It is no surprise that the creative scene is taking a bit of a hit throughout this period of lock down. The Jumble Magazine is committed to showcasing the musicians who are missing out on gigs, the artists who are missing out on exhibitions, the writers who can’t go to clubs and readings, and anybody who feels they are losing out on opportunities because of this hectic situation. If you are a local creative who feels this way, check out the submissions page and get in touch.
Let’s support each other.
Speaking of support, there are a lot of hardworking charities out there that are working extra hard throughout this crisis. If you are able to, please consider donating to some of the amazing charities and causes listed here.
A Year Spent In Love
By Leah Taylor
Almost a year spent in love
remembered fondly in coloured vignettes.
The first time I kissed you in a Dublin bar
to the first time I wore your kisses to work,
when you watched me cry as I turned 22
and you did the dishes while my stomach churned,
to the first time I saw you and I knew you saw me,
looking at the muse and the muse looking back.
Let there be a forever of first times
and let there never be a last time
in our long stretch of love.
Artist Profile: Sorrel
Sorrel is a 20-year-old up and coming digital artist from Belfast who is new to the cities arts scene as a creator. Sorrel spoke to The Jumble Magazine about finding inspiration in history, using accessible tools to make art, and the opportunities to expand creativity during the 2020 lock down.
I would describe my art as… cheap and easy.
I have a lot of different influences, many that I would like to include more in feature works. I’m really into medieval art, and the symbolism behind it. They all look so strange but if you know what the symbols represent you get a better idea of what the art is meant to convey. As I have only been drawing seriously for the last month or so the work I have up on my Instagram doesn’t really showcase this influence, but I have lots planned! I’m also really into old acid house flyers from like the 90s, I try to use a limited palette when I’m drawing so I often look to them for colour inspiration. Also fun to listen to when drawing!
What makes my art personal is my love of colour and simple shapes. My philosophy is that I want you to understand what I have drawn at a glance. I also use my mouse and a free program to draw everything, at first because I didn’t have anything else, but also to show that you don’t need to invest in anything to create and have fun.
I only started drawing seriously for the last month or so which I doubt I would have had the courage to do if it wasn’t for all the free time I had in lock down. I’m actually a history student at Queens so I always felt that the ship had sailed for art, but lock down has given me the space to create.
I really like the sense of community in the Belfast art scene. I remember what it was like pre-2008 so pre-cuts to the arts, and I think it’s getting back to that place which is really great to see. When I was a kid there was always stuff going on in the art scene, so it’s great to see that again.
You can find more of Sorrel’s work on Instagram.
The Dead Zoo
By Hannah Harman Colon
He asked me to meet him at the Natural History Museum at three. A weird location but quite typical of Jack. It only crossed my mind as I saw him waiting outside the entrance on Merrion Street that perhaps he had already visited the exhibition. I arrived at a deliberate eight minutes past. He could wait.
“Hey. Shall we?” I nodded towards the entrance.
His smile froze and I knew then that he had just finished wandering the place. There had been no secret code behind the suggestion. It suited him, that was all.
“Yeah. Let’s,” he grinned.
We walked in and I stopped to allow my eyes to adjust to the darkness, the looming shadowy-ness from the high ceilings contrasting painfully in my retinas after the sunny May afternoon outside. There was a faint rustling sound and I saw him palm a crumpled pink tenner into the narrow grimace of the donation box.
Suggested donation was a fiver; he had paid for us both. I had always read some significance into his insistence on paying for things: coffees to break up long library stints, frothy pints at the Pav by the cricket pitch. Watching this furtive gesture, I realised that he was simply shedding money as quickly and indiscriminately as possible. It was something grubby to be got rid of and certainly not cool, in our circle, to have in excess.
The main room downstairs was long and low-ceilinged. It housed the less exotic, more Irish creatures. And rocks.
“Let’s skip this and go upstairs.”
“No, no. Wait. There are some cool things here.”
It was the smell that I couldn’t stand: the powdered musky sweetness, ominously covering the darker, denser scent of decay. It made the memory of last night’s indulgence more vivid. I felt sick and wanted to leave.
“So show me your favourites then.”
We were no longer pretending that he had not already looped the place. He looked around eagerly as we walked down the main aisle, between two raised tables of various fossils. They were brightly lit and covered with thin panes of glass held together by rickety-looking wooden frames. I paused to admire a sparkling amethyst.
“Here! This guy definitely makes the cut.”
I looked up to see him pointing up at the pièce de résistance hanging from the ceiling in the centre of the room: the long slender body and unmistakable fin.
“What type of shark is it?”
I walked to join him at its mouth and saw what it was before he said it: a basking shark ( Cetorhinus maximus ). Obvious from the wide, harmless grin and slightly dazed look.
