Next up is the Valentia Island festival – as we in the Tullamore Rhymers Club sort out our line up Im not sure will I be reading or just chilling out and enjoying the craic. Sunday I was at A-musings for the second time in Accents Café in Dublin, and was at an amazing anarchic night at Scene of the Rhyme as the B-Mused crew (the comedians among A-musings) brought their chaos from the city to the quiet country town of Tullamore!
So, lets take it from the top – last Friday of the month is the current date in Joe Lees Bar in Tullamore for Scene of the Rhyme, MC being Richard Brennan, and featured a motley crew of poets and musicians, and the Tullamore Rhymers Club whose latest conscriptee from the city is the delightful Shauna Byrne, who did a piece on the topic of domestic violence, which she repeated at A-musings, and tells us she has been the unfortunate victim of, as have many women of whom we hear little about.
Its a striking poem, and brought back to mind Alvy Carraghers verse on date rape, which I heard first in Kilkenny and then again in Body & Soul, where she recalls the painful memories of men who refused to take no for an answer when they wished to go farther than she did when they got together.
It something society has to tackle, we have more or less faced down martial rape, and faced up to domestic voilence though the law does need changing as Shauna Byrne points out, the burden of proof needs to more to prove innocence than prove the perpetrator is guilty. Ive dealt with this often in a professional capacity as a security guard and cant comment as such as a result, bar to say it crosses all social boundaries, its not just poor people and alcoholics, and there is also an issue of women battering their husbands too.
Neither party should batter the other, and no man should hit a woman. That’s a message we need to instill into the youth to cure this blight on our society, home for all folk should be a refuge for the world, not the world a refuge from the home.
Shauna’s stand out piece, and one of my favourites from her, is her piece “Alice”, which she read at A-musings – I’m not sure is that the title as a lot of her verses don’t have titles, but it brings the listener on a journey with her using the story of Alice in Wonderland, explaining how she explored parts of life maybe she shouldn’t have, but did as she was learning life and how she wanted to live it, at least that is the meaning I took from it anyway.
Her body positive verse challenging the social demand for a perfect ten figure – though an attempt to thwart size zero is making fits and starts in the media and fashion industries – and highlighted the often unreported and unknown fact that anorexia, bullimia and allied disorders also affect men as well as women.
It doesn’t affect our Carty, who loves his kebabs and chocolate too much to let some magazine editor spoil my fun!!!
Another stand out piece from her set is telling the boss of her marketing company where to go after she told girls they were not “pretty enough”… now anyone who has met our Shauna knows shes model material, and to tell the likes of her that shes not pretty enough can only come from jealousy… or maybe Toms testicles are talking too much even though he is like the donkey at the thistle!
Shauna’s in her early twenties (young by even Cartys standards!!!), her reading style with a strong Dublin accent though shes actually from Meath (you know, that place Dustin has never been to!) is natural and engaging, and Dave Hynes has rightly marked her out as one to watch on the spoken word scene in the coming months, every bit as good (and as hot!!!) as Catherina Behan, who we lost to Australia some years back, and early casualty of the Celtic Tiger going bust! Her material is about the everyday of the world as she meets it, as she sees it and makes sense of it, warts and all. Yet, as with her Alice piece, she can weave in and out the mystical to give two or more interpretations of each verse when she wants to, the skill of a true poet.
OK, its time my testicles stopped typing and I moved onto other acts!
Dave Hynes done his usual set, bringing the house down with his porn poem (as only he can do!!!), and expanding his alliteration poems with a poem on B and D joining his F poem, on different funny topics with the same structural style.
My favourite from him is a little three liner love poem, which I got recorded below:
David Mallaghan did his usual set pieces of funny poems, as did Richard Brennan, the welcome presence of Anthony Sullivan contained a poem he could not remember who it was about, and another one about one he said maybe he should not remember, but such is the joys of life as a writer!
I did “Angry Sea” and the new poem on war “There Is No Time for Art“ as my two pieces, and was the sacrificial poet at A-musings…
I decided to start with “The Saving of Mankind“, which went down so well at both the Waterville gig and in the Roisin Dubh. Maybe it was just me, but the stilly stoney silence it met meant I thought I judged that one bad, maybe it needs a room full of drunk people who enjoy tongue in cheek verse like it, so I decided to play safe and stick to old standards and safer verse to finish the set.
There was a camera crew filming which meant I was nervous as hell, but got on with it regardless!
Along with “There Is No Time or Art”, at the A-musings I read “The Long Acre“, “Putting the Cat Out of the Kitchen” among others, which got a better reaction than the “Saving of Mankind”!!!
Dave Hynes gave out a copy of “Ommmmmm!”, the new chapbook, which was taken by a Canadian girl, with whom I had a good conversation, as she told me of her being in Achill Island – a place I though Irish have yet to visit – and how she enjoyed reading “Walking the Bog“… I gave another copy to a Cavan girl Natasha Helen Crudden who is from Ballyjamesduff though shes does not have the Cavan accent at all, after Id heard her do her set of poetry to a background of her playing guitar, a very nice variation on the poetic spectrum – one of her pieces on SoundCloud is below:
Her second piece told of how her generation has to put the humpty dumpty nation back together that our generation wrecked in the Celtic Tiger years, which is set to me no mean feat, with Greece being the whipping boys and guinea pig for standing up to Europe, as our government tightens the screw by bringing laws in to force payment of water charges and property taxes, or sales of houses etc., will not be legally binding.
I fully support the Greeks and wish them all the best, and despair at our national government hanging them out to dry: but then again this is the party that stood over 15,000 dying of famine in 1925 a mere ten years after the 1916 the same party is planning the celebrations of that declared we would “teat all the children of the nation equally” – well i you count holding us all in contempt, no one can deny Fine Gael does that anyway!
In better news internationally: the US courts forced through the all states law to legalise gay marriage, which we showed the way on on the May 22nd referendum.
The best Facebook graphic I seen highlighting how the unease I felt always about the Confederate Flag is now shared by the world in the wake of the Charleston Shootings, shows the Southern Cross being lowered: and the Rainbow flag going up the flagpole:
The stand out comedy of the weekend, was Mr Procrastination man act of B-musings, which I was intending to see on the Saturday. But as Id been to see it on the Friday at Scene of the Rhyme, I gave it the slip and did some painting of the lodge rooms in Tullamore instead. The helter skelter and chaos of the stand off of Mr Procrastination man – played by Dave Hynes – and his nemesis (whose name escapes me!) is a scene to be seen to be appreicated!
Other acts of the B-mused set are the “Good, Bad and Ugly” round (my ill judged shout of “erectile dysfunction” as a topic in schoolboy fashion led me to be the centre of the opening salvo, where the aforementioned Shauna Byrne set the light on our Carty to ask me did I suffer it! All was denied, as a scarlet Carty was glad the chronic sunburn hid the blushes: morto!!! )
Yes, our Carty got his answer all right!
A French girl did good poems as well, and a comedy set about handbags, but it was the lady who did the poems about breasts (not just because Im a pervert, though in truth I am!!!!) that was the stand out one for me… I’m a big supporter of the #freethenipple movement, and the taboo of seeing and talking about breasts has to end, breast feeding and how women have an important part of their identity and interpretation of their femininity has to be understood and celebrated as normal and natural.
While there are copies of the chapbook on its way to Cavan and Canada, between the two gigs the weekend and the Body and Soul, I found that selling chapbooks will never make me rich! Next up is Valentia Island festival on Orange weekend, though I intend to be moving to the beat of trance music and not to Orange drums!