ArtBeat: James Joyce, football, Banksy and going Back From The Future...

Notes and musings from the arts scene as it looks forward to a new month, by Jane Hardy

The annual celebration of James Joyce's literary genius, Bloomsday, is on June 16
Jane Hardy

Notes and musings from the arts scene as it looks forward to a new month, by Jane Hardy

RIVERRUN, people. We're nearing Bloomsday, the date in the literary calendar when everybody pretends to have finished James Joyce's Ulysses and to understand the great man's even more experimental Finnegans Wake.

This June 16, the day Joyce's character Leopold Bloom traverses Dublin in search of himself, there's a packed schedule. That's because it's the centenary of the publication of the writer's masterwork that changed our view of what was possible between the covers of a book.

Our theatre group, 4th Wall, is bringing a flavour of his writing to Waterstones in Belfast on June 16 at 7pm with actors Victoria Gleason and Mark Claney. We start with some of Joyce's romantic and Yeatsian lyric verse. Goldenhair, for example, which the great Syd Barrett set to psychedelic sounds.

There will also be an extract from the magnificent short story The Dead, with its haunting final line about the snow falling through the universe "like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and all the dead". And of course, Molly Bloom's seductive soliloquy from, yes, Ulysses.

As Bill Shankly famously said, football isn't a matter of life and death, "it's much more important than that". You got a sense of this at last week's launch of Evan Marshall's new book, Fields of Wonder (Blackstaff Press).

The beautiful game is really theatre on a pitch (ask any Liverpool fan) and this title deals with the glory year, 1982, when Northern Ireland reached the quarter finals of the World Cup with a classy side including Martin O'Neill (who wrote the foreword). Marshall observed the best age to be a footie fan is 11.

What price originality? Over £1 million for a painting if it's a Banksy, more for al fresco work. Recently Welsh councillor William Gannon was wrongly outed as the camera-shy street artist. Everyone pestered him, and the poor man resigned.

The guy's art is often wrongly authenticated. In Dundonald in 2020 stencilled images of a little girl looking at a pigeon and daffodils appeared on walls. Although stylistically similar, they weren't Banksy's work.

At the Royal Television Society Northern Ireland awards recently, happily seated at a winning table so Jon-Barrie Waddell, collecting the abstract Perspex objet, didn't have to practise two faces. His Fired Up Films documentary, DeLorean: Back From The Future, captured the rollercoaster story.

I was lucky enough to gladhand Tim McGarry, the charming Eamonn Holmes and the amazing Gloria Hunniford, who won the Brian Waddell Outstanding Achievement Award. Known to journalists as the celebrity who rings back, the eightysomething shared anecdotes, noting her mum might not have approved of her being one of ITV's Loose Women.

Super-talented Duke Special is at The MAC on June 30 'with friends'. Including Neil Hannon? Hope so.

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