June 4th 2015 – Ulster Hall, Belfast
Wells and Tracy Kane
When he donkey was a very small donkey and had no idea what its ears or clipping hooves were for, it overheard two birds talking on a branch.
“Look at that little donkey,” one bird said to the other.
And the donkey, because it was only young and had not yet grown into its ears, heard the word monkey where the bird had said donkey. He fancied himself capable of walking almost upright now, of climbing trees and grasping fruit between his forelegs like a human child, eating. The donkey did his best to live as a monkey.
He was always disappointed and ashamed of his unnatural cravings for hay. The other donkeys avoided him in social settings. He did not care. They were not monkeys like him.
They said, “that donkey had airs and graces above his standing.”
Secretly they were jealous of the young donkey. He had not yet managed to climb a whole tree but had certainly been higher than any other donkey in the field.
June 5th 2015 – Belfast
In the corner of the pub a group of girls are using their mobile phones to video the approach of each of their friends in turn. There are around twelve of them in total, hooting like unhinged things. They are dressed for June in a much warmer city. Later tonight they will raise their mobile phones high above the glass-empty remains of the evening and video each girl’s exit: backwards, past the parasol and the boys smoking by the outdoor heater. When they are old and probably married, they will come across these videos of their taught-bellied, former selves, coming and going in summer tops, and they will remember how little there was to fill their days, and how full they always were.
June 6th 2015 – Botanic Avenue, Belfast
Diana Decaris Champa
In English we did not work so we tried translation. I was particularly keen on French but soon realized that a harsh truth is just as heavy when delivered with romantic intonation. Architecture was your best attempt at translation yet you could not decide if we were detatched or semi-detatched or stubbornly terraced. Soon the very foundations were not strong enough to support us. Sign language was equally disappointing.
“I feel like we’re just playing rock, scissors, paper here,” I said, with my hands and all you saw was a fist, falling in the most violent fashion.
In the end we were reduced to quadratic equations; less than or equal to everything we had previously been.
June 7th 2015 – Waterfront Hall, Belfast
As usual there is an argument over who will go first.
Peppa Pig point blank refuses, the incident at the children’s festival, still fresh in her mind. Fireman Sam and Buzz Lightyear are, despite all obvious assumptions, demure types, given to hanging back with the balloon modelers. Snow White would make most sense for she is a reasonably ordinary looking girl in a dress; the only character in the group not required to wear a headpiece.
“I’m having a bad hair day,” she says, in lieu of retreat, and pushes Olaf the Snowman out the door first.
The others troop after, each grasping the padded hem of the character in front. Their costumes narrow at the ankle, constricting movement. They shuffle forwards into the throng of sugared children, lurching and stopping like blind men leading other blind men.
Olaf the Snowman cannot see shit through his eye slots and his carrot nose collides with the popcorn machine. He draws back suddenly, upsets Peppa Pig, begins a process which is like dominos falling, or books.
This is how the trouble started.
June 8th 2015 – Ulster Hall, Belfast
In the storms over the weekend a further two letters have fallen off the Ulster Hall sign. A man approaches the box office counter holding the letter L.
“Is this yours?” he asks. “I found it lying in the street.”
The sign now reads “LSTR HAL.” The sound of this when said quickly is a throat disorder or a Swedish holiday resort.
The first four letters have also fallen off the Central Station signs. The remaining letters glow in the dark like Scrabble tiles trying their best to say something. Perhaps, you think, the city is shuffling around itself, attempting to leave messages for anyone keen enough to read.
Take a consonant from this place, a vowel from another, rearrange them to make a shop front sentence:
“Things fall apart.”
“Somebody save me from myself.”
Belfast is coming apart at the seams.
June 9th 2015 – Ulster Hall, Belfast
On Tuesday a bad thing happened. Unlike other bad things which had happened to her in the past, this bad thing was neither smooth, nor circular in shape. It was a kind of oblong and rough to the touch, like the gritted texture of a crab’s shell. She placed it in her handbag, making room for the bad thing amongst the paperback novels and red lipsticks, (four, in a variety of whore red shades). All day, her handbag felt heavier than usual. It dug into her shoulder leaving a groove, three inches in diameter, the colour of mouths, inside. That night, when she emptied her handbag before bed, the bad ting was still there but there were many other things attached to it: tissues, hairbrushes, kind words from old friends, a cup of coffee she had not asked for, but desperately needed. The bad thing was not diminished, but no longer quite as sharp around the edges.
June 10th 2015 – Botanic Avenue, Belfast
In my head I am inventing a dating agency aimed at impoverished writers. Impoverished writers drawn from a wide range of genders, sexual orientations and postal codes will be paired with independently wealthy individuals who lack personality; the sort of people you introduce yourself to a second and third time, having found them, in the first instance, remarkably forgettable. Impoverished writers will help these poor souls to appear mysterious at dinner parties and weddings, will write stories where the characters are named after their dullish other halves, will act, at all times, like spotlights, ensuring even the most non-descript pen pusher appears illuminated in their presence. In return the impoverished writers will receive three square meals a day, lodging and the occasional moleskin notebook.