Speaker 1 00:00:21 Are you doing I'm Doug Giovanni and you're listening to the plastic podcasts, tales of the Irish diaspora. It's time to get all cultural here at plastic towers. As we crossed the sea to Dublin for today's guest artist, filmmaker, photographer, and documentarian, Ruth McHugh, Ruth has worked with the Galway international arts festival, the national art visual arts gallery RTEs doc on one and the Royal Hibernian academy. But it has a latest project on what is for me, a unique building on this side of the water. That is the focus of our chats today for Ruth is currently researching the curious history of Paddy's wigwam. Also known at the Liverpool metropolitan Catholic cathedral. It's early Monday evening, sometime in August. And we both had building work around us in it's early Monday evening, sometime in August. And we both had building work around us, go on during the day. So the first question I have to ask is how you doing
Speaker 2 00:01:17 I'm okay. I'm okay. Good. Yeah, yeah. Pandemic still going on, but we're coming out of it. Aren't we, you know, I mean, there's definitely like,
Speaker 1 00:01:28 How is it coming out of the pandemic over, over in Dublin at the moment? Because last time I was, there was what last March. I think they were closing down Trinity as we were walking through it. Um, and I know it's been quite a hectic lockdown there.
Speaker 2 00:01:39 It's been really intense, you know, like we were within a five K radius there for months and the city was dad. There was nothing happening. Um, certain streets there, NASA street near Trinity. Um, I mean there was one shop open Eastern on the street and you felt so sorry for the people in there. Cause it was, it felt so dead and boring and, but I live beside the Royal hospital Cal-Maine them and we just had a pilot festival this weekend. So I D I just walked out today to look at the remnants of that because they, um, they set up, uh, what were like little cattle pans for families or groups of people to be in. And it's all marked out with dots and arrows, you know, for distance for people. And it was an experiment in working it out and it seems to have been very successful, but, um, I talked to one of the guys coming out and he said like, they let a lot of people in, you know, it was a ticketed thing, but they let a lot of people in, they opened the gates and let a lot of people in at eight o'clock.
Speaker 2 00:02:55 And I was like, oh my God, I was here, you know, I could have just up. Um, but it does feel a little, yeah. Cause it's, it's really intense. Has I, I presume it's been similar for you.
Speaker 1 00:03:10 I've had the good fortune of actually running these podcasts. So I've been able to keep myself active and also it's a, it's not necessarily something that requires too many other people to engage on a one-to-one basis with, you know, at least not live and so forth. I mean, I'm presuming that as an artist, your work tends to be solitary.
Speaker 2 00:03:25 Yeah, though. I mean, projects like that, that this particular project has brought me in contact with a lot of people, you know, in Liverpool, I applied for funding to do it, and I got a travel grant from the arts council. So I actually traveled to Liverpool in 2018 thinking that I was going to finish this project. And then various things happened that delayed us. And, you know, I really thought I was going to finish it. I was about to finish it just when the pandemic hit, you know, so it's been building for a long time, but I did go over and, um, met a lot of people. I worked with the Liverpool Irish center with metal, which is based in H hill station. And they, it was really the fact that I got residency there that put me in a position to get the travel grant, to go over.
Speaker 2 00:04:22 It was very organic, but they kind of helped me suggested people. I stay with them. One of those people was Tom quarterback who was very generous and very, very involved in lots of different little aspects of culture and community work. So I am, he brought me some really interesting avenues. Everybody on that kind of brought me here, brought me there. There were people working on hot desks in metal kind of producers for theater, and they would mention something and you know, it just forked out and radiation, the whole project investigating. And, and I had a, you know, really, um, really rich time and two weeks I program myself and I got everything that I wanted to get done done, you know, and, you know, I, I even found people, I read bits in books and found an email address for a woman who had been at a play in the, every man that was written about Patty swig one and shown around that time. And there's no, I couldn't find good records of this play, but she had kind of been at it and like nobody, like, I think she, what she really noticed was there was only like a couple of people, including herself in her husband, in the audience, but he, I think he, her husband was running the every man. So that was really, she was really interesting as well. And I walked the streets and talk to people about the week as well, you know, and just ask people
Speaker 1 00:06:10 Through the, uh, the introduction there and obviously artists, photographer, filmmaker, documentarian, and so forth. You wear an awful lot of hats. Is this, um, is this a certain restlessness
Speaker 2 00:06:20 Curiosity? Yeah, I mean, I studied painting, but then I think maybe I worked in galleries for years. So I would have worked with an awful lot of artists and an awful lot of different materials. And, um, media,
Speaker 1 00:06:34 I do come from an artistic family.
