Brooklyn, book review

You can’t swing a dick without reading heaped praise for Colm Tóibín’s novel Brooklyn and the film adaptation, so I settled in for a tale of immigration, alienation and love in 1950’s America …


Beginning in 1950’s Ireland, the novel follows the blah and spineless Eilis through her voyage to the United States (her mother and glamorous older sister decided she must go to America, so, eh she does…), where she is handed a job, enrolled in evening classes, set up with lodging at a boarding house, meets and is courted by an Italian American man, etc.

Sweet, huh? Does she appreciate or make the most of these amazing opportunities? Nope.

A passenger in her own life, Eilis doesn’t really make any decisions on her own until the end of the novel, and even that was basically for lack of viable alternatives.

I could not get passed the desire to shake Eilis to wake her up, she was so one-dimensional and passive throughout the whole story.

We are teased with potentially tantalizing characters and plot threads:

  • A priest manages to secure her a passage, work status and job but how? And, more importantly… why?!
  • A brilliant professor who is possibly a Holocaust survivor
  • Her unpleasant landlady and her bitchy former boss
  • An Italian boyfriend who looks suspiciously unlike the rest of his family

Sadly, these aren’t fleshed out into anything that would risk doing more than pique your interest… and then disappoint.

The “twist” arrives at the end of the novel when Eilis realizes she has a huge choice to make: a proper “head or heart” dilemma which could see her return permanently to her parish in Ireland OR committing to a lifetime in America… sadly, it all comes too late for me to give a shite about a character I longed to throttle for 270-odd pages.

Don’t believe the hype, lads. I’ve been told that it works better as a film, but I won’t be beating a path to the cinema to see this.

Are ‘Friends’ Electric?

Does something ever catch you unawares? A song you’ve heard a million times, a book you’ve read to death, a photo you’ve looked at every day… one day you hear/read/see it in a different light and it changes.

I was walking to work this morning and “Are ‘Friends’ Electric” by Gary Numan came on the radio and Jaysis, the feels!

This chorus hit me as so sad, so tragic and real.

“So I found out your reasons
For the phone calls and smiles
And it hurts
And I’m lonely
And I should never have tried
And I missed you tonight
It must be time to leave
You see it meant everything to me”

I went through a friendship break-up around this time last year, and it’s been on my mind lately, so this was so poignant. Mff.



Viva Las Vegas, baby


My lovely husband (eek!) and I went on honeymoon to Las Vegas at the start of November and it was the trip of a lifetime.


Elvis, baby!










Totally worth the long-ass flight and all the hassle that air travel entails, Vegas is a kooky, wired and weird experience.

Even though our body-clocks never quite settled on a time zone (we settled somewhere between Dublin and Vegas time), waking up at 5am/1pm and going to bed at around 10pm/8am, it really didn’t matter. Forget New York, Vegas is the city that never sleeps, man. :)

I hate to play favourites, but the highlights of the trip for me were visiting the Neon Museum and taking a day to explore the Downtown area.

  • “Vegas Vic”
  • Hunter S Thompson street art
  • Downtown Las Vegas sign

Now, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, but here are a few photos of our trip, nothing incriminating, sorry!


  • New York New York, with the roller-coaster outside
  • Barry and I posing in the uber fancy Bellagio lobby
  • Just chilling with my zombies at the Zombie Apocalypse store
  • A view from the top of the “Eiffel Tower” of the strip, phone quality, soz.
  • One of the amazing neon signs from our tour of the Neon Museum, definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

Have you been to Vegas? Are you planning a trip? Will you bring me back???


Gavin Glass @ Whelan’s, Dublin

Last Sunday night, I went to a gig.

A belter of a gig.

A hot, sticky, love-infused belter of a gig.

Gavin Glass brought his New Shakers (not a euphemism, it’s his band’s name… actually maybe it *is* a euphemism??) and his Sunday Songs along to Whelan’s on Wexford St for a good auld airing.

I missed NC Lawlor, the first warm up, and arrived just as the Sleep Thieves were finishing up.

Without much ado, or any introduction, Gavin burst onstage and straight into a couple of numbers before declaring “Happy Sunday Songs everyone!!”

