Birth of ‘The Riot Theys’ and other stories
My first time in Ireland and how I started a Riot-Queer-Folk-Punk band!
On 1st February it was time for me to leave Wales again. At midnight, like the fairy-tale-esque bum that I am, I hopped on the Megabus from Carmarthen to Rosslare. The idea was to go around the Oscar Wilde (yes that was the name of the vessel) and try to find someone to hitch a ride with up to Dublin. The thing was: there was hardly anyone on the massive hunk of a ship.
So I ended up chatting to two Irish fellows who bought me cider and got pissed on vodka. I was clever enough not to drink too much as I didn’t fancy hitching out of Rosslare with blurred vision…but those guys, they were swaying like the sea breeze had broken in, lighting up cigarettes in the bar and spilling alcohol all over the floor. They also gave me 60 euro for the bus though. So I didn’t mind. (The bus cost 23). I didn’t feel guilty about it cause I saw how much cash they had in their wallets. Plus I have never been known to deny a gift. It’s a mitzveh*, right?
At Rosslare terminal a fellow guitar-wielder gave me some warm gloves and we chatted until the coach came. It was over three hours and there was no toilet break so I was almost pissing myself by the time I got there. After relieving my bladder I set off to find my friend’s place, which was around a 25 minute walk away. Somehow I got there successfully and was very happy to get a chance to lie down and listen to a few of chapters of 1001 Nights.
The first couple of days were a little difficult- settling-in periods often are, I guess, but I never remember that and almost always have a panic and think I will run back crying to my mummy. It didn’t help that I decided it would be a great idea to brave the city centre on my second day, despite really not feeling up to the cataclysmic chaos of the commercial. But I saw loads of nice old books at the Chester Beatty library.
However, within a few days I had started making friends and was enjoying getting to know the radical scene. I went to a suuuper fun Games Nights at JaJa’s (artsy warehouse space) where I was first introduced to the Dolphin Training Game and Jungle Speed (an epic ‘snap-like’ game that I will come back to in a bit). It was there I first met my current band-mate, Noah. I didn’t really speak to them though…(don’t tell them but I thought they were too cool for me hahahaha).
Another great event was the Really Really Free Market. The day before it people were preparing, so I thought I would help by pushing a trolley full of clothes to Seomra (the fantabulous anarchist social centre). After that, I rolled up at the Lady and Trans Fest meeting. I don’t know how involved I will be able to be in the fest’s organisation, but it was lovely just to meet the people who are gonna bring it together. Then Jungle Speed returned into my life, and I was NOT going to go down without a fight, which meant that I accidentally threw the wooden thingy at an unsuspecting victim’s head- thus leaving a horrible bump. And then, it was showdown. Me and a fierce fighter from Leinster were battling out for the wood when I was hurled backwards into the Outhouse coffee table. I lay there in a state of shock and it took me a while to realise I had hit my own head this time. Putting my hand to the throbbing pain I felt the dripping…
But luckily I was not concussed. The Leinster crew looked after me smashingly- even setting an alarm every 3 hours to make sure I hadn’t slipped into a coma. In the morning I went to A&E and for some reason gave my sister-in-law’s name. I was very lucky: I only had to wait 1 hour max. Plus they glued my head back together which was thoughtful of them.
I was all fixed up and ready to go before people had even finished their breakfast and was happy that I got to go to the ‘market’ and pick up some real bargains (can you call something a bargain if it doesn’t cost anything?) Later that evening was ‘Words in the Warehouse’: an AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL event that happens every so often in a massive warehouse lit by hundreds of tea lights. The performances there were so ridiculously brilliant that I thought I might pee my pants…again. Unfortunately, however, the sheer gorgeousness of the night was battered a bit by political turmoil on site and I decided to leave pretty much as soon as the show was over so as not to have an anxiety attack.
