The London Ear on RTÉ 2XM // Show 143 with Warsaw Radio and Emerald Sounds

The London Ear RTE 2XM nessymon

The London Ear on RTE 2XM nessymon

And…. we’re back! So far a couple of weeks out due to a broken thumb, it was great to get back into the groove. I’m not going to lie, after three weeks, I can only type with my right hand for about 15 minutes before it starts to get sore again. And that’s not even using my thumb.

What’s on the show this week? Great music and great chat!

Chat with Mary Grammer from Emerald Sounds

Emerald Sounds Line Up - nessymon

Mary Grammer is the founder of Emerald Sounds, an Irish music festival happening in London over the first weekend in March. The line up includes Rubberbandits, The Blizzards, Ryan Sheridan, Scoops plus more. It’s all taking place in Electric Ballroom in Camden.

You can find out more on Emerald Sounds’ website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Chat with Brian McNamara of Warsaw Radio

Warsaw Radio - The London Ear

Brian McNamara, is a Brighton based Limerick man and the man behind Warsaw Radio. They’ve a new single out called ‘After Eve’ and I have to say I’m mightily impressed with them. I really like them.

You can find out more on the band’s website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

The London Ear on RTÉ 2XM // Show 143 February 11th 2017 // Playlist

Here’s today’s menu:

1. Depeche Mode: Where’s the Revolution?
2. Jealous of the Birds and Ryan Vail: Love is a Crow
3. Chat with Mary Grammar of Emerald Sounds
4. Elm: Concentrate
5. Count Vaseline: Russia
6. Milky: Inside I’m Dancing
7. Ailbhe Reddy: Relent
8. Chat with Brian McNamara of Warsaw Radio
9. Warsaw Radio: After Eve
10. Jamiroquai: Automaton

Listen Again

Thanks for listening, The London Ear broadcast on DAB radio, Saorview and outside Ireland you can listen online.You can listen to the show again on the RTE player. The show is broadcast every Saturday at 1300.

On next week’s show, I’ll be chatting to Irish poet Simon Lewis.

Don’t forget to check out the RTE 2XM website. You can keep up with me here.

Check out The London Ear on Facebook and Twitter

Check out ‘After Eve’, the new video from Warsaw Radio

Photo of Warsaw Radio from here

Making New Traditions // Christmas in London

Christmas in London - nessymon

Christmas in London - nessymon

Christmas in London

I was asked by a well known Irish website to share my thoughts about Christmas abroad and what Christmas is like for me in London. For some reason, they didn’t publish it, so I thought I’d share it here with you.

December 2016

This will be my fifth Christmas living in London, I lived here for a year in 2002 and returned here in 2013.

I’m really lucky, my work schedule has meant I’ve been able to home most years. I’ve only been away from home for one.

This year, I’m heading home to Co. Meath. Christmas Eve is nearly a bigger thing in our household. All my siblings and my nieces and nephews gather in my parent’s house. Lots of food, lots of excitement and lots of noise!

It’s funny! I try to get home as much as possible. This year, I managed to get home for a day in early December. Every year my Mum tells me that the tree isn’t up yet, they wanted to wait until I was at home to put up the Christmas tree. Surprise! It’s always up when I get there. The tree is a big thing at home. Decorations have been collected for decades.

What I Miss about Dublin

Being away from home, you definitely miss the build up to Christmas with family and friends. Even when I do get home, time is always limited so I try to squeeze as much in as possible.

One of the biggest things I miss about Dublin is just bumping into friends and going for coffee. So when Christmas comes around, I try to meet as many as possible before they head off to have their own Christmas. When you’re at home, you often don’t notice the changes that happen in a city, so meeting friends in their new favourite haunt is a great way of keeping up and rediscovering Dublin.

The Madness of Oxford Street

Christmas Stall - London- nessymon

I’ve been trying to stay away from the madness of Oxford Street. I’m not sure I have the energy to battle against wave after wave of shopper just to get one item of clothing in a sale. One of my favourite things ever is being able to walk down O’Connell Street early in Christmas Eve, with my arms stretched out wide and not hit anyone.

It’s strange in ways. London is in another country but it’s just another commuter town for so many people. If I lived in Cork, it would take me longer to get home. You create new traditions in your own life, whether your at home or not.

