I can finish playing with the poem. Ask three basic questions.

What does it tell me about Irish concepts of fate in the 9th century?

What does it tell me about magic?

What can I learn about social organization?


I seem to have at first what seems like an advance on nothing. Fate in the poem at least appears to be somewhat open and forms part of a collective decision making process in arrving at judgement.

Thats an entirly rehetorical answer. I reached it playing with the text and thinking about in terms of performance and situation, its a non-historical observation.

If I had gone for straight historical comparison I suspect I may have reached the same conclusion, effectivly playing the same game without any awareness. Normally this activity is not something I have to pay any attention to, I don’t have to catch sight of what I am doing and note its effect.


The supernatural theft of crops and dairy produce. Question here, is this a physical activity i.e. the crops are physical taken from the owner. Here a phantom is envoked, later its an activity witches often undertake in a range of animal form’s from hedgehogs to hares.

The other alternative its related to quantity and the extraction of some essential property. The idea that if I have more someone has less.

Land is measured not in terms of space and size but in terms of what it will yeild. Early documents demonstrate how important such knowledge was for anyone who moved through the landscape, king’s, poets, priests.

Each locality is measured in exacting detail, noting how many people and families can be sustained. Also how many guests can be supported and fed.

Small scale nature of society and its related dependance on what land can produce meant a king could be limited traveling on circuit with two other officials.

What land yeilds is a source of close and constant monitoring. Any changes here at any point in the system are not going to escape close scrutiny.

Knowledge here is going to move through a network at speed, overtime its going to develop a range of narratives and inflections. Given the nature and its relationship with survival, its to be suspected clear understanding and good judgement are an overriding requirment.

One thing a society this close to the breadline needs to do, it has to function effectivly. No second chances here.

This form of narrative is one that can be identified by later comparison with local dispute. Form’s part of the rhythms of social disorder and order, tension and its resolution within local communities.

Again the determination of individual fate is a carefully monitored processes, marked in memorable language and resolved (here I am trying to make my rhetorical way in to the subject look historical: for the moment I appear to have fooled myself in to believing its working).


Perhaps the most dangerious idea as the poem ends with the most ‘apparant’ thing I know about early Irish society.

Social mobility is generaly downwards. Its reflected in the form of the vision at the end of the poem, which conjures a picture of a young man, clearly without land, contemplating a settled existance or a life on the hills as a landless warrior, a member of the fianna.

It also fits a dramatic end, as a general generational downwards shift as property fragments through subdivision, effected all social classes.

It appears to indicate a broad social fault line and source of potentialy high anxiety.

The poem ends with a quality that can be easily reached for within anyone sitting round the fire.

It also raises some messy questions.

Warriors were of the tribe. How  were they supported within it? Some are clearly not supported and instead are found eyeing up stags on the hill with hungry eye’s.

Location is everything here, as when the warrior moves from a home within a tribe to a home within the kings hall.

It suggests a significant alteration in the status and function of kingship. It also alters the postion of poets as they also move from a position of tribal offical to official of the king.

Shift from the fireside to the mead bench alters the performance space and this must radically impact on the way things sound.

Kings hall alters the landscape and its organization, praise and the hero will come to alter the soundscape motivating and ensnaring souls within this change of form.

These alterations have no fixed space in historical time.

It suggests a significant shift in the nature of dispute and in the use of violence.

Landscape and its altering sound, may be a response to something sighted within the water.

The coming of the dragon ship and the Men of the North.

Whatever the poem may signify it is doing so within a very fluid and altering landscape.



If this is destined for me, let it be grain and milk that I see.

If it is not destined for me, let it be wolves stags and wandering on the mountian and young warriors that I see.



Tall, hair as black as a raven, skin like pure white snow.

I am clearly in the company of a medevial member of the Irish aristocracy. They always look like that, in poems at least.

The raven will of course die and the snow will melt, such things are caught within our gaze for a moment and die.

All flesh is grass, for christs faithfull followers.

For the Irish aristocracy skin is fair in contrast to peasants skin which is baked by the sun as it toils in the field. Christianity brings a new inflection here.

