Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Honors for Manxmen

Mark Shimmin, from Douglas, has been appointed MBE for services to the Isle of Man government and economy.
The 56-year-old retired as the island's chief financial officer in April and said he was taken aback by the honour but "very excited and thrilled".
Mike Kewley, 63, who retired as clerk to Port Erin commissioners in February, has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM).
'Gratitude for support'
The Manx government described Mr Shimmin, who worked as a civil servant for 30 years, as the driving force behind the Small Countries Financial Management Programme.
Mr Shimmin said: "From my point of view the honour is for the civil service as a whole [and a way of] expressing my gratitude for the support I received from my colleagues, particularly the Treasury."
Mr Kewley, who was born in Port Erin, was awarded the BEM for 40 years' service to local government and the community.
Mike Kewley
Mike Kewley said the BEM award was "surreal"
As well as lecturing on the Isle of Man's authority legislation and election procedures, Mr Kewley has campaigned for sheltered housing for the elderly in Port Erin and helps numerous groups and charities including the Parish of Rushen's parochial church council.
He said the award was "surreal".
"I am extremely surprised and amazed and very excited," said Mr Kewley.
"I don't think I have done anything special, though.
"Hundreds of people are involved with voluntary organisations and charities and have worked hard, too."

Monday, December 30, 2013

Blass – An Album of Good Taste




Blass (Manx Gaelic for flavour or taste) is a new CD which reaches out from the developing Manx traditional music scene, revealing a younger generation of musicians with their own ideas and interpretation of both traditional and original material.

It’s a juicy collection of Manx music providing two tracks each from five previously unrecorded solo artists or groups from the contemporary traditional scene, and includes a rare opportunity to hear recordings by the popular duo Strengyn.

Bursting with instrumental and vocal talent, this CD is a confident little number, expressing a maturity and confidence which delights in pushing the boundaries and providing fresh ideas from innumerable sources. Listeners may detect Latin rhythms, a little rock, or the trace of a cuckoo’s call amongst a selection of tunes which reflects a growing quantity of contemporary ideas as diverse as a mouth-watering burger, a plastic octopus and the unprecedented popularity of the ubiquitous iPhone. Bur for those with a more traditional preference the recording is balanced with a number of familiar melodies collected in previous years by diligent cultural field workers.

Produced by the Manx Heritage Foundation, it’s a colourful and sensitive performance which presents a growing confidence in the continuity of the traditional music scene on the Isle of Man.

Available throughout the Island priced at £10.

Valerie Caine
© December 2013

(Courtesy of Manx Life)


St. Stephen's Day shenanigans

As the Isle of Man enjoys a brief respite after being pounded incessantly by ferocious winter storms, which forced an increasing number of cancelled sailings to the UK and Ireland and an unscheduled journey by the Isle of Man Steam Packet on Christmas Day, here's a selection of photographs from St Stephen's Day (Boxing Day) as people enjoyed Hunt the Wren and the annual Cammag Match in some much needed winter sunshine!
Cammag is not for the faint-hearted
 
Valerie Caine
(Copyright: Photos)
A spectator relaxes


Hunting the wren!

The wren died of natural causes.

Mollag Ghennal

Once again the annual Mollag Ghennal bridged the gap between Christmas and the New Year with a fine selection of  music, song and dance at the Masonic Hall in Douglas. Organised by the mighty Mollag Band (new CD out soon) it was, as usual, a sell-out as revellers enjoyed a range of Manx traditional music from the contemporary scene.
 
Lately there's been a surge of young musicians coming to the fore with their own unique approach to Manx folk music, many of whom entertained an enthusiastic audience with some of their latest arrangements.
 
Compered by Bob Carswell, the evening kicked off with some lively unaccompanied singing by Manx Gaelic choir Caarjyn Cooidjagh and was swiftly followed by Manx vocalist Ruth Keggin accompanied by David Kilgallon. Musicians ebbed and flowed throughout the night with appearances by the Barefoot Quartet (with special guest Cairistiona Dougherty), and some spirited entertainment by four young and energetic Manx dancers.
 
