‘The Accidental Host’ by Peter Moore

peter moore
Peter Moore

One Sunday morning, away back in the mists of time when it seemed most of the pa’s in Dublin were from Serbia. I was in my living room minding my own business.  I was probably thinking about going to my local in a couple of hours’ time when I got a phone call from the knock, a nick name some of his Baldoyle friends had for Martin.  Roasting a pig on a spit in the open air is a Serbian tradition mainly around Christmas time or New Years.  There was much talk of doing it in Ireland in honour of our Serbian pas.  Martin bit the bullet and decided to have it in his pocket-sized garden.  The pig was bought, but the neighbours in Baldoyle immediately objected to the smoke.  So the phone call was made to me. As everyone knows when the Knock knocked doors opened, and so it was I became the accidental host to a barbeque with a difference. I had a lot of firewood in my shed , most of which was commandeered for the fire.   James Brosnan was the Leader I knew living close enough to me, so I gave James a call and he came along.

 

peter moore rossting pig on spit
Roasting the pig on the spit

 

The cooking of the pig took longer than I thought and so it was a ritual in itself.  I remember Natasha Spremo picking flowers from my garden and putting them in her hair.  It wasn’t meant to be  a hippy convention. 

It would have been around 2.30 when I saw my neighbour Ollie Hand pass my gate on his way home from the pub.  Within a few minutes the bould Ollie was back around with a small crate of about ten bottles of Heineken which he left on the grass for us.  People couldn’t believe it.  Everyone wanted him to stay, but I knew his tank was full and Alice probably had his dinner on the table. 

Potatoes where wrapped in tin foil and thrown on the fire to roast.  When the meat was cooked it tasted good but somewhat greasy. 

It ended perhaps around 6.30, and like most things that happen unexpectedly it was most enjoyable.  The respectable people went home and after about an hour I went to the pub.

My ‘Brief Encounter’ with Martin Naughton, by Alannah Murray

Alannah Murray
Alannah Murray

My name is Alannah Murray, and I met Martin almost to this day (2 April 2017) a year ago.

While I’ve been disabled since I was 6 by an auto immune disease not uncommon to Lupus, I had no contact with the disabled community really. I went to a mainstream school, had a regular upbringing with minimal contact with the medical model of living that others have been faced with. I’ve been in and out of hospital for fifteen years or so but that was the main extent of it.

 

I decided to study film in college, mainly because I didn’t know what else to do and because I thought it would be easy (spoiler alert: it isn’t) and because I feel like film is a very powerful medium when it comes to telling stories and putting them out there to the wider community. They had great supports where I went to college, and any apprehension on whether I’d excel despite my disability were erased. I had an incredibly helpful PA, which wouldn’t have been afforded to me were it not the work of predecessors.

 

When I got to my second year of college, I had a documentary module where I had to make a documentary on a topic of my choice. Not one to let an excuse to use the hand I was dealt to my advantage, I pitched a documentary about how disability is represented in the media. The lecturer thought it was a great idea, so off I went to research. I looked at the usual media portrayals, and then I looked at an article about Inside I’m Dancing, and who it was based on: Martin Naughton. So I googled around, found an email address, and sent it off asking him for an interview for the doc.  While I didn’t get the interview I was after, what I did get was an invitation to a gathering in Swords to watch a discussion about the UNCRPD (a collection of letters I had no clue about until that day).

 

What I got in Swords was an introduction, a breakneck one, into a world I knew nothing about but that I felt like an immediate part of. I got to watch Martin talk about disabled rights with such power, such conviction, I was happy to jump head first into the world of activism. Using the information I’d gathered that night and using the contacts I’d made, I went ahead with the documentary.

 

I was lucky enough to have country wide success with it. People engaged with the stories, and I had the joy of seeing people like myself on screen for the first time in a positive light. Where I wasn’t a disability, where I wasn’t a burden; where I was a film maker, and transcendent of my disability.

 

The week before our first festival premiere, I got the chance to go to the Disability Summer School in Galway to watch people from all over the world talk about their experiences. I had the chance to interview Judith Heumann, and once again listen to Martin Naughton talk so passionately about a topic he held so dear.

 

I’m forever grateful for the opportunities afforded to me, and the briefest encounters I had with Martin over those two experiences. It changed me more than I got the chance to tell him.