Posted on 1 Comment

The South Circular 1st Birthday Party

The South Circular 1st Birthday Party cake © Mark Duggan
The South Circular 1st Birthday Party cake © Mark Duggan
Cake by Esther Walsh. Photo by Mark Duggan 

Well, we had a swell time.

Anthony Colclough (issue 4), Albert Moore (issue 2), Elizabeth Reapy (issue 5), Nathan O’Donnell (issue 3) and Adrian Duncan (issue 1) read extracts from their stories published in THE SOUTH CIRCULAR and they made us giggle, shuffle, laugh out loud and wonder for the first half of the night. They were followed by djs Sally Foran and Lil’ Dave who did what they do best: made us dance!

Before we knew it, everyone dancing was also wearing some shape of vintage spectacle or brandishing an optical tool a long-time obsolete. In our wildest dreams of what the 1st Birthday Party would be, we did not see this coming.

It was an extraordinary thing to watch writers we have published read the same stories to a live audience and we were struck how firstly, these stories have stood the test of time (well, a year) and then how they were different but the same said out loud, spoken from the mouths of those who created them first. We always considered a celebration of the writers and their work an essential part of what THE SOUTH CIRCULAR is all about but we never reckoned on how actually delivering such a happening would transport us so much outside of that moment so that it suddenly became weird to take any credit for the ejournal itself.

What we’re getting at is, it was great to gather, it was great to hear the stories said out loud, it was great to meet ‘our’ writers in the flesh and it was great to know that we have even more reasons to continue into our second year with a bit more confidence and an awareness of the effect THE SOUTH CIRCULAR has on some folk.

If we could, we’d go back and live it all again. But we will never repeat the special vibe in the room that night. We cannot say thank you enough to those who contributed their time, skills and energy to making our first event so much fun.

So for the time being we’re getting back to work: reading submissions for issue 6, due in June. We’re going to put all ideas of a second birthday out of our minds for now. Well, maybe just to the back.

Photos © Mark Duggan 

Posted on Leave a comment

Editor’s note issue 2

The South Circular | Issue 2

What is a stop-and-chat on a street in Ireland if it doesn’t contain a comment or sigh about the weather? As a nation, we are eternally optimistic and perpetually disappointed by the climate. Though this is the one thing the Celtic Tiger and its culling couldn’t change, when we relocate to sunnier, more reliant climes, as many of my peers have had to do of late, we continue to obsess, all be it in a less manic way.

What keeps us sane, so at the mercy we are of this petulant observer of soggy denim hems and ‘drownded’ up-dos, tights in June and wellington boots on holidays? Perhaps we could suggest that our nation’s literature, its vast and acclaimed output, is one way in which we choose to see through the fog, the hazy sunshine, the flash-flooding and the ‘minus at night’.

I’m talking in metaphors now, you understand. True too that the most successful of our literature which speaks of disappointment, loss, heartbreak, tumult, scandal, historical misadventure, mischief, does so with the lightest and often funniest of touches.

This is the reasoning behind our choosing the four stories for issue 2 of THE SOUTH CIRCULAR. The work of Andrew Meehan, Albert Moore, Sheila Armstrong and Paddy Doherty expresses a darkness and a sadness at the centre of their characters, worn with such humour and clarity so as to deflect from devastation and to offer a state somewhere in between.

My Design Things’ specially commissioned jacket uses a photograph of a headstone from a cemetery in Malmö as its background. The headstone is a carving of two lovers, seated and facing each other for eternity. Every time John passes the headstone someone has placed real flowers on the couple’s lap.

It is the pursuit of this balance then, of light and dark, of highs and lows, which engages all of us in life. Perhaps these four stories will go some way to fortify our readers’ as you go about this game of ping-pong.