Bounce 2013 Festival Review

This weekend I’m at TitanCon. Last weekend, I was deep in Bounce! An event arranged by the Arts and Disability Forum, supporting deaf and disabled artists but not disability arts because that would involve paintings in wheelchairs or a canvas balancing on a crutch or another that looks perfectly fine because it has a hidden disability, but no, this is about art, ART.

The event launched with The Big Bouncy Shared Future Drumming Day! (photo-link), a 14ft in diameter drum in the grounds of city hall playable by 25 people. There was a n ice vibe, which got me thinking of culture, politics, harmony and rock actually.  Here’s another photo link. The gallery showing unveiled Karen Forrester’s Madness in Mind photos, which look sort of like if Tori Amos’s album cover photographers made jigsaw puzzles. I’m told they’ll be up in the Royal Avenue venue (opposite Central Library), until September 22nd-Ish.

Stephen Downey and I hosted our third comics workshop for the ADF. There were a few admin messes:  the Opera House marked it over 18s (perhaps mixing it up with Ben Jones’ digital film-making workshop) Also our limit was 12, but we took in 15 and that was largely my own fault. I was really blown away by the quality of contributions. We had a 7 year old, someone in the seventies, a blind comixer, my parents! Its effing brilliant. Includes ‘piss on pity’ wheelchair bound people of ambiguous gender kissing and the kisses produce stars which bringing zombies back to life. The collected effort is called ‘Going Places’, it’s about 20 pages, and it’ll hopefully be up here in a week.

The ADF ran a series of “Stories Behind the Picture” to promote the events.

It was the Saturday events winnng it for me, particularly Sonya Kelly and Fishamble Theatre’s The Wheelchair on My Face. The singer Victoria Geelan has a voice that is the stuff giants are made of, and you should definitely look for her stuff now. The soundman Declan were very competent and this probably helped. Nonetheless I have a yearning to stalk Victoria politely. She’s touring when the album comes out in a month or two.

So, good company and sexy culture beer.

Saturday was the bigger event. Bob Collins of the Arts Council opened, like so many people that weekend with something borrowed from Seamus Heany. Bob talked about the principle of access in Heaney’s work and how that related to making disabled artists work accessible to the public through the efforts of the ADF. Caroline Parker was a big draw for many people: apparently she’s something of the legend in the deaf community. I wasn’t knocked out by her one-woman piece on cabaret and undertaking like so many others were though it was was engrossing. The piece flowed well and had elements of sign song which I was keen to find out. I found myself taking note of the Bsl signer as I’m keen to learn and she was great too. It was nice to see the hat stand i painted was on stage.

Walking to the miracle bus that shall appeareth and bounce of nearer monica cornish’s creative writers workshop.
Bounce: caroline parker’s

Catherine Hatt is a singer-songwriter with a dippy hippy trip and dependably brought spinning tunes of twirling the room from blue guitar & good dress, gentle, elaborate, stealth profound. This was followed by Dan Eggs, who I’ve known through the ADF for a few years but I’d not seen in a proper live environment. He wasn’t all funny: this is important. His repertoire has some dark serious observations from life here.Take Eggs’ ride through the fucked up parts. He could well be Belfast’s E of The Eels. Dan works best in an environment without commotion such as the Grand. Choice heckling was welcome as part of a code of conduct and decency. Pat Dam Smyth took the stage next and yelled out depressions lyrics with guitar and keyboard bombasticism. Chris McConnell drummed a big band sound and the two men were twinned perfectly. Julie McNamara MC’d the evening and did a brilliant job. The crowd had the token dickheads. The performers gave 97%, or 110 if you like.

