Why Donald Trump is the undisputed king of all media

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or Cpac, on Thursday, Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, declared that “every day it will be a fight”. His blog’s name reflects the feelings of many people around the world who wake up every day to yet more stories of norms being broken and blatant lies being told, along with extraordinary allegations that the new American presidency has been compromised by a hostile foreign power. The media commentator Michael Wolff derided the New York Times for its one-sided approach to the president. Within four weeks Kiser’s chronicle of “the daily shock and awe in Trump’s America” had more than 48,000 newsletter subscribers and is now getting more than 2.5 million pageviews a month. Every new story prompts outrage, which puts the stories higher in your feed, which prompts more coverage, which encourages more talk, and on and on. But experience suggests that the dialling down is temporary. “More crucially, with the notable exception of the travel ban, almost none of these orders have mandated much action or clear change of current regulations,” he says. The Post’s revelation that Trump had been informed of the facts weeks previously precipitated the final firing. His criticism does highlight a potential problem for newspapers such as the Times when it takes unprecedented editorial decisions such as using the word “lie” to describe a presidential statement. The context is rarely reassuring. “There is no journalism in between.” Wolff criticised the newspaper for its analysis of tensions that have emerged in the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal, where reporters have complained of stories being toned down, citing judgment-neutral headlines such as “Trump seeks election fraud probe”. He is the Harambe of politics, the undisputed king of all media.” The illusion of a presidency In the 36 days since his inauguration the president has, among other things, sparked outrage and mass demonstrations with a ban on travellers from Muslim-majority countries, fired his acting attorney general for refusing to defend the ban and questioned the authority of the federal judges who blocked the policy as unconstitutional. But social signals – likes, retweets and more – are amplifying it. “The news cycle begins at sunrise, as groggy reporters hear the ping of a presidential tweet, and ends sometime in the overnight hours, as newspaper editors tear up planned front pages scrambled by the latest revelation from Washington. A long time ago, around the …

The bamboo ceiling: Hollywood’s problem with Asian actors

Has there ever been an otherwise great film dragged down so severely by one brutal flaw? One is Ben Kingsley, whose father was of Gujarati Indian ancestry. But of seemingly little interest to the industry is its eternal problems with the depictions of Asians and Asian-Americans. That argument doesn’t carry much force. If there’s any justice in Hollywood their lasting legacy will be the #OscarsSoWhite movement. Katharine Hepburn in Dragon Seed, in 1944, and Marlon Brando in The Teahouse of the August Moon, in 1956, are just two of the culprits. But potential roles are still being snatched away. Studios want bankable stars, right? Let’s go back five decades, to Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Hollywood has a sordid history of white actors playing east Asians by performing in offensive yellowface. Plenty needs to change before we see them regularly collect gongs. They don’t get to star as the valiant hero or romantic lead. The star plays a western mercenary who gets caught up in a battle between Chinese warriors and supernatural forces. Yet Asian actors make up only 1 per cent of Hollywood’s leading roles– whose variety is dubious. Little will change as long as Hollywood continues to lock them out. #OscarsSoWhite wasn’t about Smith being passed over for a nomination; it was about extra obstacles people of colour face trying to make it to the ceremony. And without the roles to establish them, how are Asian actors supposed to grow into commercially viable stars? The upcoming Ghost in the Shell is based on the manga series of the same name. A lack of diversity is often pinned on economic reasons. He won a best-actor Oscar for Gandhi, in 1982. Terrible stereotyping, a lack of parts for Asian actors, the whitewashing of roles and a drought of Asian-American-themed films have been problems for as long as moving pictures have been captured on celluloid. The Revenant star laid waste to one of the internet’s longest-running movie memes by finally collecting the Oscar he’d long sought for his mantelpiece. It’s an ugly thing that just 16 years after American atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, this depiction dehumanised Japanese people for US audiences. The absence of actors of colour from the 20 acting nominees for the second year running sparked a boycott. Reports of the movement paid lip service to the racial imbalance but seldom covered its causes. Its protagonist, Maj Motoko …

