have you ever paid attention to the details?
all of them? have you noticed how much details
is given in making the human body, each one
unique in their own way?
Each curve, freckle, even the tiniest details
that are overlooked most of the time,
are placed — so perfectly.
Everything on your body is right where its meant to be.
Do you notice the details?
The wrinkles on my forehead.
The dimples on your cheek.
How your hand always perfectly fits into mine...
My legs are wrapped around your waist.
unholy palm to palm, wrapped around each others fingers,
Unfold me, in tender tensions.
Unruly desire, rosy cheeked.
The piercing blade of nostalgia.
You are the old flame for which I ignite.
Kneeling before the votive, pray the pearl rosary.
I’m not going to sit and chat about what an odd year it has been, one that has been so difficult for so many people. As we come close to the holiday’s and the New Year, one thing, for me, is clear. You are all incredible. The Jumble started out in March right before things pandemic wise really hit hard, and it had been a wee idea sitting in my brain for so long, I knew so many talented creative people and it was a dream of mine to provide them with a platform to share their talent with the world. For a one woman project, this wee magazine has come pretty far in nine months! As I type this, there’s just short of 1000 of you following The Jumble’s Instagram page, and the site itself has been viewed 17.5 THOUSAND times by 9.5 thousand people! That isn’t bad going for a year with next to nothing happening in person…
I couldn’t be happier with how this has turned out, The Jumble has (virtually) introduced me to so many amazing people, bands, artists, and hard working folks dedicated to making this wee corner of the world a better place to be, it wouldn’t be possible without the contributions and submissions, the collaborations, the amazing small businesses, or the readers. Next year I hope for live acts, gigs, exhibitions, screenings, and in person interviews to look forward to, and I look forward to seeing the NI/Irish creative scene blossom again, but it’s all about taking every day as it comes.
Submissions for 2021 are open for all categories, check out the submissions page for more information.
Thank you so much to my family, friends, and partner for keeping me going with endless support when things got a bit stressful, I truly could not be happier with how this wee magazine has come along.
Local photographer and writer Kieron Circut showcases the undeniable beauty of the North Coast-with a twist: his photographs were developed from home using a mixture of Coffee and things you could find in your kitchen.
By Kieron Circut
Earlier this year I started to work with 35mm black and white film as I wanted certain projects and captures to have a slightly different feel that I wasn’t getting with digital cameras. In the last few years something that put me off film has been the cost of development, the need for a dark room and the chemicals used in the development. Now, I feel like I’ve gotten around that by using a caffenol solution to develop at home. The caffenol mixture seems to differ depending on the results you want and how much you’re willing to experiment. I’ve only tried it with Black and White film as the research suggests it won’t produce colour and will leave the film with a sepia tone, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if that’s what you’re going for.
The development process that I use involves a dark bag and a small development tank lets you prepare the film loading it into the tank away from light. The solution consists of instant coffee, washing soda and Vitamin C powder, which is then poured into the tank. After about 12-15 minutes of agitation, you are ready to rinse out your film. A lot of methods do say there is a requirement for a stabiliser that will stop the negatives from fading over time but I haven’t played around with any organic solutions yet (although I’m led to believe they do exist). With this being the case, the method I use does carry an element of risk, but part of my goal is to be as quick and hassle free as possible, while getting there the results I desire.
Once the film has dried, I scan it to a digital file that’s that part of process complete. The images shared here were taken around the North Coast and I have some more caffenol developed images over on my website.
Started in the small town of Limavady and relocated to Belfast, Like A Hawk have become one of the go-to live acts on the Northern Ireland rock scene. Formed by brothers Archie and Ryan, their debut EP, “Release The Hawk”, was released on December 4th 2020. The self released 5 track EP captures their unique blend offun ‘Norn Iron’ rock to the world. The guys from Like A Hawk spoke to The Jumble about the EP.
Recorded, mixed and mastered in drummer Ryan’s living room over the past few months, “Release The Hawk” is the band’s first official EP release, featuring singles “Wake Me Up” and “My Disgrace“. A few broken hearts and a few hundred cans later, Like A Hawk have put together this EP to showcase their unique style which has made them a staple of the live scene in Belfast and around the country.
“These songs have been around for a while in the Like A Hawk camp, and we’ve finally managed to get them together for our first official release.The budget and time constraints were a real challenge, and also the fact that we barely knew what we were doing! But we managed to get it together and get this out there. We can’t wait to get out and play these songs live once again, when we’re all allowed back together, and we hope you enjoy Release The Hawk. We’ve already started the recording process for the next release! Thank you for your support, and hang in there everyone. Rock & Roll will rise again!”