Trying to avoid the Oxford Street ridiculousness, one new tradition myself and Talulah have acquired is walking along London’s Southbank on the Sunday afternoon before Christmas. There’s Christmas Markets with craft makers stalls and mulled wine galore and carousels. If you wander to the Tate Modern, the market is slightly quieter there. It’s lovely walk and usually at this time of year, London’s famous fog adds to the Christmas feel. The afternoon is completed by our now traditional Japanese curry and sushi.

Christmas Stall - Southbank - London - nessymon

Christmas Stall - Tate Modern - London - 2 - Nessymon

Christmas Stall - Tate Modern - London - nessymon

Londons Southbank Christmas - nessymon

One Year On // #MarRefMemories // I went #HometoVote

One_Year_On_Home_to_Vote

hometovote

May 22 2015. It’s some ridiculously early time. I’m slightly wrecked as I had stayed up a little later than I intended. I was writing this.

Now, a little more than 6 hours later, myself and Tahlula were up, showered and dressed. We were heading to the train station, to catch a flight to get to Ireland. We were going home to vote.

I got a WhatsApp message saying my polling card had arrived. I asked my sister to send me a picture. That’s when it all really kicked in. We were going home to vote for equality, for the same rights as everyone else and as cheesy as it sounds, love.

It’s a weird weird feeling, watching TV, reading the newspapers from abroad about a cause so close to your heart. There’s a disconnect. People are out devoting every second of their spare time, knocking on people’s doors, heroes of the marriage referendum. But, living abroad you’re not going to get that opportunity. They are stuck in the middle and quite rightly should be praised for their efforts. People who were coming home, it seemed, were all coming home to vote ‘Yes’.

I remember having a conversation with Joey, who organised the Gettheboat2vote. He was curating the Ireland account on Twitter. We had a conversation about what hashtag we should use. It was settled. #HomeToVote I’m not sure anyone fully realised the impact our tweets and photos would have on the social media landscape that week.

We started the day in the London Borough of Lewisham, where we live. Tahlula hates getting her photo taken, that’s why you never see her in any. But today, she didn’t mind. So we took a photo in wardrobe mirror, said goodbye to Pudser cat and went off in search of a changing Ireland.

1. Me and @maeve_10 About to leave to go #hometovote #MarRef #IrishinLondon #selfie #init

A photo posted by Nessy (@nessymondotcom) on

Our first port of call was Hither Green train station. We were waiting for a train at 6.10 am. Right now, I’m tired just thinking of it.

2. Hither Green Train Station 6.10am #hometovote #MarRef #IrishinLondon #hithergreen #London

A photo posted by Nessy (@nessymondotcom) on

As we’re travelling to London Bridge, I remember having a look at instagram, reading tweets. I could feel a genuine excitement growing. I had seen the pictures of Dublin airport the night before, the swarms of Irish people from around the world who had descended on our island. This vote showed that marriage equality was so important that some would spend a lot of money to come home to vote.

Our train brought us to London Bridge station. It can be a bit annoying sometimes, we have to go into town and back out in a very similar direction to get us on our way to Gatwick. But hey, at least we didn’t fly from Heathrow or Stanstead, which are the other sides of the city from us.

3. London Bridge #TheShard #hometovote #MarRef #IrishinLondon #marriagequality

A photo posted by Nessy (@nessymondotcom) on

Arriving in Gatwick, there was a buzz. Flights going to Ireland were all filled to capacity. It was like the day before Christmas Eve without having to carry truckloads of presents.

4. Gatwicked #hometovote #MarRef #IrishinLondon #marriagequality #airport #Gatwickairport #Gatwick

A photo posted by Nessy (@nessymondotcom) on

As we boarded the plane, I really did feel like a kid. It was genuinely only then that I realised we could make history. We could vote same sex marriage into being on our little rock. I was bursting with pride.

We land in Dublin. My phone started going bananas. Notifications of retweets going through the roof. I wanted to document the day. I have it set up that my Instagram photos go to Twitter as Twitter native photos (#nerd). The images of our journey so far were being retweeted by many many people. With all the retweets, 21000 people saw this photo. The last photo I posted before leaving the UK, that got 20000. The picture of my polling card was seen by 21700 people.

