Speculative Skins & Amanda Turner Pohan : An Arts Review

The Meditative one

Science is made fiction and the body is altered. In the NI Science Festival a co-operative installation by Rachel Steinberg of SOHO20 Gallery Brooklyn is commissioned by The Naughton Gallery Belfast to produce the exhibition Speculative Skins. Known in the festival under the title Science Fiction and the Body it explores the boundaries of ‘where does a body end and a piece of technology begin’. I found one piece in particular engrossing and integral in the open thought bringing those boundaries which are constantly under revision as our potential futures are explored by art investigations in media, propositions of artists in music word and the visual arts, while along with scientists bring new meanings and alterations to our perceptions. The exhibition is supported by The British Council.

The Subject

It is itself. The artist. From Orgasmic Exhalation Device for Body Spray #11 (2014), Amanda Turner Pohan recorded her CO2 emissions during orgasm and used the data collected to algorithmically compose a formula for scent – a perfume that is wafted into a space periodically through an atomizer. Using the same data she plotted a form to print with a CNC@ router the physical body Orgasmic Exhalation Form #01 (2014).

The form occupies a Gallery space as a body might. Onto the Gallery wall beneath shared text of four lovers conversations found on google are adhered. The wall is grey. For Amanda Turner Pohan this replaces the components of our own stand-ins for the body, self-consciously attempting to synthesize a formula for human empathy, that even the best of our current technology can’t quite master.

 

 

With the distance between the two spaces – the one it resides in, in New York and this Naughton Gallery installation, curator Rachel Steinberg came up with the idea of the projection presented on the Gallery Wall as an active moving image floating over the text and the emitting Orgasmic Exhalation Device for Body Spray #11 (2014) which is not a substitute but a transfiguration of the concept. It when seen in conjunction with the atomizing device creates a distinctive correlation. The atomistic choice with the projection is almost to a transuding state. The tenuous relation is very apposite. A body is acting in the space and this is the figure raised and floating in as a projection in space.  I likened it to a future state where the body is capable of space travel without a protection and the/our ‘speculative skin’ is developed to withstand the elements of space and take the cubist form and then develop the instruments of our dexterity when summoned.

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Atomic signals possess us and this installation is miraculously astute. It has a synthesis of elements composed to bring down, breakdown structures from their complex abstraction as entities to a body which in the true sense of legacy similar to Picasso and masters of the cubist collage and self figurative genre would call pictorial self analysis. Here the artist is present in more ways than one. It is a beautiful piece of art in every sense. The assembly is from an orgasm and height of excitation intense and female. For both male and female it is release. One both giving. There is a reassurance in the act of future spoken. When one happens in the presence of another the conjoining is a unity of purpose over and above the physical spasms of its engagement. The artist expresses like hot milk a olfactory stimulus.

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The work is part of a series delving into the self. From her perspective Amanda Turner Pohan asks many questions of the reality of our lives and the future we patrol and expect through exploring the limits and boundaries and pushing them out in separated forms awaiting their return as something reconfigured. The series is know as The Signals are Caressing us. The accompanying exhibition literature (italicized) explains the body’s complicated relationship to technology is her source material. Other works digital and physical are extensions of the themes.

Using present materials as they are on our and the artists journey of utilization the work is contemporary reality. The simple forms of chemistry are bold and defining. To this synthesis Amanda Turner Pohan seeks to unfold her continued speculative encounter with in creating further work some of which can be seen at the originating gallery.

 

 

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The Encounter

The eyes are sharp and clear. Blue and perceptive. This is an encounter of introspection. You cannot explain the world in metaphors. You can see it though for what it is or is not. The imagination is your strongest ally. From where it came only your atomic composition of phosphate and deoxyribose. The explosive actions inside you of this miraculous helix of dna is what drives each of us and collaborates to creating a being. Amanda Turner Pohan is a practioner of the exploration on the edge of discoveries made known through her incisive clawing into the self awareness which makes u# identify as somehow spirits in transition. Awareness is to regard the self as a simple helix form from which to evaluate all other entities. By taking chemicals and enclosing them in a liquid the container is fed a tube and it exhales and gathers in from its presence as we do. Our presence is engineered by our gathering techniques and by our exhilarations.

The simplest form which profoundly touched me was the image of a body form which had itself been edited back to a point where it remained recognisable as limbed breasted form like a woman in an anthropomorphic state. I live next to a former bakery. It must be nearly eighty years since last made bread but I see and sense it’s past life. The energy of others resides inside and it resting like a process of manufacturing awaiting its recall. The people who made bread have moved on and others take on the task elsewhere. This function is therefore displaced and the building awaits repurposing. It is not empty but vacant. The Bakery in Brooklyn is where Amanda Turner Pohan shows her work and collaborations. Consciousness expels from the rooms of the repurposed Bakery. It’s food is nutrients for all to imbibe. You will not eat it but will consume it. Not in a materialistic fashion but as spiritual nourishment.

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The grey carpet ‘receptor’.

Our society has this duality of materialism. The lotus on the water is separate but recognisable as difference. Combinations are sent to us in the bakery we visit to feed our lives. In this space the artist has found something for us to see and experience. A sightless person can have the surroundings described to them, a deaf person can feel the vibrations and sense the place as we cannot. On the floor of The Bakery is a the white anthropomorphic form I see as cubist reality. It is still but in the transport of the idea to the Naughton Gallery here in Belfast it’s projected as a floating digital image onto a nineteenth century university wall. The wall bounds The Great Hall and beneath is the colonnade which keeps the rain off its visitors for the grand occasions in its calendar. In it Presidents and Queens, Senators and Religious leaders have been. The white spirit of the anthropomorphic shape spirals on the wall oblivious to the past accolades it now surmounts.

