No chance of Irish EU exit after UK departure, says Bertie Ahern

“We’re not going to do it now, tomorrow or in the future.” Brexit: What is article 50 and why does it matter? “Sometimes we are mad in Ireland, but we’re not that mad to leave the European Union,” he said. Moreover, he did not consider an Irish exit from the union likely following the United Kingdom’s departure. Mr Ahern said the impact of Brexit on the State would be “enormous”. EU leaders set for Brexit negotiations if May gets go-ahead Brexit could wipe €4bn off Spanish GDP, internal report shows Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said the Republic would not be so rash as to leave the the European Union. Gallery: Britain’s Brexit Mr Ahern also said he expected the UK government to honour its financial obligations and pay the increasingly contentious €60bn EU exit bill. “The whole Border issue” is “a nightmare for us”. I don’t know where that’s going to end up. The former taoiseach argued that the Republic’s two main concerns about Brexit are the damage to the food sector and the issue of the Border. But it is a big worry,” he said. Mr Ahern noted the gravity of the Border problem for Ireland. “The Border between North and South, between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, becomes the natural border between UK and EU. In an interview on Sky News’s All Out Politics on Friday, Mr Ahern also said the possibility of a united Ireland as a consequence of Brexit was unlikely. “I am a person who would love to see a united Ireland someday, but it’s not going to happen as part of these discussions,” he said.

RTÉ hopes to hit right Eurovision note with ‘Dying To Try’

ADVERTISEMENT Murray’s co-writer, Grammy-award nominated Jörgen Elofsson, has been composing music for international artists for more than 15 years. The song and the singer are… There’s no guarantees that love will work out, but it’s always worth trying.” Emotional The Tuam native has high hopes for Dying to Try as he revealed his “mam teared up the first time she heard it – so that was a good start! a perfect combination for this year’s Eurovision in Kiev. “I chose Brendan Murray because he is an amazing singer and his voice is so unique; I’ve never heard anyone like him before. He has penned songs for Westlife, Geri Halliwell, Celine Dion, Il Divo, Paloma Faith and Leona Lewis and UK and American Pop Idol winners. The ballad was co-written by Swedish songwriter Jörgen Elofsson and British songwriter James Newman. Ireland hasn’t won Eurovision since 1996 which is the same year that Brendan was born. So perhaps that’s a lucky omen,” said the impresario. The national broadcaster has revealed the song that will carry Ireland’s hopes at this year’s Eurovision contest. It was chosen from more than 320 entries by a judging panel of six industry professionals and RTÉ also selected Murray as singer. Murray said he was “proud and honoured” to have been chosen to represent Ireland. Singer and musician Brendan Murray (20) will perform Dying To Try in in Ukraine’s capital Kiev this May. The song builds slowly to a big key change, which is great for me and allows me to showcase my vocal range.” His mentor and former band manager Louis Walsh said the ballad stood out from the numerous entries from songwriters worldwide. Singer Niamh Kavanagh fears for voice over thyroid surgery A tale of two presidents: Tracing Michael Flatley’s steps from Mary Robinson to Trump Time to call a halt to embarrassing ‘Ireland’s Call’ The Eurovision hopeful hails from Tuam, Co Galway, and was a member of the boy band Hometown who were managed by Louis Walsh before splitting last year. “I can’t wait to get out there, fly the Irish flag and perform on the Eurovision stage.” He said Dying to Try is a love song and power ballad: “It’s about taking a leap of faith, putting your trust in someone else.

