IN ASSOCIATION WITH
A note from the editor If you have ever picked up a Boat Magazine before you will notice that the one you are holding now feels a bit different. For a start, it is not a magazine but a newspaper and, whether it was handed to you or taken from the top of a stack, you would not have paid a penny for it. This is the first time Boat has made a special edition and we could not have asked for a better city to test the mould than here in Derry-Londonderry. When we say ‘Travel to the Heart of a City’ this is what we do regardless of the stock of paper, so whether you are holding one of 5,000 free newspapers printed here in Derry, or reading this online, this copy promises to do just that. There is always that moment when you find yourself in a city you have never been to before and the place suddenly resonates with you. When it settles in your eyes and cradles some uncanny feeling that you could have been here before. For me, it was leaving the Verbal Arts Centre at 6pm on a Tuesday and looking out over the city from The Walls at sunset: a view of neat streets and uniformed rooftops punctuated by bright painted murals and the spire of St Columb’s Cathedral.
I thought of 77 year old Charlie Herron who described such a view as ‘smokeless’; I thought of Mickey Bradley (who I had stood here with only the day before) telling me that the North-South divide you tend to find in cities with a river did not exist here in Derry; I thought of the River Foyle and the Peace Bridge behind me that almost every person I met had recommended crossing at night, to see the lights reflect upon the water. But most of all I thought of the rooftops, so still from above, bustling with movement below. I thought of 93 year old Bridget Doherty who had welcomed us into her home to meet her 5-generation strong family; and another Doherty, Jenni, who so warmly invited us into her bookshop on Pump Street and gave us some good reading material for the flight home. For Derry people, home is where the heart is and I would like to thank you now for welcoming us into your city and under your roofs. Zara Miller, Editor, Boat Magazine Special Edition
Foreword Those of you familiar with LIFT are probably wondering what our London-based biennial festival, founded in 1981, is doing in Derry-Londonderry. Our entire London-based team has decamped here because we’re a curious bunch and LIFT’s core ethos is about shining a light on the stories of the world. Few cities have a recent history as challenging and with as many stories to tell as this one. As Artistic Director of a festival that brings artists to London from places like Iran, Brazil, Belarus, Australia and Iraq, to name just a few from our 2012 programme, I was inspired by something Boat Magazine’s editor, Erin Spens recently wrote: “We don’t have an agenda apart from our desire to shed a new light on cities that don’t normally get much, or at least positive and balanced, coverage….We’re here to open up the world just a tiny bit more one city, one story, one issue at a time.” This is precisely why LIFT has been working with the people of Derry; to get into the heart and soul of what matters here; how the city thinks and breathes. This month LIFT is presenting performances specially curated for Derry of Hofesh Shechter’s Political Mother Uncut - a work that raises profound questions about the mechanisms and
machinations of state, society, power and repression. We’ve been working over the last nine months with 22 local musicians and five dance groups who have not only been rehearsing, building and exploring alongside Shechter’s ensemble, but also creating Political Mother: Shortcuts, five new choreographies that will pop up in iconic and surprise locations across the city. LIFT is also leading the Derry~Londonderry CityLAB; part of the Europe-wide Global City, Local City initiative, working with artists from a range of cultures and artistic practices who draw inspiration from cities. Inspired by Derry’s own story of renewal and regeneration, 15 emerging artists from across the world will create work that will take Derry 2013 to a public who might never travel here, but who might just get something of the strength and depth that lies at the beating heart of its culture. This is just the start of it. Thank you Derry, and do come and see us in London for LIFT 2014 to continue the conversation. Mark Ball, Artistic Director, LIFT liftfestival.com
ILLUSTRATION: EVA LABOTKIN
Contents 4 – 5. THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS AND THE STRANGE AND WONDERFUL URGES OF A DERRY SEPTUGENARIAN NOVELIST AND WRITER OF SHORT STORIES CHARLIE HERRON 7 – 9. TEENAGE KICKS: A CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL BRADLEY AND SOAK ERIN SPENS, ZARA MILLER 10 – 11. CONCRETE & CONFLICT JONATHAN MAY 12 – 13. A FORGOTTEN FOOD RACHEL MARIA TAYLOR 14 – 17. DERRY BY LOCALS ERIN SPENS, PATRICK DUDDY, LISA BYRNE. 18. HOMECOMINGS ROBERT GREACEN 19 – 21. A PIECE OF DERRY 22 - 25. FIVE GENERATIONS ZARA MILLER, LIZ & MAZ HAARALA HAMILTON 26 – 27. A KITE FOR AIBHÍN SEAMUS HEANEY
THIS EDITION WAS PRINTED WITH THE GENEROUS SUPPORT OF THE VERBAL ARTS CENTRE, DERRY-LONDONDERRY
The trials & tribulations & the strange & wonderful urges of a derry septugenarian novelist & writer of short stories WORDS: CHARLIE HERRON IMAGE: LISA BYRNE WRAPPEDINPLASTICPHOTOGRAPHY.COM
It has been remarked to me quite often that it was a strange thing, this writing of novels at my time of life – seventy-seven years of age – when I should be putting my feet up and resting. Of course I take these remarks on board every time I sit down to write but as long as I have the enthusiasm, energy, and the inspiration, I have no intention yet of throwing away my biros or foolscap paper. And as long as my daughter, Mary, does the ‘magic’ and transfers my written sentences onto a computer disc, I will just have to keep at it, for it has been a very enjoyable and an addictive exercise. But for Guildhall Press, I am convinced that my work would probably not have been published with such verve and enthusiasm. From day one, at the age of seventy-four, when I presented my first typewritten draft of McCAULEY’S WAR to Paul Hippsley (Editor, Guildhall Press), I was received with such courteousness that it almost bowled me over. Following some much appreciated suggestions for improvement, within a few months I was overjoyed beyond words when I was informed that the publishing date for McCAULEY’S WAR would be July 2010, less than a year since I’d first put pen to paper. Following my second novel THE TROUBLE WITH McCAULEY, I can now honestly and surprisingly reveal that I already have the first draft of my third novel completed; making a trilogy of our hero’s (Dickie McCauley) exploits. Until I retired from work – I was Principal of Foyle View Special School – I didn’t have much time then to think of writing (although it was always on the back of my mind to do so) especially when I was raising a family, with my wife Margaret, of four boys and three girls. With seven children to be fed, watered and educated over a long period, there weren’t many minutes or hours in the day, or days in the week or months in the year, to seriously consider doing what I yearned to do. Write stories. So okay, what if I am seventy-seven years old! Who knows what I could produce before I’m eighty. Or even eighty-five. Or ninety for that matter. Who says age is a barrier to anything?
I was born in Derry in 1935, four years before the Second World War began. And the memories of those times (for I even remember well the droning voice of Neville Chamberlain on the wireless telling us that we were at war with Germany and the even more droning voice of Lord Haw Haw telling us to surrender to Hitler) still haunt me. Doom and gloom could have surrounded my childhood, but it didn’t. There were ten of us – seven boys and three girls – my father died when I was almost six, in 1941, but my mother, with the help of my eldest brother and my three older sisters who were all employed and even with their meagre enough pay packets, of the thirties and forties, were able to give the whole Herron family a decent and stable home life. So, I also have the happiest of childhood memories, especially on our long summer holidays with relatives in Donegal. Derry, back then in the forties, fifties and sixties, was a different place. Both in size and make up. Officially known as Londonderry, because of its historical and controversial connection to the city of London in 1613, it had a chequered history of violence and sieges and murder and mayhem equal to anything that Les Miserables has portrayed on stage or film. But even though the trauma of what became known as The Troubles still lives on, thankfully we’ve come through most of that turmoil now thanks to the efforts of a myriad of peacemakers who were instrumental in getting us where we are today, to a stable society which has more or less been achieved, but marred intermittently by puerile clashes over flags and emblems and national identities. One of these peacemaker’s identities I am proud to say was a schoolboy friend of mine, and is still a friend and close neighbour. He is John Hume, Nobel Laureate. And I was of course thrilled that John attended the launch of my first book in Derry’s City Hotel in 2010, along with his good wife, Pat. It would be name-dropping, however, but remiss of me at the same time, if I were not to mention the name of a world famous
poet and Nobel Laureate, whom I also went to school with, albeit five years before he did, but with whom I have a passing acquaintance – Seamus Heaney. Although I did have a brief conversation with him (he said he knew of me) when he was chairing a literary gathering of some sort in a Donegal hotel many years ago!
since I was a boy. And I am aware that behind me, many of the small terraced streets in Rosemount have disappeared and been replaced with ‘new’ housing. Even the Rosemount Barracks has gone, again replaced by a modern and much needed housing development.
