The Missunderstood Quirks of the Lurcher

March 31, 2011

Black Magic

OK, well I didn’t quite keep my word on updating as much as possible, but that’s only because I’ve recently become to single father to Magic, my beautiful Lurcher pup.

I acquired Magic in the DSPCA where I’ve been volunteering since before Christmas. If I’m honest had you told me six months ago the dog I would adopt would be a Lurcher I’d have raised my eyebrow.

Santa’s Little Helper aside they aren’t exactly everyone’s pin up view of what a pet should be. While terriers have the cheeky chappy glint in their eye, and spaniels carry a noble sense of devotion, a greyhound cross…well, they can look a bit vacant.

Seen on race tracks all over the world where they are looked on as the poor mans racehorse, they are required to wear muzzles. This is down to an insurance clause and gives the hounds a false slur. Far from being snappy, Lurchers are the most devoted and gentle dogs you could possibly find.

60 km per hour couch potato

They are also wonderfully lazy. Known in doggy circles as the 60 km/hour couch potatoes, they are sprinters not marathon runners. Send Magic out to a field after a tennis ball and 20 minutes later she is curled up at your feet. Do the same thing with a Husky?? Well, lets just say Huskys are designed to run across tundra for hundreds of miles every day. It will take far longer than 20 minutes of fetch to tire one of them out, and if you don’t provide your pet with adequate physical and mental stimulation you can say goodbye to a tidy garden, or friendly neighbors.

So I want to call out to all potential dog owners, looking for the perfect pooch. Keep a Lurcher in mind. They are gentle, lazy, they don’t shed hair or carry any unfortunate doggy odors (beautiful as Labradors are, they smell like a sewer if not washed weekly). For reasons I can’t really mention on a public forum, Ireland is teeming with these unwanted dogs. Used for hare coursing and racing by certain cretins in society, they are usually abandoned if not up to scratch and it is up to the DSPCA and other shelters to pick up the pieces and find homes for them. This is challenging when we have families wanting designer dogs which cost hundreds-not to mention the hefty price tag pedigree dogs add up in veterinary costs. That is another bonus with Lurchers, they are free from the genetic c diseases that plague the players of Crufts.

So you see, these wonderfully misunderstood dogs are being put down every day in Ireland, overlooked for diseased aristocrats with yappy temperaments. If you are thinking of adopting, why not consider a lurcher. You won’t look Back.

If you are thinking of adopting a Lurcher, or any dog or cat check out

The DSPCA Chronicles

January 3, 2011

The Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals




I have just started a stint of volunteer work in the DSPCA. I was hoping to keep some sort of online diary of my antics but I’m not really sure if I’m allowed so until I get into the swing of things I’ll keep my animal diary brief. So far every trip there has been encased with snow (The shelter is up in the Dublin mountains), but the enthusiasm of the staff has been incredible. I myself was snowbound at home for a few days and couldn’t make some of my shifts but one of the volunteers apparently walked 2 hours through the snow so she could make the shelter. Now that’s dedication.

As a teen I did some work experience with them and when I applied for the volunteer work, I expected the setting to be pretty much the same-a farm house with a few kennels for dogs, and fields for horses.

Times have changed. The shelter is now a state of the art animal rehabilitation centre open to the public with the aim to rescue animals from abandonment and find a home for them.


When I know the ropes better I will upload some photos and hopefully relay some sob stories (with happy endings)

Until then check out their website

And if you see any animals that touch your heart, perhaps give them a visit and consider adopting one of them.  (Pharoh is my personal favorite, he’s a real gent on the lead)



January 3, 2011

I must blog more

I must blog more

I must blog more

Sorry for abandoning you dear blog- I do not deserve readers

I must blog more

I must blog more

I must blog more

Bribry’s Video Blog Extravaganza

July 27, 2010

The sight of Chris Crocker’s lipstick smeared lips spewing Britney Spear’s defense back in 2008 was my first experience of video blogging.  Apparently I was late on the band wagon as by that stage he had already earned millions of views and was the first in a long line of internet celebrities;  A new breed of famous folk that from the comfort of their bedrooms could drum up army’s of fans and haters alike to adorn their every update.