Form takes precedence over notions of form. The cubist reality was a symbolic stripping back of form striving to distill the watery world we occupy. The fluidity of essences are sought and combined with allegory and space shifting determinism. The form I see floating on the wall is much more than this unsettling presence and is without any external attachment when I view it. The attachments would come later. Instead it is transportive. It has layers in its movement which halt and talk of its otherness. It is a piece which is cubist in every sense. It is an evolving piece also. It allows the medium to give you another dimension through its movement and gentle soliloquy like a ballet in space. The artist of this is conscious of the newness of the relocation by means other than its physical presence. It is after all back in Brooklyn a three dimensional object. There it is similarly venerated and casting out senses of its organised form.

Here it conveys passage and future. Where the spaceships of Star Wars and science fiction remain harnessed to familiar tropes this object speaks of other things. Instead of a protecting shell the body is itself protection as if in a future world travel will be as humans in an anthropomorphic vessel which when required and elegantly, from its cubist shape, evolve the dexterity fingers to touch feel and caress, hold other things. The mind itself within the shell of its form – unlike the pod capsules of Altered Carbon – carries memory and learning and skills forward in a peaceful receptivity. The way the work conspires to throw ideas out is both alarming and satisfying in a way that is beyond the measure o& its parts. That itself is metamorphosis of some kind as art. How can art convey such things time after time. Like an antelope in a cave painting it is meant to be nourishing – for the artist and the viewer.

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Today’s modernity is stated here and it is projecting more than a cave painting as criticism is since Aristotle and probably further back, as art it is subject to diverse opinion and thought.

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Braque and others created the form of cubist art and a local Irish Artist Mainie Jellet -Death of Procis shown here (below), also created in her work interpretations via. very methodical line graphs and preparatory drawings – much the same as the collection of data to form the piece here dealt with.

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Mainie Jellet -Death of Procis

This is a ‘new’ age renaissance kind of work as it puts up our future kind for us as conjecture with meanings and an infinite range of imaginings. I see it as a symbol of the human in the future as a continuing evolving entity capable of reinvention and containing all pasts. The chemical composition of your atomic composition of phosphate and deoxyribose will be taken away an reconfigured as memory which is laden with crossed out errors and the empathetic result is forging frontiers beyond out wildest imaginations. Perhaps even as an earth world no longer in existence except as new stars and elemental dust particles. The richness of art presently is to be seen and appreciated for its presenting us with such imponderables.

This work has much more to convey and is one I have still not reached the apogee of.

Further reading

From The Planet of the Blind by Stephen Kuusisto

I. The Village of St Ovide

”For Sun and Moon supply their conforming masks, but in this hou4 of civil twilight all must wear their own faces.”

-W. H. Auden, “Horae Canonicae”

“ ‘My soul wandered, happy, sad., unending.’ “ (Neruda)

“ ‘The branches are dying of love.’ “ (Lorca)

“ ‘Show me, dear Christ, thy spouse, so bright and clear.’ “ (Donne)

“ ‘Here is the shadow of truth, for only the Shadow is true.” ((Warren)

from chapter 6.

II. Motion.

. . . If we propose

A large-sculptured, platonic person,

free from time,

And imagine for him the speeech he

cannot speak,

A form, then, protected from the battering, May

Mature: A capable being may re-

place

Dark horse and walker walking rap-

idly.

-Wallace Stevens

“The Pure Good of Theory”

Speculative Skins is on at The Naughton Gallery from Thursday 15 February through to Sunday 25 February 2018. May extend. Hours 11am to 4.00pm (closed mondays) and features artists Loney Abrams & Johnny Stanish / Salome Asega & Ayodamola Okunseinde / Brice Dellsperger / Nora Khan & Steven Warwick / Son Kit / Katie Skelly / Naoko Takeuchi / Amanda Turner Pohan / Katie Torn

15.02.18 – 08.04.18

John Graham

22 February 2018

Belfast

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Rocky Ros Muc : A Film Review

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Rocky Ros Muc
Documentary
Director Michael Fanning. Contributors Alphabetically : Seán Bán Breathnach Broadcaster, Kevin Cullen – Boston Globe, Ronan Mac Con Iomaire Author Rocky Ros Muc, Peter Kerr Trainer, Pat Nee, Mike Newell, Sean O’Mainnin, John ‘Red’ Shea, Marty Walsh – Mayor of Boston, Mary Walsh, Mother of Marty, Micky Ward. Production. Below the Radar, Máire Bhreathnach producer,, Trevor Birney executive producer, Michael Fanning executive producer Music by Andrew Simon McAllister, Cinematography by Ronan Fox, Film Editing by Michael Paisley, Visual Effects by Chris Scott visual effects artist, Music Department Jake Jackson score mixer. Ireland. Duration 1hr 32mins. Cert. TBC. Partially subtitled.

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Boxing Documentary

This film is a tale of one mans journey from his home village of Ros Muc in search of his identity and fame which takes him to America and back again. It involves the diaspora identity and the identity of Ireland itself. Even the introduction has nightime shots of Times Square and Madison Square Garden. For contrast the sky drone takes us over Ros Muc. The famished regions and outskirts of larger cities which draw in the young from near and far. The man is Sean Mannion a middle weight champion boxer who rose to be a contender for the World Title Belt in 1984. The journey was a tough one and in between bouts of boxing he often became derailed by that diaspora scourge of drinking heavily. A strong man he could handle it but the mental damage it must have caused would have been a great drawback. Angelo Dundee as C. Clays trainer said if he had Sean at twenty instead of thirty which is when they eventually joined up he would have been a World Title holder many times over.

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The story is told in the most part by a fan whose book is central. Rónán Mac Con Iomaire who is also a Ros Muc man who has written the whole story or as much as lines on a page can deliver, this extraordinary life. It is a capsule though of many people’s diverse lives as immigrants whether Italian, Polish, Irish and the simple truth of the Country they reach never viewing home. The bi-polarity of a mind in two places is hard to deal with. His mother lived a long time and he has brothers and sisters who were distinctly Irish Gaels as Sean himself was. This inculcated identity was of a locality is about 35 miles south west of Galway.