And that’s the way it is with us Derry people. If we don’t know you personally we will almost certainly know of someone who does know you. Or will know a relative who knows you. So that makes it okay. And those ancestors who left via the River Foyle to emigrate to America by boat, never expected to return. Whereas, today, frequent flying holidays back home are commonplace amongst our emigrants. The world has become much smaller.
Old black and white photographs of Derry, of its grand architectural buildings and of its people, have been produced and developed over the last century by the likes of Bigger and McDonald, Willie Carson, Phil Cunningham, Larry Doherty and son, Lorcan, along with many other newspaper photographers down the ages. Photographs which are now preserved in perpetuity in the myriad of illustrated books that have been published by the Guildhall Press, pictorial treasure troves of a past long gone, but well and truly remembered by many, especially by Derry’s more elderly citizens.
Seventy odd years ago, when I was born, Derry had a population of around 50,000. Today there are over 100,000 living here. And in those times when male unemployment and male emigration was rife, the women of the city held the fort, as it were, by not only raising the children but also going out to work in the shirt factories which were dotted all around the town. Now, the shirt factories are gone, employment in general is still very hard to come by – even amongst women – and many of our young men and women who do have to emigrate, thankfully have educational qualifications under their belt that their ancestors could only have dreamed of. Derry, a proud and ancient city was once a thriving port, and even lent its name to a minor shipbuilding industry. During World War II, the city was host to many thousands of allied forces, because of its strategic position in the North West of Ireland and of course the River Foyle, the gateway to the North Atlantic was one of the world’s most vital and strategic rivers in the war effort. But that was all then. Today is today. The year two thousand and thirteen, has brought the eyes of the world once again into the very heart of our city. Here in Derry / Londonderry (or even Legenderry), the site of the ancient Columban monasteries, the famous Siege of Derry (1689) inside our historic walls, the Battle of the Bogside in 1969, the place of pageants, of world famous musicians and singers and dancers, of novelists, writers poets and playwrights. Here is a city of culture before it was ever officially pronounced as the UK City of Culture in July 2010 – announced incidentally on the same day as my book launch in the City Hotel. Ironic, eh! Here is a city that is now welcoming all and sundry to its doorsteps with artists from home and abroad flocking to entertain. Here is a city which will host BBC Radio One’s One Big Weekend (for the first time this celebration has actually been held inside a city). And then of course there’s the Fleadh Cheoil na h-Eireann – a festival of Irish music. But there is so much on during the year that it is best to just look up the calendar of events for it would take this whole page to show even a small fraction of what’s on throughout the ‘culture’ year. I just hope and pray that there are enough rooms and toilets for everybody! Oh! I almost forgot. I hear whispers that the famous Colmcille Debating Society may once again be organising another Baron Von Munchausen competition; this of course sets out to find Derry’s teller of the tallest tale. In other words, Derry’s biggest liar. Tickets for this will almost certainly be sold out within a day or two. No date yet for the event but I am trying to think who was winner last time round. And who still holds the title. Oh, yes Baron Charlie Herron!! Wouldn’t you think at 77 years of age he’d be fed up telling lies! Even now, as I walk around this beautiful city, inside and outside the walls, I cannot help but notice the changes for the good that have been made these past few years. And especially around the city centre and along the waterfront. Here’s hoping the work on the Guildhall will be finished soon for it too is a landmark worthy of note. I remember well the old quay, the Liverpool sheds, the grain and coal boats, the wooden planked docks, even the old railway track that ran along the cobbled quayside road. I remember the train leaving for Dublin from Foyle Street, and the Buncrana train leaving from the Strand Road (opposite Long’s Supermarket). I remember that same train crossing the Strand Road and going into the junction yard (where Budget DIY was). I remember the smell of the smoke and the steam, and the noise of it, the engines and carriages as they trundled their way past St Patrick’s church, Pennyburn, on its journey to Buncrana via Bridgend, Inch, Tooban, Fahan, Beach Halt and Lisfannon. And I remember well that hour long journey, leaving Derry at 3.00 pm and arriving in Buncrana at 3.00 pm. Then leaving Buncrana at 8.00 pm and arriving back in Derry at 10.00 pm. You can blame the confusion of all that on the Greenwich Meantime problem!
Sometimes, when we meet up, we septuagenarians, octogenarians and the odd nonagenarian, we might speak, in passing, of the past, of the good old days in Derry when you could leave your front and back doors open all night, when food and clothing coupons were required to purchase the most basic of needs, when cross-border smuggling was rife even amongst the most honest of citizens, when horse meat was considered healthy eating and when Guinness and milk were twopence (in old money) a bottle. But I don’t linger long talking to these older people. I have too much to do. I have novels to write, stories to tell and memories of my own to conjure up and embellish, so that those children and adults of former time (fictional of course) can be brought back to life in written form, and a believable story can be created. All to keep our memories alive. Even with half-truths and the odd lie. As we say in Derry, ‘ah, sure there’s no harm in it.’ I am a Derry man, through and through, with strong Donegal connections. It is not surprising, therefore, that my stories have also a Donegal theme running through them, especially the short stories. But my novels are firmly entrenched in the times and places that were familiar to me as a child, the 1940s in Derry, the war years, Rosemount, Marlborough, Creggan Street, The Lecky Road, Rosville Street, Meenan Park, Lone Moor Road, St Columb’s College, St Eugene’s Boys’ School, the slaughter house in Little Diamond...the list is endless. But the hero (or villain if you wish) of the stories is a Rosemount boy, a streetwise boy, who dominates his friends and constantly outwits his elders, regardless of Hitler’s threats. The stories are, of course, fictional but I have to admit that the characters I have dreamed up are as real to me as some of the people I knew when I was a child. Some of the Derry streets mentioned in my novels have vanished but they still survive in my memory as if they were the living vibrant places of an era now gone. As I put pen to paper before my last novel, THE TROUBLE WITH McCAULEY, I was soon reminded of the words of the poet, Eduardo Galeano, from Montevideo in Uruguay whose thoughts on writing seem similar to my own. The city of Montevideo continues to inspire Galeano. Derry, along with its people, does more than inspire me. For it is part of who I am. ‘Every day I walk the city that walks me. I walk through her and she walks through me. At the edge of the river- sea, river as broad as the sea, the clear air clears my mind and my legs stride on while stories walk inside me. Walking, I write. At a stroll, words seek each other and find each other and weave stories that later on I write by hand on paper. Those pages are never the final ones. I cross out and crumple up, crumple and cross in search of the words that deserve to exist: fleeting words that yearn to outdo silence.’ And when I remember the poverty of families in the Derry of the forties, fifties and sixties, I feel somewhat disillusioned by the politicians of today who haven’t yet got to grips with this blight on our society. For even as I write this piece my eye is on today’s Derry Journal report on our city’s child poverty rate. Barnardo’s Child Poverty map reveals that more than one in three children in this great city live in poverty, the highest rate in Northern Ireland, and the fourth highest across the UK. As far as I am concerned this is a damning indictment of the Westminster Government and the Northern Ireland Assembly. Shame on both your houses. Do you not realise that a time bomb is ticking? But after reading that Derry Journal report I do take a modicum of comfort from the fact that a lot of our City of Culture celebrations will cater for all the community, the poor included, for there is much in the year’s programme that is free. So let’s all enjoy it. And of course, to all our visitors to Derry – Cead mile failte.
I sometimes stand at the top of Brooke Park and look over Derry, the smokeless landscape of the horizon, long changed
The city is a stage Derry~Londonderry You’re invited to the 2013 UK City of Culture
Shor t Bre
£49 * from
per r oom
The celebrations have started! Soak up the street festivals, art, drama and music, and come back for a legenderry short break. Enjoy Fleadh Cheoil, the Return of Colmcille, Turner Prize 2013, Walled City Tattoo and Lumiere. With hundreds of events happening across the city, book your tickets now and don’t miss out! Plus discover the Peace Bridge, tour the famed Walls and enjoy great value hotel stayovers. Be able to say you were there in 2013 – celebrate culture and stay with the party.
Northern Ireland. Squeeze more into your short break.
#northernireland 103151 Derry Ballerina TheBoat 364x262.indd 1
The Walls, Derry~Londonderry *One night, room only. Based on two people sharing.
