Memories From A Damp Past: The Housewives Of South Dublin [16June2013]

“Oh your poor thing” the woman who answered the door said to me “come inside and let me look after you”.   I was about to find out if all those stories about bored housewives and door to door salesmen were true . . .

rainynoggin

What stirs memory can be very subtle – sometimes a combination of atmospheric condition is needed along with place to really stir the dead leaves of the past.

I had totally forgotten about my wildly unsuccessful three-day career as a door-to-door salesman, fresh out of school, more than 30 years ago.

Until I drove through Ballybrack in the rain a couple of days ago.  I have driven along Churchview Road a fair few times in recent years, with barely a flicker of memory, but this particular morning the sky was grey and heavy, a soft rain was drizzling down, the trees were dripping . . . and instantly I was transported back 30 years, to the day I trudged this road with a sack of books, and knocked on every door of every road leading off it . .

Even at the time, the smart part of my brain knew that any job that I could just walk straight into without experience and with barely a five minute interview, was probably not worth having. But I was determined to stand on my own feet and be independent, and I resolved to give it my all.

The publishing company was based in Parnell Square, in the heart of Dublin city centre, and the product was children’s books, and – yes, you guessed it – encyclopedias.

I was to be that living cliche, the door to door encyclopedia seller!

Judging by the number of people (15) that went through the three-day (unpaid) training course with me, the operation had a huge turnover of sales staff. We trained Monday to Wednesday, and then, on Thursday, were were unleashed on the public for the first time. The whole group of us were taken by bus to Sallynoggin in southeast Dublin, and there met by a supervisor in a van who gave us our stock, and split us up among the myriad of new and old housing estates over the surrounding few square miles.

It was a typically wet Dublin day – not a downpour, not blustery, just a steady seeping, weeping soft wetness from a heavy grey sky.

I was given Ballybrack – the vast complex of then fairly new housing along all the roads that lead off Churchview Road – Watson Drive, Watson Avenue, Watson Park, Blackenbush, Pinewood, and what felt like a million other places.  I started with zest, and swear I must have have knocked on 500 doors that day . .

Disheartening of course, both for me, and the poor people whose day I disturbed. Perhaps one sale in every 100 houses. But I was glad to have a job and to be (perhaps) earning money, and I kept at it. I would, of course, be paid commission only, so what I earned would depend wholly on my success rate.

As a well brought up (and well read) boy, my sales spiel, if not successful, was at least polite. I was smiling, courteous, and no matter how brusque my dismissal at the door was, I always thanked the householder for listening to me, and apologised for taking up their time uninvited. That last touch actually netted me one of my very few sales – a doctor, who had initially sent me away, called me back as I was walking down the driveway and bought an encyclopedia, explaining that he had never encountered a salesman so well mannered before!

That was one of only two sales the first day, and the next day I was back in the same location, to knock on the doors of a further 400 or so houses.

Late in the morning, I hit the jackpot. Knocking on yet another door, which was opened by a rather harassed looking young woman, I listened in disbelief as she told me that herself and a friend, to whom she quickly introduced me, were in the process of setting up a creche, and had just been discussing the fact that they needed childrens books!  I can’t remember how much I sold them, but it probably accounted for more than half of all my sales for the whole week. When I say “creche” this was of course, the pre-modern-regulation early 80s version – i.e. 7 or 8 toddlers being looked after by the pair in a normal 3-bedroom terraced house, hence their rather fatigued demenour.

Later in the afternoon, footsore and weary, and still with far too many unsold books in my heavy bag, I knocked on yet another door, and encountered that fable of lurid fiction, the housewife who didn’t want to buy anything, but who liked the look of me, and invited me in.

Luckily for me, as I was far too innocent in those days to know how to handle such a situation, this was Ireland in the 1980s, and not America or (as I would discover a few years later) the much more liberated England. The Irish Mammy who said I was a lovely looking young thing and invited me into her house did so in order that . . she could give me a cup of tea, and suggest that we say a few prayers together to the Virgin Mary that I might get a better and more rewarding job !

And even if I was disappointed that nothing else was on offer (like the purchase of a book – what else would I be thinking?) the tea was very welcome, and I was touched by her concern for my welfare, and her determination to offer up prayers for my future.

The following day, although a Saturday, was to be a work day, as the publishing house insisted on a sic day week. This time I was taken to Finglas, for an utterly soul destroying day in which I knocked on seemingly a million doors, was chased away from many of them, and did not sell a single book in 9 hours of pounding the streets. Somehow, my southside accent and polite sales spiel did not seem to be quite so appreciated here.

At the end of the week, I had managed to earn myself the princley sum of £13, but out of this I had paid for my bus fares and meals, which reduced my earnings to around £5, or, I calculated, around 3p for each door I knocked on. I knew then that it was not for me, but was pleased with myself that I had lasted longer than most of the class – of the 15 trainees, only 12 had gone out selling on the first day, only 5 remained on day 2, and there were just 2 of us to cover Finglas on the Saturday.  And, presumably, a new class of 15 fresh-faced school-leavers to start training on the Monday morning . .

Now, many decades later, and with a solid career in IT management over the years, not to mention a quarter century of radio work, and an emotionally rewarding writing sideline, that first week of commerce after leaving school is long forgotten in my past.  But memory is a funny thing, and the weeping sky and rain sodden trees along Churchview Road brought it back to me, clear as a bell, as I happened to drive through the area last Thursday morning.

So long ago that it seems to me it might have happened to another person. Many of the people whose doors I knocked on will be gone now. I wonder how the two ladies setting up the creche fared – was their career as short-lived as mine, or do they now run one of those big modern purpose built childcare centres around the city?