When I came across “Things To Do Before I Die” by Dublin crooner Bribry (see hollow towers review) I was eagerly looking forward to a more local, yet similar hash of attention seeking opinion ranting. Sure to be funny, but doubtfully relevant…certainly not moving?  I was wrong though…well slightly. You do see Brian’s rump in about 40% of his uploads, but it’s never gratuitous.  I should probably outline what the hell I’m talking about for those who are lost yet are still reading.

Bribry is a video blogger on Youtube. He runs a video series with about 25 episodes so far, each one outlining something that you should do before you die. The early videos show a tender innocence as Brian leaps into the sea starkers.

Publishes a personal add (hilarious)

And gets his legs waxed…

In episode 10 however, the videos took a more serious side swerve.  Bribry’s challenge was to “get a meaningful tattoo”.  He choose to get two tattoos in fact, both as a dedication for his friend Ross who was ill with Cancer at the time of the video.

Tragically, Ross died not long after Brian made his dedication and yet again, the video series took on a new twist.  No longer a series of personal challenges just for the sake of it, now Brian sets out to raise money for the Ross Nugent Foundation, a charity set up after Ross’ death to supply blood pressure monitors for Beaumont Hospital.

So far Bribry “dragged” his way through the women’s mini marathon, sold his body in a slave auction and streaked through his college, but his biggest endeavor is imminent.  He is currently raising money for a sky dive and needs your help. By buying a wrist band (see latest video) or donating what you can you will be helping towards supplying much needed equipment to Beaumont and also allow Bribry to continue his quest.  Give what you can, subscribe to his blog, and enjoy…

Bribry’s debut EP Swings, is out now

The Misunderstood Quirks Of The Mole

May 29, 2010

We don’t have any moles in Ireland.  I don’t know why really, as they are fairly common in the UK.  Perhaps they are a late species and came along after the Irish Sea was formed.  They certainly don’t look like powerful swimmers so unless they are introduced in a similar manner to the grey squirrel (an unwanted wedding present that escaped) Irish gardeners can rest easy.

That’s what they’re famous for really isn’t it? The debris earth they spurt to the surface as they make their way through the land looking for dinner.  Humans have always assumed they own the world so when a harmless animal like the mole has the cheek to do what is natural to him, he is called a pest and is trapped and killed.

Moles are in fact not pests.  They do no damage to the land they populate and apart from the “unsightly” presence of a few molehills, do no harm to a garden.  In fact educated gardeners tend to just tidy away the molehills and leave them be. This way their garden will have a metro of underground tunnels and any future moles that come along will have no need to dig up any more Earth.  How simple is that?

If however, a gardener simply cannot put up with such a sweet little animal making an eyesore, there is a much more ethical (and simple) way to deter unwanted moles.

Step 1: Find an empty 2 litre coke bottle (or 7up…it doesn’t really matter)

Step 2: Fill it half way with water

Step 3: Dig a small hole in the garden so the bottle will stay upright

Step 4: wait

Remember when you were a child and you discovered the sound a bottle makes when it is half full with water and you blow on it?  Well, that sound is like nails on a chalkboard to a mole. Whenever a breeze passes the neck it will send vibrations throughout the earth and any mole within range will leave out of irritation. Problem solved, and no moles harmed at all, just a little peeved.

Still you must ask yourself which is worse. The natural sight of a few molehills that shows your garden is a healthy ecosystem, or a plastic bottle sticking out of the ground?  Your choice.

As I said Ireland don’t have moles so molehills were not part of my landscape. The first and only time I came across them was in a park in Munich a few years ago. I got so excited I asked a passerby to take a picture.

Readers of this blog will know that I have bitched previously about how native (or nearly native) animals are often ignored by Zoos and Wildlife Centers.  I don’t understand why animals that live on the other side of the planet, like meerkats and koalas are much more familiar to people than more common animals such as the mole.

I realize, as an underground animal the mole is hardly an ideal exhibit for a Zoo, however I still strongly feel all Zoos should have a section devoted to local wildlife where we can actually benefit from the education in providing for our local environment.

