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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 

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Editor’s note issue 3

Issue 3

The party’s over. Let’s take half a day to pack away her Pimms, that Wilson Phillips single, his long denim shorts, the pop-up tent and my hand-sanitizer for another nine months. With the seasons’ handover already upon us, these quiet and orderly September evenings find me in a welcome lull, not waiting, not wanting, just seeing the city of Dublin bathed in oblique amber sunshine.

I hope you had a good summer. For me the satisfaction of a day well lazed near a scuffy beach or a move well busted in a field among friends proportionally bends my attention towards that most ancient of human pursuits: work and its consequences. These days are the calm before the slog, of simply doing, while I await the active pursuit of ideas, collaborations and new projects.

It’s a sort of ‘moving on’, an acknowledgment of the way we were and a shedding of a reckless innocence gently stashed away until later. I put a label on that pleasure and I wait for the next. Then, I will work and pursue deals and ideas. In all of us, these weeks, there will be many quietly-made decisions to ‘produce something’ during the coming months, to make the best of the darkness and some-time isolation imposed upon us. Knowing we must try harder to connect, knowing we cannot, in fact, just sleep until spring, every September, every new term, every new collection, every new issue, every new release is a lonely and powerful decision.

In issue 3 we bring you stories by four emerging writers, Colm Brennan, Donna McCabe, Oisín McKenna and Nathan O’Donnell. Stories which give us a glimpse of the party and all its debris. The specially-commissioned cover by Sarah Bodil came in soon after the last fling of this Irish summer, Electric Picnic, and was an instant mirror to our happily shattered selves.

The party’s over. It’s OK to lose yourself sometimes. While you’re there, take some moments to watch these tales rave against the crystal morning light.