Rathlin Island HostelBlog 4: The Island Sometimes Known As Raghery

Week 6

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The sense of camaraderie at McCuaig’s, the sheer craic, and personal investment, coupled with beautiful landscape made my time on Rathlin second to none. Special mentions to the hostel-runners: Fergus and Tania; but especially Sean, Patsy and Rohan, who made me feel like a member of the family. How could I not take another
week? On my final day we spotted blue whales jumping in Mill Bay, right in front of the hostel.

Home 

DVD for Always Sunny in Philadelphia Series 1-2 arrives. Check out the box’s audience warning marks.

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Sean (McFaul) reckoned I’d experience culture shock on return to Belfast. At first, little things; then the rising noise of the traffic, the internalisation of city folk, and a return of claustrophobia. Still, Rathlin’s weather taught me to appreciate the colours and patterns closer to home.

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Enter, Sean Duffield, cartoonist of Paper Tiger Comix, who I’d invited to come from Brighton and be my guest in N. Ireland. Sean had one request.

Week 7

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Belfast to Ballycastle, often it’s needed to change buses at Ballymena. We discovered a small park five minutes from the station with these beautiful Four Seasons statues.

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Sean gets comfortable seal-spotting down at Rue Point, earning the nickname ‘Manimal’.

We take the round-island coach trip.
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Even saw a peregrine falcon at West Lighthouse. It’s a pleasure having Sean D around. His sticking to daily writing exercises provides the perfect context for professional practice myself. Sean is also an awesome cook. There’s not much pub time, as Sean wants to walk e v e r y w h e r e.

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We do make a visit to Yvonne Braithwaite’s Breakwater Arts Studio, hosting Rathlin’s first ever Culture Night. It’s an intimate evening of songs and stories from islanders, handed down through generations, as the sun goes down accompanied by deelish cheeses and warming wines.

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Watershed Cafe Suzie shows us around some caves.
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andy vs sean

And we’re introduced to a healing pool, legend having it that if you bottle this water and give it to a friend, it will clear foot ailments of all descript. Though you can’t use the water on yourself…

healing pool

…No. It really has no effect.

We set sail for home like every visitor to Rathlin, forever changed.

I’ll be returning this weekend (5th December), for a few drinks in the bar. You’re invited to join us.

If you’d like to keep a closer eye on Rathlin, there’s a host of stuff around the web, including the Rathlin Community Page, and the regularly rewarding Friends and Residents of Rathlin page on Facebook.

 

The Daniel O’ Donnell Podcast – Episode 3

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Two scatter-brained friends on the roads of County Donegal review the sights they’ve seen, and verbalise excrement as the sun shines out of their asses. In this episode, the daring duo visit Carey’s Viking House aka The Daniel O’ Donnell Hotel and sing the praises of Árainn Mhór Island. Announcing our Daniel O’ Donnell slash and viking fiction competitions. Poached eggs are on the menu and trousers must be worn over the knee!

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KINCASSLAGH TO ARRANMORE

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FROM ARRANMORE ISLAND FERRY TO BURTONPORT

(Making) Bottomley – The Brand of Britain

This Friday night, wood, tyres and berries burn in Northireland. The same night, San Diego Comic Con will announce the Eisner Awards, where ‘To End All Wars’ has been nominated, twice.

I’ve felt quite alright about singing my part in the commendation. Although barely ten pages (under 1000 words most likely), I started work on ‘Bottomley – Brand of Britain’ in 2009, when political expenses and public austerity were daily headline news. Even on that trail, I didn’t realise how accurate a reflection of the time Bottomley’s tale was.

Born in 1860, ‘The Chief’ made a stack of cash from hostile takeovers, before moving into the papers. He’s all but forgotten now, but as Pat Mills says, he was a sort of Robert Maxwell of his day. Bottomley launched the Financial Times, and the first UK newspaper called The Sun. He’d be remembered only through his lead paper, ‘John Bull’. You know the icon of the fat hat with the bulldog? That was Horatio Bottomley, art commissioned by Bottomley. That dude was real, ugly.

bottomley on board ship - 1918

The re-telling started as a sub-plot for a graphic novel, but the intensive part-time study called for it to be it’s own piece. Three years later, I was still at it. I’d three drafts together when editors Clode and Clark put out the call for submissions for TEAW, and my script went under another three drafts to tailor it to the collection.