Monica’s writing workshop came on the Sunday afternoon: we had a few problems as the event was overbooked  and one of the attendees took advantage of Monica’s giving out complimentary handouts to flyer the participants for his Tinnitus media event . More positively, the workshop produced a shower of fireballs around which different life-shapes fed, supported, grew histories and edutainments. (The session produced Little Green Box)

The evening opened with Kids In Control Adult Ensemble, a theatre company producing a piece called Blue Chevvy. I wasn’t expecting much but was happy to find my friend Linda Fearon teamed with three younger women as part of a gang acting out parts of their lives, with pieces of their relationship with community, their disability. The show was fast paced, it was funny with the best of Norn Irish satire, great dialogue, set backdrops and chalk graffiti surfaces, Nicki’s breathtakingly mentalist dancing. By the end of it, the women had me gushing like a dumb teen at a Boyzone gig. A shirt was signed that evening and the pub was fixed. Bounce! ended with a piece by the renowned Open Arts Community Choir which began in the cafe and led the crowds into the theatre. Some wonderful hosting, beautiful harmonies, superb composition.

So, wins then.

Bounce Day 1, and Cheese

So yeah, great night at the Bloggers Meet Up at Farset Labs. Links that I want to follow now but can’t, for the need of rest. It’s own post in time.

Cap’n Chris Ledger and I were on BBC Radio yesterday evening talking about Bounce! arts festival. Apparently I came over quite well, but if you’re a regular you’d probably like to hear Chris speak. About 14 minutes in.

The workshop Stephen and I are presenting tomorrow is fully booked. I’m letting in three above the limit we’d originally set. Tickets are still available for the rest of Bounce! at £20, still a saving on individual events.

Day 1 was pretty exciting. Great reports coming out of the workshops. ‘Wheelchair in my face’ was a one-woman theatre by Sonya Kelly which ‘framed’ (pun pardon) narrative around her need for glasses as a kid, and involved everything else: church niche weirdness, crap bullies, last rolos. A superbly unifying piece and Sonya has great big eyes. It inspired me as to what could be done by one person prepared to learn their performance. I’d love to have a go at that. (It was also very, very, once more funny)

The second performance was Victoria Geelan, who took the stage and won everyone over. She has the most beautiful singing voice I’ve ever heard in my time on this planet. When she opened her mouth it was like those really pretty scenes at the start of Lynch’s Blue Velvet were everything is just perfect. There was more than a bit of the ethereal Julee Cruise about her too, but I think at heart, the triumphant earthiness of Patti Smith. There were a few foreign language and eclectic numbers and some contemporary stuff. Most people in the audience ascended in love with Victoria tonight, maybe fell a bit too. This is the stuff giants are made of.

She’s been funded by the ADF to record her first album which will be out later this year. It’s called ‘Unfit the Picture’ and there’s an autumn tour following. Please get me any ticket. Meantime, here’s one of her earlier pieces from Upstairs in Sandino’s.

Something small to finish this blog entry on? I found this sketch in my doodle book, May 2nd and just coloured it up.

WereCheese Vs CheeseCula

99: Bounce! Big Drum and Chocky

I’m hard engaged in some stuff today.

Have just come from the Arts and Disability Forum drumming for a shared future event in the grounds of the city hall. It runs until 4pm, then the launch party for Karen Forrester’s Madness In Mind exhibition.

Photo: Kevin Molloy

Madness in Mind

A bit Tori Amos jigsaw puzzle. That runs for 5-7pm.

There’s now a @adfBounce Tweet feed

I’ll not stay the duration as I’m off to Farset Labs for the Belfast Bloggers MeetUp. There’s about twenty bloggers in all confirmed and I’ll probably speak for 5-10 minutes off about something…event development and promotion, or this one-a-day creative working on here.

So, I promised you Chocky.


8 More Birthday Sketches

The return of the birthday sketches!

Arpana’s birthday was a few days back, and to tell the truth I’ve no idea if I know her, other than a mutual friend at University.

250813 Aparna 1250813 Aparna 2

Maybe I’ll get a ping back.

Another birthday on the 22nd was Rob Davis, who most of us I think know best as the author of Nelson. I’m not sure if Rob and I have ever spoken but we’ve probably fifty mates in common and occupied twenty odd convention centres together.

Rob isn’t a new fixture on the scene, having worked previously on Dredd, Roy of the Rovers, Dr. Who and Don Quixote, as this good interview illustrates.

250813 Rob Davis

I didn’t intend to draw Rob as The Riddler.

