Cello’s, Foals and Alchemy

Household is over for another year. For the weekend, the Ormeau Road became the Bohemian hub of Belfast. In over 40 venues of domestic urban space, artists hosted exhibitions, film screenings, funky hot tub parties, cool cocktails, music sessions, dance, architectural walks, stories, poems, soundscapes, letter writing, sculpture, graffiti, homage to cycling, painting, foraging, documentaries, home movies, cake and cartoons, literature and peace meals. In the afternoon, I joined Jason O’ Rourke on his Vernacularisms walking tour. Tom Clarke had translated the stories into Irish. The Lord Mayor, Mairtin O’ Muilleoir turned up for a while, and joined in, as any member of the public might have – get you Lord Mayor – good stuff.

In my house we hosted readings of The Cello Suites and Aill na Searrach/The Leap of the Foals,  with music from Tom Hughes the cellist, Jason O’Rourke on concertina and Susan Hughes with her fiddle. I read poetry and we exhibited Susan’s paintings which she’d done in response to writing by Jason and I. It was intimate and unexpected. We didn’t know who would show up or how it would work and still, we knew it would work – that the people would come and that something would take on an alchemy of its own in the middle of it all.

Those who came as audience members included four generations of the one family, a dancer of the Appalachian style, another poet,  a singer and a screenwriter/ film-maker.

We made time for chat, to share wine, to talk about what we’d seen elsewhere. It was rich and at the same time it was ordinary. Something is happening here, that is healthy and wonderful and effortless. The people played and let themselves shine.  Shine on Belfast; shine on.

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