It’s doubtful that any other person, apart from the artistic director, has contributed to Notes From Xanadu in as many different ways as James Keaney. He has been both front of house and backstage for all of our live performances in the theatre, as well as playing the piano in our launch concert and taking the part of Colm in Riders to the Sea last December; he did work experience on all aspects of the arts centre during TY (transition year in secondary school, for readers outside Ireland); and has shared his work as a prolific composer/musician with us on many occasions. And it’s in this last guise that we are featuring him today: James has released a new single especially for Hallowe’en, and we think it’s delightfully spooky. This is Kick or Treat!
Notes from Xanadu is delighted to be featuring another track from the prolific James Keaney as part of our birthday celebrations. As you probably know, James has been heavily involved with Xanadu Online Theatre, taking part in the launch concert, playing the role of Colm in our production of “Riders to the Sea” in December 2020, as well as taking on several roles front of house and behind the scenes in both the theatre and the arts centre. Today’s track is called Cat Coup, and is taken from his new album, Wait. If you would like to hear more from James (why wouldn’t you?) you can follow him on Youtube and Soundcloud (and on Notes From Xanadu, of course). Wait, and James’ previous album can be purchased at Bandcamp.
As well as appearing in our launch concert, James Keaney took the role of Colm in Xanadu Online Theatre’s production of “Riders to the Sea” in December 2020, as well as taking on several roles front of house and behind the scenes in both the theatre and the arts centre. Today we are showcasing him on the arts centre for the second time with his new piece Preserve. Do all James’ track titles start with P? Follow him on Youtube and Soundcloud (and on Notes From Xanadu, of course) to find out!
Please note: this video contains flashing images.
Merry New Year to all of you! I went AWOL for a good reason there – to be revealed in the next column as The Most Socially Awkward Thing I Did in 2020 and Ever.* In any case, here we are. Locked down. Again. The third time over. Well, it’s more like the second time, as the time before this didn’t really count. Or did it? Time is a bit hazy at the moment. I find my mind reverts back to our Southern Hemisphere, South African calendar in a Clockwork Orange-type blip from time to time. Is it the start of the school year? Is it the end? What’s happening? It feels like July, but it’s not. Will summer ever come back? If I start posting pictures of crossed out I I I Is send help!
At least this time I’m allowed alcohol. Counting down the days till my Kahlua arrives. I plan on making copious amounts of Dom Pedros.** The older children have asked for banana bread. This is such old news for me, I’ve decided that we’re clearing a shelf in our front entrance little room which is as cold as a fridge.*** This shelf will be dedicated to all things baking. I’m going full Martha Stewart this round of lockdown – minus the securities fraud and Snoop Dogg collab. Expect a slew of overnight and two day fermented yeast baked good pictures if you follow me on Instagram.****
Other coping slash distraction mechanisms include binge watching series. Schitt’s Creek has opened up a world of meme-age.***** We’re onto Brooklyn 99 now. It’s making me regret not going into the police service and becoming a detective (that is one of my lesser-known regrets – I think I would have made a very good detective. I also have a queue of schmaltzy 90s and 2000s romantic comedies to get through; Sweet Home Alabama ticked off that list. Mental chewing gum is where it is at.
Seriously though, what are you doing to cope? Retail therapy is dire. No more middle aisle shopping at Aldi and Lidl. Who the fuck classified that as not essential? Can we have a word, please and thank you? I’m still on Amazon – yes, with my Prime account intact. I spent a couple of days doing calculations and comparisons with .de; shipping is a monster, yoh! Still cheaper on Prime. And for those of you buy-local loyalists, the money I save buying on Prime gets spent on (Michael McIntyre Voice) spicey bags (normal voice) at the village takeaway. My version of shop local.******
In any case, fuck Brexit. Really. I don’t say much about it publicly, but I am sad it actually happened. I’m sad for all that could have been and now never will be. I’m sad for people who believe they’re so much better than everybody else that they put walls up, slam doors shut, and retreat. Small people with small minds. Nationalism turned disease. There, I said it. Ugh. In protest, I check out my items on Amazon one by one,******* while I watch my romcoms, eating alcoholic milkshakes and dreaming of UBI and communal gardens.
Welcome to 2021, everybody. The year we all eat less and walk more. Or not.
*As in EVER.
**Discovered this is a Very South African thing. Basically, adult milkshakes. Double cream, ice cream, and whiskey whizzed up together. Can substitute whiskey for Kahlua, Baileys, Frangelico, etc. I might try a chocolate/orange combo.
***We could right now skate on our swimming pool. Yes, the above ground pool is still up. Totally ran out of fucks to give.
****Don’t follow me on Instagram. Most vanilla happy-snap account ever – more for my own amusement. Twitter is where it’s at – JustCallMePips.
*****David Rose is a gift.
******Just go with it.
*******Avoid VAT and import duties: tick with Prime. You’re welcome.
Those of you who were at the launch concert for Xanadu Online Theatre will know James Keaney as a talented pianist, who was the first winner of the Junior Musician of the Year competition at the Galway Music School in 2016. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg – James is also a skilled bass player, guitarist and composer. Today he makes his debut on the arts centre with his new piece Plank. You can follow James on Youtube and Soundcloud.
Please note: this video contains flashing images.
Most people are familiar with the concept of New Year’s Resolutions, and the problems associated with sticking to them. Before the smoking ban, it used to be common in night spots throughout the British Isles to see people smoking their “last cigarette” at 5 minutes to midnight, only to hear them say “I’ll start in the morning” less than an hour later. Gym membership soars in January every year as does membership of slimming clubs, and I would imagine hypnotherapists see an upturn in business as well.
On the other hand, certain Buddhist sects have a practice of setting determinations for the year. This is similar to goal setting in that it is a list of what you determine to achieve during the next twelve months. This could be anything from passing an exam to having a baby and is not necessarily something you can achieve solely by your own efforts (although it can be).
However hard they may be to stick to though, resolutions are at least under your own control – as long as you have the necessary willpower. You might not be able to ensure you drop two dress sizes, but you can stick to the diet; running every day is possible, but you won’t necessarily make the four-minute mile; and filling in job applications will certainly increase your chances of (but not guarantee) getting one, but chance is the operative word. Determinations and goals are different. Whilst God certainly helps those who help themselves, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink, and writing 5,000 words a day won’t necessarily get me my own comedy show. Alternatively, the reverse is also true. To spout another cliché: if you don’t know where you want to go, how can you work out how to get there?
So have I made resolutions or determinations for 2013? Both. Resolutions because I believe in myself, and determinations because I believe in the universe. My resolutions include regular yoga, certain dietary modifications, and climbing Croagh Patrick. And my determinations? To make all my dreams come true.