While not packed, the room was a who’s-who of Dublin music – I spotted a couple of Hot Sprockets, Ross Turner (drummer with Lisa Hannigan, also drums on some of Sunday Songs), Tomo (drummer with Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan), Shane Fitzsimons (bassist) and I was standing… next… to… Paul… Noonan… from… Bell… X… 1…

I was madly starstruck, mainly because Rocky Took a Lover is one of my favourite tunes, and we’re planning on playing it at our wedding. Gush.

Anyway, I digress… Gavin grooved through his new Sunday Songs, along with some of his oldies, such as Just Like Rome and Myna Birds.

A gig filled with love, there were lots of “Happy Birthday Gav!”, thrown up from the crowd and, in a moment of love supreme, Gav announced that his mot is expecting their first child.

A few misty eyes in the house after that.

A highlight of the night was his rendition of Witchita Lineman, where he was joined on stage by Conor O’Brien of Villagers (who knew he was so short?).

Rarely have I come away from a gig with so much joy in my heart, it was really special.

<3 you Gav.


Sunday Songs is available on iTunes and in Tower Records….

Here is the title track :)

Bank Holiday Weekends = Best Weekends

June Bank Holidays… conjures the image of sunshine, tourists bustling around Grafton St, teenagers annoying office workers in the parks at lunchtime, driving to the beach with the windows rolled down and the music blaring… right?

It lashed rain all weekend, just easing off in time for me to go back to work this morning.

Sigh. Despite this, I managed to have an awesome weekend.

On Saturday, I went to see the Foo Fighters in Slane.

The lineup was pretty great, I missed the Strypes (no loss to me) and arrived just in time for Ash, who I LOVE.

They played a cracking set, but the sound was very poor. From our spot on the hill at Slane Castle, it was really patchy.

Despite this, they did a great run-through of some of the oldies: Girl From Mars, Shining Light (which Tim dedicated to Dave Grohl, awww), A Life Less Ordinary… as well as newies like Cocoon.

Next up was Hozier, who I don’t love, if I’m honest. I think he was mis-timed, the energy from Ash kinda died a death.

Plus, it started to rain halfway through his set… but I’m not sure I can blame him for that.

Kaiser Chiefs were surprisingly (for me) good. Very lively and boppy. I didn’t realise I knew so many of their tunes!

And then it was time for the Foos. They played an amazing set, loads of classics and they threw in Jail Break by Thin Lizzy for good measure.

Good times :)

The mud though, the MUD! MCD really did a shite job of maintaining the site. There was nothing that some straw or wood chippings wouldn’t have fixed, but no, it was better to let people fall (badly in some cases).

By the end of the night, people were throwing themselves through it, apparently oblivious to the fact that it was full of sh*te, p*ss and puke from the day’s revellers.

I wonder if they were allowed to get on the bus at the end of the night??

Speaking of the buses, they were great, they had a great system in place to deal with the crowds and we were home and dry by 1am.

Not too shabby for Hazel.

On Monday, I bunked off doing the Mini Marathon due to “inclement weather”

So, my sister, fella and I popped over to IKEA where I got my hands on this little beaut:

All in all, a terrific weekend, although today, I feel like this chap:

Shook, I am. Shook.



Sooo, we “got” Netflix a few weeks ago (Series 3 of House of Cards made us do it!) and I’m kinda hooked.

I very much like the variety of series vs films, documentaries vs fiction etc. It seems like there’s a lot of shite to sift through, but some gems in there too.

Here are some of my highlights so far:

House of Cards, series 3 (obviously):

Where my Netflix journey began. I wanted to love this, but it just didn’t live up to the cunning, drama and suspense of season 1.

I liked the Pussy Riot cameo and I’m holding out hopes for a massive season 4. (Claire’s stylist for President!)


This is my happy place, I absolutely adore Stephen Fry and I love this show. I always learn something “quite interesting” in each episode, but then it gets pushed out by something else in the next show!!

PS, Sandi Toksvig is my spirit animal. As is Jo Brand. <3 you ladies.

Dreams of a Life:

This is a documentary that I stupidly watched while ill. It’s a film based on the real-life story of a lady named Joyce Carol Vincent, who was found dead in her bedsit, having been dead for more than two years.

The tagline is “Would anyone miss you?” GUYS, I WAS SICK IN BED AND VERY VUNERABLE!!

It wasn’t great timing, but it was a really compelling story. Je recommend.

Official website here:

So, I’m mad into the ‘Flix at the moment. I’m not sure what’s next on the viewing agenda, but sure, it saves having to talk to your fella all evening, amirite??

;) I jest.

H x