Viva Voce

In Britain, the process of finishing a PhD involves the submission of a written thesis, followed by an oral examination called a viva voce (the literal Latin translation is “live voice”). The “viva”, as it’s commonly known, is an in-depth discussion into all aspects of the thesis which typically lasts between 90 and 180 minutes. […]

Feckless Gig

We recently spent a couple of nights in Dublin without hearing the beat of a single Bodhrán or even a hint of live music coming from any bar. So last Friday night we were spoiled, with no fewer than two concurrent Bodhráns (and a guest washboard player), mandolin, guitar, accordion and bass thrown into the […]

That Ozone Seaside Smell

Picture this: it’s a sunny day at the seaside and you’re enjoying an icecream. The human predilection to follow scripted conversation formats is such that you cannot fail to overhear somebody appreciatively inhale before joyously proclaiming “mmmmm, smell that sea air!”, to which a companion will invariably offer a helpfully informative “ah yes, that’s ozone“.