And I have to smile when I think of the woman who gave me tea and prayed for me to have a better career. So nice of her to care for a stranger.

Somehow, I’d love her to know that her prayers were answered.

Steve


2nd Drafting

Shiprocked at Chapters bookstore in Dublin, found in the music section between Coldplay and Ian Dury.

I’ve been a little quiet of late on this blog.

The reason for this is that over the last 4 weeks I completed the first draft of my next book, due out sometime towards the end of this year or early 2012. (My first book, Shiprocked – Life On The Waves With Radio Caroline, was published in 2009)

I am currently going back over it to add in a few bits and pieces to create a second draft, which has to go to the publisher for editing at the end of this week.

I’m keeping the title and content under wraps for now (other than at selected live readings – the next is Last Wednesday at the Twisted Pepper in Abbey Street, Dublin, on Wednesday 31st August doors open 7pm).

However I can tell you that I am really pleased with the finished content so far, and in fact feeling even better about this one than I did when I was at the similar stage with Shiprocked.

Once the 2nd draft is finished, I’ll be back here more regularly, with lots of stuff to talk about.

All the best

Steve


Up Next: Book 2 Preview

Exciting news: a publication date for my second book will be announced shortly, and it looks like it will be towards the end of this year.

If you’d like a preview of my new writing, as well as a taste of my recent short stories as well as something from my first book Shiprocked, I’ll be giving a special reading in Dublin on Saturday 16th July.

3pm downstairs at The Twisted Pepper, Abbey Street.

Steve

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New Work At Last Wednesday Tonight

Just a reminder that I’ll be reading tonight at the monthly Last Wednesday writers open mic in Dublin, brought to you by Seven Towers at the Twisted Pepper in Abbey Street.

As well as new material from my second-book-in-progress, I will also read something I wrote 28 years ago, long before my radio days.

The Last Wednesday readings feature a wide variety of poetry, prose and sometimes comedy from new and established Irish writers, it’s free in, and a great evenings entertainment.

Door open 7pm.

Steve



You Always Remember Your First . .

A collection of some of the milestones in my life, some important, some quirky!

First memory . . in a cot in my parents room, playing cars by driving my fingers around the blanket . . into transport and machinery even before I could walk!

First (earliest) memory that I can specifically date: the night before my third birthday, travelling down to Mitchelstown in our old Ford 100E sitting on my mother’s lap. The alternator/dynamo was failing and the car lights were dimming . . I remember being carried up the boreen to my great grandfathers farmhouse at midnight after we had broken down just short of our destination. Then I remember my third birthday itself, and my Great Uncle Billy telling me I was a “big boy” and giving me a toy tractor to play with.

First book read. .  Can’t remember what was first, but I was an avid reader. I was really into Greek mythology as a child, and had read the Illiad and Odyssey by the age of 8.

First girlfriend . . When I was only about 6 I had a thing for Laura from down the road. Start as you mean to go on!

First time on TV . . There exists in the RTE Archives some footage of a nine-year-old me wandering through a field in Kerry picking blackberries, as part of a “Landmark” special on farmhouse holidays.

First record bought . . Jeff Wayne “Forever Autumn” from War of the Worlds, in 1978.

First Kiss . . Maggie from New Cross, where are you?

First dance . . some very kind Co. Clare woman took pity on me when I was all alone at the disco on our school trip to The Burren, and whisked me around the floor to the envy of my classmates. I can still remember the smell of her hair . .

First proper job . . (excluding working in the family business), my first actual job was a week as a door to door salesman in 1982. I must have have knocked on half the doors in Dublin, and made only £13 in commission before giving it up.

First car . . A lovely Fiat 500 passed down from my mother. If cars could talk, it would have a tale or two to tell!

First heartbreak . . Yes, it’s Maggie from New Cross again. If you want to know what went wrong, see pages 11/12 of Shiprocked, Life On The Waves With Radio Caroline.  It’s true, I really was that innocent!

First record I played on the radio . . Joan Jett – “Bad Reputation”  (on South East Sound, July 1985)

First record I played on Radio Caroline . . Percy Sledge – “When A Man Loves A Woman”

First time abroad . . England for the 1966 World Cup. (actually it was my Dad who went for the football, I was just a toddler).

First words written to start writing the book (that became Shiprocked) . . “The call came at the worst possible time . .”  (Later I realised that I needed more background about what had happened leading up to my joining Caroline, so that first line written is now many pages into the finished version).

First Draft (of Shiprocked) . . 225,000 words. Redrafted on my own account to 176,000 words to tighten up. But then cut down to 90,000 words for publication . . that was tough!

First (of many!) rejection letters . . 1993 from an agent in London. It would be another 15 years and many more rejections before I came across Seven Towers Agency, who have been utterly brilliant in supporting me, and in refusing to take no for an answer.

First interview as a published author . . The day Shiprocked was published, I was interviewed by Sinead Ni Mhordha on Phantom’s Access All Areas show. I was used to hearing Sinead interview great rock bands, and was just blown away that she was interviewing me. Forget TV3 forget The irish Times, it was sitting across the desk from Sinead that I really felt like I’d arrived!

First show on Phantom . . November 2000, the breakfast show. I started with a news bulletin, so my very first words on air were to inform the world that George W Bush had just been confirmed president following the final court hearing into vote counts. My first record was Greenday – “Minority” – as good a musicical start as any!

That’s it for now – let’s hope I have many more “firsts” still to come.

Steve


Launched in London

Shiprocked – Life On The Waves With Radio Caroline had the first of its two launches, in London, on Wednesday 8th April, at The Hammersmith Ram, King Street, Hammersmith, in an event attended by a number of former Caroline associates as well as media and a good turnout from the pre-Caroline pirate station, South East Sound.