Belfast based singer songwriter Cameron Gibson chatted to The Jumble Magazine about his new music, his biggest inspirations as a songwriter, and getting through 2020 as a musician.
I’m Cameron Gibson – I’m a solo alternative rock/indie pop artist, and I’ve been playing and writing music since I was 14. I like to think of my music as a journey, it taught me a lot about awareness and brought me to a place of healing.
I think with all musicians the biggest inspirations come from emotion, and it’s definitely the same with me. Whether it’s anger, hurt, love, or grief. It’s the emotion behind a song that helps the words flow. Even if you’re writing music about an entirely fictional scenario, a great deal of empathy is required to convey things in a more believable way.
If you haven’t heard any of my stuff before you could check out my Debut single ‘Down We Fall’ on Spotify. I’m especially happy with a song I’ve written called ‘Chimera’, it’s actually going to be the next single I release. I did a version of it on Facebook live, but the recorded version is something I’m really proud of, it’s definitely my best work yet!
Currently I’m working to promote ‘Down We Fall’ as much as possible. I will be releasing another single, along with a video towards the end of December or early January. All the deets will be available on my instagram or facebook page.
As for the past year- It’s definitely been a challenge to adapt, but it’s forced me to pull my finger out and kick start my career by writing, practising and networking more. I think it’s the perfect time to share new music and start promoting yourself as an artist. You know, give people something to dance to or rock out to while they’re stuck at home scrolling through social media.
Of course I miss the gigging, all musicians in Belfast miss it… It’s just not the same doing a live stream, you feel disconnected and you don’t get the same thrill. I was scheduled to do an open mic night shortly before the lock down and I was devastated to hear it had to be cancelled for the foreseeable.
But it’s important to remain optimistic, get creative, learn more instruments, write more and better material, so when this is all over, you can have a better experience and more to offer the world.
Irish writing giant and best selling author Darren Shan has recently released Volume One off his new self published series “Archibald Lox”– which has since been crowned a #1 Amazon Best Seller. After finding worldwide success with his series “The Saga of Darren Shan” (or “Cirquedu Freak” as it’s known in the US) in the 2000’s, and continuing to release an array of books for children and young adults over the years, Shan’s books have now sold over 25 million copies across the globe. Darren also writes under the pen name Darren Dash for his adult books- like “An Other Place” and “The Evil and the Pure”. Contributing writer for The Jumble Magazine Colin Heaney had a chance to chat with Darren Shan about his successes, challenges, inspirations, and the oddity of publishing a series in this peculiar year.
Hi Darren, to start this off it’s worth addressing that you are in the unique position of being both a mega successful traditionally published author as well as being self-published. For aspiring writers who might be reading this, what do you feel are the pros and cons of traditional publishing vs self-publishing?
I always suggest trying the traditional route first, by reading “The Writers And Artists Yearbook“, following their tips and advice, and trying to get an agent who will then try to find a traditional publisher for your work. Lots of rejections are pretty much a guarantee, which is always disheartening, but the experience is a good one – if you want to be a published author, you have to develop a thick skin and learn to deal with setbacks – and if you do manage to snag a good agent, they will help you on your work, offer lots of advice, guide you through rewriting and editing. If you then get to the stage where your work is picked up by a publisher, they’ll help too, firstly of course with more rewriting and editing. (There’s lots of that, which is why I always urge young writers not to worry too much about the quality of their first draft – you’ll get plenty of chances to tinker with it and fix it on the long road to publication!) A traditional publisher will also handle every other aspect of the publishing business – have the book proofread, design the cover, typeset the book, cook up the blurb for the back cover, try to get it distributed through as many chains as possible, hopefully advertise and market it, maybe arrange book tours… A huge amount of work goes into the making of a successful book, and it’s an awful lot for any one person to take on, especially if they’re new to the game.
