fbpx

Three Men Talking About Things They Kinda Know About – 10th Anniversary Event

10 years ago I wrote and performed a spoken word play called Three Men Talking About Things They Kinda Know About in the Dublin Fringe Festival with Colm Keegan and Stephen James Smith. The mighty Sarah Brennan directed the show, and it went on to be nominated for the Little Gem Fringe Festival award. And it then took us on a journey to Project Arts Centre, and to multiple wonderful venues in Ireland, and across the waves for sold-out engagements in London, Bristol and Paris. It was a truly magical time for me as a writer and creative, and I have written about it at length on here before if you’d like to learn more about the journey of the show. It was a show that was relatively

And now a decade later, we have decided that we would be remiss in not acknowledging the anniversary in some way. The show had ripples across the spoken word scene, as well as having a significant impact on our lives. So, we are marking the occasion with an evening of conversation in Axis Ballymun on Dec 8th with Niamh Ní Chonchubhair. Additionally, we want to mark the anniversary in some tangible way by launching a beautiful new audio recording of the play (with a glorious soundscape composed by Gareth Quinn Redmond) , and a limited edition 10th anniversary publication of the script – featuring essays from journalist Gemma Tipton and our director Sarah Brennan, as well as brand new forewords by all Three Men, and a host of photos from several different performances. Admission is free but you’ll have to book tickets here. We would love to see some of your friendly faces at the event – it promises to be really special.

The Brownbread Mixtape: Vol 2 – Spoken Word Poetry

For over a decade I hosted and curated a live monthly variety show called The Brown Bread Mixtape, and it took place upstairs in the legendary Stag’s Head pub here in Dublin. Those eclectic, electric nights in that old Victorian room were some of the most fun and creatively exciting times I’ve had.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I recently stumbled across a digital treasure trove of recordings from the shows and I put together a handful of mixtapes from the shows that captures some of the best moments. This volume is centred around spoken word poetry, which is a deep passion and love of mine, and the mixtape features some of the finest practitioners of the art form on this little island of Ireland from the past decade. Storytellers, lyricists, polemicists and rhymers, whose wonderful words will wash over you. The featured poets are John Cummins, Erin Fornoff, Colm Keegan, Raven (RIP), Catherina Behan and Stephen James Smith

The Brownbread Mixtape – Vol. 1 – Music

For over a decade I hosted and curated a live monthly variety show called The Brown Bread Mixtape, and it took place upstairs in the legendary Stag’s Head pub here in Dublin. Those eclectic, electric nights in that old Victorian room were some of the most fun and creatively exciting times I’ve had.

The night always had a theme, and then I invited independent musicians and spoken word artists & poets to perform, with their sets loosely based around that theme. And I would always write a handful of radio-style comedy sketches that I performed with my dear friends (and infinitely better actors) Gus, Eva and Sean (aka The Brownbread Players). The atmosphere was always buzzing in that packed room, and the audience was a huge part of that consistently magical experience.

Recently I stumbled across a digital treasure trove of recordings from the shows and put the word out to see if there was any interest in hearing them. I was delighted to see that the answer was a resounding “Hell yeah”, so I have put together the first of a handful of mixtapes from the shows that captures some of the finest musical performances on the rarest nights.

Hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed revisiting them. Let me know what you think and feel free to share the soundcloud link onwards to anyone who might dig it. And please support the featured artists — Marc O’Reilly, Rook & The Ravens, Harry Bird & The Rubber Wellies, Lindsey Horne, and Enda Reilly

Pickling Creativity

Food is a place where I love to play creatively. I have no demands upon myself and adore the freedom of creatively piecing together ideas. Today I returned to the pleasant pastime of pickling things and inventing new concoctions & creations. And I love the thought that the true final output won’t really be known for a while when I open the jars once again, but for now I have adored playing with the palette of colours and palate of flavours.

