From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
From the Mayo News - 8 Sep 2004
By The Jaundiced Eye
11, Sep 2004 - 12:55

Theft at Castlebar Eircom depot

A WEEKEND theft at an Eircom depot in Castlebar saw the robbery of a truck and a quantity of cable. The incident, which Gardaí believe happened sometime between Friday night and Sunday morning, involved the use of the truck to knock down a fence at the depot to gain access. When this was done, a substantial amount of cable was stolen.

I liked the line in the Irish Time's report of this theft – it said Gardai are following a definite LINE of enquiry. (A telephone line no doubt). Even though the price of copper has dropped catastrophically since the advent of fibre optics it seems there are still thieves interested in copper. Heavy metal thieves are nothing new in Castlebar though. This week’s theft reminded me of the time a goodly number of years back when large quantities of lead were removed from the courthouse roof where it had been helping to keep out the rain.

Westport Arts festival to cater for eclectic tastes

FOUR distinguished artists make up the Gypsy Jazz Quartet which plays Matt Molloy’s on Sunday, September 19, as part of the upcoming Westport Arts Festival. The foursome is made up of Frank Kilkelly, no stranger to these parts, fiddler Ivor Ottley, jazz guitarist, Ian Date from Sydney, Australia, Paul O’Driscoll on double bass. Since his return to Ireland in 1998, Kilkelly has worked with the top names in the acoustic music world, including Sharon Shannon, Mairtin O’Connor, Alan Kelly, Finbar Furey, Cafe Orchestra, the list goes on. His current musical focus is the jazz guitar style generated by the great gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt. Journalist and author John Waters will read from his latest book, "The Politburo has decided that you are unwell", at Westport Library on Tuesday, September 21 (7.30pm).

Good to have some eclectic musicians and writers coming to here to the West – but is John Waters eclectic? An acquired taste perhaps – the Sinead O’Connor link makes him interesting – but he’s in danger of becoming the modern equivalent of Joe Foyle or Angela McNamara and he's not as funny as Kevin Myers either.

Django Reinhardt, that wonderful guitarist with the missing finger, blended gypsy music into a whole new jazz idiom and when he got together with the famous fiddler Stefan Grapelli and the other Hot Club members they were certainly revolutionary and eclectic in their day. With modern radio and CDs we have great opportunity to hear music of all shades and descriptions – there’s a great ‘world music’ programme Reels to Ragas on Lyric FM with Gerry Godley, for example, that covers a really wide range of stuff from all over the world.

Eclectic music came up too this week during an interesting debate on RTE’s Rattlebag suggesting that music we like merely reflects the music what we are used to hearing from an early age. If we are not brought up with a particular style of music playing regularly around us we won’t like it. The point was being made that we don’t ‘understand’ music that isn’t in the standard western tonality simply because we never get to hear enough of it. It's a vicious circle as a result. If we were exposed to 12-tone music from Schoenberg and his followers from before we were born we would enjoy it every bit as much as Eine Kleine Nachtmusic which is piped at us from all quarters from adverts to elevators and supermarkets? Quite obviously other cultures listen quite happily to musical styles that to our ears will seem very strange - full of quarter tones and strange rhythms. We all have the same basic physiology in the ear department whether we live in the Sahara or in Achill.

So it will be interesting to hear Frank Kilkelly’s band playing jazz in Matt Molloys – the tourists expecting to hear The Chieftains’ music won’t know what to make of it! Not that all Irish music fits into the western art music tonality of course. O’Carolan was as baroque as Vivaldi and as far from Sean Nós as Bach is. Bob Quinn in his famous Atlanteans TV series pointed out the links between our own highly eclectic West of Ireland ‘Sean Nós' singing and North African music – from the blue-painted Berbers if I remember rightly. Quinn suggested that this west-of-ireland-berber link is even responsible for the Irish phrase ‘duine gorm’ to describe a black person as gaeilge.


Council go to court to shut down sludge plant

Mayo County Council are to institute legal proceedings against Glancre Teoranta to cease their unauthorised operations at the Geesala sludge processing plant. In addition, the County Council has issued a request for further information from Glancre on 17 different matters raised in their planning application for the plant. The County Council wants to know the exact location of the waste-water plants where the sludge will be coming from. They also want an explanation as to where the 19,000 tonnes of sludge which Glancre intends to process from the Connacht region will come from, given that local authorities in Connacht have their own facilities for processing sludge. Since Glancre also propose to use industrial sludge to manufacture fertiliser and fuel at the plant, the County Council has requested information on the type and nature of the industrial sludge which will be processed in Geesala. The Council have also requested clarification on Glancre’s statement that sludge will be primarily from the Connacht region with their statement that 14,000 tonnes of industrial sludge will be imported from outside the Connacht region.

This certainly seems to be a switch in the tactics of the Council. It only seems a few months ago they were defending it to the hilt and now they seem to want to shut it down. We will wait developments.

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