On the other side, self-publishing can be a lot of fun, and it often offers a lot more freedom than traditional publishing. I’ve always loved jumping around from genre to genre, trying different types of stories, pushing myself in various directions, and that’s been a problem for my traditional publishers. The normal book market loves to pigeon-hole authors – that’s what publishers like, that’s what booksellers like, and that’s what most readers like. It’s all based around giving people what they know they want. It’s perfectly understandable, and makes perfect business sense, but it’s very frustrating if you want to be a jack of all trades, if you don’t want to just (and only) write straight-up genre books. If you self-publish, you can write whatever the hell you want. There are no restrictions, no fixed parameters, no having to worry about the market. The downside to that is that it can be extremely difficult to find an audience, and to make people aware of your work’s existence. You have to put in a lot of work, and you need to do research, and you have to be a publisher, marketer, book designer, and a whole lot more. But if you’re prepared to do all that, you learn a great deal, and you find yourself doing things that no traditionally publisher writer gets to do, and… yeah… it’s fun. It’s rewarding on a personal level, even if not on a financial level – and most people who self-publish don’t make any money. Hitting it big is by no means impossible – I have a friend who’s doing brilliantly, making six figures a year – but you need a good business head if you’re going to succeed financially, and you usually have to take a similarly pragmatic approach as a traditional publisher. (The friend I mention pumps out lots of books in a particular genre.)
“If you want to make a living from your writing as a self-publisher, then you need to approach it seriously, from a business as well as creative angle, and really learn a lot about how to sell. If you’re doing it as a side-line, then have fun with it, enjoy each sale, but don’t worry too much about the money, and just be happy that you’re doing far more than most would-be writers ever do, by putting your work out into the world.”
Another unique position you are in is that you have had fans who have grown up with your work: kids who loved the “Darren Shan Saga” growing up are now old enough to read your material that deals with more adult themes. To this new generation “Archibald Lox” might be their introduction to Darren Shan. Does the awareness of this impact your writing at all?
Not really. I try not to think about my audiences when I write. I was uneasy when my publishers were releasing my books for adults under the Darren Shan name, as I knew they would wind up in the hands of younger readers, no matter what the publishers and booksellers did to try and make sure that didn’t happen. But these days I release my adult work under the name of Darren Dash, and it’s clear that these are not intended for a younger audience, so anyone who seeks them out knows the score in advance. That frees me to do whatever I want on that front, and not have to worry about my darker material accidentally finding its way into the hands of teenagers or pre-teens and blowing their innocent minds!
“Archibald Lox” is your first middle grade book to be self-published. Keen fans will also note that this series does not find its roots in horror, more akin to a fantasy like “The Thin Executioner” than the “Darren Shan Saga” or the “Zom-B” series. How does it feel as a writer to explore different terrains, and do you ever have any gripes about possible typecasting as a horror author?
I love horror and always have, so I’ve absolutely no problems with being typecast as a horror author – for the most part, that’s what I am, and even when I write a book that isn’t a horror novel, it’s usually quite dark. But I’ve always loved lots of other genres too, and I like to explore all sorts of different avenues when I write. If you look through my backlist, you’ll actually find that my books tend to mix up genres quite aggressively, and always have. “Cirque Du Freak” and its sequels were equal parts horror, fantasy, action, adventure… Because they were about vampires, they were sold in most markets as horror (although in some they were sold as fantasy), but in truth they were a mix. Even in my more solidly horror series – “The Demonata” and “Zom-B” – I throw in left-of-field elements, and there are story-lines in those series that could just as easily be sold as sci-fi, war yarns, or spy adventures. My publishers liked to downplay those elements, but I think they’re a strong part of my appeal to fans – you never truly quite know what you’re going to get with a Darren Shan novel, or where it might lead you.
I’m going to cheat here and ask two questions in one. Firstly, I thought we could talk a bit about your decision to release “Archibald Lox “so suddenly during lock down. How did that initially come about, and is it gratifying as a writer to be able to control your own schedule? Secondly, Archie was released as three separate books, also compiled into one volume. What influenced that decision?
Heh heh – I released the three books that make up Volume One of “Archibald Lox” (there will be three big Volumes in total, three books per Volume) just before the end of March, then casually posted about them on April 1st – loads of my fans thought I was joking! Yeah, that’s one of the big pros of self-publishing – you can release your work whenever you want. I was planning to release Archie later in the year, but when lock down happened, I felt compelled to get the books out there, because I knew a lot of my fans were at home and struggling, and hoped the new work might lighten their load a little bit. It meant taking a pear-shaped approach to the publishing schedule, and the hardback and paperback editions came out months later – from a business point of view, it didn’t work, and I made a lot less that I would have done if I’d released them “properly” as I’d originally planned – but it put a big smile on a lot of faces, and in this instance that was my only real concern.