Speaker 2 00:06:36 We would have been hugely encouraged to do arch and like, there's a national prize for art. And my sister wanted when she was three ended up kind of disappearing out of the house, out of my grandparents' house. And I was like two, I think. And, uh, she came back with a scooter, um, and the next day she was on the front page of the national newspapers with her scooter and her Tellman her mouth. So, um, yeah, yeah. It was the tactical art competition at the time. And my grandfather was a stone, Carver and sculpture ish, more Nora, he carved Celtic crosses, but he also dealt in art people and soul and paintings at auction.
Speaker 1 00:07:38 This is Tom McHugh. Yes. Yeah. And he's, he's the subject of the documentary that you were involved with, uh, with RTA, uh, Caravaggio and tomb, but for those of our listeners who haven't yet, um, uh, heard it and I'd recommend that they did, do you want to give a brief synopsis of, um, of, of, uh, Caravaggio and tomb?
Speaker 2 00:07:55 I had done cultural studies. That's probably the big heart that leads me down research. I, I studied public culture and started doing a lot of research. And part of that, you know, I began to really see, you know, our own cultural histories and the richness of, of cultural histories to family. And I had known a little bit about my grandfather. You know, my father was very proud of the, you know, he had carved Celtic crosses. There were big like the, the cross accounts frayed big and trickery that, I mean, like as a child, they were like amazing, you know, and there was, there was a fabulous one kind of in a, in an area near careless strand. And in two of them, a lot of the crosses were around him and Claire, I think actually, and out of the blue and I was at dinner one night with, and with some friends and this man, my friend is an artist.
Speaker 2 00:08:59 And this man said to me, your grandfather bought and sold a Caravaggio in 1930. I read it in the newspaper. And they had reprinted an article from 1930s in the newspaper in churn. And he was actually a nephew of Tom Murphy, the playwright, the guy who mentioned it and who was also from tomb. So, um, it just came to me now. Um, so I did a lot of research into my grandfather and went looking for this painting and it was supposedly sold in Christie. So I contacted Christie's and they gave me a catalog citation for the sale, but they wouldn't tell me, they couldn't tell me who had bought the piece. So the citation for the sale described it as a girl in a blue dress with embroidered cloak. And to me, I, I knew Caravaggio. I'd actually seen an enormous exhibition of Caravaggio's in Rome.
Speaker 2 00:10:05 And the, that description sounded quite in separate for a Caravaggio. You know, it didn't sound totally like his, his word. And so I was, I was dubious and I, I kind of lost heart. It seemed like I'd come to a dead end. And then my, my cousin's daughter, my cousin once removed, approached me because she had an idea to make a documentary about this. So we worked together, she came to me, I had this massive research that I had done around it, and I had written it off. And then we, we went looking and she true doc on one, we had contacts in the national gallery and they had better context than us with Christie's and managed to find out that it had been bought in by a Martin who turned out to be the director of Christie's. So it was kind of like Chrissy spying at it back in itself.
Speaker 2 00:11:08 It's really quite the detective story, isn't it? It is. Yeah. So we, we went looking at like, yeah, it's a very long story. And it was, um, it was really hard work. W we looked and we looked and we looked, and I did a lot of going through newspapers, microfiche, finding the auctions, finding the descriptions in the auctions, things like that. And then I, I believe that because it was bought in, it would come back out. It would be sold back out. And I started going through the years of the catalogs, but it was relentless. I mean, it was very, very long. And I was, I was imagining what I had was that it was a very specific size and I was learning, there was very specific dimensions and this turned out to be a big, big clue, you know, because it was very unusual as though someone had maybe caught it a little bit or something, you know? So it, the dimensions really helped us to identify.
