Come here to me!

Sam McGrath takes us through the highlights of a highly entertaining night of culture and politics in Dublin.

Artists and musicians came together in Dublin’s Sugar Club on Thursday, 4th June for ‘Dublin Songs and Stories’, a night organised by the social history website ‘Come Here To Me!’ and promoter Johnny Moy.

The evening spanned subjects from Dublin street photography to renowned artist Jim Fitzpatrick discussing his poster depictions of the revolutionaries Che Guevara and Joe McCann.

The night began with photographer, Aidan Kelly, discussing his passionate love for his city. He discussed his collaborative project with graffiti artist DMC, work with Mental Health Ireland challenging stigma through street art and his series of photographs focused on people waiting at the Spire in Dublin’s O’Connell Street.

Among the night’s music contributions were performances by Pete Holidai who played favourites from his time with the Radiators from Space, including ‘Under Clery’s Clock’ and ‘Faithful Departed’, and Dublin folk singer Barry Gleeson with rough and ready renditions of Dublin ballads.

Renowned artist Jim Fitzpatrick was informally interviewed by Come Here To Me’s Donal Fallon about his life, his art and his politics. The grandson of a political cartoonist and a son of a newspaper photo-journalist, Dublin-born Fitzpatrick is known worldwide for his artwork in three distinct fields – music, designing album covers for artists including Thin Lizzy and Sinead O’Connor; political poster art and highly stylised graphic art inspired by Celtic mythology.

The many anecdotes from Fitzpatrick included one about a well-heeled middle-aged woman who bought out every Che poster at a gallery in Dublin in the late 1960s in order to tear each one in half before walking out. He also spoke of his friendship with former leading Official Republican Malachy McGurran and his long-standing involvement in progressive politics.

Also performing was hip-hop MC Costello who fired up the crowd up with his uncompromising Dublin rap. A member of the ‘Street Literature’ crew who operate under the Workin’ Class Records label, Costello tackles personal and wider social issues in his music.

Editor of the acclaimed photo-book ‘Where Were You? Dublin Youth Culture and Street Style 1950 – 2000’, Garry O’Neill spoke to the audience about his second project which will explore the history of record shops in Dublin from 1909 to the present. He spoke about the painstaking process of tracking down shop owners, shop assistants and music fans to interview as well as collecting photographs, advertisements and newspaper articles.

Also appearing were spoken word artist and Bohemians FC Poet in Residence, Lewis Kenny, whose poems spanned subjects as diverse as nightclubs and hugging your hard-working mother – the latter left every single person in the room thinking about their relationship with their parents. Rounding off the night was street artist Maser whose visual presentation took us through his early years as a graffiti artist in the mid-1990s to working with stickers and stencils to going legal. One of Ireland’s most exciting contemporary artists, Maser has showcased his talent in the United States, Berlin and Sydney in the last couple of years.

As well as playing a vital role in showcasing the best in Dublin culture the night also saw nearly €2,000 raised for the non-profit Suicide and Self-Harm Crisis Centre that offers an important confidential, free-of-charge counselling service.

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