RTÉ’s longwave radio service gets a short reprieve

The broadcast will be transmitted via a chain of small networks which cover the main urban centres in the UK. I’m confident we have… “I have committed to making a contribution to this via the Government of Ireland Emigrant Support Programme,” he said. In advance of that closure, RTÉ will launch a replacement service on DAB+, an enhanced form of digital radio. But the broadcaster’s contention that its channels could be accessed easily via the internet or online providers was disputed by campaigners, who cited research showing that many elderly people were unable to access such services. It carries Radio 1 on the longwave 252kHz frequency which extends into the island of Britain. This was subsequently deferred to 2017. ADVERTISEMENT Details of the new service are unclear, but it is likely to include a limited amount of targeted programming commissioned specifically for audiences in Britain and will be subject to regulatory approval there. The national broadcaster will extend the service until 2019 and then introduce a replacement using an enhanced form of digital radio in a shift from its previous position. the goodwill to make a success of it for audiences.” RTÉ Radio 1 will continue to be available in the UK on the RTÉ Radio player, Sky, FreeSat, Virgin TV and other services. “The research we funded on this issue has made clear that RTÉ radio is a fantastic resource for Irish people in Britain.” The broadcaster’s director-general, Dee Forbes, said longwave as a technology is no longer viable in the long term. RTÉ has agreed to change its plans to discontinue its longwave radio service following protests from representatives of the Irish community in Britain. “It is crucial that we… In order to access DAB+, most listeners will need to purchase new sets which typically range upwards from £30 in the UK. The additional programming will have a “very modest budget” of about €50,000, according to a spokesperson. RTÉ estimates the transmission cost will be approximately one-fifth of the present €250,000 per annum. In September 2014, RTÉ announced the imminent closure of the service. evolve a replacement service and that RTÉ plays its part in supporting evolving technologies. Campaigners against the move argued it would further isolate elderly Irish people in Britain who relied on radio to keep in touch with Irish affairs. Consultative group On Friday a consultative group comprising RTÉ, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the …

In Graceland: hope and history in Michael Collins’ fiction

That’s where modern philosophy got it all wrong.’ Strait’s lifestyle of simple help to all kinds, and his dream project of retrieving, in an enduring physical display, the biographies of people who have passed away unnoticed in a local country hospital, discloses a ‘glint of light,’ ‘a communion of people gathered below.’ ADVERTISEMENT Norman reacts perceptively to all this, in an age when ‘there were no miracles anymore’: ‘Thomas was talking, in what were tongues of fire, but, when Norman listened, it came out as something ordinary.’ This sense for the ordinary, in all its brilliant detail and variety, is the ultimate redeeming feature in this book about the bleak houses of our time. The Death of all Things Seen by Michael Collins was released in paperback on March 9th by Head of Zeus Although Collins doesn’t hide his sympathy with the view that this most recent crisis is, in large part, a repetition of earlier downturns, such as the Reagan era scandals and the Depression, he is also very good at illustrating concrete ways in which, by our time, the denaturalisation of human relations has taken alienation to an extreme new level. Their growing appreciation of the third problem, the fundamental limits of the human situation (the novel’s epigraph begins with Hemingway’s words, ‘the world breaks everyone’), allows us to see how, despite the horrific peculiarities of our late modern situation, it is absurd to imagine that a solution lies in some kind of nostalgic escape to a pre-modern world. Collins’ international perspective gives his work a new edge in this exalted company, even while his ear for contemporary American vernacular – especially in the frequently humiliating context of a family automobile trip – is nothing less than the best While one circle of characters is involved in an inspiring but ultimately doomed flight to the wilds of Canada (a ‘lifeline’ in the Vietnam era, with an immensity that ‘set human existence against a greater presence,’ but also a poisoned environment that reveals the limits of attempts to return to nature), the other main group of Chicagoans survive by eventually heading southward and encountering surprising epiphanies (in forsaken hospitals of rural Illinois, abandoned mines of Appalachia, tacky Florida beachfronts) that temper the depression and failed relations haunting them. I cannot begin to do justice here to the impressive literary skills that this well-constructed novel manifests in dealing with these …

Digital fails to kill RTÉ radio longwave star for Irish in Britain

Emigrants Minister of State for the Diaspora Joe McHugh welcomed the recommendations. They cited research showing that many elderly people were unable to access such services. Closure In advance of that closure, RTÉ will launch a replacement service on DAB+, an enhanced form of digital radio. the goodwill to make a success of it for audiences.” RTÉ Radio 1 will continue to be available in the UK on the RTÉ Radio player, Sky, FreeSat, Virgin TV and other services. I’m confident we have… The broadcast will be transmitted via a chain of small networks which cover the main urban centres. Elderly While the broadcaster argued that its channels could be accessed easily via the internet or online providers, the campaigners rejected this. “The research we funded on this issue has made clear that RTÉ radio is a fantastic resource for Irish people in Britain.” The broadcaster’s director general, Dee Forbes, said longwave as a technology is no longer viable in the long term. RTÉ has agreed to change its plans to discontinue its longwave radio service following protests from representatives of the Irish community in Britain. “It is crucial that we… ADVERTISEMENT “I have committed to making a contribution to this via the Government of Ireland Emigrant Support Programme,” he said. It carries Radio 1 on the longwave 252kHz frequency which extends into the island of Britain. Details of the new service are unclear, but it is likely to include a limited amount of targeted programming commissioned specifically for audiences in Britain and will be subject to regulatory approval there. In order to access DAB+, most listeners will need to purchase new sets which typically range upwards from £30 in the UK. Campaigners against the move argued it would further isolate elderly Irish people in the Britain who relied on radio to keep in touch with Irish affairs. evolve a replacement service and that RTÉ plays its part in supporting evolving technologies. This was subsequently deferred to 2017. The national broadcaster will extend the service until 2019 and then introduce a replacement using an enhanced form of digital radio in a shift from its previous position, In September 2014, RTÉ announced the imminent closure of the service. RTÉ estimates the transmission cost will be approximately one-fifth of the present €250,000 per annum. Join the new Irish Times Abroad Network Strike4Repeal protests: in quotes and pictures Ticket to cook: Irish chefs …

