Archive for the ‘entertainment’ Category

A Night of Passion

April 13, 2014

Passion

This was going to be a busy night dancing between three events ..

First up Eamon Curtin, Programme Manager of the IGNITE Programme had arranged for an incredible speaker to tell us about his fantastic start-up journeys. Raomal Perera, now a Professor of Entrepreneurship told the group of young entrepreneurs about how he scaled the dizzy heights with two companies, ISOCOR (listed on NASDAQ in 1996), which he sold and Network365, which was ultimately purchased by Intel in 2013.

Raomal PereraThe very passionate and honest Raomal,who has won many entrepreneur awards gave the group precious advice about funding a business and dealing with Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists. He told the group that the first things they look for in a young business they consider investing in, is the Integrity and PASSION of the people involved.

Next up we headed to L’Atitude 51 for the International Wine and Food SocietyBest of Local Producers” event where we sampled the best of wine which was carefully selected by the joint owner Beverley Mathews who is as passionate about wine as the guest food producers.

The wine was accompanied by the finest food from some of the best of local food producers. We heard from Frank Hederman who has been smoking salmon for over 30 years, we heard from the owner of On The Pigs Back about the fantastic cheeses and best of all was our butcher from Kanturk.

Jack McCarthy, Butcher KanturkJack McCarthy, 5th generation butcher was both entertaining and no-nonsense as he lit up the room with his passion for spicing beef, black pudding, haggis and tongue – you just wanted to plan an immediate trip to Kanturk and stock up on anything that this passionate man was selling.

Our final event of the evening was the Mark Geary gig at Coughlan’s Bar, which has just been voted IMRO’s best live venue in Ireland. This is an incredible and well deserved accolade for this cosy venue, which is a huge credit to the woman behind all of this, Edel Curtin. Bands all over Ireland and Cork music fans are lucky to have such a passionate person as Edel bringing us great gigs in such an intimate venue on a regular basis.

Mark Geary

After a little wait our buddy Mark Geary and his band of merry men and the fabulous Grainne Hunt came on stage and entertained us in his inimitable style complete with great songs, great story telling and a special sense of humour. This was a great gig with a special solo cover of a Tom Waits song by Grainne ..beautiful!

Mark could have brought a small band with him for this intimate gig but this is a passionate artist who prefers to give his audience everything instead of making a few extra bob and doing just enough.

We had a really great and quite diverse night, but the one thing that was the same and made everything special, whether it was business, wine, food, music or running a venue was Passion.

Raomal was right …Passion is the most important ingredient of all.

Does what you do allow your passion to shine through? 

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

 

Uncle Neilly and the importance of telling stories

December 15, 2013

David Gray - Cork Opera House

Recently we were lucky enough to see the fabulous David Gray performing at the Cork Opera House – while I have always loved his music it was the first time seeing him in concert and he didn’t disappoint.

He has an incredible voice, fabulous songs and he delivered a very special performance with the help of a gifted band. He showcased some tracks from his new album, which were really strong.

Lisa O'Neill - singerBefore David Gray we had a support act, singer song writer Lisa O’Neill from Cavan who entertained the crowd with her unique style. I hadn’t heard of her before, which seemed to be the case with pretty much most of the audience who had taken their seats early.

It must be difficult entertaining the crowd when your songs aren’t familiar to them and when in truth they are not there to see you at all.

Lisa did something very clever to endear herself to the crowd – she told us stories.

She told us about the honour of being on tour with David Gray and how stunned she was when he asked her to tour the United States with him. While she wanted to grab this opportunity she was apprehensive as an uncle she was very close to, Neilly was suffering badly with cancer.

When her uncle heard this he insisted that she went and gave her €500 to make sure she “always bought a round when it was her turn“.

When she was on tour she kept Uncle Neilly up to date with her experiences and the one thing that fascinated her were fireflies. She had never seen these before and at night on the tour bus she saw many of them who politely decorated the windscreen on a regular basis.