Still, perhaps it is in the interest of the mole not to be shoved into an artificial atmosphere.   I’m sure they would much rather reside in their cozy tunnels harming nobody except for the occasional earthworm.

I Need Your Help…..

May 18, 2010

When I was a child my father discovered opera.  Like most fathers he dabbled in diverse interests and only settled on a few, but opera stuck.  I didn’t know who Pink Floyd was,  or even the Beatles, but I did know Puccini and Wagner intimately.  Tosca was his favorite and every evening while cleaning the kitchen he would blast a warbling Italian Diva from the stereo and duet with her. I never found it strange. My friends did.

So ingratiated was Tosca in my young life that I used to “play” Tosca. This involved forcing my friends to play Mario (Tosca’s doomed lover) and play dead while I imitated the firing squad. Then like the multi tasking actor I was, I switched roles to Tosca, and, discovering my dead buddy, screamed and jumped off a wall…pretending to kill myself.  This seemed like the most natural thing in the world to my 6 year old self and when I finally twisted my parents arms to buy me a puppy,  the only name that we could possibly call the dog was, can you guess?  Tosca.

Tosca was a lovely little Cairn terrier who gave us 15 years of joy before she passed away in her basket last summer. It was heart breaking but she lived a ripe age and we were so glad she didn’t need to be put down by a vet.  She is now buried in that same basket underneath a Rowan tree in our garden.  A plaque that used to live on her kennel is now nailed to the tree. It says “Tosca”, with two theatrical masks painted on, one smiling and one frowning.

Now we think its time to move on a get a new dog, but we face a major dilemma.  How do we top a name like Tosca?  It’s so easy to come up with a good name for a male dog, but when it comes to a female dog…shit it’s hard. You want something that is feminine but not soppy.  Catchy and short, but it also should be original and witty.

Anne Boleyn

So I need your help. We’re trying to think of a name for a female dog (possibly a cocker spaniel though that could change) and we want it to, like Tosca, have some roots in culture (at the moment we’re thinking Boleyn, as in Anne Boleyn.  I like the reference, but I’m not sure it’s catchy enough).  If someone comments on this with an awesome name suggestion that we end up picking, I will give you a reward. I’m not sure what it will be yet…but I promise it will be something awesome.

Amazing Grace

April 15, 2010


There is something unidentifiably confusing about the entity that is Grace Jones. She has a vivacious sex appeal that makes men, both gay and straight question their orientation. She also possesses a terrifying man-eating diva-esque aura that makes Madonna seem like your favourite nana.

True, she’s mostly famous for a few minor hits, but if you ignore the Russell Harty slaps (was that joke too subtle) her musical impact although impressive was mostly underground. Have you ever heard a Jones track on the radio that’s not Pull Up To The Bumper?


She dallied in acting as well, seen dominating Roger Moore in A View To Kill and battling alongside Arnie in Conan The Destroyer, but her mantelpiece was unlikely to ever flaunt an Oscar. It seemed likely that, when we hadn’t heard from her in a few years she would submit like so many other have, to the forgotten realm of celerity has-beens. This is not the case however. Grace Jones holds gay icon status today that is equal to that of Judy and Kylie. How has she managed it?

Her sexual liberalism in the seventies spoke to many a gay man; while she partied her way through Studio 54 she embodied an emerging culture of freedom and rebellion. Brought up in a conservative Jamaican family, it was not until she moved to New York to study acting that she became the Grace we know now. Living as a nudist for a time, she dabbled in modelling and theatre, but her true love she claimed was always music.

Grace Jones the popstar was much more than just a singer however. Grace was an entire pop-art package, working with Andy Warhol, the sleeves on her CDs could almost have been sold separately.  It was hard to tell if she was stunningly beautiful, or oddly disproportioned, the only apparent was that she was a magnet for attention and all eyes were on her.   Her apparent vanishing act in the nineties was really only within the media. She maintained that if her fans kept a close eye on her she might materialize at any moment to do an intimate gig; not that there would be any guarantee of her showing up mind…. Jones fans reported that going to a Grace gig was a bit like playing Russian roulette. She may play for hours non-stop some nights, while other nights she may run on stage, sing some obscure song no one had ever heard, then give the audience the finger and depart. 