The otter side of the story – the fishy tale of today’s Irish Times front page photo

I assumed if it appeared at all it was going to be in some inner page on a nature theme. I opened the Flickr app and showed him the pic. Looking back I now think it is possible that the otter steered the trout into this channel as a place of no escape. I was standing on the bridge last Thursday (March 2nd) and looking downriver when I spotted this otter heading towards me. He was astounded by the size of the trout which he described as a “good two-pounder”. I was always a keen photographer and decided to combine my love of photography with my new walking regime. I moved to the other side of the bridge and saw it swim into a channel which ended in a “dead end” – that is it ended in short stretch of dry land. When I looked at the screen to review the photos I thought I saw something in its mouth but was unsure, so I hurried back the apartment and loaded the photos on to the laptop. Knowing the otter would have to emerge from the water at the end of the channel, I ran – well jogged, my cardiologist would be pleased to hear – the 40 yards along the bank to a spot adjacent to the channel’s end. I hadn’t got time to get a photo before it disappeared under the bridge below me. ‘Walk, walk, walk.! And so I did. I went down to the local newsagents and could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the stack of Irish Times with my photo holding pride of place. It’s the type of photo that could make the front page’. The following day, while on my usual walk, I met Richard Kelly a good friend of mine and a keen fisherman. When I woke this morning, I saw many messages on my mobile – one from a good friend congratulating me on making the FRONT PAGE! You can stand there and watch the birds – blackcaps, chiffchaffs, bullfinches – perched high up on the adjacent trees. It is the Packhorse Bridge. Open-heart surgery resulted and on my subsequent check-up visits to Dr McCreery he had one mantra. Packhorse Bridge is a footbridge and is regarded by historians as probably the oldest surviving bridge in Dublin dating back to the mid 1500s. Weather permitting, each day, I head out …

Ally Bunbury’s muse houses

I am lucky that these houses bring back lovely memories to me, and so dipping into the somewhat luxurious lives of my characters and then returning to my own life has been a happy thing. It also made it so much easier to envision Sofia Tamper, a Hollywood vixen, and her coterie in the absurdly upmarket hotels and bars where their lives play out. Or they would drink wine on a terrace, beholding cattle grazing or dogs chasing rabbits across a field, just as I had seen. I began writing it in a pretty apartment in Paris, just a breath away from the Eiffel Tower, and I quickly realised how surroundings, both past and present, could dictate the movement of a story. Writing from the dining room at Bishopscourt, I’d look out over a patchwork quilt of drumlins that roll towards the horizon and, hearing my own children bounding up flights of stairs like I used to do in my childhood, it enticed me to lead my characters on a journey into their own past Bishopscourt, Co Monaghan, Ally’s family home, was built as a rectory in the early 19th century. Photograph: Turtle Bunbury I was brought up in a large, chilly and much loved house called Bishopscourt in Co Monaghan. I would think of a drawing room I was so familiar with, imagining my characters on a deep sofa during the cocktail hour, logs crackling on the fire as they sipped and discussed the dramas in their lives. People associated with the house include Charles II, the founder of Clones Lace, Barry McGuigan and the tennis ace Cecil Parke. The story takes place in Paris, London, Scotland, Ireland and LA, and wherever I found myself on my travels, I would write, absorbing the bricks and mortar around me. Sometimes my characters would wake up in a bed I had once slept in, and then saunter downstairs for breakfast and I could practically hear the bacon sizzling as I wrote. The castle perches on a peninsula overlooking Clew Bay, with uninterrupted views of Croagh Patrick. Family dinner parties around a very large dining room table were a highlight, along with swimming in icy temperatures at the height of summer Rosturk Castle, where my family and I summered for many years, also proved something of a muse. Anna Rose was brought up in a rambling, chalky yellow Georgian house in Ireland, a …