“This song is for Neilly who isn’t with us anymore”. Lisa had our attention and had won us over.

After a really great night and a memorable performance by an artist I really like the thing I remember most is the story about Uncle Neilly.

Whenever you are pitching or selling your wares try to tell a story to bring it to life and most importantly one that makes them remember you.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin

Katy Perry and her Twitter Tips

November 26, 2013

Katy Perry - Twitter Tips

Getting someone to tweet for you is cheesy and desperate” said Katy Perry as she was interviewed on the Red Carpet at the 2103 American Music Awards.

She was asked to comment about her incredible Twitter following, which is just shy of 48 million people.

While she is clearly not like the rest of us mere mortals in terms of popularity online she does have a terrific handle on what works and what doesn’t.

Her off the cuff interview was simple but there was pure gold in what she said:

I have a huge responsibility with so many followers

“No one runs my account for me, I do it myself

“I don’t get my manager or my publicist to tweet for me, it’s always me”

“People want to see the authentic, genuine you

“People want to see your personality and it gives them a chance to see that you have fun

“I never try to sell or promote products but I will share ‘stuff’ that I love

It’s always obvious when someone else is tweeting for them –  it’s cheesy and desperate

It’s best to show people what you love, what you like and things that inspire you

Katy ..thanks for the simple Twitter masterclass!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion with offices in Cork and Dublin in Ireland offer social media training and consultancy services

Make sharing easy

November 24, 2013

Cork City Ballet

We were lucky enough to be at the Saturday night finale of the Ballet Spectacular Gala at Cork Opera House celebrating  21 years of the Cork City Ballet Company.

I’m not a ballet fanatic by any stretch of the imagination – if anything I’ve been more than a little bit ignorant about ballet and I was pleasantly surprised by such a fantastic night of fabulous music and dancing. Watching such incredible athletes perform gracefully on stage in such a polished production at a fabulous venue was a real treat.

Playboy of the Western World - Cork Ballet Company

To hear “Ride On” by Christy Moore being played in a dance scene during the Playboy of the Western World segment was very special.

In truth I ended up going to the ballet as a result of some random interactions on Twitter with the Cork City Ballet company (@corkcityballet) – I had so much fun and banter back and forth with them online that I just couldn’t possibly miss it!

Ballerina Erina Takahashi from English National Ballet and her partner Yosvani RamosThose attending Alan Foley’s production were also treated to two special segments delivered by some of the world stars of ballet including Prima Ballerina Lucia Lacarra and her partner Marlon Dino and another world-class Ballerina Erina Takahashi from the English National Ballet and her partner Yosvani Ramos.

At the end of the performance, Artistic Director of Cork City Ballet, Alan Foley spoke passionately to the audience about the challenge of operating a ballet for 21 years in a relatively small and unknown city (from a ballet perspective) and on a shoe string budget – well done Alan!

While we were sitting in the fabulous theatre waiting on the curtains to open I was wondering how I hadn’t seen people sharing pictures from the Thursday and Friday night performances on Facebook and Twitter.

All was revealed when the public announcer stated that the performance was about to begin and added “the taking of photo’s and recordings of the performance is strictly forbidden“.

Was this a Cork Opera House rule, a Cork City Ballet rule, some restriction that the star performers insist on or does the taking of photos genuinely interfere with the performers? (I did take a sneaky pic at the very end, which is at the top of this piece).

While many won’t like it and will tut tut (that nearly read like a tutu!) all of this social media stuff, many of us do like to share our life experiences and maybe instead of prohibiting photo’s they should be doing the exact opposite and encouraging them.

Maybe on the intro screen before the show starts show the hashtag #CorkBallet, gently reminding and even encouraging the audience to share their experience of the show online and help it to trend bringing it to the attention of so many others.

If that doesn’t work during the show either allow photos at the end of each segment or let the performers present themselves after the show for photos with guests – can you imagine the excitement of people getting their photos with the gorgeous stars. These would proudly appear on so many Facebook and Twitter accounts and at the same time promote the shows.