One doesn’t need to be into pugilism or well-versed in Gaelic to appreciate “Rocky Ros Muc,” a documentary that is as much about roots and identity as it is a portrait of Irish American boxer Sean Mannion. Hailing from the village of Ros Muc, some 37 miles south west of Galway, Mannion, like many of his fellow emigrés, formed a tight-knit community on South Boston’s Dorchester Street, where the light middleweight would find eager sparring partners including members of Irish crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger’s Winter Hill Gang. LA Times reviewer Michael Rechtshaffen delivers a shot on the chin.

Seán Ó Mainnín, Rocky Ros Muc é féin

America Constructed

As Americans and MR will know this perhaps having an migrant background of some sort, the story is as much an American story as an Irish one. Martin Walsh of Ros Muc stock himself, his parents emigrated years ago when they were very young, as Boston’s Mayor ‘Marty’ Walsh, is another from the stage of America’s fortunes or misfortunes. Walsh was brought up in Southside Boston, Dorchester and he participates in telling what he knows of the life of Sean and the Irish of his neighbourhood. The Director Michael Fanning puts across through interview and film footage from ESPN and HBO sports along with family friends and others Irish diaspora who took a criminal route to their lives, he uses the central biographical account of the native Rónán Mac Con Iomaire heavily and journalistically forensic in telling Sean Mannion’s journey with huge respect and homage to the man, Ros Muc, the region and Island.

The Ros Muc origins are worth telling as they bring in the imagination of the man. Within him he realised his strengths and his athletiscm which would later be focused in Boxing. With a pal he would spend time exchanging blows with a sparring partner and together they bought a pair of Boxing gloves. This would mean they would swap and Sean ended up using them most. The Television of Crystal dreams of black and white Boxing was a staple or escapism. GB had Henry Cooper popularise the appetite and Jack London with eventually the one who Cooper famously knocked down, Cassius Clay known later as Muhammad Ali coming into the scene with a legion of followers after the Olympics and he brought out the Irish and GB love of Boxing as a sport. From Hemingway to Shaw through, Conrad, Runyan many writers have taken in this rawest of sports. It was this magnet which put into Sean the notion he could be as good as them if he worked hard. There was a local club found and it was run by Michael Flatherty whose own knowledge and wise head as well as counsel would create a ring fighter. Very soon the young Sean Mannion would hold 17 County and Provincial titles which would taken him further to the National Amateur Boxing Championships. These were six round contests and they were televised. On the back of his ring vest the words – St Oliver’s A.B.C. Girley were printed in copperplate letters. If I’m not mistaken on commentary, uncredited, was Eamon Andrews. This is your Life sharply ironically his claim to fame alongside his astute eye for sporting drama.

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Boston’s twins

The Boston part of the story is the arrival to fight for further fame and glory by joining a gym still a teenager. At Connolly’s Gym his sparring partners included a member of Whitey Bulger’s Winter Hill gang, Irish-American mobster Patrick Nee, who, another Ros Muc native. Also around was another Irishman, former mobster John “Red” O’Shea. Author of a All Souls Michael Patrick MacDonald who lost a large part of his own family to Gangsters is active in combating violence and now lives in New York. The arrival brought many bouts as Sean rose to as they say to become a contender and the appetite among the Boston Irish for a Champion was not lost on Sean and he saw the virtue in ring craft as opposed to gun craft. Both sets of groups in the Southside were not at loggerheads but one probably detested the other for the image of their identity being compromised. There were many Champion boxers in America of their own making. Hearn, Duran, Hagler, De La Hoya, and one Mannion would eventually meet in the ring, Michael McCallum. The later was and is lesser known but he was a lean tall long reach fighter who was not a warrior but a truly great boxer. His encounter with Sean Mannion whose unorthodox Southpaw style; it couldn’t be tagged as even truly southpaw was one which only a gifted boxer could adapt to and counter. Mike McCallum now 60 and paunchy was a Jamaican boxer who competed from 1981 to 1997. He is a three-weight world champion.

In-Chul Baek was a boxer Mannion had to face to go up a level and fight McCallum. There was a very unusual outcome to this fight which is covered in the film with damage having been caused by Baek through him hitting the sorest punch of all on the small rib on the torso. He clearly injured Mannion but other things happened to make the title bout happen.

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Being a Contender

If you don’t know your Boxing look away and continue to next section. The fight was for the vacant WBA Junior Middleweight title of which Roberto Duran had been stripped of when he chose to fight Tommy Hearns for the WBC title instead. McCallum coasted to a fifteen round unanimous decision. The fight marked the first time in history two women judged a world championship boxing fight. 1984-10-19 : Mike McCallum 153¾ lbs beat Sean Mannion 154 lbs by UD in round 15 of 15. Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, USA. Referee: Tony Perez. Judge: Carol Polis 149-136. Judge: Carol Castellano 150-134. Judge: Johnny LoBianco 149-133. So despite the controls being handed to two women which was itself a big move they were unanimous in declaring the fight which went the full 15 rounds in McCallums favour.

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This is the ibroresearch.com part of McCallums history at this time.

….Four more wins, three by KO and McCallum was declared the mandatory challenger for Roberto Duran’s WBA Junior Middleweight Title. The Panamanian was given until April 10, 1984 to meet McCallum or face being stripped of the crown. Although the “Body Snatcher” was a dangerous challenger he was not a super star in the eyes of the boxing public. Like Wall Street, boxing is all about risk versus reward. For Duran this meant a fight with McCallum’s teammate at the Kronk Gym, Tommy Hearns made more sense. Facing Hearns would be risky for the WBC champ but, worth three times as much at the box office as facing McCallum.

Adding to the Jamaican’s predicament was Emmanuel Steward. As trainer of both Hearns and McCallum he would make far more money from his cut of the purse if Hearns faced Duran. McCallum was odd man out, as Duran elected to face the “Hit Man” instead of the “Body Snatcher.” Stripping Duran of his title, the WBA declared that Mike McCallum would face number two contender, Sean Mannion for the vacant WBA title. On October 15, 1984, Mike McCallum became the first Jamaican to win a world championship in the Island’s history. Mannion showed he had a tremendous chin and courage but not the skills in losing a unanimous fifteen round decision at Madison Square Garden in New York City. When McCallum returned to Jamaica it was to a hero’s welcome and a national holiday of celebration. Needless to say the business relationship between Steward and the new WBA champ was over when Duran agreed to face Hearns. McCallum signed with Duva Promotions and acquired a new trainer in George Benton.

