Yes But Are We Enemies? diary #2 - Derry

The feeling between the people on this project is already so exceptionally close and generous that it's really taken me aback. I always expect these things to be positive, but to go from space to space with such warmth and endless conversations between all those involved, to have such humour present, and for it to be so palpable, and so in the work, it's just wonderfully gratifying. All this set against the intensity of Derry was very engaging to say the least. It is such a distinct and powerful city, Derry, so tense though, it has to be said. The time I had there will stay with me, going from the Bogside area, the Free Derry museum, to the Guildhall, with it plantation history and its Londonderry Derry, there is such a such a historicity, of didactic opinion that, far more than my experience of Belfast, I felt it everywhere. I was staying in a heavily Republican area and even got into some conversations about my English accent, friendly ones, but real all the same. I found myself casually reading a book left out on a bookshelf for people to read in a cafe about the siege of Derry, called Never Surrender. I witnessed a march of orangemen through the city. The people are wonderful, hospitable and kind, and outwardly friendly, but the oft referred to history of the place is not a misnomer, not an ossified piece of some tourists myth. It is there, breathable, in the place, and in the poets too. All this is the context of such lovely times with Ailbhe, Billy, Patrick, Christodoulos, Sam and others.
The great strength of our event in Derry was the width and experimentation of the poets and their performances. So wonderful to see the work of Aodan McCardle, Ailbhe Hines, James King, Ellen Factor and others, all based in Derry, so experimentally vibrant and brilliant, complimenting the overall feeling of an Enemies event. This is the cutting edge of the Irish avant garde, that which should be far more prominent in the country and is thirsty for a chance to show itself it seems to me. The verbal arts centre was a wonderful venue and our event was part of the Irish wide culture night programme.
Aodan McCardle & Ailbhe Hines -
James Kings & Ellen Factor -
Sophie Collins & Robert Maclean -
Sam Riviere & Billy Ramsell -
Patrick Coyle & Christodoulos Makris -