Oíche Shamhna

Latimer: I love Halloween. There’s something about it. And it’s not that I do anything on Halloween- I sort of prefer not to. I like to just ‘be’ on Halloween. I might watch ‘A Nightmare Before Christmas’- I might not.

 There’s something in the air; the world is a very beautiful place this time of year. The chilliness, the memories maybe, of my childhood, when I used to trick-or-treat; and the bonfire! Ah the bonfire, I haven’t been to one in literally years! They don’t do them anymore where I live. Health and safety reasons I’m sure (as I’ve been saying a lot lately).

It used to be that my brothers and sisters and their friends (all older than me at the time- well, still are, but at the time they were older children!)- they would go house to house collecting stuff to use to make the bonfire. And then there was always a dummy/puppet person made for the event. Okay, it sounds weird, but it’s more like the real Halloween- it was symbolic I think. The puppet person was put on the top of the bonfire. Making said puppet involved stuffing an old pair of pyjamas with newspaper and some balloons.

On Halloween night they’d set the whole thing alight. The balloons would pop and bang- very dramatic… that sounds weird to have a burning puppet, but there wasn’t anything macabre in it, even though it was Halloween.

 Now, I don’t remember exactly because I was very young at the time, but I’m SURE there was adult supervision involved in all of this- of course!

Ah, there was a sense of community that night… I have fond memories of finishing trick-or-treating and going to see the bonfire. Darkness, the light of a towering inferno of flames, spinning tires… I don’t know where the tires came from!- but I have a memory of them… anyway, point is, there was a feeling of ancient-ness to the affair. Because that was the old Samhain festival- a harvest, and a fire to keep away the evil spirits on a cold, dark night… that was the old idea, and in some ways when I was young it was more like that old festival than it is now.

I mean, everyone used to have bonfires back then. But now, I’m sure that isn’t the case. Who on earth would let someone have a huge bonfire… ah, it’s a pity. I miss that old ritual. There’s a real sense of the true Halloween in it.

I’m recalling it now as we head into another Halloween, which seems to get overlooked by Christmas. Well, it’s all commercialised to be-damned now… there’s something tacky and un-true about it. It’s just about dressing up… but I miss the old bonfires and the idea of celebrating an ancient festival. I wish it was more like that. I’m nostalgic for my youth I guess or more accurately, the youthful memory of Halloween I have.

There’s something ancient about the night, a connection to the past. It’s a festival of the Irish, Welsh and Scottish really. That’s where it comes from; so it’s a connection literally to my past. There’s certain things we do that never really transferred to other places with the rest of the concept. A small thing that I can think of is barmbrack. We have it every year in my house. Other people in Ireland do too. It’s a cake filled with raisins and fruit and then there’s a little gold (not real) ring hidden inside it.

I’m beginning to think the reason I like Halloween so much is because I have really good memories of Halloween as a child. Going back to my friends house we used to count out what we had gotten- up-ending our bags, rejoicing in the sweets and crisps and tossing the apples and nuts aside! Ah, it’s a good time of the year.

I don’t know what anyone else out there in the vast world does during Halloween- maybe nothing, maybe it doesn’t even register, maybe it’s just dressing up in a magical way for a party… well, whatever it may be, have a nice Oíche Shamhna everyone!

Famous? Who me? Yes please. But in Asia.

Ridley: Sorrys, there’s been nothing but ‘radio silence’ from me and my blogging. I just figured I didn’t really have anything interesting to say, not that I really do now either but I was musing. It’s a dangerous thing for me to be musing, you know, it leads to very strange places! Latimer sent me this link, it is the ‘ Chit Chat of Beautiful Ladies‘, though there seems to be numerous names for the show.

It’s Korean and basically its a show with non-Koreans who live in the country and speak the language. A lot of them have become famous in their own right over there. And I will readily admit, I’m very jealous of their linguist skills! It just seems to me that (and I know it’s probably not) a non-asian can become famous over there quite easily especially if they have the language. I mean look at Beckii Cruel-if you don’t know who she is, here’s the wiki article and just type her into youtube.

The interest in this Beautiful ladies show, stems from of course, a drama. In Mischievous Kiss, one of the girls from this show turns up in it. Can you see the major green-eyed jealousy of every non-asian watching? Who is she and why am I not her, in there with our beautiful idols? All I’ll say is fair play to her, she’s put in the work, learned another language and got out there and made it all happen!

I think I’ve always had this unspoken, almost unconscious dream that if I went over to Japan or Korea or some other asian country that I could become an idol. I’d join the idolised ranks of pop stars and drama actors, who all seem to intermingle no matter what asian country they’re from. I’d get to meet them all. It seems like a glamorous life, it’s not I’m sure! I know that it’s probably unrealistic. But I’ll continue to learn the language (Japanese at the moment, but I want to be fluent in Korean and Mandarin Chinese too eventually! It’s a tall order I know)

Maybe one day I’ll be making a fool of myself trying to speak their language on a game show. Who knows!