Teenage Kicks A conversation between Michael Bradley and Bridie Monds-Watson
WORDS: ERIN S P E N S & Z A R A M I L L E R IMAG ES: LIZ & M A X H A A R A L A H A M I LT O N
Standing on the ancient city walls of Derry trying to get an atmospheric photograph of Michael Bradley, legendary bassist of The Undertones, and Bridie Monds-Watson who goes by the name ‘Soak’, a local 16-year-old musician whose star is on the rise, we are forced to talk louder than the drone of helicopters above us. The local police had foiled ‘another’ planned bombing, details you can read about in any of the major news outlets. Bridie’s friends let me know that for every fifty bomb scares, only one of them actually goes off. Or maybe it’s less than that, they say. Either way, they’re totally unfazed by it and go back to talking about all the cool local bands that we should look up while Michael Bradley stops and talks to almost everyone who passes us. There are quite a few lessons you can learn about Derry through the couple of hours we spent with these two musicians, though Michael Bradley doesn’t consider himself a musician, ‘I was just a guy in a band’ and Bridie tells us that Soak is the combination of herself, her mom, dad and friends – she’s just ‘the act’. Everyone knows each other. While these two grew up here at very different times: Michael on the eve of late ‘70s punk rock; Bridie not yet turned 17 and recently signed a publishing deal with Universal, they seem like old friends with tons to catch up on and, we find out, Bridie goes to school with Michael’s daughter. They’re also incredibly humble, a quality we’ve found constant in our time in Derry. Compliments are deflected, credit is given to others, even in the music industry with limited space for signed and successful acts, local bands all support each other. Most 16-year-olds would have a bit of an ego after just signing a deal with Universal but Bridie is incredibly grounded and insistent on telling us about other local bands, like The Clameens, that she likes. Similarly Michael brushes off our questions about boy band One Direction recently covering The Undertones’ biggest hit, and in our opinion one of the best songs of all time, Teenage Kicks. “I don’t care. They’re wee’uns you know. That’s the whole point about music it’s for people Bridie’s age. The last thing you want is guys that were in bands you know 30-35 years ago judging people now.” Derry has never been an ordinary old town but how has it changed in the 40 years between Michael Bradley’s music career and Soak’s? How was it different being a teenager in Derry back then as it is now? We sat down over chocolate brownies at Café Del Mundo to find out how both musicians get their kicks.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE DIFFERENCES IN MAKING MUSIC IN DERRY NOW AND THEN? IN TWO DIFFERENT TIMES? 08/09
MICKEY BRADLEY: Centuries! Compared to now, back then there were no other bands. There were bands but they only did covers, they never made records, the technology wasn’t there but also to be honest I don’t think the talent was there. We were the music scene in Derry. We were certainly the punk-rock scene in Derry, from ’76 on.
AND YOU ALL MET AT SCHOOL? MB: I met them through school because their brother was in my class and we all hung around together. It was a long slow process. It’s funny, Bridie says the bands are all friendly with each other now, but the other bands that played heavy metal covers and rock covers then, we hated them. We were horrible then! I think now people are much nicer, certainly young people are much nicer than what we were.
WHAT WERE THE VENUES YOU REMEMBER PERFORMING AT IN DERRY? MB: It was mainly at a place called The Casbah. WHAT’S THE CASBAH? MB: It was a portacabin that had been plastered over, well I think there was a bar there but apparently in the early days during the troubles it was bombed. It had a vaguely Middle Eastern appearance; an Arabian Nights window and it would have been where any hippies in Derry would have been. That’s where we started playing there February ’77.
DID THEY ASK YOU TO PLAY THERE? MB: No, we asked them. We’d played about four shows, we’d played at school concerts, a community centre, two youth clubs, and we played there one night and it was good. And eventually over the next 18 months we played every Saturday night and it was good because you were playing and you started to write songs and get coverage.
AND THEN YOU GUYS PUT A TAPE TOGETHER AND SENT IT OFF? MB: We got a tape and we sent it to record companies, got turned down, then we got one to John Peel and he said ‘Yeah, tell ‘em to come up,’ so we made the records and we sent them away and someone from Sire Records heard it and came over and signed us. We didn’t have a solicitor, I think Feargal took it to a solicitor in Derry. There was no music business. He just looked at it and said ‘Yeah, it’s a contract.’
SO, BRIDIE, COMPARED TO YOUR JOURNEY, WHEN DID YOU START WRITING SONGS? B: I started when my big brother got a guitar for Christmas. He was always better than me at everything so I was gonna be competitive and beat him at guitar. I’ve loved music since I was born, I was getting played Echoes by Pink Floyd in the womb. And as I was learning guitar, in the first couple of weeks I joined this band with my friends called That’s What She Said, and we played open mics around Derry. And then after that I was sort of working in secret, I was writing these songs like, songs of my own, just as a way to sort of express how I felt, because I’m not good at talking about it. I was making home demos and my dad heard them and he was like did you actually write these yourself? He didn’t believe me! Then I recorded this song called Leaves but it was a horrible recording and it came through one speaker and it wasn’t good at all, but Steven McCauley picked up on it and he gave that radio play.
MB: But people don’t think it’s horrible. Only you think it’s horrible. B: I think it’s horrible because it’s not how I wanted to put it out at all. Some people like it but…
MB: You learn. I remember Teenage Kicks coming out and I thought it was rotten. REALLY? MB: Yeah, we got the record and we all thought this sounds awful. Oh yeah. BUT DIDN’T JOHN PEEL SAY IT WAS HIS FAVOURITE ALL TIME HIT, UP TILL THE DAY HE DIED? MB: Yeah that was different, but at the time… WHY DO YOU THINK IT WAS SUCH A BIG HIT THEN? MB: Well it wasn’t a big hit, no, it got to number 31. It has since, because it was John Peel’s favourite record. It’s taken on a life of it’s own.
BUT IT’S ALSO GOOD, THAT FEELING, DON’T YOU THINK, THAT IT’S NOT PERFECT? MB: Oh aye, the worst thing is if you make a record and say it’s brilliant. B: Oh aye, there’s always stuff you can improve on and change. YOUR VOICE ON SEA CREATURES ACTUALLY REMINDS SOMETIMES OF JOANNA NEWSOM. HAVE YOU EVER HEARD THAT COMPARISON? IT’S A COMPLIMENT! B: It’s funny cos whenever people do reviews and stuff they sort of compare you to really strange people. Like Van Morrison I got compared to once I was like no, stop right there. Take it back.
THIS IS A QUESTION FOR BOTH OF YOU: WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION FROM? IS THERE ANY CONNECTION TO DERRY? HAS THE CITY INSPIRED THAT? B: I think the river in Derry inspires something. Me and my friends would usually be in town on the weekends and I live very close so I would walk home in the dark and the river looks really cool at night.
MB: Interesting that you say that about Derry, because we didn’t have a river in those days. We didn’t because you didn’t have access to it, it was the docks, it was warehouses, we didn’t have the Peace Bridge.
MICKEY, DO YOU THINK YOU GUYS COULD MAKE THE KIND OF MUSIC YOU WERE MAKING 30 YEARS OR SO AGO NOW? OR DO YOU THINK DERRY’S GOT TOO KIND OF PEACEFUL FOR PUNK? MB: I don’t know. I mean I’m not the main songwriter in the band, I’ve written some songs you know. But it was nothing to do with Derry, we were just copying songs that we loved. As blunt as that.
SO THE BOMBED OUT BUILDINGS, ALL THAT, IT NEVER CAME INTO THE SONGS? MB: No. Whenever journalists started talking to us they’d always ask why don’t you write about The Troubles? We’d have to think of a reason because it never really occurred to us; and if it did you’d have to be really good to write a song about the troubles without it sounding corny. We were no Bob Dylan.
IT SOUNDS LIKE YOUR MUSIC WAS MORE JUST FOR YOU GUYS, WHAT YOU WANTED TO DO. MB: Yeah, just stuff that we thought was good craic, and we still do. If John Peel had hated Teenage Kicks you wouldn’t be talking to me now you know what I mean. It was very, very lucky, completely jammy.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE TOUR THAT YOU DID? MB: Best tour? We never like touring. We always came home after four weeks. Best tour was when we supported The Clash in September ’79 in America.
B: Ah cool. That would be so fun. MB: So that was great. They asked for us, which was great. And just before then we had booked them to do a show in Derry.
B: The Clash? In Derry? MB: Oh aye, a wee show, and they were going to do it. We’d raised money for it and everything and about two weeks before it, we were in a studio in London and Joe Strummer came down with his manager and he showed us a letter he’s received. It was a death threat from somebody in Derry! It was a death threat claiming to be someone from The Red Hand Commandos, the Loyalists, saying if you set foot in Northern Ireland you will be assassinated. And we looked at each other and we said it’s just a mad boy, but we couldn’t say that to Joe Strummer because he was petrified you know? So he had to pull out. It was going to be down the sport’s complex you know, and we were going to say you know it’s all right Joe you’ll be safe down there but I don’t think he would have caught the nuances of Derry, the geography and so on.
IT’S HARD WHEN YOU’RE NOT HERE, TO HEAR THOSE THINGS AND THINK YOU’RE GOING TO BE FINE. BUT THEN YOU GET HERE AND IT FEELS TOTALLY SAFE. MB: Oh aye. But if you get a letter saying they’re going to shoot you if you’re in Derry, you’d probably stay in London!