Nialler9’s New Irish Music: Laoise, Krystal Klear, Cider Wasps and more

It’s the B-side of Danceteria, out now on vinyl and digitally next Friday. Cleanly produced by Rob Kirwan (Hozier), the foursome deliver a confident 11-track guitar album. SONGS OF THE WEEK Abovedat – Better Experienced Cork producer and DJ Stevie G has been mentoring Ian Ring (formerly of Young Wonder) for years already so their collaboration to create danceable pop is a fruitful one. The voice of James Smith is supple and expressive yet will be a dealbreaker for some and when things quieten down they recall another Kirwan-produced band Little Green Cars. No-one protests and pretty soon, everyone has been disappeared, leaving the dictator with the best seat in the house. There’s a message there somewhere. One to watch for sure. The highlights are the rumbling bursts of energy on Battle, Torrents and the album’s pop moment Hidden. NEW ARTIST OF THE WEEK Paul Sheridan Evergreen, the debut EP from Dublin singer-songwriter Paul Sheridan features four lilting folk-leaning songs and atmospheric arrangements. Blur is reminscent of Gavin James at his most pleasing, Heartbreak has bright guitar work and a largely drum-free backing that recalls Bon Iver and Hopeless Love has majestic orchestral lifts at its core. Cider Wasps – Hummingbird Dungarvan four-piece Cider Wasps formed in 2013 by brothers Danny and Tommy Dunford along with Stephen Keating and Colin Drummey. A followup EP Ethereal and Hummingbird is indicative of their indie-pop style that takes inspiration from Biffy Clyro and Kings Of Leon. The band are on an Irish tour next week that takes in Dublin, Waterford, Limerick, Galway, Cork and Tramore. Better is Abovedat’s third single, a Disclosure-esque sleek electronic R&B song. Despite that fact , Born Brief is an assured example of the genre.   Laoise – Halfway After grabbing 177,000 plays for her debut track YOU, Galway singer Laoise dropped the Seán Behan-produced smooth London Grammar-esque brooding pop of Halfway with touches of jazz and soul. A debut EP in 2015 garnered them some radio play and a slot at last year’s Indiependence gave them a thirst. The song addresses a time Laoise “ compromised my happiness for other people and their excessive expectations.” Krystal Klear – Keith Haring Taking inspiration from the era of the inclusive ‘80s NYC club scene and the graffiti artist of the title, Dec Lennon produces this eighties dancefloor beaut, with disco, funk and house in its DNA. ALBUM OF THE WEEK Gypsies …

Dante, Oughtmama and the Bee Gees

The kinds of elliptical narratives explored in the first three sections of the book have to do with characters in states of crisis, implosion, transition. The sense of urgency in the title seemed appropriate for the book as a whole. The title of the book comes from a large drawing by Timothy Emlyn Jones titled I gotta get a message to you depicting crumpled pages, and that title in turn comes from the Bee Gees’ 1968 hit of the same name. I have survived long enough to enjoy the daily traipse up Abbey Hill and the Witch’s Bite here in Oughtmama, with our hound, Dante, bounding energetically towards the highest elevations. There is that combination of a registered and observed world vibrating with a metaphorical or symbolic encoding of it. There is also a poem on Zinedine Zidane called Zizou’s Reflections on Reality, which is a response to the video work of Phillipe Parreno and Douglas Gordon. The 1,500 poems, which were haikus and senryus, were edited down to 500 or so. When I was 14 I was infatuated with the idea of the poet as maudit – that we must suffer determinedly to forge or disclose the deepest truths – as Anthony Cronin noted in his sideways glance to Baudelaire via Mangan. The book of poems following on from The Interior Act was In Daily Accord (Salmon Poetry), which was the culmination of a daily writing project conducted over 15 months. I love the object status of the book and it is important to me that gotta get a message to you is a beautiful book, aside from dovetailing nicely with an earlier collection, On route to Leameneh (Raven Arts Press) , for which the great Irish painter, Paddy Graham, did a set of extraordinary illustrations. The third section of the book is realities, which looks at the body’s decline, and specifically at my mother’s debility due to Parkinson’s. The final section of that book was called The Xavier Poems and were the utterances of an alter self. ADVERTISEMENT The works of art which have provided the platform for the elaboration of narratives, many of which are reproduced in the book, are by old friends and colleagues, such as Hazel Walker, Liadin Cooke, Tom Molloy, Maria Kerin, Tim Jones, and Aine Phillips. Inevitably there were characters who moved into and out of focus over the course of that period, …

