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Curtain falls on the Final Scene of the Rhyme in Joe Lees in Tullamore

The curtain has fallen on Tullamore’s Scene of the Rhyme events in Joe Lees, which from a few short months ago – nine to be exact I think, has become an event of nationwide recognition on the poetry events circuit, and has brought the work of the Tullamore Rhymers Club to a national consciousness in the process.Here is a quick, but not exhaustive, synopsis of the nights proceedings!

Hear about the Dubliner, the Wicklow person and the Longford person? No, its not a bad joke, but an excellent band, and their first gig for Seachanges was at the last Scene of the Rhyme in Tullamore
Hear about the Dubliner, the Wicklow person and the Longford person? No, its not a bad joke, but an excellent band, and their first gig for Seachanges was at the last Scene of the Rhyme in Tullamore

The night was opened by the Tullamore Rhymers Club, with Richard Brennan, Cormac Lally, me fein, David Mallaghan and conscriptee David Hynes giving our offerings at verse.

Lally done his Obama poem (which we doubt he would like!) and also his excellent new piece which Id missed at the All Ireland Poetry Slam about the broken plate – a metaphor for a broken friendship and from life experience though I wont go into details as its still current – among other staples such as the poem about Shell, Richard Brennan also done a new one of his about an electrical repair shop called “Interstellar” among his set, David Hynes surpassed himself with short two line poem among his recitations, and I done “The Cold Time”, “An Endangered Species” and “Long May Horses Shit the Streets” in direct response to Mallaghans “Gypsies in Space” poem, for the craic!

The latter, every time I hear it, though meant in jest, reminds me of Charlie Smiths verse “Space Gypsies”, a poem musing on if gyspies went to space would they be free of stereotyping and discimination. He became a county Councillor in Essex I think, and done great work in inter community relations in the UK. He was illiterate, and a friend wrote down his lovely rhyming verses and made a few books out of them, one of which I used to have, and hope to get my hands on again.

The music was provided by Sea Change, a new band with personell from Longford (why not!!!) Dublin and Wicklow. A sonic chorus that complemented each other in a mellow way, you could listen to them forever, I really hope they get a demo done and get it out there. If you get a change to hear them, get out there…

Talking of mellow, the stories of Fergus Costello as usual were a joy to behold, my personal favorite being his story about not calling him Fergal, and how Fergus was like a cello. Now, reading that will not make you laugh, but if you are ever fortunate enough to hear it, it will! Among others, such as “Keep Building Hotels” he got as expected a great response.

Özgecan Kesici reading - and singing - at Scene of the Rhyme
Özgecan reading – and singing – at Scene of the Rhyme

Özgecan gave a great insight into the life of an immigrant into Europe, and her favourite verse (apart from the opening verse with the song her grandfather used to tell) was the one about the “Good Daughters” who were translators and all for their families, social norms of a culture more akin to our own traditional culture in Ireland than the modern culture of where – and there are a lot of good but also a lot of ills in modern culture – identity and familial expectation is no longer a defining feature.

Alicia Byrne Kane socks it to fellahs at Scene of the Rhyme!
Alicia Byrne Kane socks it to fellahs at Scene of the Rhyme!

One with a lot to say about that was Alicia Byrne Keane, whose poems reflecting on how her friends were not into feminism as much as she was and the lads who keep messaging “Hi” which she ignores left us fellas with bruised egos! She touched on a lot of valid points but seems to miss the fact a lot of women do see the choice between work and family as a woman’s to make as suits herself, and the fundamentalist feminist demand that women must always work like men is not one all women subscribe to. The ideal as Id see it is that both men and women should be able to duck in and out of the labour pool as suits their needs, and not be held slaves to the 40 hour plus week to survive, allowing both to have family life and a work career too. Eliminating overtime, it would have a big impact on unemployment to boot. But textbook feminism cannot adapt to that, at least not in its current form, which has drifted far far away from First Wave Feminism to which I subscribe. But enough of all that, or well have Kevin Higgins calling me sexist again!

A girl from Kildare was press ganged in humersome way by Cormac to give us a bar of a song, and she sang a blues song which Id never heard before, with depth and emotion.

Cormac tied up the night with a poem freshly written, a rewriting in part of Wordworths “Daffodils” it detailed a dark period in Cormac’s life, from which he has come back from. It showed where we can go to in life when things get on top of us, and moreso that there can be a way back and a brighter tomorrow, which is a fantastic message, and a true story in his case.

Tullamore will be a quieter place culturally without Scene of the Rhyme, though others may keep the concept going, or a similar one. Other news from the night was Richard Brennan will have a chapbook out tomorrow! So, its time for Carty to get the finger out too!

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