The Dublin launch takes place on Wednesday 15th April, at 6.30pm in Cassidys, Westmorland Street – all welcome!  For details visit www.seventowers.ie

(left to right) Radio Caroline station manager Peter Moore, author Steve Conway, and longtime Caroline friend John Burch at the London launch on 8th April

(left to right) Radio Caroline station manager Peter Moore, author Steve Conway, and longtime Caroline friend John Burch at the London launch on 8th April

The crew of the 1980s rock music pirate South East Sound at the Shiprocked launch - (left to right) Mary Warner, Geoff Rogers, Steve Conway, Ray Adams, Keith Archer, with John Burch at front.

The crew of the 1980s rock music pirate South East Sound at the Shiprocked launch - (left to right) Mary Warner, Geoff Rogers, Steve Conway, Ray Adams, Keith Archer, with John Burch at front.

In The Shops - Shiprocked on sale in a Dublin bookstore

In The Shops - Shiprocked on sale in a Dublin bookstore


Shiprocked cover and ISBN

Shiprocked - out March 31st

Shiprocked - out March 31st

ISBN 978-1-905483-62-4


Readings: tonight and Saturday

Tonight (Wednesday 28th Jan 2009) I’ll be at the regular Last Wednesday writers open mic hosted by Seven Towers, along with a huge selection of poets and prose writers. I’ll be reading a newly written short story “Of Little Consequence”.

Last Wednesday takes place every last Wednesday at 7.30pm, in Cassidy’s of Westmorland Street – more details at www.seventowers.ie

Last Wednesday Series Reading and Open Mic
January 28, 2009 (7:30 pm – 9:30 pm)
(Open Mic Night) First Seven Towers event of 2009. 7.30 in Cassidy’s of Westmoreland St. Our regular reading and open mic with Steve Conway, Ross Hattaway, Eamon Lynskey, Donal Moloney, Noel O Briain, Oran Ryan among others!

On Saturday 31st Jan I’ll be taking part in a special day of fundraising for the RNLI, with a reading at the Pavillion in Dun Laoghaire at 3pm, featuring the grounding/rescue story from my forthcoming book Shiprocked.

Also reading will be the poet Ross Hathaway.


Shiprocked! – publication date 31st March

A quick update, publication of Shiprocked! has been confirmed for March 31st 2009 by Liberties Press.

It will be available from that date through normal retail outlets in the UK and Ireland, through various online sales sites (including the Radio Caroline Sales operation and the Phantom 105.2 Merchandise Store ).

A special pre-order package for Caroline supporters to include extra content is currently being agreed – more details shortly.

A number of launch events and readings will take place in both the UK and Ireland throughout the spring, and I will also continue to read at the monthly Seven Towers event Last Wednesday in Dublin (next event: 7pm Wednesday 28th January at Cassidys of Westmorland street).

Steve


This is the year . .

Every New Year for the last several years, I’ve made the resolution to get the book finished, to get representation, and said to myself ‘maybe this will be the year when I finally get it published”.

But this new year is different – thanks to a huge number of things that happened in 2008,not least the sterling efforts Seven Towers Literary Agency, I start 2009 knowing that this IS the year in which my tale of life at sea with Radio Caroline will finally see the light of day.

Publication by Liberties Press is due at the end of March or early April (firm date to be announced soon).

Even knowing this, I was still amazed to find myself listed in the Irish Times today, in a feature on books that we can look forward to in 2009.

I know I should be all calm, and professionally detached, but really, I just want to say: Woo Hoo!

Steve


Seven Towers anthology supports AWARE

It’s a strange world – I wait for years to get published, and then end up being published twice within a few months.

While waiting for my book Shiprocked! – which is due around Easter – I’ve in the meantime found myself with a short story published in an anthology of new Irish writing.

“Old Haunt” is a piece I wrote specially for a Halloween open-mic night, and tells the real-life story of my (maybe) encounter with the fabled Ross Revenge ghost on Radio Caroline. This is a story which will not be included in Shiprocked when it comes out.

The new Seven Towers anthology – Census – is well worth a read anyway, because apart from my three pages, it has dozens of great stories, poems and pieces by some really talanted Irish and international writers – see press release below for details. And the publication supports AWARE, so it is for a good cause too.

Steve

PRESS RELEASE

Phantom FM DJ among contributors to Census, The First Seven Towers Anthology
Published 14th December 2008.

Phantom FM DJ Steve Conway is among the contributors in a just
published anthology Census, The First Seven Towers Anthology (Seven
Towers 2008). Steve has contributed a story about his time on the
Ross Revenge radio ship, working for Radio Caroline. Steve’s memoir
about life with Radio Caroline – Shiprocked! will be published by
Liberties Press in March 2009.

(The story in Census is specially for Census “Old Haunt” and is not in
the book!)

Census is available in good bookshops, from www.seventowers.ie, on
www.readireland.ie and at Seven Towers reading events, and for the
trade from Columba Mercer Distributors (www.Columba.ie) It retails at
€15 and €1 from every copy sold will be donated to the charity AWARE.

