posted on December 23, 2009 19:00
When I started the Sound Waves Blog three years ago, my intention was to explore music, surfing and their interrelationship with each other at a time when Ireland's own surf culture was on the brink of exploding into the mainstream. Looking back on some of the topics dealt with over those years,I'm surprised at the diversity of the material covered and the number of musicians spotlighted in the postings; many of whom are equally at home on daytime radio as they are on alternative rock shows. In a nutshell, surf culture has become so absorbed into the mainstream of Irish popular culture in the last year or so that it has become increasingly hard to find something distinctive about Irish surf culture that is worth highlighting; perhaps the best example of this absorbtion into the wider culture is Ross O'Carroll Kelly's hilarious take off of the AIB Surf Adverts in the Irish Times.
One question I did not grapple with on the blog however was why did surfing get so big in Ireland at this point in history and why were Irish surfers being increasingly drawn from the ranks of lawyers, accountants, and the financial services ? Sure, the increased wealth of the Irish played a part, surfing only developed originally in Hawaii because the natural wealth of the islands was so great that the Hawaiians discovered the concept of free time away from work, but more than that I think that surfing might have offered an escape for people away from an increasingly frenetic and corrupt corporate culture in Irish professional life; perhaps surfing represented to the frazzled professional some cold water Eden where mobile phones could not go. Who knows?
If I was to choose the tipping point for the changes that I have documented in this blog then that point would be Jack Johnson's 2006 concert in the Point Depot. For myself however, this wave of change closed out in another live music event, the 2009 Cois Fharraige, in Kilkee. Returning home after those concerts, I felt that the time had come for new directions. Personally, I was tired of being an interloper on the West coast, putting up with the seemingly endless driving, lousy food, over priced digs and the increasingly crowded and unfriendly line ups. I got back to Dublin, sold off my surf boards and with the money purchased myself a 12 foot Hawaiian shaped stand up paddle board. Now I spend every available spare moment on the water just minutes from my home, rather than hours in my car, and I get on with my life instead of putting it on hold.
See you in the water.