Artist Profile: Rachel Browne
Rachel Browne Is a designer and illustrator from Killyleagh, County Down. Rachel graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 2019 with a specialism in printed textile design, and is currently working as a freelance creative doing everything from videography to illustration and mural painting. Rachel spoke to The Jumble Magazine all about running art workshops for kids, the recent lock down, and using art as a means to get through periods of anxiety.
I would describe my art as expressive and playful, depicting an outlandish perspective of the world through the eyes of my inner-child.
I’m Inspired by my experience running art workshops for kids, and discovering all the imagination that they harbour. For my graduate printed textile collection my aim was to create designs that encourage people to reconnect with their inner-child, I believe this is important for our well-being, especially in a corporate world where we’re often told to suppress that side of us. I’m inspired by the people I want to design for.
“I love gender fluid fashion, funky prints and the creative, outspoken individuals who wear them.”
More recently my muse has been surfing and skateboarding culture, particularly female skateboarders and their whole aesthetic.
As a child I grew up in a creative household and was encouraged to draw and stretch my imagination. Now when I’m ever overwhelmed or anxious I try to escape from reality through my work and channel parts of my childhood self into my design. I find this enhances my well-being and is why my style has such a nostalgic feel to it.
For me creating over lockdown has been my rescue remedy. The restrictions have motivated me to develop my more commercial style and build on my skills. I’ve been exploring digital illustration and I designed a range of lockdown themed postcards which I’ve been selling on my Etsy shop.
Having been in Glasgow for the past four years I’m just getting to know the local art scene over here. It’s a small but vibrant community and I feel like it’s beginning to grow. I love how welcoming and friendly people are and keen to collaborate as well as share advice. You can check out more of Rachel’s work on Instagram or at www.rachelbrowne.co.uk
Music at Home: An Interview with Somebody’s Child
Cian Godfrey is an emerging multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter from Dublin, and he is also the frontman of Somebody’s Child. Since appearing on the scene, Somebody’s Child have played the BBC introducing stage at Reading and Leeds in 2019, and have made an appearance on RTES The Late Late Show. Their new single ‘We Could Start a War’ has just been released. Cian chatted to The Jumble Magazine about anonymity in music, music he is loving, and the upcoming EP ‘20-Something‘.
Tell us a bit about yourself, how did Somebody’s Child come about?
I got into music at a pretty early age, at around 16 I started writing my own music, and started studying it in college, that’s when I got off my ass and started trying to do something about it. As an act, the name Somebody’s Child resonated to me as it did not allude to male or female, a band or a solo act, it gave nothing away. I like that anonymity. Beforehand, as a songwriter I really struggled to come up with a distinct sound : once I was able to put a name on my music that wasn’t my personal name I felt more free to let the creative juices flow. The music was always made for a band, so I needed a band around me- and shortly after my first song I got one. Almost two years later, here we are.
So We Could Start a War is the second single off of ‘20-Something’: what’s the vibe of the EP?
Sonically, 20-Something is the first time we have reached a place we are happy with, I was always playing around with past singles in terms of what I really wanted to release, and sometimes that takes time- but for the first time I had a whole collection of music I wanted to put out there, mostly because it actually matched what I love to listen to. I was brought up on classical music, but that didn’t resonate with me as a child and I gravitated to pop, as I got older my friends got me into that indie rock style, and you can hear elements of all of that in the music. Lyrically, all four of the songs talk about my life as a young adult, I’m 25 now, and it’s a strange age, people move away and relationships change, all while you’re still trying to find your feet. There’s a lot of anxiety involved, especially with the current political climate in the backdrop. 20-Something is my representation of all of that, it’s the world around me- as accurately as I can describe it.
What music are you loving at the minute? Any local artists?
I’m really into Sam Fender at the minute. I love what he’s doing, he’s across the water, but the UK has a whole lot of alternative music, so I think that’s where a whole lot of my influences lie. Back home, I went to college with the guys from Fontaines D.C, and they’ve definitely had an influence on me too. I try not to get stuck on one artist for too long, I like to mix it up, I find that if I spend too long on one artist it can start to filter into my own songwriting.
I noticed that your song ‘Hold Me Like You Wanna’ has an isolation music video. How was that process?
It was pretty easy actually. Normally; videos are really expensive, and obviously not possible during the peak of the lock down, but I knew we all had lots of footage, and we get tagged in fan footage all the time, so I thought it would be a good idea to utilise that and get a whole community around us involved. We asked everyone around us to send stuff in, and it matched the whole theme of Hold Me Like You Wanna which is nostalgia. The video was full of footage of us playing gigs, which were all super nostalgic for right now, so that felt fitting.
I take it you’re looking forward to getting back to gigging then! You’ve played reading and leeds in the past …Do you prefer indoor or outdoor gigs?
Good question! I think I probably prefer outdoor, but we have only had one summer as an act, so there’s not a whole lot to compare just yet. There’s a certain buzz that comes with an outdoor gig, but that does come with the downside of having to lug around a whole load of gear at a festival. I guess when the weathers great the outdoor gigs are ideal.
Post lockdown: what’s the plan?
It’s a little bit up in the air, well no- it’s a lot up in the air. We have gigs planned that we are hoping to announce for 2021 (including a Belfast date) but it all depends on what the world looks like and how safe it would be to do that by then. There’s more music coming too, so watch out for that, we’re using this time that we can’t gig to make as much music as possible.
You can also listen to their music on Spotify.
Check out We Could Start a War on The Jumble Magazine Local Music Playlist.
Interview by Sam Dineen
Artist Profile: Caolan Teague
Caolan Teague is a final year Graphic Design and Illustration Student at Belfast School of Art. Apart from drawing, Caolan’s main hobbies are playing guitar, listening to vinyl records, and eating pizza. Caolan chatted to The Jumble Magazine about finding inspiration, collaborative projects, and the Belfast arts scene.
My art takes on a lot of different styles, so I find it difficult to describe it with one sentence, but I am trying to narrow it down to a more consistent, overall style. That said, I find the things I keep consistent are strong and limited colour palettes, varying weight and textures in my line work, and interesting subjects.
Inspiration for drawing comes from different sources in different ways. Depending on the mood I’m in, I can think of little ideas for spot illustrations off the top of my head and get to creating. However, when completing bigger projects I tend to do more sketchbook ideas and research using tools such as social media and books for references and influence. Recently, I’ve been really into works on instagram by @sonnydraws, @flesh.png, Livia Fălcaru and Rupert Gruber. I enjoy looking at other artists’ colour palettes and subjects, using these as part of the influence for what I create. My university work has recently been influenced by more serious themes such as climate change and the environmental effects, as well as the mental strain climate change can cause to some people.
I feel like the subjects I choose are influenced by my own personal interests, such as music and the environment. My line work seems to set my work apart from others in that it tends to be a little wiggly and overlapping, giving it a unique appearance compared to more crisp clean lines seen in other illustrations. Along with this, I tend to use textures along with colour to give my artwork a bit more life as opposed to using flat blocks of colour.
Before lock down I was in the middle of my second semester at university. When that was cut short I had to adapt my work so I could complete my projects at home. This involved a complete change in style and direction which really paid off in the end. I took part in creating a lockdown zine “The New Normal” which involved myself and several of my classmates and was curated by Elle McGreevy. I feel this collaborative project helped kickstart a chain of drawings which I created more for enjoyment than necessity as with my university work. Since then I’ve been trying to get ideas out on paper as soon as they come to me and try to develop them into fun little illustrations.
The art scene in Belfast is really buzzing at the moment, it’s great to see so many different types of creativity emerging. I’m a big fan of street art and I feel like the city has some excellent pieces that really showcase the talent we have living here. Along with art, music is also a big part of my life so going to local band gigs has a really good atmosphere. I follow several local artists such as Fiona McDonnell and Cathal Duane who are constantly putting out amazing illustrations, which I love, as it makes me aspire to be creative and be playful with my work.
Artist Profile: Lydia Bell
Lydia Bell is an artist who has just finished a foundation course in South Eastern regional college who hopes to move on to studying Fine Art at Ulster University. Lydia’s work focuses on nature and animals, inspired by her surroundings. Lydia spoke to the Jumble about her artwork and the lock down.
I would describe my work as expressive with movement. However, it’s also a major focus of mine to make sure that my work has an informative quality to it. I am inspired by my surroundings, mainly from looking around at the family farm I live on and the rural landscape that accompanies it.
The passion I portray through my work is what makes it more personal, I look at subjects and messages which I then try to get across to the viewer through the visuals that I create. For example, I ran a virtual exhibition over lock down on my Facebook page with the message of positive farming behind it.
Lock down has made me look at things in a new way and prompted me to take more time to explore my surroundings in greater detail than before. This has led to my work blossoming in a new direction- suddenly I’m using a lot more bright colours, as well as more expressive marks within my paintings.
What I love about the local art scene is how it allows me to understand how differently each individual artist sees the world around them, and how that viewpoint translates into their preferred medium and art style. It’s so important for the viewer to see things through the artist’s eyes.
Music for a Cause: Bangers n’ Mash (Ups)
Bangers n’ Mash (Ups) is a compilation album of local artists covering other local artists, with all proceeds going to She Sells Sanctuary; a non-profit raising money for domestic violence charities in NI. The idea for the album came from the women who make up local punk band Problem Patterns, who organised the 18 artists to put it all together. The Jumble Magazine spoke to Problem Patterns about this project.
What inspired you to come up with this idea?
Okay, so the idea is sort of a two part thing. Ciara had always loved the idea of local bands covering other local bands and had always wondered why it had never been done before (in our lifetime at least). So, I guess that idea had always been on the back burner. However, the charity compilation came from a bit of a sadder place. Ciara heard a story of a death happening because of domestic violence local to her and just felt so horrified and helpless. What could be done for that poor human being? That’s when we decided to marry the two ideas and raise money for domestic violence charities using our resources. It has become even more apparent how important this is with recent allegations of abuse coming to light within the music scene. We all have to do better and we need to have these conversations, people need to feel safe in music.
How long did it take for Bangers n’ Mash (Ups) to come together?
It was fast paced. The idea came at the end of May. So, the bands had just about a month to submit and we did some PR in the background but it was pulled together fairly quickly. We decided together which bands we wanted to get involved and the response was insane. We expected just a few replies, it was incredibly heartwarming to see so many folks get onboard. We never imagined it to become so big to be honest. We are overwhelmed in the best way.
Which cover on the album do you think is the most unlike its original version?
Honestly, every single band has put their stamp on the songs. It genuinely sounds like everyone wrote the song they’re covering. Without a doubt, Charles Hurts doing This Ship Argo is the biggest transformation. They took a sad, multi layered synth masterpiece and made it an upbeat, swing tune. However, some honourable mentions go to Junk Drawer, Mob Wife, This Ship Argo, and Fears for making their covers almost unrecognisable as well.
By getting artists to cover their creative peers you are also creating a bond and understanding of each other’s music within the local music scene, do you think this sense of togetherness will have an effect on the music scene once everything is back up and running after lock down?
I hope so! That was kind of the idea, we knew we were asking a huge favour from artists to create & record their own covers for free, but everyone was a complete legend and offered so much help. We wanted to maybe try and build a community feel, especially during lock down. We know and love each band involved but we quickly realised that not everyone is familiar with each other. We purposely picked a mix of genres and older/newer bands in hopes of spreading a bit of love between bands who maybe otherwise don’t know each other. Encouraging everyone to ask each other for tabs and lyrics. We had a little listening party on YouTube and the love was overwhelming. We genuinely all kept saying how much we all missed each others shows and music. Therefore, I sort of hope that continues post lock down. I hope we have created a bit of an openness for folks to chat who maybe didn’t before!
Where can readers find Bangers n’ Mash (Ups)?
For now, this album is a Bandcamp only situation! We wanted it to remain on a platform for donations , as it’s such a good cause. It is available for an absolute steal of £5 and all proceeds go to She Sells Sanctuary. Check it out here.
Bangers n’ Mash (Ups) features music by Joel Harkin, Alanah Frances, Mob Wife, Problem Patterns, Beauty Sleep, Junk Drawer, Fears, Big Daisy, Ferals, Charles Hurts, This Ship Argo, Alumna, Hand Models, Happy Out, Gender Chores, Susie Blue, Sasha Samara & Strange New Places.
Interview by Sam Dineen
Artist Profile: Eithne McGuigan
Eithne McGuigan is a 25 year old occupational therapist, artist, and small business owner based in Belfast. Eithine creates Oil, Acrylic, spray paint, and Resin Creations such as coasters, bookmarks, paintings, and nail art palettes. Eithne spoke to The Jumble Magazine all about the creative process and the local arts scene.
The running theme in all of my pieces is colour and texture – my palette is definitely not refined & I LOVE that! I would say that my biggest inspiration is Nature; landscapes, sunsets, bright flowers,and water – I try to capture all its glory in my pieces.
My art is very personal to me, like many artists, my art is an extension of myself so I have only recently allowed the world to see my creations. The recent lock down has provided me with more time to create and with that extra bit of money not being spent on social activities I decided to try resin, which is a relatively new medium for me. During lock down I started creating functional art pieces such as coasters, bookmarks, key rings as well as my usual paintings. This has enabled me to create fun & affordable pieces of art that can be used within day to day life.
Belfast is the home to so many talented and inspiring artists.
“One thing I really love about the art scene here is the sense of community within it, everyone is supporting each other & rooting for each other’s success.”
This month I plan to launch my website which is so exciting for me, so keep an eye out! This launch will include a whole range of functional art pieces along with a painting series (hopefully). You can keep an eye out on my Instagram, where I will be posting shop updates and process videos. Post lock down, I have a lot of plans that I’m hoping to manifest; especially for 2021: like collaborations and series pieces. This is just the beginning!
Cliffs of Moher oil painting on canvas. 62cmx 62cm. This piece is part of a series I have began to create in lock down. Due to the restrictions Covid has placed on countries worldwide, we have been forced to appreciate the scenery on our doorstep. This has inspired me to paint my perceptions of some of the beautiful landscapes afforded to us in this country. I used a palette knife to create the texture within this landscape & once dry, it will be finished with a glossy varnish.
Local Music: Gemma Bradley
Gemma Bradley is a solo artist that embraces aspects of pop music and meshes them with the finest, hand-picked sounds from R&B and Soul. Gemma started making music at the age of nine and hasn’t looked back since, and has recently been featured on the Glastonbury 2020 Emerging Talent Longlist. Gemma spoke to The Jumble about inspiration, her new single ‘Obsessed’, and the lock down.
“I would describe my sound as catchy and upbeat. Think pop meets RnB with a bit of soul.”
A lot of things inspire me to write music, it could be something from a personal experience, people I meet, stories I’ve been told or even something that came to me in a dream. I would say that so far, my favourite piece of music I have made is my new single ‘Obsessed’, it’s tough to pick just one song, but I definitely think it’s a good place to start to get into my music.
The whole lock down situation has definitely affected my own work; it’s actually made me more productive with my time and how I spend it. Although I realise that the local music scene has been impacted negatively, especially considering artists can’t perform live at gigs.
I do have a virtual event coming up though, even if I can’t perform live and in person. There’s an Instagram live performance happening on my Instagram page on Friday the 17th of July at 6pm.
Review of ‘Obsessed‘
‘Obsessed’ is a super fun and upbeat track, perfect for the height of the Summer. Despite dealing with the more serious subject matter of unwanted infatuation, and obsession; Bradley’s unique and super smooth vocals combined with the poppy light backing beat keep this track perfect for your lock down, stay at home dance floor.
You can also listen to ‘Obsessed’ on The Jumble Magazine Local Music Playlist.
Review by Sam Dineen
Artist Profile: James Ashe
James Ashe is an artist that works within the themes of place, built heritage, architecture, mental health, LGBT rights, and life in NI – all through the mediums of illustration, typography, and print. James recently exhibited at Framewerk Gallery in February, and has exhibitions planned with the Black Box later this year and a mental health project for 2021. James spoke to The Jumble Magazine about finding inspiration in Belfast’s buildings, creating political art, the lock down, and the local creative scene.
I guess I would say my work is radical in a sense, be it my illustrations of buildings or political slogans, they have always attracted conversation be it praise or criticism.
I get a lot of inspiration from my surroundings, I like the shape and structure of the older buildings in Belfast and the stories they could tell. I also find inspiration in pretty mundane everyday stuff like signs, and even seagulls I used for a recent commission. Going for walks and being surrounded by nature helps clear my head and gives me ideas.
I think that people really connect with my work because it is so connected to the history of this place and what we live through. A lot of people were really interested in my architecture illustrations because they either used to work in the buildings featured or had family history within them. My political slogans draw attraction as well, and people also identify me with it!
In my ‘Saved Sodomy From Ulster’ piece, I turned the bigotry from generations ago on it’s head all in the name to mark progression and a new age of equality in NI. My Tayto ‘Hands Across The Divide’ illustration was also a big hit, namely because there’s still a debate of Nordie Tayto Vs Free Statyo!
I think the lock down was both a blessing, and a curse. I say a blessing because I was furloughed from my day job so I had more time to create work (and actually relax!), but at the same time I was stuck at home and hadn’t seen friends in months, so isolation is a big problem with my mental health. I also like working in a studio as there is less noise and distractions.