Other contributors to Census are
Kildare poet Liam Aungier, Meath musician Horslips member),
broadcaster, journalist and poet Eamon Carr, Cork based poet and
screenwriter Paul Casey, Cavan poet and educator Tom Conaty, Dublin
poet, broadcaster and teacher Catherine Ann Cullen, Dublin writer,
journalist, broadcaster and musician Conor Farrell, Wicklow writer
Shane Harrison, New Zealand born, Dublin based poet
Ross Hattaway, Galway poet and journalist Kevin Higgins, New York poet
and novelist R Nemo Hill, Kildare writer Eileen Keane, Kerry actor and
poet Noel King, Oklahoma born, New York based poet Quincy R Lehr,
Dublin born, Kerry based writer Colm Lundberg, Dublin poet Éamonn
Lynskey, Waterford born, Dublin based writer Donal Moloney, Dublin
artist, sculptor and poet Joe Moran, Dublin poet Anne Morgan, Tralee
born, Wexford based actor, director, producer, playwright and poet
Noel Ó Briain, Kerry writer Tommy Frank O’Connor, Cork based artist
and poet Mel O’Dea, Limerick poet Eddie O’Dwyer, Dublin based poet and
playwright Fintan O’Higgins, Dublin based poet Maeve O’Sullivan,
Dublin based poet Jessica Peart, New York poet Ray Pospisil, Dublin
based, San Francisco poet Raven, Dublin writer Oran Ryan, Kerry based
writer John W Sexton, Kerry poet Eileen Sheehan, Armagh born, Dundalk
based poet and essayist Barbara Smith, Cork poet Patricia Walsh and
North Carolina poet Doog Wood.

AWARE is a national voluntary organisation providing support through
depression. The organisation undertakes to create a society where
people with depression are understood and supported, are free from
stigma, and have access to a broad range of appropriate therapies to
enable them to reach their full potential.


Editing, Reading, and Listening

Have been spending a lot of the last week (and will spend most of the next week) making final revisions to the book before it gets set in stone in its final version.

Broke off from editing to attend the monthly Seven Towers open-mic last night as Cassidys of Westmorland Street which was well attended and featured some great contributions, with more prose than usual. As it was the last one of the year (none in December) I read the final pages of the book – appropriate both due to their November setting, and the fact that my first open-mic was in January where I read the first pages.

One year, and I’ve come full cycle through finding an agent, and getting the publication deal. I’m really looking forward to 2009 and all it holds.

Listening online to Geoff Rogers on Radio Jackie while writing this – Geoff and I go back a long, long way, but Jackie is a part of my past too, when I moved to London in 1984, it was a great pirate and a wonderful community station in South West London and it was both a companion and a local guide for me in my bedsit days.

Now it’s legal, but has lost nothing of its identity – listening this evening, with great music, truly local information and traffic and local presenters and ads, I might be back in that bedsit in Surbiton.

If you are any way interested in radio, or just want to hear what a truly local and community rooted yet commercial station should sound like, I’d urge you to give Jackie a listen, even for a couple of hours.

The wonders of modern technology that I can listen to Jackie in Dublin, you can listen to Phantom in London, and we can all listen to Caroline anywhere, and all with no skywave or fading.

Life is good!

Steve


Seven Towers Readings, Killarney & Dublin

Following on from the news that my book will be published in March 2009 by Liberties Press  I will be involved in two readings with Seven Towers during the next week, a special Christmas-themed reading in Killarney in support of AWARE, followed by the usual monthly writers open-mic “Last Wednesday” on November 26th at Cassidys of Westmorland Street, Dublin (7pm).

Details of the Killarney reading below.

Steve

 

Saturday 22 November 3pm, Dromhall Hotel Muckross Road,
Killarney, Co. Kerry.

Meath born, Dublin based journalist, musician, award winning broadcaster and poet Eamon Carr; Dublin writer and Phantom FM DJ Steve Conway; New Zealand poet Ross Hattaway; Kerry born, Wexford based poet, playwright, director and producer Noel Ó Briain; Kerry poet and novelist Tommy Frank O’Connor; Kerry musician, novelist, playwright, broadcaster, children’s writer and poet John W Sexton; Dublin poet, playwright, screenwriter, novelist Oran Ryan; North Carolina poet Doog Wood.


Finally, the Book Deal!

comingsoon

Finally, after several nail-biting weeks of discussions which I couldn’t mention here, the deal is done, and  I can tell you that the book I wrote about my time with Radio Caroline in its final years at sea is to be published by Liberties Press.

The book will be out at the end of March 2009, priced €14.99, (or £12.99 in the UK).

More details here over the next little while.

Steve


Winter Chill (reading)

Along with my agent at Seven Towers, I’m continuing to work towards getting a publication deal for my book, which covers my involvment with Radio Caroline’s final years at sea in the late 1980s. I can’t comment on these discussions right now, but would hope to be able to announce some positive news in the near future.

Meanwhile tonight (Thursday 13th November 2008) I will be reading from the book at a Seven Towers event in Dublin city centre – details below. The theme is “Winter Chill” so I will be reading a short storm sequence.

Steve

Thursday 13th November, 6.30 Chapters of Parnell St, Dublin 1

Themed reading – ‘Winter Chill’

Kildare poet Liam Aungier; Dublin writer and Phantom FM DJ Steve Conway; Dublin poet Catherine Ann Cullen; poet Alan Garvey; New Zealand poet Ross Hattaway; Dublin poet Anne Morgan; Kerry born, Wexford based poet, playwright, director and producer Noel Ó Briain; North Carolina poet Doog Wood.