The lucky Thursday audience would have shared their experience encouraging their friends and online followers to buy tickets for the Friday and Saturday performances. The Friday audience would encouraged ticket sales for Saturday and the Saturday audience will have their friends and online followers saying “damn, we should have gone – next year we’ll definitely go“.

The Cork City Ballet Spectacular was indeed quite spectacular but should it be made easier for even more people to find out about it? – they would have loved it and Alan and his team might have a few more quid in the coffers for next year!

If you have a great place or a great event …make sharing easy!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion with offices in Cork and Dublin in Ireland offer social media training and consultancy services

Balancing those debits and credits!

November 11, 2013

Work, Life Balance

Where did that time go?

31 years ago this boy was a raw, innocent 18 year old working as a junior accountant in a mid sized accountancy practice on the South Mall in Cork. At this stage I was two months into my apprentice and I was learning the basics.

Ironically, I had done Economics and Business Organisation in secondary school so Accounting was brand new to me!

For every debit there had to be a corresponding credit was the golden rule – if you got that, your accounts would always balance. If they didn’t balance something was wrong and you had to search for your mistake.

It’s probably easier for everyone now with the computers and the accountancy packages – we had to do it all manually with ledgers in my day. Imagine trying to dig through that lot to find where you went wrong..

I was in practice for 6 years and then went onto industry and eventually swapped the accountancy role for a general management one and that was the official end of my debits and credits (except for my own projects at least).

That debits and credits discipline always stood to me and I do think accountancy and the privilege of working with so many businesses at at a young age was the best business degree anyone I could ever hope for.

You listen and learn from clients, you understand the drivers of their businesses and you use your expertise to help them. In many ways I do exactly the same now except the expertise is quite different and I don’t have to worry about those debits and credits.

The strange thing is that life is full of debits and credits and it too must balance and if it doesn’t something is wrong.

I’ve been working hard all morning …. head out for a nice coffee

My crew work their socks off ….  take them for lunch on Friday

I’ve been stuck in that proposal for hours …. time for a stroll and fresh air

We’ve been working hard all year …. where will we go for our Christmas party?

Work, work, work …. spend time with friends, meet the kids, visit the folks

Busy doing stuff for everyone else …. get tickets for that gig

I’ve been working my socks off all year …. maybe a new car at the start of the year?

Whatever you do today make sure you balance your books!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin

How do you treat your Captive?

September 2, 2013

Tent - Electric Picnic

We were going to Electric Picnic the following day and as we are a little older and used to our few comforts we opted for the hotel in Portlaoise instead of a tent!

The hotel that is normally “from €59” per night was now €200 but the snag was if you wanted to book for Saturday night then you had to book Friday night at well – fair enough we reckoned.  We have come to accept that when you are a “captive” they can pretty much charge what they want – its like the last minute Ryanair flights.

Maldron Hotel PortlaoiseThe first thing that got me was the “from €59” banners on the way into the hotel – at least have the decency of taking those down when you are charging people €200 x 2!

We weren’t expecting The Ritz but we were hoping for this hotel alongside the motorway to be good at least and maybe there might be a buzz and a few things going on for the “Picnic”.

We booked in to be told that the rate was room only and breakfast, which was extra would be served from 8am …hmm

The room was a little bit tired but functional, the second bed had been removed, the light kept switching off in the loo and there was virtually no mobile phone reception (not their problem I guess) – my kids would be ringing as we were meeting up at the festival the next day.

We had done enough driving for one day so we decided to grab a bite to eat in the restaurant – it was surprisingly quiet as we were pretty much the only diners except for a bunch of young women. We managed to get the worst chicken wings of all time and the 100% beef burgers (festival fever was kicking in already!) were tasteless and overcooked.

