When I was 14 I got a job in a pub. The Pub was run by a wild gambler and alcoholic by the name of Jack Tynan. He threw his doors open to those barred out of all or most of the other pubs in my village; there were 40 or so pubs for a population of 2500. The pub filled up with the local quota of Good-Time Dans and Dancing Eileens, hunters of euphoria all.  


I remember first, as a fellow poet, the delicate, shawled woman who entered The Pub not to drink, but to twine like a flickering wisp, seen and unseen, among the smokey tables and the one-eyed dancers. Her purpose was the hawking of her neatly stapled poetry pamphlets. They were mainly themed around her dead father, although her father was not yet dead. Everyone bought her weird, pale little books, whether or not they were able to read them. In line with the rubbish destiny of most private publications purchased on the spot, there was no chance anyone was actually going to read hers. Still, she was a best-selling author among the functionally illiterate, and that's an achievement.


Occasionally we were visited by our beautiful, inspiring, and - for the time and place - uncanny crossdresser V. There were a lot of hard men and women in my village at the time, but V was surely the hardest of them all. He was a superhero, a powerful alien, a self-made apparition; he really didn't give a shit what any tragically genderbound humans thought of his doings. V went to mass (and the library) in a sparkling black evening dress, red high heels, and flagrant shades of lipstick. He didn't go to mass with the idea of praying, kneeling, responding or any of that robot stuff; he went there to belch, to belch as loudly as he could (as he did in the library), so the mass always became about V's ability to behave how he wanted wherever he wanted no matter who set the rules or held the keys to the workhouse. 


Alone, all of the wonderfully various individuals of The Pub would, like so many, have merely been separately, but homogeneously miserable. Together in The Pub they formed a club of joy and edge, of excess and risk, of glorious particularity, of indifference to established proprieties and received opinions. 


I Iike to imagine that the grassroots, extra-institutional arts scene in Ireland, and hopefully elsewhere, shares at least some of the characteristics of The Pub.  The will and the ability to ground our self-expression in our own burning desires. The will and the ability to make ourselves known in forms which do not have to be pre-approved by bureaucrats, or have a set place awaiting them upon the dead shelves of the marketplace. The knowledge underlying all our acts and provocations that it is all only a howl in the end, all just fun to be shared around without getting too precious about it. The strong urge not to allow ourselves to become bored or boring, no matter what the consequences for our 'careers' might be. 


Welcome on behalf of all our 8 volunteer editors to Colony 2, the Trans Issue. Come on in and get twisted. Who knows what you will have turned into by the time you come out the other end, finding yourself on Colony's edge. We hope you enjoy leaping over it. It's your turn next.