Perhaps the most anticipated new event in Cork this year is Joy In The Park, a free family led day to be held in Fitzgerald Park next Sunday. It will have a carnival atmosphere with a diverse programme of entertainment such as live music, spoken word and circus artists, alongside recreational activities, workshops and information spaces throughout the entire park.
While the headline acts such as Kila, John Spillane, Pontious Pilate & The Naildrivers and Jerry Fish are performing there's a whole host of other elements worth seeking out.
The Couch Sessions is one of those segments. Aiming to ‘bring the living room outside’ it will be an afternoon of chat and music in association with Minding Creative Minds (an organisation established to offer a free 24/7 wellbeing & support programme for the Irish Creative Sector).
Paula Flynn will be holding three public conversations with Cork Creatives, Cethan Leahy (12.50pm), Rob Carlile (1.40pm) and Ger Wolfe (2.30pm).
While Paula has been developing the podcast, she has yet to do one live. “I’m looking forward to trying this new step, I have never done anything like this before. I am someone who records one to one in a studio and edits. I am not used to a live set up so it will be new territory for me.”
While it will be a new undertaking to do it live, Paula has comparable experiences she will be able to draw upon. “I have a background in live music as well as media and radio Production. Three years ago I decided to go back to university, and I am now a trainee integrative therapist. I completed my level 4 in Counselling Studies and took a year out and completed three modules at Masters level. One of the modules was ‘Health Communications and we had to work with an organisation, I choose Minding Creative Minds and from this the idea of a podcast was born.
"I have been pre recording guests and editing for the past year. The podcast will be called ‘Hold on with Miss Paula Flynn’, and the theme tune is a cover song of Tom Waits ‘Hold On’.”
Paula has a clear intention for the series. “The aim of the podcast is to help promote positive mental health, and I want to help cut out some of the shame that surrounds the subject and help to normalise it a little bit more. Studies show that creative people suffer with their emotions, and this could be because we pour so much of ourselves into what we do. We put our ideas and hearts forward to be judged by the public - and then we are left to cope with the aftermath - good and bad.
"We are working in an industry that is not always stable or secure. Musicians and actors living gig by gig, writers and artists waiting for commissions or someone trying to get a break in the media - hoping the next job is paid (and not another ‘wonderful opportunity for work experience’). It is a complex industry but it still manages to survive because creative people will always exist! The lack of security or ‘big breaks’ isn’t enough to put people off. Money is not always the reason someone comes into this industry, but it’s often the reason they need to leave it.
"Besides the negatives, I find there is a sense of hope in this industry, ‘if we stick at it, we may just get somewhere’... This is the attitude I admire - the resilience, the strength shown by so many. With that in mind, I admire Linda and all involved who think enough about others to make events like Joy In The Park happen.”
She intends the talks at Joy In The Park to be personable and engaging to all with a varied line up. “In my mind I imagine it will be a relaxed conversation in an outdoor living room. I have wonderful guests lined up on the day, all Cork natives, and creatives. Firstly we have Cethan Leahy, writer, filmmaker, and editor of Irish literary magazine The Penny Dreadful. He will be talking about his debut novel ‘Tuesdays are Just as Bad’, which was published by Mercier Press in 2018. It deals with teen suicide and depression.
“I will then speak with musician Rob Carlile, about his debut album, ‘Mentally Illmatic’, a concept rock album, with each song capturing a different aspect of mental illness through the music and lyrics.
"And finally, I will speak with singer songwriter Ger Wolfe about his creative process and any difficulties he may face as a singer-songwriter in Ireland today.”
Paula sees a clear definition of what she will be doing with them during Joy In The Park. “I do not see them as ‘interviews,’ but more conversations and I love the idea of creative people sharing their stories. I learn from them, and I hope others do too. There is something to take away from each individual person and the story they tell. For example, I have read Cethlan Leahy’s novel which covers teen suicide and feel it is an important piece of writing for teenagers and for parents of teenagers. I have recently come across Rob Carlile and his music, and he has something to say – his aim is to promote positive and open discussions about mental health. Both guys I feel are creating positive work that can help towards changing negative attitudes towards mental health, and they are creating more understanding about a subject we have as a society tried to keep concealed for too long.
"Ger Wolfe for me is a special talent who really has the ability to heal through his music. I listen to him, and I am taken away somewhere else. A good place, a safe place. He is a healer in my view. Rob will be reading extracts from his book and both Rob and Ger will be playing songs throughout the interview. Again, I wanted structure and I like a beginning, a middle and an end.”
Joy In The Park will be held in Fitzgerald Park on Sunday, July 17, from 12noon until 6pm. A free event, it is supported by Cork City Council and HSE and in partnership with Cork Mental Health Foundation. See https://joyinthepark.com.