Wednesday, March 15, 2006


I went to Damar Hall last night to listen to seven poets launch chapbooks. Belfast's Lapwing Press was the publisher who brought an eclectic mix of poets to Dublin and let them loose in the basement of poesy where they wove their magic for about fifteen minutes each, with a comfort break after the first four. I am unable to give a full account because I lost my manuscript book last night after decanting to Whelans Pub and then next door to the Village, an uber cool hangout for the cash flush gargler wanting to continue the late night ambience after throw out time. I wasn't even drunk. I had met a small party in Whelans and they coaxed me to follow them in to the Village, and as I am only barred from most of the boozers in Temple Bar, which is a good ten minutes away, I thought I would be OK drinking to collapse in this trendy haven. I had only been in there a few minutes when an African bouncer came over and asked me to leave. When I emerged onto the pavement I realised my book was still in there, and he let me back in to have a quick supervised scout around the 2.30am scene, but the lights, noise and general disorderly social array were not condusive to success and I decided to come back later. I went there tonight and an Italian barman affected an air of supreme indifference to my plight. When I asked if my book was about, the sum total of his inquiry consisted of a glance at the till and a shrug of the shoulders. I will have to telephone the office staff and try to impress upon them the seriousness of my loss.

The fellas whose business is standing in pub doorways are always on the lookout for a bit of argy bargy aren't they? And now they have two way earpieces and walkie talkies the overall register of their meins is more secret service and CIA than sup hole standabouts. The Village is known for the bands that appear there, and there's many an artist who has strutted the Village boards who''s first gig was strumming air guitars in front of a bedroom mirror, and I can imagine most doormen also indulge in the bouncer equivalent; practicing facial technique as part of the training regime. They all have that bored glacial hue which is the signature of a contemporary social life, and one easy to work up if standing outside a pub is your trade. And as there is not much action in the job, they have to make some work whenever they can get it, so at least I served as another statistic in the job life for one of Ireland's new workers.

But the readings went well and Denis the Lapwing head honcho left me with a memorable statistic. He said that 80% of poetry books are bought by women, but only 20% of poets who get published are from the fairer sex. And Denis was putting this right as 5 of the seven were women, several of whom adjourned to Nearys pub afterwards to engage in post reading poetry chat. I went there with Rob MacKenna, who is from Meath and a very talented poet who you can listen to on the audio site.

  • Scalljah's Sound House

  • Also in Nearys was Peter Sirr and Greg Delanty, who said they had read the review I wrote on Delanty's book launch the other week.

  • Delanty Book Launch

  • Sirr very kindly put up with me blathering on about the Cauldron of Poesy whilst pretending to appear interested. Maybe I wouldn't have got booted out of the Village if they were there?

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