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Weblog

Weblog is about myself, what I do, and what I think. From the ranting about how the world could be improved to just going to movies. This blog is a way for me to get some of my thoughts written down because there are just too many to remember. Feel free to read and even comment about the posts. I enjoy criticism more than most people. Feed back, as i see it, is the only way to really learn.

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Learning Journal was the result of my 2004 New Year’s Resolution. Everyday you learn something new. At least you should learn something. I decided that it would be a learning experience for myself to write something that I learn everyday for a complete year. I hope that you find it as much of a learning experience as I hope it is for me.

Vision, expression, words. My blog is less about who I am and more about what I see. Through the expression of thoughts, beliefs, and ideas, I hope to share my own vision of the world. I write simply for the sake of expression and to expand my, as well as others, knowledge of the world and existence. Who knows? Maybe I’ll convince a few people to adopt my views.

Building Pride In A Changing City

Architectural debate among the masses is Paul Clerkin’s mission and his website is fostering debate on all aspects of Dublin’s rapid development.

Most Dubliners find it hard to keep up with the massive development the city has experienced in recent years. The ring-a-ring-a-rosey of the rare aul’ times has been replaced by development at a dizzying pace. Independent website Archeire.com has done a better job than most of chronicling and analysing the changes in Ireland’s built environment.

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“Sometimes people living in Dublin seem to have a weird sort of pride in its squalidness.” says Paul Clerkin, the creator and administrator of Ireland’s most popular architectural website. “We take a perverse pleasure in the fact that nothing works. There were more stories written about Royston Brady giving out about O’Connell Street than there were pieces praising the fine workmanship that is taking shape there at the moment.”

Few bricks get laid in Dublin or beyond without some sort of comment on Archeire’s extensive message boards. In 1996, Clerkin, originally from Co. Monaghan planned that the website would analyse 40 buildings in Dublin. He started with Busaras, the building he covered for his History of Art and Design postgraduate thesis. The website now provides information on hundreds of buildings throughout the country with over 7,000 content pages and a further 4,000 on the discussion boards. A database of news clippings goes back seven years and the site’s newsletter has 3,000 subscribers. Clerkin also sends regular updates on architectural competitions to 33,000 architects around the world. With 700,000 unique page impressions a month, Clerkin’s target of one million a month is not overly optimistic.

“A hobby is the wrong word for this site,” says Clerkin. “It is more like a mission. I want to encourage people to talk about architecture. It shouldn’t just be left to conservationists.”

With a separate day job as a web developer, he donates most of his free time to Archeire. His ability to be a Jack-of-all-trades has benefited the site greatly. He is equally comfortable photographing the Georgian doors of Dublin, writing architectural commentary, or dealing with the technical issues.

He strongly believes that if the site had been run as a normal business from the beginning, it would have gone bust long ago. An Arts Council grant is enough to cover the site’s costs but not enough to cover a wage. Annual efforts every January to find corporate sponsorship consistently ends in failure. Nevertheless, in terms of interest, the site has gone from strength-to-strength.

“The Spire has helped people to be more open-minded about what they would like to see in the city,” says Clerkin. “Seeing the crowds cheering the Luas on its first trip across Taney Bridge was brilliant. We needs more of that attitude in this country and less of the Nimby stuff. For example, the final build quality of the Luas and the O’Connell Street works is beautiful and should generate greater civic pride once they are finished.”

Archeire’s discussion thread on the Spire has reached its sixtieth page of discussion. Linked pages from traffic cameras and Archeire enthusiasts kept many people updated when the controversial landmark was being erected and attracted a host of new users to the site.

Clerkin believes that Dublin needs an executive mayor who can present a vision to the people, get a mandate and then force major projects through.

“He or she would have to live by their vision for their term of office and would be able to show the electorate exactly what they had done for the city,” he says. “The mayor’s department could get a definite budget for the city. A couple of mayors of Paris have gone on to become French presidents. Dublin needs someone to fight its corner.”

For now the city has somebody to chronicle the ups and downs of the most frantic period of development in its history.

Statement on Caravaggio affair

We would like to take this opportunity to point out that we did not fake up the story published by The Irish Independent, today 17th Feb 2004. Despite discussion to the contrary, we did not feed the Irish Independent a fake story by anonymous email. It seems that this time, the Irish Independent has published a real story about this celebrated painting.

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Previously, they published an untrue story on 31st July which they felt deserved front page treatment and an editoral comment. Their editorial was quite rabid, describing Berlusconi as “xenophobic clown who rose in the world by grossly abusing his power as a media tycoon and now abuses his power as leader of his country”. This, we did write.

Interestingly enough, even though they apologised to the Italian government, they never apologised to their readers and have now purged the stories from their online archives, including the PDF version of their frontpage. This PDF now has a blank spot where the story appeared.

http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/frontpagepdfs/2003/9573.pdf

We at P45.net believe that the Italian government is trying to kid itself that it has a painting of note, rather than a slavish copy of a Italian masterpiece owned by the Irish. Once again we see the superiority complex of Berlusconi and his henchmen. No Mr Berlusconi you cannot have our Caravaggio, but you can have that cheap knockoff better suited to being on a tin of Italian biscuits. Please don’t let the door hit your Armani clad arse on the way out.

Business & Finance

So there is a one page article on me and Archeire.com in Business & Finance magazine (11-24 March). “You?” said my Dad when he was told, “but you have neither?” Nice piece by Fearghal O’Connor which I’m very happy with. Maybe it will drum a site sponsor out of the woodwork.

He had contacted me some weeks ago when the news of Shirley getting fired from An Taisce broke. Looking for some background information on how architects viewed An Taisce, he mentioned he’d like to do a followup piece on Archeire.

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So we met up and talked for a few hours. A few days later, the photographer Alan O’Connorgot in touch to take a few photos of me with the Spire in the background. His name rang a bell. When I met him, I remembered.

“Are you the guy who took the photographs in ‘Dublin as a Work of Art’?”
“Yes” He said , obviously surprised.
“Loved those photos, the book was forgettable, great photos”
“That book got remaindered so fast, I didn’t think that anyone would remember it now”.
I think I made his day.

But it’s a nice piece and getting it in the post today has made mine.