Tuesday, 12 July 2016



When I first thought of a life with no Internet, for two weeks only, I did not expect it to be such a big deal. A social experiment, irrelevant and frankly rather intimidating. For a moment, I actually thought about an online blog about me being offline. Took me two seconds to realise this would be like a vegan hunting for meat.

Not that I reject the idea. I really am going offline for two coming weeks. Too many words to type. Too many places to see. Too many people to meet. Windmills of La Mancha, Melody Gardot performing live. I won't be around except through a narrow porthole which, naturally, has nothing to do with either of the two sites. So you see, it actually could be a big deal after all.


Connemara is a mountainous district in western Ireland. It's beautiful, but then all of Ireland is beautiful. Back in 1987, at some point between This Is The Sea and Fisherman's Blues, Mike Scott entered a school in Clifden and played "The Whole Of The Moon" to a bunch of schoolchildren and teachers gathered in the assembly hall.

He was accompanied by Vinnie Kilduff on whistle and an improvised choir wearing blazers and 80s haircuts. It’s one of my favourite music stories, and below you can see the video of that performance. I laugh and I cry when I see these kids singing along to Mike Scott going off on the simple, battered old piano.

And then he just stood up and left the room.


Abbas Kiarostami died last week. If you have never seen Taste Of Cherry or the equally brilliant Certified Copy (with one of the best ever performances from Juliette Binoche), you owe it to yourself. As Christopher Hitchens put it, "Upgrade yourself, for Christ's sake. Do you think you are going to live forever?"