An Irish Public house. 2-5-17 by Ed Godsell

Last week I made my way down to a gig in the legendary Connolly's of Leap (Established in 1780) which has re-opened after a long stint.  Connolly's is in the tiny West Cork village of Leap, a tranquil one street town in the heart of the Rebel county and under it's original owner, Paddy McNicholls, the bar/venue saw up to 230 gig per year and recorded some of the best Irish bands of the nineties.  The last gig I was lucky enough to witness there were the Dublin Punk bands Striknein D.C. and Indecent exposure (I'm sure no-one who attended that gig will forget why Indecent Exposure were so named...)  Heady days they were and only the most adventurous souls would hop on the magical mystery bus to take the trip out of the big smoke and to the land beyond the Law.  It was great to get down there again after all these years to see it has not been changed even a tad by the new owner Paddy's son Sam.

Anyhow, Connolly's is by no means the only pub in the village, nor even the best.  That accolade has to go to the small 'Old man's bar' at the end of the village that goes by the oddly contradictorary name of 'The New Inn'  

Thirsty for a pint before our gig started I ventured in with a friend to check out the scene inside, I had brought a camera for the gig and so had it over my shoulder.  It's a one room bar with the bar counter facing the door and only two tables beside it.  A functional and simple bar, brightly lit in keeping with many an Irish old mans bar.  There was about ten 'aul lads at the bar and I spotted two empty seats so made a bee line, thinking I'd jump straight in to the scene with an ice breaker "The chairs free lads?'   The answer would give me a quick indication as to the level of welcome that would be extended to strangers, though I was nearly sure we'd be grand.  And of course we were grand 'Sit away boy, your name is on 'em'  was the reply and straight away we were engaged in conversation with our immediate neighbour, a Dairy farmer who over the duration of just two pints told us of the fierce intelligence of his Cattle (I believed every word)  his love of them and finally of his little industry at home that if we were ever in want of a sup of the harder stuff we now knew where to get it.  (It seems totally ridiculous in this day and age that the distilling of the age old moonshine known as Poitin, made from potatoes, is still illegal and underground.)

I've been abroad for the last while recently and whilst a found most people where I was very friendly I have to say that nothing compares to the feeling of warmth and welcome in a real old Irish Public house.  Within minutes we were chatting with the whole bar, laughing and joking and supping the finest of pints of Murphy's stout.  Don't get me wrong, an Irish bar can be a downright miserable place too, depending on all kinds of factor but mainly the Proprietor and also the clientele.

Inevitably the conversation turned to the sad passing of the real local bar in Ireland and it's causes and consequences.  It's the conversation that always comes up but gets killed off quite quickly because it's just such an unhappy conversation, albeit one that needs to be had.  'Changing times' is the common refrain, 'Changing world, where's it all gonna end up?'

 

One of the men spotted my camera and I asked if I could take a picture of him, he laughed and pointed to his drinking buddy saying 'Take a picture a him la, he loves himself!' and so I did, I took pictures of them both.  Then I announced to the whole bar that I'd like to take their picture and they were just to ignore me and if anyone didn't want their picture taken just to tell me.  No one asked.  For just about 15 minutes I moved around the bar, and they did ignore me, as much as possible but the old lads did get a little sheepish in that sweet shy way but they all kept smiling.  I felt the magic I sometimes do when I feel like I'm the first to ever photograph something.  Not that the Irish bar hasn't been shot to death but at least this particular bar hadn't.

The owner came out with her two sons to have the family picture taken, the light was low and I had no flash so the images are grainy and a little blurred but I think I got it.   It was such a lovely time with those funny and gentle souls.  Salt of the earth as they say.  Long may they live and long live the Irish bar, without it we'll all (mostly) be a little melancholy boy!

Needless to say I didn't have time to get any names but I'll be back, that's a sure thing.

Skopje Gypsy Market 3.3.17 by Ed Godsell

Last year I managed to find the huge Gypsy market outside Sophia in Bulgaria and it was a real treat, both in terms of Photography and actually buying random, interesting, obscure stuff.   This year I found the market in Skopje.  It took me some time to locate because it was previously close to the city centre but the authorities deemed fit to move it from sight (directly in front of the US embassy...) and pushed it to an industrial area well out of the city.

I was happy to locate it and the had the same excited feeling upon entering it as I did last year in Bulgaria.  Gypsy markets are the bees feckin' knees in my book.  Not only because here one can observe amazingly random characters and find incredibly random stuff for super cheap but because of the whole idea of them.  Recycling all kinds of stuff that others don't want anymore, old men refurbishing things that we in the 'West' would just throw out.  Old ladies frying burgers in the heat, men drinking beer and laughing in the shade.  Kids running amok amongst the debris.

Of course people say 'but don't bring your camera, there are thieves!'  and i'm sure there are, like there are anywhere but I can honestly say I feel totally at ease in places like these, I find people smiling, I usually end up chatting to most of the place, via my amazing co-pilot, translator and fixer, Angie.

I was very tempted to buy an old accordian for a nomadic Irish busking mate of mine who'll soon be in Skopje.  600 Denars, around 10 euros for the accordian but I aint dragging an accordian around for no-one.... I know where to find it if my mate wants it!

Me and Angie bought perfectly good adidas runners for €6, an hand carved wooden pepper grinder for €2, and a set of hand enamelled clay pots for cooking the Macedonian traditional bean dish 'Tavce Gravce' for 50 cent but we broke one on the way home.

Gypsy boys winked at me, old women smiled.  People were happy for me to take photos and usually ended up laughing and although usually I have no idea what's being said I kind of get it anyway.  Long live gypsy markets!  I'd happily spend my weekends trawling through the mountains of stuff, seeking the gems that still can be found, after all, it's all about the hunt.

 These two young lads had come with their Dad who had the good sense to buy them both a Rubix cube.  What a fantastic thing to give your kids!  The Dad told me he was a sailor and his Captain was an Irishman.  I told him my Dad was both a Captain and an Irishman!  Random synchronicity amongst the random objects.

These two young lads had come with their Dad who had the good sense to buy them both a Rubix cube.  What a fantastic thing to give your kids!  The Dad told me he was a sailor and his Captain was an Irishman.  I told him my Dad was both a Captain and an Irishman!  Random synchronicity amongst the random objects.

 Amongst the rubble I noticed this book entitled 'The History of Western Literature'   I love this mixing of high culture with the practical.   

Amongst the rubble I noticed this book entitled 'The History of Western Literature'   I love this mixing of high culture with the practical.

 

 Dolls, Dolls, Dolls.   

