Year: 2006

Pyramids of Guimar
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(Canary Islands, Spain) Dave finally gets his arse in gear, and posts photographs from his visit to the mysterious ancient Pyramids of Güímar in the Canary Islands. For most of us, Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, conjures up a dead-end zone of package-holiday hell. A place where thick-necked pale-skinned beer-swillers are carted in like cattle, to fry their sweaty, hungover bodies in the African sunshine. This is just part of the picture - the horrors of Tenerife are confined to one dreadful stretch of the south coast. The Canarians aren't crazy - they ship the undiscerning visitors off to the most barren, desolate part of the island. The rest of Tenerife is stunningly beautiful - from the cactus deserts of the lowlands, to the alpine forests on the way up to the Martian Plateau that sits below the volcano of El Teide. On the east coast, not far from the...

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Although illegal since the 1930s a giant, beautiful funeral pyre for a British Sikh man was built and burnt this week, bringing an ancient and almost forgotten burial rite back to a country that once, like much of the rest of Europe, burnt its dead. An intriguing story has emerged in Northumberland, England this week with the extensive media coverage of an open-air funeral pyre for a Sikh man which was carried out an a secret location. That said it can't have been that secret as a BBC camera crew managed to film the whole thing. Jobsworths Of course, this being England we're speaking of, it didn't take long for a bureaucrat to come screaming out of the woodwork about violation of protocols and laws. The row began in earnest when the Department for Constitutional Affairs (who the hell are they?) went into jobsworth mode and stated that the ceremony...

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Continuing with Blather.net's in-depth investigation of the infamous fifth-century thug and womaniser, our grave-robber in residence Ender digs deeper into the history of Niall of the Nine Hostages and discovers some good old-fashioned Irish skullduggery. For historical accuracy we must be very careful in giving any credence, to anything, written before the seventh century. This is when native Irish chroniclers started to write things in the margins of Easter Tables contemporarily, as was the fashion in Europe. Before this, they had to introduce and teach a foreign language like Latin, to a native ecclesial population who had no previous written form of their own spoken language, and not much experience of speaking the new written one. (Think TEFL courses, with lots of half bald men in robes, sitting around calfskin tomes. “Conail…I’ve had enough of your messin’, get to the back of the beehive hut. Ah ah…no buts.”) Only then...

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For several weeks in the summer of 2005, the Irish media indulged itself in a feeding frenzy of tabloid-like hysteria surounding the gruesome story of 'Niamh' (now identified as 'Cynthia Owen') who claimed that she had been the victim of abuse by an organised cabal of child-molesters. This resulted in her becoming pregnant whilst still a child herself - a crime allegedly faciliated by her parents. 'Niamh' then claimed to have watched as her new-born infant was stabbed to death with a knitting needle. In the wake of the 7/7 bombings in London, the Dalkey Baby story dropped off the main media's radar - the last we heard being that an excavation (looking for the remains of an infant) in a Dublin garden, had revealed nothing. But, one year later, the story is back. False memory syndrome The full details of Dalkey Baby story are covered in detail on blather.net...

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<!--   © Blather.net/Walsh--> Recently, Blather's academia correspondent, Johnny Mayonnaise, went to Massachusetts and unexpectedly encountered the world-famous Noam Chomsky! In Johnny's written report for Blather, you can almost feel you're there in the room with him: I find myself in a long corridor of an institutional building. I'm being shown around by a young lady whose face I don't recognise. I do, however, recognise the building. I saw it in a documentary film entitled Manufacturing Consent. It is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "This is Noam Chomsky's office," I remark to my hostess, pointing to a door on the left. "I know," she says, opening the door and leading me in. When I get in, I see that she is already at the other end of the room. Noam Chomsky is there too, sitting on a sofa. She asks him if it is okay for me to come in and...

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Black magic theatre, 1920's horror movies, pony-tails, waistcoats, murdered Prime ministers, ghost hunting gear, drummers of the Damned and a lot of hot air about some dead Italian artist and his poxy code... So. That was the Fortean Times UnCon 2006. It was, as always, a mixed bag – some wonderful events, some not so wonderful. Overall the uncon was as enjoyable as I hoped it would be. The talks were varied and entertaining and the side-room events were intriguing to say the least. The book that cannot be mentioned But, I have, as always, my complaints. Most notably concerning the avalanche of DaVinci code-related material. Every book-stand groaned under the weight of DaVinci/Sauniere/Rennes tat and two of the central talks revolved around the mystery. Whilst Rat Scabies (founder member and drummer of punk band the Damned) maintained a healthy sense of humour and irreverence during his talk on Rennes...

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'Always talk about the money, always talk about the honey, baby, all my brothers say, what's your name?...Devil take my soul, if he want it, bring you back to me, for just one more night...' It’s a rare event these days that having heard a song on a radio station, I scramble through drawers and shelves looking for a pen to write down the name of that song and the artist who sang it. Rarer still that I go online the following morning and order the album. And, I assure you, it is even rarer than that the album doesn’t turn out to be a pile of over-rated, disappointing cack. 'Fallen off my stool here...' But bizarrely enough, this is exactly what happened just this week when I heard a track by ‘Son of Dave’ this Sunday last and promptly snapped the album ‘O2’ up. And it is superb. Blindingly,...

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Continuing with the detailed exploration of Ireland's most amorous homicidal maniac, Niall of the Nine Sausages, Blather.net's graverobber in residence, Ender Wiggan, delves deeper into the sources behind the story of Niall. The fifth century A.D. in Ireland has been called ‘the Lost Century’. In archaeological, historical and linguistic terms, there’s almost nothing in existence that can be definitely placed within that century. It’s a black hole where much of the discussion is prefaced by presumption and logical guesswork based on what came after. Paddy Probably the earliest written evidence of actual historical reality is two documents attributed to the man called Patricius, who later would become St. Patrick. Though the earliest surviving forms of his ‘Confession’ and Letters to the ‘Soldiers of Coroticus’, are contained in the ‘Book of Armagh’, dedicated in 807 A.D., the use of the Latin language contained within them, are thought to be that of...

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Right now, I'm on board the Greenpeace ship Esperanza, off the coast of West Africa, working on a pirate fishing campaign. It's been an expedition of extremes - the beauty of nature, and the harshness of human existence. Last week we visited an anchored fleet of rusting Chinese vessels, with marooned fisherman on board... We're in the big African Queen inflatable, cruising alongside an anchored trawler. It's more rust than metal - the ship is rotting away. The foredeck is covered in broken machinery. The fish deck is littered with frayed cables, and the mast lies horizontally, hanging over the starboard side. A large rusty Chinese character hangs on railings above the bridge, facing forward. It reads 'happiness'. Read More: The Chinese Zombie Ships » Boingboing.net: Chinese "ghost ship" fishing boats rotting off of W African coast, Thursday, March 30, 2006 I've been quoted in TIME!: Greenpeace Goes Fishing, Thursday,...

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blather.net's dave is off again, sailing the high seas. This time, he's on the Greenpeace ship Esperanza, sailing from Cape Town, South Africa, on a search for pirate trawlers... So yes - here I am, posting to blather.net from somewhere to the West of Namibia. It's about 8:30 GMT (which is anything between 5 minutes and five hours ahead of Irish time). The sea is flat, it's hot and sweaty in the campaign office on the bridge of the Esperanza, and we're making for the Atlantic Tuna grounds. You can check the front page of blather.net for updates, or visit these sites: Read all about our adventures on the Defending Oceans weblog » Main Ocean Defenders website » Get involved: Become an ocean defender! » Check out my photo blog 'Abroad' »