Friday 14th November 1.15 Chapters of Parnell St, Dublin 1

Armagh born, Dundalk based essayist and poet Barbara Smith
Novelist, poet, playwright, screenwriter, Oran Ryan reads from the work of Ray Pospisil

Barbara Smith holds a BA Hons. Literature just completed, 2007; and will continue with Queen’s University Belfast, with a MA in Creative Writing. Her debut collection of poetry, Kairos, is just published by Doghouse Books. She has poetry and essays published widely and lives in Dundalk, with her partner and six children. Other publications include Poetic Stage (1998).Barbara blogs at http://intendednot2b.blogspot.com/


Seven Towers events for October 2008

October events from Seven Towers


Prejudice and identity – A Literary dialogue
at 1.15 on Wednesday 15th October
Chapters of Parnell St, Dublin 1
Featuring
Oran Ryan and Doog Wood

Oran Ryan is a novelist, poet and playwright from Dublin. His first two novels, The Death of Finn and Ten Short Novels by Arthur Kruger were published by Seven Towers in 2006. In 2008 Oran was awarded an Arts Council Bursary for his current work, Bradbury. Oran was called “a new and powerful voice in Irish Literature” by Seamus Cashman.

Doog Wood is a Dublin based poet from North Carolina, with a unique and original voice. His work has been published in journals and anthologies all over the world. His first full collection will be published by The Seven Towers Agency in 2009.

__________________

Friday 24th October ,

1.15pm

Chapters and Verse Lunchtime Reading

Chapters Bookstore, Parnell St, Dublin 1

Ross Hattaway, Ann Marie Glasheen, Greagoir O’Duill

Anne Marie Glasheen is a London based poet, photographic artist and translator. She was Poet/Photographer in residence at Peckham Library, May-June 2005, as part of Southwark’s WriteStuff! Literature Festival and in 2005-2006 was Project Programmer of Words Unbound, International Writers Exchange, Canterbury City Council . She won the 2007 Bradshaw manuscript prize and her first collection will be launched in October 2008.

Ross Hattaway was born in Wellington New Zealand, but has lived in Ireland since 1990. He has had many varied jobs and currently works as a civil servant. His first collection of poetry, The Gentle Art of Rotting was published by Seven Towers in 2006. Ross toured Lithuania earlier this year, as part of the Poetry Spring Festival 2008 and his work was translated into Lithuanian.

Greagoir Ó Duill was born in Dublin but grew up outside Belfast. He was educated in Queen’s University, Belfast and UCD and took a PhD in English in Maynooth. He recently moved to Waterford to set up postgraduate creative writing in Waterfor Institute of Technology.

His own work has included eight collections of poetry, two anthologies, a critical biography and a collection of short stories, and he has taken prizes in poetry, short fiction and criticism. His work is widely anthologised and has been translated into the major European languages – most recently with a full-length collection of versions in English by Bernie Kenny called Gone to Earth. He has read from Cork to Stornoway to Palermo to New York.

Greagoir is an Irish language adviser and Irish language reviewer of Poetry Ireland Review. He has recently started to write in English and has been widely published in journals in Ireland, Britain and the United States. New Room Windows is Gréagóir’s first all english poetry publication

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LAST WEDNESDAY OPEN MIC – Wed 29th October 2008

Cassidy’s Westmorland street, 7pm

Journalist, broadcaster, critic, commentator, musician and poet Eamon Carr will be reading from his latest work The Origami Crow,Journey into Japan, World Cup Summer 2002 at the Seven Towers Event – The Last Wednesday Series Reading and open mic on the 29th October 2008 at Cassidys of Westmoreland St, Dublin 2. The event commences at 7.30pm.

As a sports columnist for a Dublin daily, journalist Eamon Carr watched the unfolding drama of the 2002 World Cup finals firsthand in Japan. Yet against the intense public spectacle of media attention following the controversial departure of Ireland captain Roy Keane, Carr followed his own private journey – a lifelong quest to visit the shrines and places of the famed poet Matsuo Basho, recognized master of haiku.

In a volume of spare, elegant prose and his own haiku chronicling impressions and revelations of that journey, Carr explores the deep interrelationships found within the seeming contrasts of ancient and modern, nation and individual, crowd and solitude, loss and victory. Histories, memories and legends, as well as the wry personal observations of the weary working traveller, merge to create this profoundly moving narrative on the universal nature of grace and redemption.

The Origami Crow: Journey into Japan, World Cup Summer 2002 is Eamon Carr’s first collection of poetry and the profundity and depth of the work is a just reward for the long wait. The book is a collection of prose poems and Haiku following Eamon’s life experience, his journey into Japan that fateful Summer to follow the footsteps of Basho and is set against the backdrop of the Irish World Cup experience in Japan in Summer 2002. This is an exciting book because of the beauty of the work itself, and its significance as another important milestone in the work of a great artist and a man who truly has the soul of a poet.

Eamon Carr has been a significant figure in the Irish artistic and cultural scene for many years. In the late 1960s he co-founded Tara Telephone, the music and poetry group of the Dublin beat scene. Tara Telephone published everyone from Marc Bolan to Allan Ginsberg, Brian Patten, Seamus Heaney, Pearse Hutchinson, Eilean Ni Chuilleanain, Brendan Kennelly, Adrian Mitchell, Pete Brown in their magazines and broadsheets. The group also ran recitals. Among those who read with Tara Telephone, in addition to Eamon and Peter Fallon were Phil Lynott and Roger McGough. With Jim Fitzpatrick, the group also produced specially designed posters with artwork and poems combined. One of these posters with Eamon’s poem ‘A Tale of Love’ was exhibited in the Tate Gallery, Liverpool, Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic Era Exhibition in 2005 which also toured in Germany and Austria.

Following on from Tara Telephone, in the 1970’s Eamon co-founded Horslips, the hugely influential band which is credited with creating the musical genre known as Celtic Rock, and in which he is also a drummer, conceptualist and lyricist. Eamon has also promoted musicians and artists, and works as a journalist, writer and commentator on culture, politics, arts, music and sport as well as an award winning broadcaster. He was born in Co. Meath and lives in Dublin.