B: No, I don’t think I’d come to Derry if I had a death threat! DO YOU SEE YOURSELF LIVING IN DERRY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE? MB: I haven’t got that long to go! I don’t know, I’d love to live in London but only if I became incredibly wealthy. I love London. But I’m a Derry…
B: I’m Derry too. Every time I’m away for a week or two, if I’m in London or Dublin, it’s really nice to come back. Hotel rooms are so…I don’t like them at all, I’d rather stay in like a B&B. But I like going away, but it’s always really, really nice to return.
MB: If you’re in London and you say hello to people they think you’re strange. DO YOU GUYS GET RECOGNISED ON THE STREET? B: I’ve only started getting recognised, since I did that Sons and Daughters thing, for the launch of City of Culture. It’s more like people’s parents see me in the street and say ‘my wife loves you’ and it’s like, okay. I don’t think I like it, it’s a bit strange.
B: I remember being in P3 and Alice (Mickey’s daughters) was in my class. My teacher turned to Alice and was like ‘your father’s in The Undertones, can he sign all these and all that?’ and I was like ‘What’s going on?’ I was like who’s The Undertones? Is Alice famous? I just remember that day really well.
MB: Alice would’ve died! She probably would’ve wanted to crawl under the desk.
B: I remember going to one of Alice’s birthday parties too, and that was before my parents kind of knew you guys and it was like we’re going to The Undertones house! Must’ve been about nine at the time.
MB: Oh, the birthday parties. I remember one of the parties, might have been Alice’s, and there was this mass hysteria, I just remember all the kids running around. It was like they’d been let out of prison or something.
B: I’m going paintballing and go-karting next week to celebrate signing the Universal deal, gonna bring all my friends paintballing. I’m a child forever. I’m never going to grow up.
MB: Well you are a child. B: I’m 17 next month. MB: Oh, you’re 17, are you? It’s all downhill from there then Bridie y’know that. Seventeen’s your peak. You’s nothing to look forward to.
Concrete & Conflict R E - I M A G I N I N G P L A C E T H R O U G H A C I T Y O F C U LT U R E
WORDS BY J O N AT H A N M AY 30 years ago the parade ground at Ebrington in Derry~Londonderry echoed to the sound of soldiers marching on what was one of the most modern military forts in Europe. In this City of Culture year for Derry the former barracks are once again full to capacity - but this time with locals and visitors eager to participate in a parade ground which has been transformed into the city’s newest public entertainment space. Excited by the prospect of creating new stories with local artists, dancers and musicians in Derry~Londonderry, LIFT jumped at the chance to take part in the exciting year-long programme of cultural activity as part of the City of Culture 2013, many events of which will be held at Ebrington. LIFT is a festival that has been championing public art and performance for over 30 years. One of the key missions has been to use London as a stage, taking brave international artists and supporting them to create unexpected art works in public space. The Participation Producer Erica Campayne, who’s been working in Derry for the last nine months as part of LIFT’s commission with the Hofesh Shechter Company, believes cultural events have a unique way of re-writing how we relate to locations in the city. “Culture can often allow people who live in the city to walk the streets differently, to travel to areas that they might not normally go and to see their locality in a different way. You likely tread the same ground without looking up or around. Theatre and carnival allow us to see our surroundings differently and to create a fresh relationship with a location. I think it can also give you different memories about a place that you’ve visited. If you have a particular experience you might go back there at another time and trigger that memory, make you feel differently about it.” Derry’s City of Culture team have a magnificent view of the historic walled city across the river Foyle, as well as Ebrington, the former parade ground, which until 2004 were shielded by corrugated iron and barbed wire during 30 years of the Troubles. Two years ago a pedestrian Peace Bridge was built across the Foyle, encouraging people in to each others communities. The bridge has in many ways transformed the city, and despite the often one-dimensional story presented by the press unable to look past the city’s history of conflict, the City of Culture team are keen to make a different statement about Derry~Londonderry. This type of transformation brings to mind LIFT’s 1993 launch event, where the then empty former power station at London’s Bankside was transformed by artists Anne Bean and Paul Burwell using the chimney as a gigantic flame thrower and the flat roofs on each side as flaming drumworks. Twentyfive drummers created powerful shadows up and down the chimney while welders and remote-controlled helicopters carried flares and flaming ropes on pulleys to the chimney on each side. The whole work plugged into the energy that the power station, which had lain disused and ready for demolition for many years, had once created, to conjure an intense urban song to the city. Legend has it that Dennis Stevenson carried a flyer of the event in his pocket, using evidence of Bean and Burwell’s theatrical illusion over his next few years as Chair of Tate Gallery looking for new premises and in 2000 saw the Bankside power station transformed into one of the world’s most acclaimed galleries of contemporary art. “I think art gives something a soul, a feeling to a physical space,” Erica says. “The City Of Culture is accelerating change in the city’s fortunes by driving a step change in the economy, principally through the tourism and creative media sectors. Changing the army barracks into a cultural centre is a major way in which they are doing that. And by putting the bridge there and giving a reason for people to go and walk a route they hadn’t walked in 30 years. What I love about my work with LIFT is that I get to enable artists and other creatives, many of whom represent a younger perspective, to have a voice that is often counter cultural, they can rewrite the script and reimagine place.” “And so when we were in Derry we wanted to continue in this vein, to produce work that is engaged with the city and the architecture of it, as well as working with local people to create and perform these works.” Erica is referring to LIFT’s two collaborations with the Hofesh Shechter Company, Political Mother: Derry~Londonderry Uncut, a re-imagining of Shechter’s tour-de-force Political Mother which features 22 Derry musicians and a new section of the show inspired by traditional folk music of the city; and Political Mother: Shortcuts, five new dance creations which will be performed at iconic outdoor locations across the city.
“In Derry there is so much physical history there, the city walls, the city centre, the Ebrington Barracks, the murals. On the water side you can physically see those marks of conflict that have existed and so rather than ignore them we wanted to engage that artistically.” This is at the heart of LIFT’s curiosity and excitement to work with the people of Derry, matching the City of Culture’s desire to reposition those places that have been quite fraught, and give people a new reason to travel across the city, allowing them to engage with place and each other in a fresh and different way.
“WE W A N T T O TA K E C U LT U R E O U T O N TO THE S T R E E T S ,” S A I D T H E E X E C U T I V E PROGR A M M E R G R A E M E FA R R O W. “PEOPL E W I L L H AV E M O M E N T S T H AT THEY W I L L N E V E R , E V E R F O R G E T.” Working with younger people as part of these projects is an important element of this. “Very often these young people seemed to be approaching the division differently to the older generation, a bit like with climate change or technology perhaps,” Erica explains. “They don’t feel the politics as keenly maybe and so they were also interested in being quite playful, like travelling to different parts of the city and going to areas they might not have gone to or maybe their parents wouldn’t have gone to - they didn’t have the same reservation about.” If creating public art gives you more freedom in a city, how does working with the people that make up the city become part of this? “We were talking to one of the musicians where Hofesh has created a special piece within Uncut especially with traditional Irish instruments. To incorporate this into the show the Derry drummers are playing the lampeg and the guitarists have had to learn to play the bodhrán for that particular moment in the show. Traditionally the bodhrán was Catholic and the lambeg was Protestant. So this musician was saying how he has loved it and has now bought his own but that he can’t tell his grandad because he would be quite shocked. But he doesn’t really care, he loves the sound it makes and he has never played it before in his life because he never would have had the opportunity at school and his family would never have exposed him to it. Because Hofesh is just being led artistically about what makes the most interesting show, it is allowing them to have different experiences.” Erica has plenty of experience producing cultural activities in complicated social environments. For LIFT 2012 she produced Unfinished Dream, working with Iranian theatre-maker Hamid Pourazari to tell the story of refugee communities in Croydon. Like Derry, Croydon is a complicated place. It is the home of the UK Home Office processing unit for new arrivals, and therefore has a higher than usual proportion of refugees in the borough. Erica supported Hamid to create a show collaboratively with residents of Croydon, working with local partners to recruit participants from Croydon’s many refugee communities. However it soon became clear that this collaboration could become more important than just a focus on the refugee community; it was about the whole community of Croydon. By the end of a three-month residency in Croydon’s Clocktower, Unfinished Dream worked with over 220 people who were refugees and new arrivals but also included anyone who has lived in Croydon, from young people, the retired, people with disabilities and others just keen to get involved with an exciting cultural event. Performed across three levels of a multi-storey car park the audience went on a journey with the participants allowing them to have a different relationship with the performers - but also allowing participants themselves to mix and exchange culturally in ways they couldn’t have previously. With the entire LIFT team decamped to Derry for this week on our non-festival year, it seems the opportunity to build a longterm collaboration with an artist we all admire greatly, namely Hofesh Shechter, and to create a number of exciting cultural events as part of the Derry~Londonderry’s City of Culture were just too good to turn down. “It’s about celebrating the physical architecture of the city as well as the people that live there, and that’s what LIFT has always been committed to. Clearly it is the agenda of City of Culture as well to celebrate both the changing architecture of Derry while looking to a brighter future.”
