16 June 2016

This Ride Includes A Currant Bun

Now here's a reason to go to Dublin this weekend:

Alice Coughlan of The Wonderland Theatre Company is leading a guided tour of the streets, pubs and historic buildings in which the stories of James Joyce's Dubliners are set.

The ride is one of the many events taking place from now through Sunday to commemorate Bloomsday.  If you've read Joyce--or some earlier posts on this blog--or simply paid attention to your English teachers or professors every once in a while (ha, ha), you know that his most iconic work, Ulysses, takes place on 16 June 1904.  

Now even if The Wonderland Theatre Company is absolutely wonderful (Somehow I wouldn't be surprised if they are!), I'm not sure that they could do a guided tour of everything recounted in Ulysses.  Actually, I'm not sure that anybody should try to depict anything in it:  It's somewhere in that space between dreams that are so real and reality that is so vivid, so intense, that it seems like a dream.  Also, although it's been called a novel, I think it's more like an epic which can no more be turned into a movie than Song of Myself can be.  

But doing a bicycle tour based on Dubliners isn't the "next best thing" or a "default choice."  I have long felt that the best tour guides (at least, the best I've experienced) are storytellers:  They provide lively, illuminating narratives of the place you are visiting.  Sometimes I can remember those stories even better than the physical details of the place!

And what better vehicle, if you will, for leading the reader/listener/audience through such a story than a bicycle?

Hey, I could be tempted to go on WTC's Bloomsbury ride just for this:   "Tickets include a currant bun with the boys of An Encounter at Dublin Port."  

Now, even though I've done a fair amount of riding in a skirt--sometimes with heels--I think it would be a challenge to ride in that green dress Ms. Coughlan (at least, I assume it's her) is wearing.  Even more of a challenge would be looking as good as she does in it!  

Fun Fact:  Given the stream-of-consciousness style of Ulysses, it's easy to believe that he picked the date on which it is set--16 June 1904--at random.  Which is a roundabout way of saying that it's what I thought, for a long time.  However, it is, in fact, the date on which he met Nora Barnacle, who would become his wife.

Another Fun Fact:  Darina Laracy Silone, the wife of Italian writer Ignazio Silone, asked Nora for her opinion of Andre Gide.  And she got it, all right. "When you've been married to the greatest writer in the world," Nora intoned, "you don't remember all the little fellows."

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