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2004

March

  • A new Ireland

    everything was too crisp and shiny without the moodily-lit haze

    Off to see Billy Bragg tonight, at Vicar St. I’ve been a fan since ‘Life’s a Riot with Spy vs Spy’ around 1986 or so, and I’m really looking forward to it.

    Last time I saw him was in San Francisco, and it was the first time I’d been to a music venue in a no-smoking city. It was weird - everything was too crisp and shiny without the moodily-lit haze. And Billy was drinking herbal tea.

    If he’d come to Dublin a week later, he’d be in another smoke-free environment.

  • Turbine and XHTML

    it was still a wrench to throw away what I knew about tabling and embrace DIVs

    So the Ireland on Sunday piece was held over, but I made it into the Turbine yesterday.

    Spent part of the weekend teaching myself web layout using CSSs, working on Buedia’s forthcoming site, which will be built in XHTML.

    My grasp on the practicalities of web design has always been pretty weak, but it was still a wrench to throw away what I knew about tabling and embrace DIVs and positioning using stylesheets. I swear I was dreaming about floats and z numbers and all that on Saturday night. Interesting though, and clearly the way things are going.

    Also, if you’re in the UK, it seems you can just order copies of the book through your local bookshop - the distributor is Bookpoint.

  • Marian and the papers

    I enjoyed talking to Marian Finucane on Wednesday, and it was a fitting way to mark St Patrick’s Day. There was a skeleton staff down at RTE, but Marian asked some good questions, and it was great to be talking about Columbanus knowing that people were listening all over the country.

    There’s some other media coverage on the way too - a short piece I did for the Sunday Tribune about my favourite place (a Loire valley village I visited on the trip), and an interview for the ‘In My Own Words’ feature in Ireland on Sunday.

    So both of those should be in your newsagents tomorrow, and there’s more where that came from too.

  • Going on the Marian Finucane show tomorrow

    I’m on the radio tomorrow - St Patrick’s Day - talking about the book and the saint with Marian Finucane

    I’m on the radio tomorrow - St Patrick’s Day - talking about the book and the saint with Marian Finucane. She’s got two hours tomorrow because it’s a special day - on from 9am until 11am (RTE Radio 1).

    Went around the city centre bookshops this lumchtime, signing some copies and meeting some of the booksellers. It was great to meet up with them and tell them a few stories from the book, so they can put a face to the book and it’s not just another unit that’s arrived to go up on the shelves.

  • It’s mad, Ted

    At lunchtime yesterday, Ann, the woman who runs the training room we were using appeared, clutching a copy of my book.

    As I happily signed it for her, I realised that she could very well be the first real person to buy the thing. Thanks, Ann.

    All sorts of press and media appearances are in the offing for next week and thereafter - more news when things are firmed up.

    Back in Dublin now, after a cold and stormy train journey back up last night.

  • First Book Sighting

    pile of pilgrimsIn the newly swanky and refurbished Talbot Hotel in Wexford, tired after the training - you’re giving a lot of yourself, but you forget you’re also on your feet all day so your legs are sore.

    But walked up the Main Street and into a bookshop, looking for my book. Nothing in the Just Published area, but there beside the travel writing section was a pile of Accidental Pilgrims on the floor, waiting to go into the Ms next to Tim Moore.

    I’d unsurprisingly thought that the first time I saw my book in a shop would be in a familiar shop in Dublin, and so it blindsided me that it happened here in Wexford (even if I was looking for it). I should go back tomorrow to see if any have been sold.

  • On a southbound train

    It’s 7.15pm and I’m sitting on the train to Wexford (I’m on my way to deliver some training on writing for the Web), and it’s a surprisingly civilised affair.

    There’s room, a bit of peace and quiet (oh look, we’ve just pulled into Greystones), and Dublin looked great as we slid through the southside as the sun set.

    I’m tapping away on the laptop (we’ll see how long the batteries last), and I’m struck by the same sense I used to get when I used to fly a lot - that I’m not really quite anywhere - like Kermit’s nephew.

    And it’s very liberating. I can read, stare out of the window, catch up on blogging, and all the way I’m travelling too. But there’s nothing I really have to be doing.

    I was hassled before I got on the train, and I’ll be working hard tomorrow and Thursday, but right now things are good.

  • The words made real

    Accidental PilgrimSo that’s it. Around 10:15 this morning a car pulled up outside the house and a guy with a clipboard and a smallish box got out and walked up to the door.

    We all knew what was inside, and I quickly signed for it and plonked the box on the table inside. Pausing only to wait for folks to get their cameras (it was good to have people there to witness the event), I opened the box and there inside their layer of bubblewrap were ten copies of my book.