Boxings knife edge

There are fewer boxers who would be as brave and fearless as Mannion as this fight showed. McCallum was a brave and master of his craft and wily as both were the Boston Irishman was in a league full of many different fighters whose status is now legendary. The wear and tear on Sean Mannion was carried with great grace and in the ring respect is crucial despite the hype and Entertainment content before and after. Fans love an equal match up no matter the level and each form get is unbelievably tough when this happens for both. McCallum would have gained plenty in this battle for the title. Sean Mannion would have gained his inner knowledge he took part in a dream. For Ros Muc and the man this was a sacrifice of his own body on the line at the utmost height of his capabilities. The fighting Irish would never have been more soundly represented and he was able to hold his head high and still can given the shear bloody mindedness.

The film puts over the main facts of diaspora identity challenges.  The homeplace Ros Muc is one many had been forced to leave. The land and commerce were limited. The former potato blight would have seen many very able people leave under duress and failure of the State governed under the yolk of a Sovereign Britain whose colonisation was upset in the USA which is the sole place immigrants could seek their ‘fortune’. They sought only to be given the tools to live if truth be told and many went beyond their own self beliefs and went to prove a point. That they were as good as anyone on the planet.

The likes of the mobsters featured self analyse with hubris and unwarranted inflated egos. A bullet is no replacement for a mans humanity or warrants a life being regarded as having value. Their sum is lost values and they have taken peoples lives without any remorse. The Boston Mafia also involved itself – after destroying people by exploiting addiction tendencies through monetising cocaine, then later heroin – in more money making schemes sending consignments of Arms and Semtex to Ireland to fuel a terrorists campaign which was itself bound in warped sense of self and national identity. The identity they chose to construct was a fantasy way beyond any Irish probity.

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The Cottage Padraic Pearse grew up in.

An fear a thug an Piarsach go Ros Muc
D’iarr Pádhraic Ó Conghaile ar Chonradh na Gaeilge duine a chur anuas as Bleá Cliath le scrúdú a chur orthu. Ba é an Piarsach a tháinig

The Other Star

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Conclusion ####4

A verdict is easily found for this film of it being a great life story of a brave Irishman well told.  The challenges in and out of the ring were contests which face many in less dramatic or intense ways.  A book Motherland came to mind as it involved travelling the length and breadth of Ireland to explore identity.

Certain things on the periphery but important to explain the man were tentatively danced around. Also the fate of MCallum was never given the strength of telling it deserved. Sean Mannion fought a man who none of the main men would fight – again an extract from ibroresearch.com –

the “Four Kings”, as writer George Kimball had called them; McCallum had failed in his attempt to get any of them into the ring. Marvin Hagler retired in 1987 after losing a disputed decision to Sugar Ray Leonard. Leonard was inactive in 1990 and would lose to Terry Norris by lopsided decision the following year. Roberto Duran, like Sugar Ray was also inactive in 1990, and would lose by TKO due to a shoulder injury to the infamous Pat Lawlor the following year. Tommy Hearns won a decision over Michael Olajide fourteen days after the Watson fight for his only activity of 1990. Did the “Four Kings”, duck the “Body Snatcher” or was he just a victim of timing. Boxing historians can debate the merits of that charge for the ages, but we can only speculate what would have happened if McCallum had been able to get any of them into the ring.

This is a telling part of a story not told. It’s a bit novicey to leave out the background in order to focus on the main event. McCallum fought in the UK a lot because of this. Ever good boxing show has an undercard and this is missing it. Connemara itself is a great underlying facto but again only family and drone shots give any true shape to this Atlantic outlier. America will love this underdog type approach as well as largely focused on the diaspora and Irish abroad. Nonetheless the story is only partially told and it is a sociologically complex one which has currency in our world today. What is the identity of Ireland now?

John Graham

24 November 2017

Belfast

from Friday 24 November 2017 until Thursday November 2017

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Movement is Political – more thoughts.

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Mayweather v McGregor : A Fight Review


The Fight Plan

It’s easy in hindsight to be an ‘aftertimer’ as Steve Bunce has as go to cliche for knowing everything after the event. We all have summoned the perfect recall of told you so type reflection. In fact it’s all part of analysis and is the comparative gauge we need use in everything. Some go overboard and embellish what they actually said and a story gains credibility the more often and repetitively it is spoken in so many different quarters.

From the beginning of the Mayweather McGregor fight being made uniting in a the bigger sports terms the MMA/UFC fighter Conor with a Boxing legend and multiple weight undefeated athlete Floyd both had a job to do to convince this match was worth spending money on to view. The show had begun.  


Hype 

By fight night the gap in the probability of McGregor pulling of his conceived showdown the business was done and the actual delivery of the match as a believable contest was set. People bought into it from every walk of life to fill the T-Mobile Arena and the TV revenues for pay per view had locked in an exchange of money which had multiples of contractual layers on the fighters side of the equation. They make the fight and they called the shots.  

Las Vegas Business
Seeing is believing in Las Vegas and the city of illusion was on full beam. Lighter gloves than permissible under rules, McGregor weighed in at 153lb and Mayweather at 146lb so both were close to the super Walter weight division and the age difference went 29 v 40. McGregor in the final few days called his opponent as in ‘no shape – blown out’. This to an athlete whose regime and self discipline over his two years out of the ring saw him shape up as dit as a boxer need be for a bout which could see him hospitalised if he was not fit.  
For ten rounds the fixation of a contest was the make believe made believable. The unforeseen; by legions of commentators up to and during the hype, unfolded. The attack of McGregor revealed his coaching and allied to his training which includes fist fighting, had prepared him well. He knew the raggedy UFC rules were out and both fighters had to abide to Queensbury rules. Despite this and ignored for the best part by the referee foul play was apparent in the small part theatrical of McGregor getting behind, literally and of his opponent complaining and using his forearm as a defense tool. The referee admonished the good bad guy. Mayweather. The cocky McGregor was the people’s man and he needed protected as the innocent in this against the prevailing expectations. All good so far.