Out of work and out of money, I took a three month Invest NI course to receive a grant, a pittance really, but it would pay the illustrator something. Thankfully, both Ruairi Coleman and letterer John Robbins were on board already. John has been a long time friend, confidante and critic, and he’s probably the best comic book letterer in Ireland.

Ruairi Coleman, I didn’t know quite as well. He were young, always a sure sign of trouble, yet remarkably talented. From the get-go he was everything I hope for in a creative work partner. Ruairi took in the bundles of visual reference I sent, with eagerness, no complaint. He took it on himself to go through a number of articles on Bottomley, and sat through the hour and a half televised 1972 docu-drama featuring Timothy West, with it’s agonising awful cut-aways.

Bottomleys crowds - December 1917

Bottomley’s story is that of the Britain’s major recruiting agent. He sold the war largely through gallons of racism. As editor, publisher and columnist of ‘John Bull’, as well as frequent pieces in The Times, the papers were packed with anti-German sentiment: Germ-huns, bayoneted babies.

Bottomley -witch hunt

The same was true for four years of nationwide speaking tours for which he was handsomely paid. He brought theatre to sacrifice, including a two-part speech in which he staged a mock trial defending Britannia against the Kaiser, dressed as a judge. The photo above is from his earlier performance in Pickwick Papers. Eventually his greed got too much and jail finished him off.

For posterity, here’s a selection of pre-production images by myself and Ruairi Coleman.

Andy Luke - Bottomley - Joining the pieces

Bottomley - andyluke roughs

Bottomley's bobs

Bottomley - The Downfall 2 line pitch

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Bottomley08 - Ruairi Coleman thumbs

BoB-02 - Ruairi Coleman thumbs

You can see more on Ruairi’s blog, and read of his experiences with ”H.B.’

Soaring Penguin Press are taking pre-orders for the soft-cover of ‘To End All Wars’. £1 of every copy sold will be donated to Médecins Sans Frontières. 

You can read my newest contribution to an anthology through Kindle. 20% of every copy of the £2 ‘Tense Situations’ collection, goes to Action Cancer.

Publishers boldly enquiring on other creative works of mine, around the Great War, might wish to contact me (link) for a copy of Lord Kitchener’s Shell Crisis board game.

Finally, here’s a select Bottomley bibliography. Because I love you.

Print

Hyman, A. (1972) The Rise and Fall of Horatio Bottomley, Littlehampton Book Services Ltd

Symons, J. (1955) Horatio Bottomley, Cresset Press. Reprinted 2008 by House of Stratus.

Electronic

AndyMinion (Sept 28, 2010) Horatio Bottomley: A Lesson From History. Retreived at http://lancasteruaf.blogspot.com/2010/09/horatio-bottomley-lesson-from-history.html [Accessed: 8th July 2015]

Anon (June 5, 1933) GREAT BRITAIN: Death Of John Bull, Time. Retrieved at http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,745621-1,00.html [Accessed: 8th July 2015]

Anon (Date?) Horatio Bottomley – The Soldier’s Friend, in Crimes of the Times: Law and Order After the War. Archived from http://www.aftermathww1.com/horatio1.asp [Accessed: 23rd October 2010]

Cowling, M. (2005) The Importance of Bottomley (Ch. 2, p.45-60), in The Impact of Labour 1920-1924: The Beginning of Modern British Politics, Cambridge University. Retrieved at Google Books.  [Accessed: 8th July 2015]

Lewis, Roy (Date?) Horatio Bottomley – Champagne & Kippers for breakfast. Archived from http://www.villagepublunches.org.uk/sussex-people-profiles/127-swindles.html [Accessed: 23rd October 2010]

Messinger, G. S. (1992) The Wrong Kind of Immorality: Horatio Bottomley (Ch. 13 pp.200-213), in British propaganda and the State in the First World War, Manchester University Press. Retrieved at Google Books. [Accessed: 8th July 2015]

Video

Mr. Bottomley at Yarmouth (1919) Film. UK: British Pathe Archives. Retrieved at http://www.britishpathe.com/video/mr-bottomley-at-yarmouth [Accessed: 8th July 2015]

The Edwardians, Ep. 7: Horatio Bottomley (2009) Film. Directed by Alan Clarke, UK: Acorn DVDs. Originally broadcast 28 Nov, 1972, BBC.