There was a surprise performance by Davy Knowles, filmed as part of an on-going documentary for Island of Culture 2014, and later a rare opportunity to listen to the evergreen Mollag Band with some of their most memorable songs. As the evening drew to a close there was a chance to hear local trio Scammylt followed by all-male line-up Barrule who raised the roof with their spirited interpretation of Manx music and obliged an ecstatic audience with a much requested encore.
 
Valerie Caine
(Copyright:Photos)
December 2013
 


Cairistiona Dougherty

Friday, December 27, 2013

Perwick Bay, near Port St. Mary. 
Strong winds have led to flight and ferry cancellations to and from the Isle of Man.
The Isle of Man Met Office forecast severe gale to storm force gusts reaching up to 80mph (130km/h) over the Irish Sea on Friday.
Two flights from Blackpool Airport and the return flights from the Isle of Man Airport have been cancelled.
The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company cancelled the 08:45 GMT Douglas to Heysham sailing and the 14:15 return.
The ferry operators said the 19:45 Douglas to Heysham, Lancashire crossing would depart at 21:00.
It said Saturday's 02:15 ferry from Heysham to Douglas would also be delayed by 45 minutes.
An Isle of Man Steam Packet spokesman apologised for the inconvenience to passengers and advised them to check its website for further updates.
Isle of Man Constabulary said numerous trees had fallen down across the island some of which had brought down overhead power cables and led to road closures but there had been no reports of any injuries.
A spokesman for Manx Electricity said there had been a few incidents but engineers had been working through the night to keep supplies on.

Thanks to the Ellan Vannin page on the BBC for the report.

Cheap hotel deal in London near Tube.

I pasted this from an email and it looks weird but should work! Just in case it doesn't here's the website URL:http://www.capilonhotels.com

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With discounted rates starting at just 35GBP per night* including VAT and breakfast, now's the time to grab a bargain!

Monday, December 23, 2013

David Byrne and Nancy Corkish to Exhibit at The Isle Gallery

David Byrne

 Two of the Island's finest artists ~ feast your eyes!

David Byrne
Many artists have been drawn by the unusual light and color formation to paint both landscapes and seascapes of the Isle of Man over the centuries, including two of our foremost contemporary artists David Byrne and Nancy Corkish, who will be exhibiting at The Isle Gallery in Tynwald Mills throughout December.

David and Nancy may need to take turns at a single kitchen table to work, but living at Cregneash, with unrivalled views of the Calf of Man and the Sound, it’s hardly surprising that these talented individuals continue to be inspired by their surroundings, with a synergy that would be the envy of many couples. 

Manxman David Byrne began painting in 1956 and has lived on the Isle of Man all his life, working predominantly with watercolours and pastels, regularly exhibiting landscapes and seascapes in local art shows and galleries, and travelling extensively with his wife, as they explore destinations beyond these Island shores with a keen eye for detail and a flurry of expectation. But despite having had work hung in the Royal Institute of Watercolour Painters in London, the Pastel Society and The Royal Cambrian Academy in Wales, David remains concerned, if not pre-occupied, with the Isle of Man and its ‘Manxness’.

Meanwhile, Yorkshire-born Nancy Corkish had her first foray into the Island’s art scene during the 1960s when she attended art adult education classes at the Isle of Man College of Further Education. It’s clear that her tutors, Norman Sayle TH and George Crellin made a huge impact on her artistic life, as she too eventually discovered a preference for using watercolours and pastels. Nancy was to work with Norman Sayle again when she attended evening classes to extend her range and style, but although he was both questioning and challenging, believes that this proved an invaluable grounding for her subsequent career. 

Nancy Corkish
Recognised as a regular exhibitor in the Isle of Man Art Society’s Easter Exhibition, at the Mannin Art Group Summer Show and various galleries, Nancy also branched out into designing stamps for Isle of Man Post Office and gift items for Manx National Heritage.

Without doubt their closeness to nature and the continuously changing light, largely unaffected by the harshness of street lamps and other suburban necessities, allows a never-ending stream of ideas to loosen on their consciousness and give free reign to their combined talent.