Working in media, I can be a nerd about social media stats. But knowing that 264k people, over quarter of a million people saw my tweets about the marriage referendum is truly staggering and humbling. If this was how I could contribute to spreading the Yes vote, so be it.

6. Guess where we are? #hometovote #IDo #letsmakehistory #airport #Dublinairport #marriagequality #VoteYes

A photo posted by Nessy (@nessymondotcom) on

Before moving to London, we lived in Glasnevin. That’s where Tahlula’s vote still was. That’s where we went.

I wait outside the local primary school with the bags while Tahlula votes. Turns out that I’m still on the electoral roll here and I could vote. But, I wanted to vote at home. It was important for me to vote where I grew up.

As we’re on foot, we need to get to the city centre to get a bus to Kells. When you live in a city, you don’t always see the subtle changes happening around you. Walking past The Academy in Middle Abbey Street, I saw a new exterior to the venue and what was written on it.

But there has to be time for food. I love Yamamori. I’ve tried and failed to find a Japanese style restaurant that has food as bloody gorgeous as this place. Genuinely miss this place. An important part of the day.

Busaras. The place of nightmares, overcrowded buses where the drivers have the heat on too high, stuck in traffic til Blanchardstown, waiting for the last bus home in the winter when the wind howls through the place, pleading with the Cavan bus driver to let you off in Kells. Then the ticket almost costs a kidney.

11. Busaras. Kells here we come. #BusEireann #yay #dublin #hometovote #IDo #letsmakehistory #marriagequality

A photo posted by Nessy (@nessymondotcom) on

We get to Kells, get a lift to Drumbaragh and I go to vote. The school is literally a minute across the road from our house.

I hadn’t been in the school for years. It was different, extensions had been built, the rooms and layout of the place was different. It was quite emotional putting an X in the Yes box. A Yes vote was going to be a Yes for same sex marriage but also be acceptance of who I am. A No vote would be devastating.

Here’s where a weird disconnect kicks in again. A couple of weeks previously, I was at home in Drumbaragh. As I was leaving the bathroom, I tripped and went flying into the hallway. When I got back to Lewisham, it was getting sorer. I went got an xray, nothing broken, just badly sprained. It could take 3 months to get better!!

The journey of the previous day had taken its toll. So when everyone was partying on the streets of Dublin, there in Dublin Castle waiting for the result to be formally declared. I was sitting in the living room in my Mam’s house with a large bag of peas on my foot.

When I realise what the result actually meant, what it still means, it doesn’t matter. I did what I could I came home to vote.

The newsstand today in #Dublinairport #pride #Proud #wemadehistory #marriagequality #MarRef

A photo posted by Nessy (@nessymondotcom) on

Thanks to Goldenplec who also published my Just Say Yes piece. I’ve lost track of where these pictures were used in news stories around the world. That doesn’t matter. What matters was the result.

St Patrick’s Day Parade – I have a confession to make

StPatricksDayhats Credit: http://www.staycity.com/blog/category-dublin/5-little-known-st-patricks-day-facts/

StPatricksDayhats Credit: http://www.staycity.com/blog/category-dublin/5-little-known-st-patricks-day-facts/

My first memory of St Patrick’s Day is standing in our house in Rockfield Road in Kells, screaming my head off as my Mum was putting a nice green ribbon in my hair. Daddy was bringing me to Mass but all I remember was the ribbon knotted, feeling like a rock was sitting on the top of my hair, pulling my hair.

My memories of St Patrick’s Day then go from one form of pain to another. I’m a cold creature at the best of times and occasionally I will throw in a ‘I haven’t been this cold since the 1983 St. Patick’s Day parade in Kells.

Truth is, I think it was earlier than that. It could have been anywhere from 1979 – 1983. I was in Brownies, we always ‘marched’ in the parade in Kells. In between the FCA, the Silver band and the tractors, you had us, the Scouts and the local football teams. When I think about that day, I remember the cold. I remember the rain and the hail hitting my face as we walked past the old Army Barracks down Canon Street and into Suffolk Street. I remember the cold on my legs and wondering why we couldn’t wear trousers. I can’t remember if I had a coat on, I presume I must have. But I just remember the cold.

I then remember sitting in the living room in our house and trying to defrost, with that pain in your hands and feet. The pain of the cold and the numbness slowly leaving and the feeling coming back into my hands.

