Saturday, 27 September 2008


About 20 years ago a jolly group of layabouts and semi-professional drunks started a cod poetry club and called it Baffle. For a long time it was great fun but finally money raised its ugly head in the shape of grant aid to the arts. Passing over any direct connection between the Baffle output and poesy, this marked a tragic decline. In order to get the official money , they had to form themselves into a committee. What followed was inevitable. Some people left and the remainder started to take themselves increasingly seriously.

It was hinted - darkly - that certain "poets" had bought dictionaries and others had acquired Roget's Thesaurus, which they were now consuming like high fibre Goji berries.Under the lash of progress certain Bafflers enrolled in Creative Writing courses and in time were published in various anthologies. The bit of progress now firmly between their teeth Baffle recently designed a new website where, no doubt, all details relating to the annual Baffle Festival, held in Loughrea at the end of October, will be set out.

Down the years one characteristic of Baffle, which it owes to natural eccentricity,( the birthright of all true Loughreaites,) has been its waywardness. And no amount of exposure to modernity has changed this. For I see that the man described as Baffle's "webmaster"is Ian McDonald,whose main claim to fame is that he was convicted of downloading kiddy porn from the internet. It can be argued that this alone makes him unusually qualified for the position since he clearly knows more about "logging on" and opening files than the rest of us put to-gether.This in itself goes against the grain of life in this small and ridiculous town - if appointments were made on the basis of merit or qualification- the whole structure of society would crumble.This is NOT the Irish way. But this is the point we seem to have reached and thanks to Baffle,who are fearlessly showing us the road ahead, we face the uncertain future with our heads held high.

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