Other readers at the event are

Featured Readers: Phantom FM DJ Steve Conway, Waterford writer Donal Moloney, New Zealand born poet Ross Hattaway, Kerry born Wexford based producer, director, actor, playwritght and poet Noel Ó Briain, Dublin novelist, poet, playwright and screenwriter Oran Ryan, North Carolina poet Doog Wood, Dublin poet Eamonn Lynskey and poet Patrick Chapman

Patrick Chapman was born in 1968. His poetry collections are Jazztown (Raven Arts Press, Dublin, 1991), The New Pornography (Salmon Poetry, Co. Clare, 1996), Breaking Hearts and Traffic Lights (Salmon Poetry, Co. Clare, 2007) and A Shopping Mall on Mars (BlazeVOX Books, New York, 2008). He has also written a collection of stories, The Wow Signal (Bluechrome, 2007); an audio drama, Doctor Who: Fear of the Daleks; and an award-winning film, Burning the Bed (2003), which starred Gina McKee and Aidan Gillen. He won first prize for a story in the 2003 Cinescape Genre Literary Awards. With Philip Casey, he co-founded the Irish Literary Revival website. He lives in Dublin.

Ross Hattaway was born in Wellington New Zealand, but has lived in Ireland since 1990. He has had many varied jobs and currently works as a civil servant. His first collection of poetry, The Gentle Art of Rotting was published by Seven Towers in 2006. This will be Ross’ first reading in Dublin, after touring Lithuania as part of the Poetry Spring Festival 2008 and seeing his work translated into Lithuanian.

Ross Hattaway was born in Wellington New Zealand, but has lived in Ireland since 1990. He has had many varied jobs and currently works as a civil servant. His first collection of poetry, The Gentle Art of Rotting was published by Seven Towers in 2006. This will be Ross’ first reading in Dublin, after touring Lithuania as part of the Poetry Spring Festival 2008 and seeing his work translated into Lithuanian

Eamonn Lynskey has had poems published in many magazines. He was nominated for the Sunday Tribune/Hennessy Literary Award for New Irish Poetry in 2006 and one of his poems will feature on the 2009 OXFAM calendar. His first collection Dispatches and Recollections was published in 1998 and he is currently working onhis second. As well as writing in English, Eamonn has also translated works of Italian poets Montale and Valeri and written in Italian – he holds, (among other qualifications!) a Diploma in Italian Lauguage and Culture from the Italian Institute, Dublin.

Dónal Moloney was born in 1976 and comes from Waterford. He has been writing seriously for ten years, during which time he has written a novel, several novellas and many short stories and poems. He is currently completing a collection of three novellas. He works as a freelance translator and lives in Dublin. He is a regular featured reader at both Chapters and Verse Reading Series and The Last Wednesday Reading and Open Mic Series. Donal is represented by The Seven Towers Agency.

Noel Ó Briain was born in Kerry, grew up in Dublin and now lives in Camolin, Wexford. He is a playwright and poet and a former head of drama at RTE. He has worked for many years in theatre, radio and television as an actor, producer/director, designer and script editor.He played the part of Cranly in the premier of Hugh Leonard’s Stephen D (an adaptation of Joyce’s Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man) at the Gate Theatre. He also played the part of the IRA officer in the premier of Brendan Behan’s An Giall in the Damer Hall in Dublin and designed the set for this production. The play was later translated into English as The Hostage and staged at The Royal Theatre Stratford by Joan Littlewood.He has produced and directed many plays in the Damer Hall under the auspices of Gael Linn. Among others these included Gunna Cam agus Slabhra Óir by Seán Ó Tuama and Aggiornamento by Chriostóir Ó Floinn. He also designed the sets for these and many other production. He has directed Ulick O’Connor’s Noh Plays at The Project. As a Radio Producer his drama productions have been selected as RTE’s entries for the Prix Italia.

He has won a National Jacob’s Award for his production and adaptation of Seán Ó Tuama’s Judas Iscariot agus a Bhean.

He has worked as Producer, Director, Series Producer and Script Editor in numerous television one-offs, series and serial drama, often combining several of these skills in one production. These have included The Riordans, Bracken (which launched the career of Gabriel Byrne) Glenroe and Ros na Rún among many others. He also produced and directed the controversial series The Spike until it was withdrawn by RTE itself after complaints from the League of Decency and State interference. He has participated in a documentary in the Scannal series on RTE which deals with well known Irish scandals – including The Spike! (to be transmitted in Autumn 2008). He has won the Celtic Film Festival Drama Award for his production of Tom Murphy’s screenplay, Brigit. He has devised and conducted numerous screenwriting courses. Among these was the initial course for the development of new writers for the series Ros na Rún on TG4. He has conducted several screen acting courses both independently and for the Gaiety School of Acting. His poetry and short stories have been published in a number of literary magazines including The Kilkenny Magazine and Poetry Ireland. They have also been broadcast on radio in the short story slot and on Sunday Miscellany. His poetry collection Scattering Day 21 Sonnets and Other Poems was published by Seven Towers in 2007.Noel has two plays currently completed:

The Land of She: An adapted for theatre translation of Brian Merriman’s Cuirt on Mhean Oiche, this hillarious play is written for five parts.

He has also completed a short verse play inspired by Synge’s Deirdre of The Sorrows, entitled Áinle and Árdán Are Already Dead.

Oran Ryan is a novelist, poet and playwright from Dublin. He has had poems, short stories and literary critical articles published in various magazines. His first two novels, The Death of Finn and Ten Short Novels by Arthur Kruger were published by Seven Towers in 2006. He is currently working on his fifth novel and had three plays and two screenplays in pre-production. Oran won a 2008 Arts Council Bursary Award.