Taking care of Business

Entertainment of a different kind was in view. Here was a cross discipline fight and the fighters delivered. Now you know the result, now you know the duration, and now the adrenaline has left satiating your and their escape calves we can look back on it in the Buncie way, as after timers for that is what every commentator is. What did you expect to see and what did you see? the questions alongside are will you even be bothered to frame an opinion of it in boxing terms?

Plainly many have cashed in their payment mentally and moved on. They got their value what else is their.


How did you read it?

Plenty is up for discussion. Where to for both the ‘disciplines’ now this fight was made and on all terms with everyone walking away a winner except the ill struck wagers of many heaping it on McGregor? This is a new entertainment and anything could happen. The reverse is unlikely to happen where two at the top of their game get in the Octagon and square off. Now is the time for looking back at what you saw and what it actually comprised.

The combat for me was a highly restrained but highly physical set of exchanges which went according to the agreed plan. The plan of Mayweather, which he described afterwards was part truth, ‘it went to my gameplan’ with him saying it was in his plan to let McGregor box himself out early and step in a 25mins and finish it off. There is no doubt that is what happened. What l have a distaste for is the fact it was strung out as a supposed contest up to the ‘value’ tenth round and within the distance. Up to the point where all woul go away satisfied. Mayweather on top within the distance and the victor as befits his power, defence and punching. It would become thecclosing of a legend All of Fame carrier with 50 ‘belt’ victories after his Olympic debut as a youngster when he got a bronze. If both were on the same gameplay or not is open to debate. 

Neutral Corner
The Mayweather we saw was invincible. That is what he is. At forty years of age he has the brutal strength to maintain his skills and his control of how mentally fights unfold. He dictates. It could have been over in the first round had he wished it to. It could have been over in the third had he wished it to. What we witnessed was a sham fight with it inevitably coming down to the blitz which saw the referee step in and declare it over. What we did not see was a defense from McGregor. He hadn’t got one then and earlier it would have been some flailing and hopeful shots against a barrage from a boxer who knows the difference between an uppercut and a jab and when the combinations should come and where they were to be delivered.  


Polished theatre 

There is no reason other than showbiz as to why this did not happen. It would have been and gone in an instant had this mismatch, which all, or basically all the professional commentators called it right up to the deadline. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but so is stepping back and taking a good look at the bigger picture. The punters got what they wanted. The uncertainty of sport to deliver beyond their wildest dreams or on the threshold of the dream. As it unfolded it was clear Mayweather could have chosen exactly when to step in as he did in the tenth round and deliver that unstoppable action. Anytime not Showtime. McGregor is safely in his corner as the protagonist who will fight another day but will anyone realise they witnessed a framed mismatch which was formed on a carefully arranged gameplan and that what they say was a debacle for as many millions to be had as rope a dopes?

John Graham

28 August 2017

Belfast

This is purely an opinion and has not any basis on which it can be put forward as having any thrush. It is supposition and only an alternate discussion point.
A review of films to return again quickly with Farthest next up.

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Jawbone : A Film Review


Jawbone

Produced by Michael Elliott, Johnny Harris. Written by Johnny Harris.  Cast. Johnny Harris as Jimmy McCabe, Ray Winstone as William Carney, Ian McShane as Joe Padgett, Michael Smiley as Eddie, Luke J.I. Smith as Damian, Anna Wilson-Hall as Mary. Director : Thomas Q. Napper. Duration: 1 hr 31 mins. Cert. 15. 

Seconds out

There is no place to go for anyone whose hope has gone.  The future is a place of roadkill.  It will swallow you up.  The mind sees things it cannot control and the future is best left alone so horrendous it seems looking forward.  So what is there to do except go backwards.  Unwind the past beyond the turmoil which formed the bridge between then and now.   Jimmy McCabe (Johnny Harris) has hope but fear also and his upbringing has been in a closed world of boxing.  A neutral corner in his life. A year ago his mother died and he is about to lose through this own disconnection with the world the tower block flat he grew up in.  His family as young boxer were his trainer Eddie (Michael Smiley), promoter Joe (Ian McShane), and club owner Bill (Ray Winstone). He is in control only when he is in the ring as a fighter. As a boxer he became at 22 an ABA (Amateur Boxing Association) champion which is the biggest step on the ladder to becoming a professional. 


Boxing bored of control

In boxing you are either a boxer or a fighter.  Unless you are gifted and are both you will not succeed unless you are so beyond being a fighter you become a warrior or like Evander Holyfield lightening quick and as balanced as a dancer at the height of their powers.  Some boxers are so gifted as to become a capable of outwitting your opponent in every move as it’s seen in advance and a matter of choosing the right time to unleash their demons.  Seldom do boxers come through on the scale needed to sustain a living.  Joe Calzaghe was a Welsh boxer who trained in himself with his father to be hard as nails and in a club without any distractions or manipulative promoters after a quick return and fall guys.  Another was Ricky Hatton who grew a Manchester and bigger following to become a super light middleweight and his craft was speed and accuracy.  A dynamite boxer fearless, fit and fast.  Joe Calzaghe was able to handle his rise through the ranks and another Carl Froch came up with him to be British World Champion boxers. 


Jimmy McCabe is a fictional boxer and this a cut at the boxing life not seen that often in film, never mind a British film.  The boxing clubs that thrive in the working class areas and inner cities from Manilla to Manchester.  This is not at the turbulent Rocky out on your feet kamikaze ruthless blood letting film which has arches of blood swooshing around and miracles off the canvas. Yet it has as a climax a fight choreographed by Barry and Shane McGuigan.  Those two also ‘advise’ ‘train’ the boxers/actors in their ring craft in the club.  Just as well it’s not true, they couldn’t train white mice. So much than you’ll not get a sequence here, how many Rocky’s?  Taking boxing by the throats is what the promoter does.  

