Monday, June 23, 2014

Fame of a sort

Everyone likes to think they are right most of the time.

Dictators have an easy life. They know they are right all of the time; for those who survive around them attest to that fact earnestly and often.

Celebrities are dictators of a sort. They can dictate nonsense to those reliant upon them for their income and living.

Celebrity though is a fickle master, for who knows who will choose to recognise you in public, for long.

My own life as a celebrity is pretty much in its infancy.


The question must be asked: how many unconnected people maketh celebrity?

I was in Stockholm  airport recently on the way to meet some other storytellers so we could tell one another stories, swap gossip, boast a little, tell lies about ourselves that would harm no one and generally relax in the company of fine beings such as ourselves.

An attractive woman approached me with hand extended in a fraternal gesture.

She hailed me by name, both given and inherited.

I assured her I was delighted to see her and enquired after her state of relaxation.

She assured me all was ship shape in her life and that she was looking forward to our mutual congregation with others.

This re-assured me almost as it upset me, for I now realised I had never met this woman before in my time on Earth.

The crux came when I had to introduce her to someone I did know.

I apologised for temporarily forgetting her name and asked if she might remind me of it.

It was then she revealed to me that she knew me solely through my presence on Facebook.

This to me is celebrity.

One so far, but sure it's a start as the mother hen said of the single egg.

Storytelling here




Thursday, June 19, 2014

Walking with mosquitoes

It's not so easy to behave like a nomadic reindeer herder when all the mosquitoes in Northern Sweden have decided you are today's life source for them.

I  landed yesterday at Skelleftea airport en route to a storytelling conference in the Vasterbotten region of northern Sweden.

Today, I am deep in a forest studying the way of the Sami people with local guides.

So too are millions of flying tormentors, sent by the ancient gods to drive men insane.

Sami nomads followed their reindeer herds across
Northern Europe
as a way of life. Many of the modern Sami are wonderful storytellers; many still mind reindeer.

Mosquitoes do not seem to bother them as much as they do us Europeans from further south.

But no more than our own midges, mosquitoes do not like smoke, so a smoking fire is left smouldering all day

The Sami inhabit an Arctic area, covering parts of far northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway Their portable dwellings were covered with the skins of their charges.
Modern Sami are recreating the old way of life, notably at Koppsele, an area newly won back for restoration.

We walk through the woods with a guide who points at protruding stones and says here was a home.

Sometimes you take these things on faith.

All I see are random rocks breaking the surface of the path; but no doubt they were someone's  pride and joy at one time.

Meanwhile, our blood is being sucked from us.

We cross a wooden bridge over a mountain stream.

We drink together, my friends and I with cupped hands.

Returning through the woods later we re-cross the same stream.

The woods look different now.

Something has happened.

Mystical day.

Storytelling here


Buy the book here


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Walking a mile in my shoes

Walking in drowned shoes is not something to be contemplated lightly. 
For, it is a sad sight to behold from above. Your once prized footwear sitting there with water dripping from every side.


However, out of tragedy comes comfort.

New, expensive, trainers seemed to ask for a night outdoors, alone, on a fine summer's night.

I agreed, and left them at the door, away from smelling dogs and marauding night cats; they would be safe, I said as I repaired to bed and blew out the candle in my mind.

Next morning, the landscape glistened with early dew and the residue of overnight rain.

Alas, the trainers acted as miniature Noah's Arks sans animals or sense; they were soaked to their core and would not even float me through a day walking on the high tracks of Wicklow's mountains.

That's why a trawl began through old boxes and un-opened wardrobes where the raiments of personalities past hung awaiting the Resurrection.

A pair of battered boots lay silently in a remote corner, deposited and forgotten until a time of need called them forth once more.

Slipped on to impatient feet, they were like the caress of a lover of long ago, remembered in dreams and fond imaginings.

Once, they were new and impressed more than one other person with their design and finish.

They accompanied me on many adventures and never once let me down, whether the impulse was to dawdle or depart --- with all alacrity.

Now, they were brought into daylight once more to replace their replacers, if only while the usurpers dried out from the activities of the night before.

We three headed out onto the track.

 It was as if I was being guided by old friends.

All I had to do was relax, and walk.

Storytelling here



Book here