WORDS & IMAGES RACHE L TAYLOR
Following the River Foyle up the coastal road to the sea begins a foraging expedition for indigenous species of seaweed, including Dulse and Carrageen Moss. The salty air is laced with an unusual sweetness that makes the familiarity of the shore feel strangely foreign. A mild tepid wind dances around the muted surroundings, limited in colour yet dramatically rich in tone; deep browns, purples and greens litter the immediate seascape-turned-landscape, and with the tide out an abundance of seaweeds are revealed. Led by local seaweed enthusiast William McElhinney, we negotiate our footing upon the slippery seaweed, loose pebbles, and around the deceptively deep rock pools to embark on a discovery of the sea vegetables that the Northern coastline has to offer, and that have played a part in local food history for centuries. William fervently reaches through the clear cold waters to retrieve the seaweed that waver around placidly, only lightly tethered to the rocks before being forcibly roused. William’s sheer enthusiasm and openly eccentric manner creates a lively vigour as he tells stories of being taken out here when he was younger and taught traditional methods of preparation. He greatly believes in the often overlooked health benefits and nutritional value of seaweed, and that it should begin, once again, to be used creatively in contemporary Irish cooking. William looks to shatter disillusions around seaweed and encourage it to be viewed for the benefits it has to offer, known and utilised by the local ancestors. Sweet Dulse is the last sea vegetable to be found, and with it now tossed into the black bucket of pick ‘n’ mix sea vegetables we trudge back through the water, over the rocks, across the shingle and up the gravel path. The sea is now behind us and the sky darkening as the tide begins to creep back in. Our foraging found us Sweet Dulse, Carrageen moss, Peppered Dulse, Kelp, Sloke, Nori and others, and with our souvenirs of the sea we head back towards the city centre of Derry-Londonderry. Someone who shares William’s passion for reigniting foods found within the locality is Emmett McCourt, a Derry born and based chef who’s project Feast or Famine, explores the history and potential longevity of heritage foods. He is a laid back and
upbeat individual who translates his passion for the project through his cookery and the contemporary adaptations of past dishes. Within the kitchens of the North West Regional College, where Emmett teaches, silver bowls, pots and pans are laid out upon the aluminium work-top containing all the ingredients for Dulse Fadg, or Boxty bread (potato bread). Emmett explains, “Fadg gets its name from the great Irish or great Derry saying wadg or a wedge of bread, which was later fried so became fadg. We are going to make it with Dulse which is a great seaweed that is indigenous to the local coastal areas.” In a short process of gracefully binding the ingredients together Emmett pounds the dough down upon the aluminium. Rolled out and sliced, it is then placed into a smoking pan and dry fried. “There’s a lovely smell of the sea coming from the pan. And potatoes were used a lot. They were very prominent in Derry, in the North West and throughout Ireland, but the fact that people utilised and improvised with seaweed is in itself is a great way of cooking; it’s a great ingredient to cook with. You’ve also got the health aspects associated with the seaweed, there’s the iodine and iron content. And the potatoes, people used to eat around 14lbs of potatoes a day especially around the time of the famine, it sustained people for a long amount of time and that combined with the seaweed and the nutrients within the seaweed was really healthy. The Dulse really adds a different dimension to the fadg.” Straight from the pan the gentle warmth and subtle taste of the seaweed pushes through the potato bread. The cooked Dulse now blue and black appears threaded through the fadg, and the charring of the dry fry left a slightly crisp and crunchy outside yet retained a soft fluffy yet dense middle. Foods from the region have spread worldwide, travelling with the many Irish immigrants to a vast number of countries and cultures over time. This said, there are forgotten foods as well; foods that are perhaps draped in negative associations and bad memories shunned to the past. Seaweeds such as
Dulse were, and are, stigmatised foods associated with the famine, dubbed a ‘poor man’s food’. According to Emmett sea vegetables were likely to have seen people through some of the hardest times as both a nourishing food stuff and also as an indispensable fertiliser for other crops. He insists that these forgotten foods are as relevant today as they were back when they were first made and should be re-adopted in modern cooking. Emmett explains that in times of hardship the local people would be imaginative with foods and improvise with what the land, sea and locality provided. With the recent economic downturn people are beginning to grow their own foods and think more of local produce, and Emmett believes that because people are beginning to again grow and source locally that this will drive back traditional dishes and, he hopes, people will begin to reinvent them. He remarks that the people of Derry are inventive as they “celebrate their foods here in Ireland and celebrate the significance of them.” The ambition of both men is to get people excited about what the region has to offer and begin to think more creatively about using and creating local heritage foods. Food is something that we all need and should enjoy; it can bind us, help forge relationships and provide sensory experiences. Before we leave, Emmett concludes with the sentiment that rediscovering local foods can also allow for a celebration; putting aside any differences, local people can be joined through sharing the foods of past times. A special thanks is given to William McElhinney and Emmett McCourt. Discover more about local heritage foods through Emmett’s project ‘Feast or Famine’ at www.feastorfamine.ie. In the near future William will be looking to open his own Seaweed inspired cafe and eco-tourism initiative within the Donegal region.
Derry by locals
SEVEN LOCALS RECOMMEND THEIR FAVORITE SPOTS IN DERRY~LONDONDERRY. PHOTOS: LISA BYRNE WRAPPEDINPLASTICPHOTOGRAPHY.COM & PAT R I C K D U D D Y PAT R I C K D U D D Y . C O M
Grand Central Bar
27 STRAND RD., BT48 7BJ FACEBOOK.COM/THEGRANDCENTRALBARDERRY
6 FOYLE ST., BT48 6AP COOLDISCSMUSIC.COM
I am so excited to see this bar reopened. They’ve kept the stunning original 1922 features whilst adding something very special to the décor by displaying interesting memorabilia and local art work. Friendly and helpful staff, great live music – Grand Central Bar is a little gem of a city centre pub.
Cool Discs is not only one of the last remaining independent record stores in Northern Ireland, with even the major chains shutting up shop, it’s now one of the only places left to buy music in Derry. For anyone who visits the shop I don’t think it’s hard to see why it’s survived. Lee Mason has managed to keep alive the old fashioned idea of the record store as a place to not only buy music but to talk about it as well. I’ve spent whole afternoons chatting with Lee, Danny and other customers about the newest releases and usually wind up leaving with a couple of albums I didn’t even know existed. Cool Discs also goes out of its way to get involved with the local music community, self-released albums and EPs from local acts are given pride of place and Lee is more than happy to help any group looking to promote a gig or sell a record. A truly great store.
RECOMMENDED BY LISA MEEHAN, LOCAL BUSINESSWOMAN
RECOMMENDED BY DAVID MCFEELY, PRESENTER OF NORTHERN NOISE ON DRIVE105 FM AND MEMBER OF LOCAL BAND STRENGTH. LIVE.DRIVE105.CO.UK & FACEBOOK.COM/STRENGTHMUSIC
37 GREAT JAMES ST., BT48 7DF CULTURLANN-DOIRE.IE
OLD CITY FACTORY, PATRICK ST., BT48 7EL DERRYVOID.COM
Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin is Derry’s Irish language and cultural centre and it’s really an amazing resource for the city. An Chultúrlann provides classes in Irish, traditional music and traditional dance as well as concerts featuring the best of traditional talent. It has been instrumental in reviving one of the oldest and richest languages in the world for local people. Even for those without Irish, the book, craft store and café provide a relaxing environment to soak up the atmosphere and appreciate the buildings award winning modern architecture. This place really makes a statement about the value of culture, preserving it and handing it on to a new generation and every visitor to the city should make a point of visiting.
You can’t get much further away from the centers of power than Derry. There shouldn’t be Turner prize nominated exhibitions here if you think about it; these things are meant for the rich people in Dublin and London, but we’ve already had that in Derry and before all this ‘City of Culture’ stuff too. Void brings cutting edge non-commercial art to a small city on the edge of nowhere and that is no mean task; but more than that, through the art school it provides an opportunity for young people in Derry to develop their artistic practice and get their work hung in a well-respected gallery. I look at the world differently, see and think things I would never have because of Void. The first time I had work hung in a gallery, it was at the same time as the aforementioned Turner prize nominated exhibition. How many galleries would allow a first time artist to show in the same building as that? Not many.