Ray Davies: My new question to people is, do you know who you really are

We are in a Liverpool hotel lounge room, a short walk from the city’s Royal Court Theatre, where later that night, Davies’s latest foray into long-form story ideas, Sunny Afternoon, makes its Liverpudlian debut. “I think I’ve always stayed away from politicising music, but I couldn’t help writing about the society I lived in at any given time. It was a big deal for me to actually complete a song without faltering; the confidence came later, after the hit singles, but initially I was über shy.” Expression through song – which, he says with a sly grin, “is seemingly, a simple art form”– really helped him. It is also no surprise that Davies sees no point in glossing over some of his less than charming characteristics. The conceptualisation of pop music was evolving quickly then, and it’s fair to say that by the end of the 1960s, pop singles culture was quickly being replaced by concept-driven pop music.” The Kinks in the 1960s heyday: Ray Davies (centre) with Mick Avory, Dave Davies and Pete Quaife Photograph: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis/Getty Image The idea behind the musical, he says, references The Rake’s Progress, an octet of narrative paintings by the 18th century British artist William Hogarth. After the first workshop, I spoke to the actors doing the parts, and I said they were never to think about me, just to be the character they were there to portray.” Sociopolitical observations Between such portrayals and throughout the show (with almost 30 songs performed), what is most radiantly highlighted is the range of classic pop music underpinned by keen sociopolitical observations. The big lure to us eventually signing to a major label such as RCA was to put out albums like 1971’s Muswell Hillbillies; we found record labels that were willing to help and to sustain and to believe in the content of the albums. Photograph: Kevin Cummins It’s no surprise that during its 2015 run at London’s West End (at the Harold Pinter Theatre), Sunny Afternoon won four Laurence Olivier awards. ADVERTISEMENT “When I was coming up with ideas for something like this, I was thinking about The Kinks’ story, and it’s a strange one – the kinds of things we gave away to become what we turned out to be, all of it wrapped up in not knowing what or who we were. “It’s interesting that many of the younger people, younger musicians, I’ve …

Poetry: An Isotope and Ground Truth

                         Soon the heart weakly glows sacred as in any pious lithograph, radiating a wounded shape onto the slowly orbiting film of measured fact. Loss is a dear salt like any other, but its half-life remains unknown. Nights of it. Muted, blows of a pile-driver reach up from the diggings for the new North Wing.                 Poor Tom takes us by the hand to the brown of our hill. The pickup speared, the limb crack’d, our dog crushed, and our bedding shredded across raked fields.                                                        I recalled this room as underground, brick-walled, but truth took it two storeys up, where I wait as the tincture of thallium chloride and its half-life answers the beating heart’s hunger for potassium. AN ISOTOPE                wheat that springeth green                       – An Easter Carol Kindly, they help you lie dead still in your clothes, left arm above the head in the antique posture of grief. Thomas Dillon Redshaw’s poems have appeared in publications in Ireland and the US since the 1960s. The Weather Channel animating in smears and commas of florid color streams of digital echo, Doppler signatures of debris and states in disarray all endlessly explained in running duets of expertise sounded and shown above the thin line typing out names of good Christian towns that lie splintered and prone aside flooded highways. His new collection, Mortal, will be published by Brighthorse Books next month. GROUND TRUTH Days of it.

From the archive: Alternative energy and tilting at windmills

And that’s on a good day. Back in 1981, the notion of wind energy would have been widely regarded in Ireland as just so much hot air. In the background, three young fellas have scrambled on to a scaffolding to check up on their DIY windmill. You can see why our photographer might not have been convinced by what he found at the grandly-named Alternative Energy Camp in Ballsbridge. ‘Windmills turned lazily on the lawns of the RDS Simmonscourt Pavilion,” reads the caption on this image from the summer of 1981. The windmills in the foreground are becalmed, though one is pegged down lest it take off into the skies while the other has been planted into a couple of breeze blocks. Hands on hips, he gazes resolutely at the ground while the lady with the pageboy hair – clutch bag gripped to her side, hands going 10 to the dozen – sings to him from some eco-tastic hymn sheet or other. More than three decades later, wind power accounts for just 4 per cent of worldwide electricity usage. The bowler-hatted gentleman looks as if he, too, might take some convincing. One sports an impressive Afro while the other has gone for more of a Donatello look (the painter, not the ninja turtle). Which, to our more knowing 21st-century eyes, looks more like an actual source of alternative energy and less like the sort of thing kids stick on top of sandcastles at the seaside. Not so much as a whisper of wind is in evidence. Did they get out of that Starsky and Hutch-style car, brush off their skinny jeans and stroll towards the action, in the hope that “alternative energy” might just have something to do with rock music? It adds, in a bemused sort of way, that wind was being explored as an alternative fuel, “instead of using coal and/or turf”. The real joy of the photo, however, is the two dudes at the centre of the shot. ADVERTISEMENT If so, they were to be disappointed As, indeed, are we all. Arminta Wallace

