Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Pillar launch

Photo: Lisa-Marie Griffith
Click photo for a larger version

There I was, thinking I looked very impressive in my collar and tie.

Then, today, I saw Lisa-Marie's photo taken from the viewpoint of the audience and I realised that I looked more like a wonky version of the second coming.

The occasion was the formal launch of Donal Fallon's book on The Pillar on which I have already posted.

Donal had originally invited me to come along and say a few words, "just the two of us". Then a few days before the launch I got the formal invite, in which I was listed as the Guest Speaker and described as a Photographer. Very flattering but a bit scary.

Anyway I turned up, in collar and tie in keeping with my newly found self importance, and delivered my bit which I think people found interesting. At least that's what they said afterwards. Which was fine.

Then people came up to me asking me to sign their copy of the book, which, thankfully had already been signed by Donal, and in some cases, also by Liam Sutcliffe, who is credited in the book with having taken part in the dispatch of Nelson from his perch. Never signed a book before unless I was giving it to someone as a present. Weird feeling. But at least it's not like people screaming for your autograph. That could quickly lead to you losing the run of yourself.

I was reflecting on why people would have anyone other than the author sign their book when I recollected my own behaviour at the launch of Tim Carey's book, Hanged for Murder, where I not only got Tim to sign my copy, but persuaded Marie Cassidy, the State Pathologist, to sign as well.

And on this occasion I also got Liam's signature on my own copy of The Pillar.

It was an appropriate occasion to pay tribute to Shane Mac Thomáis to whom the book is dedicated and who, but for his tragic death earlier in the year, would have been launching the book in my place. Donal quoted the final verse from Donagh MacDonagh's poem Dublin Made Me:
I disclaim all fertile meadows, all tilled land
The evil that grows from it and the good,
But the Dublin of old statutes, this arrogant city
Stirs proudly and secretly in my blood.

While I had a few of my own plants in the audience (thank you lads and lady) I detected a sort of general air of "who is this guy" which made me feel a bit like Rip Van Winkle waking up out of a 1966 sleep."

But it was a great night. I met some old, and lots of new, people, and was even treated to a dissertation on aliens in The Duke afterwards. Saying that I knew a lady from Roswell, however, did not seem to impress my interlocuter who was more interested in persuading me of the planned role of The Spire in the next round of alien contacts.

I had done up a background web page for the launch, which I forgot to mention on the night, and which you can see here. Its main purpose is to bring together some few links relating to the book and beyond.

You can also see some photos from the New Island collection here and my "Guest Speech" here. As far as the latter is concerned, younger readers may need a little light cast on Des Fennell.

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