Red Lam Black PianoRed Lamp Black Piano was published By Tara Press in December 2013.

The Cáca Milis Cabaret has been running as a “vaudevillian evening of the Arts” since it kicked off in in 2009. To mark its five-year anniversary, the group decided to publish an anthology of writing and poetry presenting a selection of work from the writers and poets who have participated in the venture down the years.

Cyberscribe’s input in this title was to edit texts, design and format the book’s interior, create a paperback and e-book cover, convert the book into e-pub format and assist Tara Press with the creation of its online sales accounts and set up distribution outlets online.

Cyberscribe also created a website for the Tara Press imprint.  See tabs below for more information on the title.

This dazzling gamut of writing, from short fiction to poetry, humour, sci-fi musings and satire makes it an eclectic and entertaining read. The nature of the collection appropriately reflects the event, which adapts the old Music Hall format to present original work from contemporary musicians, poets, writers, songsters, film-makers, dancers and more. The range of contributors adds to its attraction, featuring both local and international, emerging and established contributors, from established Irish authors like Dermot Bolger, Eoin Colfer, Emer Martin or Peter Murphy, to emerging authors like Susan Lanigan and a first fiction piece from popular comedian, Paul Tylak.

Finally, the fabulous introduction by internationally-renowned writer Patrick McCabe (“The Butcher Boy”), captures the impromptu spirit of the Cabaret itself – which the reader may consider worth a visit after finishing the tome! Thirty-nine works feature, from Irish, international, emerging and established contributors.

With a foreword by Irish author Patrick McCabe, anthology authors are:

Annie Bell-Davies, Anthony Jones, Billy Roche, Chris Ozzard, Claire Scott, Dave Lordan, Dermot Bolger, Dominic Williams, Drucilla Wall, Eamonn Wall, Emer Martin, Eoin Colfer, Erin Fornoff, Helena Mulkerns, Jackie Hayden, Jim Maguire, Kate Dempsey, Kevin Connelly, Maeve O’Sullivan, Margaret Breen, Margaret Hawkins, Niall Wall, Oran Ryan, Patrick Chapman, Peter Murphy, Patrick Kehoe, Paul Harris, Paul O’Reilly, Paul Tylak, Philip Casey, Ross Hattaway, Sarah Maria Griffin, Simone Mansell-Broome, Stephen James Smith, Susan Lanigan, Suzanne Power, Tom Mooney, Waylon Gary White Deer, Westley Barnes.

Forward – By Patrick McCabe

There is a lot of talk these days about sex robots, where it’s all going to end and all this, what with spiky dystopian buildings stretching high up into the ether and all the rest of it, not to mention us all having conversations in writing with people we neither know or see, as well of course, the immense complexities, moral and otherwise, of all this activity being monitored by …

Well that is the question for I, for one, do not have the faintest idea. And which brings me neatly to the theme of the enduringly powerful subversive nature of the author and reader interactive relationship and the vivifying magic of people upside-down reciting poems on their heads. Which is not, perhaps, in evidence in the Cáca Milis Cabaret – at least it wasn’t on the night that I was there – but, as with all good fiction from Ulysses to Moby Dick – it could be. I mean, with the likes of Cáca Milis, really anything is possible. You could even have a fish walking around the city of Dublin, popping in to meet prostitutes in Nighttown. You could indeed – and have Captain Ahab sipping daiquiris at the bar. Of course you could – if that’s what Melville’s obsessed anti-hero liked to drink on a night on the town.

I mean, where do you start with uncanny valley robots and programmable robotic vacuum cleaners, saturation ‘smart’ advertising, Google Glass and Google Earth, or to put it really plainly – the world as Arthur C. Clarke imagined it.

Which again leads us effortlessly to the consideration of Rick Deckard squatting gloomily at the bar counter – trying to figure out just who and who isn’t a Replicant, decoding as best he can this retrofitted Dystopian future. Before injecting another load of Blade Runner rocket fuel, like an old Irish republican idealist of the twenties maybe, unburdening himself of a monologue about how his memories are about to be lost, in a world of webcams with simulcrae as humans.