Speaker 1 00:12:09 I I'll give everything away because I just think that I should listening to the, to the documentary it's smallest radio experience.
Speaker 2 00:12:13 Yeah. And, and it turned out there was an aspect for me as a female artist that made it, that made it like, made it better than I could've imagined. And, and some people would see that as like, oh, but you know, it wasn't worth kazillions. And it was worth a lot it's worth about 5 million that'll do, which is not to the sculptor. Um, so I mean, yeah, it was, I, it was, we had so much fun. We really had a fabulous time making it,
Speaker 1 00:12:55 You're listening to the plastic podcasts. We all come from somewhere else, find out [email protected]
. Ruth McHughs work is both academic and instinctive. As she brings a questing intelligence to the matters of how our environment changes us and how we shape it is not just an issue for members of the diaspora. But before we go further into her relationship with Paddy's wigwam, I want to talk to her about her previous project, specters of modernity, which took place in the last of the Ballymun high rise towers in Dublin, just before it was pulled down.
Speaker 2 00:13:31 I studied film. I mean, I had been wanting to make films for ages. And then I decided I had the opportunity to study, uh, online video production and, you know, to actually really study filmmaking and coming out of that, I knew that I needed hands on experience, you know, to keep up the skills that I had learned. Like I liked using the camera, et cetera. And I didn't have a camera on myself. So I got this job in valley Mon. It was like, not very well-paid, but it gave me access to editing. So I learned editing. I'd already learned editing. And the other course what it was, uh, like I would never really like it. That was average. And this was final cut pro, which is far more accessible to actually do editing myself. And I had access to cameras and it was community orientated. And I found myself in Bali lawn wandering around. And one of the guys showed me, you know, I thought valley Mon was gone actually at the time. I thought all of the apart flats
Speaker 1 00:14:40 'cause how many tower blocks was it? Seven. Yeah. And they were what built in the fifties or sixties.
Speaker 2 00:14:46 They were built. They were opened in 1967, the same year as well, the tower, the high rise blocks. So like the, the last tower block I dealt with was Plunkett tower. So all those towers were called after the heroes of the rising. So yeah, it also ended up being a project that was a little bit about that kind of, um, cause it was around 2016 that I was actually, I was hoping to actually show it in 2016, but I think I showed it in 2017, which was 50 years after the first people had moved into the valley Mont towers. So it ended up being 50 years for the, the tower that I was dealing with, you know,
Speaker 1 00:15:30 And they don't have a great reputation to the development project. I mean, so I've seen that being described as a psych, a social experiment gone wrong.
Speaker 2 00:15:38 Yeah. I mean, I read a lot about, like, there was a lot of, I read a lot about, you know, similar projects in France as well. And you know, you had the Pruitt ego in, in New York that we're all, all these terrible blocks kind of utopia, social housing schemes that ended up, you know, being demolished. A lot of them were. I mean, I eventually, when I did show the project, someone came at someone, an architect come in and said, it was only meant to last that long. It was never meant to last any longer. That was the life for 50 years. 50 years. Yeah. Yeah. Actually I think he thought it lasted longer than it was supposed to last, which really was like to the idea of something so such a huge amount of housing to be obsolete, you know, have in written obsolescence, isn't it, that's kind of, it is kind of part of modernized modern, isn't it as well? Isn't it that, yes.
Speaker 1 00:16:40 So you talk about modernists, uh, modernist buildings and I'm, I'm not, I mean, I knew a few architects issues and things like that, but what I actually saw like defines a modernist building.