In a Word . . . Football

It ended in a draw as I lay down and wept. But whatever the hysterical histrionics of overpaid soccer players, the greatest crime of that game is its sheer, bloody boring dumbness. Except for soccer. As for the king of field games – hurling – it is the Coliseum, the Louvre Museum, a melody from a symphony by Strauss, by comparison. And please don’t tell me this is a class thing. Even when referees are blatantly wrong, or a Television Match Official decides an obvious try is no such thing, or when a deliberate spear tackle is missed. First historical records are from around 1400, though ball-kicking games date back to the armies of Rome Even then I always bring along a good book to help me through the boring bits – usually most of the 90 minutes. And for 90 minutes! Compared even to a bad Gaelic match, soccer is about as exciting as watching participants in Operation Transformation on a treadmill. Not accounting for all the dives, mock-heroic “fatalities”, endless haggling with referees, and blow-me-down-like-a-leaf dramatic collapses as an opponent comes within five metres. Though I did see one Gaelic football game last year which made me feel, on the whole, I would have preferred to watch soccer. That was the first Connacht final between Roscommon and Galway in Salthill’s Pearse stadium as the Atlantic took up temporary residence there, assisted by a gale. Galway won the replay but I didn’t care. The only soccer I will watch voluntarily is edited television highlights or an international involving Ireland. Is there a more boring game on earth? Watching sport has to be one of the great joys in life for people beyond a certain age. Discipline rules. Football, from Middle English fut ball, Old English fot beal. It is not a class thing in the Welsh valleys, or at Thomond Park, or among All Black Kiwis, even in France. If it was a soccer match there would be a raucous riot on the pitch at any of those incidents. Repeatedly. ADVERTISEMENT No. Players assume position, and the game goes on. By contrast it is simply amazing how disciplined rugby players are in what can be some brutally physical games. Worse than the weather was the defensive play by both teams – each determined not to lose, neither seemingly wanting to win.

Scorsese ‘surprised and moved’ when told of Trinity College honour

His most recent film, Silence, competes for a best cinematography Academy Award on Sunday evening. “Hey, if a film is made in 1978 and people say they like it, then it has to have some staying power. Somebody still has to do the work.” When I saw the cheering for Bin Laden I thought: we have created thousands and thousands of Travis Bickles. He remembered being told that no studio would finance a film so apparently nihilistic as Taxi Driver.  “How can I make films in an industry that needs a certain kind of product?” he said. Heh, heh!” ADVERTISEMENT Today Scorsese will receive the John Ford Award from President Michael D Higgins at an event hosted by the Irish Film and Television Academy. “I’ve been working for 45 years through all these metamorphoses of Hollywood. “Well, it is fun to go to a film festival and have your photo taken,” he laughed. When Robert De Niro, who ended up playing Bickle, won an Oscar for The Godfather Part II the financiers budged. He was particularly interesting on the legacy of Travis Bickle, the disturbed protagonist of his groundbreaking film Taxi Driver. One of the world’s most acclaimed film directors, Martin Scorsese, said he was both “surprised and moved” on learning he would receive a gold medal from Trinity College’s philosophical society. “But then it’s hard to get work done. “And then the Iraq invasion. Scorsese finally won an Oscar in 2007 for The Departed. “When the attack occurred on September 11th, I knew this was going to be a never-ending situation,” he said. But I’ve always been lucky to find somebody I can work with.” Asked if he watched his old films, he said there were films he made a during a difficult time that he would rather not see again. Taxi Driver really has a kind of terrible resonance.” Oscar win Born and raised in New York City, Scorsese achieved fame in the mid-1970s with films such as Taxi Driver, Mean Streets and Alice Doesn’t Live Here Any More. With admirable positivity, Scorsese pondered the many battles he has had with financiers and studios down through the decades. Scorsese last night touched upon his influences, his ambitions and his concerns about contemporary politics, in an articulate and energetic interview before an appreciative audience at the college’s Examination Hall. I felt something is wrong. Scorsese addressed the increasing dominance …

Oscars 2017: This year’s best picture nominees, from grand to great

A “crowd pleaser” that has not been seen by sufficiently large crowds. ARRIVAL (Denis Villeneuve) Villeneuve’s alien visitation drama is at home to one or two clichés of the genre. Can it win anything? Picture, director, actress and score are in the bag. This is most unfair. Starring Chris Pine and Ben Foster as two half-competent desperadoes in West Texas, Hell or High Water debuted in Cannes to warm reviews and no great expectations of awards. The film bravely refuses to accommodate traditional arcs. Jenkins is an equally strong favourite for best adapted screenplay. Box office: $166 million (third) 6. Viola has best supporting actress in the bag. Manchester by the Sea stars Casey Affleck in the compelling story of a man failing to process his own guilt and grief. A remarkable clash of genres in one film: part historical drama, part buddy flick, part inspirational fable. The film is not a masterpiece for the ages, but it remains a beautiful experiment that – like the films of Jacques Demy – uses its stars’ limited singing skills to fragile advantage. Box office: $60 million (sixth) 2. His comeback is now complete. Probably not. An original film musical hasn’t won here since 1958. Probably not. Mahershala Ali is a strong favourite for best supporting actor. HIDDEN FIGURES (Theodore Melfi) Yes, the study of three African-American women’s travails as mathematicians at NASA never engages much with the science. Viola Davis is even better as the wife who, stoical to a fault, eventually cracks at one outrage too many. There is something of Howard Hawks in this tale of men doing what they feel they have to do. MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (Kenneth Lonergan) What a long, strange journey it has been for Lonergan. Second favourite for best picture, but way behind La La Land in that race. Dev Patel is great as the adult Saroo Brierley, but the show is defiantly stolen by young Sunny Pawar as the young Saroo lost in an unforgiving city. Amy Adams is reliably excellent as the linguist whose own emotional traumas interweave with the visitors’ lessons. Can it win anything? But Moonlight probably has that in the bag. Box office: $108 million (fourth highest-grossing of the nominees) 8. Affleck is neck and neck with Denzel Washington for best actor. Can it win anything? A slim chance for editing, but that usually goes to the best picture …

