Tir Na Nog

Tir Na Nog is the Irish mythological land of youth and beauty where sickness and death are remarkably absent. This past weekend Future Hub and I decided to check out our local Tir Na Nog pub, where Saturday nights feature a live Irish band performance.

I have to say, the name of the pub is quite apropos. In the outskirts of London, close to a large Sainsbury's and other modern (and somewhat depressing) inventions, sits an authentic Irish pub. It's decorated with not only wobbly wooden tables and candles stuck in wine jugs but also a cast iron cooking stove, a French horn hung from the ceiling and other knick-knacks dotted around, making the place seem cozy and generous. I was seated next to a lamp that looked like it was fashioned after the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe nursery rhyme.

The band sat around a large table on one side of the pub, looking relaxed and contented. Everyone else was listening with similar happy looks, tapping their feet in time to the music or nodding their heads.

Music has, at different times in my life, played a big role. When I was a kid my Dad played trombone in a jazz band and some of my earliest memories of music are of going to see him play (his big claim to fame is that Vanessa Williams once sang with the band). I sang in the church choir (and in various strange children's musicals) as a kid and played the piano for 12 years. Although I wasn't really allowed to go to concerts in high school, I went to every concert in college I could go to, even if I didn't even know the band's music. In college (and even my 20s) I felt I had more time to do these things, to know what was going on more in the music world. And I suppose to just sit around and listen to music.

But it's gone by the wayside over the years. Recently I've been trying to see more live music again. It's such a good antidote to my life, which is always about words. Whether it's writing for work or fun, or seeing films, TV shows, reading magazines, newspapers or books for my book club. There's a lot of verbalization.

But Saturday, listening to music sent a wash of peacefulness over me and my brain cleared out more than usual (although I'm sure the gin and tonic didn't hurt). It was so nice just to sit there and be.

I think it's important to do activities that take you out of your main areas of focus (as long as you still enjoy them!). I felt the same way when we went to see the film Gainsbourg – A glimpse at the life of French singer Serge Gainsbourg – the other week. The film was not very script-focused, it was more visual (which makes sense as the screenwriter is also a graphic novelist) and musical – and allowed me to just get lost in the sounds and visuals.

It makes sense scientifically that I would feel different – language uses the left side of our brain while music and art are centered in our right. Which means the overactive reasoning side of my brain could have a little rest. Just sit down and put your feet up, left brain, take a load off. Tir Na Nog did just what it said on the tin, it gave me a little glimpse of life and pleasurable pursuits coming together in the same place. Not bad for the price of a few drinks.

No comments

Back to Top