I like how the local arts scene is small enough that we can all get to know each other, even from beyond different towns and cities. Also, everyone is very supportive of each other, and there tends to be a lot of collaboration within music, visual, written, and performing arts. Belfast is a good place for artists early on in their career, I’m not really corporate in my work – so I don’t really attract any big name agencies or studios for work. But I have got commissions, exhibitions, and sales from friends and small businesses here. In this case Framewerk, The Black Box, and Pedro Donald from The Sunflower are the biggest champions and supporters of the local arts scene here and help artists flourish in the city.
Artist Profile: Anna McAteer
Anna McAteer is a Graphic Design and Illustration student from Ulster University Belfast, Anna spoke to The Jumble Magazine about self discovery within art, Studio Ghibli, and getting through perfectionism.
I would describe my art as vent art with confused westernised anime.
I find my own feelings to be the main output for creation, most of my art and uni projects have been about my own take on trying to accept myself no matter how badly I might perceive myself. I’m trying to become okay with being imperfect , and trying to learn it’s okay to not completely love yourself, that its okay to focus on accepting your imperfections instead. I love Ghibli films and Animal Crossing; ever since I was a kid I would always love the fantasy of animals being my friends, nature and going on adventures that make you a better person. Ghibli always captures the magic and sweetness of nature in a very straightforward way with bubbly fluffy trees and flowing bouncy water, so it has become a style and standard of its own. They also visualise how nature and humanity are deeply intertwined. I love to incorporate that into my work, giving a personality to everything. I think I’ve always been interested in self discovery having been a sheltered kid with no friends to form a personality from as sad as that sounds! Ghibli has been comforting in that sense as the young main character usually goes through the story on their own.
I don’t think I have a very refined art style as of yet. I’m trying to discover my own style as I go, but I reckon my tongue in cheek, slightly pessimistic narrative on things is distinct in my work along with my soft colour palette.
The Lock down has actually helped me to create a bit more. I find it very hard to sit down and create normally, as a lot of the fun and freedom of art has been stunted by the perfectionism I’ve seemed to develop from my A level standard of fine art realism painting. I also think having a job normally takes up a lot of my time. Thanks to lock down I have started more creative projects and have been journaling a lot more too, if the world is ending there’s no need to be perfect the first time around!
You can find more of Anna’s art on Instagram.
Artist Profile: Kerrie McNeill
Kerrie McNeill is a second year Graphic Design and Illustration student studying at Belfast School of Art. Kerrie spoke to The Jumble Magazine about colour palettes, the lock down, and finding inspiration in past travels that aren’t possible this summer.
My art is vibrant, playful and decorative. My illustrations are heavily influenced by bright colour palettes, patterns and the world around us.
I love travelling and a lot of my inspiration has come from places I have visited. I take photos of anything I like the look of; old buildings, postcards, scenery, colours- everything. Usually I just look at them when I’m needing a little inspiration. When I’m in a creative slump and don’t know what to do I always look at what other artists are up to. Some Illustrators that I’m loving at the moment include; Nina Cosford, Livia Fălcaru and Eleanor Bowmer.
There’s a lot of me within my work. I illustrate things that I personally have an interest in like plants, interior décor, and patterns. I think it gives people a little idea of what I’m like as a person. Growing up I’ve always had a love of fashion and I always gravitate to the most colourful clothes and funky patterns. My favourite colours to use are pinks and peachy tones, although recently I’ve really enjoyed being experimental and using different colour palettes.
The lock down has definitely been strange for me, from finishing my semester early to suddenly working way more hours in my part time job at Tesco which definitely kept me busy and helped take the edge off of not seeing friends and family. I had a little creative break to process everything that has been going on but I’m back now and ready to go! I’m trying to do at least one drawing a day to get myself back into the flow of creating. At the moment I’m thinking of doing a series of illustrations on places I visited last summer seeing as I probably won’t be travelling this year but at least I will be able to look back at the memories!
Artist Profile: Leanne McWilliams
Leanne McWilliams is a Belfast based illustrator with a knack for narrative. Leanne graduated with a degree in Graphic Design & Illustration from Ulster University and has worked with the likes of FairPlé, the Queen’s Film Theatre and a multitude of local musicians. Leanne spoke to The Jumble about illustration, feminism, and the local creative scene.
My work is mainly figurative, exploring local characters and far off worlds with equal enthusiasm.
I’m deeply interested in people and their stories, especially through the scope of feminism and the female gaze. Music also has a huge influence on my work. I always have something playing while I draw, and when I do go out to see live bands, I’m never without a sketchbook shoved in the bottom of my bag.
“For the most part, I use my illustrations to explore things happening in my life. Good or bad, I record it all; drawing on these experiences to create wider narratives and more abstract imagery.”
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic I’ve spent even more time recording the world around me. My sketchbooks are full of masks, hand sanitising stations, and nostalgia trips through the boxes of my childhood bedroom. For a long time, lockdown left me unmotivated and a little bit lost, but being able to put all these strange and unusual situations down on paper has been a massive help. Stringing these little snapshots together keeps me going, and hopefully they resonate with other people navigating these weird times.
I feel extremely fortunate to be part of an art scene that continues to grow, and thrive, in the face of adversity. The online outpouring of work during this pandemic being just one example. We’re wonderfully stubborn.
Recently, I had the honour of being featured in Composure Zine, a publication that provides a platform for creatives in the DIY music scene. The zine also donates all revenue to support non-profit organisations such as No More Dysphoria, which is really cool!
Behind the Gigs: S.M. Audio
Photos by Fat Tom Photography
S.M. Audio are a team of fully qualified sound engineers made up of Stephen Mitchell and Aaron Foy, they provide support for bands all across NI and ensure that their gigs run smoothly and sound amazing. Stephen and Aaron answered a few questions about the work they do to give an insight into this behind the scenes element of local music.
Firstly, can you give the readers a bit of background info on S.M. Audio?
Since 2016, S.M. Audio has worked to provide a high quality live sound service for bands all over Northern Ireland. We work with established bands and those more new to the industry, ensuring each act receives the best possible outcome for their event. This ethos has seen us work in venues, small to large, with cover bands and original bands all the way to providing live sound for events and fundraisers at the heart of the community. We were inspired to begin this journey because we’ve always been massive fans of music and wanted to support the musicians that we knew by putting on gigs, especially for local bands who were just starting out like us.
What’s it like working in the behind the scenes of the local music industry?
Sweaty and stressful but always worth it. Especially when you finish a gig knowing that a band has put everything into their set. We’re always the first to arrive and last to leave but we wouldn’t have it any other way. At the end of the night, it’s always a chance for the team to pile into the van and say “Well that was good, but what can we do better?” Reflection is a really important part of working behind the scenes.
Are there any bands you have worked with that you would recommend for readers to check out?
We’ve had the opportunity to work with some amazing artists including Paul and The Meanie, we love their tune ‘Mrs Bloom.’ Another unreal local band we’re currently working with is Blurred Reality, a three piece metal band from Armagh. They’ve been working on new material that’s set to be released soon, so definitely keep an eye out for that.
How has the lock down impacted the work that you do?
Although it’s been difficult losing out on gigs and unfortunately, some weddings being cancelled, we’ve tried to use lock down as an opportunity to upgrade some of our equipment. We recently invested in some new Sennheiser microphones which we’ve been testing out on a kit and doing some practise for when we can get back to gigs. We’ve also been working on a new website which is now up and running : smaudioni.co.uk.
What do you think the local music scene is going to look like post lock down?
Of course we imagine it will take some until the music scene is back in full swing and we are still waiting on guidance from the government. We do, however, think this is a time for the local music scene to rally together and support each other, from bands to engineers to booking agents. We’ve seen a rise in streaming over lock down but nothing beats a proper, loud gig and we can’t wait to get back to it!
Artist Profile: Louis Nelson
Louis Nelson is a freelance illustrator, as well as a band member of both Gnarkats and Peace Evan. Louis is also hoping to take his artistic abilities further by studying Graphic Design and Illustration next year at the Ulster University. Louis spoke to The Jumble about his inspirations, the lock down, making lino prints without the typical equipment, and the local arts scene.
I find it hard to describe my art succinctly because I work in a few different styles and mediums, but I always have liked adding an element of surrealism to my art by using powerful contrasting colours.
I’m lucky with the friends I’ve met over the years. They introduced me to art movements and museums I otherwise would never have known about. Social media has also introduced lots of local artists to me, realising how many amazing artists there are in Northern Ireland/ Ireland really drives me to be productive.
I’ve recently become absolutely obsessed with Stanley Donwood, the artist for Radiohead. I bought his book ‘There Will Be No Quiet’ about 8 months ago, and I find myself going back to re-read passages and look at the art he’s created.
A lot of my art is commissioned for local musicians, and my own music. I design logos, cover art, and gig posters. I treat those pieces like a representation of the particular musician, which reflects my own visual response to what I hear. It’s really cool to see a poster I’ve designed being shared on social media, because it’s actually being ‘used’, people recognise the art as part of an event, making it that little bit more personal.
In the early stages of lock down I was fuming. I was doing an Art & Design course and I was hoping to create my final piece using the screen printing technique, which really can only be done at the college. Then all of a sudden I had to change plans entirely because I couldn’t use the college’s facilities anymore. Luckily, I had a few pieces of lino that hadn’t been touched, so I opted to create the final piece in lino. I didn’t have an actual printing press, so I had to stand on a load of thick books to print the lino onto the paper, it’s kind of hilarious looking back at how I did it, it was exhausting and not professional whatsoever. There was a lot of messing up, but I got there, and I was proud of the pieces I created. I’m really happy now, knowing I can create some okay-looking lino pieces at home, by myself, but I am looking forward to getting into an actual studio and using a printing press, instead of stomping on books.
Lately, I haven’t been making as much art as I’d like, but I think it’s important for creatives to realise that just because you have all this ‘free time’ you shouldn’t feel pressured into creating every day. That mindset can damage a person’s rate of productivity, it’s okay to binge watch a few things right now and chill out.
The local scene is one of my main sources of inspiration. It’s class to see local artists putting on their own exhibitions and even painting murals in bars, which creates a really cool atmosphere rather than just a boring wall. In Belfast there’s been more attention paid to local artists, they all seem to work with one another, which creates this cool artistic community. Once lock down is lifted and things start to go back to normal I’m going to go to as many local artist exhibitions and events as possible and not take it for granted.
You can find more of Louis’s work on Instagram .
Local Music: The Visitors
The Visitors are a five-piece post genre rock band from Dundalk, Co. Louth made up of Darren Connor, Jamie Conlon, Ben McCarthy, Diarmuid Murray, and Saoirse Murray. The band have been on the scene since 2017, but got their total lineup together in September 2019. The band have since been playing in venues across Dundalk and Dublin, and have a new track coming out this evening called Charlie. The Visitors talked to The Jumble about their style, their upcoming EP, and the lock down.
We describe our music as post genre, it’s not tied to any genre in particular. Overall, it’s kind of ‘heavy, mellow, heavy’ .
With our catalogue so far It is hard to pick a favourite track, there’s not one song that we’re unhappy with. We all can agree what some of our best songs are: Charlie, Drop em, Settle down, and A Different Story.
Unfortunately, due to the current pandemic our debut E.P ‘What Did You Expect’ has been delayed. We are aiming to release it in July when the final mix and master is completed, so stay tuned for more info on that! We’ve also had to cancel a lot of our upcoming gigs, including our gig in Whelans and our E.P launch night in our local venue in The Spirit Store. Like every other local band and local venue, it has affected us greatly. These times won’t last forever and soon life will go back to normal. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before we get back to playing gigs and enjoying music from other new bands.
Filmmaker: Matthew McGuigan
Matthew McGuigan is an aspiring filmmaker from Draperstown. Matthew specialises in stop-motion animation. He told the Jumble Magazine all about his film-making process, Star Wars, bass guitar, and his new short film The Forlorn Piscator.
My filmmaking style, in terms of animation, is quite erratic. I go for a blend between overly cartoonish, kind of like Robot Chicken (seen in one of my short films, Dodge), and something very smooth and operatic like The Little Prince. I use an abundance of close-up shots to showcase a character’s emotion (or lack of), I love how they allow me to showcase a character’s expression. I think my animating style is quite muddy and messy; there are a lot of visual issues with how characters move in my animations, almost like it’s imperfect. However, it’s something that I feel looks cool and gives the shorts an endearing feel.
One of the reasons I got into creating short films over ten years ago was Star Wars, I owe a lot to George Lucas. As a child, I was always interested in the stories that he created within the Star Wars film series, but also those set outside the films through the comic books and video games. I thought it was so cool that his universe had a life of possibilities. When I first started I would actually just recreate scenes from Star Wars films in Lego (which were pretty bad!)
YouTube was my go to for seeing what other people could create. Channels such as “MICHAELHICKOXFilms”, “blobstudios” and “forrestfire101” were always in circulation when I was making animations, as I would try and replicate what they were doing, but try to add my own twist to it.
The lock down has given me extra time to work on things. I completed my university final project, which is a nearly nine-minute long stop-motion animation. It’s also given me time to think over new ideas and revisit some older ones, which were put on the back burner before I began to shoot my final project. Now that that project is completed, I’ve restarted work on a silly meme animation that should probably be done in less than two weeks. It comes from a really obscure Star Wars reference, but when it’s done I think people will get a laugh or two out of it.
I came up with a weekly challenge during the lock down, (but put it on hold due to the university project) where I would write, animate and edit a completely new stop-motion short. The objective was to have each short differ from the last, but also to test myself to see what sort of ideas I could come up with and have by the weekend. This is something I’ll most likely do in August or September, once I get a few other projects out of the way. It should be fun to see if I succeed.
The lock down has allowed me to put more time into practising bass guitar, which is something I tried picking up before Christmas but put down due to having too much work to do (and being lazy). I’ve been just trying to read online tablature and and trying to play some of my favourite basslines from bands like Faith No More, Duran Duran, and Black Sabbath.
My latest stop-motion animation, The Forlorn Piscator, is my university final year project and a film that I am very proud of. It follows a fisherman who was once the talk of the town, now on hard times, trying to recapture his youth by setting out on a mission to catch the elusive Golden Tigerfish.
The reason I made this short film as my final university project is that I wanted to show my filmmaking strengths, which I feel lie more with stop-motion animation than the likes of live-action. It’s also been a while since I’ve fully dedicated myself towards an animated project, and having a deadline actually really helped with seeing it come to fruition.
Music at Home: Talking to Hawke.
Hawke is a fresh new face on the Irish music scene, since they popped up in Dublin around March 2019 the band have supported Irish rock giants Aslan live and recorded tracks in the legendary Abbey Road studios. I sat down for a (virtual) chat with Eoghan and Richie on skype. We talked all about their new release The Covid Diary, their big move to London, Coldplay, The Hobbit, and of course – the lock down.
So you guys have been on the go for just over a year now, can you introduce yourself to the readers?
Yeah, we started in March last year, we’d worked together previously before that. At the beginning we just entered a competition to support Aslan at their Ivy Gardens concert, that’s kinda what really encouraged us to start right away. When we got the call telling us that we won the competition it really pushed us to go all steam ahead at the very beginning. We did a little tour around the UK starting in November 2019 and in January we moved over to London. We’ve just been writing and recording since.
I love What about Love, the guitar reminds me a little of something that could be off of Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto album, it’s super summery. Can you chat a bit about influences and your song writing process?
It’s funny that you mention Mylo Xyloto because that’s actually an album that made a huge influence on us. With What About Love we wanted to create a song that was kind of taking on our older influences like Aslan, U2, and The Verve, and then we also wanted to mix it in with newer stuff like that album: kind of making a hybrid of it all. Mylo Xyloto feels like a time when Coldplay were really trying to connect with a more modern audience. Charlie Brown is a great song, that whole album is filled with little bangers, songs you may not pick up on when you’re focused on the hits, but when you go back to it; it’s chock full of them.
The songwriting process is different with every track really, we don’t really have a set way of doing it. Sometimes there may be a melody that pops into our heads that we then flesh out. Other times it starts with messing around with a little riff, that’s what can be amazing about songwriting, it allows you to play about with things without having a set method of doing it. Even with What about Love, we started that in Richies bedroom at home, he’s got a tiny bedroom in his flat. We were sitting on the edge of the bed writing the verses of the song for a while before we got to London. Once we moved we were living in an Air B&B and that’s where we finished the chorus. We kind of got like a Hey Jude vibe, which is another big influence. We wanted a chorus that was accessible to everyone, even the passive listeners in the crowd, something that catches on quite easy and is sing-a-long-able.
The Covid Diary came out last week! What can you tell us about the two new tracks?
Those tracks All the Lovers, and Feel Alive are kind of glimpses of the past in a way. Usually when an artist releases new music it’s their latest, best foot forward stuff, whereas with these songs it’s a bit more stripped back, because of the lockdown. As everything has been closed down for a while now all of our plans to get out and record new music were put on hold, so we were left with all of these older songs, stuff we were proud of, but maybe wouldn’t have released without the lock down. These songs are more representative of our older selves, and we think they will really give fans a sense of how our music developed to what it is now. We really wanted to release something during this time and we wanted to have a documentation of how we felt and what was going on right now. So we made The Covid Diary. It’s like, you know the way with Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit? Lord of The Rings is the big stuff, The Hobbit is like a side story. But really good all the same. The Covid Diary is like The Hobbit.