Mia Gallagher happy to have book judged by its cover

I had so many ideas for this book initially it was almost overwhelming; it’s such a full and rich novel! These ideas don’t usually emerge while I’m reading, they tend to come when I’m thinking about it afterwards. Four of them featured faces while the fifth was more abstract. I feel connected with the language and the rhythms of Irish writing. Georgia was so complex, her psychological struggle interwoven with the grief in her life, I found it so compelling. I felt it worked well for this book, like pieces of a puzzle. Mia: Can you tell me about the idea of the “stripes” that became the dominant theme of the jacket we used? Anna Morrison is a UK-based freelance art director, designer and sometime illustrator. They tend to publish really exciting books by Irish authors and being Irish (from Belfast), it’s fantastic to work on books from home. It’s vast and covers many themes and characters, often going into side stories. After graduating I had to figure out a way to make some cash – London is expensive! I completed a foundation course at Leeds College of Art and that gave me an opportunity to try out different disciplines. I feel the job of a book cover designer is to translate the text to pique people’s interest to pick it up to read. annamorrison.com I love that over-saturated colour that you get with super 8 film; also, it has a kind of looking into the past, vintage photograph, memory feel. I have to read so many books in my job and it’s not often I love a book I’m working on this much, but I really did with Beautiful Pictures. The colour scheme was inspired by a chapter in the book that talked about super 8 film. Mia: This is a bit like asking a lover about their old flames – but did you borrow on previous work you’d done for this book? It attracts readers, it communicates the book’s essence. The two faces are from Shutterstock (online photolibrary). It was the only subject I enjoyed in school. I did look for a trans image, but most stock imagery is pretty straightforward unless you have a specific image in mind or have the money in the budget for a particular photographer. Designer Anna Morrison: I felt using a collage would best represent the different layers within the novel, how …

Berkeley Library: A ‘hand-crafted’ rarity of modern architecture

Apart from some Wicklow granite cladding on the exterior upper facade, the building is made entirely of concrete, mixed on site and poured into moulds of Douglas Fir wooden planks. ADVERTISEMENT TCD Librarian and College Archivist Helen Shenton with Berkeley Library staff colleague Greg Sheaf. “This large and complex building,” he enthused, “has the quality that one associates with all great architecture, as distinct from mere good buildings – a sense of mystery, a sculptural sense of having a far side, out of sight, which will be worth walking around to see.” Digitalisation has made redundant the large ledger-style catalogues, card indexes and microfilms This was, he wrote, despite the “screaming protests of functionalists”. It was built by G+T Crampton, opening its doors to students in 1967. Today, the figure is 70,000 copyright books, with another 70,000 being bought every year. Further information on Berkeley50 from tcd.ie/library/berkeley/ and also Twitter #berkeley50 “It will be filmed here and then you can watch it sitting here,” says Helen Shenton. “In some sense, they are designed around the books rather than the user,” says Ms Shenton. The Berkeley Library in Trinity College, Dublin, is one of those rarities of modern architecture – a brutalist, concrete mass with an above ground bunker feel to it, but one that was hailed from the outset and which now, 50 years after it was built, is loved by many of those who work in it every day. The performance will be watchable on smartphones. Deeper inside the building, which is full of concrete nooks, crannies and alcoves – including some solid desks and book encasements – there are large open space reading areas, atriums lit by skylights and glass-topped concrete light silos. It was designed by the Austrian-born British architect Paul Koralek, who won an international competition for the building, his first major commission, at the extraordinarily young age of 28. “It’s been described as ‘hand-crafted’” – which is partly true. It cost IR£800,000 to build – “probably about €25 million now,” says Berkeley staff member Greg Sheaf. This week saw the launch of Berkeley50, a year-long calendar of events celebrating the building and much else that is connected with it – from philosophy, law and science, to literature and innovation. In 1967, the college was taking in 35,000 such books annually. This means, in turn, that the open plan ground floor Iveagh Hall that used to …

