how many towns have this shit in the middle of them? hah?
Kells/Dublin is my usual vector, but some terribly important business brought me to Navan Shopping Centre yesterday. Navan. The void. The place where you go shopping, or where you go to take the odd terribly unavoidable/important trip, and yesterday was mad important. I had to exchange a couple of old Nintendo DS games for the latest Zelda game, and Xtravision in Kells didn't meet my needs. That's the sort of serious stuff that brings a man to Navan (Ireland's leading palindromatic town).
While I was there, I had a wander around the shopping centre to see how things are ticking over in Nyaahvaahn since the hard times kicked in. It seems they're doing alright over there, or at least a lot better than Kells or Drogheda are faring right now. The place was abuzz with the usual mixture of jerky-headed bad teens milling around the automatic doors and slopey farmers from the sticks homing towards the calvita/valu/jam shelves in Tesco. The car park was full too, and a family with five or six real kids (but with the collective weight of 13 kids) argued over Tango flavours on a five-tango-can offer in the Euro-squared shop. Maybe it was the good weather, but Navan seemed to be, by all empirical evidence, in rude health yesterday. Which left me feeling a little bit broken when I walked through Kells later.
The town is (for want of a better term) a ruinous fuckheap this weather. It's a boulevard of broken lives and dreams. A euthanasia clinic for Indian restaurants which open about twice a year, and close about three times a year if that's possible? An over-housed corner of the commuter belt, full of Dublin families who work in Dublin, shop in Dublin, and probably wish they were out in Dublin every waking minute.
David McWilliams [our premier cliché mongering spanner] calls commuters in Kells the 'Kells' angels' and reckons they are representative of Dublin commuters as a whole. Yep, a town used in kid's history books to illustrate the perfect plan of an modern Irish town built around a monastery, has, not only in the last eight years been absorbed into a fungal splodge of white semi-detached houses but, worse still, reduced to a David McWilliams cliché. That shit is okay in characterless mainstreets pretending to be towns in Westmeath (that's right Delvin, I'm talking about you bitch!), but in Kells, it's just a travesty. I stood on the hill of Lloyd last week and looked at Kells from an elevated vantage point familiar to me from my childhood. In my memories the town was compact and grey when viewed from there, the familiar oval shape of a monastic town (like Swords or Armagh), with the round tower, the old church, and St Columcille's house providing a familiar skyline. Now, nothing dominates. The old town is a greyish yolk in a sprawl of identikit white housing estates. It's a truly beautiful town fucked rotten by the 'commuter belt' - soon to be renamed the 'empty semi-d belt'.
We have about seven of these; the primary school kids can knock a new one out before lunch.
Sure now that we are all here, I might as well throw in an MP3 for yucks. The confusingly medievally titled 'Candy Shoppe' is the opening track from Ohio drone enthusiasts Emeralds' latest album 'Does it look like I'm here?'. It's not very representative of their work because it sounds like the opening credits of a final fantasy game, whereas most of their discography sounds like all the original Krautrock drone bands working together on a project where they have to imagine what the internet will sound like. It's ace. And so is everything else they have ever done. Go buy some stuff by Emeralds. And shop in Kells.
MP3: Emeralds-Candy Shoppe
Mystic Meg sez: Gardenhead's next blogs will be about Irish bands, and, also, photos he took in Kells.
Mystic Meg also sez: No. Don't go away. The photos will be interesting. Honest.