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A Different View

Merit in slowing down to take whole lot in

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The inaugural MCnG, (Maoin Cheoil na Gaillimhe) the Galway Music Resource, a fully dedicated school of music in the heart of Galway city.) Student of the Year competition was launched Sunday 10th May in St Mary's College. A distinguished examining panel had shortlisted 11 finalists from a total of 90 that presented for assessment. All 11 students then performed their program in the presence of Mayor Cllr Donal Lyons. Overall prize of Student of the year went to Oisin Kerans on Violin. Students from the colourstrings kindergarten graduation class were also present to receive their medals from the Mayor. Photo:Andrew Downes

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Perhaps the future of television is watching paint dry or kettles boil, after all – given the triumph of the BBC’s recent experience with slow TV which in turn mirrored the success of similar experiments in Scandinavia.

Highlight, if that’s not too dramatic a term, of the BBC Four Goes Slow series was a two-hour show featuring nothing more than barge making its way slowly down a becalmed canal – with no editing, music or commentary – which attracted more than half a million viewers.

All Aboard! The Canal Trip was filmed with one camera strapped to the front of the barge gently floating down the Kennet and Avon Canal, capturing nothing more than other boats, beautiful scenery and the occasional passer-by.

The show, in which the only sounds were birdsong, barking dogs, rippling water and the chugging of the engine, averaged at 506,000 viewers and a peak of 599,000, above the BBC Four slot average of 340,000.

And this wasn’t a once-off either; BBC Four’s earlier efforts included Dawn Chorus: the Sounds of Spring, which attracted 423,000 viewers, followed by another 423,000 viewers for its documentary that was about nothing more challenging than the making of a glass jug.

A three-hour tour of the National Gallery, also without any commentary, drew 252,000 viewers – and another Handmade programme on the making of a steel knife, pulled in 339,000 viewers.

None of these would qualify as a massive hit in terms of audience percentage – a new Channel 4 cop series called No Office, written by Paul Abbott, the man who made Shameless, drew two and a half million last week – but it still shows that not everyone wants to see life living at breakneck speed.

And whether it’s on the telly or in reality, there are few things in life more soothing than the sight of still water gently lapping off the bank or the side of a boat.

But this isn’t just about the effect of water; slow television – and indeed slow movies – work across a whole variety of fronts to prove that sometimes we just want something that doesn’t make us concentrate so hard.

The artist, and now film director, Sam Taylor-Wood for example once filmed David Beckham asleep and turned it into 107 minutes of a movie for the National Portrait Gallery back in 2004 – and the sad truth for the rest of us is that Becks is so damn perfect that he doesn’t even snore or break wind when he’s out for the count.

Long before that, Andy Warhol’s slow movie Sleep from 1963 showed poet John Giorno sleeping for five hours and twenty minutes.

It’s a concept that Big Brother have taken to new depths – putting cameras into the dormitory that houses wannabes, has-beens and never-will-bes so that we can see the nocturnal habits of people we’ve never heard of.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Exam points are not the only measure of education success

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

By now, the next batch of around 60,000 students set for third-level education are over a week into the Leaving Cert – the exam that will determine what course they attain a place in for the new academic year.

Their success – added to the performances of their class-mates – will determine their alma mater’s position in what are commonly known as the school league tables.

This is a calculation of how successful a secondary school is, based entirely on the number of its Leaving Certs it gets into third-level education.

In turn – based on this – parents will choose where to send their little bundles of joy when the time comes for them to make the transition from primary to second-level.

And it’s such an arbitrary method of determining the relative success or failure of a centre of education, because it leaves so much out of the equation.

Firstly, it means performance is entirely based on the numbers who go on to third-level, ignoring those who gain apprenticeships or go straight into the workplace.

Admittedly, that’s not a large cohort these days because Careers Guidance seems to begin and end with helping you to choose the right course, not the right career.

But more fundamentally, getting a good student to pass his or her exams and gain a place in college isn’t the ultimate test of a teacher; getting a student who is struggling with reading or writing to a level where they comfortably do both is a far better achievement for any teacher.

Bringing a student who is in danger of failing mathematics, for example, to a position where they pass their exams – but more importantly understand how it works – should be recognised in any measure of performance.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

How will we acclimatise as we ease out of Covid?

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Back in the world before Covid, a mention of Corona either brought to mind a beer or a rock band – but, as we ease our way out of dire straits (another rock band, as luck would have it), we might require a different kind of acclimatisation.

Because what will the evening be like when no more deaths are flashed up as a statistic on the Six-One News?

Who will the world turn to if we have no more Fergal or George or Zara giving out the daily update in a funereal tone?

What will happen to all the people who used to go to the Department of Health press conference at tea-time in the same way the rest of us once headed for the pub?

Like Pavlov’s Dog, we’ve come to expect an evening illness update, taking consolation in it being two less than yesterday or taking fright if it’s two more.

Nobody told us who these poor people were, unless the local paper carried a tribute a week later – for the number crunchers and bean counters and prophets of doom, they were today’s statistics, to be flashed up for a few seconds every night.

And we took these figures as we got them, never questioning if a person died from Covid or with Covid; if they were described as having ‘underlying conditions’, we seemed to accept that as a very broad church.

We listened intently as Fergal or George or Zara told us what the mean age was, breathing a small sigh of relief if it remained a good distance into the future from our own age now.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Home ownership should be a prerogative – not a pipedream

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Half of our 18 to 34-year-olds fear they won’t be able to buy a home in next ten years, according to a new survey. That’s not the shock – it’s the fact that half of them think they actually will.

Because the truth is that owning your own home hasn’t been as much of a pipedream since the days of feudal landlords; indeed many of them will find it a job and a half to even come up with the rent.

And that’s a sign of just how critical our housing crisis has become in the space of a single generation.

We thought that things were bad in the eighties when unemployment levels were way ahead of our pre-Covid figures; when the boat and the plane were the best 0or maybe only – chance for many to secure a job far from home.

But for those who were working, owning a home wasn’t a farfetched concept at all, because there were plenty of starter homes being built and the cost of them still bore some relation to your income.

There was a time before that, when the bank had a simple equation to decide the size of the mortgage they’d give you. It was two and a half times the combined salary for those buying the house – in other words, yours alone if you were a sole purchaser, or double that if it was yourself and your partner.

On top of that, there was no point turning up in the first place unless you had a ten per cent deposit – so it was a straight-forward calculation to find out what you could afford. And house prices, for the most part, kept within that equation.

Of course there were always homes you coveted and couldn’t afford, but you could still buy a roof over your head for a price that only took 20 years to pay back.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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