Speaker 2 00:16:50 Oh gosh. That's, uh, I mean, I would have been looking at like when I was looking at, uh, I actually really rather liked a book called from Bauhaus to our house by Tom Wolf, which I don't know that architects really like, cause it's rather cynical about the, the whole modernist movement and Lockwood BCA, um, and this very modular kind of building. And what I was interested in was like modernist art, like the Mondrian arch, that's very linear and graphic and based on the grid and that association with LA Luca Bluejays kind of building, which is all very modular and like the idea, I think liquid blue-sky, I believe that the house was an issue for living in, you know, and, and you have that with idea. It was. I mean, when I did interview people, they were very excited about what they got and volume on when they were moving in at the beginning, they were very excited about moving into valley Mon and having a warm house.
Speaker 2 00:18:01 And there was under-floor heating, which never kind of went off in the summer. So they would have the windows wide open and they'd be sweltering in the summer, but they had under floor heating or winter never seemed to go off. But, um, it ended up being very, very troubled and especially the elevators were a huge problem. They were, you know, kids who were playing with them from the start and setting off alarms and they were never working, you know, and then people ended up having to walk up, oh, they're quite high. Actually, they were quite high. What were they? 18 stories or something. Yeah. So, I mean, it ended up being disasters that, I mean, some of the people I interviewed and in the film, I don't think you've actually seen the film. Like one of the women says, you know, that what they really did is they moved people out there who didn't want to, that they loved it. But then they started moving people out who didn't want to be there and they hated being there and they hated the place and then it all started going wrong, you know, but it's, it's still, it is very much lacking for the amount of a population that was, you know, mushrooms in there. There was a lack of facilities, you know, and social life and cultural life around such a huge building. You were just like doing a documentary
Speaker 1 00:19:34 There where you, it was, um, it was also a kind of installation
Speaker 2 00:19:37 That wasn't it. Yeah. What I did was, um, I would, I was a child when valley Mon was going up and I had this kind of notion of the sixties and I decided to kind of juxtapose a very cliched, like if you look up sixties, you know, you'll get this view of the sixties where everybody was wearing those Go-Go's boots and these dresses, you know, and Twiggy. And I decided to juxtapose, what was this utopian, very cliched, not very real view of valley mountain with the dystopian, you know, place that was empty. And there were curtains blowing in the wind and there was nobody there, there was actually only one person. There was one guy I got to know and cafe, and he was living there. And even he in the documentary describes how people started asking him to get a bit of the building for them.
Speaker 2 00:20:46 You know, they wouldn't know a bit off their own balcony cause they wouldn't know at once it was all rubble. They wouldn't know which bit was which, you know, so he actually went and got a bit of their balcony for them. Um, I just, nobody was around, there were people kind of scavenging a bit, a few young people kind of, I don't know, people, they were getting bits and pieces where people and I just started recording. I started taking photographs. I started, I got absolutely fascinated with the place and the wallpaper and the rooms and the pigeons living there and, you know, curtains blowing in the wind. And I, I just found this, like these touches little, you know, little bits of lights left LA you know, just all over the place. You know, there were tiny little things. Every time I went back, there was some little thing or, you know, that was some remnant to somebody's life there.
Speaker 2 00:21:50 And with very peculiar, I got quite, you know, obsessed with recording this place. And then I, there was a girl working with me who was quite young. She was tiny, she was tiny my news. And she turned out to be a, kind of a, she was my Twiggy, you know, and I started collecting clothes for the project, you know, in secondhand shops. And I was looking for a dress and laundry and dress, and I found one in Galway for three euros, you know, but it was perfect. And it read into the building completely. And I was interested in this, like, you know, the buildings and the fashions and art, all reading, you know, overleveraged reading into one another and she was game and it wasn't until we were standing there one day, you know? And she was in this laundry and dress in front of the building, there was reading in and I said, did you actually live there?