We watched as a man sat alone in the corner waiting for his meal – from where we sat we could see that it was ready and sitting under the heated lamps. The waitress was chatting to the manager but didn’t seem to spot that his meal was ready – she came over to us, cleared our plates and then collected his meal and brought it to him. I’m guessing it was sitting there for about 5 minutes.

It was at that point that a young and older woman arrived – they were obviously here hoping for a nice meal and I felt a sense of responsibly towards them. I felt like telling them to go somewhere else!

Are you sure I shouldn’t say something to them?” I asked Dee.  “You can’t do that and besides, they will think you are mad” A good point I reckoned!

The manager marched around the restaurant with a sense of authority – I watched him wondering – does he realise how bad the place is?  The two chefs were staring out from the open kitchen waiting for another customer order – come on guys, surely you want to produce better meals?  Do better even for your own satisfaction?

Our plates were cleared – the waitress had a sixth sense that “how was your meal?” was a question she shouldn’t bother with.

Young Wonder at Electric Picnic 2013

Young Wonder from Cork

The following day we had a great time at Electric Picnic, the highlights being Young Wonder, Daithi and the rock god Robert Plant (ex Led Zeppelin). At the festival you could see that some of the vendors were taking advantage with expensive food and beer but some were charging normal prices.

We were back at the hotel for about 2 am to find none of the glasses had been cleared from the room from the night before – I was looking forward to checking out the next morning.

This place has settled for a certain standard, a level of service that delivers you rooms at €59 and one that leaves you unsatisfied and sealing the argument that you get what you pay for. They could do better, an awful lot better if they just tried and had some pride in their product and service but In some ways it didn’t matter because we were captives for both nights.

Instead of giving us a “good” experience for our overpriced stay and possibly making us consider it again (at €59) we will now pass the hotel every time we take the trip back and forth to Dublin and say “that’s that poor place that totally ripped us off during Electric Picnic …do you remember?

There are times when our customers are captives:

  • They need something urgently
  • They are stuck with a problem
  • You are the only one open
  • They have a crisis
  • They have no other option at the time but deal with you
  • You have a monopoly in that area
  • You are the only one with their files

When your customer is a captive how do you treat them?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Design firm in Irealnd with offices in Cork and Dublin

A New Generation needs Old Values

August 22, 2013

Eminem - Slane Convert

Once again a social media fuelled incident has hit the headlines as a result of the #Slanegirl photos that bounced around Ireland and beyond from the Slane concert recently where the famous Detroit rapper, “the poet for a New Generation” Eminem was the headline act.

If you missed all the drama a young woman (newspaper reports claim she is 17) and an older guy were caught performing an inappropriate act in quite a public place at the gig. The incident was photographed by a bystander, pushed out on social media and before you could blink (or a hash tag was created) the photo went viral by people retweeting and sharing.

This 17 year old girl and the guy involved must now deal with the pressure of a huge media/public spotlight – too much for any young person to cope with.

At a media conference in the US in 2011 celebrity Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post, said that the popularity of Facebook, Twitter and websites like her online news site indicate that “self-expression has become the new entertainment.

We can see in this scenario how Arianna was right at so many levels.

Once any incident occurs good or bad that has an “Oh My God, guess what I’ve just seen” element to it, you are guaranteed that it will travel like wildfire in our New Generation.

Pretty much all of us are now self publishers and with our own platforms and audiences we are armed with powerful devices that can bring something to life within seconds.

As usual after this incident social media got a huge amount of flack and all sorts of issues have been raised- the experts from the legal professions, the various authorities, organisations and social media were wheeled onto TV and radio shows to give their many and varied opinions.

Both Twitter and Facebook did react and pulled the posts down as soon as it became clear how distasteful the content and the act of sharing and commenting was. Unfortunately the damage was pretty much done at this stage – these pictures are still widely available online.

New GenerationWhat can we do to stop this happening? Can we do anything?

The police are conducting an investigation – is the young man in trouble, what about the person who took the photo and what about those who passed it quickly along the chain on the various social media channels?

Who was to blame and how can they be punished?

