Listowel Writers' Week Fringe

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Archive for June, 2009

Thursday’s “Open Mic” session with MC George Rowley

June 11, 2009 By: Patrick Stack Category: events, participants, photographs, poets

Thanks to Pauline Fayne who kindly sent me on a photograph she took at the “Open Mic” session in the New Kingdom Bar on the Thursday night (May 29th 2009). In the picture are Patrick Stack on the left and John MacNamee on the right in pensive mood as we concentrate on a poem being recited or a song being sung (I don’t remember which).

Left to right: Patrick Stack and John MacNamee

Left to right: Patrick Stack and John MacNamee

Enda Kenny Opened Exhibit at the Lartigue Museum

June 11, 2009 By: Laura Category: painters & paintings, photographs

Enda Kenny opens exhibition, “The Orbit of Salt Water” oil paintings by Michael Flaherty at the Lartigue Museum.

"Enda Kenny in Listowel"

Enda Kenny at The Lartigue

- on Thursday 28 May 2009 @ 1200

Kerry Cancer Support Group were there

June 11, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: connections

We bloggers wanted to pick up, and publicise, what went on around the programme during Listowel Writers’ Week.

Jeremy Gould was particularly keen on this. His enthusiasm rubbed off on me.

It was an accident that caused me to meet people fundraising for Kerry Cancer Support Group. I got a slow puncture, and had to inflate a tyre.

dsc03325I couldn’t help noticing a big coach. Beautifully clean with a small group gathered in front of it.

They welcomed me over. Spared no effort to tell me about the work they do:

They collect people from Kerry who need to go to Cork for cancer treatment. The bus is specially kitted out so that it’s comfortable. Has toilet & fridge on board.

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But they’re not funded by the HSE, the health service.

They have to raise the money themselves. HSE centralise cancer services in Cork. Who pays for transporting people over there for treatment?

I thought that sort of stuff was paid by the taxpayer, via HSE. I was shocked.

I promised to publicise this. Perhaps this blog can do some little good.

Sean Lyons: winner of Strokestown poetry competion 2009 performed

June 11, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: events, historical, organisers, participants, poem, poet, preparations

Historic records will say Michael Lynch introduced Gabriel Byrne who opened Listowel Writers’ Week 2009.

But those of us who were there know another story…

Before 745 pm, the room was jammers. People were turned away at the door. It was Sean Lyons from Kerry, winner @Strokestown International Poetry Festival 2009 of

The Percy French Prize for witty – possibly topical – verse

who was first to speak. The vital, warm-up act, stilling the crowd.

And with what did Sean Lyons, member of Listowel Writers’ Week (organising) Committee strive to quell the cacophony of conversation in Listowel Arms Hotel ballroom?

A gong? A shout? Tinkling of a glass?

No.

A poem… no ordinary poem… his winning poem from 2009 Strokestown Poetry Festival. [Even that didn't shut the crowd up.]

Thank you Sean. We are privileged to publish it here, in all its glory…

A middle aged man goes shopping for trousers

I went shopping for trousers the other day.
Though I’m not getting any taller
The waist band on the present slacks
Is definitely getting smaller.
I don’t like shopping as a rule
I find shop assistants snotty
And I feel a tad embarrassed
When they measure my once taut botty.
‘Does Sir dress to the left or right?’
One asked me like a riddle.
When you get to my age, son, I said
‘You leave it in the middle.’
‘Upstairs, sir,’ he remarked,
‘Is for the more ample figure.’
And as I climbed the cursed steps,
I swear I heard him snigger.
I made a super human effort
To hold my beer belly gut in
But even I could not deny
The pressure on the upper button.
The salesman here was another one,
With muscles trim and hard
I cursed again the Mayo cuisine,
The black pudding fried in lard.
I cursed as well the drinking days
When with other knaves and fools,
Instead of running around racing tracks

