Mr. Pussy book launch tonight

Alan Amsby is a true champion and one of our most provocative artists.  He challenged this society in a way that very few did.  He gave an outlet and an opening to a lot of men who were coming to terms with their identity.  Before Brendan O Carroll or any of the tame Panto dames, there was Alan Amsby (Mr Pussy).  Dangerous, provocative, innovative, ground breaking and loved by everybody including all those in the shadows and underworld of Dublin’s then unlawful gay scene.

I hope President Higgins sees fit to honour Alan Amsby in some way. It is fantastic to see this book finally come out of that big wardrobe that Alan Amsby has.  Its part of our social and political history as well as our artistic cultural identity.

Alan Amsby, a British citizen, gave this city and this country his life and a fantastic service well before the Belfast agreement.
mr-pussy

In 1969, a young Englishman named Alan Amsby arrived in Ireland with a frock and a wig. He was booked for one week, but was an overnight sensation, and made Dublin his home. Catholic Ireland had never before seen anything like the beautiful and outrageous Mr Pussy. For almost fifty years, Alan has delighted audiences and demolished boundaries.

Here, he recalls his early days as a drag princess and model in Swinging London, partying the likes of Judy Garland, Noël Coward and David Bowie; being heckled by one of the Kray twins – and snogging Danny La Rue. He also remembers grey 1980s’ Ireland, shocking the country with its first adult panto, and losing friends to the Aids epidemic. Then there’s his 1990s’ renaissance, ‘doing time’ with Paul O’Grady and Daniel Day Lewis, and opening Mr Pussy’s world-famous Café De Luxe with Bono.

Full of hilarious celebrity yarns, sequinned characters like the remarkable Stella Minge, and a lot of shameless name-dropping, Mr Pussy is the story of a legendary, ground-breaking entertainer, full of pathos, charm and wit.

 Alan Amsby (aka Mr Pussy) was born in London and performed a popular drag act before moving to Ireland in the late 1960s. 

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Hidden Cultures, Public Platform

Big thanks to Rosaleen Mcdonagh and the cast of Mainstream at The Project Theatre, Dublin tonight, a very relevant socio-political play.
Many layers, many themes, many betrayals, including the betrayal of one’s own body. This play needs to be taken on tour to educate this nation about our collective cruelties, our indifference, our racism and the crimes we perpetrate on each other.
This is a brave courageous work by a fantastic playwright, who has travelled the long road of prejudice. She operates in her own uniqueness and compliments the great work of Christy Brown, Paddy Doyle, the Pecker Dunne and of course Sean O Casey.
While the work is about class, prejudice,Travellers, mainstream society written by a female playwright, it’s literary scope is universal and all-embracing. While disability is also a theme that runs through this work it is extremely intelligently portrayed and given expression of great integrity and is not reliant on any gimmicks or tricks. These are proud people, strongly portrayed by some of the finest acting I’ve seen anywhere. (Donal Toolan, John Connors, Grainne Hallahan and Neili Conroy – cast)
These characters are human beings like ourselves different and equal and their pain is like our pain. It’s a deeply humanising piece and sparks off the idea in us all that we all have a bit of a flaw. We all have our abilities and disabilities. We are all prejudice to one another.
mainstream

Cast of Mainstream – Donal Toolan, Grainne Hallahan, John Connors, Neili Conroy – Written by Rosaleen McDonagh

But Rosaleen McDonagh is a great playwright who won’t remain silent and fights that prejudice. Won’t be stereotyped. Won’t be pigeon-holed or marginalised, no matter what. She takes on feminism, male prejudice, class divide, racism, disability, traveller culture, child abuse, body betrayal and gay identity in one great lash of the pen. Excellent.
 
The centre of the work is about exclusion, prejudice and marginalisation but she manages to bring us as an audience and a public right into her fold.
I felt great coming out of this play even though its themes were dark. This playwright has kicked the door open into the light, and it’s very welcome. Anybody who has any prejudice or any doubts about the Travelling community or any ‘othered’ member of society should get to see this work.
Arts Council, Dublin City Council and all ye people out there with the public purse make sure this play gets out on a National tour – Please – for all our sakes.
This is a work of national importance.  
Outstanding honesty.

Irish Music to watch for on Raelach Records

MUSIC is a universal language, appealing to the very soul of man, and is the outpouring of the heart, whether to express joy or sorrow, to rouse to battle or soothe to sleep, to give expression or jubilation for the living or of wailing for the dead, to manifest sympathy with society or devotion to the Deity. It is, as Thomas Davis writes, “the first faculty of the Irish.
(From A History of Irish Music by William H. Grattan Flood)
Over the past few months, Raelach records have released some of the finest recordings of Irish musicians that I have heard for many years.  On Sunday at City Hall Dublin,  we had the honorary concert for the wonderful Tony MacMahon which coincided with the release of a new album of slow airs. (Farewell to Music – Tony MacMahon)
TONY MAC MAHON 2016 5BW.jpg

Photography and artwork by Maurice Gunning

This Thursday 24th at The Cobblestone, Dublin 1, Raelach Records will be releasing a new album by Jack Talty  called ‘In Flow’.
I have been listening to it all day today and it’s a fantastic collection of tunes, jigs, reels, hornpipes and slow airs.
Guests on the night will include John Blake, Ruairí McGorman, Áine Bird, Aidan Connolly, and Saileog Ní Cheannabháín.
We need to support our musicians, buy their CDs, go see them live and spread the word.  They carry with them in their music our songlines.
 LIST OF UPCOMING CONCERTS 
Saturday, 26 November
Saileog Ní Cheannabháin @
Hoban’s Bar, Westport, Co Mayo
8pm
~
Sunday, 27 November
Jack Talty @
O’Sullivan’s Courthouse Pub, Dingle
9pm
~
Saturday, 3 December
Saileog Ní Cheannabháin + Aidan Connolly @
Holmes’ of Doohoma, Co Mayo
Time to be announced 
~
Sunday, 4 December
Cuar (Neil Ó Loclainn, Aoife Ní Bhriain, Maitiú Ó Báiréil)
+
Danny Diamond @
63 Merrion Square, Dublin 2 (Royal Society of Antiquaries)
4.30pm
€15 incl. glass of wine. Pre-booking advised >
 
 LIST OF CDS AVAILABLE FROM RAELACH RECORDS

Tony Mac Mahon, Farewell to Music

https://raelachrecords.bandcamp.com/album/farewell-to-music

Jack Talty, In Flow 
Aidan Connolly, Be Off 
Saileog Ní Cheannabháin, Roithleán 
Ensemble Ériu, Imbas