We will huff and puff but ultimately very little will happen – it’s virtually impossible to shut down the self publishing machine.

Besides demonstrating once again how hurtful and irresponsible people can be, the Slane incident is very frustrating for a number of reasons:

The Social Media is to blame argument

Social media is powerful and hugely beneficial but it is mostly in the media spotlight when something “bad” has happened.

You never really hear in the media about long lost relatives connecting through twitter, businesses thriving by using the platforms cleverly, people publicising causes and injustices or tricky problems being solved online – it is mostly the negative, controversial stuff that we hear about.

We find ourselves blaming the social media platforms and not the users – twitter, facebook and all the other platforms are only as good or as bad as the people using them.

The platforms do have a big responsibility to respond quickly to sensitive issues and have methods of detecting and dealing with inappropriate content. At least accounts were pulled down on this occasion, which will send a strong message to all users who use social media as a core part of their lives.

The Incident

This sort of misfortunate incident is not unique and has been happening as far back as I can remember but the difference is that now we can share it easily so the impact and consequences are much larger, which brings me to the point of New World Rules.

1. We need to be extra vigilant in our new world and be extra careful with any incident in public

2. Accept that the incident will be recorded as nearly everyone watching anything has a phone capable of taking a good photo or even filming the activity

3. Assume automatically that the photo or footage will be shared on one or more social media platforms complete with descriptions and hash tags instantly and with the capability of identifying the individuals in the picture.

4. Assume if the incident is an “Oh My God, guess what I’ve just seen” then it will be shared online and will quickly spread virally

5. Posting or sharing anything online leaves a digital footprint back to you and more importantly gives an instant impression to others about you as a person, good or bad. This impression tends to stay with you.

We can look to the authorities to legislate for such instances and we can work with the social media platforms to introduce better controls and quicker ways to respond but the real job lies with us, the users.

We, the New Generation need to understand the powerful technology that is at our fingertips and we need to use it responsibly. That simple photo, status update, share or retweet can cause untold damage to someone’s life.

We need to think about our own values and the values we pass onto our children – this applies equally offline and online. There is no difference.

We must take our own personal responsibility – if we see something not right when we are out or online we should react and play our part and instead of saying “Oh My God, guess what I’ve just seen” we should be saying “It’s not right ….stop” and report it immediately.

The sooner we realise that old values need to be applied to our New Generation the better.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and training in Ireland from offices in Cork and Dublin

€20 and the “too good to be true” Dream Client!

July 21, 2013

Too Good to be True

Is it ok if I show this man around your office?” Frank our landlord asked (by the way he hates if we call him that – he prefers to say we are his customer and to be fair that is always how he treats with us).

No bother at all Frank” – he wanted to see how we had laid out the office space, which had the same footprint as the vacant unit two floors down.

Frank introduced me to this English gentleman, Mr Cooper who was starting an airline, which was to operate from Cork ..interesting!

He would be needing Marketing and PR support and he also would need the services from our graphic design team. We had a quick chat but I had another appointment to get to – he wanted to tie things down quickly so he asked us to meet with him the next day for a full briefing.

This could be a very exciting project to work on.

Just before I ran out the door I did a Google search on this guy to see if there was some evidence of his existence online ..nothing!

On the way to my meeting I rang Frank to make sure I caught the man’s name correctly – I had.

What do you make of our English gentleman?” Frank asked. He explained to me that he also popped into the accountants on the floor below us who were also going to do work for him. The following day they were to introduce him to one of the banks.

Frank, is he too good to be be true?

saab airline

We both agreed that maybe it was wrong to be cynical and there was a chance that this well dressed, well spoken Englishman was the real deal after all.

He arrived the following day, a little later than organised but even more well dressed than the previous day. He apologised for being late – there were some technical financial details he was ironing out with the accountant about licences.

He took me through his project in detail – he was really looking for a marketing partner for this venture. He told us that he really liked and trusted us. He spoke to our really talented head designer, Jonathan about his brand and what he had in mind – we all agreed that while he was on a deadline, the work should be done properly.