Doog Wood is a Dublin based poet from North Carolina. His poetry has been widely published in journals and anthologies. His first full collection will be published by The Seven Towers Agency in 2009.

And of course, myself . . .

Steve


YouTube clips from Caroline days

The interview on WLR FM to promo the book went well, Geoff Harris was a very relaxing interviewer, and it was an enjoyable experience.

During the conversation Geoff mentioned that a couple of my TV interviews from the Caroline days are up on Youtube, which reminded me that I should link them from here.

The first is the BBC Daytime Live interview from March 1989, the behind the scenes story of which is told in the book. It’s a lovely piece, it nicely blends the history of the station from the 60s and 70s with our (then) current day operations in the late 80s, and features some lovely shots of the ship at sea. Watch it here.

The next one is one of the many news reports from the day in 1991 when the offshore dream ended, as the Ross Revenge ran aground on the Goodwin Sands and we all had to be rescued by helicopter.

In the interview, we are all wearing RAF flying suits, as the clothes we escaped in were sodden. Watch it here.

I’ll collect these together with other clips and pics on a page in due course.

Steve


WLR interview tomorrow

 

Still in pre-publication negociations, but I’ll be on WLR FM’s drivetime show with Geoff Harris tomorrow (Wednesday 8th October 2008) to chat about my forthcoming book Somewhere Down The Crazy River – Life on The Waves With Radio Caroline.

WLR is the licenced local station for waterford city and county, and can be heard on 95.1fm as well as 97.5, and via the internet at wlrfm.com

WLR, like Phantom, is a pirate station gone legal, and a great listen if you are ever in the south east of Ireland.

The intervierw is scheduled to run sometime between 6 and 7.

More news on the book as and when . .

Steve


Last Wednesday: Shipwrecked

It’s that time again – the monthly “Last Wednesday” open-mic evening for Irish writers, is on tomorrow, Wednesday 24th September 2008, at Cassidy’s of Westmorland Street in Dublin City Centre.

The event is hosted by the Seven Towers Agency and includes poetry, fiction and nonfiction writing.

Apart from myself, readers will include Doog Wood, Oran Ryan, Eamonn Lynskey, Noel Ó Briain, Donal Moloney and Ross Hattaway.

Ross Hattaway was born in Wellington New Zealand, but has lived in Ireland since 1990. He has had many varied jobs and currently works as a civil servant. His first collection of poetry, The Gentle Art of Rotting was published by Seven Towers in 2006. This will be Ross’ first reading in Dublin, after touring Lithuania as part of the Poetry Spring Festival 2008 and seeing his work translated into Lithuanian.

Eamon Lynskey has had poems published in many magazines. He was nominated for the Sunday Tribune/Hennessy Literary Award for New Irish Poetry in 2006 and one of his poems will feature on the 2009 OXFAM calendar. His first collection Dispatches and Recollections was published in 1998 and he is currently working onhis second. As well as writing in English, Eamonn has also translated works of Italian poets Montale and Valeri and written in Italian – he holds, (among other qualifications!) a Diploma in Italian Lauguage and Culture from the Italian Institute, Dublin.

Dónal Moloney was born in 1976 and comes from Waterford. He has been writing seriously for ten years, during which time he has written a novel, several novellas and many short stories and poems. He is currently completing a collection of three novellas. He works as a freelance translator and lives in Dublin. He is a regular featured reader at both Chapters and Verse Reading Series and The Last Wednesday Reading and Open Mic Series. Donal is represented by The Seven Towers Agency.

Noel Ó Briain was born in Kerry, grew up in Dublin and now lives in Camolin, Wexford. He is a playwright and poet and a former head of drama at RTE. He has worked for many years in theatre, radio and television as an actor, producer/director, designer and script editor.

He played the part of Cranly in the premier of Hugh Leonard’s Stephen D (an adaptation of Joyce’s Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man) at the Gate Theatre. He also played the part of the IRA officer in the premier of Brendan Behan’s An Giall in the Damer Hall in Dublin and designed the set for this production. The play was later translated into English as The Hostage and staged at The Royal Theatre Stratford by Joan Littlewood.

He has produced and directed many plays in the Damer Hall under the auspices of Gael Linn. Among others these included Gunna Cam agus Slabhra Óir by Seán Ó Tuama and Aggiornamento by Chriostóir Ó Floinn. He also designed the sets for these and many other production. He has directed Ulick O’Connor’s Noh Plays at The Project. As a Radio Producer his drama productions have been selected as RTE’s entries for the

Prix Italia. He has won a National Jacob’s Award for his production and adaptation of Seán Ó Tuama’s Judas Iscariot agus a Bhean.

He has worked as Producer, Director, Series Producer and Script Editor in numerous television one-offs, series and serial drama, often combining several of these skills in one production. These have included The Riordans, Bracken (which launched the career of Gabriel Byrne) Glenroe and Ros na Rún among many others. He also produced and directed the controversial series The Spike until it was withdrawn by RTE itself after complaints from the League of Decency and State interference. He has participated in a documentary in the Scannal series on RTE which deals with well known Irish scandals – including The Spike! (to be transmitted in Autumn 2008). He has won the Celtic Film Festival Drama Award for his production of Tom Murphy’s screenplay, Brigit. He has devised and conducted numerous screenwriting courses. Among these was the initial course for the development of new writers for the series Ros na Rún on TG4. He has conducted several screen acting courses both independently and for the Gaiety School of Acting.

His poetry and short stories have been published in a number of literary magazines including The Kilkenny Magazine and Poetry Ireland. They have also been broadcast on radio in the short story slot and on Sunday Miscellany. His poetry collection Scattering Day 21 Sonnets and Other Poems was published by Seven Towers in 2007.