Joe (Ian McShane), is a character smart from his Deadwood part, here as the chief fixer and fight maker.  He appears only a few times and is played as a cross between Ronnie O’Sullivan and Barry Hearn.  One a joker maverick skilled player and the other super spiv Svengali deal maker. It doesn’t amount to much here though and it’s only a passing element. He is close to fight arrangements and sets up something for Jimmy.  It is off the usual boxing radar and highly dangerous. His skill is publicity and hype as marketing need appeal to the lower end of the market, promising this is only the beginning.  It’s usually the beginning of the end as a fighters roster needs to contain a win to loss ratio of 10 to zero.  Amateur ranks are full of talent but their ring craft is for three rounds although in tournaments they find themselves boxing every three days sometimes.


The setting

The film has a straight forward arc and is from the very beginning establishing the despair and near collapse in Jimmy’s life where things pile up and haunt him.  He is fighting addiction and is near loosing his bearings which went after his mum died.  He now is in a fixed loop with nowhere to turn and the boxing is the only thing in his mind with any real pleasure or self of self.  He is not able to fix himself without some help so goes back to the Union Street Boxing Club.  In the club the old faces of Bill (Ray Winston) who is the overseer in the under the railway arches of South East London, Lambeth and beyond, is a reconstructed hardman type as age catches up with the character and the actor.  He portrays it as always with supremely brilliant timing and facial tone.  The rough and readiness is not a put on but an everyday projection of life in the lower reaches of boxing.  He is also the deliverer of some very well crafted lines and the delivery is as I say supremely well gauged as usual for Winstone.  Eddie (Michael Smiley) has apart of a dog eyed trainer.  His long bearded face, the hound of the training ring, delivered in nasal bass Belfast notes by a flaccid poor one dimensional character which Smiley occupies as a reciter of the McGuigan training words and gestures.  Then his other acting skill was to use his hands holding Jimmy’s head in place while he delivered a heated bit of encouragement.  One thing I noticed was he barely ‘smiled,’ no pun intended nor moved a great deal.  No animation whatsoever and someone said it was ‘brilliant’ – some mistake! – and we never got to see his impressive new gnashers.  Good boxers have a good set of teeth if they come out the other end and can afford the replacements the gum shield and constant battering have loosened.  Jimmy McCabe (Johnny Harris) has an impressive set.  Eddie occupies an awful lot of the film as it is shot mainly in the club with a lot of outdoor work and nighttime embankment solid very well filmed and a continuation of the work Jimmy puts in – and it’s far from fake – you get a strong sense of the depths of fitness needed for a fight and it is increased and increased with every frame.  In the club there are the newest recruits to boxing.  A failure of the story was its lack of engagement with any of the junior ranks.  Not one said a word.  Not even conversational asides.  Still this was a minor problem though the same could be said about the plainness of the storylines given.  Not too many sub plots.  So Eddie was ‘boring?’ but not Bill who you got some change from watching his mastery of the part.  Jimmy AKA Johnny Harris has put his heart and soul into this film and it is this ‘tunnel’ perhaps that separate it from being a great British film of the times, Tales of the Long distance Runner, Saturday Night, Sunday Morning genre.  

 

Redemption

Salvaging something out of a life of addiction and getting beyond the harmful effects, which can be lasting and take the edge of everything including pain, is a redemptive cause.  Celebration can come if a success is made of it.  Lately Antony Joshua became a world champion at 26 having been through a few of life’s knockdowns which involved petty crime and misuse of his strength involving also electronic tagging.  His tale is a reality. A very timely one as far as this film is concerned.  There is an unobtrusive soundtrack and it is by Paul Weller showing mixing skills hitherto unheard by myself with it used very smartly (in the way Raw and Jim Williams didn’t – see last review!) with it enhancing the impact of thumping sound mixed punches and scene crowd hysteria with an energy which has you move you chin out of the way of the latest punch.  It is a good cal to have it scored so well and with a light touch. 

Conclusion ###3

For a film to get you gripped by the main character it requires a bit of screenwriter craft to draw you into the essence of the person.  I never got that until it was too late with this.  It was actually in the last third with very little drama involving pathos or sympathy in the arc and I suppose it is because the character Jimmy is an enigma.  He was less enigma towards the end.  As a boxer it is a lonely place to be.  Every boxer is on the way to proving his worth and is out to give up little of his emotional underlying self.  Ricky Hatton, even Muhammad Ali were underneath a construct of multiple persons.  The violent man was suppressed most of the time while they were bodily mentally tuned to be destroyers and to reach the top they had to be just that.  Hence the incomparable Ali performing as a spokesman contender for the whole of the sportsmen of his and any era.  The affable side we also know and love. A master.  This is where the minutiae of live comes into crystal clear focus.  If we were able to see inside a bit more and discover the obvious and real demons – in the minds of al kinds Oscar sportsmen then this would have been a flyer.  That’s not to say it’s a dud.  Far from it.  It’s just that it got the canvas too many times.

John Graham

10 May 2017

Belfast
On at Queens Film Theatre from this Friday 12 May through to and including Thursday 18 May.  For Boxing fans a must.

Irish Open Golf 2015

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Breathtaking Nature Unconcealed
Bring Hope
The end of May is supposed to allow Summer to come gently in but with might and gusto the trail blazing winds and sea frets tore at the dunes covered in grassland, marram turf and whin bush making up the Newcastle County Down Golf Course sat at the foot of the Mourne Mountains.

For the last four days of May playing host to players of Golf it was to prove a vicarious tormenting sometimes toiling experience.
Not only but also.
Summoning up the skills to balance and control a golf ball over a customary eighteen adventurously man fashioned distances and contoured landscape to finish on a gauge of mastery found by the minimum of strokes it takes to convey a golf ball from tee to mug sized cup is not a conventional or apparently logical use of physical or mental skills.
Making it difficult not easy.
Yet it has for several centuries become a fascinating well
to draw from in causing endless retrospective, potential and most of all in the moment joyous sense of what I take to be primordial, elementary, fixation on the human state of natural connection with most of those places and conspiratorial configured by our perceptions of locality.

