Ein Brief aus Cork
Culture is purely a matter of taste, the huge billboard reminds those arriving in the 2005 European City of Culture. The fact that the statement is part of an advertisement for a major brewing company – a “proud sponsor” – strikes the first warning. Are we about to experience culture not for culture’s sake, but culture for the corporate world’s benefit?
“But isn’t Cork the Capital of Culture every year?” the locals joke with a touch of second-city irreverence.
The Dublin poet Donagh McDonagh, with capital city arrogance, referred to Corkonians as the “cute selfdeceiving talkers of the south, who look to the east for a sign.” Jokes aside, there is no self-deception about the the city’s cultural standing with the organisers of Cork 2005, aware of the danger of art becoming a tourist trap or a cultured business card for corporations. And whatever about looks to the east, there are few glances being cast south, as the Dublin-based media remain disengaged and unsupporting.
Walking from the train station arouses the ghost of Irish National Ballet’s old studios in Emmet Place. This company evolved over twenty years through indefatigable work of Joan Denise Moriarty, but was axed overnight ...