Noel has two plays currently available:

The Land of She: An adapted for theatre translation of Brian Merriman’s Cuirt on Mhean Oiche, this hillarious play is written for five parts.


He has also completed a short verse play inspired by Synge’s Deirdre of The Sorrows, entitled Áinle and Árdán Are Already Dead.

Oran Ryan is a novelist, poet and playwright from Dublin. He has had poems, short stories and literary critical articles published in various magazines. His first two novels, The Death of Finn and Ten Short Novels by Arthur Kruger were published by Seven Towers in 2006. He is currently working on his fifth novel and had three plays and two screenplays in pre-production. Oran won a 2008 Arts Council Bursary Award.

Doog Wood is a Dublin based poet from North Carolina. His poetry has been widely published in journals and anthologies. His first full collection will be published by The Seven Towers Agency in 2009.

My own reading will consist of part of the final chapter of Somewhere Down The Crazy River, which concludes the book by relating the shipwreck of the Radio Caroline ship Ross Revenge on the Goodwin Sands in November 1991.

All are welcome to attend, it’s always a great evening.

Steve


Word Weary

I have spent the last 10 days in intensive editing mode, working with Sarah at Seven Towers Agency to get the book completely ready for submission to potential publishers. (to recap – this is non-fiction, my account of my experiences working for the offshore pirate Radio Caroline at the end of the 1980s).

I’ve gone over every inch of the 170,000 or so words, several times, until it’s got to the stage where I hardly know if I am living in 2008 or 1987. So much have I been reliving the Caroline days while editing and re-editing every chapter, page and incident, that I very nearly ID’ed Phantom as Phantom 558 last Sunday!!

But it’s done now, the manuscript is as ready as it will ever be for scrutiny by would-be publishers, and I’m in the lap of the gods (or the hands of my agent) for the next few months as she tests the waters to see what interest there is in it.

Back to the real world so.

Steve


Last Wednesday Tomorrow Night (reading)

Wednesday 27th August sees the regular “Last Wednesday” writers open-mic night at Cassidys of Westmorland Street, in Dublin city centre.

The event includes readings from Seven Towers featured writers Donal Moloney, Ross Hattaway, Noel Ó Briain,  Oran Ryan, and myself. Guest readers are very welcome on the night – maximum reading 10 minutes (no minimum).

The Last Wednesday readings attract a diverse spectrum of readings including poetry, short stories and non-fiction. 

Donal Moloney is a Waterford born, Dublin based poet and writer.
Ross Hattaway comes back for his first reading in Dublin in several months – as he has been winging his way around the world and reading in Lithuania and Sydney, Australia. Ross was born in Wellington New Zealand, but has lived in Ireland since 1990. He has had many varied jobs and currently works as a civil servant. His first collection of poetry, The Gentle Art of Rotting was published by Seven Towers in 2006. This will be Ross’ first reading in Dublin, after touring Lithuania as part of the Poetry Spring Festival 2008 and seeing his work translated into Lithuanian.

Noel Ó Briain was born in Tralee in Kerry, grew up in Dublin and now resides in Camolin, Co Wexford. He has worked as an actor, director, producer and designer and was head of drama in RTE for a period up to 1988. His first collection of poetry Scattering Day, 21 Sonnets and Other Poems was published by Seven Towers in 2007.

Oran Ryan is a novelist, poet and playwright from Dublin. He has had poems, short stories and literary critical articles published in various magazines. His first two novels, The Death of Finn and Ten Short Novels by Arthur Kruger were published by Seven Towers in 2006. He is currently working on his fifth novel and had three plays and two screenplays in pre-production. Oran won a 2008 Arts Council Bursary Award.

I will be reading more from my forthcoming book Somewhere Down The Crazy River – Life on the Waves with Radio Caroline.

It’s always a fun evening, so do drop in if you are in the area.

Steve


16/17 August weekend

An extra slot for me this weekend on Phantom 105.2.

I’m filling in for Cathal Funge on Saturday morning 0800-1100, and will be on as usual on Sunday evening 1900-2100 with Random Access.

Busy otherwise with edits on the book flying back and forwards to my agent, currently working on the middle third, and the bleak winter of 1987/8.

Spring 88 was better, and gave Kylie to the world, though in those days she was a run-of-the-mill SAW artist, and didn’t look destined for mega-stardom. I’m so deep in the edits, and it’s taking up so much of my spare time, that I’m starting to dream Caroline again . .

Steve


Two Seven Towers events this week

This Wednesday 25th June 2008 sees the regular “Last Wednesday” open-mic event for writers, hosted by Seven Towers, the Dublin-based small publisher and writers agency who are representing me for my book.

Last Wednesday is always great fun, there is a huge amount of really great new writing featured, including poetry, short stories, and ongoing fiction readings.

Regular readers include Oran Ryan, Noel Ó Briain, & Donal Moloney and there are always many other readers, including some first time readers.

I will be there as usual, reading some excerpts from my own recently completed and as yet unpublished book “Somewhere Down The Crazy River” (non-fiction – my true life account of the last years at sea of Radio Caroline at the end of the 1980s).

Last Wednesday takes place at Cassidys pub in Westmorland Street in Dublin city centre, event starts at 7.30pm.

Later this week, there is another Seven Towers event, “From International Waters”, a series of readings of pieces which explore national and international boundaries and travel, with readers with readers Quincy R Lehr (USA), Roslyn Fuller (Canada), Noel Ó Briain (Ireland), Anamaria Crowe Serrano (Ireland) and others to be confirmed.

This takes place on Sunday 29th June, at 3.30pm in Cassidys.

No entry fee, all welcome.

Steve