“I didn’t know they got that big.”
He turned to read the accompanying plaque, deftly summarising aloud: “One of the largest ever landed in Irish waters… Ew! A commercial basking shark fishery used to operate out of Achill Island in Mayo. This one was caught off Galway over a hundred years ago.”
We stared up at it. Such an undignified ending, suspended from the ceiling.
“I know they’re not interested in humans but I wouldn’t want to swim near it in Roundstone.”
He had told us about his parent’s summer house in the moneyed coastal suburb of Galway. We were all expecting to be invited this summer. It was obvious he was going to from the way he had brought it up so many times around Maud. That was the way to make things happen. Then she would rally everyone and magically bring it all together.
The walls were lined with frames of smaller sea creatures. I felt sorry for them. At least the basking shark had been hung up. A small wooden frame left you both exposed and embarrassingly sidelined. He joined me by the frames. I was aware now of how close he stood, the slow, barely audible sound of his breathing. I wish I’d worn something nicer than a ratty summer dress from last year, slightly too small so it grazed my thighs. It left my arms and legs bare, my neck and chest gaping. As if I was trying to remind him of last night. I had a lumpy woollen jumper in my bag but that would be even more conspicuous with the heat.
“Is that one empty?”
“I thought that too. But no, it’s not. Look closer.”
I stepped towards the frame and bent down slightly. At its centre was a tiny flash of something silver.
“What is that?”
“A weaverfish. They’re absolutely tiny because they disguise themselves as grains of sand in the shallows. But they have a massive spike. See that? So when you step on one, it’s agonising.”
I turned back towards him. He hadn’t shaved this morning so bristles of blond winked on his chin. He may not have had time between leaving mine and getting home to his parent’s house and then coming back into town to meet me.
“Seriously painful. I think the only time I’ve even seen my dad cry was when he stepped on a weaverfish.”
I stored this anecdote for later. Jack’s dad was a famous broadcaster and I knew my dad would relish hearing the detail.
“Can we go upstairs now?”
Jack smiled widely, as if indulging a child.
We retraced our steps around the room and out towards the entrance, passing glass cages showcasing twee families of hedgehogs ( Erinaceus europaeus ) and badgers ( Meles meles ) and other, boring land mammals native to Ireland. I paused by the heavy wooden stairs to look at the map of the exhibits. When I looked back at Jack he was staring at his phone, the ghost of a smile flitting across his face.
Was he texting her?
He looked up, sensing my eyes, and slid his battered Nokia into the pocket of his orange corduroy trousers. He was at this point known on campus for his abhorrence of social media and modern technology, whipping out his ancient, dumb phone at parties. There was something publicly intimate about his interactions with it too; the slow, jabbing movements as he laboured over a text, scrolling through his phonebook to find a number. Not to mention the furtive enquiries needed to get his number or the satisfaction when he asked for yours. I could remember where I was when he asked me for mine. As we climbed the stairs, I wondered whether Maud knew by now. He would not have texted her about it. Maybe he had called her, speaking softly in the early hours of the morning on the Dart train from mine because he knew she was hungover. As was he.
The first floor was busier and brighter with its yellowed walls. Light washed down from the overhead windows. There were two higher balconies, narrow corridors framed by thin white railings from which you could inspect each giant rib of the fin whale ( Balaenoptera
physalus ) and the humpback whale ( Megaptera novaeangliae ) hanging from the ceiling. The fin whale had washed up in Bantry Bay in 1862. I didn’t need to check the plaque; the fact had stored itself effortlessly in my mind many years ago. The higher floors had been recently closed to the public. I felt sorry for younger kids who would not remember the giddy fear of looking down at the frozen zoo from a height, clinging to my dad’s trouser legs and imagining the animals coming to life.
“So will you show me your favourite?”
I laughed. “There are too many.”
We were separated by children weaving around our legs closely followed by cringing parents, whispering apologies as if to make up for the noise of their offspring. This floor was more peopled but not yet crowded. Primary school would still drag on for two months.
Our exams began on Monday and two weeks after that we would be free for over four months. I had already begun updating my CV to look for a summer job. Our college group would drift for the season back to our pre-college lives, catching up with estranged friends from secondary school. Maud and Jack would return at the end of the summer, tanned and rested, from extended holidays with their families. They might meet up with each other like they did last year, their families overlapping in Venice by chance. I passed the zebra ( Equus burchellii chapmanni ) and followed my usual path towards the lions ( Panthera leo ).
Jack had stopped in front of the African hippo ( Hippopotamus amphibious ). It had been mounted at an angle so that its front legs were raised and its hulking chest towered over us. There was something comical even in its ferocity; its lower tusks massive compared to its tiny ears. Astounding how something so ugly could look so proud.