I know it’s all a bit up in the air at the minute, so anything goes, but what’s your post-lockdown plans?
We have a Tour coming up in October and we love playing live, we’ve been doing a few Zoom gigs here and there throughout all this but we are desperate to get back into sweaty little venues and pubs and just do it all live and in person again. With the lock down stuff; It’s reassuring that everybody is in the same boat, we were working with our management company and drafted up a plan for the next 18 months or so, and obviously that’s all down the drain now, but it’s reassuring to know that were not the only ones in that situation. We can’t wait to get back to the studio too, our two producers are both from Italy, and they have both been in lock down there from really early on in this, as soon as lock down is over they will be back in London and we will be back to recording. We have written loads during this and we just want to get things back on the road.
You can also listen to What About Love and both songs off of The Covid Diary on The Jumble Magazine Local Music Playlist, which you can check out here.
Review of The Covid Diary
Opening with a quick mention about the lock down, The Covid Diary almost feels like a preemptive time capsule. The band ask us not to expect the two featuring tracks to be played in future gigs, as they are products of their strange lock down time- and that just creates a sense of exclusivity. All the Lovers feels like springtime jam, with a catchy chorus. Feel Alive is more serious, it has hints of a hopeful sound that may be loved by fans of Elbow, but these guys spin it in a totally different way, and although it was written long before, it lyrically communicates exactly what most of us are feeling right now: that want and need to get back out into the world and ‘feel you’re alive’. Then there’s a message from fans: a montage of well wishes from Hawke’s fan base, and they’re saying hello from all across the world, it really gives you a sense of how big these guys are going to be, keep an eye on Hawke and listen to The Covid Diary for sure.
Album Art Photograph by Grace Phillips
Interview and Review by Sam Dineen
Local Music: Niall McDowell
Niall McDowell is a 22 year old singer/songwriter, who has been writing and releasing music since 2017 on Bandcamp, self-releasing his folk-tinged debut EP Valentine in August 2019. Niall spoke to The Jumble Magazine all about genre shifting, the lock down, and the anxiety of finding your voice in a world where it feels like everything has been said before.
How would you describe your music?
I used to classify myself as a bare-bones kind of lo-fi folk singer for the longest time, up until after I released my EP last year. Over time I think my music has shifted in genre and mood from song to song, which was important for me so that I don’t rely on the same techniques when writing. I decided a while back to not really define my music as any one thing because I never really want to be pigeonholed as a certain kind of artist, because I don’t see even the songs I released on Valentine the same way six months later, and I don’t play them the same way either.
What inspires you to sit down and write a song?
I used to write a lot in journals and I consistently felt like I had a perspective to say something interesting, but as I got older I got that anxiety that everything’s already been said before, and even acknowledging that anxiety has also already been done before. I remember writing my first song Valentine to break out of that frame of mind and to make an effort to write a love song in a way that was self-aware about the act of being self-aware. That was the first main drive and inspiration to turn my writing into music, but from then I became more interested in using my voice in an unusual way, to combine my outlook or observations with certain melodies or textures, and explore my own kind of musical and personal identity from that.
What would you advise readers listen to first? Do you have a favourite track from your catalogue?
I’d describe Valentine as a personal project, because it’s been a project to me for really formative years in my life. I guess I’d say Find Your Man is my favourite track that I’ve recorded. It was out of my comfort zone to record with multiple instruments and I appreciate that in retrospect, and it adds a kind of maximalism to an EP that I would usually describe as stripped back. It’s the song that people gravitate to and I think it’s very solid considering it was recorded in one day. I think that’s what I like most about the EP; it was recorded within a time constraint, so it’s not overthought sonically, and the raw quality of it sets up a good basis for whatever I release in the future. I have a song that I released last month, You Have My Heart, that veers off in a different musical direction, which I wanted to do but it’s also not like, a completely random switch-up because I think that the basis of what i’m interested in is within these first songs, whether it’s lo-fi or more high quality.
What about the lock down? How has it impacted your work as a musician?
I had a couple shows lined up that have been postponed because of the lock down, and You Have My Heart was released when everything was happening which I wasn’t expecting, so I found it very odd personally. I’m trying not to focus on that kind of stuff so much, because it’s not really important in the grand scheme of things. Although, the lock down has allowed me to work more on my next project which I’m grateful for, and I recorded a live streamed performance for Chordblossom’s Songs from Home series on their Facebook page, which was something I wouldn’t have actually thought about doing otherwise. Other than that, I think i’m reminded that in a time where I can’t actually record or perform professionally, I still love to write and record anyway and so I’ve been recording covers and small clips just for my own fun, which I’ve found to be really positive creatively.
Music at Home: A Chat with Big Daisy
By Contributing Journalist Megan Hopkin.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of the Belfast music scene lays a hidden gem. Or should I say flower to not mix my metaphors? It’s Big Daisy – a name deserved by the bandmates Ciara King, Aidan Reynolds, James Orr and Chris Ryan, as they are as reservedly bold and strong as the name sake.
I had the pleasure to get a chat with frontwoman Ciara all about Big Daisy, and their latest isolation anthem – recorded entirely at home!
So, who just is Big Daisy?
Ciara reminisced: “Me, Aidan & James have been childhood pals since we were 6 and have played together in bands on and off for yonks but we felt it was the right time to start off a band like Big Daisy musically. Our drummer Chris came around after we recorded Go Outside. He liked our demo & came onboard to help us make big beaut bops.We all love the noise-pop, indie pop sounds of some of our fave bands and it all just fell together naturally. Plus we’re all big anxious messes so the lyrics often reflect that.”
The band has a very distinctive, almost dreamlike quality in their instrumental as well as vocal performances. “Our influences come from Best Coast, Diiv, Alvvays, Early Weezer, The Cure & Beach Fossils.”
The newest single is a certified hit.
“Shimmer sounds like a gloaming by the seaside – gentle, beautiful, and warm. The song, lyrics filled with nostalgia, is a morose celebration of past misgivings which makes you want to sway – the melody moving you in a way at odds with the poignant message delivered.”
With Ciara’s vulnerable, lilting vocals dancing around beachy guitars, punctuated by Chris’ sleepy yet deferent percussion, this song will cement itself into your summer playlist.
Ciara gave The Jumble insight into just what the song means to herself, and her fellow bandmates.
“Shimmer is important to me because it’s a song about feeling stuck in your head. Dwelling on past mistakes and focusing on things you’ve done that you want to apologise for but never did. All whilst being stuck in your mind and not being able to get distracted from it.”
“I think as a band we all feel like way sometimes. We all deal with our own anxiety respectively and its something close to our hearts. Musically, the song is the release which has contributions from all four of us. It’s a somewhat happy and positive sounding song, with a much darker and self loathing set of lyrics. I’ve always struggled with actually singing about reality but Big Daisy helps us all do that.”
Isolation has meant that bands across the world have had to get creative with how they produce art. This sink or swim situation has led to bands getting more and more ingenious in how to function as a collective, whilst remaining apart.
Ciara reveals just how Shimmer came to be amidst a pandemic.
“Well, we had planned to work on and release an EP together around May/June time this year, but then lockdown hit and put a bit of a spanner in the works . But we didn’t wanna be discouraged, and figured, “why not attempt a little home recording?”. So all four of us recorded our parts separately, then Aidan pieced then together, and Chris produced it.”
“I guess the biggest challenge was the removal of the togetherness aspect. It was weird to have everyone do their own bits alone, when normally it’s just a collaborative thing. Normally conversations spark up and its built together. So I guess it was weird just doing our own things separately, for the same piece.”
Shimmer holds a certain special place for the band. “It was the first song we have ever played live together which is cool. It is also the first song that all four members of Big Daisy wrote together and collaborated on. So it’s the first real essence of the four our brains together.”
Shimmer is also part of The Jumble Magazine Local Music Playlist, which you can check out here.
Music at Home: An Interview with Lonely Astronauts
Lonely Astronauts are a Belfast based rock band that have been on the scene since 2018. I had a chat with them about their new releases, the local music scene, and how the lock down pushed them out of their comfort zone on their new track ‘Better Days’.
So you guys have had two releases throughout the lock down ‘Balboa’ was quite early on and then you’ve had another single ‘Better Days’ which came out at the beginning of June. Can you tell us a bit about these tracks?
Matthew: ‘Better Days’ isn’t our typical style, it’s much more stripped back than what we normally do. I wrote it quickly, but it was so cathartic, I felt like it lifted a weight off of my shoulders. Recording it at home meant that I was using a totally different set up too, it’s a much more personal track.
Ruán: ‘Better Days’ is a home demo, which I think is what sets it apart from our catalogue of music. It’s one of the things that’s kept us active through this lock down.
Scott: The songs are so polar opposite: ‘Balboa’ is probably our heaviest and ‘Better Days’ is the softest track we have done. I feel like we probably wouldn’t have done a song like ‘Better Days’ if we were not in this position, it made us strip everything back and step out of our comfort zone.
How have you found the reception has been to the singles?
Matthew: I think we’ve actually got more attention on the back of these two singles than we were expecting. It feels like more attention than what we got after we released our EP.
Ruán: Yeah, I think so too, ‘Better Days’ was received really well, maybe because it sounds so different to what we normally do, and the message of it feels appropriate for the lock down and the hope that we can return to normal soon.
Scott: And that was without a launch party, or being able to go out and gig and promote it. It just makes me wonder how well received it would have been had we been able to do promotion and keep that momentum going.
Scott, Matthew, and Ruán playing live. Photos by Shaun Carlin
Considering you guys have played across so many of the independent venues in Belfast and you know them all quite well, what impact do you think this situation is gonna have on the Belfast music scene as people who are in it?
Matthew : I think it’s gonna end up being quite detrimental to some venues, a lot of them thrive on live music. Our favourite venue, Voodoo, is actually part of the national #saveourvenues initiative. It’s worth checking the initiative out and donating to show some support if you’re financially able. For local bands it’s the same kind of struggle. I’ve seen local bands I love announcing they are going on hiatus as they can’t function as a band throughout this.
Ruán: I’m raring to get back into the music scene. I’m sure you guys are the same, I can’t wait to get jamming again, I can’t wait to see local bands live again. The music scene here is integral to my life, I really hope it will be vibrant coming back, I hope all the bands will want to gig right away and all the fans will want to watch them. Most musicians know how hard it can be to get a big crowd going at your gig, it takes a lot of hard work and promotion, hopefully after this people are more excited about local gigs.
Scott: I really hope that once the pubs and venues are opened up again everyone is like “Right, lets go and really support local music, see local bands.” And for all the bands in the scene, I hope it encourages a sense of promoting each other’s music and supporting each other as musicians rather than seeing each other just as competition.
What’s your future plans as a band?
Matthew: I think by the time this lock down is over we will probably have an album ready to go. I think I’ve been the most creative I’ve ever been during this.
Scott: I think we’re going to be working on more acoustic songs in the future. ‘Better Days’ has shown us how great those songs can be.
To support Voodoo Belfast you can check out their #saveourvenues initiative page here.
This evening (17th of June) at 6PM Lonely Astronauts will have a special mountaintop performance available on their Facebook page.
Interview by Sam Dineen
Poetry For Staying Home
House no. 11
By Lauren Kerr
I stay at home, in my 11th house,
and I think I’ve never made so much coffee.
Is it to feel awake?
It reminds me of a wake and
when Dettol rules the air it is
time I no longer want
and it fumbles me,
into a distant thought and as I stir coffee
into a chipped ‘best auntie’ mug,
I remember how for three years,
I made my coffee
the way you taught me –
boiling milk instead of water.
After you were gone
I slept in our tent in my room
for I don’t know how long,
until mummy realised what I was doing.
She didn’t know
that on a sunny afternoon we’d
set up our tent, and sleep.
You taught me that when I get into the sea
I should keep my socks on, that way
the sand will not stick to your feet
and if you sleep upside down –
nightmares are obsolete.
I boil water now, instead of milk,
and the tent has since been left
behind at another home.
I will think about this, later, while lying
in my 18th bed, trying to get comfortable.
But I will keep having that recurring nightmare –
that when I get into the sea,
my sock catches a rock and I fall and I drown.
Even when I sleep upside down.
Artist Profile: Rebecca O’Flaherty
Rebecca O’Flaherty is a 20-year-old Photographer and student at Ulster University Belfast. Rebecca spoke to The Jumble about her inspirations, the world around her, and keeping her younger sister entertained during lock down.
I have been into photography since I was around 12, years of hard work meant that I had developed a much more independent practice by about 2019. My photography has a fine art touch to it, or a deepness to it (which I am still exploring). Lately, my work has been very intimate and personal, focusing on my own daily reflections and my family’s day to day life.
What really inspired me to create early on was my horses, their movement fascinated me. It was something I always wanted to capture in a unique way. This is when I realised I could take full control over what I wanted to show people and how I wanted my visuals to be seen. I started to focus on photographing things exactly as I saw them. As I got better at this, I started to question my own visual work and ask questions: Why am I taking this photograph? What am I trying to express?. Lock down has given me a lot of time to start answering these questions.
Lock down has been strange, one day is good, another not so much – When it all began I started taking photos at home, of my family, the house, and the surrounding landscapes. I have a younger sister, and as the weeks went on I realised just how difficult it was to keep her entertained, her whole routine was messed up, and I wanted to help her imagination and creativity stay active throughout it all.
I decided that I would try to do this by encouraging her to draw pictures of where we had been on our walks together. I took these drawings and tried to reconstruct them into photographs. The photos I took started to form a dreamlike space within the landscapes, creating a suspended sense of reality. The photos felt like real life manifestations of my younger sister’s imagination.
I’m still photographing my little sister, but also focusing on myself, my own thoughts and my daily life. I stepped away from my Canon 5D III , and picked up a Polaroid camera and an instant camera to create more abstract and experimental work. These cameras are more unpredictable, you are often uncertain of how the photograph is actually going to turn out, there is less control. Likewise, you can actually alter the image as the film develops. I’ve been including any physical impacts on my Polaroid pictures, as well as environmental effects, like raindrops. This creates marks on the back of the negative, and they start to show while the picture develops, I think it adds depth to the pictures.
You can check out more of Rebecca’s work on Instagram
Local Music: Becky and the Keys
Becky and the Keys are an up-and-coming rock/indie band from Northern Ireland with Becky Baxter on vocals, Liam Douglas on guitar, Stephen Sykes on drums and Conor McKillen on bass. The band chatted to The Jumble about the lock down, their inspirations, and what they have been doing together during their first year as a band.
In one sentence we would describe our music is ‘Fresh, raw and contemporary.’ As a band, we have varying influences, from the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin to current artists like Hozier and Sam Fender. We are constantly inspired by our mutual passion to create original songs and to be active in the music scene.
It’s hard to pick a favourite song from what we have released so far, but we’re really excited to record and release a new single called ‘Eveline’. It’s inspired by James Joyce’s short story of the same name. During the lock down we’ve been working on some new material that we can’t wait to test out as a full band (once we can practice together in one room again). We’ve all felt like focusing on music has helped us keep our minds busy and stimulate our creativity throughout this time. This lock down has really made us appreciate what we had and took for granted.
We had been scheduled to record our new singles in Dublin in March, but the session was postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19. Although we were disappointed, it is incomparable to the impact the pandemic has had globally and locally. Our hearts go out to front line workers battling this virus and local businesses, like music venues adversely affected by the lock down.
We don’t have any full-band versions of our own songs on streaming platforms as of yet. You can check out our YouTube channel for live full-band original songs and some covers. We have stripped-back and acoustic versions of some earlier songs on streaming platforms like Spotify which you can check out too.
The New Normal Zine
During the lock down there has been a lot of phenomenal work coming from local creatives, artists have been making do with their at home resources to produce incredible pieces. One of which is a collaborative project called ‘The New Normal Zine’, a Zine all about the lock down made up of artwork by nine different artists who have met through studying at Ulster University. The curator of the project, Elle McGreevy, spoke to The Jumble Magazine all about the zine and the process of making it happen:
I thought it would be cool to come together and collaborate to make a zine as a way to stay active and connected in this bizarre time, so I asked some of my pals from my illustration class at Ulster University (second year graphic design & illustration) and sent them out a small brief basically asking them all to create a few illustrations, diary entries, and collages based around how they are coping at the minute. I made a rainbow based palette as it is such an important symbol of hope that we are seeing everywhere at the minute, and then gave the artists involved one colour each and black and white to work with to create some illustrations that we are all really proud of!
“I wanted the zine to be a reflection of where we are all at as a group of students right now, so any tone, serious or light-hearted, was welcome.”
The Zine starts with the John Donne poem ‘No Man Is an Island‘ which I think sets off the tone and reasoning behind why we came together to create this – coming together and relying on the company and comfort of each other in order to thrive and create something lovely. We are all super proud of the outcome and love that as soon as you flick through it, its bursting with colour! I got some copies printed for us all and made stickers out of our designs and we had our own little zine, it was such a fun project to work on.
You can check out ‘The New Normal Zine’ by clicking here .
You can also support the artists involved by checing out their work on Instagram:
All photos by Elle Mc Greevy
Poetry For Staying Home
Showering to fend off a panic attack
By H.R. Gibs
Silence the speaker, turn that music off.