Going on ‘Newstalk Drive’? Don’t make Sarah McInerney angry

But on other topics she really hits her stride. And her symbiotic on-air relationship with Donoghue ensures she never gets too carried away; she in turn curbs his moments of geeky idealism. “Feminism isn’t scary any more, but perhaps it should be,” he says. This cannot be said for most of her colleagues: after the departure of Colette Fitzpatrick, McInerney is the only woman on Newstalk’s roster of weekday hosts. Moncrieff proves a fine foil for Crispin’s ideas, appearing sympathetic yet remaining spritely. his mother, Nancy. She’s a spirited presence, but the affable Ashmawy seems less inspired. But the sound of two men talking with such authority about women’s bodies is uncomfortable. When Kenny asks, “Do we know anything about the attitude of women to C-sections?” he seems oblivious to the most obvious way to find out. But Kenny the authoritative interviewer is still apt to be elbowed aside by Pat the cackhanded comedian. On Tuesday she discusses the coverage of a conference on Caesarean sections. “Every time I turned on the radio I heard men discussing why women have Caesarean sections,” she says. “How amazing a situation it must be for a man to talk about these things in all his glory and his supreme confidence.” She goes on to suggest that childbirth is a “taboo subject” thanks to “the cattle-mart approach to women having babies” in Ireland. It’s understandable for someone to get worked up about politics, even if McInerney’s ire seems particularly well-honed. She complains that recycling companies are “too lazy” to separate or rinse material, and fulminates when a texter queries if she knows what waste goes in the recycling bin: “I’ve other things to be doing.” If the intensity of her irritation is surprising, it’s also entertaining – a fact not lost on Donoghue. His recent encounter with transgender opera singer Lucia Lucas was handled with sensitivity, neatly balancing the personal with the artistic. ADVERTISEMENT Nonetheless, the item draws attention to the wider issue of the scarcity of female voices on the radio. McInerney realises how comically misdirected her annoyance sounds, laughing as Donoghue undercuts her midstream with some calming music.  Such displays of self-awareness help distinguish McInerney from the rent-a-rant tendencies of colleagues such as George Hook. It’s a shame, as Kenny has been in good form recently, largely eschewing opinionated asides for informative and intriguing interviews. Tuesday also offers the spectacle of a …

Oscars 2017: Who will be the winners and the losers?

MOONLIGHT (Barry Jenkins) Since the awards jamboree began five months ago, Jenkins’s film has been the picture the critics most want to see triumph. Box office: $166 million (third) 6. But Moonlight probably has that in the bag. This is most unfair. The film bravely refuses to accommodate traditional arcs. A “crowd pleaser” that has not been seen by sufficiently large crowds. You Can Count on Me was a critical sensation in 2000. ADVERTISEMENT Can it win anything? The authorities are intolerant. I think I’d stick with hypothermia, buddy. Suggestions that it is cynical “Oscar bait” are absurd. Denzel is slight favourite for best actor. Manchester by the Sea stars Casey Affleck in the compelling story of a man failing to process his own guilt and grief. Jenkins is an equally strong favourite for best adapted screenplay. Box office: $341 million (first) 4. HIDDEN FIGURES (Theodore Melfi) Yes, the study of three African-American women’s travails as mathematicians at NASA never engages much with the science. Can it win anything? A proud assertion of the medium’s health and variety. Lonergan a slight favourite for best original screenplay. Second favourite for best picture, but way behind La La Land in that race. Can it win anything? Has a wild, outside chance of taking best original screenplay. A remarkable clash of genres in one film: part historical drama, part buddy flick, part inspirational fable. Dev Patel is great as the adult Saroo Brierley, but the show is defiantly stolen by young Sunny Pawar as the young Saroo lost in an unforgiving city. Could win one of the sound awards. Can it win anything? Can it win anything? Box office: $25 million (ninth) The new economic uncertainties rattle through every windy frame. This very particular take on masculinity carves out ground that has not previously been exposed at the Oscars. As in 2001 and The Day the Earth Stood Still, the visitors have something to teach us. Can it win anything? Ghost? His comeback is now complete. This year, nine pictures are nominated and every one of them is worth crossing the street to see. After last year’s #oscarssowhite controversy, the Academy is delighted it exists. It even has something like an interval. ARRIVAL (Denis Villeneuve) Villeneuve’s alien visitation drama is at home to one or two clichés of the genre. But such stories are worth telling and the flawless actors kick the film …