“That’s how I felt waking up this morning.”
The first allusion to last night so far. I forced a laugh and turned away. I heard his footsteps behind me. I didn’t want to look at the lions with him. I didn’t want to reveal them as my favourite and, in so doing, consent to the anecdote he would later present. So I stopped suddenly and feigned an interest in whatever was in front of me. The glass reflected a short girl in a too-short yellow dress. Her dark hair was pinned up, messily, and her skin was shining with the heat of the day. Beside her, he was all pale, gangly limbs, with bright grey-blue eyes.
“Are these your favourite?”
I blinked and looked through the glass. I had stopped in front of the male and female grey wolves ( Canis lupus lupus ), their flat, glassy eyes staring through us. The male was in front and had been positioned so that he was angled towards the smaller female, as if he was protecting her from our gaze. She was further back but looking out, over the male’s sloping neck, right at Jack.
“So if you were an animal, would you be a wolf?”
He was looking at me. I wasn’t a wolf. I couldn’t be. They reminded me of Maud and Jack. Sleek and decisive, glittering in their pale fur. And their proximity to one another: not touching, not yet, but instinctively inclined towards one another, even while looking elsewhere.
“Of course not.”
I stepped away from the exhibit and felt their eyes follow me. Jack’s too. To soften this I quickly added: “In those trousers you could be an orang-utang.”
He laughed and lingered in front of the monkeys. It gave me a moment to pause by the lion exhibit, one row behind the wolves. I wasn’t interested in the male lion, lounging centre stage in the fiery ring of his mane. It was the female that snared me, standing beside, one paw less than a centimetre off the ground. Her head had been tilted and her brown eyes were downcast, fixed on something. Her mouth was slightly open, not wide enough to show her teeth but the intention to. She had spotted her prey. If I stared long enough without blinking, I could see her nostrils flare with scent, the hairs in her ears quiver as she picked up a sound I could never hear. I was not a lion but I had gone after what I wanted last night. A successful hunt. I was drunk, as was he, but I had intent. Didn’t I? What else would explain the impeccable timing? Waiting until Maud was vomiting into one of the many bathrooms of her dad’s house in Dalkey. Striking as the alcohol took hold and lifted us off the pub’s sticky dance floor. The floorboard creaked beside me.
“What else is there? You seem to know the place inside out.”
I looked back at him. He was smiling. He thought I was a wolf. He was completely in love with Maud. He didn’t look at her like he did at me, kindly, passively.
“I used to come here a lot with my dad. I think I’ll head, actually. I need to get back to the library.”
“Okay. Will we go to the pharmacy now or…”
He trailed off.
“I’ll get it later.”
He nodded. For a moment, I could see him struggle with how to manage offering me the twenty five euro to cover the costs of the morning-after pill. There was something inherently unequal about me paying for it. Biologically. Socio-economically. But the thought of going to the pharmacy with him right now was excruciating. I felt something close to pain even imagining it.
I turned to leave before he could say anything else. On my way out, I passed the lioness. I wondered idly whether she had been hunting when she was shot or whether she was later stuffed and set in a pose, subject to the quiet harms enclosed in taxidermy. I hoped they had exhibited her as they found her. But I forgot all about her as soon as the warmth outside enveloped me once again.
Artist Profile: Jordain Molloy Gillen
Jordain Molloy Gillen is an artist and designer based between Belfast and Ballymena. Jordain is enjoys anything holistic, including crystals, oracle, astrology and nature. Jordain spoke to The Jumble Magazine about being a queer artist, storytelling through art, and the local creative scene.
My work explorers the mystical, queer, pecuiliar, kooky and elaborate, creating a world full of wonder, dream, mystery and curiosity.
I am primarily inspired by nature, astrology, mythology and storytelling, which is reflected heavily within my work. I like to create work which tells a story or reflects on a particular moment in time. When creating one of my main objectives is to offer a form of escapism from the real world.
Everything I create is special to me as it holds a concept, meaning or story which is personal or has inspired me as a person. A lot of my work features the sun, the moon and the stars as for me they hold meaning and dreamlike qualities that I want to share with others.
Being in lock down I’ve had time to really focus and explore my inner self. I’ve done little pieces of journaling here and there and have been really experimenting with my practice. I’ve created a lot of new work which I am very excited to share with the rest of the world. I have never been so inspired and grounded as I am now.
What I love about the local art scene is that most people are very supportive and encouraging. Everyone seems to know everyone else and we are continuing to grow everyday. Supporting one another is helping one another to grow and this is something which I think is very important. If we all support one another we will all bloom together.
