Visual Thinker - head opt2
Types of Potato grown in Ireland


I find myself throwing the following query into conversation, waiting to pounce on my victim’s response. It is the Irish Inquisition after all...

What’s your favourite carb?

Ancient Grains?! Who even are you? Aren’t they a bit foosty anyway?

Of course the answer I was looking for was Potatoes, Spuds, Pertas, Prátaí, Taytos...
I could go on. And indeed I did go on. I wrote a whole Zine all about it. Why? And well you might ask.

The reason is this: I’ve only recently come to realise how political potatoes are. Just have a look at some of their names and you’ll see what I mean. I asked my uncle (an Ulster farmer) which of these varieties he recognised, hoping he’d be tickled by my humorous drawings. With a straight face, he went through them one-by-one telling me whether he had planted/tasted/heard of them. Growing potatoes is a serious business.
Raleigh and the big fat potato

Tubers and Turmoil

When I were a lad - a young gulpin, a wee fella - we ate potatoes pretty much every day. Now that I’m a fully grown Dad with not-so-wee fellas of my own in the Big Smoke (London) I get to eat potatoes roughly once a week.

This makes me sad.

Still, one must make sacrifices for one’s family. My family do actually like potatoes - they just don't seem to want to eat them every day. To me this seems somewhat disloyal, but I try not to go on about it (too much…).
As part of growing up intertwined with the tastiest tuber in Ulster, the Northern end of Ireland, I somehow grew up having absorbed the following myth: that the great potato famine (The Great Hunger - an Gorta Mór) - one of the most cataclysmic events in Ireland - didn't really happen in the North.

So with the help of the internet, the Public Records Office, and the Irish library in London, I went on a Zine-creating journey to find out...

SPOILER: The population of Ulster has yet to recover, 175 years later.

"Hello Potato" Zine by Bryan Mathers

Potato Propaganda

If 26 pages of full-colour potato propaganda is your sort of thing - or if you have some Ulster/Irish heritage lurking in your ancestry, you might wish to snaffle a copy of this tasty new Zine before they are all gobbled up.
May your path rise to meet you,
and your progress never stutter,
may your taytos always be a home
to half-melted Irish butter...


bryan in the canon


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