On this week’s program, The Drunken Odyssey enjoys perhaps its final Bloomsday live show, and its perhaps final visit to The Gallery at Avalon Island.
On this bonus episode, I guide listeners through a lovely tour of Ulysses on today, which is Bloomsday.
Check out Black 47’s music here, or wherever you buy music. “I Got Laid on James Joyce’s Grave” appears on Trouble in the Land.
On this week’s show, I share the live Bloomsday event!
See our kickstarter campaign to travel to Weeki Wachee Springs to interview Lu Vickers about Florida literature and the world famous Weeki Wachee mermaids.
Richard Peabody, our guest on episode 45, has a new audio book of poems available through Eat Poems. Sample the poems, then pay what you wish for the download!
On Saturday, June 22, from 5 to 8, The Drunken Odyssey will sink anchor here:
Here’s this week’s book:
On this week’s show, I talk to the memoir writer David Sedaris,
plus Pamela Skjolsvik discusses David Sedaris’s Me Talk Pretty One Day,
Bloomsday in Orlando is happening tomorrow evening, from 6 to 9 p.m., at Urban ReThink in downtown Orlando! Join us as we eat, drink, carouse, and in all ways celebrate James Joyce’s Modern epic novel, Ulysses. This event will also be recorded as episode 2 of The Drunken Odyssey podcast.
Among other wonderful things,
you’ll hear the shy giant Godrick read from “Telemachus,”
that John King fellow read from “Nestor,
the poet and cultural blogger for The Orlando Sentinel Tod Caviness read from “Calypso,”
the great Vanessa Blakeslee read from “Cyclops,”
and show announcer Lauren Butler perform Molly Bloom’s soliloquy from “Penelope.”
Dear listeners, there is room for you, too, if you want to join these and our other readers.
Irish fare provided by The Spork.
First, get quite soddenly drunk.
Second, sit yourself outside, in a comfy place, like a hammock, rocking chair, settee, or else a blanket spread on a tufty patch of lawn, and remember of course to bring more drink with you.
Third, and this stage pertains only to the more radical readers, read the book. This stage is not absolutely necessary to read the book, for several studies of Ulysses can furnish you with readings of the book that will prove to be much less inconvenient to your brain than actually reading the book.
Now for those intrepid readers who will read Ulysses by reading Ulysses, I offer this plain advice: in reading Ulysses, two types of nonsense shall manifest themselves: (1) nonsense worth translating into sense, and (2) nonsense that cannot be translated into sense. Regarding the first: this category can be greatly reduced if you read the entirety of the literary canon first (only a suggestion), and in regard to the obsolete references to the Dublin of 1904, consulting Don Gifford’s Annotations to Ulysses helps (incidentally, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, volume two, contains smallish portions of Ulysses with useful footnotes, and Oxford paperbacks has an edition with somewhat comprehensive endnotes). About the second type of nonsense: that is what the extra drink is for, so have plenty of it.
Once the fun of beginning to read Ulysses has begun, you should expect the malaise to follow, for U. innately invites the universal disintegration of mental faculties (which ought not be confused with the mental disintegration of university faculties), thus transfiguring its ardent readers into pedantic dizzards with all the social graces of Coleridge’s ancient mariner, or as Robert Burton says in The Anatomy of Melancholy, “silly, soft fellows in their outward behavior.” Like a drunk attempting to look sober, so should you too attempt to look normal; for though you will deceive only the fools, everyone else will at least appreciate your consideration in making wanton stabs at social decency despite your thorough lack of success. Remember: real people are not doing this thing you are doing. Also, your brain is like the gullet of a person who is drinking, so you should consistently give your brain equivalents of foodstuffs (whatever your fancies are) with which to slacken the boozy stream of Joyce’s prose as it courses down your helpless esophagus, lest your brain, as Burton warns, “by much study is consumed.”
