2015 / 22:00 – 22:20 [gmt] Irish Radio / Live from Dublin

Work In Progress…


Radio station:                                 RTÉ lyric fm
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Work In Progress:satellit
Three portraits rolled into one of James Joyce and the writing of his last novel Finnegans Wake.

Part 1 “Adam & Eve’s”
The book opens with the river Liffey in Dublin flowing past Adam & Eve’s church (Joyce reverses this as “Eve & Adams” in accordance with the malevolent and sexist Christian idea of fall and resurrection) on the quays. This is a real church founded on an old tavern. Everything in Ireland still revolves around the Church and the Tavern: most of us are unfortunately Christened and buried in the church rites; most of us sin and/or procreate through meeting the significant other in the Tavern.  The latter is much more enjoyable and the Devil still has all the best tunes!
This short section juxtaposes radio recordings of a Catholic mass and drinkers in pubs in the cities of Cork & Dublin. Here the Body of Christ can be a packet of crisps, the Blood of Christ a pint of Guinness, the sacred words on the night of His betrayal the incoherent ramblings of a drunk, the altar bell as the last call for last orders before the pub is closed. It is church and tavern.

Part 2 “thin lips, hair erect, loose carriage”
-The words of CP Curran, one of Joyce’s closet friends in the Dublin of his youth, the city he would not return to. Here we have radio archive recording of various witnesses who knew Joyce as a poor schoolboy in a largely miserable childhood. Joyce draws extensively on his past in Finnegans Wake.

Part 3 “in the middle is the sounddance”
In the buginning is the woid, in the muddle is the sounddance and thereinofter you’re in the unbewised again…
-writes Joyce in Finnegans Wake dream language, a language full of puns and working on many levels simultaneously. This section deals with the closing of the book (which is paradoxically also its opening): the river speaks as she flows out into the sea (she is Anna Livia Plurabelle).
I drew on a few sentences from this ending/beginning and set out to place the voice within a series of voices, sometimes listening, sometimes commenting, sometimes abusive, sometimes oblivious to Anna Livia as she passes out into oblivion and eternity.

 

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