.

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The gig

Ionad Cois Locha or the Dunlewey Lakeside Centre is situated on the shores of Dunlewey Lough in the shadow of the haunting and mysterious Poison Glen and at the foot of Mount Errigal, the highest mountain in the county.
That was the venue for the Glen Hansard gig on Thursday, one of the most unique performances I have ever seen.

We arrived there an hour early hoping to get a cup of tea but they weren’t letting anyone in so we ended up going to the Seaview hotel.
The gig itself was held in a room that held about 200 people and was very packed. A staff member asked a guy I was with if I was blind, and then let us sit in the small balcony. This was brilliant because we had more space. Still, I can see why they told me it wouldn’t be a suitable venue for a guide dog, and it was so so hot!
Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh and Manus Lunny played for half an hour before Glen came on, and needless to say they were brilliant! A large part of the audience were probably there because of them, and didn’t know Glen or the frames music, which made the gig more unique.

During her introduction to Glen, Mairead described how she has known him since he busked on Grafton street, and always thought of him as a sensitive performer. It is obvious that he loves what he does, and she guaranteed the people who hadn’t seen him before that they wouldn’t be disappointed.
He played for almost two hours: a mixture of frames and swell season songs and a few snippets of covers inbetween. His stories and jokes kept everybody entertained and the room was silent as he sang. There were no electric guitars either. The audience sang along when he asked them too, and you could tell that everyone there was absorbed in the music. The highlight was when Lunny and Ni Mhaonaigh joined him on stage to sing ‘the auld triangle’, with Glen finding audience members to help out with some of the verses. It was amazing!

We met Glen as we were leaving. He begins the conversation with me by giving me a hug and chatting in his Northern Irish accent! I couldn’t resist taking a hand at him about a recent interview he did with Dan Hegarty on 2fm at Electric Picnic. He talked about how he met Stevie Wonder and ended up jamming with him. They sang the chorus of a song then Glen knodded over to Stevie to sing the next verse, then remembered “shit, he can’t see!” Of course I find stuff like this hillarius. We were interrupted by a girl with a dog (that’s another story!) and then he shouted “you have a great sense of humour” to me as I was going out the door.

Tickets went on sale the next morning for the frames 20th anniversary tour, so I got mine for Belfast. There’s at least ten people I know going so its going to be brilliant! Even a girl who didn’t know much about the frames until the Dunlewey gig texted me the next day to say she’d got tickets too. Nice one!

I haven’t done the performance justice by describing it here, but it was one of those things you had to see for yourself. One of those gigs that you know your never going to see again. Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh is organising a gig there once a month, and all of these are probably going to be special. It feels like your in a room of people you know because everyone is so relaxed. The people are there for the music, and the musicians aren’t there for the money. They are there because they share a strong bond through music.
I’m just delighted that I found great people to go with, and had the chance to see my favourite musician play in such a wonderful place.

Another random off-topic post

This is mostly about music, a little bit about dogs, but just stuff that’s in my head so here goes!

We had a few days of gorgeous weather, and luckily I was off work for two of them. I love working 3 days at the beginning of the week and then being finished but it doesn’t always turn out that way.
I knew the dogs would be home alone for a while today so took them for a long walk yesterday. There’s a walk you can do from my house to the beach, then on a country road to my sister’s house. It takes almost an hour and a half to do, and is great because the dogs get to run on the beach for a small bit half way through. I’ve never done the whole thing on my own as its a bit tricky to get across the rocks coming off the beach to go towards my sister’s, but have no doubt O.J would learn it quickly if the surface wasn’t so rough. I decided to walk the dogs home after lunch and a bit of a rest. My parents passed me on the road and both dogs tried to race the jeep home. This was not good so I quickly had to calm them down. Of course they thought it was great fun!

My nephew was christened today and we had a lovely evening in my sister’s house after. I was so annoyed that I wasn’t at electric picnic, so took my ipod and tried to listen to some of the coverage that 2fm were broadcasting. My aunt had my cousin’s dog Charlie with her, who refused to get off the sofa beside me. He saw the cats in the garden and barked, making me jump and spill my drink all over my dress, my phone and my ipod. The three-year-old nephew thought it was all very funny, and I did too until I realised that the ipod won’t work anymore. Its sturdy enough so I’m surprised. I’m hoping maybe it will revive itself when I charge it. I have it for ages and want a new one anyway but have too many important things to buy first, so a new mp3 players far down the list.

One of the reasons I wanted to go to the picnic this year was to see The Frames. Yeah I know, I’ve seen them loads, but they haven’t played as a proper rock band in almost three years and are celebrating their 20th anniversary, so it was going to be special. I heard about half of their set on the radio and they sounded on top form.
This post
might give you an idea of how much I like them.
Their lead singer Glen Hansard is playing an unexpected gig in Dunlewy in Donegal on Thursday. I don’t know too much about it apart from the fact that he will be accompanied by Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and Manus Lunny. Tickets were only 15 quid and its a small venue, so its going to be one of those rare opportunities, and a very special gig I’d imagine. A group of us are going, and still have absolutely no idea how we will get there and back, but that’s all part of the fun isn’t it?
Expect a very happy post from me on Friday. 🙂 🙂