Rebel Protestants: unearthing the story of radical nationalists

I have finally started into the work. I stand in her office, overwhelmed. ADVERTISEMENT We had long had a plan that if she was unable to continue, we, her children, both academic historians, would step in and make sure her research was not wasted. My beautiful, elegant mother has become a wraith, confused and disorientated by the cancer that has silently threaded itself through her mind and body. Our father wilts visibly from age and loss. She has a hunch that there were more of them than anyone has realised. Each time, I agonise; I fear reducing her. Each time, I agonise; I fear reducing her I don’t dare ask her to what extent it is a search for self. Indeed many, particularly the women, were steadfastly conformist in their religious practice, almost as a way of balancing their radical politics; in contrast, in the north they were ostracised. It was after the Rising that this history was forgotten, with only those famous Protestants who converted to Catholicism, such as Casement and Markievicz, being remembered in popular culture, skewing the focus towards aristocrats, when, in fact, most radical “rebel Prods” were middle- or working-class. The famous Protestants who took part, such as Casement or Markievicz, were far from unusual: the book explores 45 individuals in detail. Apart from my incredibly supportive husband, there are no friends or family near in London who remember my parents; everyone is in Ireland. I still have not read the full manuscript. I leave the book aside until the baby is safely here. It reassures. “I’ll publish your book Mammy,” I promise her. From a practising Church of Ireland family, of very humble Dublin and Wicklow origins, my mother was a scholarship girl, educated through Irish in Coláiste Moibhí, the training college established by the State to produce Gaelic-speaking, nationalist teachers for Protestant primary schools. I save the manuscript files from her computer onto my memory stick and close the door. My newborn breastfeeds for hours, snuggled into me, warm and blissful, while I read and type. Within six months, he is hospitalised and dies after 10 days. It cannot remain a sacred text. It is fluently argued; it is a fresh perspective, suggesting that support for the Easter Rising at the time spanned the religious divisions in Ireland to a greater extent than previously realised: while the majority of Protestants were unionist, a significant …

Revealed: Ireland’s 19th-century US emigrants in their own words

Photograph: Corbis via Getty Images Somewhere in the region of 180,000 Irish-born men served Northern arms between the years 1861-65. They demonstrate how emigration impacted not only those who had left Ireland’s shores, but also those who remained behind. Most importantly, they allow us to hear the voices of thousands of Irish emigrants for the first time. In order to reinforce the seriousness of her situation, Eunice included the original eviction notice with her letter, sending both across the Atlantic where they still survive today. In 1869 their notorious landlord, the third Earl of Leitrim, issued the elderly couple with a notice to quit. Both these women were illiterate, like so many of Ireland’s 19th-century poor. An Irishman replies on the other side that he is satisfied with America. Thousands of letters written by Irish emigrant soldiers and sailors were submitted by applicants to prove their relationship; the vast majority have never been transcribed or published before. A life of constant childbirth had left her with a prolapsed uterus, and she also had to endure a 6-inch tumour on her neck. Though created as a result of the American Civil War, as the stories of Jane and Eunice demonstrate, these pension files allow us to examine much more than just that conflict. Jane described how she and her husband supported themselves by keeping a cow and raising a few vegetables, and by cutting and hauling prairie grass to the Chicago hay market. This is largely due to a failure in Ireland to appreciate the scale of Irish involvement in the American Civil War, as well as a historical focus which has, in the words of noted diaspora historian Prof Enda Delaney, seen our interest in the story of Irish people invariably end “with the tearful farewells at Irish ports”. Sitting down in her solicitor’s office, she burst into tears as she recounted her life story, from the day in Monaghan town in 1830 when she had wed, through to her present predicament. Daniel O’Connell admonishes Irish emigrants in the US. The only reason we can hear their voices across more than 150 years is solely due to the deaths of their sons in the American Civil War. Files can contain myriad other documents such as marriage certificates, baptismal records, employment details and service records. Her pension claim was backed up by this eviction notice from the Earl of Leitrim Jane’s …

Jericho review: A show that wrestles with all of human history

It’s futile, the show recognises, just another kind of performance, yet Malaprop’s is slyly instructive all the same: these distractions aren’t getting us anywhere, they know, and what seem like the the loose strands of Jericho’s thinking begin to tie together artfully. Before she can begin, the charming Maeve O’Mahony tries out various possible theme tunes, from urgent orchestral music to disposable eurobangers, as though the tone is also up for grabs: in an over-informed, indecisive and querulous world, do you risk more by being earnest or trivial? (These days that could be anybody.) Like an obsessive grad student, though, she finds in her topic – a performance that everyone seems to play along with – a way of seeing politics, history, life, the universe, everything. ADVERTISEMENT That, fascinatingly, is where it reaches a crescendo, in an online comment war between an alt-right troll and our social justice warrior, imagined as a giddy gladiatorial combat and adjudicated in “likes”. Ends March 4th Under Claire O’Reilly’s assured direction, the stage is busy, but not bombarded, with the jittery multi-media that makes everyday life seem like information overload. An alternative title, she admits, was Where Do You Begin?, an understandable shrug for anyone daring to address the spirit of the times, particularly when “recent and current politics”, as she lightly describes them, beg the gloomier question, Where Will it End? To later see the person doing it, a man now in possession of nuclear codes, is mind-bending. What if we just stepped out of the ring, it wonders; what if we started again? Devised by the company with Dylan Coburn Gray, Jericho has a remarkably true understanding of itself, though; even when its subject is confusion, it never seems confused. O’Mahony’s character once harboured dreams of pursuing serious journalism, but now finds herself preparing a “gas” listicle on professional wrestling for an online publication that peddles in click bait. O’Mahony makes for a refreshing performer, neither too ironic nor excessively sincere. In wrestling, the vitriol is gleefully fake, but in the ring, online, or around elections, even mock aggression can become indistinguishable from the real thing. There’s a reason Malaprop’s engaging new show can’t seem to get started – its chosen subject, picked with less restraint than most examples of lunchtime theatre, is nothing less than “the world”. In John Gunning’s precise design, it flickers with video clips, intermingling voice-overs and podcasts, …