The raven haired and the fair will suffer the same fate as the short, the fat, the bald and the ugly.

How to maintian a sense of social immobilty in such a system where everything seems to become the same?

Perhaps an illness?

Lets make it a sexualy transmited one, caught by sight, melancholy by nature. Term it love, the malady of hero’s. Confine it as a class specific pathogen.

Suffering of a soul with more to loose is more exquist. Its pain more keenly felt than those whose emotional senses are dulled by a life of toil.

Melancholia allows the beautiful soul to escape and contrast itself with the unmoving static core of lesser souls.

Play Station

Where Else But Here?

It’s VR Worlds, the collection of fleshed out tech demos you can pick up for a cut price. The reason is simple: It shows you everything that VR can do, and even lets you play around with your Move controllers while you do it.

I explored the ocean, nearly hurled at street luge, and played virtual reality Breakout; but what really stuck with me was The Heist. It’s almost too short, but it’s filled with interactivity. Where else but VR could I quietly smoke a cigar while a greasy crime lord outlined his plans for me, stopping only to lean forwards so I could light his cigar off of my Zippo lighter?

The greasy crime lord, whose name evades me, takes out his little black book. ‘In here’, he says, ‘is the secret to the entire underworld.’ I’m having some of that, I think, and playfully reach for the book. He pulls it back away from me, just out of reach. The game has played me.

The PlayStation Move integration really helps sell the sense of place in the game. In the next scene, you’re trying to open a locked cabinet, poking and prodding at different things to try to find a way to unlock whichever secret compartment in this desk holds the diamond. After working that out, I come under fire from each direction, but I’m not carrying a gun.

Luckily, there was a gun in the desk. Luckily, I remembered there was a gun in the desk and I pull it out. This is where The Heist and a lot of the VR Worlds games really excel. It’s such a standard trope to find a weapon just before you need it but here it’s just a gun in a cupboard. When you need it, you reach in and get it.

Shooting feels natural and when you cower behind the desk from enemy gunfire so too does your character, the camera tracking your head and hands so you can hide behind the desk while returning fire. It’s as close as I’m likely to get to an actual firefight in my North London flat, and it’s really engaging.

VR Worlds is full of games like this, but The Heist’s strongest feature is that it is good enough to make you forget you’re basically just playing a lightgun game. It’s the range of little interactions that make it, being able to play catch with your handgun, turn up the radio in a car, or even open the car door and hang out, centimetres from the road surface. You can do all of this in The Heist.

It’s the most compelling reason to show someone new to VR what virtual reality is all about, and how even the on-rails shooters are a million miles from the old arcade days of stepping down on a peddle to pop out of cover. The PlayStation VR needs more of this.


Bittech, VR Worlds Is Virtually the Best Selling Point For The Playsation VR


I notice a vast diffrence in the two diffrent ways I have been trained to read. Reading to speak, I have no concern about making errors or mistakes. Anything that comes to mind and look’s like it may alter the sound, I will experment, I have no fear.

I can turn it upside down. Make the end the start, read it forwards (wood, fire, pig) then backwards (pig, fire, wood),  it meets in the middle and holds the same sense. I can alter the sound without changing the sense by moving position and reversing it’s movement in time.

I need moves that allow a dramatic alteration in course in case the backrow the front or middle of the room starts to mysteriously alter course and move away. I need alteratioons that allow change but don’t see the whole thing crash to the floor.

Low cost slight of hand where everything can alter, stand still and remain the same.

Endless number of things I can do to pull it apart and then re-shape it. Being somewhat lazy, creating the illusion of complete transformation while standing still is the most attractive space to occupy.

If I am reading it to get a historical sense. I don’t think the processes in arriving at thought is particularly different. The creative aspects of how and where the thought came from are going to be described in a very diffrent way. What formed it will remain unsaid.