Dolls, Dolls, Dolls.

 

 When I first was these two the older one was dragging the younger along by this plastic chain around his neck.  At first it looked nasty but when I asked them for a picture I realised how cool the younger one was to be dragged around.  He was having a grand time of it.   

When I first was these two the older one was dragging the younger along by this plastic chain around his neck.  At first it looked nasty but when I asked them for a picture I realised how cool the younger one was to be dragged around.  He was having a grand time of it.

 

 This chap works selling teas and coffees just to make a little extra.  He made us two hot chocolates and wouldn't take any money so I'm not sure how much extra he actually makes.  Many people work here just for the love of it, we even spoke to one lady who told us she only comes to sell stuff because her family at home give her grief for smoking so she comes here where she can smoke all she likes.   

This chap works selling teas and coffees just to make a little extra.  He made us two hot chocolates and wouldn't take any money so I'm not sure how much extra he actually makes.  Many people work here just for the love of it, we even spoke to one lady who told us she only comes to sell stuff because her family at home give her grief for smoking so she comes here where she can smoke all she likes.

 

 The best thing for me is not the items that can be bought but the items that can be found.  Stuff just lying around for anyone to take, like these purple stilettos, I was tempted but not my style, or Angie's, so they are still there if anyone needs a pair of kick ass purple high heels...

The best thing for me is not the items that can be bought but the items that can be found.  Stuff just lying around for anyone to take, like these purple stilettos, I was tempted but not my style, or Angie's, so they are still there if anyone needs a pair of kick ass purple high heels...

 This record is of music made by a Yugoslav actor and his wife who set a children's travelling theatre in 1977 called 'The snail' ( A snail carries his home on his back)   These guys made many children TV shows in the 7'and 80's and I found them on youtube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVP12APCtm8     Not quite as surreal as the kids show I watched back then in Ireland, but close!

This record is of music made by a Yugoslav actor and his wife who set a children's travelling theatre in 1977 called 'The snail' ( A snail carries his home on his back)   These guys made many children TV shows in the 7'and 80's and I found them on youtube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVP12APCtm8     Not quite as surreal as the kids show I watched back then in Ireland, but close!

 The last found object is my favourite.  This green plastic framed statue of liberty was missing it's torch to shine the light of justice and was lying abandoned amongst the rubbish.

The last found object is my favourite.  This green plastic framed statue of liberty was missing it's torch to shine the light of justice and was lying abandoned amongst the rubbish.

The card sharp. Athens by Ed Godsell

IMG_9931-3.jpg

I was recently working in Athens and had a chance to walk around for a bit.  It's a big and gritty city but I was chuffed to spot this scene when walking home to my place after a day of walking/shooting.  I caught it in the corner of my eye as I was passing a building, the room is downstairs and the window was blocked by a plant, hence the strange frame.  But I think I caught the scene nicely, the gestures and faces, the female beside them.  I love the old gramophone in the corner too. It needs to be viewed on a large screen.  The scene reminded me of the Sopranos.  

This day eight years ago. by Ed Godsell

Today in Washington DC the world witness’s the dawning of a new era.  Worrying as prospects of the incoming president may be I’m not one to think that the reign of any particular US President necessarily leads either towards that nations salvation or destruction.  My own view is that whilst of course the President matters, much more important is the entire power base of the moneyed ruling elite and the vested interest they have.   But that’s beside the point here.

This day 8 years ago I was in Washington DC to film the inauguration of Barack Obama for a documentary I was making about a small Irish village in the  midlands called Moneygall, which had discovered that Obama was their long lost son.

I remember in DC that day I kept reminding myself that whilst I didn’t want to be swept up in the euphoria that was coursing through the hundreds of thousands of people that had traveled to witness the inauguration of America’s first ‘Black president’, I didn’t want to be overly cynical either.  I had nothing against Obama but I did see him as just a darling of the elite who had helped him take the crown and would expect their pound of flesh.   

What I witnessed in DC was truly powerful.  People were intoxicated with hope, with change, with optimism.   I kept hearing that voice in me ear telling me that this could be Germany in 1933 when another messiah was being appointed to lead his people towards the light.  In no way do I draw parallels between those two men and their politics but I draw parallels in the hysteria that catches people up and sweeps them into a sea of emotional thinking.     I will never seek to take from the joy of the African Americans that I met that day who were justifiably euphoric.  But I also met white people who openly told me they wished they were black, I met people who truly believed Obama to be some kind of messiah, that he would redeem the sins of America and lead it as a light unto the world.

The journey that brought me from the small, one street village of Moneygall to Washington DC was a long one, peppered with fantastic stories and characters, some real adventures and dangers and is one of my favorite times ever as a documentarian.  I had to make use of  all of my strengths and my weakness’s were exposed, I had guns pointed at me, I was followed by helicopters as I sped along small country roads, I had to outsmart, and I did, the US Secret Service, I sang and danced and drank till late, I made many friends and met a few folk I still try not to hate.

I am going to recount it now, from memory, as much as I can.  I took no notes and as of now cannot find any photos I took of the 5 year long journey.   Photos usually act as my memory because that can be a little blurred at times, especially if the story is based around characters who’s main hang out is a pub with good Stout.  I am not writing necessarily for people to read all the way through now, as I know very few who will see this will have the time or inclination to read it now, but more for myself, to finally jot down the memories I have from way back in 2007, when Senator Barack Obama was still a relatively unknown Politician from Chicago.

Some time in 2006 or 2007, I cannot remember, I found myself in a bar in Moneygall in Co. Offaly.  I was just passing through on my way to film something else, somewhere else, I cannot remember.   I had heard on some small radio station as I was driving about this Barack Obama and how he was of Irish ancestry and that his Great great great Grandfather was a Shoemaker called Fulmouth who had lived in Moneygall and left for brighter horizons to the US. In the mid 1800’s.

 

I happened to be passing the little village that I had never heard of, why would I have?  There are thousands of such little villages all over Ireland, so I decided I’d stop and check out the story.  There were two pubs in the town, Hayes, on one side of the street is an older bar and very lovely, run by Aunt Julia Hayes, the other bar just across the street is run by Ollie Hayes, Julia’s nephew and is a more modern, bigger bar.  I called into Ollie’s as Julia’s was closed, though I was more drawn to Julia’s bar as it looked like the real deal, the good old fashioned and now fading Irish Public house.

 

Julia Hayes in her bar.  Only Guiness and Carling on tap.

