Good Monday morning Ireland.
Here is a beautiful tune about the once thriving blacksmith, now sadly in decline. Let’s keep this tradition alive.
Alan Amsby is a true champion and one of our most provocative artists. He challenged this society in a way that very few did. He gave an outlet and an opening to a lot of men who were coming to terms with their identity. Before Brendan O Carroll or any of the tame Panto dames, there was Alan Amsby (Mr Pussy). Dangerous, provocative, innovative, ground breaking and loved by everybody including all those in the shadows and underworld of Dublin’s then unlawful gay scene.
I hope President Higgins sees fit to honour Alan Amsby in some way. It is fantastic to see this book finally come out of that big wardrobe that Alan Amsby has. Its part of our social and political history as well as our artistic cultural identity.
Alan Amsby, a British citizen, gave this city and this country his life and a fantastic service well before the Belfast agreement.
In 1969, a young Englishman named Alan Amsby arrived in Ireland with a frock and a wig. He was booked for one week, but was an overnight sensation, and made Dublin his home. Catholic Ireland had never before seen anything like the beautiful and outrageous Mr Pussy. For almost fifty years, Alan has delighted audiences and demolished boundaries.
Here, he recalls his early days as a drag princess and model in Swinging London, partying the likes of Judy Garland, Noël Coward and David Bowie; being heckled by one of the Kray twins – and snogging Danny La Rue. He also remembers grey 1980s’ Ireland, shocking the country with its first adult panto, and losing friends to the Aids epidemic. Then there’s his 1990s’ renaissance, ‘doing time’ with Paul O’Grady and Daniel Day Lewis, and opening Mr Pussy’s world-famous Café De Luxe with Bono.
Full of hilarious celebrity yarns, sequinned characters like the remarkable Stella Minge, and a lot of shameless name-dropping, Mr Pussy is the story of a legendary, ground-breaking entertainer, full of pathos, charm and wit.
Alan Amsby (aka Mr Pussy) was born in London and performed a popular drag act before moving to Ireland in the late 1960s.
Tony Mac Mahon, Farewell to Music
Today a group of us took to the streets of Coolock at Northside Civic Centre where my motion regarding the history of the Artane Band and the Artane Industrial School was put before the North Central Area Committee. In what can only be described as a gross act of denial only one Councillor voted in favour of the motion. (Cllr Michael O Brien)
Denial ruled the day. It was an act of shocking violence the deafening silence. How can it be that the findings of the Ryan Report and the finding of serious Garda inquiry into child abuse, wholesale criminal and sexual violence that was perpetrated in Artane industrial school can be written out of history?
It is a great shame that the Cllrs in this instance chose to keep Ireland and it’s people in the dark and protect the Christian Brothers and their manifestation through the present Artane Band. The people of Artane and indeed the North Central Area need now to stand up to this shameless shameful act.
The paedophiles and rapists and child abusers will take great comfort in today’s decision by this area committee and its councillors. While we, the people who experienced this abuse in our childhood, carry a much heavier burden as a result of today’s refusal by the Cllrs to acknowledge the true and proven history of the Artane Boys Band, the Artane Band and the Artane Industrial School.
Like the dark days of the beginning of this journey for justice, we stood alone against the Catholic Church, the Christian Brothers and the orders of nuns. Sad today, that we stood alone again at the North Side Civic Centre.
We take comfort from the many people, local residents who we met, all of whom understood our issue and were fully supportive.
We thank you for your hospitality and we will be visiting with you again soon.
Truth and Justice are what we seek.
These two motions below were fully supported last month by all but two Councillors at the North Central Area Committee Meeting.
Again supporting a true denial of the accurate and true history of the Artane Industrial School and the Artane Boys Band – Artane Band. History repeats itself in the form of gross denial. Our lives don’t matter.
SNAP (SURVIVORS NETWORK OF THOSE ABUSED BY PRIESTS)
Barbara Blaine, the founder and president of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), an international advocacy group for survivors of clerical sexual abuse, has come out in support of a campaign to have the Artane School of Music disbanded.
SNAP is supporting a motion by Dublin councillor Mannix Flynn for the disbandment of the music school, an establishment jointly run by the Christian Brothers and the GAA. The band in its current form wear the original and traditional insignia and uniforms worn by the band from when it started at a time when children attending St Joseph’s Industrial School in Artane were subjected to sexual and physical abuse at the hands of the religious.
Speaking from Chicago in support of councillor Flynn, Blaine said: “I believe that so much suffering and pain has been caused to those who lived through the horrors of the industrial school in Artane. They have been through enough. We should be doing all we can to prevent any further pain and suffering.”
I just started a petition: Disband the Artane Band.
It is no longer appropriate, with what we now know, about residential institutional child abuse at St Josephs Artane, that this band, should be still in existence, wearing the uniform of that institution – St Josephs Industrial School Artane, and making statements that they are proud of their history when in actual fact, the vast part of that history was engulfed in horrendous human rights breaches upon children, including child sex abuse at St Josephs Industrial school, Artane, where the band was founded.
We who are the survivors should not have to endure the ordeal of this band in that uniform, parading around Croke Park, or any other public place. This is a constant active reminder of our ordeals and every effort should be made for this to stop.
Our lives, in those institutions, matter. What happened to us matters. We have a right to get on with our lives to recover and to heal. The Artane Band, in its present form, is a major obstacle to that process. No other band of its type would be allowed to get away with what they are getting away with. The band is still under the control fo the Christian Brothers through the Artane Music School.
If enough people sign my petition, we can make a difference.
If there’s anyone you know who might be able to help me spread the word, please let me know. Thanks so much — I really appreciate your help!
Kind regards, Gerard Mannix Flynn
- Two days of key note speakers talking about Trauma, Silence and Voice
- The speakers are Bríd Keenan, Belfast based expert on trauma
- Siobhan Madden Social Researcher, Feminist Activist speaking about voice, silence, memory and knowledge
- Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington, speaking about her Grandparents and campaign for gender equality in third level institutions
- Mary McDermott Radical Educator and Feminist Philosopher who will speak about the interaction betweeen social and personal change
- These speakers and key themes are interwoven with music, poetry, drama song and dance, and most importantly conversation and tea….
- €25.00 per individual for the two days.. plus a light lunch, plus a creche, plus ISL interpreters and for those that cannot afford it we have a limited amount of free tickets….so it would be nice to entice those on the East Coast over to the West for two days.