Nancy Corkish
But with their latest exhibition at The Isle Gallery there’s a chance to see the beauty of this Island through the eyes of both David and Nancy as we move with synchronicity into the year 2014 which has been appropriately designated Island of Culture.

The exhibition runs from 5th December, 2013 until 5th January, 2014, with opening hours available on the gallery’s website or on their Facebook page.




Valerie Caine © December 2013 
(Courtesy of Manx Life)


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

"Cregneash, we have a problem"

“Cregneash, we have a problem” –
An irreverent look at the Isle of Man space programme

If only we were there! This looks such a great event.

This Christmas the Manx Museum brings a take on the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, with a talk entitled “Cregneash, we have a problem” by local astronomer and space historian Howard Parkin, who will take an irreverent and amusing look at the Isle of Man space programme. The lecture is being held on Saturday 21st December at 2.30pm and will include a look at just why we are regarded as the fifth most likely nation to return a man to the Moon!

Using exclusive footage, Howard will tell us all about the various Manx space launch initiatives, and play a rendition of The Shenanigans Band, (the infamous Manx folk rock band) song, "The Isle of Man's joined the space race" as well as some of the more humorous attempts of mankind attempts to explore the Moon, Mars and beyond.

As well as a keen astronomer and renowned speaker on the subject, Howard is Director of Astromanx, an astronomy promotion company leading the Isle of Man’s Dark Skies initiative, and also Chairman of the Isle of Man Astronomical Society.

Howard said;
"We thought it would be fun to take a seasonal and humorous look at "Mann" kinds attempts to explore strange new worlds and to boldly go where no Manx man has gone before!"

Entry to the lecture is free, but please ensure you arrive early as seats will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Manx Fairy Tales by Sophia Morrison

This outstanding collection of stories, initially published in 1911, has lost none of its original appeal, with its reissue by Lily Publications bringing these thought-provoking tales to a new audience.


Earlier editions were presented in a much simpler style, but with the assistance of Manx Gaelic speaker Bob Carswell, Island based illustrator Julia Ashby Smyth and the Manx Heritage Foundation, these stories have been developed into an eye-catching and memorable book.

These classic tales are testimony to Sophia’s work, and introduces readers to some of the great characters from Manx mythology by using stories with a prophetic or moralistic tone.

Incorporating familiar place-names with copious amounts of humour and drama, this selection of wide-ranging stories has been edited by Bob Carswell, offering a contemporary feel to this well-presented hard back edition.

But the stories have also been richly illustrated with the original and outstanding artwork of Julia Ashby Smyth, bringing a whole range of Manx characters to life in an explosion of colourful and dynamic interpretation.

To complement this edition a selection of stories have been chosen for inclusion on an exciting CD in collaboration with the Manx Heritage Foundation, using a number of local readers and some impressive sound affects.

Available from Island bookshops, or directly from Lily Publications, this timeless classic is priced at £16.

lilypublications.co.uk

Valerie Caine

© December 2013

New Desktop Calendars for 2014


With scenic views of the Isle of Man becoming increasingly popular, a selection of desktop calendars, newly available for 2014, would make an ideal stocking filler this Christmas, and brighten up the office on any day of the year.

Designed by local photographer, John Bennett, his distinctive style has resulted in two compact desk calendars, one featuring a range of f

amiliar scenes focusing on different areas of the Island and the other concentrating exclusively on his home town of Peel.

John employs a layering technique to his images, which result in a number of dramatic and vibrant scenes, which quickly absorb the viewer into the landscape with their colourful imagery; reminding us how beautiful the Island can be during any season.

Their compact arrangement allows for quick reminders to be written on the reverse of the monthly picture with the outer casing doubling as a sturdy display stand, bringing a splash of colour to those dismal days when the sun doesn’t shine!

Both calendars, which are printed locally, show the Isle of Man at its best, and are a perfect size for a small, padded envelope, and would make a great gift for friends or family living off the Island.

They’re available from a wide selection of outlets in Peel, or direct from John’s website.


Valerie Caine
© December 2013

(Courtesy of Manx Life)