The great metallic dial gleams silver and I can see my face.
In the warm dark, the white noise of my thoughts
Spark static and bend indoor raindrops sideways
I stopped looking at you a while ago, but please
Embrace me now, Great King of Slime.
Quick! Pelt your tiny arrows at my milken body
Till I tingle in new mottled red.
Hold my anchor hand. Let me grow gills and fins.
Hide my last legs or lather me up till I froth
And maybe I’ll grow new ones.
I’ll still slip on the bathroom tiles on my way out.
North Star: An Interview with Kerry Buchanan
‘North Star: Short stories and poems by female Northern Irish writers is an anthology collected by the organisation Women Aloud NI. The Anthology was written and put together during the lockdown period and is officially released on June 4th 2020. I spoke to Kerry Buchanan, the Managing Editor of the project, about the book’s release and the process of making it happen.
Hi Kerry, can you tell us a bit about the background Women Aloud NI, how can people get involved?
Jane Talbot was the woman who first had the idea of Women Aloud NI back in 2016. She is an absolute powerhouse. Women Aloud NI started hosting events for International Women’s Day, we held events all over Belfast and Northern Ireland. We invited women from all across Northern Ireland to read their work in the likes of Eason’s book shop in Belfast and we got really impressive audiences. We also held flash mobs in the middle of Belfast, where we would all suddenly start reading our pieces at the same time. Since then, Jane has taken a bit of a step back from the organisation but our goal still stays the same: to give women in and from Northern Ireland a voice and a platform. We want to instil female writers with confidence. There’s an awful lot of imposter syndrome going on, and it feels as if women are being told all the time that they’re not good enough for the writing scene. They may be seeing men being picked up and published even if those men are writing at a completely different standard to them. We believe that women in writing are being overlooked, and we want to reverse that trend. You can join Women Aloud NI by checking out the Facebook page, where you can find all information about membership.
How has the lock down impacted the organisation?
Although we have missed a lot of performance opportunities that normally pop up at this time of year, we have held a virtual weekend reading festival to keep the momentum going. In fact, the lock down is actually how ‘North Star’ came about. Our current chair and project manager, Angeline King, decided that instead of sitting back and getting miserable about not being able to see each other and perform, we should get together and do something as a group. She has absolutely motored through this, and it has given us all such a lift.
Tell us all a bit more about the ‘North Star’ anthology.
One of our members, Byddi Lee, came up with the title ‘North Stars’ and then one of the editors of the book, Orla McAlinden, suggested we change it to ‘North Star’. It’s a bit of a double entendre. These women are both the ‘North Stars’ of Northern Ireland, and the North Star is obviously what sailors use to navigate. It is always there to guide people home. As it says on the back of the book itself “No matter where you are reading these poems and stories, North Star will guide you home”. The collection is all about celebrating Northern Ireland, so there is a chapter for each county and one for Belfast City as well. We have representatives from each of those areas writing pieces about those areas. There is some incredible, evocative, and local work in there, both in the short stories and the poetry. It celebrates the past, present, and future of Northern Ireland.
‘North Star’ is a must have for lovers of local writing, and an opportunity to add some very talented women onto your bookshelf. I especially enjoyed the opening piece ‘Belonging Time’ by Johannesburg born writer Shelly Tracey. Tracey captures the beauty of her surroundings in her new home of Lisburn, capturing natures small details in in a way that many may overlook. ‘Confirmation’ by Aislin O’Neill is a story that gripped me from start to finish. It tells a real life event through the limited perspective of a child, and does so fantastically. As for poetry, I personally loved ‘Derry’ by Mel Bradley, which so wonderfully captures an view of the city through time and experience. ‘North Star’ is truly a gift to the NI writing and reading community, a celebration of all of our differences, similarities, and voices.
You can find out more about Women Aloud NI on Facebook .
Interview and Review by Sam Dineen
A Chat with the Guys from Half Bap Studios
Half Bap Recording Studios are situated in the heart of Belfast Cathedral quarter and have been supporting and recording the work of local and international musicians since 2013. Since the lock down period began, Graham and George from Half Bap Studios have been offering 1.2.1 tutorials via Zoom for artists who are recording at home. I spoke to Graham and George about this process and how it works.
Tell us a bit about Halfbap Studios
When we started off the two of us had just come out of college, so it was nice and fresh. We started working on a few small things around 2011, but the studio really got going in 2013. Since then it’s grown massively in popularity with the work we have been doing, but the studio space itself has also grown physically. Our main aim is to provide a relaxed environment for artists to record in. We have recorded artists from all across the globe, which has been amazing.
I’ve spoken to a lot of musicians who have had to put everything on hold at the minute, working on the production side of the industry- how has the lock down affected your line of work?
It’s really affecting us now, obviously we can’t record anyone. Were doing bits of mixing from home but we’re not able to bring anyone new in. What the worry is, obviously, now that gigs aren’t happening a lot of musicians are not earning enough money to actually record new material, at least not for a while.
The 1.2.1 sessions all kind of came about because we are involved with a steering group for Belfast City Council for music. A staff member from Dawsons Music Belfast is also on that committee and he said that in the first few weeks of lock down they had sold out of all interfaces and small packages for home recording. That got us thinking that the best way to help out local musicians during all of this madness was to help ensure that everyone knew what they were doing in order to create their best possible home recordings. If you tell a musician that they aren’t allowed to leave the house for a few weeks, they’re gonna write music. It’s important for us that they can capture those ideas as best as possible, it helps keep the music scene thriving.
How do the 1.2.1 tutorials work?
We have found that a lot of people recording from home have been getting stuck along the way. We aim to provide them with all the specific guidance and info they need by using zoom and the screen sharing option, that way we can listen back to their music and see what they’re doing as they’re doing it and help point them in the right direction.
How can artists who are interested book a session?
We’ve been helping out recording artists of so many different genres, whether it’s digital music, mixing and mastering a full band, or even recording a podcast. The sessions are open to anyone, of any level, who is interested. You can send us a DM on Instagram or Facebook or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
How much do they need to have at home?
If you’re recording from home using any kind of DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), whether that’s pro tools, logic, audacity, or even garage band, you can book a session.
The 1.2.1 sessions with Halfbap Studios are priced at £30 an hour, they offer a free 20 minute consultation beforehand to work out exactly what would work best for you.
Interview by Sam Dineen
Artist Profile: Matt Higgs
Matt Higgs is a 25 year old 4th year fine art student majoring in digital photography in Cork. His work centres around issues of domestic abuse in Ireland towards women and the stigma that exists around male victims as a result of its cultural norms; such as toxic masculinity. Matt Discussed his photography with The Jumble Magazine:
“The bright colours of my images are symbolic of the outward appearance of what domestic relationships may look like to an outsider, while the actual narrative is more obvious. Using colour theory, I aim to evoke certain emotions and feelings that may contradict the context of the images. It’s this juxtaposition that creates the visual tension to the viewer.”
I’ve taken a commercial approach to not only the creation of the individual pieces, but the entire installation itself – this is a comment of media- representation, or more lack of, to the issue of domestic abuse within Ireland. Some of these pieces are influenced by real-life stories of domestic abuse victims – through the visual language of colour theory, metaphor, body language/morphing, expression, make-up and text, I seek to emphasize details of the relationship between abuser and victim.
seven to twelve
The backward clock is a metaphor for the irregularity of passage of time in a relationship of abuse. Research says that a victim of abuse will attempt to leave their abusive relationship seven to twelve times before they leave for the final time.
(021) 427 7698
The telephone is a metaphor for communication and connection, or more the lack of in a relationship where domestic abuse is active. The number is the helpline for WomensAid.ie
Since lock down began in March, WomensAid helplines have seen a massive increase in victims calling the helpline – an average of 57 people are calling each day (96% women of the calls were women / 20% of the calls concerning children). This lock down is a worst case scenario for domestic violence victims.
Based on a real life story in which the victim’s husband hid her passport, stole her credit cards and proceeded to give her a weekly allowance – just enough to survive but not enough to save money and run away. The passport is faded in the photo. Her expression, body language, and morphed body parts – like the horns, finger nails, and pointed shoulder – are a metaphor for how the victim was made out to be “the devil in disguise” to their friend circles (quote of the abusive husband).
A socio-culture in which men are expected to ‘man up’ in emotionally tough situations – plays with issues of toxic masculinity and the stigmas that surround men as victims.
“When I was a child, after a fight in the house I would go to my room crying. Finding the courage to leave my room again, my parents would pretend like nothing happened – we wouldn’t discuss anything. Nothing. It gave me a skewed concept of emotions – that they were for behind closed doors.” – an excerpt from one of my diary entries from a few months ago
Represents an artificial intimacy between couples and how this relationship may appear to outsiders. The ridged tightly clasped hands with their neutral relaxed poses plays with the juxtaposition of a forced relationship. Both are victims and abusers.
I know every twist and turn
On the road from my grandfather’s house.
He lives at the end of an odyssey,
Across mountain, lake and time.
I climb into the car
And settle into uneven transience
As whispers of whistles echo in my skull.
We become pilgrims, my father and I;
Battling diversions and trains and country lanes.
We carve our path
With hymns and petrol
And the world becomes urgent, blurry.
But when lights jump from green to red
I see patchwork fields sprinkled with livestock
And glowing lilac in the august light.
The moon begins her relentless pursuit
And heavy eyes give way to
The sharp turn nudges me
And leaden eyelids struggle open.
I feel the hump and swell of fresh tarmac
And know that I am home.
Artist Profile: Jay Niblock
Jay Niblock graduated in 2011 with a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Queens University Belfast. Since then, he has worked full time as an Engineer while creating art in his free time. Jay spoke to The Jumble Magazine about his art, his inspirations, cityscape work, and the lock down.
What is the goal of your artwork?
My goal as an artist is to create a representation demonstrating the interaction between people, places, and objects through use of light, texture, and colour – using whatever object I feel best translates the idea.
What are your inspirations as an artist?
Certainly past artists such as John Singer Sargent, Caravaggio, Anders Zorn, Sorolla and all the other greats continue to inspire me every time I look at their work – I think it’s extremely important that as art continues to transition and evolve through the years that the knowledge attainable from their efforts should never be lost. My favourite artist of all is the great Richard Schmid, whose ability is so diverse and adaptable it’s frightening!
“In finding inspiration for a particular scene it can often be triggered by those things which can easily be overlooked – the way light falls on a building, the human interaction between person and place, the reflection of tail lights on the road, the quiet contemplation found in an empty space”
The important thing is to sit down and paint or draw which can be inspiration in itself- the idea will often develop itself as long as you have a foundation. Art has always been my passion. My wife has also been extremely supportive and encouraging which is a huge help.
What makes your art unique?
My work is often distinguished by the mood, colour, and atmosphere I have recreated with vigour and energy. Every piece needs to evoke a sense of feeling or emotion, and the artist’s challenge is how to achieve this on a 2D surface using tangible objects. The work I create is personal to me because of the specific moment in time I have captured and the techniques I have used to do it. I look back on every painting or drawing almost as a visual diary of experiences and memories in life.
How has the lock down impacted your ability to create?
These are extremely challenging times for everyone and I have the utmost respect for those that are out in the front line still working and helping people get through this. Personally, as I have been placed on furlough I have found more time to focus on my artwork and continue to challenge myself. Obviously the lock down has severely hindered my ability to freely carry out research for cityscape subjects. One of the big appeals of cityscape work to me is that sense of being lost among a crowd and watching the world go by, which is sadly missing right now. Having said that, I still have a huge backlog of work and continue to develop my figurative and still life work, so thankfully I’m not short on material.
Art has always been an escape for me, and especially in times like this I think we all need one – so whether that’s writing, drawing, painting, making music or dancing I would encourage everyone to try something creative while the time is there to do it. If you find yourself getting frustrated, that’s okay – it happens to all of us!
Jay’s work is currently represented by The Eakin Gallery on the Lisburn road, Belfast, and can also be seen on his website where there are a range of prints for sale. You can check out more of Jay’s art on Instagram and Facebook.
Artist Profile: Megan Rafferty
Megan Rafferty is a second year Illustration Student at Ulster University/Belfast School of Art and a self described ‘tea enthusiast and lover of pink’. Megan spoke to The Jumble Magazine about baking, art styles, and getting over the lock down slump.
How would you describe your work?
Cheerful, colourful & cute!
What inspires you to create?
I’m a hopeless romantic. I just think there’s so much loveliness in the world around us, and illustration is the perfect medium to capture it. When you draw, you capture the world in a way unique to you – if I want the sky to be pink and the sea to be lilac, I can just do that!
I love recording things; I have detailed journals, make little video logs and take photos when I can. Illustration, however, is my favourite way to record – I can recreate moments I couldn’t get on camera, exaggerate them to how it felt at the time and colour them as I see fit. I think that’s what inspires me; the desire to illustrate the world, and the people around me, in the way I see it. A record of the things I think, see and feel that might even outlive me one day.
What makes your art personal?
“What makes my work my own is its messiness; I learned a while ago that I can’t draw a neat line to save my life, but I’ve embraced that!”
There’s so much energy in scribbly lines, and I like my work to be light-hearted and fun. Making things big, bouncy and bendy is what I’m currently working towards – I love drawing people with big bug eyes, noodly limbs and volumized hair, and I’m learning that the looser, the better!
How has the lock down impacted your ability to create?
We finished our semester early in April, and after that I had a bit of a creative slump – but I’ve since picked myself up! I’m currently partaking in ‘Misadventure May’; a prompt-based challenge where you create a new Fantasy themed drawing each day of May. I’ve had so much fun with it – every morning I get to work on it straight after breakfast and finish before tea. I love having a little routine, and so far, this challenge has been the Sun which my days orbit around.
During and after my wee creative slump, I’ve been getting really into baking as well! Whilst bakes don’t really have the same permanence as illustrations do, it’s just as satisfying as a creative outlet. It’s been quite pleasant to just spend my days creating, alternating between baking, making & drawing.
‘Second Chances’, ‘Tea Shop’, and ‘An Introduction to Forest Bathing’
You can find more of Megan’s art on Instagram .
Artist Profile: Hannah Morgan
Hannah Morgan runs a small business called ‘Hannah Rosaria Art’. The business was born through Hannah studying Fine Art Painting at Belfast School of Art. Hannah specialises in all things Pinterly, from unique commissioned paintings to hosting her own paint events, such as ‘Paint Night – The Magic of Painting!’ Hannah chatted to The Jumble Magazine about her inspiration, chronic pain and the lock down.
How would you describe your art?
My work is a culmination of the world I see around me and my own imagination. A tutor of mine once said my work seemed to achieve a sense of ‘Magic Realism’ which depicts reality as we know it – while adding in magical elements. So I guess I’ll stick to that!
What inspires you to create?
Inspiration for me can come from anyone or anything. For example: the sky is something I am so compelled by and fascinated with. The colours, the textures, the weather, cloud complexities, the sun, moon and stars. You can be sure that in anything I create there will be elements of nature.
What makes your art personal?
My creation process consists of collecting mental images of things / places / people that take my interest and over time I collect enough that it culminates in the completion of a painting.
“I paint as a means of escapism from chronic pain – caused by Endometriosis. I became sick 12 years ago when I was 13, but luckily fell upon my artistic path as I felt creating was the only way to distract from the pain I was in.”
Everything I create is emotionally charged as it has been used as a form of therapy. When in painting I never hold myself back or second guess myself, using vibrant colours and bold lines and shapes. Although my work may be varied I would say it now seems cohesive and truly my own as every element of such work will be a personal image I have deemed worthy enough to paint.
What impact has the lock down had on your work?
I’ve tried to take lock down in my stride and really spend all the time I can creating. I’ve been able to create a fresco style wall mural in my bedroom which pretty much encapsulates all my favourite things to look at – flowers, clouds, magpies, the moon, you name it! Lock down has even pushed me to try digital drawing and I’ve seemed to dive head first into it. I’m now creating digital drawings of the ever inspiring nurses and doctors that are working on the frontline against the Coronavirus.
You can find more of Hannah’s art on Instagram .
Artist Profile: Jasmin Moore
Jasmin Moore is an illustrator based in Belfast who has just finished studying at Ulster University Belfast. Jasmin spoke to The Jumble Magazine about finding humour in art, inspiration, and the lock down.
How would you describe your art?
I would describe my work as quirky and fun. I usually tend to make my illustrations humorous and just have a laugh with them.
What inspires you to create?
Definitely people. My granda was the first person to try to teach me to draw from a very early age. Ever since then I’ve wanted to be an artist. I’ve always loved drawing people. Everyone is so different you never get bored. Being from Northern Ireland you meet a lot of characters too, every- one has an interesting story to tell.
What makes your art personal?
I invest a lot of my own humour into my work. I like to illustrate things that make me laugh, so you get a sense of me in my work. I mostly work digitally, and use photoshop to paint and I use the same digital paint brush for all my images which I think gives them a slight sketchy, messy kind of feel that I love.
How has the lock down impacted your ability to create?
I’m from a tiny place called Islandmagee which is surrounded by beautiful scenery and beaches so I am never without inspiration. I am also very lucky to be a digital artist. As long as I have my tablet with me I am able to create no matter where I’m situated.
Yas Queen and Pink Dress
You can check out more of Jasmin’s art on Instagram
Supporting the Community: NI Unplugged
‘NI Unplugged’ is a charity compilation album of over 50 Northern Ireland based artists that has been created during the lock down to raise money for Help Musicians NI, who are an independent charity dedicated to supporting local music. The creator and manager of the project Caitlin Palmer spoke to The Jumble Magazine about the album:
‘NI Unplugged‘ is a digital compilation of 50+ N.I. artists that has been created during the UK lock down. It features bands and solo musicians that would be currently active in Northern Ireland, playing acoustic versions of their own original songs. Some of the acts included are Brand New Friend, Sister Ghost, Gender Chores, and Wynona Bleach, to name a few.
- Every penny raised from purchases will be donated to Help Musicians NI
- The album features songs across various genres and also made by musicians from a range of ages
- It has been created following the UK health and safety guidelines for social distancing. Whether one member with a single acoustic guitar or a full band with the means to record remotely from their homes.
- From the initial idea to the album’s release has taken less than 4 weeks.
- Rocky O’Reilly at Start Together Studios Belfast kindly donated his time to master the compilation.
Artist Profile: Shannon Walsh
Shannon Walsh is a first year Ulster University student studying Photography with Video. Shannon talked to The Jumble about photography and how it helped her feel more involved in the music scene and fall back ‘in love’ with Belfast.
Some of Shannon’s Music photography: Shots of Inhaler and American Guinea Pig playing in Belfast
How would you describe your photography?
I find it difficult to describe my photography in a concise way as I am interested in all genres, however the main genres I have been focusing on so far are documentary, music, and portrait photography. I love shooting gigs as music is something I have always loved but unfortunately it is not something I am good at. Being a music photographer makes me feel involved in the local music scene which is amazing. I started out as a photographer with documentary photography by walking the streets of Belfast City Centre and documenting the people and places I see, it’s taught me to be more attentive to my surroundings as well as falling back in love with my hometown after a few years of “teenage angst” and boredom making me hate it
What inspires you to create?
Two photographers who have inspired me to create are Vivian Maier and Nan Goldin. Maier was such a prolific photographer and her images are breath taking. Nan Goldin’s work has such an important and diaristic feel to it which as a sentimentalist is something that really attracted me to photography, the images you leave behind basically immortalise you, they are your memories.
“I want my work to mean something to people, to document something important. Photography gives me a purpose in life and that is what inspires me to keep creating.”
What makes your photography personal?
I’m not sure if I have a trademark style or aesthetic within my images but I use a range of mediums when photographing-I shoot DSLR as well as on film and polaroid. I see many advantages to each of these mediums so if I am ever on a shoot I can guarantee I will be carrying at least 3 cameras when out shooting!
My work is personal to me because it is from my own perspective , when I am on the busy streets of town I am enticed to capture certain interactions that catch my eye.
Street photography by Shannon
How has lock down impacted your ability to create?
Lock down has halted all photo shoots I had planned, to stay sane I have been taking photos on my daily walks but that hasn’t really fulfilled me in a creative way, the images are purely aesthetic and I don’t get the same rush of excitement as I do shooting my usual stuff. Although I am considering delving into the worlds of self-portraiture or still life photography.
New Music: An Interview with Fiona Harte
Fiona Harte is a singer-songwriter from Tyrone whose new single ‘Auburn’ is out today. I had a chat with Fiona about the song, the video, Joni Mitchell and (of course) the lock down.
So, Auburn is released today. The video is fantastic, how was it organising so many dancers worldwide?
Organising the video was really quite spur of the moment. I wrote and recorded the song to be released as part of the EP, and while scrolling on Instagram I started seeing all of these dancing videos. I love dance, and decided I would love to put together some visuals with dance to match the song. One of the videos I saw was a dancer under a sunset and it clicked that that was perfect for the lyrics. I started searching hashtags like #sunsetdancers and contacting people and ended up with several amazing dancers worldwide interested in the project. They choreographed the dances themselves. I guess with the lock down it gave us all a more collaborative piece to work on.
Auburn is part of the ‘Home Recordings’ EP, a fitting title given the current situation. How are you finding lock down?
The EP is due to come out at the end of June. I’ll be releasing it single by single with Auburn being the second. I was originally hoping it would be out before then, but with everyone recording from home things have slowed down a little.
This may be controversial but I sort of love the lock down, okay, maybe love is a strong word. I’m missing my friends and I’m missing gigging but I’m back in Tyrone after living in America last year and the peace and quiet of the countryside is so refreshing. I’m taking it in. I’ve had the chance to record music with other people virtually, which is obviously complicated but really fun. I think it’s all about having a good mindset about it, it’s the situation that we’re in and we kind of just have to get on with it.
I love ‘Let me Know’ from your self titled album. It’s got such a catchy hook and the lyrics are so raw. How would you describe your song writing approach?
I always try to write and play at the same time. I sort of just play my piano or guitar and write as I go. I think it’s kind of a problem that I want to get over but I often write my songs before I know what they are about. Which I know is a weird way of doing things. I sort of look back on them when I’m done and go “Okay, that’s what this is about then” when it clicks. I’m starting to write more with other people, and I think right now when there isn’t a whole lot of the world to be experiencing it’s really important to get other people and perspectives involved so that I’m not just writing about one thing. I haven’t done many co-writes via zoom, so I’ll have to see how it goes.
I’ve read that two of your biggest inspirations were Amy Winehouse and Joni Mitchell. Where should fans of those artists start with your music?
‘Auburn’ is more Joni Mitchell than Amy Whinehouse. It’s got the poetic feel in the lyrics and it’s softer. I think fans of Joni’s ‘Blue’ will like it in particular. When I was first starting out I was more on the Amy Whinehouse/R&B side of things, but this is a bit more mellow. This song is all about storytelling. It’s got a strong sense of far away loves and leaving things behind.
Have you got any big plans after the lockdown?
I was in the process of moving to London when the lock down was announced. I was there for about two weeks and then had to come back. I was planning on a UK tour and I had a few shows in Nashville booked, and I hope to return back to that plan as soon as it’s safe to do so.
You can listen to more of Fiona’s music on Spotify
Interview by Sam Dineen
Artist Profile : Meabh Mulholland
Meabh Mulholland is a multi-media visual artist based in Belfast who is graduating from Plymouth University. Meabh spoke to the Jumble about inspiration, illustration, the creative process, and the lock down.
“Most of what I create is in some degree a visual representation of the emotions I’m trying to process at that time, having the opportunity to process your own trauma and make something beautiful with the potential to help others is a really beautiful thing.”
My inspirations are constantly changing, from the important people in my life to support from my creative peers. Resources that we can currently access today cannot go unappreciated, how cool is it that we can just click the explore section on Instagram and see art created by hundreds of different personalities around the world? My current obsession is the Rubberhose art style of the 1930s, classics such as Betty Boop that just radiate so much positivity, you can tell the animators really loved what they were doing. Another huge inspiration to me is music, especially music by small creators such as Girlpool. They create with the purpose of expressing their emotions at that point in their life to whoever wants to listen. I think that is really comparable to the fast-paced art community that exists today.
I would consider what I create as personal because my style never stays the same, usually every few months I’ll adapt it into something new. I’m still experimenting with everything and anything that inspires me, and I think it’s important as an artist to never restrain myself to one type of style for the sake of my ‘brand’. I believe experimenting and having the opportunity to express ourselves in a visual way helps us grow and discover who we are as artists.
The lock down has heavily impacted my creative motivation. While I typically create every day, I was unable to for over a month, and I was punishing myself for that. Leading up to and the beginning of the lock down was a dark moment for me and I was fortunate to be able to seek help through the resources of Northern Ireland’s mental health service. For the first time, I was needing to learn how to take everything one day at a time, and not be angry if I couldn’t be productive. I think it’s extremely difficult in this age of social media where we are constantly seeing hundreds of creators showing their best side and continuing productivity without any kind of break, that we as creatives put productivity on this pedestal that we can never achieve while trying to combat this ruthless algorithm and ‘make it’ as artists. I’ve learnt during this time that we cannot blame ourselves for a ‘lack’ in content or if we need to step away to focus on ourselves. We need to remember why we wanted to be artists and roll with it, love and be confident in what we create, and the rest will come.
My newest project is under development and will be online by early June. It is a zine called ‘Sertraline’. I was scared for so many years to try antidepressants because of the amount of stigma that surrounds not only antidepressants but mental health in general especially within Northern Ireland. This zine will be aiming to simplify the common misconceptions that are spread surrounding their side effects and impact, while at the same time allowing me to express what I went through before and during the process of choosing this type of treatment and processing through my own trauma. It’s a project dear to my heart and I cannot wait to publish it!
Dissertation, Graduation, and Staying Indoors: Uni in Lock Down
Beth Buchanan is a third year Film Studies and Production student in Queen’s University Belfast. Having had the tail end of her degree and uni experience massively altered by the current lock down Beth has an interesting insight into how this situation is impacting soon-to-be graduates in the creative industry. We had a chat about uni support, graduation, and what this means for her.
Firstly, how is your lockdown situation?
It’s fine, I’m in my student house in belfast as my dad is still working in the healthcare sector, and I have asthma, so we agreed that it’s safer for me to be here with my housemate. Its been okay so far, it’s definitely stressful, but while I’m working on assignments I would be in the house a lot anyway, so I guess it’s not that different.
As a third year student, how do you feel your university has supported you throughout the lockdown?
I genuinely think they have done their best with the circumstances given, my personal tutor has been really responsive, she’s the head of my course too- so there has been a lot of information given to us. There’s some things with assignments that are obviously not ideal, but we can’t really avoid it as its third year; Queens are trying to organise some options for extensions and deferrals to sit assignments at another time if a student feels they need to, but I personally chose to just continue on with my work to keep everything as on track as I possibly can.
What about your dissertation?
We got a 2 week extension on our dissertation. It was after a bit of a kick back from students when we were originally told around St Patrick’s day that there would be so extension, a lot of people had to move back home (a lot of them abroad) so the extension felt really necessary to give students time to get back into the swing of things. I didn’t have a lot of contact with my supervisor, I did my best with what I could. Without resources like the student library it did feel a bit more difficult to manage. There was a bit of a stockpiling of sorts happening before the library closed; people frantically trying to find anything that would be useful to their dissertation.
Do you feel like the lockdown is going to impact your overall grade?
I hope not. My dissertation was in its home stretch by the time this all started. I think the thing that was impacting me the most was that I don’t work the best in my home environment, normally I rely on the peace and quiet of the library, so that definitely had an effect on my ability to write.
What impact has the lock down had on your practical work?
This year we had to submit our final film which is around 10 minutes long, the work for the film spans over the whole year, the first semester is pre-production and the second is production and reflection, which obviously now has been cut short. They told us to stop producing our films once everything got really serious and lockdown was on the horizon. Luckily most of my group’s documentary was filmed already. But other groups I know didn’t have anything by then as they weren’t planning to film until easter. Obviously the university can’t hold us all to the same standard now as different groups are on different parts of their work, so they have told us to put together a reflective essay and a portfolio to be graded instead. No-one knows how it’s going to be marked- there isn’t a lot of guidance because they have never had to do this before, and I appreciate that, but it is super stressful knowing your degree is dependent on an assignment that changed last minute. We have been told throughout our degrees that our final films are our calling cards, they are what we are supposed to enter the industry with, so not having them done in line with the original plan is frustrating. Luckily the university has assured us that we will be able to use university equipment and resources to finish our films after graduation when it is safe to do so.
What is the situation with your graduation?
We are having a virtual graduation, which initially received a bit of kickback from students. For now, the virtual ceremony is there for us to participate in online but we have been assured that once it is possible we will get to have our robe-wearing stage-walking ceremony too, obviously this situation isn’t ideal, but I’m glad that we will eventually get to have that experience.
Interview by Sam Dineen
By Daniel Healy
Lollipops of honeydew melon remind me of sustenance,
An isolated grove, a river, of complete and utter ambience,
A habit of playing the jolly go-lucky, with the synthesising Sun,
But then it soon begins; the seasonal treason.
Its said to look like rain clouds blistering from the East,
An individual complex, of rain splashed scenery,
But when I look around me the only thing I see,
Is a haze of heavy mist and a gut disparity?
When September turns to raindrops, while summer turns to snow,
When amber leaves litter spring, and Winter’s light can’t seem to show
The intricacy of feeling seasons, in grandeur and in difference,
Returns here the seasonal treason, to remind of the things I miss
You can globe-trot to the North, to follow the fleeting Sun,
You can scurry to the South, to see what it has become,
East for Sandy daydreams, and West to bless the sky,
But chasing misplaced mishaps, is sure to cause a sigh
For the sun will surely come again, on time in mid-July,
So, don’t be frightened of the clouds, that hide the bright blue sky,
For the treason of the seasons, can be surely fixed,
By reaching out to those we know, who know how to clear the mist.
Photo by Daniel Healy
By H.R. Gibs
Eric Bob’s life is on fire, it’s all over the evening news. The stocks are down, or the Prime Minister has been abducted or a painting has been stolen from the National Gallery, it doesn’t matter. What matters is Eric Bob is not here to see it. No-one knows where he went; there is no scrap of him; not a footprint, not the crumb of a sandwich or the abandoned milk jug on a cafe table.
Of course, he isn’t missing. He’s just gone off-script.
The old woman down the road liked to watch the world outside her window. She would sit on her plush armchair, legs propped a little and let the choreographed dance of the street unfurl itself in all its glory before her. It was like a rough-cut street ballet, soundtracked by the mighty symphony of motherly bellows and tenor revs of departing fathers on their way to work. She knew all the faces and the footfalls, not by name but by sight. And they would tut at her supposed nosiness as if the spectacle of it all wasn’t made more meaningful by the mere act of her witness.
She knew Eric Bob better than most of her neighbours or at least she liked to think so. Sometimes she thought she knew him better than most of his friends even, although she wasn’t entirely sure if he had friends. His house was very dark and very neat and very quiet. She deemed him the kind of man who tiptoed, despite his sleek designer suits and polished loafers and briefcase. He had a car which would zip off earlier than the birdsong in the mornings and returned always after dark. Some days the old woman feared she might miss him but she never did. Eric Bob was the bookend to her day.
He worked one of those high-up-important-jobs in the government or in stocks or doing art dealerships. By any means, it was a job synonymous with words like “stress” or “ongoing” and “confidential” and “honey, I’ll be back late”. She had only spoken to him actually a handful of times, despite the fact he had lived opposite her living room window for over 2 years. Once, she remembered fondly, when she was gardening, he had helped her cart a hefty sack of soil all the way from the garden to the flowerbed.
“What a gentleman you are,” she had said.
“It’s easy to be a gentleman in the presence of such a lady” he had replied.
From then on whenever they caught each other’s eye from across the street they would give a little wave or a nod or a knowing look which often meant
That’s right, she liked Eric Bob. He was like having a visual penpal.
Eric Bob really liked his neighbour from across the street. She was an eccentric old woman who surveyed her surrounding inhabitants like some grand wise keeper of keys. She may very well have been designated that role officially for the glints of her rimmed glasses which more often than not hung on the golden chain around her neck did not miss a beat.
He worked in an accountancy firm in the centre of town. He had fallen into it after falling into a degree in mathematics which he’d hated and, not-so-much to his surprise, he did not enjoy accounting. But he was good at it and it was pleasant enough to sit each day by a big window and watch the city below; how the people morphed into brightly coloured dots when looked at from such great heights. He liked this office, he liked his colleagues and the coffee maker in the kitchenette, he liked the routine of it.
In fact, he quite liked his little life. He worked hard and lived alone in a neat little cul-de-sac and very much kept himself to himself. It was an easy thing to maintain. This life just bounced by through the momentum of rhythm; work, sleep, eat, repeat, 1, 2, 3, 4. Nothing odd could ever really happen when you lived in the suburbs could it? It was perpetually on the cusp of lovely.
On morning Eric Bob, having forgotten to put the bins out the night before, sank his feet into his slippers and his arms into his plaid dressing gown and trapsed downstairs. The morning air was cool as he dragged the dustbin to the roadside. Then something came over Eric Bob. He took a moment, stepped off the pavement and stood, just so, in the middle of the road. Once that was done the rest followed naturally. He breathed in the fresh air and looked at the lilac morning sky and, without a thought, decided to go for a little walk.
It didn’t even occur to him that he was in his pyjamas. It was so quiet and afterall, he was the only man in the world. And anyway, there was something captivating about those trees over yonder. The spindly silhouettes seemed to tug inwards. So, for the first time since moving in, Eric Bob set off to look at his surroundings. What he came to was a lake. He hadn’t even known it was there. It was like mirrored glass, the still morning holding it in place in servitude to the sky and her reflection. To his left he saw the burnt red sun on the lip of the horizon. He didn’t even stop to think. He tugged off his robe and pyjamas and folded them neatly on the bank.
The water was cold. It shocked like electricity and turned his wrists blue. The goosebumps on his shivering arms were like mountain ranges, but there was an exciting warmth in his chest. Something along the lines of possibility or perhaps just the recognition of awake-ness. He let the legs of his pyjama bottoms stick sodden to his shins on the walk home. He would have eggs for breakfast this morning he decided.
And then? who knew.
The old woman noticed immediately. Despite it being gone 11 am, the car across the street was decidedly still parked in the driveway. Eric Bob had not gone to work. Nor was he in the house for it was the postman with a delivery for number-6-across-the-way that had been the cause for her coming to the door. How odd, she thought as she took the package.
