Its been a surreal few weeks, with Scene of the Rhyme on in Tullamore, an unexpected appearance organised at the last minute with host Dave Hynes at A-Musings in Accents Café in Dublin, and missing both Readings at the Pallet in Banagher and Electric Picnic in Stradbally… not to forget a rather “intimate” Heritage Week reading at Abbeyleix!
Oh, and a little boy drowned in Turkey.
The tragic death of Aylan Kurdi – the little boy that washed up on the beach in Turkey brought home to all of us the refugee tragedy on a personal level. In a mood akin to JeSuisCharlie, the media and public mood turned from “keep them out” to let them in”, and I thought it rather cynical as the media put up whatever headlines that will sell. However I am delighted that the public mood is turning, as if there is enough money to bail banks, there is more than enough for refugees.
The, what I call Europes Trail of Tears, started in Budapest, as folk pressed west in scenes not seen since the fall of the Wall, even more than that, since WWII as folk set out to walk 150 miles to Vienna.
In a spat with the Galway writer online Sarah Clancy – in which I was accused on “manspalining” I have also called – and stand by – calls to ensure in all of this our own homeless are not forgotten about, be it from drink or drugs or from the financial crisis.
The refugee centre is opening in Longford with 80 being taken in, and the usual Longford welcome was displayed in comments to the Longford Leader page, but in fairness even they who were against it said it was families they welcomed not a herd of single men, citing the usual fears that womenfolk might be in danger etc., etc. In time that row will die down, I do think that families should be priority. How we deal with them, if it is to be direct provision like heretofor or something different I dont know, I doubt the new ones from actual war zones will complain about direct provision too much.
Getting back to the poetry, its a situation that has cought even me off guard, the scale of the problem, which shows how much Turkey has been holding back for so long, and against the media cynycism I wrote Its a Boy!
Shock for Laois as our Carty misses Electric Picnic, also Readings at the Pallet, but sure they were treated before at the Heritage Festival in Abbeyleix!
The best laid plans of mice and men come to naught it is said, and Cartys plans are never well laid. I was all set for Electric Picnic, and Banaghers “Readings at the Pallet” before that, but all came stuck due to work. Not having the balls or commitment of the girl who left her job to go to the picnic (THATS rock n roll!) I found not alone was I missing the great spoken word gigs on the go, but that 2 Unlimited were also playing.
On the plus side, I also got the good news that on September 25th Scooter are playing Tullamore and Ill be dragging a few skulls from Galway to that!
The Rhymers along with other spoken word artists are making a fantastic impact on the Spoken Word stages as I write I am getting the feedback on Facebook. Well done to all and the organiser Mary Mulligan from Mullingar.
I did make the Heritage Festival as the sole members of the Rhymers, but the plans there bace unstuck and I only ended up doing a reading to some of the staff and a few folk I met outside in the field! The festival itself in Abbeyleix was interesting, the Queen Charlotte car being the highlight for me, a pity it wasnt running. It was from 1906 and was the first public viewing.
There was viking re-enactors, I tried my hand at archery which I hadnt done since the day Bin Laden was killed (I wasnt on that operation doing archery, I was in Killary Harbour Adventure Centre with friends!) and found time makes you no better, especially when you dont practice!
On the second day – after a fiasco with lifts over and back which Lady luck solved – I met local activist Tom McEvoy who campaigns for heritage issues and the Pearl Mussel. He gave me a lift from Portlaoise and outlines the issues as he saw them. While I;d not agree with all he said – and I entertained him with the stories of Dad and the Miracle of the Porch! – his commitment to the projects close to his heart shows what we can achive as people if we only give a shit about stuff.
The craft fair was excellent, my favourites being a lady painter and an etcher. Their details I will get another time and upload. The steam roller was also class. My contribution to the festival in the main part was spreading out the silm stringers on the maypole, which was a wasted effort in the wind, in the most macho way possible! A man of many talents is me!
Early exit at Scene of the Rhyme, and at an unexpected appearance at A-musing!
I made it down for the Scene of the Rhyme with the Tullamore Rhymers, and instead of the usual revolver routine, we were doing a twenty minute set each. Its amazing the difference it makes when your on the spot for twenty minutes, and I think I exited after about ten – which I repeated at A-musings in Dublin the Sunday after, having no idea of the time it takes me to read pieces, which is something as a reader you never think of much but something I have to work on.
I dished up the staples, Angry Sea among them, and in Dublin I did “Donkey and the Thistle” but refrained from “Portrait of the Artist as a Not So Young Man” as I thought it a bit long and a bit whiney for public reading!
Other acts at A-musings included in the poetry section Elaine Harringtone who has a lovely piece about her mother. Its not the usual “i love my mammy” poem you hear, but a beautiful crafting of how she built the sky for her while standing on her own tears, or words to that effect. And it rhymed, which as a rapper Id never thought of her doing. On making comment on that, I was told she has tons of what she calls “sentimental” poems, and I hope to hear more.
Her poetry is often endy, urban and gritty about how hard life is. Id first heard her live at a anti-austerity march, and seen her live at an earlier Scene of the Rhyme, after which I wrote “Unable to Understand the Anger“ as its a genre that leaves me cold, as I believe life is tough but you make your own luck.
My first job was IR£90 a week, and my rent was IR£35, and going home was not an option. But I stiuck with it and had the time of my life. Its all the attitude you take to life I think and find.
A comedian with a rebranding idea for the Catholic Church had us all in stitches, an excelelnt imporivsation centred on Fidel Castro, a helicopter, and the swamps of New Orleans was on the spot made up by Ciaran Callan – as he does! in varius musical styles. Id met him the day before in Dublin as I arrived for the Right to Water march…
On the Water March… again!… and backstage at Troy Anderson / Frank Mills gig at Tullamroe Court Hotel
The march from Heeston to O’ Connell street had a good attendance, with a strong showing from the Communist Party of Ireland and also a few Jesus freaks from Mayo (where else, at least they were not from Longford!) and a speech by a young chap called Jamie about how an ambulance he called for a suicidal man on the Liffey bridge told him he was “not priority”… this man had lost his home to the banks and was reaching the end of his tether, talked down and calmed down by a hero of the modern age, a boy of 16. More of a man thatn those idiods in uniform at the NAS control centre for whom each crisis is not a case but a number.
This time the media did not dispute march numbers at circa 80,000 odd or so, nd there was no split off marches or trouble that I saw anyway.
That evening on coming back to Tullamore, fellow Rhymer Tony Sullivan told he of a gig with visiting Nashville recording artist Troy Anderson, and before the gig I had coffee with Tony, local songwriter Frank Mills and Tory Anderson himself. It was interesting to have a chat with a chap who travels the globe trying out new material and then heads back to Nashville to work on making it big out there. It takes guts.
He did some covers by request, as well as lot of his own material… here is a video from his website http://www.troyandersonmusic.com/
Outlaws face High Noon at the Banagher Horse Fair
The Banagher Horse Fair is coming up on September 13th, and I was on the Will O Callaghan show with John Leahy, Lucinda Creightons right hand man of RENUA, and arguing why there should be no committee needed, the fair officially being unauthorited. Its the topic of the stir-up-the-shite verse “Long May Horses Shit the Streets” which I wrote for last years Readings at the Pallet.
I had “Plotting a Duel in Merlin Woods” planned for this years, bar work worked against me, so I wasnt able to go. I will be at the fair itself though!