I spent part of the day in the arms of my acoustic guitar, an old friend (closer to a lover) which I’ve neglected and ignored for so long, a friend that has patiently waited for me while I’ve been distracted and moved about, worried and harried and still my Simon and Patrick has waited leaning against the book shelves in the corner.
So we spent time together today, intimate time when I remembered the joy of just doodling on the fretboard with no agenda, no desire to write a song or to keep things moving forward.
I also noticed the scar which I had inflicted on my friend many years ago in Dublin. It was The International Bar, it was a Monday night down in the basement and I was somewhere between starting a three song set and finishing it. There was a pint of Guinness involved, a standing on the tiled floor and a moment when the guitar strap came of the end.
I remember now.
I was holding the pint of Guinness when the strap came off and couldn’t make a attempt to catch, Simon and Patrick fairly cracked and bounced against the floor, the bar when silent in mourning and I picked it up while attempting to look as if I didn’t really matter, but it did I guess.
Looking back now, I wouldn’t take that moment back. I’m glad it holds a battle scar from the basement of The International Bar in Dublin, good times! A time when I wasn’t afraid to sing my song and let my voice be heard in public, unlike now when I hide away like a hermit.
So from now on the crack will serve as a sign of getting out there again and letting my voice be heard in dingy little bar basements and not caring if anyone wants to hear or not or if it’s good or not, just being in the place.
I’ve just finished reading ‘What You Really Need to Know about the Internet’ by John Naughton and the main thought ringing in my ears is about the physicality of the internet, especially with regards to cloud computing and what that might mean for the environment.
‘if you had an idea of cloud computing as something engagingly wispy and ethereal, think again: this is an industry with a heavy, industrial-scale environmental footprint’
I suppose that is the thing that I don’t often appreciate when I’m blogging or fooling about on the internet.
Whenever we upload a picture to Facebook or a video to Youtube that video/picture has to be saved in some physical loaction somewhere in the world.
Or whenever I write this blog and post it, it will be saved (as well as the autosave versions, any pictures etc.)in some physical location somewhere in the world.
The picture I have in my head is of a giant PC box hundreds and hundreds of feet wide (like a mega version of the one I can see in front of me right now) in various physical locations throughout the world. It is something that has escaped my attention as I’ve blogged, sold stuff online, Facebook’d, digitized so much of my life and uploaded it. I haven’t just been using my computer at home or the library computer with the energy demands of using those, but using data farms in different mysterious locations throughout the world.
For example Facebook are building a huge server farm 60 miles south of the Artic Circle in Sweden.
The reason? To be close to a large hydroelectric electricity source and because the Artic temperature is ideal for keeping the building cool. So it’s not just a case of me plucking stuff beautifully from the cloud and using it, it’s not just a case of it being clean, easy and quick. No, there are hidden mounted racks in vast warehouses that had to be extracted from the materials of the earth using dirty fossil fuels and then powered (and kept cool in many locations) by vast amounts of energy (and how much of that is renewable?).
As our mobile devices seem to get more beautiful and powerful we can be seduced into thinking that there is no dirt and cost involved. But the cost is there, it’s just hidden behind the cloud.
Surprisingly (well at least to me) Ireland has quite a few of these data centres. Google are building a major one in Dublin, Amazon and Microsoft have ones already and are looking to expand them.
The last time I checked Ireland wasn’t exactly a renewable energy hub, but maybe things have changed in the three years I’ve lived up here.
Perhaps these huge data centres are using Airtricity or something, but I’d be surprised if they are or even could. And that means the more people put stuff on Youtube or use Google+, the more pollution is released into the atmosphere and the more we contribute to global warming. Which means that even as I finish this post about how we contribute to global warming I’ve juist contributed to global warming. Time to think.
On Saturday I walked about Dublin in an uncomfortable pair of shoes remembering once again how much I love and miss the city.
Just as you can’t explain why you love one attractive girl while find an even more attractive girl unattractive so I love and miss Dublin over other places.
The further the train took me away on Saturday night, the heavier my heart got until it spat me out at Lambeg and I trudged home in the still uncomfortable shoes and went to bed.
So I can’t explain it. Part of me would love to be responsible for a few acres of farmland and orchard, to be a good steward of the land and to make it fruitful and beautiful. That sort of dream would be hard to carry out in a city like Dublin and would require a rural type of set-up. Yet I would never want to live in pure isolation from a city such as Dublin. Sometimes yes, maybe most times even but not all the time.
I like Dublin. Being in Belfast has some merits like St George’s Market but Dublin feels like an actual city, with a truly European buzz around the place.
I was just reminded of this fact today once again.
I never thought myself much a city dweller and always imagined ending up in a small holding with a veg patch, but there is something about being in Dublin that makes me think about changing that. There is so much I could write, but why bother?I like Dublin. Period.