 

In Ollie’s I asked about the Obama connection and was introduced to Henry Healy.   Henry was a 24-year-old fellow, tall and polite and friendly.  Henry gladly told me the story, how it was true that this potential new President indeed had roots in their village, that they had the records to prove it.  Not only that but Henry told me that he himself was related to Obama because he also descended from Fulmouth, the Protestant shoemaker.  A friend of Henry’s with a pint of Guinness held aloft announced confidently that ‘That man will become President of America and we will get him into this bar for a pint one day!’

 It was such a ludicrous thing to say but said with such gusto that I decided to keep an eye on the story.  It seemed nuts that this guy would become President at all, he had Hilary Clinton running against him in the democratic elections and she, I felt, was a sure bet for President.   Shows what I know, my gut soundly ‘trumped’ by the unpredictable American electorate.

Sure enough as time went on the worlds media began to focus on the young Senator from Chicago.  He was graceful and personable, smart and young and he was a person of colour, seemingly a perfect antidote to the disastrous Bush Presidency.  I’m not joking when I say that Henry Healy from Moneygall, who became the champion for Obama’s cause (He was family after all) was actually quite similar, not just in looks and size but in persona.  Henry is also a charming, personable man, passionate about politics and passionate about his town.  

Henry had discovered that the link to Obama, who was gaining hugely in popularity was just what was needed to put his village on the map.  ‘People just pass through Moneygall’, as Julia Hayes told me, ‘on their way somewhere else’.  Sure why would you stop here?  By now they had discovered that there could well be a reason to stop and Henry was the man to make the reason become a reality.  Henry decided to make it his cause to highlight the fact that this ‘Great man… potentially the biggest man in the world’ came from his town.  And whilst Obama became the darling of the worlds media, Henry became the darling of the Irish media, though in fairness it was all a bit of craic for most of the Irish and a bit of sideshow comedy for some of the smart arsed Dublin based columnists.    Henry saw the funny side too, but he was deadly serious.

As Obama’s story progressed so did Moneygall’s.  The media arrived in the village for the democratic election and the village was jubilant when Obama knocked Hilary out.  I remember thinking that she’d be back; I had a strong sense that she would one day rule...  All of the focus during the elections was around the two bars in Moneygall, the crowd congregating In Ollie’s, whilst the older folk or the younger folk looking for a more relaxed pint went to Julia’s bar.  I flitted between the two with my video camera, recording everything that I could.  At first my camera was viewed with suspicion, as was I, but the villagers grew used to cameras after a while and they grew used to me, as I was the only ‘meeja’ man who kept returning to the village so they got to know me a little.  I was also in a position to have a sociable pint or two whenever I felt like it because I wasn’t working for anyone, I was on my own… I was the ‘freelancer!’  Free to take a pint when I saw fit, free to leave when I saw fit, free to eat in the cheapest restaurants and sleep in the fleabittenist motels, just the way I like it.

 

...reminiscent of a classic Coen brothers’ movie.
— Liam Fay- Sunday Times

The local Politicians and grandees turned up of course, like pigs to shit. 

It was a surreal night; we stayed up till the early hours in Ollie’s watching the count.   The drink was flowing, the singing got louder, there was trad dancing, the Catholic Priest Father Joe was there, the local Protestant Vicar, Stephen Neill was there.  The craic was, as they say, totally fucking mighty.  It was the Protestant Vicar who had discovered the link in the first place; well at least it was he who had been contacted by some American genealogists inquiring if there were any records of a certain Fulmouth Kearney.   A positive aspect of the Protestant church, or Church of Ireland as they say in Ireland is that it has meticulously kept its records.  Births, deaths, Baptismals and Weddings are all recorded in the good book.  It didn’t take Stephen Neill long to find the old records of Fulmouth and his family in the local Church of Ireland Church, a lovely quiet old building a few miles out of the town and surrounded by tall and noble trees.  Father Joe the Catholic Priest made a joke that made the whole pub crack up He said Obama was the first real ‘Black Protestant’ In Ireland,  referring to the fact that in the bad old days the Protestants were some times referred to as ‘Black Protestants.’

Many of the villagers that had been doubters were converted with the morning news that Barack Obama would indeed be President of the US, the leader of the ‘Free world’.  There had been many doubters.  There were those that doubted he would make it, there were those whose natural affiliation was more of a Republican nature, some even tried to claim that McCain had more Irish roots than Obama.  There were those that just didn’t care for the media circus at all and wanted nothing to do with any of it and there were those, though really they were very few who harboured some hidden racism.  Most villagers thought the idea of a Black President was a good thing.

So, Henry was declared king of the village, his hard work had paid off.  Julia, in the pub across the way and Henry’s great aunt declared that she knew Henry was going to one day show all of us what he was made of and now was his time.  He ended up on talk shows, expertly representing his cause and his village.  Henry’s mother kept a low profile but she was there for him always, deflecting the pressure and making sure he ate properly.

Henry with his girls, Aunt Julia over his right shoulder.

The next step in the journey was the inauguration.  Henry had made a connectio with the Irish American democrats, who had in turn contacted the Obama PR machine, who had decided to make good use of this Irish connection for political reasons.  There are 40 million Americans who claim Irish decent and also it deflected some of the rubbish about Obama not being American at all.   In return, Henry, the Protestant Vicar Stephen Neill and Ollie Hayes were invited to attend the inauguration, followed by their band of merry men ‘The Corrigan brothers’ who cannily jumped on the bad-wagon by producing an anthem of sorts, with the tune that was either loved or hated ‘There’s no-one as Irish as Barack Obama.’  Most Americans loved the song, most Irish were embarrassed, the Corrigan Brothers didn’t care, they had been invited to play their tune at the inauguration and that’s what mattered.

Of course I followed the team to DC.  Still with no funding I decided that I started with a gamble and it was working out so far so I kept going though the stakes were growing higher.

Washington DC with the lads was something special.  Word spread that Henry was the distant Irish cousin and many Americans, mostly African Americans were only too happy to shake his hand.  I met an old man who whispered to me that his own grandfather had been a slave and to think now that one of their own was to take the Presidency was for him just mind blowing.   I positioned myself on a roof above the crowd to film the new President and found myself surrounded by sharp shooters one of whom I saw aimed his gun directly at me.  Being on a high building with a camera that sometimes can be mistaken for a mini rocket launcher wasn't the smartest idea I've ever had

 As usual I was travelling without a press pass so when I saw Jon Snow from CH4 news I hopped the barrier and collared him, he obliged without hesitation.

As usual I was travelling without a press pass so when I saw Jon Snow from CH4 news I hopped the barrier and collared him, he obliged without hesitation.