I’ll be honest – and I’ve said this to my fans right from the start – if “Archibald Lox” had been traditionally published, Volume One would have been released as a single big book. That’s how I wrote it, as one big novel, and I wrote Volume Two and Volume Three the same way. I assumed the series would be picked up by one of the traditional publishers, but as the old saying goes, “to assume makes an ass of u and me!” Various factors worked against it – the fact that it was fantasy not horror, that it was more leisurely paced than my other work, that it couldn’t be easily pigeon–holed as middle grade or YA… Anyway, the publishers that I took it to all passed, and it became clear that if I wanted to release it, I was going to have to self-publish. That’s when I started considering breaking the Volumes up into shorter books, in order to be able to market them more effectively. I knew that by self-publishing, I was going to have to rely on the eBooks more than the physical editions, and doing them this way allowed me to reach more readers than I could have otherwise – for instance, I made the first book free to download, so I was able to attract a lot of people who liked the idea of not having to pay for it. (It’s still free, by the way, and most probably always will be.) As a writer, I wanted people to read the story as one whole book, but as a publisher I had to ask myself what would work from a marketing standpoint, and this seemed like the best way forward.
“Archibald Lox” has a unique subject matter as a series. While many of your works deal with the scary and gruesome (vampires, demons, zombies) Archibald Lox focuses on something unexpected: locks and locksmithing. Archie’s skills with locks come across as preternatural and magical. What was the inspiration to focus on locks and locksmithing, and crafting your world around this ability?
The entire series started when I was walking across a bridge in London one day, and saw a young woman walking towards me, twitching her nose and pulling faces. I’ve no idea why she was doing that, but my imagination immediately seized on it and suggested she was doing it in order to unlock a gateway to another world. I liked the idea of that, and decided to send a character after her, to find out what was on the other side, and it simply seemed logical to me that the best person to unlock a lock was… a locksmith. I suppose, with hindsight, I should have foreseen the raised eyebrows among publishers – “A 500 page book about a kid whose big talent is that he can pick locks? Really?” – but I fell in love with the idea, and I’m still in love with it. It’s not just about locks, of course – there are lots of other elements at play – but each of the three Volumes is structured around Archie’s skills, and the plots grow out of certain key moments where those skills have to be employed. The “Archibald Lox” books are built like carefully constructed puzzle boxes, and I guess one of the big influences on them (even though they’re no horror) was “Hellraiser“, the Clive Barker film.
I would regret not mentioning “An Another Place”, which was such a fantastically dark and mind-bending story. Reading it, I couldn’t help but think back on some of my favourite noir stories – particularly “Dark City” and its cunning blend of sci-fi and horror. What were your biggest influences when writing it?
Oh boy! I was so nervous when I released “An Other Place”, because it’s such an out-there book. I had no idea how it would play with readers, and was fully prepared for every kind of negative backlash imaginable. I could barely believe it when it started picking up rave reviews, and it’s definitely gone on to become something of a cult favourite. “Dark City” was certainly a key influence – I thought that was a great film – but all sorts of other things came into play as well. For instance, the scenes where the main character wanders round the city, stark naked and creating a menagerie of animals in a most unusual fashion, dated back to a short story that I’d been playing around with in my teens but had never developed.
“A lot of the book grew out of my OCD and the distanced relationship I felt in my late teens and early twenties to the world around me, and in a way it was a self-help guide, a coded way for me focus a mirror on myself and ask where I was going with my life and what sort of a man I wanted to be.”
In terms of other books and movies, I’m sure there were all sorts of influences playing out on a subconscious level – “1984”, “THX 1138”, “Solaris”, “Taxi Driver”, The Coen Brothers films, “The Omega Man”, the books of Clive Barker…
The Jumble Magazine is focused on showcasing the best talent that Ireland has to offer. As such, I was wondering if there are any contemporary Irish artists that you’d love to mention?
I love Brian McCarthy’s paintings, and Orla De Bri’s sculptures. I read “Leonard” and “Hungry Paul” by Ronan Hession a few months back, and got a great buzz out of it. One of my favourite songs of 2020 was “Home” by King Pallas. And I loved the movie “Wolfwalkers” – I’ve been a big fan of Cartoon Saloon and Tomm Moore since “The Secret of Kells”.
You can learn more about Darren Shan on his website. You can check out “Archibald Lox” on Amazon, Waterstones, and The Book Depository. Follow Darren on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date with his work. Be sure to look for his work next time you are able to visit your local bookstore!