Maybe this guy was a dream client after all?

After many years in business and knowing how hard you must work to win a new account, this guy had me suspicious. I was “on guard” for a sign, any sign that this was not going to work out.

He started telling me about the lonely childhood he had and now he was alone and did not have any attachments.. for reasons that we would understand. Hmm..where was this conversation going?

He had a request – he wanted to give us a shareholding in the business!

He wanted to embrace the true spirit of partnership – if this happened everyone would work together. He explained he would make the same offer to everyone that was involved in his project. He was doing this as he had no family and he wanted the business to have a “safe” home if anything happened to him.

While this was an outlandish tale maybe it was true? The alarm bell was ringing in my head at this stage but I was feeling a little sorry for this lonely businessman.

I politely told him that people might think he was “nuts” if he were to have that shareholding conversation with them – I advised him to keep that idea to himself and if he wanted to do something like this down the line, then maybe.

He had another request – until he had office space sorted out could he work from our offices?

He had noticed on the day that there were desks with no one working at them. A louder alarm bell started to ring!

That wouldn’t be practical I explained but maybe he should have a word with Frank who might let him use some of the available space in the building until he had a formal arrangement made.

He told me he understood ..

We had arranged to meet the next day when he wanted to introduce us to some of his team who he had already recruited..that sounds ok I reckoned.

Just as he left the office he patted his pockets ..”Damn, I’m a bit short and the bank is closed. Could I borrow €20?” Even though the alarm bell was shaking the whole building at this stage I found myself handing this guy who we hardly knew €20.

On the way home I bumped into Frank as we left the building.

Well, what do you make of our friend?” I asked. He had told Frank that he was very impressed with Fuzion and the accountant and he just needed to finalise everything and get cracking. I told him the story (with a red face) about the €20 knowing already how the whole story was going to unfold.

What’s worse I told Dee the story about the €20 – “You big fool” ..she told me.

If this was going to end up going nowhere I’d prefer to kill it quickly. Before he was to arrive I would prepare a budget and insist on a % payment upfront before we committed any resources to the job – if he was not the real deal then this would flush him out.

20 minutes after he was scheduled to arrive I called him ..nothing.

Another 10 minutes ..nothing.

A few minutes later I received a text from him saying that Fuzion and the people in Cork were the most unprofessional and backward that he had ever come across and he was going to set up in Belfast instead.

Needless to say I haven’t heard anything about the airline but I do wonder about the “dream client, Mr Cooper” who got away.

When it seems too good to be true it probably is ..the tale alone was worth the €20.

Mr Cooper …good luck with your venture!

Greg Canty is a partner Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin

The Palio and the Magic of being part of Something

July 7, 2013

Siena

About six years ago we wandered into the city of Siena in Tuscany while on holiday. To be honest we had no idea what to expect as we entered this gorgeous city with narrow cobble stone streets and old buildings with history in every brick and wooden door.

We noticed that many of the people wandering around the town were wearing scarves and it took a while to realise it was to do with a famous horse race and not a soccer match!

Palio march

Sitting in a cafe on one of these narrow streets doing our share of people watching and soaking up the atmosphere we started to hear some drumming and a crowd chanting …. this chant got louder and louder and a pattern emerged. You could hear males chanting this song, then women, then children and then everyone together and the magical sequence started again.

Louder and louder the chanting seemed to get closer to where we were sitting – eventually the group were led by some flag wavers and a horse with a trainer, followed by hundreds of men, then children and then women all continuously chanting.

The hairs stood up on the back of my neck and this was the moment I fell in love with Siena and the Palio.

Il Palio

Palio Race

The Palio di Siena (known locally simply as Il Palio) is a horse race that is held twice each year, on July 2 and August 16, in Siena, Italy. Ten horses and riders, bareback and dressed in the incredible colours, represent ten of the seventeen contrade, or city districts.