She made a habit of not getting stuck watching the street and set out about her day. She boiled the kettle and dusted her bookshelves. She went to the local market and to the bank. When she came back, the car was gone. She spent the rest of the day dithering and when it came to it turned on the lamps in the living room. Across the street, the driveway now empty, the house remained dark and everytime she glanced out she couldn’t help but wonder at the obvious – where was Eric Bob?
In the hallway, on the way upstairs, she took a glimpse at the package which had been delivered that morning. Something caught her eye and she picked it up.
‘How odd’ she thought, thumbing the sealed flap. It was her name above the address, not her neighbour’s. She paused before running her finger under the seal so it broke.
H.R. Gibs also provided readers with an accompanying playlist for this story, you can listen to it on spotify
Poetry For Staying Home
By Dáire Carson
the dust hands in heavenly sunbeams
and the heat radiates out of my head.
do you remember that time at the beach?
time is ticking too slowly or too fast,
there is no in-between.
is creativity dead or heightened?
Photo by Dáire Carson
Artist Profile : Claudia Maxwell Designs
Claudia Maxwell Designs is a small business which started in 2019. Claudia started the business after graduating from Textile Art, Design and Fashion at Ulster University. Claudia makes personalised laser cut accessories. Claudia spoke to The Jumble Magazine about laser cutting, creating jewellery, and the lock downs impact on running a small business.
How would you describe your work?
“I would describe my work as unique personal pieces that make a statement. I want my pieces to make you to feel your best self when you wear them.”
What inspires you to create?
I’m extremely enthused by creating exuberant designs with vibrant colours and distinctive materials , often the things I make are things that I can picture myself wearing.
What makes your art personal?
Growing up I always remember going into shops that had personalised bottles, purses, or signs but my name was never on one of them. As a child it was frustrating, my sister would always get her name. On a family holiday I finally found a key ring with my name, which made me feel so happy. Now I’m glad I can help others get their names on accessories and make them feel that the pieces are made especially for them.
How has the lockdown impacted your ability to create?
I’m very lucky that I design, laser cut, and make my pieces from home. However, it’s now harder for me to source my materials as other businesses are being impacted. It’s caused a backlog for people receiving their orders but thankfully people have been so lovely and understanding of what’s going on and how COVID-19 is affecting small businesses.
Your Experience: Lock Down Abroad
Steven Jackson moved from Belfast to teach English in Madrid in September 2019. In light of current events, Steven found himself in a COVID-19 lock down before his family and friends back home. I spoke to Steven about what it is like to be in this situation abroad and the contrast between the lock down in Madrid and Northern Ireland.
When did your lock down begin and what is the situation now?
We have been on lockdown since around 14th March, about 9 days before the UK lock down began, since the 2nd of May we are able to go out for exercise in allocated time slots: between 6am and 10am in the morning and 8pm and 11pm at night, that was our first opportunity for outdoor exercise in around 7 weeks.
What is your living situation like?
Normally I live with 7 people in a large apartment, but 4 of them have gone home, so now I’m in this huge apartment with only 2 other people. I have a double bed, a desk, and a balcony. I’m lucky to have that space and the balcony in particular is vital.
I don’t have a lot of green space around me because I live in the city centre. It’s beautiful to look around and see all the balconies, but when you aren’t able to go far it is a bit of a concrete jungle. The balconies are great though, it’s nice to sit out and wave across to your neighbours and communicate from our balconies. Being abroad for this kind of thing is surreal, and as much as I can comfortably speak Spanish there are a lot of words I have heard during this pandemic for the first time. I’ve been relying on others who can speak English here to help clarify information for me. The same way that back home there is new vocabulary to describe this situation, there is a lot here too, and translating it automatically can be confusing and difficult.
What kind of action has been taken to enforce the lockdown?
I get the impression that police are a lot stricter about the lock down here than they are at home. For example: I’ve been quizzed while shopping (what I’m getting, why it’s essential). Before things lessened here a little and exercise was allowed on May 2nd I’d been outside of my apartment about 8 times in 7 weeks, for essentials only. As far as I’m aware lots of people were getting fined here too. People were taking it all very seriously.
How did it feel watching things unfold at home compared to Madrid?
That week or so of being in lock down before everyone back home was surreal. People from home were on social media asking why they weren’t off work yet, whilst people over here were losing their jobs left, right, and centre. I was worried about family and friends back home because the death rates here were increasing massively, and those back home didn’t seem to be taking it anywhere near as seriously as we had to. When the UK lock down finally did happen I saw an influx of people on social media complain about how nice the weather was. I found it difficult to empathise: when I saw people were trying to use the good weather as an excuse to not treat the lock down as seriously, I got pretty annoyed. I live in Madrid, it is always good weather here, I still couldn’t just go out. There are people I know who had moved here to teach who were travelling back home when it began. I stayed because I wanted the job security, if I had gone home I would have no idea when I could come back to teach again, so I stayed put. A lot of people in my field of work have sadly lost their jobs because they went home at the beginning of all this.
What is teaching English from home like?
At the beginning, they told us to make videos from home: of us cooking, baking, or talking about our families in English so the students could pick up on more vocabulary. The issue is there’s obviously no room for correction through videos, we can’t help the students if they pick up a word or phrase incorrectly. It’s a one way video, this makes teaching harder. On top of that, I’m no Spielberg, movie making is not my forte. It was taking up much more of my time than I originally thought it would to do things like setting up the camera or editing the video. The work that was being done compared to the hours being spent on it wasn’t working out. Luckily for me we moved onto powerpoints for the students, which I’m much more skilled with. I’ve also lost a lot of my private lessons, which has significantly impacted my income.
What have you been doing to keep yourself busy?
My sleep schedule was beginning to take a bit of a nose dive. I found that setting up a routine to do my work in a set amount of time helped massively. I do my work in the morning, then have lunch, listen to music, chat with loved ones, sit in the sun on the balcony, and watch the very few people go by. Now that restrictions have lessened a little , I often go on a walk after 8pm for some exercise. I’ve felt a bit of pressure to be super productive through some of the things I’ve seen online, people setting all these goals to learn another language or skill. I thought about all these things I wanted to pick up, but keeping the momentum going throughout a situation like this is exhausting. People should take into account that if they haven’t used this time to write a novel or learn a language that is okay, it’s just as good that they are getting through it. Before this, most of us were living very busy lives. Now that we’re either working from home – or off work entirely – we’re all allowed to take this time to relax if we need to. It’s incredibly stressful, and further pressure to do something life changing can sometimes do more harm than good. I’ve had a lot more deep conversations with my friends and family, I’ve connected with people more, and I appreciate all the people in my life so much more now than ever before.
Interview by Sam Dineen
Artist Profile: Elle McGreevy
Elle McGreevy is a Belfast based graphic illustrator who is currently studying Graphic
Design & Illustration at Ulster University. Elle’s catalogue is permeated by a dreamlike quality heightened by a through-line of vibrant colour palettes and surreal simulacrum. Elle spoke to The Jumble Magazine about art, influences and the lock down.
What or who inspires you to create?
In terms of other artists, my influences range from surreal artists like Joan Miró and Man
Ray to contemporary designers such as Paula Scher and Ed Templeton. However, a lot of
the work I make is inspired by things I see/ do/ hear in everyday life.
“I’ll be in a daydream on the bus on my way to work and imagine the people and landscapes around me changing, and then I’ll scribble that down and later try to make something from it.”
I like to extract the banal of the domestic and translate it into something more colourful and
What is your creative process?
I’m originally from a background focused on fine art, but over the last few years I have branched
into illustration and design. Through utilising traditional and digital illustration, hand
rendered typography and graphic means I have been creating zines, gifs, record sleeves,
posters, ep artwork and spot illustrations. In my illustrations in particular, I have focused
on abstractions of reality, taking known imagery and hybridising them in order to create
work that (I hope) is equal parts unsettling and familiar.
How has the lock down impacted your work?
I have been very lucky to be staying with my parents in their home on the North Coast, and with my surroundings and the weather being nicer than my teeny flat in Belfast I have found myself creating more tangible work. Instead of sketching and creating digital illustrations inside all day on my
computer I have been out in the sun painting and making. I’ve made a fun little series of plant pots and also have been painting on old bathroom tiles. It is refreshing and I feel very grateful to be here during this time.
More of Elle’s work, including EP & single cover illustrated for Belfast band All The Few.
Supporting the Community: Anthony Cooley
Anthony Cooley is a 34 year old freelance writer and illustrator from Derry, he also works as a personal trainer in Belfast. He started working freelance after graduating from University of Ulster’s Magee Campus with a degree in Graphic Design and Illustration in 2008. Anthony has recently released a book to raise money for the NSPCC : ‘A World Outside My Window’ which uses beautiful illustrations alongside the story of Charlie, a little boy who is stuck at home and uses the power of his own imagination to visit all the places that he can’t go physically. Anthony spoke to The Jumble Magazine about ‘A World Outside My Window’ :
‘Like most , I have suddenly got extra time on my hands. I had seen all the amazing stories in the media of people doing incredible feats to raise money for different causes and it made me think, what can I do to make a difference?’
“It’s a simple book with some lovely illustrations. It’s not just about coronavirus specifically, I wanted the book to apply to any kid who is stuck at home for whatever reason, be it because of lockdown or because they are ill. I have lots of nephews and nieces who are stuck at home. I took inspiration from how they were finding the lock down; how difficult it was keeping themselves occupied during this time. Children are missing school and their friends, and being able to go outside and play, as well as their relatives. This is something I touch on in the book.
I’ve also seen the current campaign on TV for the NSPCC’s Childline charity. They stated that the amount of calls they have seen from vulnerable children since the lock down began has dramatically risen. So I felt compelled to make the book in aid of those kids. I have been in touch with the charity about the campaign and they are delighted to see it.”
The campaign has already surpassed the original goal of £500, but every donation counts to help support vulnerable children. Every person who makes a donation of £5 or more will receive a free digital copy of the book. Anthony will send a code to those who donate over £5 to download the book from iBooks. Android users can also receive a code to download the book from Anthony after donation, or they can buy it directly from the Amazon Kindle store.
Anthony’s previous children’s book ‘Who Lives On The Moon?’ is also available on etsy (note: this book is an older release and is not related to the NSPCC Campaign)
Photos provided by Anthony Cooley
Local Music: Aeons
Aeons are a funk rock band from Bangor made up of Erin, Luke, Jamie, Jack, and Aidan. They describe their music as ‘Funk rhythm and groove, infused with no frills rock and roll’. Here’s what they had to say to The Jumble Magazine about their music and the lock down.
We all have a real passion for rhythm and music. We are constantly trying to express ourselves through our music as much as possible. We hope this is not only something that the listener can relate to, but can also have them dancing around their house.
I think collectively, for us so far our favourite track we have made would have to be ‘Smile’ . It has melody, feeling, and groove with a real heavy ending. It’s the best of both worlds as regards to our individual influences. And the good news is, it’ll be on all streaming platforms in the not so distant future!
Our music would be for those who are fans of funk rock and soul. As individuals, most of us are deeply rooted within our own funk rock and metal influences. However, Luke would bring an additional balance of soul music to the mix. A vulfpeck/misch dimension to the sound. So for anyone who likes Red Hot Chill Peppers or Rage Against The Machine, as well as the funky funk, you might like our stuff too!
I think the whole lock down due to COVID-19 will have a much deeper impact on our local scene than people realise. It’s as if we’ve ran into a brick wall as soon as the scene was starting to boom again! Sadly, this pandemic could result in us never stepping foot in some of our favourite local venues again, considering so many of them are struggling. At the least it won’t be for a long time. It seemed as if before this, every band was hitting the ground running. Full of passion and producing some of the best music the country has ever seen. However, since the lock down it’s as if we’ve lost some momentum. It hit us hard personally as we were due to release and EP with plans for an Empire launch. Now, it doesn’t look like we’ll be hitting the stage anytime soon. We’re trying not to let this break our motivation, as we plan to move forward in the post-pandemic music scene.
Supporting the Community: Foodstock
Paul Doherty is a musician, community activist, and the founder of Foodstock; a series of festival-type events where musicians perform to raise money for foodbanks across the community. The Jumble Magazine had a chat with Paul all about Foodstock and the benefits it has as an organisation for musicians and those in need.
What is the goal of foodstock?
The main aim of Foodstock is to raise awareness of the poverty faced by many people within our communities and to support the work of food banks, who provide a vital lifeline to those in need.
Foodstock features musicians of all ages, genres, and backgrounds performing for one cause. Those attending our events enjoy the live music and also hear from guest speakers about the work that food banks do. The price of entry to a foodstock gig is simply an item of non-perishable food. The items donated are handed over to local foodbanks to help them meet the need of their services within the community.
To date we have had events held all over Belfast in places like Conway Mill, The Belfast Barge, and An Cultulann. We have been able to help food banks and organisations across the city with large amounts of food and funds.
Since our first event in August last year I have been inundated with musicians and volunteers asking what they can do to help. It has been incredible to see how people can pull together.
How has the lock down impacted foodstock?
The COVID-19 crisis has put further pressure on food banks; many have had to operate differently and have relied on financial donations to buy food for distribution. In seeing this, we started looking at further ways we could help. We were in the process of putting together a large scale open-air event for the summer, but that has unfortunately had to be postponed. We had to start thinking outside the box.
We soon got to organising an online festival in which musicians perform live from their living rooms directly to audiences at home. The event was a massive success with £870 raised for the likes of the Larder Food Bank in East Belfast, the West Belfast Food Bank, Heartship, South West Belfast Food bank, and St Patrick’s Soup Kitchen. I have been overwhelmed by the generosity shown by people during this time, and I have seen with my own eyes when dropping food off to people’s homes how much it means to them and how grateful they are. As long as there is that need in the community Foodstock will continue to support as much as we possibly can.
Following the success of our first online event word started spreading and more artists got involved. We had a performance from The Bootleg Beatles who have shared a stage with Oasis in the past, as well as Laurence Juber – a member of Paul McCartney’s band Wings back in the 70’s. We have also had some incredible support from local musicians who never fail to bring people in with their talent and enthusiasm. It isn’t lost on me how musicians are struggling through this difficult time as well, so we can’t thank them enough for helping out.
There have been a few moments of these online events that really sum up the spirit of Foodstock, like 71 year old Geraldine Mailey performing outside her home while self-isolating, or 12 year old Cora Harkin. Her parents got in touch to organise her performance and she absolutely stole the show. All of the performances have been incredible and have made people come together (albeit virtually of late) in support of those in need.
What can people expect next from Foodstock?
We will be continuing our Beatles theme up until this weekend. And we have a lot of artists lined up too, both local and international: the very talented Hannah Lynn who has just released a fantastic new single will be performing, from Germany we have a band called Atomic, and we also have Barry Sutton from The La’s (There She Goes) performing a fab four hit. There are so many performances up on our Facebook page for people to enjoy.
How does it feel to know that Foodstock is doing such important work for those in need?
We just hope we can continue to do more in the future. I worked at the West Belfast foodbank for a morning a few weeks ago, and I was taken aback by the dedication and commitment of the volunteers. It is incredible to see how people have pulled together during this difficult time. Food banks are doing a fantastic job and we must continue to support them as best as we can.
Foodtsock also doubles as a benefit for local musicians , are there any NI based artists that have featured on Foodstock that you would recommend to the readers?
All of them! And I mean that. From Folkadelic, Archie, Hannah Lynn, Roisin Erskine, Cora Harkin, Andy Patterson, Conor McCaffrey to The Rising, Revue, Rory Lavelle, Matt Toner, The Dandy Horse, Ri, Cora Kelly, Amity Pax. I could go on! We are blessed with talent in this part of the world, more people should tap into it and when this is all over, go out and enjoy their music in person. I guarantee they will not be disappointed.
We look forward to the day when we will have a large outdoor Foodstock event. I hope all of these guys will join us again for another memorable day, and all for a great cause.
All Foodstock events take place on their Facebook page . Check them out and show some support.
Photos Provided by Foodstock
Interview by Sam Dineen
Your experience: COVID-19
Key worker, poet, and regular contributor to The Jumble Magazine Daniel Healy has recently received the all clear after battling a confirmed case of COVID-19. I interviewed Daniel to discuss his experience and his advice to others throughout this age of social distancing and worry.
So, Daniel, glad to hear that you are on the mend, would you mind explaining the timeline of your illness?
It was the day before Good Friday (9th April), during the weekly Thursday night clap for carers. I wanted to go out but I couldn’t. I felt really unwell, exhausted and unable to get out of bed or move much at all. It was intense fatigue. On the following Tuesday I started to develop a cough, a phlegmy one, not a dry one. This symptom is not very common, which led to some confusion. I was pretty unsure of what was wrong with me because more than anything else, even more than the cough, I was just very tired. I didn’t have the trademark dry cough that I had seen constant warnings about, but the intense phlegmy cough lasted for the whole week. It took about a week and a half before I started to lose my sense of taste and smell, and after that second weekend I got the test. The next day it came back positive.
What was the incentive to get tested? Did you decide to get tested yourself or did someone else instruct you to do so?
