Sunday, 22 April 2007
I made it to the Irish center just in the nick of time. Dinner had finished and the Tuesday Club were happliy slurping tea and chomping fresh cream buns. Most were on their third drink and it was only 1 o'clock in the day!
Tom spotted me and introduced me to the volunteers. A lovely group of ladies who had a cup of tea in my hand before I had my coat off!
I began by asking about where they had come from, why they came here, how did they find the transition. To which I got quite matter of fact answers.
"So, where you happy to leave Ireland- what did you think of it here?' I asked
"I think that's a silly question, of course we didn't want..."
"What, are you joking Mary, the first thing I did was put a pink streak in my hair and cut my skirt short"
We errupted into histerics!
I was still red faced from laughing when Tom on the mic began to introduce me and 200 inquizative heads turned in my direction. Right, I thought, just bite the bullet and next thing I was on stage trying to explain the nature of my visit. I bumbled my way through, and made a quick exit. Thankfully it was bingo next so i had time to gather my composure. I fell back into artist mode and started drawing the concentrated faces of the bingo players. I had run out of pages by the time the last house was called.
Back to researcing: There were so many people I decided to do one or two at each table. I met the Cosgroves from Roscree, a lady from Drimnagh who when I asked, was quite animated in the fact that she hated Leeds, Paul Sharkey a joiner from Tullycoo, Anne McHale and Mrs Moverly ne Hanlon from Mayo, Winefred Jackson 90 from Roscommon, Francis Sheeran from Ceis, Paddy Murphy who's twin sisters from Athy had been in the WAF and one had gotten blown up in South Africa and lovely Eileen Egan from Balinaga near Finch park in Roscommon who had lived in Leeds since 1942 where she met her beloved Tommy Egan who passed away last year. Eileen was a softly spoken lady who told me about her life here in Leeds and the dance halls where all the Irish would congregate to play music, dance and more than often meet their future spouses. We had been talking a while and I asked if I could take her photograph with the people dancing behind. At this she was no sooner on her feet and leading the dance. The remains of the Tuesday Club were now all on the dancefloor for a final tune. At the end Eileen came up to me
"The Roscoe in Chapel Allerton, that's it!"
She was talking of the photograph in her bag of the last time her whole family were together.
Monday, 9 April 2007
I was so happy when we had completed the fairy ring, now it was in the hands of the people of LS9 to do what they saw fit to our beautiful public sculpture.
I returned five days later and I was devastated! The ring was broken! David was nowhere to be seen, the Irish centre was empty, not even a cat or a matress spring to console me!
Sunday, 1 April 2007
Soaked! I decided that although I might get on the wrong side of the locals I was going ahead and making a fairy ring right there in the middle of this dumping ground/walkway/meeting place/furnace. Out of the burnt objects I salvaged wooden blocks and placed them in a cirlce at the top of the path. The black charred blocks glistened in the rain. I walked around to evaluate my creation.
Across the road there were some daffodils and a man stood at the bus stop. Just to be on the safe side I asked him if he knew who owned the land where the daffodils were growing.
"What do you want daffodils for?"
"For a fairy ring."
"Come on let's go and get them!
and off he went, "Come on!"
He told me that he was born on the 2nd March- and asked me to guess his name. I guessed right. He came over the mound of rubble intrigued at what I might be up to. So I gave him half the flowers and we decorated the fairy ring. He told me this used to be the Richmond pub.
"You should find out about that history", he said as he left, laughing at himself and what we had just done.
Thursday, 29 March 2007
So, i missed the old ladies and gentlemen at the club on Tuesday and to make up for it I battled through the rain today back to The Irish Centre only to find nobody in only Julie, who's too busy to entertain soggy downtrodden old me. So I have to find my own fun!
I'm off in the rain and wild to locate my newest playground. Outside it smells of boiled bacon and then doughnuts. Oh a coffee and a sugar doughnut and warmth, but no, just disorientated me in the wilds of LS9! I tried to retrace my steps from my last visit. There had been an abandoned sofa and over a grass mound i had discovered a circle of cushions, which got me thinking about gatheringing and then about Irish folklore and leprachauns, and wee folk and magical things that can happen when you believe in the fairies :)
And then it appeared, my place my space!
Thursday, 15 March 2007
Well after speaking to Julie and Cas on the phone today I went to go and check out what was happening at the Irish Centre. I met Tom who seemed enthusiastic about the badge project and told me i was lucky to be in LS9! Things are pretty hectic there with St.Patricks day coming up at the weekend so we arranged to meet on Tuesady 27th at a social event at the centre.
On my way out i decided to go wandering around the area. I wanted to find the church that Tom had mentioned in our brief meeting. As i wandered i took some photographs of the surroundings. I couldn't help but notice the piles of burnt rubbish everywhere. It was whilst i was photographing a small stripey kitten amidst some rusty matress springs that I was confronted by a resident.
"Eh! Why are you taking photos here?" she asked. Her tone was defensive, maybe it was her cat. Maybe it was her matress!
I slowly walked over to her gate. She was a young girl with thick gold hoop earings in a tracksuit. "I'm doing a project on this area, i'm an artist," I replied, "so, you live here?"
"Yeah, since i was four, it's a shithole!"
"Is that your cat?"
"No the ones across the road just left it abandoned, it's pregnant"
"It's only a kitten itself"