Speaker 2 00:22:52 And she said, I lived up there, you know? And she turned it, she and her sister turned out to be wonderful. They, they, they, they gave me a beautiful insight into how it was home, no matter what it had been home to them, you know, and her sister had captured keys and they'd been asked for their keys back when her sister said, you know, they asked him to go to, I kept those keys cause you know, that was home and nothing else was home, you know? And she still has the keys in her box, you know, and it was a very, I really, uh, it was very special making and I interviewed older women. So you ended up like kind of, I mean, no, anything you would do. I think like, I mean, I told it was about something very, but it ended up being very personal and lovely that her Gran their grandmother was really, really proud of them being a part of it. And their grandmother had been hugely influential in valley Mon in setting up a credit union. And she was a very modest woman who had been a huge force there, you know, and it was, um, we had, we had a lot of fun doing it. You know,
Speaker 1 00:24:14 You're listening to the plastic podcasts, follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. We'll be back with Ruth McHugh shortly. But first it's time for the plastic pedestal where I ask one of my interviewees to raise up and salute a member of the diaspora of personal cultural or political significance to them this week, Anthony <inaudible> who fittingly brings his own heritage to bear as he salutes a long gone family for bear.
Speaker 3 00:24:42 I have to give thanks to one of my cousins who literally just the other week sent me an email. And the email talks about a man called James Doyle of Kildare and Lee Lynn, please forgive me if I'm pronouncing that incorrectly. Um, yeah, I'm just reading about this man. I'm fascinated. Um, there's articles about him. People who've written books about him, people quote him. Um, this is this very quickly from the Irish times, December 3rd, 1998, a great vindicator Doyle became the leading theoretician of an Irish call law based on parochial assessment. His evidence in London before parliament parliamentary debate on the state of Ireland in 1825 was regarded as a tour de force. Um, yeah, his phrase, may your hatred of tie this because the last thing as your love of justice became the slogan of the time war. A figure of the first rank Doyle died of tuberculosis in 1834. I mean, I'm, I'm, I've literally got the paperwork in front of me and give times to my cousin because apparently looking at a family tree that my cousins creating James Doyle is my great, great, great, great grandfather.
Speaker 1 00:26:25 I can die. You Lennon there. And if you want to hear more of Antony's interview or indeed any of our other interviewees, then why not go to our [email protected]
, alternatively, seek them out on Spotify, Amazon, or apple podcasts. And if you want to hear the latest from the plastic podcasts, then why not subscribe simply enter your email address at the foot of the home page, www.plasticpodcasts.com and one complimentary click later, you'll be getting not just the latest podcast, but also first dibs on the accompanying blog sent direct to you and as fresh as fresh can be. And now back to Ruth McHugh, we talk about how her Bally Mon project led to her investigating the Liverpool metropolitan Catholic cathedral. It's all got something to do with the summer of love, 1967, but I'll let her explain
Speaker 2 00:27:19 Kind of aware of Liverpool being the center of the universe. As I think Alan Ginsburg said around that time in the mid sixties, um, I was aware of Liverpool and looking at Liverpool. Um, and I looked for something comparable to valley moan. I was, I was thinking of doing a kind of a companion piece to valley mine across the water in Liverpool. And I started looking at the dates and buildings, and then I discovered, eh, the metropolitan Catedral and I was kind of like, Hmm. And then I thought like, you know, with modernism there was the square and there was the circle and they were kind of very, you know, there's dots circles, modernist architecture, you know, imagine, you know, circles and straight lines and circles in the clothes as well. Dark circles like targets all these kinds of things. So I told that that would be great. That's a circular building, you know, as compared to the very, very linear and square valley Mon you know, the straight up tower, which is all straight lines. Um, and I thought it was kind of like, yeah, well, that's like the squaring of the circle, like the Mandela,
Speaker 1 00:28:52 It's an unusual history. Um, the, uh, the Catholic cathedral in as much as the funds to actually build it where we're locally raised amongst the, amongst the Irish Catholics themselves with
Speaker 2 00:29:01 Yes, and this was, this was something else that I found cause I was really interested in modernism. And then I thought I will look into modernism fashion and classism. And I discovered a woman called Charlotte Wildman, who I met. I arranged to meet when I came over to Liverpool and she was a historian and she had written well she's <inaudible> she felt that, you know, the women were Irish, women were, you know, there was the story of Irish women was not very empowering, you know, they were kind of an invisible and she researched the cathedral and she, I mean the original cathedral, okay. There are two cathedrals, the, the Anglican and the Catholic. And I think they, the original cathedral, they, they, the Catholic church wanted to make the biggest Catedral in Christendom. If they could, they had designed a cathedral that it was, um, just a tad smaller than St Peter's.
