As much as I talk about missing the country and spending a lot of time on trains up and down to Tipp/Sligo/Cork I still adore living in this city and this morning was a prefect example of why. I had to pop out to do a site visit – at a deadly new space in the Blackpitts, Dublin Art Mill – and decided as I had some time to spare I’d pick up some messages on the way home. I picked up more than anticipated and ended up having to get a taxi home. I gave my address, near the Peppercanister, and the driver, a Dub, asked what was overthat direction. I said “home” and he launched into an incredible list, from memory, of all the artists who lived in the area.
The whole area around the Peppercanister, from Clare St, through Merrion Sq, to the canal and over to Baggot St was once a poorer part of Dublin with loads of families in the tall Georgian houses. It turns out Brendan Behan lived 5 doors up from where I am now. I knew of the Joyce and Wilde houses nearby because of the plaques on the building fronts but was oblivious to the fact that Beckett lived and wrote four of his books on Clare St, just across from that old bookshop (that now tragically has been replaced by a Henry Jermyn clothes shop). The driver, a film maker called Mick Foran, even had a book listing the streets of Dublin and all the artists who lived on those streets.
Just as I was getting out of the taxi he offered me a deal; he gave me a CD of an interview with Brendan Behan telling anecdotes and singing Irish folk songs and in return I was to check out his last film online and leave a comment. I’m listening to the CD as I speak and it’s wonderful (Behan blows his nose, excuses himself and says “That’s what they call the national guitar. If anyone is thinking of coming to Ireland you better stop unless you’ve got very good nostrils”). So please check out Mick’s film on Vimeo – it’s called Bullets and Brothers. My computer is acting up this afternoon and I can’t viewing the film but will watch it from a different computer tomorrow.