Henry didn’t actually get to meet his cousin then but stood wistfully outside the Whitehouse.  It wouldn’t take too long before Henry was looking out from the inside rather than the other way around.   I climbed up some empty stage seating with my sometimes rocket launcher-ish looking camera that had been placed at the gates of the White house and found myself again in the sights of some shooters who screamed at me to get down immediately or they would open fire.

My favorite memory of the whole day was afterwards at the Irish American democrat party.  It was strictly black tie and white skin, though the latter wasn’t out of prejudice in fairness.  I wasn’t allowed film inside and so had to make myself happy with hanging around the lobby.  I went to the jacks, my camera around my neck and in one of the toilet cubicles I heard singing.  The door opened and it was an African American toilet attendant.  A man in his fifties with a neat uniform on and he was singing his heart out.  I asked him what the day had meant to him and he gave me a speech straight from the heart about how much the day meant, not only to him but African Americans and indeed the whole world.  He was such a cool guy and his heartfelt and powerful speech brought the hairs out on my neck.  I’ve never heard anything like it since.

Back in Ireland it didn’t take long for all to revert back to normal.  The world and Moneygall moved on. The party was over and Barack had work to do, so did Henry, he was back at his old desk job in the old portacabin in Moneygall where he worked as a plumbers clerk.

The months and years passed.  My documentary went unfinished and nearly forgotten.  No money, no editor, no producer, no real interest.  It lay with all my other footage from other unfinished projects gathering dust and burning a whole in me until one day I was driving somewhere to film something that I can’t remember,  when I heard on the radio that Barack Obama had announced that he wanted to come to Ireland and he wanted to visit the village of his ancestors and maybe go for a pint in the local.    Game on!

I found a Producer finally and she managed to scrape some money from the national broadcaster to edit the film I had spent 4 years following.  Now everyone wanted a piece of the action.  Other filmmakers turned up, some with bigger guns than me, some with celebrities in tow.  Some tried to gently take over the story from me and  it necessitated some diplomatic maneuvering.   But the key thing was that Henry stayed with me, he knew I was the one who had been with them since the start, I had nothing to worry about.  Also I knew most of the village by now and a letter I had written to the editor of the Irish times had been published where I had defended the town from accusations of shameless avarice and glory seeking.

 I had forgotten I had written it and it was produced, carefully kept in the wallet of the local School-master at a crucial stage sometime later when media access was being discussed for the Presidents visit. 

The build up to the visit of a US president to a small Irish Village was surreal indeed.   O’Bama had recently popped off Osama and so the secret service were on high alert.  His trip to Ireland would be his first trip outside the US since his recent victory and word had it that a small Irish village was seen as a soft target for a would-be Osama fan.  So the security was racked up to eleven on the scale.  I’ve never seen anything like it.

 Julia's husband Joe tucking into a pint of Black.

Julia's husband Joe tucking into a pint of Black.

The secret service was spotted lurking around the street of Moneygall months ahead of the visit.  Secret negotiations were held, cameras were fitted, wires were tapped.  In preparation for the visit 2,000 Irish police would be sent to ring the village entirely, so no one could enter or exit from anywhere.  Snipers would be placed in the fields overlooking the village and a local farmer accidentally stood on one he was so well hidden.  A rocket launcher had been placed on a hillside nearby, though in truth, I never authenticated that story.

There was an advance rehearsal which went as far as landing the Presidents helicopter, or a double of some sort,  in the local Football field to see if it was safe,  I tried to film that but was told to feck off by the Gardai.  I went up in the hills overlooking to get the shot and the helicopter must have spotted me because it came up right above me and hovered.  The wind nearly blew my tripod over and I saw a flash of someone in the chopper taking a picture of me.  Wary of being banned from the big day itself or even the victim of an overzealous gunner with his hand on the hellfire button I got into my car and zoomed off, only to see in the rear view mirror that the chopper was following me.  I took it handy, put some loud Jimmy Hendix CD I was listening to on to act as the soundtrack to the James Bond style movie I had found myself in.   In truth I was very grateful to make it to Ollie’s bar where I needed a pint to calm my nerves and recount my tale to the afternoon few.

A meeting had been organised to discuss a situation that had arisen in the town that needed to be sorted out quick and thankfully they allowed me film it.  Things were getting trickier to film as the local politicians got involved and the Irish Government eventually made its lofty presence known.  What needed to be discussed was who was going to be able to get to meet the President when he did arrive .  Who was going to be able to even be in the village that day as really no more than a few hundred can line the street yet word had it that many people from all over were making plans to be in Moneygall on the day to catch a glimpse of the big man or even catch a kiss from the first Lady. 

Local politicians and some not so local began to book places for themselves and their entourages and soon, if things kept going like that there would be no room for the villagers themselves.   The Americans had made it known that no-one would be allowed to stand at the windows of the first floor of their homes and every house would have to be emptied and searched with sniffer dogs and detectors.

After much debate about where the boundary of the village actually lay it was decided that invites would be issued to all the villagers and relevant politicians and the rest would be divvied out by lottery.  Literally golden tickets were issued to successful applicants.   Other things that needed to be discussed were the mounting pressure the village was coming under from all kinds of places.  Paddy Power the gambling house was trying to persuade Henry to get the President place a bet on himself getting re-elected for a second term, promising thousands of much needed moolah to the village in return.  The village was offered new street lighting by street lighting companies, Dulux wanted to paint the entire village with Dulux paints, Crown paints got upset.   Bands wanted to perform, Guinness wanted to sponsor everything, as long as they got their shot of himself with a pint of Black, and the town was beset by charlatans and fakers of an amazing hue and spectrum.   Henry and the town elders batted them all off and successfully kept the honour of the village intact.  They even offered invites to members of a neighbouring village that had been put out because their claim (which was valid) of having a closer link to Fulmouth Kearney and therefore the President, than Moneygall, had been roundly ignored by everybody.   They were right, the citizens of Toomevara but they were too slow and they had no Henry to fight their cause.

Two days before his arrival and the town was on a high.  Henry’s friend who had opened up a temporary printing shop was printing up all manner of hunourous O’Bama T-shirts as fast as his machine could work, people were trying to sell the Obama craft beers they had brewed and another villager raced to finish his Obama café to have it open on time but he hadn’t even started plastering the outside.    The sun shone and the entire village was out cleaning and painting, cutting hedges and grass.   Dulux had managed to paint the town and it looked stunning.  The finishing touches were being put on the small cottage in the centre of the street that was Fulmouth's pace of residence.  Not many know that before it had been dolled up in old Oirish heritage gear a ‘Lady of the night’ from Tullamore had been lodging there and had to be convinced to leave with apparently a rather large enticement.  Estranged family members were returning home to Moneygall and the pubs were fuller than they had ever been before. 