Forces combine.
Without the Mountains – they are not part of the course, – without the sea, – it too is not part of the course, what are we faced with at the course known as Royal County Down but a knot of construed sand dunes and grass lands bound into a rough cast then honed set of eighteen – the primary course, as other holes are intermittent and ‘resting’ often – towards a settlement on which to set foot with an assemblage of ironmongery, joinery and grassland tools such that a small white ball of flexible durable quality can be struck off, a European grass, Sieglingia decumbens, growing in spongy, wet, cold soils. with velocity, trajectory and proposed direction of flight to that other place.
It takes a bit of persuading some other use may have been made for it. The inhospitable links possibly a rehearsal of a Coney Island, (rabbit farm) or farming of a specialist kind. Not for living on and fit for Jurassic mammals.
The best there is.
Reaching a goal about four inches radius is tricky in most circumstances and here inestimably, unprovable, untestable, though in about 100% of people who are ever likely to have gone and been beholden of the place in certain conditions would attribute as being the wholly best golf course to be found anywhere in the world or any where else in Gods wonderous creation is spectacularly axiomatic.
Our concordats
Standing on the maram grass plans of the Slieve Donard foothills and swathes as they have long left the mountain or been carved of the sea into grains of land, a voltage of intense human credulity is experienced as the combinations of sporting witness and wonderment of the elemental forces and three co-ordinates make anyone alive to the fact they are just that, alive in a world of immense complex functional concordance.
Eighty percent automatic.
It is such a breathtaking location the eighty percent of our brainpower devoted continually to our senses, scientific fact, has within it amassed another priceline we know is the wonder of God. To that we recourse within ourselves to the outside immediacy that heavenly truth.

There is no place for anything else. Here is the human race aside the mountain and paying homage to the wonder by finding the paradoxical limits it can be persuaded to form a measure of accountable belonging.

We were not put here for games but here there it is only the beginning.

Playing and watching.
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Four days.
Wind and Sea
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Like a fairground attraction the limits of elements are to be persuaded as unconquerable on this certainty resides. So the first few days of very windy and wet weather which fell on and disrupted the play to the extent very skilled Golfers frustrations grew to such an extent they got to find their limits for a round of Golf with wind howling, dragging their trajected ball off their intended target into rough, spectators, bushes, or bunkers never invisaged became common place.

Low flight, understanding the variables became a set of new honed estimation. Never clear if correct but for some near to the mark it found lack in many of a different ilk. Some even entered tamely into distracted adherence to false readings of their skills at adaption and the conditions, nature took over.

Some played over around nature.

Housekeeping.
Please note any ‘action shots’ are taken in preparation play so I did not invoke any censure of the many Marshall’s. The ban on photography with the ubiquitous iPhone is not called for and what could be objectionable would be continually filming or taking shots in the close proximity and in the flow of thinking time. People can and should be careful and acknowledge this game has heaps ridding on the slightest thing.
I also noted it was hard to follow as boards were down due to their causing spectator injury on earlier days. Knowing who it was you were looking at was often difficult to ascertain.

Day 4. Down the first. imageDanny Willet’s first shot came up to my elevated mid fairway position to nestle in a fairly good lie. He went on with this wind howling about him to figure at 68 for his round the lowest of the day.imageReaching the green was simple but approach it seemed was to be taken with compelling skillful reading of the conditions that he found in abundance.image
Similarly playing partner, Moritz Lampert was a little lower and of the green with his first.

Conditions were very often when putting into thirty mph headwinds and strong hitters still had to contend with joint higher cross winds as off the banks the shelter would alter the wind in velocity and direction.
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Down this hole the wind was from the right of the photo looking back to tee but when one or two played it they shot it too high and also with insufficient force and got a lie on the other side of the mound of bank, sans bunkers, un- sighting the hole.
Angel looses it!!
From a left lie on the fairway, perfectly judged, Angel Jimenez actually could just get sight of the flag. But he fired his second shot in not allowing for the lower trajectory flight having less effect than windy conditions would appear having forgotten to afford some leniency, which was to prevail, from that bank, mound. He landed on the left of the green about thirty five feet from the hole and then putted across. It came up well short as the wind was misread again.

From a pleasant walk down this fairway to get the remainder wrong saw him fume in a fit of rage and fire his putter into the whin bushes behind him!! He, the realist, found his skills tested so much the joviality or confident air severely tested by this extraordinary course.image
The Sailor down the ninth.
Earlier on, before I took this photo I saw a tall man in a white cap from the edge of the eighth green take one putt and place his hands on his hips. It went by on this exposed, elevated green. Then he tried again from the opposite direction. It failed to drop. Then in a slower address and slightly closer he managed to putt the ball. He double bogeyed.

Here he is coming up the fairway of this ninth hole, with his usual sailors walk. Even Matt Ford, the playing partneris now in step. It is the legend in those and these arts Padraig Harrington.
A smile it seems is in place. He would bogey a few more as this relatively contestable set of conditions were to become merciless for him later. imageThis is a save for McDowell who did impress from the little I saw of him. He is like a Rafa Nadal on clay and grinds out a result.
Out on his own for a Sunday walk, his partner Paul McGinley was scratched due to a back injury, came , to his arrival at this green which he played to with great accuracy in order to take a low lofted approach, the wind here was between twenty and forty and was at ground level, meaning it was fierce enough to cut the grass had it been your back lawn and not this deep rooted variety.
He had these two card keepers one of whom wanted to play alongside him but could not summon up the question knowing it wasn’t cricket to ask.
The ball landed in a perfect spot on the green and this guy can really play a game of Golf even if it is by himself. He is also a very strong hitter of the ball but may lack the fairway distance many tournaments go sweet by – is it for the sale of Golf Clubs? – your guess is as good as my belief!