First few hours of playing with the text, I noticed I started to make a number of hits that had nothing to do with speaking it. Random fragments of other texts relating to identity, “a Briton is still a Briton even if he has a gold hilted sword”, large number of them which did not appear on the surface to relate to each other, but they were I presume attempting to form some kind of connection. No idea what I was doing but I was clearly trying to extract a differing sense from the words.

A couple of days later a specific question to ask about identity launched itself out of the blue from the poem.

I don’t think for a second its a correct answer. I have drawn some kind of pattern, I am not exactly sure what it is as I only caught a glimpse of it at work.

I can now check and see if it repeats. I suspect it will but I will lay bets that it will be working within an altered time frame. I will find it attached to whatever period the historian deploying it is most familiar with and attaches value to.

17th, 18th, 19th century would be an educated guess for where I will find the most hits. Its a type of move you would expect to find deployed here marking the move to modernity.

Lets Create A problem and Comparison

One of the main properties of the poem I have been examining is it appears to be aware of variation and diffrences within an audience.

The poet is playing with the knowledge that he is creating what is essentialy an unseen space that will be filled with agency.

The temptation would be to take that observation, insert the magic words cognative sophistication and claim a 6th to 9th century space as a place holder to its birth.

I can then note that the development of larger scale ethnic identity is a feature of this period and then start to wonder if these aspects of mind have a role in the development of larger scale identities.

Lets take Welshness as an example. I can see and examine the oldest example of a Welsh household from the archeological record.

The issue is on close examination it does not appear to be particularly Welsh. The structure seems like an  Irish design, the textile fragments, anglo saxon, pottery Northern British.

If Welshness is to exist and the Welsh are to become above all Welsh and clearly seen, its going to have to be something other than the sum of it’s parts.

Its going to demand a particular state of mind and perspective.

The Three Little Pigs

Notably, the active coding of the ‘stimulus-absence decission was not a visual response but emerged during a delay phase when the monkey needed to decide whether it has seen the stimulus. This indicates that the categorical stimulus-absence signal arises during a post-sensory cognitive processing stage. Thus, behaviorally relevant stimulus absence decisions are not encoded by default (baseline) neuronal responses but rather internally generated signals. The brain seems to translate the lack of a stimulus into a categorical and active stimulus absence representation.”

I really want to see three little pigs.

Am I seeing them as I speak?

Am I trying to decide if I have just seen them or not?

Is this thought in the moment involving a random drive by of pigs, or do we have a slight retrospective delay where it is becoming internalized?

Split second decision and a significant alteration.

Are they appearing and then disappearing into a world of unfelt, unkowable pigness or are they being consumed and becoming part of a human symbolic system ?

I feel I may have a taste for smoked pork here. Wood and flesh may contain similar properties, i.e. strength and protection. Imparting a good taste which I can relate to good judgement (this is the property I most desire).

I don’t really need to think about this. I don’t need to translate the clunk of science to know that any significant processes of internalization and consumption is not taking place.

Thats for the future. The shape of the rest off the verse dictates that. The poem would fragment into two sperate parts if I placed too heavy an internal emphasis here.

I have form dictating the shape here. I have something within sight or a few breaths away from it.


I have a random drive by of boars I suspect, captured in plain sight, in the moment although they are clearly moving and about to become something else.

Its the first hint I get with the poem that I am actualy in the room occupying the same space and time and in the moment.

I also know that it is possible to make a move here and get the audiance to see it perfectly or at least sense something in the moment and take something memorable and pleasurable from it thats  absorbing.

Its not an exact science and it may not always work, but when it does it is clear to see.

How does this form of communication work? I have no idea how to express it other than in clunky terms that seem like an attempt to do something else.

I feel somwhat dumb but I am sometimes perfectly capable of walking and even talking at the sametime. Dramatic prat falls are a part of such a business you just get use to having to be a fool at times.

In regard to the psychology here. I stumbled across it retrospectivly. It contains both what I like about psychology and what makes me question it.

I have a tendancy to select territory that seems familair, experiments I may not have an answer for but seem familiar.

I like questions I am familiar with and responses I already feel I know.

I like patterns that fit, focus less when they do not.  I can alter the inflection so they match perfectly.