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Revolutionary comedy show takes on the bankers – and entry is free



Date Published: 14-Jun-2012

Comedians Aidan Killian and Abie Philbin Bowman are bringing their countrywide free comedy show, Stand Up Against the Bankers to Campbell’s Tavern, Cloughanover on Friday next, June 22, starting at 8.30pm, in an effort to combat Ireland’s gloomy economic climate with humour, optimism and positive action.

Aidan Killian, a former banker with the once prestigious (now disgraced) Bear Stearns, saw the writing on the wall in 2007 and decided to do something he believed in. He left the job, still carrying a huge mortgage for a house in Florida he has never seen. With his understanding of how banks had cheated the system, Aidan turned the tables and forced the bank to accept its liability for the property. This story forms a key part of his comedy set.

Abie Philbin Bowman took the 2006 Edinburgh Fringe by storm with his debut, Jesus: The Guantanamo Years. Abie’s one-man comedies have since toured from London’s West End to Hollywood to Pakistan (during a state of emergency).

Aidan and Abie describe themselves as “part of a generation caught between emigration and negative equity”. Abie spent the Celtic Tiger era pursuing his comedy dreams. He couldn’t afford to buy or rent a house, so remained at home with his parents. In hindsight, as the economic crisis broke, he realised that had been a wise move.

"I don’t own a house. So I’m not in negative equity and nobody can outsource my job to China.” During the boom he would have been regarded as “a textbook loser, now I am an economic genius".

The two travelled to last year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival with solo shows tackling Ireland’s financial crisis where they got a string of rave reviews. They then wanted to tour Ireland, but realised the country was broke. So they decided to put their trust in the Irish people, and devised a new way of touring.

"It’s a revolution in comedy," explains Aidan. “Stand-Up Against the Bankers is 100% free to the public. If you haven’t got any spare cash, you’re still welcome to come and enjoy the show. But we haven’t booked any hotel rooms, and we’ve no money for food. So the tour can only keep going for as long as people are enjoying it and want to support it."

The lads will pass a hat around at the end of the night to accept tax-free donations. But these don’t have to be in cash, says Abie. "We’re hoping that some audience members can offer us a spare bed to sleep in or a hot meal. Or maybe they can help us publicise the tour, or find our next venue. Doing things based on barter, generosity and goodwill, is a declaration of independence from the financial system. If the IMF wants to repossess 90% of my happiness, they’re welcome to try.”

"Touring like this creates a different kind of relationship with the audience. We’re not asking them to buy a ticket in advance" Aidan adds. "And we better make sure our jokes are damn funny.

Otherwise, we’ll end up sleeping in the car, eating nettle soup."

The omens are good. The day before Ireland voted on the Stability Treaty , Abie and Aidan were featured on the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme Newsnight. And earlier this year, fortune smiled on Abie when he had a chance to prank former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis. Abie got himself photographed beside Bertie, wearing a T-shirt which declared: "I marched on The Dáil and all I got was this Lousy Taoiseach. It was reported nationwide.

Also on Friday next, Campbell’s Tavern in association with Solstice Arts Group launches Heavy Meithal, a community barter club which aims to offer a fair exchange of local goods, skills and services in keeping with the recessionary spirit. MC for the evening is locally-based Kiwi comedian, Danny Dowling.

Stand Up Against the Bankers is on June 22 Campbell’s Tavern starting at 8.30pm.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.


For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup



Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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