Julia struggled to keep up with her newfound popularity and drafted in extra help, but she was in her element.  Rumour had reached her that the President would enter her pub for a drink too, that it had been written in the papers that her pub was ‘fit for a President. ’  Indeed it was, the President never made it but Julia knows that her bar was fit for more than just a President, it was fit for a true Queen like herself.  She used to slip a little bottle of whiskey into my pocket when I was finished filming and heading home.  I think now the bar has closed it’s doors and it will be sorely missed.

I entered the throng in Ollie’s bar, remembering how quiet it was when I first entered.  Now I looked around and I’m not kidding when I say this; there was a fantastic trad band in one corner that had been in the village and been drinking heavily for the last week non stop, their Accordion player looked so sick it seemed as if he wouldn’t last until the big day.  There was an African drumming band that had arrived and was wowing the little old ladies in the back bar.  There were secret service men in the bar that would occasionally speak into their sleeves.  There was the disgraced corrupt Irish politician Michael Lowry, somehow forgiven for the day by the locals.  There was Patrick Bergin the Irish American Robin hood sitting at the bar pissed out of his skull woefully trying to accompany the trad music with a bodhrain.  Surreal is not the word.

The day before his arrival I myself still had no permission to film, nor even permission to be in the Village.  My attempts with the Press pass people in Dublin had not been addressed and I met someone from the staff of the Irish department of foreign affairs who confidently and somewhat chirpily informed that I wouldn’t have a chance in Hell of getting anywhere near the President.  Even Henry couldn’t help me this time.  I knew only one thing.  No one was going to stop me filming the climax of a film that I started alone nearly five years previously.  That was just not an option.   I heard that the village would be emptied of people whilst every house was searched and everyone would have to pass through a metal detector to get back in.   I hid my camera equipment in a hay barn behind Henry’s house.  I left the rest in the lap of the Gods. 

The day of his arrival Ray Darcy from Radio whatever had set up studio in the T-shirt printing shop.  I strolled past police lines waving at a cop I had acquainted myself with.  It was still early morning so they weren’t yet checking press passes and he assumed I had one since he had seen me with cameras.   Later, when I retrieved my camera from the barn a cop did try to ask me but I gestured that I had no time to talk to him now and that I had to go away urgently and stepped inside Ray Darcy’s radio studio who was broadcasting live, the cop let me be and Ray let me hide for a while.  I stayed there whilst the village was emptied and searched.    I mingled with the crowd as they trickled back in and waited.  And I waited and waited, through the rain and the hail and the sun.  I was so squeezed by the crowd and the fencing that I could hardly breathe.  My claustrophobia began to gnaw and I began to hate a teenage girl in front of me who wouldn’t remove her elbow from my groin, as she didn’t want to lose any space.  It was incredibly difficult to film. 

The steam rising from me after being soaked fogged my lens badly and the heat of the crowd plus fatigue and my own excess finally settled on me.  So much did it settle on me that when an American official approached me to enquire as to whether I was filming for myself or for the media I didn’t know how to answer correctly and just managed to mumble something sufficiently incoherent as to be left be, with a pitying smile.  When the President  arrived and finally stood before me and I reached him my hand to shake his, whilst I filmed withmy mini rocket launcher lookalike in my other,  all that went through my head was Travis Bickle.  It could have been me. I

He had his pint, the politicians wet themselves, Henry’s mum got a kiss as did many babies and off he went in his Chopper after just 25 minutes in the village.  After taking a nap somewhere I hopped in my car for home, I hadn’t been for weeks.  I put on Jimmy Hendrix extra loud and remember that I noticed after a while that tears were streaming down my face.  I let them come.  Mission accomplished.

Relics by Ed Godsell

Recently I was sent two relics from my past by two unconnected friends.  I am generally of a nostalgic bent so I have decided to write something about them.

The first is an old homemade recording of a band that I played bass with in Cork around 1994.  I was admittedly a pretty crap bass player and we only played one gig in front of an audience and I spent most of that night on the verge of vomiting from nerves hidden behind my amp.  I left the band soon after.   They found another Ed, a much more talented one and have played together ever since in a band called Karma Parking.  It was my friend Damo, the guitarist, who sent me this once off recording made in some room in Kinsale in '94.

It's interesting  listening to it now, all 23 years later.  Ufff.  Jay, the vocalist, was a big Reggae fan and also an ardent  Irish Republican, as is obvious from his impromptu lyrics.   I was very aware of one thing at the time though I couldn't adequately express it.  These days however, where a whole new lexicon of terms have been created in order to navigate our increasingly complex world, we could be accused of the dreaded 'Cultural appropriation'.

I was a tad less diplomatic back then, to put it mildly but I think if that term existed in '94 and we were accused of it I would been embarrassed but probably agreed.  In hindsight I know better.   Firstly, in Ireland and especially in Cork, Bob Marley was, and still is, lionised by many people, especially those from the more deprived areas.  Many Irish identify with the message of struggle Marley espoused.  Also, and more interestingly, there are some who say that the very Jamaican accent that our singer seems to be affecting is actually derived in some part from the Cork accent.

This may seem a wild  claim and simply yet another Irish attempt to claim the loftier keys of civilisation (whilst hiding the rest) but it has some truth.  English slavers pulled in to Kinsale some time in the 1600's, the very town where we recorded the tune, and  forcibly took many fit men and women on their ships bound for the Caribbean, especially Jamaica, Montserrat and Barbados.  There they were used as either indentured servants or as slaves on the Sugar plantations.  Later they were replaced by West African slaves and I once heard that they said that one African slave was better than two Irish (The Irish tended to be more rebellious and drink a lot).  There are many Irish place and family names in Jamaica and indeed the father of the first President after independence was an Irishman too.  The Irish got the nickname 'red legs'.  They sometimes formed rebellious alliances with their African compatriots.

So, to my fictitious and indignant accuser of cultural appropriation I say 'get on your  bike quick smart, this recording is the picture of appropriate.... go bother someone else with your shitetalk!'

Here is some proof, a recording made in Monserrat in 1976.

And here is the tune recorded 23 years ago.

The second thing I was sent, from my long time friend and sometimes collaborator, Declan O'Connell of Cloghduv.  It is a photo taken of me not too long after the time of the recording.  I had by then decided music was not my future path and had begun playing around with cameras a bit more seriously.  It was a surprise to me because virtually no photographs from that period of my life exist, or at least I don't have any.  No digital, no  camera phones and little interest, amongst me and my friends, in photographing ourselves back then... which may well be for the best.

