Dublin: 16 October 2011

I made it down to Dame Street in town today to talk with some of the people who are participating in the “Occupy” action, in sympathy with Occupy Wall Street. I’m frankly stunned by what’s happening worldwide right now with this “Occupy” movement. It seems to be spreading like wildfire, and I’m personally hopeful that some much-needed and constructive change can come out of this.

Dublin, Ireland: Occupy Dame Street, 16 October 2011, Jennifer Willis

Given accounts elsewhere of loud protests, arrests and even violence, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect on Dame Street, but the whole thing is very civilized and even polite. I suppose I should have anticipated nothing less from the Irish! The occupiers were happy to talk to reporters and other passersby, but there was no in-your-face campaigning or shouting.

The only problems I encountered were two-fold:

  1. It’s difficult to shoot video and record audio — by yourself — at the same time. The trouble lies in standing close enough to get good audio on the Zoom while standing far enough away to get more than just the speaker’s nose in the video frame. I ended with one arm outstretched to hold the mic close to the interviewee, and then keeping the camera up by my head to get the best shot. Of course, that way you can’t see what video footage you’re getting while you’re recording… For the first interview, this strategy worked fine. For the second, my interviewee was only partially in frame for most of the video. Oops.
  2. Journalists don’t always practice professional courtesy. You know I wasn’t the only one down there today. Specifically, there was another journalist with a massive video camera, who kept insinuating himself into my photography and audio. I’d seen him watching what I was doing, so it’s not like he was clueless as to my purpose there, so I can only conclude he was deliberately trying to ruin my shots (by straying into frame) and my audio (by wandering over to stand close and have telephone conversations while I was recording ambient sound). Seriously? Competitive, much?

This next bit has nothing to do with the “Occupy” movement… Apparently, Dubliners really like milkshakes. At least, this is what I’ve concluded after spending four weeks stumbling across shake-specialty stores around practically every corner. As I’d had only a banana for breakfast, I crossed Dame Street after speaking to the protestors and found myself in the Shakes Milkshake Bar. I was completely overwhelmed by the menu — apparently, you choose your favorite candy bar or cookie, and use this as a “base” for your milkshake — but somehow ended up with a Milky Way shake with some extra chocolate sauce swirled in. Not the healthiest mid-day snack, but damn it was yummy.

Posted in Ireland 2011.

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