Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Doings of a Dublin Phoney

I have been a frequent audience member over the past few weeks, regularly injecting myself with a maximum dose of poetry, like a singing superstar of sensational pop sticking in the smack spike straight to mainline at a backstage rock ‘n crack fest.

And not content with wallowing in the verse energy of live readings, I have also been spinning the odd work or three of my own to any who indicate an appreciation for the cultural validity of wordsmiths wishing to fluff and ruffle their linguistic plumage in the name of that cuddly good time art vibe poets attempt to tease from their ouvres for the benefit of all mankind.

And as addicts of peace reading this will appreciate, being a full time ambassador of Da Word and dispensing mental love drugs to those whose orbits ooze to intersect with active language maestros, bards and ovates, is a tough number. Indeed, it’s a full time affair just keeping up with the sheer volume of blatherers who explode or bomb their gift beneath the hot glowing spotlight circling the druidic podiums which litter this wind drenched land like wheat husks shook empty of myth.

If I were to detail every one of the wafflers I have come across since my last review of the Monster Truck Poetry night inaugural do, the word count would run longer than the full treatment notes of a junkie soap-star’s detox programme at a ten star treatment centre for the semi famous. So I will toss only a précis of what aural treats I’ve witnessed in recent weeks and offer a pick ‘n mix skim through but two of my doings during the last month or so.


First off was the Sunday Hungover Session at Monster Truck Art Gallery, Dublin on 28/5/06.

This was an exclusive, intimate and informal gathering of two wordsmiths, a singer and a painter, congregating in an imaginative assembly and sharing ideas, work and words. Visual artist Alexander Reilly, musician Hugh Deanie and poets PJ Brady and Desmond Swords (now referring to himself in the third person) held a short symposium where the current and flow of discussion was interspersed with poem, song, suggestion and an all round mixing of minds on what contemporary life and art is all about.

Hugh was there in his capacity of an auditionee for the third Monster Poetry night, which occured on Thursday 22 June, with guest poet Namaya performing the Irish leg of his Sex God and Politics world tour. This event was a great success, with a 50/50 ratio of sexes reading and it was all captured on my new Mp3, which I had to replace after the other one was stolen on Valentines Night, just after I had left a letter for Ralph Fiennes at the Gate Theatre, asking him if I could stick it near his face as he read some poetry. Ralph must have been too busy attempting to save his marriage to Ms Annis, as he did not reply.


Hugh was accompanied by his Barcelonean bitch Ratfink, who He rescued from the streets of that city whilst squatting in a castle and writing songs, during his Mediterrainean phase a few years back. He is currently enjoying an extended run of gigs on Grafton Street, Meeting House Square and other locations throughout the city centre, wowing pedestrians with his soulful, low-fi style. Using the streets as his public rehearsal space is a savvy move and Hugh’s guitar bag attracts a lot of cash action, complimented by the beautiful Ratfink stretched out in slinky pose to draw out the humanity on the laneways where converse and craic come easy to those being truly themselves.


Next stop was Tuesday 30 May, Damar Hall, Stepehen's Green, the Poetry Ireland hothouse where talent from the Irish bardic orders launch their books. Irish poetry mirrors its society, the hallmark of which is the state of constant flux summed up in the William Butler Yeats line - minute by minute they change. This is because, whilst some characters from this rich poetic strata are ascending the shadowy laurel pole as their voice comes through and they hit their true vein, others are slipping down as the force of their muse retreats and pales out.

The blip on their radar of wider poetical awareness slowly spluttering to go completely on the blink until the shrill sound of a flatlined career is heard at the post-read gossip tables supporting the bottles and glasses which constitute the most important component of any night where words twist to snag the ear's attention, or switch the listener off to sleep.

The prime cause of a poet's amour propre delusions are years of state and academy sponsored funding for the supping of free ale on the poet’s merry-go-round of identikit library readings and star billing on school visits, garden centre gigs and a plethora of unchallenging mortal audience members whose servile natures only serve to addle the once sharp language artist's innovative and urgent minds of inquiry to a totally delusional state.

Luckily on this date Mairide Woods, a Northern Irish poet of rising buoyancy with an obvious and competent ability, was on the up; there to set forth her latest collection, The last roundness of the world.

Introduced by Dáil Éireann TD Liz McManus, Mairide proved to the large assembly that her well-spring of lingo is gushing forth freely and she need not worry about her word combos. Here's a found poem snippet wrought out of the gems I plucked from the air between us -

I have been unkind.....Oh most gerry mandered city.....but I hope you'll let it go by.....Losses did not come singularly.....the day the county fell.....the place upon your brain.....swam back a century.....Flash of flambouyant.....clear sighted verbal objects.....encouraging me as a fledgling.....Derry.....flapping my wings.....cut a deal on eternity.


Mairide's humanity lit up the night and her basic poetic philosophy of life was summed up in a saying which translates into English from it's original Irish form as -

It's through the shelter of each other that people live.

Wise words indeed. Which brings me to my next review, up soon. This will be of the 22 June Monster Truck do, and the truth will be heard when I upload the audio of that night at the end of next week onto Scalljah.blogmatrix. Here one of the hottest debates of recent weeks will be laid to rest when sound outs.

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