Rebel Prods: a labour of love for my late mother

The book sets out how most Protestant radical nationalists in the south continued to be tolerated by their unionist communities. Each time, I agonise; I fear reducing her I don’t dare ask her to what extent it is a search for self. “I’ve found another one!” My mother is delighted, full of excitement, cup of tea in hand at our small kitchen table in Dublin, overloaded with notes and books. The Church of Ireland Historical Commemorations Working Group get in touch to provide crucial assistance with publication. Her archive is vast, her flickering handwriting difficult to decipher. We organise a book launch at Christ Church Cathedral in November 2016. Indeed many, particularly the women, were steadfastly conformist in their religious practice, almost as a way of balancing their radical politics; in contrast, in the north they were ostracised. George Irvine fought at the South Dublin Union where the British troops opposing him were led by Alan Ramsay, a former student at St Andrew’s College, where Irvine had taught. Ramsay was killed in the fighting and buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery, where, years later, Irvine too would be buried It is May in London. I save the manuscript files from her computer onto my memory stick and close the door. Ramsay was killed in the fighting and buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery, where, years later, Irvine too would be buried. Our warm family home of late night discussions is a place of tiptoes, a hollowing-out. Her memory goes: there are days she does not know my name. The book astonishes me. The thought of never seeing a new word written by her stuns. I have finally started into the work. It lifts some of the responsibility. My beautiful, elegant mother has become a wraith, confused and disorientated by the cancer that has silently threaded itself through her mind and body. The book brings me home. Reading it brings my mother’s voice back vividly, a reliving of all those thousands of discussions we had about her work. Expecting my first child, I will do anything to protect the pregnancy from grief. To a man and woman, everyone she knew, they all came. It has become all-consuming: for several years she has scoured archives, libraries, interviewed descendants of Protestant rebels, including Garret FitzGerald, whose rebel mother was Presbyterian. But somewhere still in her, the book echoes, like an old dream. Rebel Prods: The Forgotten Story …

Celebrity MasterChef: Samantha Mumba rumbled amid smoke, swearing and singed celeriac

#celebritymasterchefIRL— Niamh Kavanagh (@niamhkavanagh93) February 23, 2017 I never realised how much I talked to myself until I did this show! It’s a game of firsts, it seems. Restaurateur Sandy Wyer’s misgivings about Colm O’Gorman’s ambitious dish of venison fillet with pomegranate and date labneh, blackberries and a peanut crumble, proved to be well placed and the dish was universally panned. “I’ve been in restaurants where I’ve been served fish that wasn’t cooked this well.” Simon Delaney presents his dish of the day “We’re finishing on a crescendo here,” agreed food historian Máirtín Mac Con Iomaire. Gillick also passed verdict on Oisín McConville’s duck with pickled beetroot and cherry juice – juice not jus, the Armagh man insisted – revealing that he had cooked with McConville on TV “and the fella could barely boil an egg”. A hangry food critic does not a happy MasterChef kitchen make, but they had several drumming fingers on the table moments ahead of them. yours is quite a doorstop”. “I’ve never poached a haddock before, never made a crumb from garlic bread before,” said Delaney, who last week shared the revelation that he’d “never eaten a pear before”. Gill pronounced it “the dish of the day, and quite possibly the tournament so far”, the trauma of the two days perhaps momentarily leading him to believe he’d landed on the set of It’s A Knockout. Yes, being late with the goods for a table of food critics that have just described themselves as “starving” and ravenous”. “Yay” Simon Delaney might have said, banishing memories of what he dubbed celeriacgate and psyching himself up to become the darling of the Critics’ Table. “That book is going in the bin when I get home,” O’Gorman retorted. Niamh Kavanagh’s lamb dish also fell foul of the critics. But we’re on to you, Delaney. That just left Simon Delaney due for a grilling, or in this case a gentle massaging with praise, for his “refined and elegant” smoked haddock and leek risotto with garlic sourdough crumb and poached egg. Size matters, it seems, especially to former winner of the competition, David Gillick, who sized up his petite rack and observed, “ I got a bit of a raw deal … That would be the great Ottolenghi, as any keen student of the Middle Eastern maestro would know. In awe Heeding Clifford’s advice to curb his generosity and “use a …