So here’s my confession. I moved to Dublin in 1997. I lived there until 2013. 16 years. 16 St Patrick’s Days. 16 St Patrick’s Day Parades in Dublin and I haven’t seen one of them.

The closest I ever got was when, a couple of years ago, KNBR, the Bay Area sports station I listen to, were in town for the occasion. I went to meet PCon and the crew but bypassed the festivities, crossing closed roads but never seeing the parade.

Am I the only one? Is there anyone else who has been in Dublin that long, who made the place their home and hasn’t seen the St Patrick’s Day parade? I hear people talking about the Dublin parade but going when they were kids, but they’ve been to the parade. I haven’t.

This year, I’m going to aim to see it, not as a Dublin resident but as a tourist! Edit: March 14 2017. Didn’t make the 2016 parade either. I thought I might see the one in Navan but missed that too!

For your enjoyment, here’s some video of the FCA in Kells at the St Patrick’s Day parade, probably about 1990/1991. Pity there was no one else in the parade.

Image Credit: Stay City

100 Days to Change // Day 32 – 59

100DaystoChange32-59

100DaystoChange32-59

100 Days to Change // Day 32 – 59 // Feb 1 – 27 2016

I kinda realised somewhere along the way that if I was actually trying to do stuff properly that I probably wouldn’t be able to keep updating this every day. But, even though I haven’t updated this, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t been a busy bee.

As I write this, the temperature today was 6 degrees so even though there might be a few green shoots on the trees it’s still winter. It’s too cold for me. Hats, scarves and frost covered cars seem to have dominated more for the past week than all of winter so far. The seasons are shifting, winter is starting later and going on later.

Even though this makes me want to go hibernate, I have been putting a decent amount of effort into changing things, and doing things to make that happen.

I’ve been continuing doing the modules in Music Publishing from the Music Managers Forum. Lots of information, sometimes nearly too much to take in at once. I’ve registered for a day course next week which has been described as ‘a three year degree in one day’. I’ll need my sleep the night before!

I also was at February’s RIG Train night which was entitled ‘Loving the sound of Breaking Glass’. I really enjoyed it. One of the best of their nights I’ve been to in a while. It was basically all based around sound and how it can be cleverly used in radio, in tandem with foley sounds, library music and when scripting.

There was one part of the night which was delivered by Mat McKinley of Hotwiredmusic.co.uk . I love how upbeat and motivating he was when speaking about making your own music (even if you don’t know much about music). Biggest thing really to remember is that you’re being creative, nothing can be wrong. Mat runs some courses and things. Definitely going to investigate more about doing them. You’ll be buzzing after listening to the man.

Other things that have been taking up some of my time are writing and voicing some pieces for The Irish Times, which is pretty cool. I’ve never really thought of myself as political, I just believe that everyone is equal. Everyone should be given the same opportunities and chances. You look after those less fortunate, make sure everyone has a bed to sleep in, a school to be educated in, a hospital to get better in and hopefully, let them know that someone loves them. There’s a lot of religions actually based on less. If I can raise awareness about matters I feel are important at home and for emigrants abroad who would like to eventually move home, I’m glad I can. Thanks to The Irish Times and Generation Emigration for giving me a platform.

The biggest thing for me has been working on a new London based website which I hope to launch next week. It could actually be done by tomorrow evening. Once it’s done, I’ll let you know. Once I get that up and running I hope to launch a UK version of the same site. I’m looking forward to seeing if it will all work. I think it can, I just need to remember that it will be a bit of work for a while.

If it works, it would be a big step towards a lifestyle change, which is really what we all want. Anytime I feel like I need a little inspiration, I think of what Johnny Ward, (onestep4ward) has done and I say, I want that!

Will Emigrants come #HometoVote? – I’m in The Irish Times

IrishTimesemigrantspaper

IrishTimesemigrantspaper

I definitely wasn’t expecting this. The Irish Times contacted me this week, they had read something on my blog. They asked if I would be interested in writing about why I said I was going home to vote in the General Election on February 26th.

I wrote a piece and it appeared online and it also was printed in today’s issue of the newspaper. I can’t wait to get home to get my mitts on a copy.

You can read the full feature, which also has contributions from other Irish emigrants here: