Finished ‘Pornografia’ by Witold Gombrowicz (pictured, front page) and it will be a long time before I read one of his novels again. He, himself, is a character in the book and there is nothing impressive or provocative or memorable about the boring story of two middle-aged men in wartime Poland voyeuristically scheming to bring two 16-year-olds together, and a parallel story of the underground execution of a partisan who has lost the stomach for war. Can’t understand the praise for his writing – among whom a chief proponent of which is that other bluffer, Milan Kundera. (Can’t help it! What is life if we don’t have opinions!)
Did an interview with Julie McCullough of BBC TV Northern Ireland, looking back at ‘Ulster ’71’, which I visited in Botanic Gardens one very wet Friday afternoon in late May 1971 and appeared to me as ‘Twelfth Lite’. It goes out on Monday week.
3rd June. Finished ‘Wolf Among Wolves’ by Hans Fallada. It was a long read at 800 pages and I felt that it wobbled towards the end. I think I was expecting something different.
1st June. Seanna Walsh, Mary Doyle and I spoke at a hunger strike meeting in a hotel in Letterkenny. Good turnout.
30th May. Wrote a small feature for the ‘Donegal Daily’, advertising a hunger strike meeting I would be speaking at.
22nd May. Did a BBC Sunday Sequence interview from RTE in Dublin re the Queen’s visit.
21st May. Spoke, along with Bik McFarlane, at an event in the Irish Film Institute, Dublin, on ‘The Legacy of the 1981 Hunger Strike’. It was chaired by historian, Professor Diarmaid Ferriter, who was very impressive, even though he looks like an extra from the film, ‘Snatch’. The discussion explored the legacy of the hunger strikes from varying political, social and cultural perspectives. Speakers included NCAD Director, Declan MacGonagle; liberal unionist Jeffrey Dudgeon; and a filmmaker whose names escapes me, even though he helped make the film, ‘H3’, and described the trouble he went through to see it finished.
19th May. Finished the design on a new poster, an Irish translation by poet Gabriel Rosenstock of Bobby Sands’ ‘The Rhythm of Time’.
18th May. Participated in Radio Ulster’s ‘Talkback’ as a guest of Wendy Austin with Alex Kane and Patricia McBride on the visit of the British Queen to the Republic of Ireland.
Interviewed by research student Thomas Leahy, King’s College, London, whose MA is about ‘the use of informers and agents against the IRA from 1969 to 1998’ and whether ‘informers contained and restrained the Republican Movement’.
17th May. Was part of panel discussion at Queen’s University on the subject, ‘Reflections: Political Imprisonment in Ireland (1970-2000).
Published a piece on my website about the Queen’s visit to the Irish Republic, titled, ‘Arrival of the Queen of Sheep’.