But of course that’s not the sort of thing you want to be talking about when you’re out for a night of kabarett enjoyment and I had no intention of letting it get me down, as I strolled into Bewley’s cafe upstairs, a little bit put out that my old pal Blade Runner hunter-man wasn’t there. But who was there was a writer of my acquaintance with whom I soon became engaged in animated conversation, which resulted ultimately in my lamenting the fact that Christopher Isherwood wasn’t ‘about’, for it was he who had first stimulated my adolescent imagination with regard to night-time affairs of this type, with his engaging tales of what Sally Bowles used to get up to before the Nazis broke in and took her monocle.

But not just him, for there was the aforementioned James Joyce too to be considered, or as I preferred to call him Shem The Penman Exotic Ringmaster Of The All-Nude Mutton Stew Revue, who would have enjoyed this anthology no end, I have no doubt. What might he have enjoyed? Well, being a champion of the lamplit vaudeville world of the nineties, where Dan Leno held sway in a miasma of flouncy skirts and cholera-shot fug (‘Oo you are a naughty girl!/Indeed you are indeed you are!”, I can hear him pipe yet), would he not twirl his cane and quiz: ‘What’s not to like?’ when treated to a rendition of Anthony Jones’ ‘Birthday Poem?’ Or Jackie Hayden’s orgiastic feat of sunny southern nomenclature: ‘The Wex Factor?’

Perhaps.

But of this there can be no doubt – when Emer Martin sings of Zozimus and ‘Beautiful Dublin Town’, specky Jemser will be out on the floor.

On the evening I attended – I noticed there are a number of well-established names included here also, Billy Roche in particular, and Dermot Bolger with a typically wise rumination on aging. And who, many years ago, published my own first effort.

Another aspect of my evening at the Cáca Milis Cabaret included discussions with a variety of individuals regarding the nature of art and existence – I don’t know what the world is coming to – but I’ll tell you this: in a world of fibre optics and GCHQ, I’m with Deckard at the bar. For I know who the Replicants are. And they won’t be found, believe me, Chez Mulkerns. Did you know that her grandfather was The Rajah Of Frongoch? Yes, no better man for putting on shows in prisons, way back then when establishing the Irish Republic. So she didn’t lick it off the briars, as they say. I was wondering, when I went in, was it maybe a kind of competition. Along the lines of that which developed between Patrick Kavanagh and another local scribe, many moons ago. ‘How much do you charge per line?’, a potential customer once inquired of the Monaghan master. Only to receive the reply: ‘Five shillings to you.’ Well, not to him as events were to transpire, for Kavanagh never heard from him again. Only to meet him one day in Dundalk. ‘You never came back to me about the pome for your daughter’s wedding?’ ‘Naw I didn’t,’ said he, ‘And won’t. For there’s a man in Essexford and does it for one and six. And he’d poet the shite out of you any day, Kavanagh!’ The night I stepped in, I thought of John Hinde: as if the great photographer of the sixties had turned his lens on night-time in Dublin. But then, as was his wont, ensured that the original transparencies were enhanced, the colour of clothes altered and the dull Irish skies replaced with a brighter post-midnite Mediterranean version. And which is precisely the kind of alchemy this book achieves, filled with nuggets and wonders too numerous, regrettably, for all of them to be named here, whether established or emerging: but they include Kevin Connelly and Margaret Breen, The Walls-Eamonn and Niall, and Oran Ryan and Patrick Chapman, Kate Dempsey and Jim Maguire. Did you know that Eoin Colfer is making a Disney movie? Well, he’s here too: with a cracker about a seal. Beir Bua, red lamp on the black piano. Or, as ‘Papa’ Hemmingway used to say to Joyce whenever the Fontenoy Street man posed the question, ‘do you think that art can ever hope to meet the threat of the astral assassins?’ ‘It can surely, James – haven’t you been down to see Helena’s Cáca Milis?’ Patrick Mc Cabe, August 2013.