Nialler9’s New Irish Music: Talos, Max Cooper and Callum Stewart

Last year’s solo single Parachute received over half a million plays online and Stewart will be hoping his The Dam takes him further.   Songs of the week   Talos – Odyssey In terms of sheer sonic majesty, is there any artist is Ireland making music like this? With a voice that sounds a bit like Bieber and a load of other big pop artists, Stewart already has a few years of US pop factory songwriting under his belt thanks to US producer Tre Shepard.   The Klares – Gooie The swaggering lean of the Arctic Monkeys is central to the appeal of this young Dublin band but who cares when they do such a good take on the Sheffield band. Space Dimension Controller – Exostack Seven minutes of intergalactic electronic heaven courtesy of Belfast dude Jack Hammil (no relation to his namesake that plays Luke Skywalker).   New artist of the week   Darce Explicit Bantry alt-hip-hop with big beats and an electronic focus, Darce’s Sunset EP marks the card of yet another upcoming rapper (something’s in the water and it’s called youth). Exostack harks back the producer’s debut album Welcome to Mikro-sektor-50 for R&S Records in 2013. Callum Stewart – The Dam Callum Stewart may well be the most well-connected 19-year-old singer in Ireland. See dates on www.talostalos.com. His debut album Wild Alee is out on April 21st and an Irish tour is coming. ADVERTISEMENT   Video of the week   Max Cooper & Tom Hodge – Symmetry Created by: Kevin McGloughlin Taking the title of symmetry in nature into consideration and its role in music for his visual-lead clip for Max Cooper’s Emergence A/V project, Kevin McGloughlin produced this stunning video using the ideas of transformation, reflection, rotation and distortion. This is a welcome return to the dancefloor, somewhere in space. I wouldn’t bet against it. Album of the week   Planet Parade – Mercury Michael Hopkins and Andrew Lloyd began back at the tail end of the last decade crafting indie rock but somewhere along the way progress and experience resulted in a fresh sound, and one that is evident on the duo’s welcome Planet Parade debut album. From the Balearic pop of Face To Face to the lounge soul of Begin Again to the tropical upbeat summer song of Blue Sky and the shuffling jazz of Zodiac, Mercury is the sound of band who have …

Rave on: When underground dance parties ruled Dublin

Photograph: Jay Safetyboy “It was a buried history, and I thought it was odd that nobody had ever looked at it as a scene,” says director James Redmond, a journalist and activist in his early 30s. Mixing archive footage and salvaged photographs with contemporary interviews, the documentary explores the rise of dance music from its early days in the city’s gay clubs through its commercial peak in the mid-1990s and on to the turn of the millennium. We meet in a cafe in the north inner city, a stone’s throw from the O’Connell Street area that was once ground zero for many of the clubs and communities featured in the film. I wanted to look into what that backstory might be “If you look at other cities like Berlin, London, Bristol, Manchester, Sheffield, anywhere, there’s always a backstory,” he says. Ending with the Creation raves, the burnout of that generation, or them pushing things as far as they could into the early 2000s – it just seemed like a proper pause or full stop. New generation Redmond says the idea for the documentary had been knocking around for years, with scraps of information picked up online mixing with stories he’d hear from older ravers. Few subcultures have ever been as focused on in-the-moment hedonism as 1990s rave culture. Notes on Rave in Dublin, a new documentary produced by DCTV and Rabble magazine, aims to tell the story of clubbing in the Irish capitol for the first time. He is also a member of the editorial collective around Rabble magazine, one of Dublin’s most prominent alternative magazines. It was a frantic time, with new records, new sounds and new styles every few months. “Dublin never really had one of those. I kind of wanted to look into what that backstory might be.” After conducting dozens of interviews, Redmond was drawn more and more to the early days of dance music in the city, and he realised he could tell a story that hadn’t yet been heard. It had whatever backstory a brand would choose to interject into it, like Red Bull or whatever, to suit their own marketing purposes. The very elements that made the first explosion of club culture in Europe such a phenomenon also contribute to the difficulty in talking about it now. “It was a pretty ready-made narrative of a generation. Bassbin Club. Memories are hazy. Venues are …

Ruth McGill and Peter Daly to host Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards

The Special Tribute Award has already been announced, and this year it is being given to Jane Daly and Siobhán Bourke for their work at the Irish Theatre Institute. The awards are giving out over 15 categories and celebrated at a gala ceremony. The judges for 2017 are: Catriona Crowe, arts broadcaster and former head of Special Projects at the National Archives; Paul Shields, a journalist and producer with RTÉ; and Ella Daly, general manager of Dublin Youth Theatre, who is continuing her role as judge from 2016. Ruth McGill and Peter Daly are to host this year’s The Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards. The event is open to the public and tickets are now on sale at nch.ie. This year is the 20th anniversary of the awards. Peter Daly is currently in Conor McPherson’s This Lime Tree Bower, which is on tour nationally. The panel of judges for this year has also been announced. The event takes place on Sunday, March 5th at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. Ruth McGill is currently touring with the Performance Corporation’s operatic take of James Joyce’s The Dead. The Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards celebrates the best performances and productions in Irish theatre.