On those holes which are relatively sheltered on both sides with low banks there was continual misreading.imageThis poor chap. Lee Slattery, had by luck when the tee shot hit a bank on the left hit it in the mid section of its four foot height and therefore below the whin bushes rooted on top of it, made it to the green on the left with a long put.
You can tell! He is off the green with one leg to read to the relatively sympathetically placed centred hole. Few birdies here it seemed except for later leaders. imageThe previous hole at the end which backs onto the hideous caravan park is near the the for this hole. It was a par three and Mr Shane (wedgie) Lowry made a proper save being up a short bank of the sort a mountain goat might take advantage of and holed out for the three.
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There were only two birdies up to that point and I witnessed one just before which makes for good spectating. It drew from a fellow spectator in a Rosses Point, County Sligo no nonsense fleece/pullover – following Shane who hails from Sligo and that famous and beautiful links, the fullest of praise for the skills of the players and the extraordinary location which he had played around in the fifties. And he remembered this hole.
imageThe wonderful Thongchaia Jaidee A new hero of mine who went round on his own in 72 with McGinley laid up..image
imageApproach shot to the 12th I think.image
Later he has another easy save for par.imageMore merciless Golf.imageImage is everything Luke Donald enjoys the chase up with Eddie Pepperwell at the serious end on 17.
The seventeenth is fronted by a ridiculous triangle of a pond.
Every single player drew up about ten feet in front and lofted a stroke to land basically behind the flag. This is where the downfall of the consistently playing on the back nine came adrift momentarily for Soren Kjeldsen as he three putted here from the far left side of the green. A slight downward slope.
He went on, was not the only one, Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Eddie Pepperwell went down the final hole (before the expected – and looming playa off – to play the relatively benign 18th in very ragged fashion. imageThe business end.
Wiesberger has a nice – though you can barely see it, lie.
This is the play-off hole.image
This is Soren having a crafty look at the lie of Bernd’s tee shot on the play-off hole.
“Look’s like he’s in a spot of bother old chap!”
Then the chip from Bernd.imageThe swing.
imageThe ‘relief’of applause ripples back to here.imageThe weather had relented by then and conditions were a lot calmer but these guys, Cabrera-Bello particularly, Kjeldsen, Pepperwell and the slightly floundering Wiesberger took to the eighteenth in a raggedy fashion. The shot across green left to right of Kjeldsen particularly was one which went from low swale over the top crown of the green to low swale on the opposite side and he was damn fortunate to sink the four/five footer for a save.
Onto the business end and at the point I stood Bernd Wiesberger struck his tee shot, he went second, SJ had a nice fairway lie, straight over my head to within four feet of me.
It was a safe enough lie as the photos here show and was within thirty feet of the green with the flag unsighted.

The rest is history and it was a brilliant finish.image
We will cross that bridge when we come to it.
Darren Clarke and the crew wanting Links Golf to become a natural barometer of this decades Golf seasons afterwards went into a chorus of “it really depends what Rory’s calendar suits but it would be better to have it later and avoid the prospect of atrocious weather.” I disagree. Yes move it up into July fortnight! But it is a special course and all that played it over the 4 days can say they played as challenging set of holes as ever likely to be encountered and conditions were not for long hitting automaton Golf or for certain skill sets. It was for sportsmen well able to see and adapt and some luck undoubtedly prevailed but as a test it was truly a fantastic bewitching natural embodiment of this oddest of pastimes come 21st century addictive affliction making many people lots of money and in the background persuading them of their least available skill sets en route.
Rory Foundation.
It was straight out of the bag a heartfelt connection Rory McIlroy felt for his compatriots here in Northern Ireland going through tremendous struggle of a kind he had; and hopefully he remains free of from closeness as most want and wish, to the unexplained illness burden carried by the smallest in physical strength – children carrying Cancer genes which has diminished their access to even the briefest encounter with the opposite side of God’s wonders.
World No.1 golfer Rory McIlroy officially opened Cancer Fund for Children’s Therapeutic Short Break Centre, Daisy Lodge, in Newcastle Northern Ireland on Tuesday 7th October 2014. The new centre, which is the first of its kind in the UK and Ireland, will provide short breaks to up to 500 families a year affected by cancer.
This is by it’s very nature going to be a cause in which he will and has invested his abundance of goodwill and wish to do something with what he has acquired. He knows only too wel he has been gifted a life through be it the foresightedness of his parents, his background in one of the finest locations in the world for his adopted sport with the skill set to take him to the very top.
In those few short years his exemplary approach has been to be creative and he founded quite literally his own reasoned approach and outreach with immense approachable common sense prevailing.

This is truly a suitable accompaniment to the game of Golf and thou

John Graham

2 June 2015

Belfast

Epsom and Special places.
The very amplitude and significance of such variations though across decades are exemplified by memory and likewise I suggested from whatever era it was un shifting. I mentioned that having lived in Epsom a very long time and witnessed, walked the course and knew the undulations extremely well that it remains a true test of a racehorse and seldom a bad one wins though some years are occasionally lacking in luster.
Courses for Horses
For the record I would have let Gleneagles take his chance but knowing trainers can conceal things, (Tamure 2nd to unraced at 2 Lammtara, spent a week with his foot in a bucket of ice almost and while we knew something was array we, the Public on whose money it all depends, didn’t know what.
John Gosden kept his cards close and Tamure went lame about sixty yards out on those undulations and took a hammering as Lammtara raced to the line alone. Still, it was a sacrifice Gosden didn’t have to make, only the horses welfare which he failed miserably being laconic as usual about the vagaries only numbers game race trainers are familiar with.) so with regret I ignore his two as who knows what goes on in that yard or what suits the animals, Golden Horn and Jack Hobbs. I think the make and shape of Hans Holbein makes it possible he will have improved filled even in the past month to be settled and staying on at the finish. Other than that I would hope Elm Park got his slight ease in the ground and they similarly came back to him. The Derby always has a skyrocket setting some idiotic case and this may also be the case on this Saturday. Nothing special has appeared so far so even by default the likes of Golden Horn may stay on and win.