250813 RJ Smith

Richard J. Smith was making a lot of mini-comics when I was seriously reviewing in 99-2001. I remember the title Cheronna, which I think got to six issues, about a cat who was a pop star, and a 70s spy comic called Hugh Jazz. He contributed to anthologies including Xenocrayon, Mondo and CAOF Presents. There were a few darkened pub photos of Richard on Facebook and I couldn’t resist hanging Moore-ings.

250813 Starzecki

Starzecki is best known to me as one half of The James Kochalka Puppet Theatre, with Andy Richmond. I saw these guys perform at Caption 2005. The Theatre is performance art, interpreting the songs of Kochalka through pummelling each other with painted carboard puppets. It is good. I saw Starzecki and Richmond performing to Put down the gun Kurt Cobain, Bad Astronaut and Monkey Vs Robot. Pete Ashton has a photoset.
Richard is a course tutor in media production at Swindon Art. and has a lovely profile on

250813 Desmond Williams
Finally today, my attempt to draw Desmond Williams. I know Desmond’s face from somewhere and according to Facebook it’s through university. However, Book  of Faces says he only has four friends oy-eek.


Somehow I’d forgotten the lovely, lovely Dave Cullen, an impressive, practical enthusiastic bloke who I quite look forward to seeing in the future. Of course, I couldn’t draw David right the first time.

250814 Dave 2250814 Dave

Today, I’ll largely be promoting the Arts and Disability Forum’s second Bounce! festival happening in Belfast next week. There’s some quite good stuff happening.

bounce 3

You can buy a festival ticket to go to all the gigs for just £20. Do this by calling the Grand Opera House box office on 028 9024 1919 or for single event tickets by going through the website. A note that there are no tickets for the free workshops though you must book through the Arts & Disability Forum by emailing or calling on 028 9023 9450.



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]


Dates for your calendar: the Mercurial Stephen Downey and I will be inviting you to make comics with us at The Arts and Disability Forum in Belfast. We were there in February and executive produced the baby leviathan, Beneath The Tide.

 Beneath The Tide, featuring the work of Gareth Smyth, Andrew Cochrane and Roisin O’ Hagan.
You can see the full project behind this strip by downloading the pdf version which also features work by Richard Barr and Bisson. [15mb – pdf  link]

The event is on Saturday 25th August. It’s free, and limited to fifteen places. Please get in touch via if you’d like to be on board.

ADF Festival logo designed by Gillian O’Hagan

It’s one of the first acts in the ADF’s week-long Bounce! festival. The programme has a number of people excited  with an enormous roster of talent including Sinead O’Donnell, Garry Robson, David Hoyle, animator Joel Simon, Dan Eggs, Andrew Cochrane and Claire Cunningham.

More news on the Arts and Disability Forum website, including links to the programme and purchasing for ticketed events. [

I’d a lovely weekend at the Dublin Zine Fair run by the nimble Sarah Bracken and her team. Paddy Brown did a lot of arranging for us to be there, and there was a very positive turn out. I managed a spontaneous short comedy open mic bit, and got a lot of new friends from the series of six interviews I did with artists last week.

Sold a fair few comics too, including my sequel to Optimus and Me. Unfortunately Moods of Prime went out with a page error. It didn’t make a difference to the great story, but I thought I’d reprint the correct sequencing here.

My KaBlam/IndyPlanet copy of Hold The Phones, It’s Alex Jones! arrived looking like a grown-up magazine gospel rocker dancing on ice. The Series 1 11 page preview has racked up over 5,000 views.

The book has 28 pages of new material and costs  $3.99 plus Indyplanet’s postage fees, which from the UK are a whopping $10. [Link to IndyPlanet print copy]

But you must have your forty-four pages of big fat Sitcomspiracy. The Myebook digital is still only £1.00, and works out well. [Link to Myebook Digital, gets me 90% of the sale, and so sell cheaper]

You can buy Moods of Prime in black and white for £1.25 or £2.50 in colour (plus and extra £1 for far overseas), by sending the amount over Paypal to and including your address. All sold out of my own copies of Hold The Phones.