We vegetated on high stools.
We drank our pints and placed our bets on the races on the telly
Totally oblivious to the time bombs
I was placing in my belly.
Time bombs yes, you heard me right
That clung to my hips like rubber
And reappeared in middle age
As great big blobs of blubber.
By now my face was turning puce
From holding in my breath
When the salesman produced his inch tape
And gave my pride the kiss of death.
‘A forty two sir, I suppose,
Could do you at a pinch.’
With bravery above the call,
I sucked in another inch
But the inch tape doesn’t lie.
It’s much more honest than me
The salesman did a final check,
‘We’ll say a forty three.’
‘A forty three it is,’ says he,
I didn’t say a meg.
He muttered then as he rubbed his chin,
‘We’ll take six inches off the leg.’
The trousers bought, the next dread thought,
Was more than I could bear.
Through gritted teeth, I asked me man:
‘Where’s the underwear?’
That grin again, it crossed his chin,
With the tiniest of flickers.
‘Would Sir prefer the traditional style,
Or this season’s thongs and knickers?’
‘I’ll try the thongs,’ says I, ‘bedad.’
His face paled with the shock.
He handed me a piesheen of silk,
Thin as the second hand of a clock.
”What’s that?’ I cried as I looked down,
At the sliver in his hand.
‘It gives support in work and sport,
For today’s more active man.’
‘Where I come from, young man I said,
We ate butter and drink milk.
And our smalls are made of cotton blend,
Not lace or puncy silk.
And this is more of it as well,
Like miles and pounds and punts
If the Lisbon Treaty’s ever passed,
They’ll ban string vests and Y fronts.
And one thing more,’ I said,
My voice was getting louder.
‘You can keep your under arm deodorant,
I’ll stick with talcum powder.
It served me well in courting days,
Like hair spray and nylon ankle stockings
And I don’t have to take your guff
Or your not so gentle mockings.
So, take your trousers, sir,’ I said,
‘And your fancy fol der dols,
No garment from this shop,
Will ever chafe my walls.’
And with that, I turned my back,
And went down the stairs again,
My heart was light, I was right
Because inside I know I’m thin
But self delusion soon gave way
I realised with dread
I’d gone straight from baby fat
To bloody middle age spread.
The lads were right, their inch tapes true,
No lies, no tittle tattle.
As I left the store, I knew for sure.
The bulge had won the battle.

Author & Brenda Woulfe in Woulfe’s Bookshop

June 10, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: competition, creative writing, organisers, photographs

Before leaving Listowel Writers’ Week, I had to visit Woulfe’s Bookshop. It’s where I bought my first Moleskine notebook.

I found these two together, an author doing business with a proprietor:

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The question is : who is he?

The first person to send in the correct answer in a comment wins a signed copy of the book… The author and the bookseller are not eligible to enter.

In Response to John Shehan’s playing…& George Rowley’s singing

June 10, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: connections

As John Shehan played fiddle in the front room of the Listowel Arms Hotel, late one night, I made this response…

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A little bit later, George Rowley sang. My response was very different and equally loving…

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Click on the photo to get a much better view.

To think I could have been doing this, during all those operas I went to in UK for 30 years…

Little time to post

June 09, 2009 By: Patrick Stack Category: blogs

My current inability to post is due entirely to a huge backlog of work: I’m up to my neck in php/mysql programming and only manage to surface for air on rare occasions. This is one such occasion.

Terry Jones: shadowside

June 09, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: events, Imagining, photographs, Uncategorized

Terry Jones was an experience. He performed in front of a screen. I couldn’t resist taking this.

The title’s an indulgence.

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Just to correct a possible misunderstanding…

June 09, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: blogs, connections, events, historical, organisers, participants, photographs, poem, poetry

This may not be technically a great photograph, but to catch these two rehearsing for the next series of “Strictly Come Dancing” was fabulous…

Audrey Dunphy & Rowley George…

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I was privileged to be there, sitting on the floor with Sony Cyber-shot 8.1 mega pixels.

In background, John Sheehan, one of the Dubliners, and a man whose name I don’t know. Unseen by the camera, is a large group of session ‘attendees’ and performers. It was a very public performance – what you could call a miracle of a session.

I’ll post more photos from it later today.

As Billy Keane said, this is “History”. There was no dancing coach. They just seemed to click.

Kerry County Library on line…

June 08, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: connections

It was about 0035, in J B Keane’s pub on the Thursday morning, when I met Patti Ann O’Leary.

She told me about www.kerrycolib.ie, said it was full of local history. So I looked…

It’s a treasure trove, and who works there?

None other than Michael Lynch, chairman of Writers’ Week.

Wheels within wheels…


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