A day or so later I made a quick decision to go to Kinsale with my new friend, Rover, who is this awesome awesome banjo playing songwriter. In the farmhouse where they have been living in Ballinspittle we came up with the ingenious idea of starting a Riot-Queer-Folk-Punk band and it did seem like the best idea I had had in a long time (something to do with all the sugar from our fruity oat cookies and the caffeine in our coffee perhaps?) Nevertheless, it was set and we decided rapidly that Noah needed to be part of it too. Luckily they said they were up for anything. Next thing I knew we had written 5 tracks and were attempting to record some of the worst (yet most brilliant) punk demos I had ever heard- hahahaha.
The next day Noah and I made our way to the beach, making a short stop in a graveyard to satisfy our inner-children, and saluting the somewhat human-like milk cans in the middle of the road. When we arrived at the sea we climbed the rocks and took some obscure feminist photos involving a tiny plastic soldier we had found and some saliva coated rocks. It was great fun for all involved (I think the militia-man even secretly loved it). I also got Noah to take a picture of me flashing in front of some model houses. That’s because I like the adrenaline of getting my (inoffensive) chest out in front of an (offensive) set of holiday homes. Hahaha…again.
On the Friday, Noah and I set off to hitch back to Dublin, which took at at least 7 hours. We got stuck in the rain and given 10 euro so that we could afford WHISKEY!
The WHISKEY! was drunk at the Spooky Anti-Valentines Queer Gig which we arrived at late (so I unfortunately missed the lovely Eris and only saw half of ‘Sounds of Sodomy’ because the venue was at capacity). I enjoyed myself anyway, flailing my limbs and pretending to know the words to songs.
The next day was a day of queer films which I lapped up ☺ (though I had seen them all before). These were ‘But I’m a Cheerleader’, ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ (one of my fave films) and ‘Breakfast on Pluto’. It was lovely to snuggle up with such fantastic fellow queers, I must say.
The next day I went to the Botanical Gardens with two friends to see all the bare winter branches and the strange tropical plants under glass palaces. I loved it. Even though it was a bit creepy being in an arboretum with so many different kinds of trees, somewhat thoughtlessly tossed about the Irish green. Mish-mash surrealistic poetry it was.
When I returned to Leinster I ate a toastie, drew an amateur cartoon sunshine pic on the wall of a bright-eyed comic and went off on my way…I walked to the Luas (tram) and hopped on til the end of the line where I had no idea how I was to get any further. One person told me it was still a fair trek to the ferry terminal and so I spoke to a taxi driver who said they would drive me for 5 euro. We chatted all about how I was traveling and by the end of the journey they didn’t want any money anymore, so I got a free trip…again.
The ferry this time was a little more lively in some ways- there was an out of tune drunken choir, chips and mushy peas and a film about a child adopted by a time-tripping dog. On arriving in Holyhead I started chatting to a musician who ended up sitting with me in the bus all the way to London. We talked and cuddled and kissed and it was like one of those quirky n romantic yet melancholy films. As we walked to Victoria Station together I said ‘I feel like I have just left a rave and the drugs are wearing off’. And it really was like that. Outside the tube I had my pack on and my guitar in hand.
‘Maybe seeya around’ he said.
‘Have good journeys’ I smiled, ignoring the suggestion that we might meet again. Much better if we don’t. Much better to preserve the fleeting beauty of the situation.
I put my hand on his chest and then turned to leave, ready for new adventures.
And so here I am, back at my mama’s for a couple of days (after seeing my Dad and gorgeous little siblings), rethinking my wardrobe and gender identity and planning how to get to E.Sussex this weekend to frolick in the woods and drink mango cider.
And you can bet your clavicles where I am gonna be after that. Yes, you’ve guessed it: back to B-town. Because there are some people there who I love lots and who I want to see. And because I love the B-town bubble, secretly and not so secretly. So see all you gorgey-faces there!
Lots of hugs and fluffy things,
*Yiddish term denoting a good deed/beneficial or charitable act