RECOMMENDED BY CARA NÍ MHAONAIGH, IRISH LANGUAGE TV AND RADIO PRESENTER
RECOMMENDED BY ÉAMONN BROWN - ARTIST, MUSICIAN, CUSTOMER SERVICE ADVISOR
Little Acorns Bookstore 10-16 PUMP ST., BT48 6JG FACEBOOK.COM/LITTLEACORNSBOOKSTORE Jenni Doherty (Guildhall Press) runs the most wonderful bookshop in Pump Street called Little Acorns. It’s like an Aladdin’s cave in there. In fact, the bookshop is one of many establishments and culture type businesses in the building which was formerly the Convent of Mercy, now known collectively as BEDLAM. Jenni is also a published writer and poet. In Little Acorns’ cozy corner at the back of the old convent, you’ll find a whole wall dedicated to books about Ireland, a corner with children’s books, and everything in between.
RECOMMENDED BY CHARLIE HERRON, DERRY-BASED AUTHOR OF MCCAULEY’S WAR, THE TROUBLE WITH MCCAULEY, GUILDHALL PRESS. GHPRESS.COM
A walk along the Quay
I work with the Junior Warden Project; one element is local kids going on guided tours of the city; local ghost stories are always very popular. Half Hanged McNaughton, Alice in Pump Street and the Matron in the Workhouse all get plenty of reaction... One of the favourites is of Boom Hall now a ruined building on the bank of the river Foyle. Legend has it that the ghost of ship Captain Browning who died in battle to relieve the city has been spotted on different occasions, particularly on misty mornings. Another story recounts the time a girl was sent to live in the house to separate her from a young married man she’d fallen in love with. He followed her to Boom Hall and hid in the stables. When found out, the girl was locked in her bedroom which burst into flames one night. It was never known if she escaped the flames or burnt alive. The house is said to be haunted with her ghost, as well.
I’ve lived in Derry for 9 years and “The Quay” to me symbolizes much of what Derry should be proud of. The Quay and the wonderful walk you can take from “down the Bay”, to the peace bridge, Ebrington Square and beyond, are scattered with regeneration projects, some thankfully now progressing and others offering a progressive outline of the river Foyle and Derry City - both sides of the river joined. The walk very much feels like a City finding its feet, and on a sunny day, a real hustle and bustle is evident - something that isn’t always present in other places in Derry. It’s all bikes, boats, fresh coffee...However whilst I love the Quay because of the clear regeneration it symbolizes, make no mistake - the buildings, places and spaces might change, however the wit, banter, smiles and hospitality of the Derry folk will remain - no regeneration needed there!
RECOMMENDED BY PATRICK DUDDY, DERRY-BASED PHOTOGRAPHER. PATRICKDUDDY.COM
RECOMMENDED BY ALASTAIR CAMERON FOUNDER OF STARTACUS. NET, AN ONLINE PLATFORM SEEKING TO INSPIRE, INFORM, AND MOTIVATE SELF-STARTERS, INNOVATORS, STARTUPS & CREATIVES TO CONNECT, COLLABORATE & BRING IDEAS TO LIFE.
Homecomings I stared with brown eyes Down to the Foyle waters, Held out a hand with sugar To a breadcart horse, Et ego in Arcadia … Among Derry oaks St. Colum ‘numbered the stars of heaven this teacher of all things this Dove, this Colum Cille.’
I dawdle at the Guildhall, Buy postcards, a newspaper, Watch armoured cars Patrolling history. Over a Chinese sweet-and-sour I chat to a local. He files the claws Of tribal words For walls have ears.
City of Walls City of Siege Jewel of the north Maiden of the west Undone by drums and cymbals Fat rats! Fat rats! Fed on the Irish dead Fat rats! One for a shillin’
The March wind Body-searches the daffodils I sip tea in a café Read the despatches Of bombing, kidnap – ‘Teach us to care And not to care.’
A stranger among strangers I look for my house of birth. Pulled down years ago I show the paper: ‘I certify …’ Ich bin ein Derryman A stranger grips my hand.
Donemana in Tyrone – Grandmother’s parish Of Smyths and sheep. Dour stone walls Divide, eavesdrop In a scrubbed landscape. Home at last To wet and winds.
POEM: ROBERT GREACEN ILLUSTRATION: DAVID CAMPBELL (ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE AT THE VERBAL ARTS CENTRE, VERBALARTSCENTRE.CO.UK) ROBERT GREACEN WAS BORN IN DERRY IN 1920. HIS EARLY YEARS WERE DIVIDED BETWEEN BELFAST AND MONAGHAN. IN A WRITING CAREER SPANNING OVER 60 YEARS HE PRODUCED SEVEN INDIVIDUAL COLLECTIONS. HIS COLLECTED POEMS 1944-1994 (LAGAN PRESS 1995) WON THE IRISH TIMES LITERATURE PRIZE FOR POETRY. HE PUBLISHED A MEMOIR EVEN WITHOUT IRENE (LAGAN PRESS, 1995). HE DIED IN DUBLIN IN 2008. DAVID CAMPBELL IS CURRENTLY WORKING ON A GRAPHIC NOVEL ABOUT BLOODY SUNDAY AND THE RESULTING LEGACY OF THIS KEY EVENT IN THE HISTORY OF THE CITY. THE BOOK AIMS TO ENGAGE YOUNGER GENERATIONS AND HELP THEM CONNECT WITH THIS HISTORY. DAVID IS WORKING ON THE PROJECT WITH WRITER JULIEANN CAMPBELL, AUTHOR OF THE BOOK ‘SETTING THE TRUTH FREE’, WHICH RECENTLY WON ONE OF IRELAND’S LEADING LITERARY AWARDS, THE ‘EWARTBIGGS MEMORIAL PRIZE’. (PAST WINNERS INCLUDE BRIAN FRIEL & BRIAN KEENAN). FOLLOW @VERBALARTSDERRY FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Derry through Objects
What could be a more personal way to learn about a city than through the treasured objects of local people – objects that connect them to their hometown, remind them of a precious moment or preserve a local tradition? We’ve asked 11 international artists who have converged in Derry-Londonderry as a part of Global City, Local City to meet with local people and ask them to share with us one object that opens up a personal memory of the Derry they know. What is it? Why do they love it? Where is it from and how did they acquire it? Global City, Local City is an ongoing project that brings artists together to explore nine different European cities. The project will take its inhabitants, public space, and habits as a source of inspiration for the artists to create a new piece of art that responds to specific local needs. During the week long residency these artist will explore the city from its edges to its centre, listening to the voices of those who have lived there for many years. What better way to do this than through those objects that stand for their memories and personal connections to their city, their Derry? theatrefit.org
Anna Konjetzky is a choreographer and dance artist from Munich. She studied at the physical theatre school Lassaad (Methode J. Lecoq) in Brussels as well as contemporary dance, BodyWeather and Butoh in Brussels and Berlin. annakonjetzky.com
Christine Umpfenbach is a documentary theatre director from Munich. She studied at the Art Academy Berlin Weissensee and at Goldsmiths College London.
Dictaphone Group is collaboration between Tania El KhouryAbir Saksouk-Sasso and Petra Serhal to create live art events in Lebanon. dictaphonegroup.com
Julian Hetzel is an artist living in Amsterdam who creates works in performance and visual arts. He studied visual arts at Bauhaus University Weimar and He works as audiovisual artist, designer and performance maker. julian-hetzel.de
Maija Hirvanen is a choreographer and performance maker from Finland, based in Helsinki. In addition to her solo and group performances she has made collaborations and projects with other artists. hirvanen.net
Márcia Lança is a performance artist from Portugal. Márcia is a founder and artistic director at VAGAR Cultural Association. She has partaken in many collaborations, many with artists from varying disciplines.
Mihkel Ernits is a director and choreographer from Estonia. He completed his postgraduate studies at Tallinn University department of choreography in 2012. Mihkel is also interested in graphic design, visual media and combining different media.
son:DA is a group active in the fields of space installations, computer drawings, audio-video performances and different gallery, theater and curatorial projects. sonda.kibla.org
Valters Sīlis is a Latvian theatre artist. He graduated in stage directing at the Latvian Academy of Culture in 2010, and now works in small independent venues as well as at the National theatre.
10 x 10 meters is a collective of performing artists operating since 2009, based in Estonia. Eva Labotkin will be representing the group in Derry~Londonderry.
Via Negativa is an international performing arts project led by theatre director Bojan Jablanovec and based in Ljubljana. Grega Zorc will be representing the group in Derry~Londonderry. vntheatre.com
1 – The Small Wall
3 – Timetable
4 – “Buddy Rich Big Band” Drumstick
6 – The Bra
ARTIST: MIHKEL ERNITS LOCAL: CHRIS MCMONAGLE
ARTIST: CHRISTINE UMPFENBACH LOCAL: GWEN KENNEDY
ARTIST: SODJA LOTKER LOCAL: RONAN MCKEE
ARTIST: MÁRCIA LANÇA LOCAL: JACQUELINE MCKAY
“The Free Derry house was taken down in 1965 and the name of the family that lived there was the McKane’s, and my grandparents and my mother lived there. I’m proud that I have a piece of history of the town I love so much.”