Once the preliminary chapters are read, the really debilitating material appears–for myself, it occurred somewhere in the–well, as things turns out, I forget which chapter (at this point, I recommend that you check the status of your supply of drink). My memory at this point becomes unreliable, and it will only become more so, for the distinctions between what I felt and what I feel (or, as often as not, what I do not feel) are too subtle for me to make (thus, the provisional myth of a significant difference between 2012 and 1993 becomes as mimsy as that of a significant difference between 1998 and 1922 (and likewise, that of a significant difference between 1922 and 1904)). I feel (and here one detects the whim of providence) compelled not to go making things up since I only promised to help students read Ulysses, and yet I hardly have done a thorough or otherwise adequate job of telling them how to read Ulysses, which is how I planned to end this missive, and, as I go, I offer only this last advice: read as quickly as possible (and even more quickly than that if possible).
Episode 2 of The Drunken Odyssey will be a live recording of our upcoming Bloomsday celebration at Urban ReThink in downtown Orlando, with Irish fare by The Spork Café (place your orders now). If you can, join us as we frolic with James Joyce’s Ulysses.
Here are some items to whet your anticipatory impulses.
The great Stephen Fry opines deliciously about the book.
Love’s Sweet Old Song, as performed by Patricia Hammond (mezzo-soprano) with Michael Brough (piano).
Black 47’s I Got Laid on James Joyce’s Grave, from their album Trouble in the Land.
Sinead O’Connor sings Molly Malone, a song (and a lass) that Leopold Bloom thinks about on his odyssey through Dublin.
And let’s not forget the book itself. The cover of this vintage edition is the one I first read. It is the color of my brain when I laugh in my sleep: words darkening out of sulfur, with negative shadows licking the sky.
See our event page on facebook.
The two Chrisses managed to make Ithaca marvelous to hear, despite the sleepy monotonous of the form. Bully for them for leaning into the weirdness.
On June 16th, this podcast (which is I, actually) will host a Bloomsday event from 6 to 9 p.m. at Urban ReThink in downtown Orlando. This event is inspired, in large part, by the Bloomsdays I attended in New York when I lived there. Here is a journalist droplet I wrote about my last one.
Bloomsday 2010: A Dispatch from NYC
Amidst the slate-gray geographic jigsaw puzzle of downtown Manhattan, Stone Street is a picturesque anachronism, a valley of nineteenth century architecture with its brick rectangles lined with pubs. And on the afternoon of June 16th, one of its pubs, Ulysses Folk House, celebrated both its anniversary and the day the spirited, expansive Modernist novel it is named for is set on.
Colum McCann, winner of last year’s National Book Award for Let the Great World Spin, emceed the event, as he has done for the last seven years, with vivacious humility and charming bonhomie. He read the opening pages of James Joyce’s 1922 novel with his creamy baritone brogue, to a crowd of a hundred or so listeners congregating in the middle of the surprisingly mild afternoon. His stubbled cheekbones pursed often, ready to grin, as he loudly intoned Buck Mulligan’s mockery of Latin, or one of Stephen Dedalus’s many moping retorts to Mulligan. With his peach-colored boutonnière in his tweed jacket, McCann himself looked like a character out of the book.
So did many people in the audience, which over the next few hours swelled to three times its size. Waitresses emerged with infinities of amber pints. Readers pecked their way randomly across the text. Larry Kerwin, lead singer of the Irish punk band Black 47, approached the podium with a heroically-tattered paperback. He read the part of Gertie MacDowell, the adolescent girl who watches the seaside fireworks, and the admirer who was watching her, with such sweet, cooing teenage hysteria. And the crowd cheered Kerwin as if his voice and Joyce’s words were themselves fireworks dazzling off somehow in broad daylight.
The greatest pyrotechnics, however, came from a diminutive actress named Aedin Moloney, who intermittently read from Molly Bloom’s risqué, stirring, and often poignant soliloquy that closes Ulysses. Moloney’s voice reverberated all over Stone Street with the dreamy passion and jeweled filth and mad romance of Joyce’s novel, with her enrapt audience clapping, laughing, and whooping for literal joy.
“Ulysses, originally, was street culture,” beamed the owner of Ulysses Folk House, Danny McDonald, “that’s what the book is really about—street culture—and this is street culture, folks.”
Cheshire cats like Ulysses, and so should you. Come drink and read this Bloomsday, June 16th, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Urban ReThink in downtown Orlando.