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A magical gift from the universe

For Christmas I received an incredibly cool gift of a curated book subscription from Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights. I promptly filled out a very thoughtful questionnaire to gauge my interests and tastes, and then clicked send. They would then send a surprise book in the post to me each month. The first one arrived today in lovely packaging and I opened it eagerly to see what was inside. I was so pleasantly surprised. In a wonderfully strange twist of the universe, the novel they sent me was Acts of Desperation by Megan Nolan, a book I had wanted to read since it came out. I met Megan ever so briefly when she did a reading at an event we hosted at our Lingo Spoken Word Festival and even then you could tell she was an excellent writer. There’s another interesting layer to this too. Her father Jim Nolan is someone I have known for many years and admired greatly as a writer. His first play, The Gods Are Angry Miss Kerr, was the first production by Red Kettle Theatre Company, and it was directed by my late father Tony Ryan. All of this has sparked such wonderful memories of that time. I recall it as great work being done by passionate and kind artists, and me, a young kid, taking it all in and hoovering up the ideas and creative energy. I still remember the feeling of being warmly welcomed into that artistic community, despite my tender age, and knowing that this was my tribe. And here we are today with this wonderful, fresh work of art that can be traced back directly to that time. This is truly a gift.

URBAN FUTURE COWBOY

Over the years I recorded my father, Tony Ryan, reading a host of different poems and written passages of mine. I still have hours of footage that I intend to create a longform piece with, but here was a quick assembly of one such recording I made, using some timelapse footage I shot from the roof of Google Dublin, set to a soundtrack I recorded on my laptop. The result is an atmospheric, moody, and ultimately cool little short film. The central subject matter is the figure of the Urban Future Cowboy, which is a leitmotif I have used in several other works and will dedicate a longer post to in the future. Let me know what you think of this little teaser.

[VISUAL ART] Charcoal portrait by my father

Spotted this the other night as I was flicking through one of my dad’s final sketchbooks. To me this sketch is a haiku that folds a whole universe into it. This was the last time he drew me and it is a great snapshot of a fond moment. Drawn on a sweltering humid day in the apartment I was subletting in Brooklyn. The air conditioner was broken, so we cracked open some ice cold Red Stripe beers we picked up at the Jamaican corner store. He sketched with charcoals while I played Bob Dylan songs badly. His hand starting to tremor already, but his eye still keen, and the lines still quite certain. By the next summer when he came to visit me, he was unable to draw any more due to his illness and he filled his days going to the Met and the MoMA to marvel at the masters instead. Happy times.