“My name is Gwen Kennedy, born 1971. Originally from Buncrana, I have lived in Derry since 1994. This is an original 1914 timetable for the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway Company, and it was the first present I bought for my husband, Frank. I bought it because of his family connection; Frank and his Father had both worked for company. For me the Lough Swilly Company represents a way out of Buncrana, a little town in Donegal. Derry was the nearest place to see all the latest fashions and trends; the Lough Swilly Buses brought us here, to a glamourous world. When I was 15 I didn’t see the troubles, I was interested in the shops and the good looking boys.”
In 1986, when Ronan was 12 years old he went to see, described as one of the world’s greatest drummers, a Buddy Rich Big Band concert at the Rialto, Derry. It was an experience of a lifetime, “the freedom, the expression!” After the concert Buddy Rich handed out two drum sticks, one to Ronan and the other to Ronan’s best friend. This is one of the drumsticks. Buddy Rich died a few months later.
“My name is Jacqueline McKay and I am twenty-nine years old. Originally from Sion Mill, I’ve lived in Derry for nine years. My first encounter of Derry was when my mother and I travelled nineteen miles to Richmond Centre to buy my first bra. I was about eleven at the time and looking back I can see a correlation between my first bra and the support I have here. I play violin, piano and sing, and because of this I became a frequent visitor and performer. I fell in love with the city and have since remained.”
2 – Brooch ARTIST: ABIR SASOUK-SASSO LOCAL: NOELLE MC ALINDEN Noelle brought an object dear to her heart a “Peace Bridge” brooch that her friends made for her birthday. To her, the brooch is finely crafted in a way to represent what the bridge is about: connecting communities, peace and creativity. The brooch has little glittering stones that were custom-made to resemble the lights that shine from the bridge at night. Throughout our conversation, Noelle expressed strong emotions towards a better future and a new beginning for Derry, viewing “culture” as a light of hope, and ”the City of Culture” as the best thing that happened to Derry.
5 – The Ruffled Shirt ARTIST: MIHKEL ERNITS LOCAL: AMANDA DOHERTY Today I discovered the key characteristics of a woman from Derry: strong, a survivor, ready to face the world; strong enough to last, elegant enough to survive. Four buttons, a ruffle collar, lace cuffs; a lifetime of history which remains a secret.
7 – Old Communion Photograph ARTIST: VALTERS SILIS NAME OF LOCAL: CARA NÍ MHAONAIGH This is the First Communion photograph of a man now in his early thirties. The picture was shown to us by Cara, who stole it from a party at its original home; something of a tradition for pranksters here in Derry.
7 9 10
8 – Barometer
9 – Bloody Sunday Trust Pass
10 – Bog Oak Pen
11 – Dance Shoes
ARTIST: MIHA HORVAT LOCAL: DARRAN ANDERSON
NAME OF ARTIST: GREGOR ZORC LOCAL: MAOLÍOSA BOYLE
ARTIST: ANNA KONJETZKY LOCAL: BRYAN CARDLESS
ARTIST: TANIA EL KHOURY LOCAL: PAT BOND
“This is a barometer owned by Darran’s grandfather who was a fisherman. During the Second World War he used to smuggle whiskey, eggs and flour up the river from the Republic. They’d exchange them with US marines on the destroyers for cigarettes, cosmetics and occasionally comic books. Others would smuggle whiskey across the border hidden in babies’ prams or inside rotting horse carcasses. On one occasion, he was in a storm so bad the entire crew ended up kneeling to pray for their lives. None of them had saw fit to learn how to swim, believing it was bad luck. The barometer became useful in telling the weather that lay ahead.”
“On 15th June 2010, I was asked to stage manage the announcement of the findings of the Saville Report which took place at the Guildhall in Derry. I was a member of the Bloody Sunday Trust and I had worked closely with the family members before the announcement took place. The pass for me represents the intensity of the 15th June and the significance of the outcome of the Saville Report for the city in its fight for justice after 38 years. The pass brings back incredibly vivid memories of the day; the emotion in the air, the amazing strength and determination of the families, and the echoing shouts of ‘Innocent’ and ‘Justice.’ ”
I met with 28-year-old Irish citizen Bryan Cardless, living in the Irish Republic just across the border of Northern Ireland. He is now working in Derry, where his father went to school. It was with his father that he created the Bog Oak Pen, built of Oak that has been here in Ireland for 10,000 years – long before the political problems started. So for him, this pen in a way represents Ireland. (The notes I took for this interview were with his pen).
Pat brought the pair of shoes from the National Museum to show me. I was told she wore them since she was 12, and had danced across America in them winning world championships. She said, “See, if you do well in a pair of dancing shoes, you wouldn’t want to ever change them.” Pat taught generations Gaelic dances, keeping traditional Irish dance alive, and now offers free dance classes for children in Derry, and is involved in projects for the City of Culture. I wanted to know what she thought preserving Irish dance meant? “At the end of the day, we all want peace and dancing is a great way of expressing this.”
Five Generations PHOTOS: MAX & LIZ HAARALA HAMILTON WORDS: ZARA MILLER
Not many people can say they have a greatgreat-grandmother still alive. Two and a half year old Quinn Doherty from Derry-Londonderry is lucky enough to say she has, or at least she will do when she learns to talk a bit more.
Ninety-three year old Bridget Doherty makes up the eldest branch of the 5-generation strong Doherty family tree. Having all grown up here in the city, each of its members find their roots deeply embedded in Derry soil, which in turn enriches the way they have supported each other. It is, after all, family ties that bind the Doherty’s to the city they call home; from Bridget’s sister who first brought her here from her birthplace of County West Meath, to her daughter Mary who makes her mother’s bed every morning at their house here in Derry. Bridget (nee Gilhuley) tells me how she originally had to move to Derry following the death of her mother to look for work with her older sister. “I was the only one left in the house,” remembers Bridget, who soon found work cooking and cleaning for a local family. After two years Bridget got married, had two daughters and a son, Frankie Doherty; the one in the photos with the grey hair and the self-tattooed hands that read ‘LOVE’ on the left fingers and nothing on the right. Frankie’s son Kevin is the next link in the Doherty bloodline, followed by Caoimhe and her daughter Quinn. It is not surprising that the oldest person we met in Derry was a woman. Bridget was born in 1919 on the eve of the textile industry boom when thousands of women were employed by the shirt factories of Derry. These women were the sole breadwinners in Derry for over half a century, working for 51 hours a week while the men often remained unemployed. It’s no secret that most of the men of Derry are very close to their mothers and it seems that this, the pull of some invisible omphalic connection, could be precisely what keeps the home life so strong here.
“They always end up back in Derry,” says Frankie, talking about the young people who move away. “That’s what I always find out, once they move away, and they could be away a really long time, they always come back.” Frankie’s son Kevin echoes this homing instinct: “it’s just the way Derry is, it’s home like. It’s home.”
Both Doherty men have worked as taxi drivers in the city, Frankie now retired, Kevin currently looking for work. Both have ideas about why the rate of unemployment in Derry is so low, and it’s the kind of honest wisdom that only a local taxi driver could acquire. “The building trade was the biggest employer in Derry”, explains Kevin, who was made redundant by a local taxi firm two years ago. “So once the building trade got affected it was a landslide for everybody else. Once that starts to fall away, everything else falls away. Less money’s getting generated amongst the community. What we’ve noticed is that most of the people we would take in at the weekend were workers, so they were bricklayers, painters, and they’re the ones getting laid off, so they’re not going out, so the money’s not getting put back into circulation. Because there’s no money you know, no one’s going out, no one goes to the bars, nobody eats in the cafes after. It’s because the building trade was the biggest employer in Derry, so when the builders stop building it’s this domino effect it’s going to have.” Similar to the way the shirt factories started to close down one by one as the shirt-making industry moved to Asia where labour costs are considerably cheaper than in Derry, the local building industry has also become a victim of expanding globalization and recent recession. When you’re only in town for a week it’s easy to forget that such a major issue as unemployment (something that of course exists in every city), exists here too. When the buzz words repeatedly flying around and landing on the end of your nosel are, more often than not, dovetailed by a ‘re’ sound: regeneration; redevelopment; renewal, they make it harder to see those beginning with ‘un’: unemployment; unrest; unfair.