Speaker 2 00:30:15 It was going to be ginormous. I mean, there was a big competition going on. I think the Anglican cathedral had started being built and trained in the twenties when it actually didn't get finished till after the Catholic cathedral. So that had a very long span. So, um, but they were competing and, um, that Luchin sous, uh, you know, he would, he would be Edwin Lutyens was the designer of the cathedral that they, they decided that they wanted. And the Irish Catholic women started raising funds for the cathedral. Now they must have had the legends designed because they're actually, you know, they're selling tea clots, they're selling tea, and they're selling cigarettes with the image of the Catedral on the, and th you know, Charlotte Wildman actually has, I've seen slideshow. She, you know, of presentation, she's done with these images of the, of the tea and the cigarettes. And she considers it quite, you know, that, that the, the, the Catholic church had actually written in cyclical against modernity. And it was, you know, had all kinds of in cyclicals about the kind of fashions that women should wear and could wear, you know, and they shouldn't be wearing modern clothes, et cetera. Um, so she sees this fundraising for the cathedral as actually an embracing of consumer culture for the cathedral. So instead of the rejection of maternity in the process of, you know, trying to raise the funds, you have people actually embracing consumer culture.
Speaker 1 00:32:10 It's interesting. That's interesting. What, the one thing that's taught you spun off as you, as you, as you were saying, all that is, of course, that's, you were talking about, um, pop art with the circles. And so on of course, pop art was the, uh, was the province essentially of the molds. And, um, most of the name from the Italian modernists, thus the Lambrettas thus the, uh, Italian suits and things like that. You're getting very, very close to the very heart of the Catholic religion, which is also the hospital.
Speaker 2 00:32:33 The thing is architecture itself. I mean, cathedrals, that of money is, is a real avenue for a star architect. I mean, it probably preceded these like big galleries in big museums that are maybe the, the projects these days, big cultural stark attack things. But in those days, I think, you know, it, you know, if you wanted to be an ambitious and, and yourself through a building, you know, the church would have been a big patron of architecture. And, and I, and I think architecture itself was, was hugely veering towards the modern. Anyway, I mean, there was a competition for the, the Catedral. And one of the defining features of the competition was that over 3000 people could fit in, in the cathedral and that it should be visible. Everybody should be able to see, like the alters should be raised and everybody should be how good vision of it.
Speaker 2 00:33:47 So it naturally suggested, you know, th th that if you, if you have a radius, if you, if you make it circular, then you can get more people seeing, well, the central point, there are about 300 entries for the competition, but a lot of the shortlisted entries were circular where radio they're, they're figuring out this is the, the Monsignor who sets the tone for the building, you know, who sets the parameters for the competition has stated that, you know, this all to be visible clearly visible to all people, you know, so it makes it, I mean, it makes the, the circle the best. And then I think, you know, I think givers then, so as I was building this tent up over there, the raised altar, you know, but of course then like, I mean, it's not just called Hardy's Wigman. There was a, it's called a mercy funnel and the Pope's launchpad.
Speaker 2 00:34:54 So, I mean, it does, it looks like a spaceship really. It's funny because it has really become very iconic. It's, you know, all those, like little, you see a lot of merchandise that uses the silhouette of the cathedral as a very identifying part or some kind of silhouette of the skyline in Liverpool and other people I interviewed remember dish was, uh, what, what, what was the program? Was it Brookside? Yes. That it came in over and you saw the cathedral from the air in that, you know, I mean, and it has, it is like very iconic with a lot of, a lot of the Catholic people. They, you know, they, they there's talk of the logins, massive luncheons, cathedral being the greatest building, never built. And of course the model is in the, the people's museum. Have you seen it? No, I haven't. No, it's enormous.