Sept 11th – a recollection

20 years ago today, around this time I was emerging from the subway at Bowling Green in Manhattan right by the iconic iron bull sculpture. My subway journey had been marred by delays and the commuting New Yorkers were getting irritable, myself included. Little did we know that above ground the first plane had struck the Twin Towers, and the second was just about to hit. As I emerged I saw throngs of people running down the middle of Broadway, some shouting and others with their eyes locked on the horizon in a catatonic stare. I shuffled through the crowd, catching snippets of conversation about a plane and the towers. It didnt make much sense. Once inside my office, with a radio plonked in the centre of the communal area, we learned piecemeal about the hijacked planes, but it was all pretty unclear still. I called my dad and my sister to let them know I was ok. My friend Dave and I went over to Battery Park to see for ourselves, and I will never forget the sight of the buildings burning and belching out smoke, with the sound of sirens all around us. As odd as it sounds now, despite the unspeakable horror of it all, we assumed the NYPD and FDNY had it under control. We returned inside and without warning our building started to violently shake. Looking back, this was the first tower collapsing and the reverberations were so fierce they shook our foundations, although at the time we didn’t know it. There was garbled talk on the radio of bombs, and with our building backing onto the NY Stock Exchange, there was a real concern for our safety and the rumbling building felt like a warning. I made a personal decision to leave and as I did so, the building announced an evacuation. Throngs of people spilled into the lobby but the doors to the outside had been locked. Mixed messages from the building management meant that thousands of people were now pressing into the confined area and it was getting uncomfortably tight. A security guard said he would open the doors and we could leave at our own risk. I exited with Dave and his sister Karin, who also worked with me. I still remember the yellowish dust that lay on the ground like a weird snow, as we traipsed through it. As we crossed Bowling Green there was the sound of planes roaring above us and I felt panic and threw myself against a wall in a meaningless effort to stay safe. They were likely military planes securing the area, given that all air traffic had been grounded. We then slowly trudged down to the bottom of Manhattan with streams of people pouring out of buildings onto the normally busy roads of the financial district. Some buildings had hauled out their water coolers onto the road and were handing out cups to drink from. Around then there was another loud boom and plumes of smoke raced down the concrete canyons around us as the second tower collapsed. Everyone started running and we made it to a slip road up onto the Brooklyn Bridge, where a kindly cop let us enter. Once I was up there I stared across and saw hordes of New Yorkers streaming out of Manhattan across the bridges. It was only then I was finally able to look back at the island and where the towers had once stood, there was now a smoking, burning vacant space. When we finally got to Brooklyn I looked up into the clear blue skies and saw the surreal sight of reams of paper fluttering down. Old letterheads and index cards from the offices in the towers, just drifting to the ground. Some of them charred and singed. I grabbed one and folded it into my wallet as a strange memento to remember those who were gone. With a sense of social duty we went to the hospital to donate blood but they didn’t need any more, and as it would turn out they unfortunately wouldn’t have a huge need anyway due to the lack of survivors from the buildings themselves. As we finally sat down in Dave’s apartment in Carroll Gardens, I called my father to let him know I was ok. He hadn’t heard from me for hours and saw the events unfolding on live television. Both of us spoke in hushed tones and in a state of shock, as well as real gratitude to be talking. Next I spoke to my sister and then a few friends & family in Ireland and Sweden. And then I did the only thing I knew to do, I sat down and wrote a brief and spotty account of my experience on an online messageboard, which I recall getting picked up by The Irish Times and the Munster Express in my home town of Waterford. The next morning I ventured out to the subway and made the lengthy journey back to Sunnyside, Queens, still wearing the dusty clothes from the day before. Commuters staring blankly to the floor. When I got home I bumped into my landlord Tom Lee,, who let me know that our neighbour Warren, who worked in Tower One, had not returned home yet. And he would never return. And as the week rolled by I heard of other sad stories, and also of unlikely escapes, like my friend Shadi who was fired from his job in the Twin Towers on Sept 10th. The week that followed was a blur of watching the news and sleeping and eating. And the return to work was an eerie one, with military personnel and vehicles on the roads, with strict ID checks at entry points from the Subway. And those fires burned at Ground Zero for months afterwards. Months. Air filters that were normally changed annually were being swapped out within weeks. Union Square become a memorial ground to those who were gone, with candles and flags and mementos and books strewn in makeshift shrines. Some sang songs. Others walked in silence. It was a strange and oddly beautiful time to be there. And as I look back now, 20 years later, I think about how grateful I am to have walked away to tell the tale, and I turn my thoughts to those who didn’t. May they rest in peace.

Red Pill, Blue Pill

I adored The Matrix when it came out. One of the only movies I have ever gone to see two nights in a row in a cinema (I’m from an era before online streaming) and it was so enjoyable. The sequels were hugely disappointing and really didn’t add much for me. The less said about them the better. But I have to say, despite that, I am genuinely excited about this new instalment. Keanu continues to impress in his latter years and this looks really visually compelling & creative. The website is also pretty slick and offers two different entry points depending on which pill you select. Can’t wait!