John James reflects on Fermanagh Writers’ contribution to Happy Days, Enniskillen’s first Beckett Festival:
Cobbling together a name at the last minute for our session on the Fringe, was a challenge in itself, all the best ideas seemed to have been snapped up by other events. However our dish seemed to entice an interested and appreciative audience from the local community and guests from further afield.
Our Chair Tony Viney compered the event and began proceedings with a thoughtful environmental prose symbiotically attached to a cultural classic. He was followed by the quiet man of Fermanagh, Dermot Maguire, with thoughtful and topical pieces. The high priest of poetic perambulations, John Kelly, followed with a selection of tongue-twisting, mind-expanding linguistic gymnastics. John Llewelyn James came out of his shell, channelling a voice of rage and bitterness, delivering a broadside against pretension. Mariette our matriarch, told a story about a rogue that was quintessentially Irish, but echoed a multitude of similar characters in other cultures, therefore it spoke to everyone.
We had a beautiful musical interlude provided by Ben and Sarah,and Daniel our thanks to them for coming and taking part. After the break, Tony Viney pulled another ‘Flatlake’ on Pete and delivered a thoughtful, if a little sacrilegious, satire on a difficult and emotion-laden issue. At last, Pete Byrne from the nether regions of Dublin, gave us a comical, self-effacing memoir on his, well, nether regions. Dianne Trimble calmed proceedings down, with a gentle reflection of times gone by, that still have a lot to teach us about how we are today. We finished with more from John Kelly, l eaving the audience lifted and buzzing with thoughts and ideas of their own.
Our thanks go to the festival organisers for creating a fertile environment for our presentation and to the all the people at Russell & Donnelly, who helped make the day happen.