Although such issues must not be pushed aside, you only have to meet a couple of people, let alone five people who have lived here for five generations, to realise that this recent hardship is not what lies at the heart of the city. If it was people wouldn’t stay here and those who do move away wouldn’t keep coming back. “About nine out of ten will always come back”, says Kevin who, like his father, calls himself a Derry man. For Derry people, the word ‘Derry’ has become synonymous with the people themselves. It is the people who make up the foundations of the city. What is also clear in Derry, more so than in most cities I have been to, is that blood runs thicker than water. Like the three generations before her, twenty-year-old Caoimhe Doherty who is studying to become a nurse, also plans to spend the rest of her life in Derry. When I ask her why she wants to work at the local hospital after she graduates she explains, “my granddad was sick at the start of the year and passed away, and it was just seeing the way people looked after him.” Like many of the Derry women before her, it is this mix of hard work and nurture that will keep Caoimhe’s and possibly her daughter’s generation rooted here in Derry. So while Mary’s words certainly ring true - “Generations change, you know, you have to change with the Generations” - there is also something else, something unmovable that makes Derry people Derry people. You only have to look the Doherty family in the eyes to catch a glimpse of it. Even though Quinn’s adult life may be a century apart from her great-great-grandmother’s it is her blue eyes that resemble Bridget’s the most.
A Kite for Aibhín BY SEAMUS HEANEY ‘A Kite for Aibhín’ taken from Human Chain (c) Seamus Heaney and reprinted by permission of Faber and Faber Ltd
Air from another life and time and place, Pale blue heavenly air is supporting A white wing beating high against the breeze, And yes, it is a kite! As when one afternoon All of us there trooped out Among the briar hedges and stripped thorn, I take my stand again, halt opposite Anahorish Hill to scan the blue, Back in that field to launch our long-tailed comet. And now it hovers, tugs, veers, dives askew, Lifts itself, goes with the wind until It rises to loud cheers from us below. Rises, and my hand is like a spindle Unspooling, the kite a thin-stemmed flower Climbing and carrying, carrying farther, higher The longing in the breast and planted feet And gazing face and heart of the kite flier Until string breaks and â€“ separate, elate â€“ The kite takes off, itself alone, a windfall.
Contributors “There’s a lot to thank LIFT for” The Observer, 2012
“Not so much a magazine as a nomadic event... respectful, enjoyable and ambitious.” Huffington Post, 2011
Global City – Local City is an initiative of the network Theatre/Festivals in Transition (FIT)
LIFT has presented the stories of the world for over 30 years, pioneering new forms of theatre and setting the benchmark for internationalism in the arts. From an orchestra of hot air balloons to out-door theatrical spectaculars, LIFT curates a year-round programme of work building to a bold and ambitious Londonwide biennial festival of contemporary cultural experiences that stimulates the minds of the culturally curious.
Boat Magazine was born out of our passion for storytelling, our obsession with traveling to new places, and our habit of buying way too many good-looking magazines. Published by Boat Studio, a creative studio based in London specializing in branding and content creation, our hope is that our magazine acts as a great big ‘refresh’ button. Each issue focuses on a different complicated city and our goal is to help people create or update their ideas and images of that place.
GLOBAL CITY – LOCAL CITY is a network collaboration of the festivals SPIELART, Munich (DE), Baltic Circle International Theatre, Helsinki (FI), Homo Novus, Riga (LV), August Dance Festival, Tallinn (EE), LIFT, London (UK), Bunker, Ljubljana (SI) and Festival a/d Werf, Utrecht (NL). Associate partners are ALKANTARA Festival, Lisbon (PT) and Aalto University, Pori (FI).
LIFT has risen to become a key cultural player in the British arts scene, telling the stories of our times and going to places noone else would consider – geographically and artistically – to present unforgettable, mind-blowing experiences that change the way we think and what others are inspired to do. Our next festival will take place across London in June/July 2014 and we offer a variety of opportunities for emerging cultural leaders and artists - to find out more follow us: liftfestival.com @LIFTfestival theLIFTfestival (facebook)
Lisa Byrne, founder of Wrapped in Plastic Photography, took up photography as a hobby four years ago. She began in the darkroom, developing black and white film and has since switched to mainly digital and gained recognition in the town with her photojournalistic and alternative approach to capturing her subjects. She has built a rapport with the local music scene and has recently featured on top wedding and hairdressing websites. wrappedinplasticphotography.com Patrick Duddy is a photographer who is currently working with essentialworld.travel providing photography and a visual travel-log focused on the City of Culture and North of Ireland. Patrick’s work was featured in Anchor Arts, Moville ‘On the Edge’ Exhibition and his current family & wedding photography can been viewed at patrickduddy.com Liz & Max Haarala Hamilton are a photographic duo based in London who work together on editorial, food and portrait photography. They love to travel, eat and snap. Their work has been featured in numerous publications both in the UK and abroad such as The Observer Food Monthly, HUCK Magazine, Delicious Magazine and they have worked for a range of clients including BBC Books and Conran Octopus. haaralahamilton.com / @haaralahamilton David Campbell is a graphic artist and illustrator. He is currently working on a graphic novel depicting the history and culture of Derry~Londonderry which is hoping to capture the attention and imagination of the younger generations in the city. @VerbalArtsDerry
So far Boat Magazine has covered Sarajevo, Detroit, London, Athens (Greece), Kyoto and now this special edition newspaper all about Derry~Londonderry. Past issues of Boat Magazine are available to purchase from our website (www.boat-mag. com) or from Little Acorns Bookstore in the heart of Derry at Bedlam, 10 - 16 Pump Street, BT48 6JG. The special edition Derry~Londonderry newspaper will be handed out for free over the weekend of 9/10th of March and available to be picked up from various points around Derry – check our website for more info.
Global City – Local City is funded by the Culture Programme of the European Union and with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. theatrefit.org
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Charlie Herron has lived in Derry, N. Ireland, all his life. He is a retired principal of Foyle View Special Education School in the City and now spends his time writing and visiting his beloved Donegal with his wife, Margaret. Charlie is presently revising the first draft of his third novel.
Davey Spens is the Creative Director of Boat Studio, which he founded with his wife Erin. Having started his career in big agency advertising, he was appointed the first Costa Coffee Writer-inResidence in 2009, has ghost-written an autobiography for a television personality, and has published his first children’s book, titled ‘Weasel’s Got The Sneezles’. @Daveyspens
Ethan Loughrey is currently directing a cross community play, writing for Startacus - the online platform for self starters - and is working on his first novel. He has a degree in English and History, and a Masters in Journalism. You can follow his exploits, shenanigans and general life output on the twitter. @the_messer89
Christopher Vickers is a London based creative specialising in graphic design and art direction. Alongside his work with Boat Studio and Magazine he has recently taken the leap to start his own design studio in a venture with two others. christophervickers.co.uk / @cvic88
Rachel Maria Taylor is a storyteller. Pens, pencils, paints, lens; a narrative fanatic. She trained as an illustrator and currently works in editorial publishing, including being the co-editor and creative director of Another Escape. rachelmariataylor.co.uk / anotherescape.com
Daniel Cooper grew up by the British seaside before making the big leap 62 miles north to London. He designs and DJs at Boat Studio, and works on select projects that have a positive effect on his city, recently including a grassroots Mayoral campaign. @DE_Cooper
Zara Miller is the editorial assistant of Boat Magazine. She also writes the odd film review and interview for Little White Lies magazine. She loves nothing more than traveling the world and is currently daydreaming about one day calling herself a published novelist. @zarajoanmiller
Jonathan May is a theatre maker and Digital Producer at LIFT. Born in Gloucester, he studied theatre and photography in Liverpool. After graduating with distinction from his masters degree at Goldsmiths he joined the LIFT team in 2011. @iwasjonathanmay @LIFTfestival
Erin Spens is an American writer and the editor of Boat Magazine. She co-founded Boat Studio with her husband Davey, a small creative studio in London. She writes for other magazines and websites, spends an unhealthy amount of time dreaming about travel, and absolutely loves being a mom to Etta. erinspens.com / @erinspens
Robert Greacen was born in Derry in 1920. His early years were divided between Belfast and Monaghan. In a writing career spanning over 60 years he produced seven individual collections. His Collected Poems 1944-1994 (Lagan Press 1995) won the Irish Times Literature Prize for Poetry. He published a memoir Even Without Irene (Lagan Press, 1995). He died in Dublin in 2008.
Thank You Boat would like to thank
Jenni Doherty at Little Acorns Bookstore / BBC Radio Foyle / Verbal Arts Centre / Patrick Duddy / Lisa Byrne / Caoimhe Doherty and family
LIFT would like to thank
Arts Council England / Besom Productions / City of Culture 2013 / EU Culture Programme / Freddie Todd Fordham / Global City-Local City / Graeme Farrow / James Kerr / Verbal Arts Centre / Nerve Centre / Peter Jenkinson / Shauna McNeilly / Kevin Isaacs
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Published on Mar 8, 2013
LIFT has teamed up with Boat to produce a newspaper edition of Boat Magazine which uncovers the hidden stories about Derry-Londonderry. One...