I was already worried that I had contracted coronavirus, but the urgency really hit me when I started to lose my sense of taste and smell. I called my GP, telling them about my concerns and asking for advice, following that I called work and they sent me for the test, but I made that step to let them know.
How was the testing process?
I’m a key worker, so my work pushed forward for me to be tested. I got to the SSE Arena, the testing area is separated into bays, and communication is done through phone calls so we don’t have to interact with anybody face to face. You call a number that’s printed on a wall and give your details over the phone; your symptoms, who you work for, etc. Things for data collection. They drop the test into the back seat and you go to the car park and test yourself with the swab, and then drop it off.
How are you feeling now?
I am still pretty tired, but the cough is gone, the sense of taste and smell still isn’t great, but that can linger for up to 2 months as far as I know. Emotionally, I’m feeling surprisingly okay, beyond the overwhelming tiredness I am just grateful to be alright.
What was the isolation period like?
I couldn’t leave the house at all for two weeks, which is obviously difficult. Myself and my partner relied a lot more on loved ones dropping off food with no contact, and it didn’t help that it was so sunny for those two weeks. We live in a flat with no balcony, so it can be really difficult to get any fresh air, and to be honest I did feel like I had a bit of cabin fever.
Do you have any concerns about leaving that strict isolation period now that you have the all clear?
Getting the all clear to be able to go back into the world is a bag of mixed emotions. Obviously, I am so relieved that I have recovered. In terms of the virus, I am hopeful that I now have possible immunity. The anxiety is a little bit reduced there. However, as a key worker, I am concerned about going back to work while I’m still feeling so fatigued. I work long shifts and I’m worried I will be constantly exhausted. Likewise, having not left the house at all for two weeks there’s a weird feeling of trying to get back to the rare cases of being able to go out for exercise or shops. Getting back into the swing of it is strange.
Is there anything you would like to tell people as someone who has had coronavirus and has now recovered?
I would stress the importance of checking the advice local to you. The NI Coronavirus app is a really great resource, and it gives a lot more localised advice. NHS guidelines can differ between different areas, and the NI app is a great way to keep up to date with your own local advice. Having tested positive I would tell everyone how important it is to get on that app. I have asthma and I seriously advise anyone else with long term conditions to be extra careful and take these measures seriously. My steroid inhaler was increased as a preventative measure so that my chest didn’t get worse, and I had an antibiotic prescribed to prevent a secondary bacteria infection. But even if you’re young and healthy be careful. Even though I am okay now I was lucky, and my experience of coronavirus was very, very unpleasant, and it could have been worse. For the sake of yourself and everyone else follow the guidelines seriously.
Interview by Sam Dineen
Filmmaker : Dáire Carson
Dáire Carson is a filmmaker and visual artist from Belfast. Dáire is currently in Belfast as well studying at the Plymouth College of Art. Dáire spoke to The Jumble Magazine about filmmaking, inspiration, and the lock down. His short film ‘Super 8mm Experimentation’ is also available to watch below.
My film-making tends to lean towards a more poetic style, I am always trying to provoke emotions through imagery, usually focusing on themes like nostalgia, human connection and loneliness.
“I like telling peoples stories, especially the small ones that people think don’t matter , they are usually the most personal and warm”
I’ve been exploring these small stories a lot in my ongoing series of moving image portraits.
Its cliche to say but I am inspired by everything in my environment, dust hanging in a sunbeam, grass moving in the wind, the music I’m listening to and the films I’m watching. Listening to people talk as well, film-making is all about telling a story, so I love hearing the stories everyone has to offer.
As for the lock down, this whole situation has had a dramatic effect on my filmmaking. I was near the end of pre-production for my next project, the script was written and actors were ready to go. It was my first queer-centric film and as a queer filmmaker, I was so excited to put it out in the world. I lost inspiration and effort for a while but adapting is so important in the creative process! I started experimenting with the camera again using household items to create photography and short films as well as writing poetry when it wasn’t an option to use the camera.
You can watch Dáire’s other film’s on Vimeo
Artist Profile : Dermot Loughlin
Dermot Loughlin is a final year student studying Cinematic Arts at Ulster University. Dermot has grown a following on social media where he showcases his photography. Dermot spoke to The Jumble about his work and the lock down.
How would you describe your photography?
Until recently, I have always felt that my work has had a ‘bitterly cold’ aesthetic.
What inspires you to create ?
“I’m at my best when I’m limited in what I can use, it forces me to think outside the box. Currently, I haven’t been able to leave my house for a good few weeks, so naturally I have woke up everyday to make something. I think as artists we tend to believe we are at our best when we have the most freedom, but I’m the complete opposite.”
What makes your art personal and ‘yours’?
I think ultimately, being able to point out every single detail in my final product and being able give a reason as to why I did that way. Whether I did it on purpose or just let it be a happy accident, when you create something you put your own thoughts into it. It is as literal as it is clichè.
How has the lock down impacted your ability to create?
It reminds me of when I was a child, and I wanted to go into a room, but the floor had just been mopped and I was told to stay off of it. Instead of waiting for it to dry, I would parkour my way over tables, chairs and anything else just to get into that room. This is similar, it’s a challenge that creates obstacles in what I can create, but I just have to think more creatively about how I’m going to make it happen.
You can check out more of Dermot’s work on Instagram
Local Music: Second Nature
Second Nature are a three piece girl band made up of Tammy Corbett, Cathy O’Kane and Rwanda Shaw. In 2018, they made a come back after a two year break and released their debut single, ‘Got To Miss Me’. The girls from Second Nature told The Jumble Magazine all about their music, their inspirations, and the impact that the lock down has had on their band.
Our music is all about having fun, we would class it as Pop/Dance. Being a Pop act means we can be flexible with our sound while still keeping true to ourselves and the messages we try to get across in our music.
So many things come as an inspiration to us musically, we get very inspired by production. When we hear the music first and get to know the back beat, sometimes lyrics can bounce into our heads. Other times we have a topic in mind that we want to write about. Our songs are mostly dealing with themes of love and heartbreak so far but we always try to convey the underlying message of self love and acceptance.
We’ve always wanted to write songs similar to what we grew up listening to. ‘Got To Miss Me’ always gets an amazing audience reaction when we play it live, we feel like it’s a perfect introduction to Second Nature as a band, it’s very upbeat and gets the crowd going. On the other side of the scale, Billy’s Song is more heartfelt and slow, it’s very personal, it is a song about grief and loss which almost everyone can relate to, we genuinely love all of the songs we make – it’s hard to choose just one favourite.
The lock down has had a huge impact on us as a girl band. We can no longer meet up and practice face to face, it’s hard because we are so used to being with each other for at least four days a week. We’re still keeping in touch every day in our group chat. It’s important to keep each other positive and plan ahead for when this is all over. We have some really exciting things planned that we can’t talk about just yet but you can keep up to date on our social media, we will be posting all about it there in time.
The whole world is going through a difficult time right now, if you’re feeling down, remember you aren’t alone.
I step gingerly over the threshold.
Everything is so much smaller somehow.
I feel as though I may burst through
And shatter all the windows.
Yet I am intimately aware that I am minuscule when
My brothers tower over me like giants.
Their words are weighted with years of wisdom-
Years that I have missed.
And my parents, who once held the world
Are so very human
And I am endlessly full of love for them.
The piano has decayed
Into dust and firewood
And the dog, who regards me as a stranger,
Stiffens when I draw him close.
I go to make my home
In a cup of tea
And as I search the counter for leaves and sugar
A soft voice reminds me:
“We keep them in the cupboard now.”
Photo By Sam Dineen
Artist Profile : Tori Neely
Tori Neely is an artist and Primary School Teacher based in Belfast. Tori studied Fine Art at the University of Ulster and often combines artwork with teaching. Here is what Tori had to say about art, Belfast, and the lock down.
How would you describe your art?
Through pencil, pen and watercolour I try to capture places and things that make up a personal narrative of what we call home. Drawing is at the centre of my practice but I enjoy how unpredictable watercolour can be and the happy accidents that make a piece special.
What inspires you to create?
I’m inspired by lots of things but mostly the people and places I come across in my own life. I use drawing as a way to capture where I’ve been or places and things that hold a significance to me.
“When I lived in England, I really came to appreciate how special Belfast was. I began drawing the buildings I missed and when I moved back, I continued to take inspiration from this city.“
As a Primary School Teacher, I spend a lot of time working with picture books. I am fascinated by the beautiful illustrations in so many of these books and these have inspired by drawings to be more free and playful.
What makes your art ‘yours’?
I try not to compare myself to others and to just enjoy the process of creating. I am passionate about the power of drawing as a form of communication, and I try to create artwork that is personal and can instantly communicate with the viewer. I’ve always been fascinated with small details that you only see when you really take the time to look, I really enjoy capturing these little intricate details in my drawings.
How has the lockdown impacted your ability to work?
I’ve been using my time at home to create more. I’ve been thinking a lot about the buildings and places we pass by every day without noticing and I’ve been taking some time to really capture the details and characters of these buildings in the hope that these artworks will encourage people to look up the next time they pass them. I would normally visit these places to take photographs and make sketches so google maps has become by new best friend. I have also started a new series called HOME where I create personalised drawings of the beautiful buildings people call ‘Home’.
You can keep up to date with Tori’s work on Instagram
Artist Profile : Megan Kerr
Megan Kerr is an artist based in Tyrone. Megan is also a graduate from Ulster University, Belfast with a BA(Hons) Fine Art (specialising in painting) and has recently completed an Art and Design PGCE in Ulster University in Coleraine. The Jumble Magazine spoke to Megan about art, inspiration, and the lock down.
How would you describe your art?
While I studied painting in University I found that my art practice branched out; I love exploring a range of media including weaving and illustration.
What inspires you to create?
“My art, in its many forms, explores the subconscious mind, expressing emotion and experience through layers of colour and mark-making in a process driven practice.”
My practice is very much a journey of personal investigation. I use my work to articulate what I cannot always express through words, it is almost like a form of therapy. The surrounding rural countryside in which I live also feeds into my work.
How has lock down impacted your art and your ability to create?
Thankfully, I have a small studio space in my garden so I can work from home. During this isolation I have been given the time and space to think and create with a fresh perspective. I have taken a slight turn in my practice and have begun to create quite colourful, vibrant works inspired by my surrounding views. These paintings are almost a form of escapism from the craziness and uncertain circumstances surrounding COVID-19. This strange period of isolation has in ways benefited me creatively as I am quite introverted. My creativity thrives in the stillness and quietness of my surroundings.
Some of Megan’s work, including Gouache and oil paintings, work with charcoal and ink, and a woven wall hanging.
Megan also has a website :
New Logo : Rebecca Hughes
If you haven’t noticed, The Jumble Magazine recently got a shiny new logo, it was designed by the wonderful Rebecca Hughes (@pot0fjelly). Here is what Rebecca about her graphic design work and the inspiration behind it :
“I work as a Junior Graphic Designer , when I’m not working, I enjoy going on road trips with my boyfriend and dog, Murphy. I love exploring this wee island. There are so many beautiful walks, mountains, beaches and camping spots to see.
“I would describe my art as quirky, wholesome fun“
I am inspired to create by absolutely EVERYTHING. Often, little things people say to me throughout the day act as inspiration points to make something. Inspiration can come from something as random as the colours in a meal I’ve eaten that day. Everything is inspiring if you treat it the right way. These inspirations make my work personal, the resources I use to create come from my own thoughts and feelings, photographs I have personally taken, or even lyrics that I love.
As for the Lock down, I’m still working through it, so thankfully I haven’t hit any creative blocks. Continuing to work allows me to constantly stretch my mind creatively. I must say though, lock down definitely was something I was previously anxious about as I was worried it’d make me feel stumped for design ideas and letting my creativity flow.”
Some of Rebecca’s work , showcasing her fantastic abilities for poster work, mixed-media pieces, digital artwork, and of course, her love of noodles.
By Mark RussellMy teeth are not my own.
They have been replaced
With someone else’s teeth.
Where there was
Only stiff rigidity.
Bone jutted in gum like headstones in dirt.
These teeth try their best
To pretend they’re mine,
But give themselves away
Through resonant tension
Or involuntary chatter.
Communicating with each other in Morse code.
Tap tap tap.
It seems these false teeth conspire against the rest of my body.
When it purges negativity,
They quietly latch onto
Mouthfuls of emotion,
Holding them hostage
Until fit to burst,
Each tooth a dozen shards,
Impaling my mouth.
Puncturing my gums.
Severing my uvula.
Clogging my throat until I’m
Choking on chipped bone
And drowning in blood.
Sometimes at night I can feel my
Uninvited mouthguests flothering to escape.
Jailbreak from the jawed prison.
I wonder; if they managed to
Wrench free from my gums,
Would they take the rest of
My skull with them?
Maybe they are my teeth after all,
But my skeleton itself wishes
To be free from me,
To give up on me,
To abandon me to myself,
Same as the rest.
Photo provided by Mark Russell
Artist Profile : Duibheasa Ní Dhomhnaill
Duibheasa Ní Dhomhnaill is a multidisciplinary artist and designer. They are currently in their final year of studying textile art design and fashion, specialising in fashion and minoring in printed textiles. Duibheasa spoke to The Jumble about their artwork and the lock down’s impact on it.
How would you describe your work?
I often describe my art as a ‘mess’ as I try to do so many different things in a myriad of ways which can be difficult to describe as anything other than that.
What inspires you to create?
My art is inspired and influenced by my feelings, identity, and opinions. My final year work for university was based on my personal idea of horror, I centred the project on the feeling of being watched and stared at, the idea of feeling like a freak. I see my work as a mix of concepts and aesthetics.
What makes your art ‘yours’?
A lot of my work is centred around my feelings; I use art to express them and work through them so the work is obviously very personal to me. My experiences and opinions impact my art greatly. I think what makes my art ‘mine’ is that it is often how it reflects my own life, even if others don’t realise, and I try to make my own personal aesthetic.
What impact has the lock down had on you and your work?
The lock down has greatly impacted my degree and my ability to finish the work I had been doing. My course has effectively finished, I haven’t got access to most of the equipment I need and may never finish my final collection because of this. Our graduation is probably not going to happen, and everything has become hectic. I haven’t done much through the lock down because it’s impacted my mental health so negatively and I haven’t felt up to creating a whole lot, but more recently I have been starting to get back into it all. I’m trying to improve my digital art skills because I can’t print or pattern cut in my apartment. There’s a chance that I could be absolutely covered in hand poked tattoos by the end of this lock down if I let myself.
You can keep up with Duibheasa’s work on Instagram.
Local Music : Dead Star Heroes
Dead Star Heroes are an up and coming hard rock band formed late last year in Craigavon, County Armagh. They describe their music as “no-nonsense, authentic hard rock”. Here is what their guitarist Declan McDaid had to say to The Jumble about the band’s music and the COVID-19 Lock down.
Dead Star Heroes are an up and coming hard rock band formed late last year in Craigavon, County Armagh. They describe their music as “no-nonsense, authentic hard rock”. Here is what their Guitarist Declan McDaid had to say to The Jumble about the band music and the COVID-19 Lock down
As a band, we are heavily inspired from the music that we love to listen to, and draw from a large range of influences : Avenged Sevenfold and Alter Bridge are major inspirations. Mark Tremonti is the guitarist for Alter Bridge, and he is definitely my biggest inspiration as a song writer. Everyone in the band has played in various projects, allowing us to draw from them all to come up with something unique. Lyrically we like to touch on topics that people can relate to such as alcohol abuse or trying to find yourself after a dark period in your life.
Personally, my favourite piece of music we have is the track ‘My Only Friend’. I think it showcases every aspect of the band. The track has the big chorus that we love, and it is driven forward by the guitar riffs throughout the verses. It features 2 guitar solos which is pretty unusual for a lot of contemporary bands . The song follows a classic rock song structure but we rely on the instrumentation and changes to the accompaniments to keep it interesting for the listener and ourselves. It is definitely a big contender for our debut single. We’re hoping to have it available to listeners soon.
Currently we have an EP written and a few demos recorded. The goal is to hit the studio later this year and release the EP. Our debut gig was supposed to be earlier this month, but because of the COVID-19 lock down it was cancelled. It will be rescheduled as soon all this is over. This is an unfortunate time for everyone and I feel for other bands who have had momentum going in the local scene just to have it be taken away by something beyond their control. All we can do is use this time to write some new music and become better at what we do.
Artist Profile : Caoimhe Withers
Caoimhe Withers is a Lurgan based artist who has recently graduated from Southern Regional College with Liverpool John Moores University achieving a BA hons in Creative Imaging. Caoimhe spoke to The Jumble about her art and the lock down.
How would you describe your work?
I would call it ‘Experimental nature manipulation’.
What inspires you to create?
Flowers, leaves, and nature would be my biggest inspiration.
What makes your art ‘yours’?
I feel that my approach is pretty unique: I take photographs, make scans, and then I manipulate them using photoshop. There aren’t many artists that create art in a style like mine and I think that makes my work stand out. People always seem intrigued by the colours I use, and the intricate patterns found in my work. One of biggest inspirations for the colours I use is the work of Mark Rothko, he is one of my favourite artists, I love to look at his block colour paintings before I start a new piece to get some inspiration for my colour schemes.
What impact has the lock down had on you and your work?