Her “comeback” album in 2008 was aptly named Hurricane, and while it hardly gave her a hit single, it did give her army of fans new material in which to lap up. 


There has been much speculation recently that a baby popstar named Lady Gaga is the heiress to Jones legacy. True they both have a tendency to wear slightly odd gladrags, and Gaga herself has named Jones as her idol, however in reality we know that there can only be one true Grace. She may live a more dormant existence in recent years, but her loyal mob of fans, many of which lie in gay culture, are not yet ready to let her retire. Looking the exact same at 61 as she did at 31, Ms Jones may still have a few slaps yet to give to an unwitting chat show host.  

Keeping it in the Family

April 13, 2010

My father is half way through his Art degree now, and this was his homework

Comprised of hundreds of photographs on our kitchen floor


Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?

April 4, 2010

I want to like my favourite singers. That sounds redundant I know, but it’s completely true. I want to like the person who supplies me with the music I love to love.

What I wouldn’t give to share a bag of chips with Kate Bush, or spend a day on the beach with Pink. We’d laugh and get merry and swap stories about old loves and future prospects. It’s a quality most performers strive to have when searching for a fan base. Why then, do I feel so conflicted with my relationship with Patrick Wolf?

I’ve loved his music for a few years now, but unlike most of my favourite artists, Patrick as a person grates me to the point that I avoid watching any videos of him where he isn’t singing. No interviews or promotional footage for me, cheers.


I suppose I was a late starter in that my first Wolf album was The Magic Position, the album he supposedly sold out with in that it was a more commercial beast than his previous material. Maybe it was more attainable to the everyday listener but the term “commercial” is so stained with snobbery that it suggests the music is of inferior quality. And that is a statement that couldn’t be more ignorant. The Magic Position stands for everything that is right with Pop music. It is fun, it is colourful, it is dramatic and it is unashamed.   Imagine Rufus Wainwright with less nasal, and swapping his classical influences for dance ones.  I worshiped that album and listened to it over and over. Upon exploring his back catalogue though, I understood why many of his fan base didn’t initially take to it.  Wolf’s first 2 CDs Lycanthropy and Wind in the Wires are bleaker and harsher birds, though no less brilliant. It wasn’t really until he released his 4th album The Bachelor last year that his audience really understood what Patrick wanted to achieve with his music. Each of his albums have completely individual sounds, the only constant being Wolf’s plum vocals and bellowing piano. The Bachelor moved away from it’s predecessor’s pop grooves and became a pseudo soundtrack to Wolf’s folk and dance love child. It has slowly overtaken The Magic Position as my favourite CD in the Wolf catalogue thanks to its vast scope and exorbitant ambition.

The Audition for the role of Sephiroth in the Final Fantasy 7 film went well

So now why, if I love his music so very much, can I not fall in love with the boy? He is almost beautiful if you ignore the Draco Malfoy similarities, and his glittery costumes predate Lady Gagas by a good few years. Perhaps it is his ego that is so constant it prevents our unification. There is a sense that he firmly believes he is a worthier being than many of his colleagues, and perchance if he tasted just a little slice of humble pie he would endear himself fully to his audience. Still, he has four highly acclaimed albums to his name so if anyone has justification for lofty self-worth it is he. We have his fifth album The Conqueror to look forward to later on in the year, though with The Bachelor hardly making a dent in the music scene, I wonder is he likely to see the “almost successful” heights of the Magic Position again?  Somehow he has gone unnoticed by the Barclaycard Mercury panel and has escaped nomination for each of his albums. This seems almost snubbery and is perhaps due to the irritating persona he has splashed around in his interviews.

Conceivably it does not matter for him, as he has a small group of titian strong fans eager to lap up anything he throws at them. I for one am (almost) one of them.

My favourite Patrick Wolf video today

Aaaaahhhhshark’s Blog gets over 100, 000 views just after it’s first birthday!!

March 29, 2010

Thanks for Support

Thanks for Reading

Thanks for clicking on the Links and Pretending to Read

And I will Promise to upload more often in future

I Promise