Local Music: Garrett Laurie
Garrett Laurie is a Belfast based musician who has recently released the new EP ‘Crying on Cue’. Garrett spoke to The Jumble Magazine all about taking inspiration from religious choir music from childhood, 90s horror movies, self indulgence in lock down and cult movies like ‘Heathers’:
I have always sang, and been involved with music and performing, but I began writing and making my own music as a teen. I took to uploading rough covers and demos online as I found the direction I wanted to take my music. I released my first EP project ‘Crying on Cue’ in July this year. The project is a Hollywood film inspired demo EP of old poems I set to music starting in mid-2018.
How would you describe your musical style?
I generally describe my music as genre-less for the most part because most of my inspiration comes from fashion and film.
“If I had to give a visual descriptor of my music I would probably summarise it as ‘Sidney Prescott and Laura Palmer at a seance somewhere on the West Coast’ (not kidding.) “
What inspires you most to make music?
I tend to be inspired by older, female folk, rock and RnB artists…something in the way they reflect on beauty and ageing and navigating personal struggles in a male dominated industry has always struck me. I often write from a genderless perspective in my songs, so I think these women are a kind of subconscious voice I return to when I write from points of view that aren’t my own.
I grew up a choir boy/ theatre kid, which is something I felt for a while as a young adult no longer served me. When I began writing prolifically a few years back I started to realise the influence that religious music and those theatrical environments I came of age in had on me. I was surprised how melding these sounds from my childhood felt seamless, like they’d always just been. Thriller and horror films from the 90s are a big inspiration for my music too. The nostalgia I feel after watching movies like ‘Fear’ or ‘The Craft’ is the kind of warmth I try to bring to my own music…I’ve always felt very odd and misunderstood when it comes to my approach to music, and I think the main roots of my inspiration may really just be my awareness of feeling like the odd one out. Owning that has given me access to any area of music I feel connected to.
What is your favourite piece of music you have made so far?
Hmm… probably a song I have been playing around with for almost a year now, it’s called ‘Dying To Tell You’. Kind of like most songs off ‘Crying on Cue’, it kind of felt like it wrote itself, in minutes. Those songs are usually the most exciting because they leave no space for self doubt at all really. So yea, I would say at the moment at least, that one is my favourite… also because it is the first song I knew for certain would be on my next EP.
What should readers start with to get into your music?
I think out of the tracks I have released so far, ‘All to Myself’ speaks for the character of most of my music. Not sonically necessarily, but for its mood and perspective. The selfishness of the title was my way of making fun of myself and how self-centred the contents of the song actually are. The melody and production on it though says that it takes itself quite seriously, so I think my own amusement at that dichotomy may be my reason to think of it as an interesting one to start with.
Obviously the music scene is very different this year to how it used to be, but do you have any big plans coming up?
I do… kind of… I’m currently re-planning a joint headline show in Belfast which was postponed due to Covid-19. For the same reason, there is no set date yet but yea, I will be playing material from my latest EP, ‘Crying on Cue’ which I only just released this July. I will play some new songs from my upcoming EP and some of my own takes of my favourites from other artists.
How have you found that the lock down has affected your work and the local music scene as a whole?
‘Crying on Cue’ was scheduled for release in late April, following the release of my first single from the project, ‘Have Fun.’ When lock down came around these plans were halted as well as the show I had scheduled for April 29th to debut it. Given the social restriction of that time, I used the social media and dating app theme of my lead single ‘Have Fun’, to use Photo Booth photos as the promotional material for the release. The nature of ‘Crying on Cue’ is focused on ego, isolation and self-indulgence in these things, and so the music video I made for the single at the beginning of lock down took a self-made and found footage direction, which luckily worked perfectly for the project.
The concept for my next EP, ’Barbies with Betty Finn’ came around this time also, as I watched ‘Heathers’ one night and I heard Heather Chandler fire out this line. Heather in a rage tells Veronica ‘You were nothing before you met me. You were playing Barbies with Betty Finn.’ My idea for the EP was to use the sentiment of this insult to summarise the project’s main theme of reflection on childhood isolation and social exile, beneath nostalgic visuals as a kind of comment on the temptation to romanticise our problems and put a stylistic spin on them, kind of like these 80s and 90s American movies like ‘Heathers’ do. The self-awareness at the heart of that film is the centrepiece of ‘Barbies with Betty Finn’.
Stream ‘Crying on Cue’ now on Spotify and Bandcamp and follow Garrett Laurie on Instagram and Facebook for updates on gigs and the release of ‘Barbies with Betty Finn’.‘All to Myself’ is also featured on The Jumble Magazine Local Music Playlist, which you can check out here.