The Daniel O’ Donnell Podcast – Episode 2

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Two scatter-brained friends on the roads of County Donegal review the sights they’ve seen, and verbalise excrement as the sun shines out of their asses. In this episode, Sarah and Andy recount the wild ghostly village of Glencolmcille and majestic Glenveagh National Park.

I messed up the footage from Glenveagh, but there’s a gallery and video for your viewing pleasure.

Part 1 – 12 minutes

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Part 2 – 8 minutes

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OHNOTOOMUCHBONUS

Read Andy’s review of Ionad Siuil accommodation over on Trip Advisor.

So, a new Belfast artist collective…

Based out of an un-used but functional building on the Holywood Road, there are eight of us; a crew of writers, photographers, painters, poets, puppeteers and a musician. The core group have circled around one another for a year or two, pulling up chairs at the same open mics or at Dominique’s Bohemian Tales Café Club; so all should go according to plan, of some kind.

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29 Holywood Road, BT4 is a two-storey building that’s been vacant since 1998, the same time I began my practice it happens. The rental bill-board advertised a rent free period which is agreeable as the building is roomy, central and in good condition, once cloths and paint started licking it. This month we removed glass, rubble, wood from a large attic workshop, danced as the first sparks of electricity brought heat, kettle and computer to life, run spray and hot cloth over kitchen and bathroom and had one of those boring General Meetings: after a morning of sultana and cherry debauchery I may have wound up as secretary/admin/website guy. The first draft of this was typed at my own desk in the office I share with Dominique.
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I put up a Soundcloud interview with Dominique Hoffman a few months ago. Bohemian Tales is the story of an every-man living in the upheaval of Prague, 1967-68. The book has aspects of Euro literary café culture. In a marriage of social-creative event and book promotion, Dom’s monthly Bo Tales Café Club seeks to evoke the spirit of that. ABC is her baby, and the collective are the baby’s family.

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She and muso/writer Jim McClean have been arranging plasticine models, frames and toy trains around the place.

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On February 7tht we have our first public event, the Café Club. I’m sure we’re not ready yet, but it’s beginning to look the part.

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We’re getting there.

Appearances

HEAT. DRIVES TO MENTALISM.

Over the next month, I’ll be taking an active part in a few events.

Dublin Zine Fair 2013, 17th-18th August

at The Exchange, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.
I’ll be performing words on mic, and selling a new comic book, beside other independent publishers and artists.
Last year, I interviewed six attendees who may re-appear this year. My turn on the mic at the finale, The Bill Have A Gun Siege At Xmas, has been made into a comic for 30p.

Bounce Arts Festival Weekender with Comics Art Workshop, 30 Aug to 1 Sept 2013

at The Baby Grand, Grand Opera House,
Stephen Downey
and I are glad to be presenting a comics workshop on Sunday 1st September for the Arts and Disability Forum at Bounce!
There’s no restrictions on level of talent or ability, as long as you’re willing to make an effort to work with others. Bring your friends and family.
Our event is free, but  there’s a great line-up again this year: a creative writing workshop, a workshop on digital film-making, live music, poetry, sign-singing (which I’m excited about seeing and learning), dance, exhibitions, and theatre, in the form of Wheelchair In My Face. What a great event. [Link to the Festival Portal on Facebook]

It’s £20 for the full weekend pass. You can book these at the Grand Opera House website now.

TitanCon, with Comics Workshop, 6th-8th September

at The Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast

 

TitanCon is a not-for-profit science fiction and fantasy literature, media and gaming convention in Belfast with an emphasis on HBO and George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones. In the previous two years it’s attracted large crowds.

 

This year I’ll be presenting a less-labour intensive version of The Magnificent Factory. There will also be a comics panel featuring Paddy Brown and other comixers who have marked the trails of Irish myth and legend. The event features cast and crew members from GoT, and a number of horror and speculative fiction authors including Peadar O’Guilin, possibly the finest panel host known to cat and dog. [Link: The TitanCon website]

Irish Comics For Sale Now

Today I’ve been re-building a website for The Black Panel, the Irish comics distribution service Paddy B. and I ran. For a few years we lugged boxes down to The Black Box Club once a month, and sat behind a table, dreaming of selling enough of our own books for pizza and coffee. Oh, those were the days. Well, I intended to re-create those days – first through tempting speciality retailers with local product, and when they didn’t move, I thought maybe readers would.

So, now YOU can see and buy most of our stock at http://theblackpanel.blogspot.com.

Some links require de-kinking and I’ll update later in the week.

BLACK PANEL 2 black panel