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Gene Barry in Tullamore – Writers Past, and Loved ones past on, remembered at “Scene of the Rhyme”

Gene Barry headed the bill at the September Scene of the Rhyme in Joe Lees Bar in Tullamore, which as usual featured the Tullamore Rhymers, with Ken Hume, Cormac Lally, Richard Brennan and yours truly reading. Genes work spanned his writing career, with the funny poems going down well, and the excitement and the drama of the new fridge, and its deplacement of the telly bringing us back to the times when these were not things we took for granted, unlike today. The sayings – or “spakes” as we would call them – of his fathers were a joy to listen to, my personal favourite being “hes so lazy he wouldnt pull a soldier off his sister”, which I had never heard before!

Niall Cahir from Birr introduced a piece on cancer, and spoke of his forthcoming film on Michael Thatcher “The Iron Man”, which is out on October 8th, being launched at the Offline Film Festival in the Oxmantown Theatre in Birr. Speaking to him and his partner at the event, we discussed the film itself, the thinking behind it, and spoke of “Circus Europe” project and also Latif Yahia’s film “The Devils Double”, both of which had local connections.

The film of the moment in the area of course is “A Nightingale Falling“, which I was down to see last week, and reviewed. Offaly indeed, and the midlands in general is becoming little Hollywood, with these titles joining cult films like “The Bogman” – from the Nightingale team, Mixed Bag Media, and the short films made in Clara by Ger Mc Cormack as well.

But the night was about the poetry.

A late arrival on the scene was the man from Mountmellick, Declan, who want the Poetry Without Pressure event for Culture night. He too touched on the topic of cancer in his poem on the passing of his mother.

Two out of three of the members – as they told us – of the Savage Jim Breen – played a musical set, before the night was closed by David Hynes, sans pants as usual! While its old hat to veterns such as I, its always priceless to see the expressions on faces when new folk see him hit the stage in his boxers!

I read “Fiddling at Longford” and other verses, Richard Brennan done “Swing”, Cormac Lally done “Ninja Baby Moves” and Ken Hume read “I am” among other verses, in the two rounds of reading the Rhymers done through the night.

Writing wise, the passing of the activist Trevor Murtagh formed the tragic inspiration of some verse, as did the passing of Ivor Hogg. The latter was a writer I knew online at Writerscafe website and other sites, who wrote the old style rhyming verse predominantly, which left me pondeing our legacy as writers when we do pass on.

Looking forward, we have two concerts to open up at in October and November… keep your eyes on Facebook for more!

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