Culture night demonstration video

Had a hectic day on Friday – myself and my martial arts group performed an ’embu’ or public demonstration in Dublin city as part of Culture Night. We did it three times during the evening, for around 150 people each time.

South Frederick Street was stuffed and it generally seems to have been well received. We were also filmed by RTE News and appeared live at 6pm and prerecorded at 9pm on Friday. The Irish Times and a few other papers mentioned us on Saturday as well. Which was nice.

We were joined by some fantastic taiko Japanese style drummers to provide a pounding back beat. All in all, I think it went pretty well.

Culture night Japanese martial arts exhibition

So it’s ‘Culture Night’ this coming Friday, and my martial arts group will be giving a series of short public demonstrations of the Bujinkan Dojo martial arts in the city centre.

According to their website: “Culture Night is a night of entertainment, discovery and adventure in Dublin and across 34 towns, cities and counties in Ireland. Arts and cultural organisations will open their doors until late with hundreds of free events, tours, talks and performances for you, your family and friends to enjoy.”

We’ll be doing our thing on South Frederick’s Street at 6:30pm, 7:30pm and 8:30pm, with each demo lasting around 10 minutes.

You can find out more about the specific event we are taking part in here.

There is a Facebook event page for the evening as well, so you can give the organiser’s a head’s up that your thinking of coming along.

So if you’re free come along and say hello.


I’ve been working on a book project for the last year or so with Dutch-born chef Martijn Kajuiter of the Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore, County Waterford. Martijn is an exceptional chef, and his restaurant is one of the most innovative and significant in the country – it was awarded a Michelin star in 2009 and has kept it in successive years, as well as being awarded three AA Rosettes. His food is exciting and progressive as well as being firmly rooted in a very well established repoirtoire of classic methodology.

While not exactly a secret, we haven’t discussed the book publicly over the last year, because the immediate nature of social media would have meant the world was bored stupid by the idea of it, months before it came out. Instead we decided to keep quiet until it made sense to not keep quiet about it.

I still don’t want to say too much about it yet, because The Cliff House is preparing to launch the book and so it’s up to them to publicise it and release images and extracts to the public. However, now that the publication date is drawing near it’s nice to be able to start to acknowledge the book’s existence.

First of all, there are two editions of the book – a normal version and a special edition that has already sold out. (It was mentioned by Martijn casually on Twitter and within 24 hours, all 100 copies had sold out, and there is now a waiting list of over 30 people in case any more come up.)

But of the normal version, what can I say?

Well. the first and most significant thing is the price – €45.

The book is being self published and we’re quite proud to have been able to keep the cost relatively low, given the amount of work and the quality of the finish that’s gone into it. It might not seem low to someone used to buying mass-market food books, but it’s really not expensive for a book like this. It’s not uncommon for self published books of this kind to sell for €100 or €200 and it’s not hard to see why once you start making them.

In our case, there have been multiple photo shoots, spread out over the course of a year in order to shoot dishes in season and at their best. The photography has been presented on high quality paper in a hard back book wrapped in a truly gorgeous cover. The design work has been created from scratch by an excellent design agency and enormous attention to detail has gone into each detail of how the book has been created. Literally every aspect of it has been thought about, considered, explored and decided upon.

The book is currently scheduled to be available in the third week of October. I’ll post more information here as it’s appropriate, along with links to where you can buy the book and perhaps also some of the unused photography and behind-the-scenes material generated during the year we spent working on the project.

New look website

I’ve given the blog a bit of a spring cleaning, and finally gotten around to moving it to my own domain.

I registered around six years ago and never actually got around to doing anything with it. It’s had a ‘site coming soon’ notice on it since then. Quite sad really. So I’ve ‘reskinned’ it and set it up as a full website, with the blog part at the centre and with some other pages that will allow people who need (and who I want) to find me to get in touch. The image on the front page was taken on a balmy hot Tokyo night this summer by my friend Paul Morrin.

So have a look around, kick the tyres and see what you think. It’s a work in progress, but for now it seems servicable.


Electric Picnic 2012

So my first Electric Picnic has come and gone, and before too much time passes, I want to put down some thoughts. First up, it was the first time I’ve camped at a Festival since 1992 (Feile 92!) and while it was great fun, I have no idea why people over the age of 23 or so think camping is a good idea. I seem to be in a minority on this one, as everyone I was with seemed to love it. Anyway . . .

It’s a really impressive festival, with so much going on that actually, you really could spend three days being fully entertained by talks and events without ever seeing a band. I spent most of the weekend at the Theatre of Food tent. (See pics below). But as a big Cure fan, the fact the band was headlining was a big deal for me. They turned in a set that was 3hrs 20mins long, and played virtually all their singles. A smashing night, made all the more fun by getting to hook up with some of the band members beforehand. They say don’t meet your idols, but in my case, it turned out fine. The Cure seem to be a great bunch of guys. I had a brief conversation with keyboard player Roger O’Donnell (clang!!! ha ha!)  about this, remarking how nice it was to grow up with a band’s music as a semi-permanent fixture in your life, without finding out the people behind the tunes have turned into right wing tories. In the case of the Cure, a nicer bunch of rational, liberal leftie atheists you couldn’t hope to meet.

So Electric Picnic was a blast for me. Would I go back? Definitely, but I think I’d probably opt for a B&B instead of a tent.