In it I am on one of my first paid jobs as a Camera Assistant and pretty much the only memory of that shoot I have is the following.  At that time I was trying to save up to attend a course in Cinematography that I had been accepted to in Budapest which was being taught by the recently departed D.O.P. of Easy Rider, Deer Hunter amongst other films, Vilmos Zsigmond A.S.C.   I told the Gaffer on the shoot about it, an older man who I only remember as 'Con'.  He asked me how much I needed and I told him £500.  He took out a coin and asked me to pick a side.  I asked why and he told me if I chose right he would write a cheque for the same amount.  I chose and later packed my bags for Budapest.

I sent Con a bottle of whiskey as thanks but our paths never crossed again.

So, Cheers to Con!  I had a great time in Budapest!

P.S.  the boots I am wearing in the picture I am wearing right now, no kidding!


Two apples of an eastern Christmas. by Ed Godsell

I had two Christmas's this year, which seems to be my Karma for trying to avoid just the one in the first place.  The first I spent in Bosnia which was celebrated on the 25th of December because the person I was staying with was a Finn and so celebrated Christmas according to Western tradition.  It was odd but very pleasant to be eating pickled herring for Christmas deep in the Bosnian forest.

In Sarajevo, where around only 5% of the population celebrate Christmas on the 25th (Catholic Croats) I could see Coca Cola were pushing the Western style Christmas.  They sponsored the new Christmas market, had large posters of Santa drinking Coca Cola in the city centre and had a van going around announcing through a loudspeaker that Coca Cola wished us all a very Merry Christmas.

I was in Macedonia for the 7th of January where the majority Orthodox Christians celebrate on the  7th.  It is a calmer, less materialistic affair, more about family and the original religious meaning of the date, though I did notice Coca Cola are here too with their massive Santa posters.  Some marketeers are working overtime to get the Macedonians to spend the money they don't have.

However, I had a very special second Christmas, for the following reason.  On Christmas eve here (The 6th) my girlfriend told me that if I was woken up early on Christmas morning by the sounds of kids singing it was just the tradition here where kids,  usually Gypsy kids,  go around singing traditional songs in return for money or food.  Though I was up late that night I was indeed woken by the sound of children singing.   I succumbed to my usual urge of grabbing my camera to see if there was a possible photo to be taken.  In a rush to get down the stairs and catch them i put on my crappy old tracksuit bottoms and tacky runners and my coat which has a broken zip, thinking that it didn't matter if I looked like a homeless person as no-one here knows me.

The street was empty except for four Gypsy children singing rather badly and swinging plastic bags full of their newly won booty.  I approached and they put their hands out straight away.  As with all kids some are better mannered than others and that goes for the Gypsy kids here too.  Some are very sweet and funny and smiley, some are grasping and rude.  These ones were unfortunately of the latter and so I decided there was no need to take a picture, but I did ask, I pointed at my camera, after giving them all a few coins each and they replied in English 'No photo, no photo!' and so I put it away.  Here too they have become wary of cameras, understandably perhaps and I was fine with that but I did notice that they were also tainted by having learned the gestures of American style gang culture, covering their faces with scarves, hoods up and giving the sideways V sign.

I resigned myself happily to go back to bed, no photo this time.   But the kids wouldn't leave me go.  They wanted more money and followed me.  I gestured that I hadn't any more but still they followed.  Eventually I decided to make some fun of it and started clowning around, pretending to  slip on the ice and not be able to get down the ice covered steps.  The younger kids smiled and started playacting too.  An older one quite aggressively pressed me for money and again I gestured that I had none.. and because of my homeless looking attire the younger ones were quite confused, was I some kind of homeless rich tourist or what?  I tried to zip my coat because of the cold but they could see that it was broken and then something special happened.  One of the younger kids came forward with a look of pity on her face, she pointed at me and rubbed her belly as if to ask was I hungry.  I nodded, just to see what would happen.  She put her hand into her bag of booty and drew out a fresh green apple which she handed to me.  I thanked her and in my broken Macedonian wished her and her friends a very happy 'Среќен Божиќ'

Later that day after retiring back to bed for an hour or two I decided to go to the local Church where I could hear singing.  I bought the traditional yellow Christmas flowers from a seller outside the church and watched as the Priests doused holy water from some kind of leaves on people coming to pray to the Icons.  People lit candles for the living and the dead, the atmosphere was warm but solemn and calm.   I took some photos but I didn't frame them, I just quietly snapped and my camera was covered by the flowers, no-one seemed to notice I was photographing.   

 Soon after  I went to the local baker to buy some bread and saw an old begger sitting on the step outside.  I stopped to roll a cigarette, I hadn't seen this guy before, he was old with a long beard and was wrapped up in coats and blankets as it was close to minus 20 degrees centigrade.   He took out his own ciggy and gestured for a light.  I gave him one and some money too.  We smoked our fags in silence and when we finished he gestured to me to take something, he pulled a fresh green apple from a bag beside him and offered it to me.  I took it, thanked him, wished him a happy Среќен Божиќ and walked off to join my girlfriends family for Christmas dinner, contemplating apples and the real meaning of Christmas.

Angelico by Ed Godsell

I met Angelico whilst staying in Vukov Konak in Bosnia.  He would call over from time to time to the farm I was staying to visit his friend Jasmin, who runs the place.  He and Jasmin would talk, and play chess, lots of it.  Angelico is a master of chess, Jasmin practices hard but rarely bests him.   I couldn't communicate with Angelico so we kept it simple, he offered me cigarettes and I accepted.  But I could tell Angelico is a special man.   His eyes were alive and often dancing, he laughed easily, he joked all the time, he was a brewer of Rakia, apple, pear, plum and one other that I forgot.    He keeps sheep and goats and loaned Jasmin his billy goat to impregnate his females, which provided  much entertainment for us, I suspect not the female goats but it's hard to read those ones...

 He fought in the war  (on the Serb side) and he dodged the war as soon as he could.  He looks after his elderly aunt, they share a small house in the countryside.  He is looking for a wife, unsuccessfully so far, he has money and land and a great deal to offer, plus he's a good footballer and fitter than he comes across in my photo's, apparently.

Zivele Angelico!  Here's to  your success in finding a good Woman!

