It never really feels like Christmas ’til…

As a bonus gift for readers of The Brothers’ Lot, we are proud to present this original seasonal spin-off in which Lar Lawrence and Con Conway, still in the employ of Brannigan Brothers, discuss the spirit of the Rare Aul Dublin Christmas while standing in Dublin’s Westmoreland Street.

Lar: Do you remember the Cheeky Charlies they used to sell in Henry Street?

Con: I remember them well: GET THE LAST OF THE CHEEKY CHARLIES!

Lar: Ah yeah.  But, you know, it doesn’t feel a bit like Christmas.

Con: Sure it never really feels like Christmas til you have all the shopping done.

Lar: True enough I suppose.

Con: And you’re standing in a corner of The Stag’s Head on Christmas Eve with a pint and a small Powers with your bags of presents around your feet.

Lar: That is a warm and seasonal picture I’ll grant.

Con: …your hastily bought, ill-though out, last minute presents in their poxy little plastic bags…

Lar: Ah I don’t know about that…

Con: …and your being jostled by some prick from the Merrion Road and his friends with his smelly cologne who is home for the Christmas from Doha or Brisbane or somewhere and talks too loud and sounds like Bono…

Lar: Ah, steady on now.

Con: …and when you come back from the bar with another pint and a large Powers, he and his girlfriend have grabbed you little corner of shelf space and you have nowhere to rest your pint so you stand there drinking from each hand and each sip you know more and more that the foot spa and the DVD and the slippers and the aromatherapy bath oils are all wrong and the cardigan is the wrong size and it should have been man City not Man Utd. and you now knowyou will spend Christmas Day suffering the perfunctory gratitude and the hurt looks of your whole family and they’ll have got you thoughtful gifts that you actually wanted and…

Lar: Easy!  Easy!  You’ll give yourself a conniption!

Con: …and then you get yourself one last pint and large one, gather up your useless presents and go out to find the buses have stopped running and now you can’t get a taxi cos all the people home for the Christmas have taken them all and you have to walk home and all the chippers are already closed and you’ve lost your keys and …

Lar: Oh look!  There’s a 16!  Have to run!  Good luck now and enjoy The Christmas!  [Exit at great speed]

Con: But you live in Crumlin!  The 16 is not your bus!

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Strange Event

Edmund Rice 250: to reunite, reconcile, give thanks and look to the future.

This strange event is imminent and has the puzzling endorsement of former President of Ireland Mary McAleese. 

Past pupils and friends of Edmund Rice and Christian Brothers schools are coming together to hold this event during the 250th anniversary year of Edmund Rice’s birth to say thank you for their education: to thank, to reconcile, to reconnect and to look to the future.

On 20th October 2012 at 7.00pm former President Mary McAleese will be guest speaker at a special event to recognise the 250th anniversary of the birth of Blessed Edmund Rice, the unique Irishman who founded the Christian Brothers and hundreds of schools in Ireland and around the world. The legacy of Edmund Rice has touched the lives of countless thousands through the education they received.

This event, to be held at the Convention Centre Dublin, will bring together groups and individuals from the Christian Brothers and Edmund Rice network. The event will provide past pupils with the opportunity to welcome old friends and colleagues from all over the islands of Ireland and England. As well as having a theme of thanksgiving, the gathering will acknowledge and express deep regret in a spirit of reconciliation with those past pupils who, sadly, were treated harshly or even abused in the course of their education.

I wrote the novel, The Brothers’ Lot, that tried in some way to tackle this whole sorry mess, albeit satirically- this stuff is too hard to treat head-on. I went through O’Connell’s Schools in the 70’s and 80’s and hated it. While there were some decent teachers and Brothers, the overriding atmosphere was one of furious contempt for kids.

Whatever Edmund Rice may or may not have stood for, is in many ways irrelevant as it is clear that his impetus was hijacked and perverted into a twisted ethos of inward-looking nationalism, Jansenist tinted sexual obsession and anti-child cruelty that was and remains unforgivable. Certainly individual brothers may have come from deprived backgrounds and known little better but the cruelty of the whole operation was an open secret that the church and apparatchiks of the state colluded in sustaining. Post-revolutionary Ireland could not take revenge on the English so, it seems, turned on its own, victimizing the poor and the working classes for not conforming to some unattainable idealized, Celtic twilight Catholic definition of Irishness. We see markedly little of the same depravity among the religious orders that attended to the children of the well-heeled. Praising Rice’s intentions is one thing but to celebrate the Christian Brothers and their legacy is highly questionable. Anyone who got through it feeling that they got a good education and were not abused, beaten, demeaned or constantly belittled, should consider themselves very lucky.

Jim Bradley in the Irish Times informs us that there will be “choral performances, music from the Artane Band”  Might I suggest an alternative musical selection?

 

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October Surprise from Amazon UK

Now that’s a pleasant October surprise.  Granted it is a promo price so no shopping for a Carmen overlooking the Alhambra in Granada or anything like that but still….now I can refill the fountain pen.

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Brooklyn Book Festival: Panel Discussion 9/23 5pm

Looking forward to moderating this panel on Sunday:

Brooklyn Law School Student Lounge (250 Joralemon Street)

5:00 P.M. Inventions of Adolescence

Novelists Kurt Andersen (True Believers), Danielle Evans (Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self) and Karen Thompson Walker (The Age of Miracles) read from their work and discuss the experiences of youth. Moderated by Kevin Holohan.   

A full, and I mean FULL,  listing of events is here:

http://www.brooklynbookfestival.org/BBF/FestivalEvents

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Suddenly this is tonight! Wall to Wall Akashic Authors, riverfront expanse, Manhattan views at sunset – what more could one want of a Monday evening?

The Brothers' Lot

On Monday August 20th at 7pm  at East River State Park, Kent Ave and N 9thin Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I will be reading from The Brothers’ Lot alongside fellow Akashic Books authors Shira Nayman, and  Elizabeth Nunez. 

This is part of The Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn and WORD’s Words by the Water, a four-week outdoor reading series along the East River. Each event focuses on publishers/authors with a local focus.  Link here:

http://www.wordbrooklyn.com/event/words-water-akashic-books-night

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The Brothers’ Lot Reading – August 20th 7pm

The Brothers’ Lot from Akashic Books

On Monday August 20th at 7pm  at East River State Park, Kent Ave and N 9thin Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I will be reading from The Brothers’ Lot alongside fellow Akashic Books authors Shira Nayman, and  Elizabeth Nunez. 

This is part of The Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn and WORD’s Words by the Water, a four-week outdoor reading series along the East River. Each event focuses on publishers/authors with a local focus.  Link here:

http://www.wordbrooklyn.com/event/words-water-akashic-books-night

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The Brothers’ Lot: New Footage Released

Finally the meticulous frame-by-frame hand tinting is done and we can now proudly announce the release of second and third installments of The Brothers’ Lot live at KGB wherein Martin Mulvey SJ, Diocesan Investigator tracks Marcus Madden, BA, official biographer of Venerable Saorseach O’Rahilly to The Wharf ,a none too salubrious pub in Howth on the outskirts of Dublin.  Herewith Part 1 with its mild dosing of coarse language. and Part 2 with its liberal dosing of coarse language.

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