...at an Ani DiFranco concert, of all places. You'd think the crowd there would have a passing familiarity with androgyny (always double-check gender in such an environment). I was even wearing a skirt! Anyway, the reason the mistake was able to be made is that, as you may be able to tell from my updated picture to the right, I got a haircut! It was more than high time for it to happen, but the salon prices in Dublin are absolutely ridiculous. Finally, I decided to go to the Peter Mark Academy (a hairdressing school), where they told me the price would be €15. It took a while, as I expected, and I had to keep telling the girl (Julie, I think) to go shorter, and her teacher helped her out some, but it came out really well in the end. AND I didn't have to pay anything after all, because I've agreed to be her graduation assignment. This means that at some point in November I'm going to go back in for a trim and a color of some crazy kind and then on the 22nd model for her. She said that either the cut or the color has to be kind of bizarre (it's her "fashion cut and color"), and I told her that she can do whatever she wants, so I'm excited for insane happenings on the top of my head. By the way, here's a second shot of my new hair:
So that, I suppose, brings me to the Ani DiFranco concert that I went to Tuesday night. It was excellent, which is no real surprise, I guess. She had the same opening act as when I saw her last November, which was Hamell on Trial. He can be a bit heavy-handed with the crazy left-winger schtick (as on his anti-death penalty song "Don't Kill"), but overall he's got great energy, really funny lyrics, excellent guitar skills, and seemingly no social filter. As for Ani, she was her delightful, energetic, smiley, chatty, ridiculously talented self. People kept shouting requests, but she uses all these crazy tunings and has a bunch of guitars to accommodate them all, so she can't do impromptu songs so easily (she managed a couple, though). The crowd was also great; there were waayyyy more guys than at the show in Boston, and it was a standing-room venue as opposed to the seated auditorium I saw her in last time, so it was, I think, a positive change.
It was enlightening to go to a show of two such politically-charged American performers in a different country. There is an overall shared ideology, but it really made me think about some basic assumptions in their songs that are rooted in playing to an American audience. For instance, Ani has more than a few lyrics about race relations, and while the rapidly increasing diversity in Dublin is making such things more of an issue, the Irish simply don't have the same perception on the subject as an American would. And when Ani did a spoken word piece about her own patriotism, I almost felt like crying.
"I love my country, by which I mean I am indebted joyfully to all the people throughout its history who have fought the government to make right."
Something that has really been brought home to me in my over-a-month living abroad that I didn't really understand in adolescence is how rooted I am in the history and culture of my country. I don't know anymore how comfortable I could be living permanently in any country but America. For all its pigheadedness, willfulness, strong-arming, ignorance, conservatism, and blatant stupidity, there are many, many great things about America. Virtually anyone can find in it a place where they can comfortably live the lifestyle of their choosing relatively unhindered. It becomes so easy to live a revolutionary lifestyle. And I truly believe that what we are going through politically right now will pass, and changes will be made and we will begin moving once more in a more correct direction. (Oh, and I've mostly decided: Obama '08! I just...can't handle Hillary.)
What I guess I'm trying to say here is that, while I'm having a blast in Ireland, and I plan to continue having a blast, and travel more around Europe and such, and I'm getting a better education spending this year here than I would spending this year pretty much anywhere in the states, I love my country and I am looking forward to getting home and getting involved once more in working to make it a place I can be even prouder of.
But speaking of traveling, I'm journeying out this weekend with interstudy to the Dingle Peninsula in the southwest of the counry, an area which is widely believed to be one of, if not the, most beautiful part of Ireland. There will be hiking and horseback riding and cruise-taking (and possibly seeing the local dolphin) and pub-going (I've heard the Guinness is better in the west) and general fun-having. I'm quite looking forward to it, and I suppose I will try and remember to take pictures — I have been very bad at that so far.
Oh, also of note is that I finally made it to a céilí on Monday, though I did not take part in dancing. It was pretty entertaining, though, with good music provided by members of the UCD TradSoc. Think square/line dancing, except with better steps, better music, and better drinks.
So that about wraps it up for now. What with the concert on Tuesday starting at 7:30, I didn't make it to Mountaineering to try out my new shoes, so I'm gonna get to that right now.
I almost forgot: I got the new Radiohead album! Definitely worth the $5 I paid them, at least. I wasn't blown away, but it's some quality music, and a most original distribution method.