 

 

King Kailash the wonder hound. by Ed Godsell

When I first encountered Kailash, the fine Tibetan Mastiff pictured below, he was riding astride an Elephant with his Master (or his Apprentice, however you see it) the Irishman Charlie baba.  They were part of a large procession of Indian Sadhu ascetics that were entering the old city of Allahabad for the two month long Hindu festival known as Maha Kumbhamela, this day four years ago.  The Maha Kumbhamela is held once every 144 years and as such was a very special occasion for Hindu pilgrims and Sadhu's alike.

The procession was the most amazing thing I had ever witnessed and as a Photographer/Videographer I was nearly overcome by the sheer spectacle, the colours, the sounds, the faces.  There were elephants brightly coloured bearing chillum smoking Sadhu's, there were fine horses and camels accompanied by large bands of men playing loud music, blowing trumpets and trombones, banging drums and dancing wildly, there were men pushing huge old sound systems the like I'd never seen.

Kailash sat sereneley astride the elephant surveying the crowds below, at one stage he slipped but his Master had him on a leash and managed to haul him back up after no small struggle.

I was to spend the next few weeks living with Charlie baba and kailash in a tent (and several other Sadhu's)  in a camp that had been built on the flood plain where the river Ganges meets the Yamuna and was the sacred spot where the Sadhu's and pilgrims would bathe in the waters to renew themselves on this auspicious occasion.  Our camp was one of many others, word had it that up to 120 million pilgrims came to wash over the two month period, coming from all over India, 30 million alone on one single day.   A whole tented city was built on the flood plain to accommodate the sadhu's and pilgrims, an amazing wonder of logistics in itself.  Electricity was supplied to every tent, wood was provided for the countless sacred Dunhi's (campfires built in each camp kept alight throughout the duration of the festival upon which many rituals were performed and I learned a whole new way of thinking about fire and man's relation to it)   There were large decorative tents that performed the role of the Courthouses where a high Sadhu , usually naked but covered in ash from the dunhi would arbitrate any disagreements.

 There were feeding stations where everyone ate simple food from plates made from leaves, toilets that were dug into the sand and sprinkled with lime for sanitation, water was provided for all.  Professors from Harvard university were studying how the Indians managed to safety organise such a large gathering of people without resulting in total chaos.

The American writer Mark Twain who visited the festival in 1895 wrote of it  'It is wonderful, the power of a faith like that, that can make multitudes upon multitudes of the old and weak and the young and frail enter without hesitation or complaint upon such incredible journeys and endure the resultant miseries without repining. It is done in love, or it is done in fear; I do not know which it is. No matter what the impulse is, the act born of it is beyond imagination, marvelous to our kind of people, the cold whites'    

At first the presence of a large black dog in our camp caused some small consternation and whispered discussion.  Some said a black dog was a bad omen at this time.  Some misfortune that happen when a railway bridge collapsed causing fatalities was blamed on the dog by one overly anti-canine Sadhu.  

I  watched Kailash as he took the whole scene in calmly, never losing the plot, never growling, only sometimes he would run off to follow some other dog.  When our group of sadhu's wandered to other camps to join other Sadhu's for chai and chillum, Kailash would sit by our sides or even go to the head of the Dunhi, the chief sadhu and sit nobely beside him.  Over time some of the sadhu's started to admire the dog, some suggested that he was actually the soul re-incarnate of some old Guru.  Kailash took it all in his stride.  The Sadhu's began to include him in the daily rituals, applying the orange mark to his forehead like everyone else.  Gradually Kailash's fame began to spread and some sadhu's actively sought him out, Kailash obliged and would sit at the head of the Dunhi so regally that even I began to regard him as a higher soul.... it was at that point I wonder about my own sanity and the sanity of everyone else but I went with the flow, there wasn't much else I could do.

When the time came for the holy wash in the river and thousands went towards the confluence in procession Kailash also came, he stayed by his masters side, unleashed and entered the river of his own accord like everyone else.  Such a beautiful dog, such a beautiful soul.  Kailash R.I.P.  Bom Bom Bholenath!

 

his video is of the arrival of the Sadhus and Charlie Baba with Kailash into the city of Allahabad

A bar in Sarajevo by Ed Godsell

Last February I passed by a small old seemingly unremarkable bar just off the main tram line in the centre of Sarajevo.  It was the kind of place that one would pass without noticing and I would have except as I passed I heard a burst of deep laughter from inside.  I called my girlfriend, Angie, who speaks the local lingo and begged her to come in with me as she could explain that I wanted to take a photo.   They were very pleasant and upon hearing that I was Irish offered me a drink.  They knew of Cork city as it's a good bet here on the football odds.  I took this photo, thanked them sincerely and we toasted and left before Angie choked on the cigarette fumes.

Recently, me and Angie were back in Sarajevo, almost a year later.  I wanted to give the guys a copy of the photo so I found an old printer locally who immediately recognised the character in the shot.  We chatted about Ireland, he told me he admired Bono because he came when no-one would during the war and I told him that Bono was a tax dodging git.    We went back to the bar and the men were delighted with the photo.  More rakia was poured and toasts made and I took another photo quickly as Angie was choking again on the fumes.  It is set up, of course and can never be as good as the first but I have the feeling we'll be back there again sometime, toasting, drinking and choking on fag fumes!  Slainte/Ziveli!

Bosnia 2017 by Ed Godsell

I spent December and some of January in Bosnia.  I stayed in the mountains about 20 KM from Sarajevo, technically in Republic Srpska  (The municipality in Bosnia populated mainly by Serbs)

 I stayed on a small farm deep in the woods at a high altitude called 'Vukov Konak' which means 'Wolfs lair'.  The nature here is stunning and the wintery, forested landscape was wonderful to walk in, usually with a very energetic husky named Lumi.. and sometimes a cat called Ellis.

I met some very interesting locals too, though couldn't communicate at all because of my lack of Serbo-Croat.   I'll post more when I get a chance.

 This is the typical winter landscape in the hills surrounding Sarajevo, it will stay like this till spring.

This is the typical winter landscape in the hills surrounding Sarajevo, it will stay like this till spring.

 Lumi, not a dog usual to there area but well suited.  A serious danger to sheep as i discovered when she saw a flock and pulled so hard she broke off her leash.  She singled one out from the flock for the kill and I discovered then that it's better to chase the sheep than the dog,  I managed to cut off both sheep and dog and  rugby tackle the sheep who running for it's life, and then grab the dog as she approached.  All three of us sat completely exhausted together for a few minutes until we recovered ourselves.

Lumi, not a dog usual to there area but well suited.  A serious danger to sheep as i discovered when she saw a flock and pulled so hard she broke off her leash.  She singled one out from the flock for the kill and I discovered then that it's better to chase the sheep than the dog,  I managed to cut off both sheep and dog and  rugby tackle the sheep who running for it's life, and then grab the dog as she approached.  All three of us sat completely exhausted together for a few minutes until we recovered ourselves.

