Bank of Ireland Announces Unethical New Fees

Despite my intentions to ignore the recession frenzy, more and more I am writing about this economic nastiness. The arts, of course are affected by this nastiness and really, I cannot imagine an area that isn't.

Drawing my attention (and seething anger) today is Bank of Ireland's announcement that it has decided to wrangle a few more coppers from its customers by imposing new fees on current account holders. As a loyal Bank of Ireland customer for about 20 years now having graduated into this sh*tstorm, I am excited to learn that these new fees will affect mostly the less well off customers. The fees will only affect those who cannot maintain a constant balance of €3000, those who deposit less than €1000 per month or those make fewer than nine payments by phone or online banking. Financial fashionistas will be glad to see that fees are very on-trend in that they are likely to affect mostly those who are on low income or unemployed. Perhaps BOI were inspired by the recent Budget cuts to social welfare cuts and reduction of the minimum wage.  All this from a bailed out bank. They have seemingly developed a taste for public money and unethical practice.

Understandably the bank is required to try and secure extra revenue, but this unethical move is telling of the socio-myopic mindset of those who make the decisions.

In the New Year I shall be looking for a new bank.

Till then, FU-BOI!


Icebergs; source material. I love how triangular the first one is.

Images found here and here.

Black Magic

Stones; source material, raw materials. Black.

The Arts and the Economy

National Campaign for the Arts promotional video

With the Budget looming it is difficult to think of the arts without thinking of politics. But the two are never far apart. The country's bailout has seen Ireland get negative publicity around the globe causing the arts, which is a huge figure in cultural identity, to be ever more relevant.

There is a tendency to "live in the past". People focus on what their houses were once worth and where they once wen on holiday. When we think of cultural identity we think of the 1916 Easter rising. There is difficulty in visualizing a new nation. In my hometown Athlone there are proposals/talks/plans of avisual arts gallery. The proposed site was the old library and the plans included what I thought of as a tasteful expansion to the original construction. Opposition claimed that it was a waste of money and suggested that the building be used to house memorabilia of Count John McCormack,  "Athlone's most famous son". Count John McCormack was a respected tenor who died in 1945, his memorabilia is already on display elsewhere.  My frustration lies in the desire to focus on the past and an inability to visualize a new future. There is talent, skill and ambition being exported out of the the town as it lacks a visuals arts community and a suitable venue would go a long way in rectifying this. It would create jobs and attract tourism and potentially larger employers. However, many would rather focus on something that happened 100 years ago. It is similar to saying "instead of funding next year's Olympic team, lets build a monument to the last team".

Contemporary art is a scary term that is laden down with preconceptions. But contemporary merely references things of today. So it is obvious that contemporary arts have a huge role to play in forging a future and making today a little more enjoyable. The included video is a little cheesy at times but the message is spot on.

Berger, Ways of Seeing (BBC Production)

I watched the first episode of these a few years ago but stopped due to disrupted internet connection. In fact, I never completed the book they are based on. I am adding both to my to do list. The youtube videos are of poor quality, though I think that is partially because they are old productions. (The old BBC logo after ad breaks has a warming nostalgia). It seems fitting that this book was made into a audio visual programme, fitting that we can be shown how we "see". 

Berger reminds me of Rick Mayall.