Archive for July 6th, 2009

It was thirty years ago today

6 July 2009

By Kevin O’Sullivan

Sony Walkman LogoThere are two ways to write about the thirtieth anniversary of the Walkman. The first is the survey history: examining its cultural significance, from its birth as an escape from the aural and visual assault of modern Japanese society and wholehearted adoption in the West, to its numerous imitations, reincarnations and digitisations, from Walkman to Discman to Minidiscman to mp3 player to iPod. That history would lead to an examination of its broader impact, revolutionising the nature of social interaction in modern society, with a side look – or room for another weighty tome – on how it has changed an art form, transforming recorded music from a solitary experience (often in dark teenage bedrooms soundtracked by the wisdom of a Billy Corgan or Kurt Cobain) to the inescapable (and increasingly banal?) background noise of contemporary living and concurrent rise of the loud=good effect to the detriment of nuance and the annoyance of commuters worldwide.

But that might seem a little bit boring, a little academic, a little lifeless, so here’s the second option: the micro-history, using personal experience to analyse broader patterns of change. I remember my first Walkman, a Christmas present at the age of ten, accompanied by Now 23 (the good: Tasmin Archer, Arrested Development; the bad: INXS, Freddie Mercury; the ugly: Billy Ray Cyrus, The Shamen, East 17). Read More

Pue’s Recommendations for July

6 July 2009

Pue’s Recommendations is a (mostly biased) monthly list of things worth reading, watching, listening to and attending, put together by the editors of Pue’s Occurrences. If there’s anything you think we’ve missed out on, or anything you think isn’t worth the mention, feel free to leave us a comment.

Harry Clarke - The Wild SwansJuliana Adelman

An oldy but goody for holiday reading: The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain, a travelogue of his visit to Europe. I’m a bit out of touch with goings on about town, but the Galway Film Fleadh has a few Irish documentaries that might offer interesting recent social history: Adhlacoiri on death and burial traditions in Connemara and His and Hers on love. And while we’re on film there’s a documentary on Ireland’s oldest circus (Fossett’s) at the IFI in Dublin on 26th July.

Lisa-Marie Griffith

The last of the Hodges Figgis sale- recession beating reading, we haven’t quite been driven to the libraries yet! And getting out and seeing some of the sun- Temple Bar’s Summer activities are fantastic this year including the Circus Festival and Temple Bar’s No Grants Gallery exhibition of Evan O’Sullivan and Leo Boyd. Not all historic but it’s summer and I refuse to just read history when there is so much going on in the city. The Trim Swift Festival, 2-5 July, also looks excellent.

Kevin O’Sullivan

I’m reading a lot about the Antarctic at the moment, so I’ll point you to Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s memoir of the doomed Scott expedition, The Worst Journey in the World, which, apart from being one of the greatest books on exploration ever written, is a wonderful microcosm of turn-of-the-century British society (e.g. building a partition wall in the middle of their tiny hut) played out at the South Pole. Closer to home, check out Harry Clarke’s illustrations for Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales at the National Gallery, and DCU President Ferdinand Von Prondzynski’s always interesting University Diary blog.