I work as a classroom assistant but due to the lock down I’m only working for one day a week currently. The lock down has really given me so much more time to focus on creating new work. It is an opportunity for me to refine my style and start experimenting with new techniques.
Local Music : A.N.J.A
A.N.J.A is a singer/songwriter solo artist who plays dark psychedelic folk. A.N.J.A spoke to The Jumble Magazine about music and the impact of the lock down :
I started making music when I moved to Belfast three years ago and have been A.N.J.A. for a year now. My music is a weird and wonderful mix of 60’s psychedelic music and witchy folk with gothic themes and powerful vocals.
I am inspired by old folklore tales, crime magazines and interesting conversations with people about love and philosophy. Other inspirations come from folk and rock artists like Vashti Bunyan, Iron & Wine, Albus Harding, Alela Diane and generally groovy 60s psychedelic rock music.
The Covid-19 lock down has affected my music career massively. As a full time-musician I am not only writing and producing my own songs but I am usually also gigging in bars and busking in the busy streets of Belfast several times a week. Through the lockdown I lost all my work as well as plenty of great original gigs I had lined-up for spring and summer. That’s such a shame because I am currently trying to connect with people and get my music out there and what better way to do this than through wonderful, intimate live shows!
My favourite piece of music I have made to date is called ‘Between The Midnight Trees’, an enchanted wee tune off my debut EP which will be released this summer.
If you want to get into my music, I recommend starting with ‘Black River Falls’ and the track that I am releasing next Friday (24th of April) : ‘Deadly Fallen For You (And the Devil Knows)’ It’s the first track from my debut EP , it’s a song about obsessive jealousy. To celebrate its release I will be hosting an online gig live on my instagram , it’s on the 24th and it starts at 7pm.
You can keep up with A.N.J.A’s music here :
Artist Profile : Niamh McAuley
Niamh McAuley is an Irish artist who works with paint and textiles. Based in Belfast, Niamh is going into the final year of a textiles, art design and fashion degree at the University of Ulster. Throughout the course Niamh has specialised in weave. Here’s what Niamh had to say about the creative process and the impact that the lock down has had on it:
How would you describe your work?
My work is a combination of handwoven techniques; I love creating beautifully coloured and texturized pieces. I do this by using unconventional yarns or fabrics to create a weave that offers a mixture of texture and dimensions. My passion for painting also helps me further explore the surface textures and colours that inspire me the most.
What inspires you to create?
I’ve always been creative. I started with a love for painting which grew into a passion for textile designs. I became fixated with textiles during my foundation art degree, where I realised most of my observational studies and interests about my concepts had a textural quality – be it from fabric manipulation or use of mixed media to create something three dimensional. I find tactility and a beautiful use of colour very satisfying, and it always will be an essential element of my work. At the core of my inspiration is my surroundings, both the natural and man-made world provides an endless array of inspiration of colours and textures.
I draw inspiration from the most beautiful or the most mundane of things; may it be a scratch on a wall, to a shadow of an object, the corrosion of a stone, or the rust of a metal. I think this inspiration and love of nature comes from my home town, Glenarm, situated in the Glens of Antrim, sitting along the coast and surrounded by countryside. Here I am supplied with the endless inspiration of flora and fauna along with the constantly changing colours and textures of countryside beauty. The inspiration of both man-made and natural sources also serves as a constant reminder whilst creating to make my pieces as sustainable as possible. I am constantly searching and documenting ideas through observational sketches, colour studies, photography and weave interpretations.
What makes your art ‘yours’?
One of the central values I have as a designer is to create one of a kind statement pieces that has as little impact on the environment as possible. I achieve this by using dead stock yarns and pre-owned fabrics, and weaving them into up-cycled fabrics and structures. I gather objects and incorporate them into my designs, such as rope or plastic found on a beach. Weaving these objects alongside yarn creates a beautiful quality.
What impact has the lock down had on you and your work?
I have a part time job in a shop, being a key worker I am self-isolating alone away from my friends and family. It is hard but my craft is helping me focus on something that I love, which helps decrease the natural anxieties that come in these uncertain times. I find creating helps me escape the worry of the unknown during this ‘strange’ time, as painting and designing is very therapeutic and helps me keep positive. These unprecedented times are forcing me to push my creative boundaries as art supplies are running low, however this is what I find the most exciting – just being a little more crafty and using materials found around the house. I cut up an old pair of jeans to weave together. This up-cycling of textiles and yarns found by chance gives my work a true sense of spontaneity and fun. I hope a solution will be found soon for the virus and that we can all get back to normality in the near future. Until then, I hope to spread some positivity with my designs on my social media platform.
You can keep up to date with Niamh’s art here
Local Music : Gary Duffy
Gary Duffy is a solo singer from Belfast who’s new single ‘Did You Ever Really Love Me?” is a smooth heartfelt pop ballad, here’s what he had to say to The Jumble about his music and the impact that the lock down is having on his career :
I have recorded music for years and I performed in clubs and pubs, but recently I have started recording my own material. I would describe myself as a Belfast boy with the voice, tone and lyrics to make people feel what I sing.
Currently heartbreak is inspiring me to make music along with moving on with life. I feel like it’s those life experiences that help me to make great, truthful songs.
My favourite piece of music that I have made is 100% my debut single ‘Did You Ever Really Love Me?’ This is the first original song that I have released, and I think it’s a good place to start to get a feel for my music (if you love it you can also leave it on repeat)
Covid-19 and the respective lockdown is getting me down as I was supposed to have my launch night two weeks ago but had to reschedule. However, I have started working on my second single whilst I’ve been in isolation. The music is finished and I have started to write the lyrics which is very exciting. I’d describe that song as more of an upbeat summer anthem.
I will be doing a launch night for my single when quarantine is over. It will be happening on The Rooftop Bar in The Union Street Bar Belfast. Keep an eye on my social media once it is scheduled for a set date.
You can keep up to date with Gary’s music here :
Isolation : Special Feature
Nobody needs to explain that times right now are strange, The Jumble Magazine has curated a collection of creative pieces that illustrate the theme of isolation, being inside, and the total change of scenery that we are all experiencing.
Content Warning : fictional horror that deals with themes of suicide, death, and mental illness.
January 1st, 1960
The blizzard is ferocious, and though I sit by the open fire, I can’t help but feel a deep chill in my bones as I stare out into the gaping maw of swirling white, kept at bay only by a pane of thick, icy glass. In the distance, I can just about make out the shapes of pine trees, their green leaves blanketed by a sheet of fluffy snow, and beyond them a foggy mountain that blends almost perfectly into the gray-white sky behind it.
I take another draw of my cigarette and look down at my typewriter, within which is a blank page. My teeth clench at the sight, and I bring my fingers down upon the keys as though playing a discordant note on a piano. Instead of a jangly, sharp sound however, a number of letters are simply typed onto the blank page:
I then stand, and pace along the fur carpet of the large room, letting my socked feet drag along the fluffy surface of the carpet, humming a tune half-remembered as my feet travel from carpet to hard, wooden floor. I’ve been trying to continue my memoir for what feels like decades now, but I find myself in a perpetual state of creative impotence. You don’t know irony until you struggle to write your own account of your life. It’s also oddly inspiring – I think I’ll title my book Margot Grady – Lessons from a Life Half-Remembered. Wouldn’t that be funny? And then I’d just stop where I am and seek out a publisher willing to publish a book that stops at 333 pages, mid-sentence.
And so I did marry Phillip Grady, the man of my dreams. We would go on to have a wonderf-
FIN. The End.
Well, it’d be the truth. Sometimes it did feel like my life ended at marriage, that I surrendered my soul and my freedom in exchange for comfort and an escape from loneliness. The truth was that our marriage was, for me, an economic decision. My rather tense relationship with my mother meant she left me no inheritence, I had a difficult time finding permanent employment, and I just had no home to turn to. No home except Phillip’s. He really was a sweet man, known him from elementary school. His father was a preacher and his mother a seamstress. A very old fashioned man, ye olde Phil, very much intrigued by the fact that I spoke like a human being.
His grandfather had left him a large sum of money when he passed, as well as this grand house that you find me in now. The Grady Mansion. Huge house, once also doubled as a school in the 30s after it was built, and then a hotel for the rich and famous, and finally a home for old Mr. Grady, who lived here alone until it was his tomb. I’m not supposed to tell, but there’s something strangely poetic about the fact that it took people 3 months to find old Mr. Grady’s body after he had passed. He had fallen downstairs, and cracked open his head. Now and then when I walk by the stairs, I can imagine him laying there, in his puddle of pooling blood, twitching and moaning. I try not to think about it. Believe me. But the image comes and goes. I lift a poker and prod at the fire, watching it sizzle and hiss angrily. Oh, wouldn’t you like to spread? I’d ask it, like a nasty caged animal. Wouldn’t you like to get out, and eat the floor, and the curtains, and the chairs, and the stairs? This whole big house, with me still in it? I grin, and I sigh, looking out of the window once again. What I would give to take a walk outside.
The blizzard howled.
January 3rd, 1960
As I was walking to the kitchen this morning to make breakfast this morning, a strange sight stopped me in my tracks. Between the stairs and the hallway leading to the kitchen, on the wall, a strange black stain had taken residence on the paisley wallpaper. I tried to rub it out with my fingers, but to no avail. After a few moments of rubbing, a sudden stink emerged, and caused me to recoil, almost tripping. The smell was there in an instant, polluting the air in a matter of seconds. It was the smell of rotted tulips and spoiled fruit. Damp! There was damp in the walls of this great mansion. And honestly, I can’t say I was surprised. This house was ancient, and like an old man, it could be expected to get sick now and then. I laughed at the thought, thinking of Pinocchio in the whale. Except instead of a whale, it was a great old house, and instead of the sea, it was a boundless blizzard. And instead of a little wooden doll, it was little old me. I frowned, and continued onto the kitchen, where I made a serving of fried kippers and scrambled eggs. Oh yes, without Phil, I could eat my fill of kippers. Lucky me. These cupboards are full of them! Full of canned kippers! Where was Phil? I paused.
He had left just before the new year, to get…Firewood. Yes. I remember now. He left in the snow to get wood, and then the blizzard came. He obviously got stuck in the town, unable to get back up the mountain road to the great house. He’s likely sitting in a motel right now, worrying over me as he would.
He would worry about me a great deal, he would often tell me. When we weren’t together, he states that he would always get worried. Like I’m a child. Or a dog. Phil was a fine man. Hopefully he returns before the damp spreads. I ate a mouthful of salted egg. The blizzard howled.
January 13th, 1960
The writing room was different today. Things had changed, I was certain when I first arrived. There was something different that I could not pinpoint. The page in my typewriter was untouched, the fire crackled and groaned, the chairs were still and the carpet was fluffy. But something had changed. Maybe it was that I had less cigarettes. I rubbed my elbows, the chill returning. Maybe there was less firewood. I sat at my desk, and rubbed my neck. I’d developed a bit of a sore throat, and made a point of swishing some salted water around my mouth before I ate this morning. The pain did not soothe, however, and I swallowed my kippers and eggs painfully this morning. I did not sleep well last night. I had the strangest dream – that I was in a great, groaning beast’s gullet. It had swallowed me up, and I now roamed its insides, its stinking guts. I was a tiny creature, and it could feel my tiny movements inside. I awoke before sunrise to the sound of groaning from the bottom of the stairs.
At first, I thought that maybe it was Phil. Perhaps he’d returned! At last, after so many days-
I darted cautiously to the stairs, and at the bottom was nothing.
Nothing but the mould.
The black spot that was barely the size of my palm had now grown much larger, it’s spidery tendrils crept up beyond the door leading to the kitchen, and a few almost reaching the ground below. It had thickened, like some cancerous growth on the wall I dared not touch. I avoided it as best I could, and took my food to the writing room so as it wasn’t contaminated. However, I can’t help but feel that it is already causing some form of illness in me. I feel cold so often now, even with the heating so high, and my throat pulsing so painfully that I can barely swallow spit. In less urgent matters I’m much more willing to discuss, my writing has come along about as swimmingly as my physical condition. I have not written a word since the new year, and I can’t help but feel endlessly disappointed in myself.
And angry at Phil.
That idiot was fixing the wall where the mould now grows, I’ve just recalled. Before he left, that is. He had taken out the panelling and planks to have a look at the pipes, he told me. And that was the last I’d seen of him before he left! I’m now beginning to think he sees this as a way out. He’s probably living it up in the town, maybe out of state by now. He’s left me! And why? Because I was the unhappy one? I tried to be a good wife, I did, but I am not a woman made for wifely things. I do not like to cook, or clean, or nurse. And was the final straw that I couldn’t have children? When I told him with such confidence, as my husband, knowing that he loved me and that he would accept? I never wanted them anyway. I never wanted him. I only wanted to be secure.
The blizzard howled.
I now believe that I am no longer alone in this house.
Today, as I was making my way to the writing room, I heard him. The man in the drains. At first, I heard him from the bathroom. It sounded like the gurgling sound that water in the sink makes as it escaped into the drain.
I stopped and listened. I had not used the sink since the morning.
And then terror began to take hold as his deep, damp voice began to giggle.
-hahahaHAHAHAHAHA- I gripped the bathroom door and slammed it, screaming at him to shut up, shut up, shut up!
I haven’t been in the bathroom since, but I now know where he is. Hiding in the walls. Hiding in the growing mould. He smells of rotted tulips and stinking guts. It’s where he stays in the day, in the light. But in the night… In the night I can hear him roaming the halls. His wet footsteps thumping as he groans and giggles. Each night that passes, he comes closer and closer to my room. Just last night, he began to turn the knob…But I’d locked the door.
In the night he changes things. He moves things. Hides my papers and my memoirs. I hate him so. Oh Phil, how could you do this to me? The blizzard howled.
I awoke this morning, unable to breathe. I don’t recall falling asleep. I can only recall sitting in bed with a firepoker, waiting for the man in the drains. He was sneaky last night, but I could smell him. Closer and closer came the stink of rot. Of damp. “Margot…” He crooned hideously, at my door once again…
And then I awoke, choking and gagging. I dashed to the bathroom against my better judgement, and was horrified when I looked in the mirror to see my neck had swollen up to a vicious purple, with two hand-shaped bruises clamped around my throat. My breath returned to me, difficult and whistling with each inhale and exhale. “Why won’t you end?!” I wretched at the window, at the unforgiving storm of snow beyond.
And then came the groaning again. Not from the drain. From the stairs. Ooooooooouuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhh… I now knew what I must do. I must live. I must finish my memoirs. There is more to life than this. More to life than fear.
I took the fire poker, and I struggled to the stairs, almost tripping. My throat whistled its breath all the while, as I came down the steps. A came up to the mould, which had now grown into the shape of a figure against the wall. Like a shadow. A cancerous shadow. I raised the poker, and I plunged it into the wall. At first, the stench was unbearable. The stench of death. And then the wall crumbled, revealing the unfathomable. Not the man in the drains. Not Mr. Grady. Not even Phil. No, this was beyond comprehension. My mind was shattered at the sight, my sanity disintegrated. I screamed silently. The blizzard stopped.
December 12th, 2003
Body of missing writer found after 40 years
The body of Margot Grady, writer of the acclaimed unfinished memoir Margot Grady – Lessons from a Life Half-Remembered was found today, in the dilapidated ruins of her husband’s old home. The discovery of this body puts to rest the cold case regarding her disappearance, as well as confirming the assumed suspect was, in fact, her husband Phillip Grady, whose body was discovered in a motel 5 miles from the once-grand residence. Phillip Grady’s death had been ruled a suicide, he was found in a hotel room with a note reading only “God Forgive Me.”
The body had been discovered by a number of youths who had broken into the estate, and while graffiting on the grounds, a wall had supposedly spontaneously collapsed on them, revealing the remains that had been hidden in the wall. After autopsy results on the cadaver, the cause of death has been ruled a crushed windpipe, seemingly confirming the death as homicide.
With this mystery finally solved, bookstores everywhere have been stocking up once again on the bestselling memoir. However, will it be as successful now knowing the tragic end of Margot? Only time will tell. Until then, be sure to visit your local bookstore to see half-price deals now on this memoir.
Photo by Sam Dineen
Isolation In Eight Stills
The world has never been so still. I sit in my back garden for a cup of tea, and the usual hustle and bustle of a neighbourhood is, well, gone. And everyone’s backyard is the same. It’s scary, it’s overwhelming, it’s … oddly peaceful. Here, I have tried to compile a few pictures to symbolise the situation as succinctly as I can.
The medium of photography is amazing for charting this experience, because for once, the pause captured in a photograph continues past a shutter lens’ snap. The quiet is captured entirely in the silence of a picture frame. For once, our photographs capture the entirety of human experience – deafening silence, emptiness, and a lack of human touch.
In the following images, I’ve tried to include the theme of isolation in obvious means – there’s a lot of lonely figures, yet not all of them are sad. In fact, that’s for the eye of the beholder to interject – we see what we ourselves feel. I’ve also included images that perhaps suggest the effect on the psyche due to isolation. In all, however, I have tried to include the vibrancy of our surroundings with colour and crispness. It’s important to notice the simple beauty around us when the world around is so big and so burdened.
Hopefully this kills some time for anyone stuck for things to look at. I encourage everyone to document, however they can, what is happening; things that make you happy; things that trouble you, ANYTHING. This is history, and we are the ones contributing.