Monday, 17 August 2009

FLAT LAKE 2009


Festival Dad and Baby Juno - The Butty Barn

My wellies are mucky, my cardigan has straw stuck to it and my picnic blanket is sopping wet. There were Poetry Divas and Chicks; there was short story master Mike McCormack, and opera singing novelist Judith Mok. There was pig-roasting and straw-bale throwing.

Another Flat Lake Festival over, sadly, and it was the usual mix of literature, music, fun and art. There’s a homemade feel to Flat Lake – it’s rough around the edges – and that’s why it’s so special. All the adults get to dress like kids again, in wellies, woollies and raincoats and we get to kick around in tents and mud and hay. There are oodles of beautiful, guileless children with choppy haircuts there each year, dancing unselfconsciously to the bands, heckling the performers with innocent questions: ‘Why is your guitar so small?’ to Little John Nee and his ukulele, for example.


Prufrock Liz Gallagher


Prufrock Jaki McCarrick

Our performance as the Prufrock Poets in the Theatre Tent went down a treat; we were late starting and a famous person was scheduled for after us – Keith Allen doing Harold Pinter – so while we started with a sizable audience, we ended up with a huge one. Score!


Prufrock Mary Mullen

I know my fellow Prufrocks – Liz, Mary, Barbara and Jaki – as on-the-page or workshop poets mostly, so it was a treat to hear them perform their work. The audience – like all Flat Lake audiences – were enthusiastic, warm and ‘vocal’ with their applause. It was a great gig and we all were pleased afterwards. Juno behaved wonderfully; at 12 weeks she’s an old hand this being her third literary festival. Oh, and apparently Cillian Murphy was in the audience, enjoying it all.


Prufrock Nuala Ní Chonchúir


Prufrock Barbara Smyth

We went to hear mostly musicians on the Saturday – there’s so much on and with a baby in tow you are limited to the type of events you can go to: serious plays and very loud music are no-nos. We enjoyed UK singer Suzy Almond and, later, Dublin rockabilly/country outfit Oonagh and the Devils on the Scan Bitz stage.


Little John Nee

On Sunday we had enormous fun at Donegal man Little John Nee’s performance – he did extracts and songs from a few of his one man shows, including a song from the only punk in Letterkenny in 1976, and various short, hilarious odes to roosters, corn-can guitars and scangers.

He was followed by Dónal O’Kelly who read from his novel-in-progress, which is based in Mayo before and during the Shell to Sea protests. He read brilliantly – it was almost like watching one of his shows, as he took on each character’s accent and personality. He hasn’t got a publisher yet so he is open to all offers.

The Art Car Boot Sale was on again – a regular Sunday treat at Flat Lake – and I bought a gorgeous original abstract acrylic called ‘Red Kitchen’ by Margot Quinn for €20. Twenty euro!! Honest to God, where would you get it? We met poets Matthew Sweeney and Mary Noonan perusing the ceramics there and Mary took a photo of me as Frida Kahlo – funfair antics, Flat Lake style. It looks slightly daft as Frida’s head is huge compared to mine, but what matter.

I could tell you all about the wonderful art at the main auction, the vintage cars, the book stall, the bales of hay, the weather which was surprisingly good, the home-made buns and ice-cream, the tower made of books, Stephen Rea and various other well-known bods wandering about, the Eco Bus Café, the scrummy noodles, the gorgeous setting among trees and sheep and water... But, you know what, you should just go there next year yourself.


Portrait of the Artist with a Red Car - har har!

22 comments:

Kar said...

Sounds like a great time was had by all. Great pic's too!
Had a look at the painting it's fab! bargain price! can't wait to see it.
xx

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

It was ab fab, Kar. Highly recommended!

BarbaraS said...

It was fabulous, and I was so delighted and honoured to be a Prufrock, reading with ye all there. Your painting sounds like a real bargain - look forward to seeing that one.


Juno's such a cutie these days - aw!

And that photo with the red car - pricless. Well taken that one :)))

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

I was so proud of ye all, you were all brilliant.
Juno's as cute as pie (proud Mom syndrome...)
I WANT a red Mini!!

Uiscebot said...

Love the wellies! There were so many reasons I wanted to go to that. Emerging writer had a ticket for me and everything but couldn't go. Looks like a real blast.

Anna May said...

Great wellies and Juno is GORGEOUS !
Anna May x

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Colm, it's deadly. Not as frenetic as Electric Picnic, way cooler than your average serious lit event, and just great fun. Next year you'll have to go for sure. It's v kid friendly too - your little ones would probably love it.

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Thanks, Anna May. Her Daddy is pretty gorgeous too! :0)

Totalfeckineejit said...

Well done ,WRW, that looks like a great festival altogether.Well done and baby Juno looks in fine form.Ordered 'Nude' the other day from the book depository (free delivery) looking forward to it.Pip, pip!

Niamh B said...

Looks like a pretty brilliant festival alright, and Cillian Murphy at your gig, the guy likes poetry too!?! What a dream boat...

Ahem - Anyway - well done, well wear etc - will definitely be trying to go along to that one in the future.

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

TFE - free delivery? Nice one! I hope you enjoy it now.

Niamh - See Barbara's Bleeuugghh (side bar on my blog) for PHOTOGRAPHIC evidence of Cillian's dreamboat-like presence at our gig. Phwoaarr! Actually, it's just as well we didn't know he was there until after, iykwim...

Emerging Writer said...

Poetry Divas ride again. Lovely to see you there. I did enjoy listening to your baby poem while looking at Juno.
And did I mention I had a chat to Cillian after?! Talk about cheekbones.

Rachel Fenton said...

All looks completely bonkers and brilliant - and gorgeous leetle ladybird-baby-beetle!

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

EW - wow, would love to know what he said. Great to see you and meet the other Divas. See you at the Picnic.

Rachel - hello! Brillo n bonkers sums it up! If you ever come to the Emerald Isle, come in August and we'll go to Flat Lake together.

OSLO said...

Sounds great and love the photos, especially the one of Juno. You look fab too. My son has a toy Mini Cooper in red like the one in the photo so that every time he sees a real one he says, 'There's Aidan's car' so we LOVE those cars in this house.

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

THanks J. I just love minis. Doubt if I'll ever get one though. Sob, sigh. But I can dream!

Anti-Laureate said...

Juno's red robe is perfect for reflecting the glow of daddy's pride.

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Daddy IS very proud, as is Mammy. We are enthralled with her. She'll be at the FOC fest so you'll meet her!

Anti-Laureate said...

As for Cillian Murphy, my son bumped into him last week as he(Cillian) was out for a run on the Blackrock Road. Preserving those cheekbones takes even him work.

the watercats said...

I've got to try and get out to some festivals next year, if only to catch some of you poetry writers!.. Good to see little john nee too, he was the first person to accept our friend request on myspace, lol! His song writing and singing is fantastic!
Looks and sounds like you had a ball!

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

And what cheekbones they are...

Watercats - it's well worth going. You know, it's only €30 for a day ticket, which is brilliant value compared to other festivals.

Liz said...

Great rundown and pics, Nuala, my knee-knocking came through in that photo.... ;)Love the one of Finbar and Juno...and yes!that mini ...so cool!
I don't have my cable here to upload my pics to the computer but will do so when I get back on home ground again.
cheers
x