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Three Men Talking – 10th anniversary book now on sale!

The 10th anniversary limited edition Three Men Talking About Things They Kinda Know About book is on sale right now. You can find it on the shelf in Books Upstairs (Dublin’s oldest independent bookshop) as well as their online store – www.booksupstairs.ie .

The cover was hand-set on a letterpress printing press, on high quality paper, which gives it a really unique look and feel. Inside the pages we have lots of gold too, with new forewords, archival photos, and essays from our Director, Sarah Brennan, as well as Irish Times journalist Gemma Tipton.

We are super proud to have marked the anniversary of our little show (with a long name), and this book is a beautiful document to have of this moment in time. Please support independent artists and pick up a copy today!

Three Men Talking – Tonight!

Even though a storm is literally raging outside the window, and a pandemic continues to keep its grip on the country, our show will be going ahead tonight, and we will be adhering strictly to COVID guidelines. The Axis Ballymun staff will be very thoughtful and mindful of everyone’s experience, and it promises to be a truly special night. It is so rare that we get to reflect publicly on a piece of art or creativity a decade later like this, and we can’t wait to do some readings from the show, premiere our new audio production of the play, as well as launch the 10th anniversary limited edition book. It has all the elements for being a rare night. I look forward to seeing many of you there and sharing in this milestone. Most of all I’m looking forward to being onstage with Stephen and Colm again, and having a few laughs as we meander down memory lane. Admission is FREE, but you must book tickets – there are still a handful left here

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

May the force be with you

Lockdown restrictions have eased slightly in Ireland, so we decided to make a family trek to the epic kingdom of Kerry. The days were mixed with scorching sunshine and chunky Irish clouds. The simple act of leaving home and heading elsewhere in this beautiful country of Ireland felt like being on another planet – and funnily enough that island off in the distance is Skellig where the recent Star Wars trilogy was filmed, so we kinda were.

To be truly creative, you need to give your brain a break and head for the open country. Never has that been more true than this year.

OUR CUP WILL BE FULL AGAIN

A few weeks ago, my friend Gary Dunne, who curates an incredible artistic slate for the London Irish Centre asked me to contribute a poem to their online season. Gary and the staff of the LIC do incredible work for the Irish community in London and they have been very good to me down the years – they hosted the London premiere of Three Men Talking About Things They Kinda Know About, and I have also showcased sketches with The Brownbread Players there too. It’s always a warm, giving audience that finds a connection through a shared tribe in a generous welcoming environment. So I was honoured to be asked, and frankly, I was happy to have a creative project to focus on in the rare moments I had to myself during this uncertain time.

The theme was HOPE which really spoke to me, and the image of a paper cup delicately dancing on a wave is one that has been with me for decades, but never found a proper home in a piece of writing. As soon as I sat down to write the poem I knew that this was where it had been drifting towards all along. It came together relatively quickly (thank goodness because time is a rare commodity these days) and it allowed me to marry it to a piece of music I wrote many moons ago that had also never found a creative home (unsurprisingly, the music was also written around the same time the image of the cup first washed into my brain). I also knew that the focus should be on the words but have a strong simple visual to guide it, so I went down to the sea by my home to film the waves but they just weren’t right. I resigned myself to using what I had and then serendipitously my friend Jim posted a short video that day on Facebook of the Irish Sea, that connects this island of Ireland to the UK, and I simply knew that it was the perfect accompaniment. Jim graciously allowed me to use it, and I lent my rudimentary video editing skills to piece it together. The end result feels ever so slightly imperfect but absolutely right, and I am immensely proud of it.

I hope it resonates with all of you, and I would be grateful if you shared it onwards with anyone in need of a message of hope right now.

A new poem & film coming this week

Delighted to announce that I have written a new poem in response to these remarkable times we find ourselves in (and created an accompanying little film to go with it). It will debut later this week as part of the London Irish Centre’s new curated series entitled SOLAS. Stand by…

Extraordinary Normal People

Just finished the incredible tv show Normal People. It manages the rare feat of being as good as the superb source material of the book, while still being its own beautiful work of art. Incredible central performances by Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal, beautifully filmed and directed by Lenny Abrahamson and Hettie McDonald, and impeccable nuanced writing. It’s unlike anything I have seen before and, to me, it is an absolute masterpiece and will stick with me for a very long time. Available on Hulu, BBC and RTE for anyone who wishes to see it.