Brian Moore, alias Cormac (14.9.1946 – 12.3.2011)

Those who regularly read “An Phoblacht – Republican News” will remember the little cartoons that appeared on the back of the paper. These cartoons ran on consistently from 1976 until the mid-2000s. He had another regular strip in Socialist Challenge (later Socialist Action) during the late ’70s and ’80s. And also I might mention ten full issues of “Resistance Comics”, from 1975 to 1978, which were nearly all his own work (And there was one more issue numbered 7 1/2 which were reprints of his “Notes by Cormac” strips from the aforementioned Republican News).

Some of his cartoons have been collected into books of various sizes, the earliest being “Cormac Strikes Back” from 1982. Another is “The Comic Book of MI5”, a collaboration, dealing with that secretive and downright creepy secret service. And there’s “Dog Collars”, about the clergy in Northern Ireland, Catholic and Protestant (script by “Cormac”, from the Catholic side, and Ian Knox, from the Protestant side). The most recent volume is “The Peace Process According to Cormac” from 2005.

He also turned his hand to drama. One example is the radio play “Gibraltar (and the days that followed)”, about the tragedies of 1988. In 2002 he wrote “Paddy on the Road”, a monologue about Christy Moore (no relation) with Terry O’Neill in the title role. Then came “The Session” the following year.

And then there was music. He only started to learn the guitar when he was nineteen and he was practically learning from scratch (pretty much the same way he learned cartoons and caricature). But by 1976 he was cutting records with Joe Mulheron and the Men of No Property, writing and recording contemporary rebel songs.

Among the people whose art and music influenced him were Art Spiegelman, Robert Crumb, W. Heath Robinson, Aubrey Beardsley, Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson…

He was a playwright, satirist, musician, family man, husband…

He was my father.

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4 responses to “Brian Moore, alias Cormac (14.9.1946 – 12.3.2011)

  1. Cormac – My deepest condolences on the passing of your Dad. He was a friend of mine and one of my favorite people from my almost 59 years on this planet. In 1998 I did a study during the Peace Referendum period of the ‘Walls of Belfast.’ I found Danny Devenny, Brian, Marty Lyons and Mo Chara working as a kind of collective and they very graciously agreed to take me under their wing. Your Dad spent a great number of hours explaining the politics of the Troubles to me. I taped some of our interviews and have a manuscript with pieces of our talks in it. I loved his work because it was so directly reflective of the person who created it. His artistry was pure and his integrity so deep. I put my email address here not only because it was required but also if you would like to read what I wrote about him I would be happy to share it with you. The one thing we didn’t spend enough time on was his participation in Men (People) of No Property. I am still a little unclear on which songs he wrote but I always thought we would get to that next time we talked. More than anything, though, I just wanted to tell you how much I loved him. I consider him one of the greatest teachers I ever had although he would dismiss that characterization of our conversations and say ‘we were just having a yarn.’ May he rest in peace.

    • Cormac – Thanks for the response. Do you know if your Dad wrote ‘The Freedom Fighter’ about Joe McCann? I know he sang it with Men of No Property and with Cruncher but I have seen it credited to other writers. It is a great song. One of your Dad’s songs that I loved was the Michael Collins song ‘Hang Out Your Brightest Colors.’ Brian could write so well without losing the complexity of an issue. I’m still amazed that it’s so hard to find information about Men of No Property. What they did was amazing in the context of its time. There are very few items from that era that so directly reflect what was going on. Do you know anyone who could provide information on the group? Anyway, don’t feel any pressure to respond. I really did write to you to offer my deep condolences and don’t want you to feel like I’m pumping you for information. I hope you are well

  2. I can give you this little snippet of information in regard to the “People of No Property” records. My father’s pen name on these records was “Whoriskey” and he sang the lead vocal on the tracks penned by him. Joe Mulheron’s alias was “McIlvogue”.

    Thank you for the kind words about my late father.

  3. Yes, my father did compose “The Freedom Fighter”. I found this out from my mother. I didn’t take too much notice of my father’s musical work – my tastes in music were quite different to his. And he hardly ever had his own records playing in the house. Understandable, really. If I were a singer, I don’t think I’d want to hear my own voice blaring back at me. too much notice of my father’s musical work – my tastes in music were quite different to his. And he hardly ever had his own records playing in the house. Understandable, really. If I were a singer, I don’t think I’d want to hear my own voice blaring back at me.

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