Speaker 2 00:35:57 The model is enormous. It really is hard to fathom how this huge building would efficient to that space. And the crypt is extraordinary. The crypt is, um, I sent back to you that I, I really feel like this building is like Catholic modernism. You know, that like up on the top layer, you've got this like space, age cathedral, but underneath there is this archaic crypt, um, that's really feels, it feels like the Catholic church being, you know, all secrets and, you know, the sense of, well, of the church of, um, of gold vestments of all these like accoutrements of the Catholic church that relate to it. Having been a very, a royalty all of its own, you know, I couldn't have imagined the crypt. And I had been to the cathedral a lot of times before I went down to the crypt. And it's just like, it's, it's like a covering, it's interesting. It's cavernous.
Speaker 2 00:37:14 And, and that's, that's something that's very particular to Liverpool, maybe an I that's just come to me this moment that it's like a cover and, you know, and, and, and, and that's where the Beatles came from, you know, started wasn't it. And, and this is something though, I don't know, I'm not familiar with these kinds of underground, fast places, but I'll tell you the cover is like small compared to the scale of what's under the Catedral, like, it's really feels very vast. And then you have these like incredible things there. Like you have a man, an Archer, like soon after the building opened, it started leaking Pipers. Uh, and that was really interesting. There was a film in the Tate modern of pipe or making the stain glass, which was kind of wonderful to see, but, uh, it did start leaking and they started, I got an Archer in to shoot up to knock it's down, try to fix it. I mean, I, I still can't figure out what that was about, but it's kind of the drafters thing I've ever seen.
Speaker 1 00:38:37 You're listening to the plastic podcasts. We all come from somewhere else. And that's more than just a hashtag email [email protected]
elsewhere in our interview, but edited out partly due to the constraints of time, but also partly. So I get to sound smart in this bit. Ruth made mention of Arthur Dooley, the Liverpool born artist, responsible for the four boys that shook the world sculpture opposite the site of the cavern in Matthew street. Dooley's 1972 film. One pair of eyes has him claimed that the cathedral is not for the people it's meant to serve. I want to know if this is a view that Ruth shares and how she and others feel about Patty's wigwam.
Speaker 2 00:39:18 Yeah, well, some people said it was for silk curtain, Irish. It was built for the self curtain Irish, one guy on that, like had been an older boy. And they were from around the area near the bull ring at the back of the cathedral and they were supposed to serve, and then they, they were demoted and it was given away to some other school, a kind of a posture scoop, and they lost their gig doing, serving at the opening of the Catedral. So, I mean, he, they, you know, from the beginning, then it felt like it belonged. It was for other people, like he said, that's got nothing to do with us, you know, and our Catholics people. And again, like, I, I interviewed people who would have been kind of lapsed Catholics who have a, kind of a, a soft spot for the old St.
Speaker 2 00:40:17 Patrick's, you know, are the old churches, you know, where they would go in and light a candle. And they mention churches that disappeared in, you know, and it's not the same, you know, I mean, it just doesn't embrace them like they imagine the old buildings would. So it was, it was interesting. I hadn't really, it wasn't something I expected at all. I found myself asking, asking about the Catedral starting with the lip. Oh, it's very nice. You know, and it really, they were platitudes in a way, you know, I mean, the, you know, there was always, you know, but the other one that they showed availed would have been great. And then we would kind of veer towards the Catholic religion, you know, and, and it wasn't my intention ever. It wasn't my intention to go there with this project. You know, it, it, I was looking at it very superficially as a modernist building in a way, you know, and how surprising it was as, you know, like some people said that it was built as a monument to the Irish and as an Irish person, it's a strange monument to the Irish. I don't know what it says about Irish Catholicism.
Speaker 1 00:41:50 It reflects the time that it's in and as much as all, or you're talking about, uh, 67 and the, and the music and things like that.
