Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year's Day

Not quite, but an obvious title (for me). I'm at work at the mo but should get away soon enough. I've a night of Playstation and cups of tea to look forward to (the joys of being on call)... unless I decide to come back in to work for a bit of company... (the violins are striking up, can you hear them?). Happy New Year anyway, have you nothing better to do than read this? At least I've nothing better to do than write it!

Cork is finishing off its year of culture the way it began - with a fireworks display. For the vast majority of the locals this will be their first exposure to the City of Culture since that first day. Debates have been raging about whether it has been a success or not but the fact is the organisers have utterly failed to involve the local population in the endeavour.

For a start 'culture' seems to have simply meant 'the arts', and the high arts at that. Speaking for myself, as someone whose appreciation for the arts is virtually nil, I tried my best for the first 9 months of the year to see and take-in as much as I could. But the whole thing felt like a chore. Even sifting through the events guide trying to work out what was on and when became a chore.

I'm far from populist (I run a mile from any display of paddywhackery normally) but I just feel that the organisers have suffered from the same artistic snobbery that seems so rife among Ireland's 'artistic' elite. It should have been possible to find a happy medium between diversity (obscurity?) and popularity. Instead the artsy clique seemed to decide that they would put on as many highbrow events as possible and that it would be the fault of the proles if they failed to appreciate it.

For me, a good measure of how successful this year has been is the Irish Times Weekend supplement today. There's a middle page spread reviewing Cork 2005 then there's a two page guide to the 25 must-attend events of 2006. Of the 22 location-specific events previewed one is located in Cork city exclusively, one is the West Cork music festival and one takes in Cork as well as Dublin and Galway. It didn't escape my notice, by the way, that nowhere else outside Dublin fares any better - but that's beside the point.

Anyway I've had a great 2005, despite the whimpering end. Here's to 2006 (raises metaphorical cup of tea in salute!)
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