‘Merry Queermas’ is the Christmas collaboration of anti-pop musician F.R.U.I.T.Y. & feminist punk Ciara Kong (Ciara King of Problem Patterns). An unlikely musical duo coming together in the name of queer festive cheer. Dan and Ciara had been looking for queer Christmas music to listen to during the holidays and realised there was a distinct lack of it. So, they did what any queer musicians with an abundance of time would do… They made a queer Christmas song!Daniel O’ Rawe AKA F.R.U.I.T.Y spoke to The Jumble Magazine all about the new single and how its proceeds will go to LGBTQ+ community resource centre Outhouse Dublin.
They quickly decided it was time to birth ‘Merry Queersmas’. The song addresses feelings of anxiety or sickness during the Christmas period in the verses and the need to overcome those feelings in the chorus. Recording, mixing, and mastering the track in their attic at home. The project was just a bit of fun between two pals, so they have decided to donate the proceeds into their community via Outhouse Dublin.
Outhouse is an LGBTQ+ Community Resource Centre in Dublin, a safe space for Irish queer folk to gain resources and live their truth. Safe spaces are particularly important to the community during the holidays as not everyone has a warm, supportive place to go for Christmas and it can be quite a triggering or traumatic period. We wanted to do whatever we could to lend a hand to the community this festive season.
You can buy the track on bandcamp by clicking here. The track costs £1.
Buy the track on bandcamp to enter the prize draw for an amazing pair of earrings made by @quearringsbydyvr. Just screenshot your receipt and send to @2.f.r.u.i.t.y, or @ciarakong.(Prize Draw ends evening of the 20th of December 2020)
You can find out more about Outhouse Dublin by checking out their website.
The Jumble Magazine does not receive a cut of any of these donations/ bought tracks. This article is to spread awareness only.
Do you regret the day you abnegated Eros?
I resisted hearing my name hushed by another
In the darkest hours, I sense you still.
A ghost lost in the mill.
I’d have travelled through inferno, rather than endure Eden without you.
I am my mother’s daughter,
At the 11th hour,
Call upon my resilience.
Even when down-trodden by Pothos,
the dice are loaded.
Shall I repent for returning once more to Dionysus?
It’s safe to say that all us Belfast folks are missing the hustle and bustle of the city especially at this time of year. East Belfast photographer Claire Towe has been capturing the atmosphere of our wonderful little slice of the world with her project ‘Wee Belfast’ where she plays with perspective to help shine the city in a new (tiny) light.
Claire, your photos are so unique- what inspired you to start taking them like this?
Ach thank you. The concept was born from wanting to capture the city’s vibrancy, even though compared to some cities we’re only small, or ‘wee’ if you’re from here. I’m a huge fan of Slinkachu – a London-based street artist who abandons miniature people on the streets of the city, so I was inspired to create a series of images that utilised composition of tiny people in a similar way but captured Belfast’s regional wit like never before.
Do you have a photograph that you are particularly proud of?
Oh that’s a tough one. Kinda like asking me to pick a favourite child. But, if I had to pick one it would be my ‘Ulster Says Yeoo’ print which is available to buy online from wearebornandbred.com. I just love the composition, colours and sentiment. It pretty much sums up Wee Belfast in a photo.
In the past, you have sold prints with a cut going to Action Cancer, and you’ve more recently paired up with Another World Belfast, can you tell us a bit more about that collaboration?
The fact my prints can help raise funds for causes close to my heart is a win-win for me. The collab between myself and Another World Belfast is a truly beautiful one. So many of us have spotted the ‘Show Some Love’ street art around the city but may not know about the meaning behind it. I wanted to shout about this through my photography.
This not-for-profit organisation works on the principle “if you can’t change the world, you can change someone’s world within it”. Their @thelovepackbelfast project seeks donations of essential toiletries and underwear to help individuals, familiar and charities in need, all over Northern Ireland. We’ll be launching two prints in the next week or so with all profits going back into the project to help people less fortunate.
Lastly, what’s your favourite thing about the city? What are you most excited to do when things get back to some kind of definition of ‘normal’?
Oooohhh. It’s got to be the craic! I lived in London for two years and always missed the Belfast craic. Our humour, wit and friendliness is something I am extremely proud of. Even when I’m out shooting, people will always stop and check that I am ok – mostly because I’m sprawled across a pavement. So yeah, a night out or beer garden session is on the cards, somewhere where the craic’s 90.
You can check out more of Claire’s Wee Belfast prints on Instagram, or on the Wee Belfast Big Cartel Website .