Speaker 2 00:41:56 I mean, I mean, I, I found myself because of the 67 thing. I've, I've ended up really looking at it at that time and trying to, trying to place it in that time and, and the idea of it then, and, and to get the stories from people. I mean, there were, there were all these street parties, which I found, which are, and the table bunting, cause there was a papal nuncio. So, you know, I was wondering in the beginning, why is that? Like, it's kind of yellow, yellowy orange and white wanting, but it's people vomiting and it's strung along all the buildings in the bullring and leading down to the bull ring. And they had huge tables laid out with parties for the kids. And then I met someone who, who admitted to having set the bonding alike, you know, naughty, very naughty, you know, um, which was extraordinary. I mean, it's an officially to imagine like all this strong bonding thing on fire is quite extraordinary,
Speaker 1 00:43:03 Difficult, and now has a very, very site, strong ecumenical tradition going on, but it's like a, certainly back in the day, there was still that kind of sectarianism of Protestant areas and Catholic areas in the city.
Speaker 2 00:43:12 One woman I interviewed described her grandmother. Well, she actually described it. Like they thought it was like carnival, you know, and these, all these people are with the orange flags and everything, but she describes the marches on her grandmother hanging out the, out, over the balcony, shouting your havens. You, you Hayden's, you, you know, and there were these, there were a lot of marches, I think at the time. And certainly I think that the, the play that was, I've not been able to find the play, you know, and I've really tried to find the play that this woman had seen. But I think there was, it was based on a lot of interviews with people about the Catedral. If this goes out, anybody knows where that play is,
Speaker 1 00:44:03 Have the name of it at all, or anything like that. That
Speaker 2 00:44:06 Would be the mercy election.
Speaker 1 00:44:07 Right. Or she'll put out an appeal when you go to the cathedral or you, you go around there, what's your personal feeling on it? Wow.
Speaker 2 00:44:14 Mostly I've been filling around there. And I, and I did, um, you know, I was intrigued, I was interested like in doing something similar to what I had done in volume on, you know, as I could imagine this kind of sixties wardrobe and it related to the building and, and also, um, I'm, I'm, I'm suppose I'm constantly thinking about the project I go there. I'm fascinated though. There is some really neutral light from some of the stained glass outside. And if it's been wet, you get these beautiful colored reflections. I've never actually seen a marsh in it, although I've been there often, and there are usually people visiting, but it seems to be very much a tourist thing in a way it's not a church that I would light a candle in. It's it's a, it's a very strange cause it doesn't, it looks smaller than it is because it's way up high up there.
Speaker 2 00:45:16 You know, when you go up to it, it is much bigger than you can imagine a circular church being, you know, like the proportions I would have experienced before of a circular church. It's much, much bigger. There are lovely little moments in it. When you go on around, like, especially from the stained glass windows, you get a lovely moments in the architecture. Um, I can see that someone said like, um, kids love doing park or on it, you know? Um, I enjoy the play of shadows and light, you know, from the, from the, these big arms that come out from it. And at night I see it looks, it does look like a space ship. Sometimes it looks extraordinary when you catch it, like from somewhere you haven't imagined you would see it and you just see the Spire lit up or the top of that lit up.
Speaker 2 00:46:23 It's so much, it's so much, uh, uh, project, like, um, it's my project, you know, so I've, I've gotten really used to it, you know, and I'm always looking for more about it to learn more about it. I think I told you that, like, there was a tiny, a small version in Holbrook that Tom Colbank told me about that they had found in Holbrook in Manchester. Yeah. And, and that kind of fascinates me the idea that they made a one 10th of the size. Maybe there's lots of that. Maybe there's a lot of mini potty dotted around Britain, maybe, maybe, but he said a Saturday had the glass and everything and yet, and yet it is a it's set up as a, a boxing ring. So it had like, it has kind of funny. He said, it's a square in the middle of a circle, the boxing ring in the middle of it. And he went in to, you know, this square in the middle of the circle. And he said he was amused to imagine like someone being knocked out and looking up and seeing face of God,
Speaker 1 00:47:34 You've been listening to the plastic podcasts with me, Doug Devani. And my guest with the plastic pedestal was raised by Anthony <inaudible> Lennon and a music like Jack devalue. Find out [email protected]
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