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Joe is a disabled Irish writer and emerging-better-late-than-never visual artist living in the UK since the 1970s. While increasingly alienated and terrified by the toxic la-di-da of the capitalist mainstream, he finds that being reborn as an artist makes life worth living again.

Joe McConnell is the new kid on the blog

12 July 2010

Blog

This could actually be called Joe Blogs. But the joke would run thin very quickly and must have been used many times before. That's me alright. Always joking. Partly because all my life I've had an impairment which falls into the tabernacle of taboo. Well nowadays is there really such a thing? But if that is now, well way back then having a condition - acute hypogonadism - which meant that you hit the andropause before yer mates had even entered puberty was definitely taboo. Drawing a discrete...

Comments: 6

Joe McConnell on the kindness of strangers

13 July 2010

Blog

In the last post and chorus, I mentioned that for some time now i can't stop making art. That's true. Now for as long as I can remember, i've been into drawing - pretentiously daydreaming that i was turning 14 years of schoolbooks into latter day illuminated manuscripts. But never taking it any further. It was a total closet indulgence for reasons i wouldn't mind exploring here at a later date. Anyway, fast-forwarding to the present, 2009 was a total fucking bastard of a year from start to...

Comments: 5

Joe Mc on how he came to like the Beatles

15 July 2010

Blog

painting of a ballerina in red

I wish to say thank you to a dear friend who played me some old Beatles numbers recently, and made me realise what a tosser I had been for the past half-century to have been completely indifferent towards them. This was the first time I found myself enjoying their music. And out of respect for the Fabulous Four I feel a need to explain why they didn't quite do it for me previously. Back in Ireland – the unoccupied part – in the late sixties, the possibilities of independent...

Comments: 2

Joe Mc on cutting off his book to spite his face ...

21 July 2010

Blog

angels playing lyres

Today is the day i say farewell to Facebook. I only went on it a few weeks ago because it was a way of catching up with the humanitarian flotilla which was heading for Gaza. The BBC is so unreliable in reporting on the Middle East, that it was good to be hearing directly from people on the beleaguered boats. But then I stayed on. Ended up with over 100 Facebook friends. And a squillion messages telling me whatt they had for dinner that day and sharing an incontinent quantity of visual data when...

Comments: 6

Joe Mc tells the truth for a change ...

22 July 2010

Blog

The writer and performer, Julie McNamara, once advised me to 'never let the truth get in the way of a good story'. Maybe it is ironic that, with her recent humdinger of a play Crossings, Julie went on to spin a heady weave of stories fearlessly uncovering terrifying truths about the history of the world. As John Keats put it : When old age shall this generation waste, Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st, Beauty is truth, truth...

Comments: 5

Joe Mc and the food of love

26 July 2010

Blog

red and blue pastel of a figure drumming

I mentioned the other day that my recent recovery from a year-long period of severe depression was helped by making art. This is still working for me. And many friends and colleagues are remarking that I seem better in myself than they have found in a long time. I'm feeling so well at the moment that I have decided to slowly, over the coming months, reduce my intake of anti-psychotic drugs (currently Quetiapine) to zero. In the past, I have done this myself. And, sometimes, too abruptly. Things...

Comments: 5

Joe Mc in search of '5 Rhythms'

2 August 2010

Blog

Watercolour image of a man playing an accordion

In the last post, I mentioned the power of music in lifting the vibe and helping you get through when it's difficult to do anything much at all. Listening to music seems key to what unlocked a lifetime's reticence when it came to making art. But the door had many locks and needed other keys as well: dance and movement. At the Jules Thorn Recovery Centre, mentioned in my first post of this blog, there was a wonderful session devoted to moving mindfully to music. Some of my mates sniggered...

Comments: 4

Joe Mc visits the Damien Hirst room at Tate Britain

6 September 2010

Blog

'Mother and Child. Divided. London 1993' was the first piece of work I saw by Damien Hirst. You might recall it consisted of a cow and her calf dissected, then pickled in formaldehyde. I was revolted by it and hadn't a clue what it was about. A mate who came along with me to the exhibition said something along the lines that the artist was responding to all those who talked about an inner life. And that this 'opening up' was a way of saying 'look that's all there is inside'. About an hour later...

Comments: 4

Joe Mc rekindles his DAO blog after a very long silence ...

21 September 2011

Blog

red cow in blue forest with yellow tree in foreground

Haven't been here on this blog for a while. Didn't mean to be away so long. About a year ago, i put up a few posts about coming out. This was a twofold thing : coming out both as a disabled person late in life and also as an artist, even later. I began to make art out in the open during a stay at an NHS Mental Health Recovery Centre where - somewhat exceptionally in the current climate - art was at the centre of things. So making art was a critical part of my recovery. In my first blogs, i took...

Comments: 4