This is my contribution to a piece by Martin Doyle with tributes from John Kelly, Sara Baume, Peter Murphy, Evelyn Conlon and more. For all writers’ contributions, please click this link.
It wasn’t until the mid-nineties, a decade into the study of Tibetan Buddhism, that I began to listen to the music of Leonard Cohen. A beautiful Chinese artist friend would have no other soundtrack as she painted. She said he transported her to a richer place than the blank, cold studio she was working in. I only began to hear Cohen with her, then after she moved away I heard him more clearly by myself on a Buddhist retreat in Vermont. Along pathways between pinewood trees and incensed shrine rooms, I played him constantly – in defiance of the strict rules of the monastery (no “entertainment”). The experience was intensified by my fascination at Cohen himself having just retreated from the craziness of the music business to a Zen monastery in California.
Such respite from the turbulence and uncertainty of daily living in today’s world is always ephemeral. Even Cohen came back into the spotlight when he began to tour again in recent years. But his music is, in a way, is like a retreat. It takes you out of the fray and into aural balm and wit and darkness that even while dark, is calming and sensual. (more…)
A piece in Hot Press magazine by Anne Sexton, with photo by Paula Nolan and review by Olaf Tyaransen. Below see an extract from the interview – the rest in Hot Press magazine, available in all Irish newsagents right now!
LIFE DURING WARTIME – INTERVIEW BY ANNE SEXTON
An arts journalist and performer, Helena Mulkerns lived and worked in Paris and New York before joining the UN as a press officer.
It was her ten years with UN peacekeeping missions that inspired her collection, Ferenji and other stories. Ferenji means ‘foreigner’ in old Arabic and Persian. As the name suggests, Mulkerns’ stories centre on the lives of foreign aid workers in various conflict and post-conflict zones. (more…)
This is my contrbution to a piece by Martin Doyle with reactions from Kevin Barry, Mia Gallagher, Joseph O’Connor, Louise O’Neil, Roddy Doyle and more. For all writers’ contributions, please click this link.
It’s a sort of grief, the process of coming to accept that a misogynistic, racist madman is about to take over the world’s most powerful country. There are several stages. First, I had a session of black humour banter with a friend on Facebook (denial). Then I exchanged furious emails with a friend who had not voted for Hillary, because she is an “undeniable” crook. I argued that in this case, anybody with half a brain should know that not voting democrat was an undeniable vote for fascism (anger). Then I got a call from a distraught Muslim friend awaiting a Greencard in the mid-West. Having escaped the horrors of a true police state, she fears she will be sent home under some Trump deportation programme. I tried to calm her, suggesting his threats are all bluster (bargaining). Then I simply remembered the last time a country in the so-called developed world voted a misogynistic, racist madman into power: 1933. And I succumbed to the final stage, depression.
Because it is entirely possible that like the poet said, things may change utterly – that terrible will become a word abundantly used, but this time beauty will not be part of the brief. – Helena Mulkerns
For more articles like this on IrishTimes online, see Martin Doyle at the Irish Times
Following an excellent launch on Saturday, 5 November to “Focus On Jim Mulkerns” – November’s Archive at Lunchtime programme at The Irish Film Institute this month, here’s a novelty preview of one of the films on offer. This excerpt is from Ireland Invites You, a 14 min promotional film made in 1966, commissioned by the Irish Tourist Board. They were keen to promote the attractions of the Ireland of the day, including golf courses and Bunratty Castle. Note, in this Dublin snippet, the lack of women in the pub. On the other hand, they are allowed grace the “well appointed, sophisticated” cocktail lounge! This tourist board short contrasts sharply with the film, Dublin Capital City 1974-75 made by Brendan Halligan and Jim Mulkerns some years later, which showed the reality of certain areas of Dublin’s capital. Family and friends will recognise those enjoying cocktails in the lounge scene at .30 secs! Loving the music …
Dublin Nightlife 1966 from Cyberscribe on Vimeo.
A special screening will be held today for the launch of “Dublin Capital City 1974-75′ at the Irish Film Institute, 12:45pm – with an introduction by Brendan Halligan. Please scroll down to read full press release, or click here.
A new version of Capital City Dublin 1974-75, a film by Brendan Halligan and Jim Mulkerns, will be launched on 5 November next, and screened weekly as part of the Irish Film Institute’s “Focus on Jim Mulkerns” Archive at Lunchtime showings this November, 2016. (more…)
Thank you so much for all those who came to the launch of “Ferenji” at The Irish Writers’ Centre on Thursday last, it was a wonderful evening, and it was great to see so many old and new friends, fellow scribes and family members. Thanks to Michael O’Loughlin, who gave a really incisive introduction, to John Walsh and Lisa Frank of Doire Press for publishing this themed collection of short fiction, and for organising the event, and to the team at The Irish Writers’ Centre for making the event run smoothly. Here are some photos:
The first review to appear of the short story collection by Helena Mulkerns is from Sarah Gilmartin, in The Irish Times. Click here for live link.
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‘Blue Tarpaulin’ is one of the flash fiction pieces offered in the debut collection, FERENJI by Helena Mulkerns. In this book trailer, the author reads the piece, accompanied by photographs taken herself in the field, where she was based in Eritrea, Ethiopia and Afghanistan. For more details on FERENJI see here.
BLUE TARPAULIN – from ‘Ferenji’ by Helena Mulkerns from Cyberscribe on Vimeo.
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