Thursday, July 28, 2011


My camera has run our of battery so I regret no photo this time.
Last Sunday afternoon I went for a long walk around where I live, particularly to The Bleeding Horse tavern in Camden Street. It is mentioned at least twice in Ulysses and they have quotes set in concrete at each entrance. A board outside advertised what was available and at the end was a note:- Writers'Night To-night 8 p.m.' so I walked in to the bar and asked about it. The barman was a pleasant young man with red hair and designer bristle.
"The writers come to-night to read their work, Any one can come'" and he showed me the space, unchanged since 1904 when James Joyce wrote about it. And at the back the very benches where Joyce and later Brendan Behan had sat.
Ï'll be here,'I promised myself and dashed home to the hostel to change, slacks and T shirt did not seem appropriate for meeting the ghosts of Joyce and Behan.
Shortly before 8p.m.I walked through the bar to the 'Writers'space' A notice hung on the railing 'This Space Reserved @ 8p.m. I ordered a glass of wine and waited, and waited, and waited. On the wall near the bar was a notice BEWARE OF PICKPOCKETS AND LOOSE WOMEN. I looked around the bar, full of little spaces, and stairways leading to balconies overlooking everything.The afternoon shift had gone, the bar staff flitted busily. I could not see my red headed friend anywhere. Finally qabout 8.25 I asked
a barman, probably Romanian, 'When will the writers night start?'
He looked bewildered, asked a rapid question of a more senior bartender.
Neither knew of a Writers'Night.
An Irishman came in and began setting up a sound system on the little dais which housed the benches Behan and Joyce had once sat on.
Writers'Night? He had never heard of a band called that.
So I came home and spent the rest of Sunday listening to an Australian motorbike fanatic from Perth and an Irishman called Brendon who rode a beautiful red Honda.
And I pass the Bleeding Horse every day when I walk into Camden Street, but I have not seen that red headed bar tender since.

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