 Ellis followed me deep into the forest though the snow was twice as deep as him.  He jumped though it, disappearing at each jump and meowing all the way.

Ellis followed me deep into the forest though the snow was twice as deep as him.  He jumped though it, disappearing at each jump and meowing all the way.

Re-loving Cork City. by Ed Godsell

I'm not the only Corkonian to have a love-hate thing for his native city.  I think it moves in unpredictable waves between the two poles and though I'm not one for the supernatural I am wondering if it may have something to do with the positioning of the moon.  Recently there was a super moon and almost magically the duffel-coat like heaviness I was feeling towards the city shed itself and took on the garb of a real appreciation and respect for city and those that reside within it.  

On a sunny November afternoon I took a stroll through the city with my camera. I had been meaning to do it for ages but it had eluded me.  I'm leaving Cork again soon and so when I saw the blue sky of the November sunday I grabbed my camera and moved on it.  I'm glad I did. That day I spent in the city with eyes wide open watching not just people but places, the landscape and architecture of the city, the alleyways, the little details, re-awoke a dormant love of my city.  Cork city is crammed full of diverse characters whom for the most part are honoured to be asked if their picture can be taken.  They are full of soul and song and not afraid to expose themselves, warts and all.  Everybody that I asked whether I could take their portrait said yes except one... but he was English and full of suspicion...

I only managed to cover a fraction of the city as the two streets of North main street and Shandon street alone kept me busy,  I never made it to my favourite street.  The spectrum of people here is quite amazing and reminded me of the Irish writer Kevin Barry's novel 'The city of Bohane' though not as dystopian as Barry's fantastical fiction.   Immediately I met characters that looked like Protestant preachers from another ere, there were Congolese and Nigerians looking sharp for Sunday service, young revellers weary from the night before, Koreans, older men enjoying their Sunday afternoon sup smoking fags in the doorways, the salt of the earth as they say.

There will be more.

 

  Daniel Connell was my first subject of the day. He stopped me rather than the other way around to ask me about my camera.  He was on his way back from Sunday service at the cities Protestant Cathedral, St.Finbarre's.   I told him his name sounded particularly Catholic and he explained the difference between having an "O" before Connell in his surname.  Catholics have 'O''s and Protestants don't! 

Daniel Connell was my first subject of the day. He stopped me rather than the other way around to ask me about my camera.  He was on his way back from Sunday service at the cities Protestant Cathedral, St.Finbarre's.   I told him his name sounded particularly Catholic and he explained the difference between having an "O" before Connell in his surname.  Catholics have 'O''s and Protestants don't! 

J.J. Hurley was standing outside 'The Chimes' bar beside Shandon tower when the fella on the left asked him for a light interrupting J.J's story about Fred Astaire and how his ancestors were from Shandon.

  I met Daniel, originally from Congo as he came out of church service on Barrack street.  Such a sharply dressed man!  He is one of those characters that will break out into a huge smile or laugh at the slightest hint, maybe he was still buzzing after his weekly spiritual fix.  We discussed the concept of the well dressed African 'Sapeur' he claimed not to be one but I convinced him he must be.   We chatted about the fashion sense of the Irish male and he told me they were too stingy to dress up well and preferred to spend their money on other things.  I guess we all generalise of sorts... but he may have a point, after all I admit I was decked out in a pair of old runners, jeans, an old coat and particularly crappy wooly hat...

I met Daniel, originally from Congo as he came out of church service on Barrack street.  Such a sharply dressed man!  He is one of those characters that will break out into a huge smile or laugh at the slightest hint, maybe he was still buzzing after his weekly spiritual fix.  We discussed the concept of the well dressed African 'Sapeur' he claimed not to be one but I convinced him he must be.   We chatted about the fashion sense of the Irish male and he told me they were too stingy to dress up well and preferred to spend their money on other things.  I guess we all generalise of sorts... but he may have a point, after all I admit I was decked out in a pair of old runners, jeans, an old coat and particularly crappy wooly hat...

When a friend came along Daniel gave a chivalric little bow and such a huge smile.  Such a charmer!

Cahill O'Donovancan often be found playing his violin on Paul street. We discussed Cork Poets, particularly the chap over his right shoulder, Gregory O'Donoghue, who really just happened to be looking on from the background.

  His beard was so fine I had to take a closer shot!

His beard was so fine I had to take a closer shot!

Nicole and Celina had just eaten their Sunday lunch but that didn't stop them from launching into a box of pringles (Which nicely matched her attire!?

Birthday girl.

Bernadette was doing her meals and wheels rounds when I met her on Shandon street.  At first I didn't realise she was actually organising the feeding of the old and infirm as she seemed quite elderly herself, but she was spending her Sunday, like all sundays, looking after the elderly in her area and making sure they were all fed.   "Old people are the best craic sure' she called out as she moved on.

Bayam is originally from Congo.  He was also just out of Sunday service.  His jacket caught my attention, it had a patch that read 'Death before dishonour'  I asked him was it designer, 'yes' he told me 'I got it in TK Max'  

  James stands outside the "homer' bar on Shandon street.  He was taking a break from his company inside that he said were wrecking his head telling him he should shave his beard.  "No way' he said 'I took me five months to grow it!'

James stands outside the "homer' bar on Shandon street.  He was taking a break from his company inside that he said were wrecking his head telling him he should shave his beard.  "No way' he said 'I took me five months to grow it!'

I've seen Liam Kirby a lot recently.  I saw him at nearly every screening I was at at this years Cork Film festival.  He told me he has been coming to the festival for 53 years, he travels up from waterford especially.  I would sometimes notice him shuffle out midway through a screening and I found myself agreeing with his taste most of the time!  He became a kind of canary in the mine for me, when Liam moved out the film would likely turn out to be a dud!  (Although he did sit through some stuff that even I thought was pretty full on...'   I Hope I see him at next years festival!

Israel is 19 and is also Congolese, he spoke with a fairly strong Cork accent, he's been hear since he was ten and was just waiting for his girlfriend to go see a movie.

This little fucker didn't like me at all.

Antonette told me she was feeling great for her 68 years.  I asked her the trick, '16 years and no booze' was her straight up reply.  fair play to her.

Steve, 25,  was a little reluctant to have his picture taken.  He was out the night before till late and was sure he didn't look great.  I told him he was just beautiful as I took the shot.

Stephen Hartnett aged 22