8pm | Sunday 7th May
In a small, cluttered room tucked away in Belfast’s Oh Yeah Music Centre, Duke Special is conducting a private guided tour of his collection of music memorabilia. There is the fake Styrofoam piano – a stage prop – that hangs from the wall; his vintage collection of 1930s gramophones, which crackle and hiss and visibly light up his face when he winds it up and plays a Glenn Miller record by way of demonstration. The green painting that adorns the cover of his early EP ‘Your Vandal’ takes pride of place on the wall; a wax cylinder bearing his name and his music sits atop the upright piano; dusty volumes of Seamus Heaney poetry line a bookshelf. “This,” he says from behind his dreadlocks, proudly holding an oddly-shaped lump of metal, “is apparently a spur from Alexander the Great’s horse. Fiona Shaw gave it to me on the opening night of ‘Mother Courage’. “This pokey little chamber full of memories and mementos is where Duke Special, or Peter Wilson as he is known to friends, family and the taxman, concocts the vast majority of his musical alchemy. All items act as signposts, charting a course through his incredibly diverse career – from ‘Adventures in Gramophone’ to the aforementioned adaptation of Brecht’s ‘Mother Courage and Her Children’ at London’s Royal National Theatre in 2009 and beyond. Far, far beyond. Over the last five years alone, he has undertaken musical projects based on the photography of Strand, Stielglitz and Steichen for the New York Met (‘Under the Dark Cloth’), written a concept album based on a Paul Auster novel and recorded by Steve Albini (‘The Silent World of Hector Mann’), crafted shows based on the music of Harry Nilsson and Belfast legend Ruby Murray, collaborated with Clannad and even had the time for a sideline in DJing by establishing his Gramophone Club. This summer, he’ll pen the score for a new musical adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels to be staged in Belfast by Youth Music Theatre UK.
Doors 8pm – Tickets €15
Spirit Store | George’s Quay | Dundalk | Co. Louth