The race itself (after hours of pomp and ceremony, believe me!), in which the jockeys ride bareback, circles the Piazza del Campo, on which a thick layer of dirt has been laid, three times and usually lasts no more than 90 seconds. The race is frantic with jostling between jockeys who are often thrown off their horses while making the treacherous turns in the piazza. The winner is greeted by incredible celebrations from the supporters from that contrade.

This year was the forth time we have come to Siena for both the beautiful place (the city is beautiful and it is located in the middle of Tuscany and the Chianti wine growing region) and the festival and I wonder why do we keep coming back when there are so many other fabulous places to be discovered?

Palio March

Is it the pomp and the ceremony, is it the beautiful city or is it the excitement of the race?

This year I think I finally figured it out … All of the things that I have mentioned make Siena and the Palio very special and if you look at the pictures or the clips on YouTube you will get a sense of it.

What you won’t see online is the incredible sense of togetherness, community and belonging of the people that you will only witness when you experience the event for yourself.

They say in Siena you are baptised twice – once in Siena and then in your Contrade, which is your part of town. This is the part that means everything to you.

Palio meal

During the Palio practically every man, woman and child from each place comes out, participates in the blessing of the horse, the marching and the chanting. And every night (there are a few rehearsal days in advance of the “big” race) the groups get together in their part of town for a feast – you will see thousands of people all gathered, sharing food and drink proudly celebrating their colours and where they are from.

In most other countries the event would be commercialised and sponsored – in Siena it has and will always be untainted.

On the night of the Palio this year after the race was over we found ourselves walking in the middle of the crowd from a particular contrade who happened to be heading in the same direction – we listened to the chanting and we watched as people waved from the windows, even a nun was hanging out her window frantically waving her flag and cheering!

The hairs stood up on the back of my neck once again – I love Siena because for a moment you feel the power of community, you see people who are proud to march and show their colours, you feel part of something and sense the power of being together.

Do we have to go to Siena to feel like that?

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Design agency in Ireland with office in Cork and Dublin

Mark Geary, my Grandad and Ghosts

March 29, 2013

Mark Geary - Coughlans Bar

We found ourselves last night squeezed into the most intimate venue ever, Coughlan’s Bar on Douglas Street in Cork to see the fabulous Mark Geary.

This was my first time at Coughlan’s, which is a one of those fabulous old style pubs, a listed building, which has been in the Coughlan and Ellis family for over 200 years. The gig happens in a little room at the very back of the pub, which is no bigger than a large dining room.

Annette who manages the music at the venue maximises every inch of space so that as many people as possible can enjoy the gigs – we were lucky to get in and only for an intervention by Mark himself (yep, we’re one of those “fans” who he knows by name – so many great chats after gigs.. Mark is like that) we would have been home early.

Mark was brilliant as always with his mix of great songs, fabulous guitar work, the very talented backing singer Grainne Hunt, a terrific keyboard player, Mark Penny and of course flavoured with his quick wit and story telling…his “da” was from Charleville (where they eat their children, apparently!!).

Mark launched into song after song including a great track called “Ghosts” , the theme song from one of his superb albums …he spoke to us about his dad and I thought about my own family.

This would have been one of my granddads locals – Jack Burke lived literally 100 feet away from the pub, living at the bottom of High Street. He drank there and apparently my great grandmother had the odd tipple in the snug – women would not have gone into the main bar.

My mum hates drink because my granddad who she loved to bits spent way too much of his life in the pub and way too much of the family budget, which was badly needed to raise 5 children. She always worried about the form he would be in when he came back from the pub and hated “that” smell of whiskey.

My granddad passed away 47 years ago just after I was born.

Coughlans Bar - Douglas StreetAs we left I looked around the pub at the old bar counter, the old seats, the old pictures on the wall and imagined all of the customers down through years who sat there, sipping on their whiskey and having the banter and I tried to picture Jack Burke sitting on his stool with a family anxiously waiting for him, wondering when he would be home.

..Ghosts

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion


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