“For the perfect flâneur, for the passionate spectator, it is an immense joy to set up house in the heart of the multitude (…) To be away from home and yet to feel oneself everywhere at home; to see the world, to be at the centre of the world, and yet to remain hidden from the world – impartial natures which the tongue can but clumsily define.’
– C. Baudelaire, ‘Le Peintre de la Vie Moderne’
This week’s recording comes from the stalwart of Dublin creative hangouts, an oldie but goldie. It’s the one with the barely rinsed, pale and uninteresting, catering-type cup that lands on your table with a fossilized rivulet of tannin and half its contents spilled on the way. A favourite of the flâneur, particularly of the cinophile variety, the Irish Film Institute (or IFI as it’s better known) is also the glass-ceilinged roof over the heads of half the city’s creative freelancers.
You can stay as long as you like on that little stained cup- to type, read, scribble, sketch or just daydream (a full morning is a favourite, when you can spare it). The IFI is the original shared desk concept, with brownies, plus three arthouse screens in case that meeting doesn’t materialise. The city centre location makes it the perfect place for people-watching because literally everyone is welcome here, eccentric oddballs included, with a handful in long term residency.
These are sounds collected on a saturday afternoon in the IFI’s popular restaurant section, encapsulating some of the things I love most about this location. In opposition to the bright and airy atrium where most people meet to work or catch up informally, the restaurant is an enclosed and perenially darkened space, with burgundy panelled walls and a busy bar, that helps conjure the fantasies of its many off-duty patrons.
Like the IFI itself, its soundscape is about the sum of its parts. A Woody Allen-esque soundtrack sets the scene as male and female tones exchange back and forth, while the busy staff sort out the glasses and the coffee machine gears up for another fuel round. At least this is what you can hear, but the real focus happens to be in beween the frequencies, and in between the stained cups of tea.
(Photo via http://www.visitdublin.com)