Passing Pennys

Pennys, like most other shops in Dublin, is shuttered. There is a plaque on the wall marking the spot as the site of James Joyce’s Volta Cinema. It hangs next to a printed store closure notice. Pennys (aka Primark) has been in business on this site in Mary Street since 1969. The Volta only lasted from December 1909 until April 1910. It was the first cinema to open in Dublin , a city that would later become addicted to picture houses. It might have been a bit before its time or it may have programmed too many Italian and European movies. The name lives on today as a Dublin based movie streaming service. Shortly after passing Pennys, I see an old man wearing an ill-fitting facemask. The bottom half of the mask appears to be rolled up. I grow old … I grow old …I shall wear the bottoms of my facemask rolled.

The Geographer

A few years ago I placed this print on a wall close to my desk. Vermeer’s The Geographer. Taking a break from mapping the world to look out at it. He is looking at the world through a window in the Netherlands in 1669. My window next to his looks out on Smithfield in 2020. Though I’ve never had a good sense of direction, I have always loved maps. The reality and the idea of them. On Globes, on paper , on screen.