The otter side of the story – fishy tale of today’s Irish Times front page photo

It is The Packhorse Bridge. In 2014 aged 61 and during a random check-up I was diagnosed with a faulty mitral valve and was sent to Dr Charles McCreery, cardiologist in Blackrock Clinic, Dublin. Open heart surgery resulted and on my subsequent check-up visits to Dr McCreery he has one mantra. He was astounded by the size of the trout which he described as a ‘good two-pounder’. Some days later I had a call from the Irish Times picture editor Frank Miller, he seemed impressed by the photo and I think just wanted to check its bona fides and make sure there had been no photoshopping involved. When I woke this morning, I saw many messages on my mobile- one from a good friend congratulating me on making the FRONT PAGE! I assumed if it appeared at all it was going to be in some inner page on a nature theme. You can stand there and watch the birds – Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, Bullfinches – perched high up on the adjacent trees. Packhorse Bridge is a footbridge and is regarded by historians as probably the oldest surviving bridge in Dublin dating back to the mid 1500’s I was standing on the Bridge last Thursday 2nd of March and looking down river when I spotted this Otter heading towards me. The walk can take me to Bushy Park in one direction or Ringsend in the other. The following day, while on my usual walk, I met Richard Kelly a good friend of mine and a keen fisherman. It’s the type of photo that could make the front page’. I am retired and one of my favourite spots to pass some time and to stand and wait is quite close to home, just 200 yards away. I hadn’t got time to get a photo before it disappeared under the bridge below me. ‘Walk, walk, walk.! I was always a keen photographer and decided to combine my love of photography with my new walking regime. I went down to the local newsagents and could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the stack of Irish Times’ with my photo holding pride of place. As soon as I saw the full sized image on screen, I knew it was a bit special. When I looked at the back of the screen to review the pics I thought I saw something in its mouth but was …

‘The end of Black Sabbath is the end of an era. And the end of our youth’

Without their influence, the musical landscape for us hard rock fans would be as beige as it is for everyone else these days. Still, those of us who grew up in the eighties and early nineties were lucky we had it so good when rock ruled the world. Heroically, he managed, despite a lifestyle of ceaseless debauchery, to get to 70 and then, as if exiting the stage triumphantly and on his own terms, died two days later. For us metal fans, the death of Motorhead’s Lemmy in December 2015 was that melancholy moment. He was the living, breathing personification of everything that was and is exhilarating about heavy metal. Contributing to last year’s annus horribilis were the deaths of David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, George Michael and so many artists who were the soundtrack of so many youths. “Every generation throws a hero up the pop charts,” Paul Simon once observed. Guitar-driven rock music has lost its preeminence. This musical experimentation with chords and unusual scales has been the hallmark of heavy metal since then. In that song, also entitled Black Sabbath, they resurrected the diabolus in musica chord, a chord so sinister sounding it was banned in the Middle Ages. The devil’s chord: Black Sabbath resurrected the diabolus in musica chord, a chord so sinister sounding it was banned in the Middle Ages Without Black Sabbath there would be no heavy metal, hard rock, grunge or the harder edge of indie. It is hard to conclude otherwise that guitar-driven rock’s best days are behind it As Slayer guitarist Kerry King pointed out recently, Tony Iommi inspired him to take up the guitar but where are the guitar heroes of the 21st century? It is hard to conclude otherwise but that its best days are behind it. Do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for our youth. ADVERTISEMENT Every major artist that dies, every major act that splits up is a reminder of the passage of time. In mainstream music, there is always another sensation along. Is there a single household name to rival a Jimi Hendrix, an Angus Young or a Slash who made their bones in the last century? There still great music being made in heavy metal, but the end of Black Sabbath is also the end of an era. But, in heavy metal, there are no acts of the calibre of Black Sabbath coming …

The ‘fake news’ about Tuam: Sean Moncrieff blows a gasket

Today with Sean O’Rourke (RTÉ Radio 1, weekdays) carries the painful testimony of PJ Haverty, who was born in the Tuam home. As to where he lies, nobody knows. Of course, while Donohue’s views on the Tuam scandal are extreme, they are thankfully rare, in Ireland at least. Carmel’s mother remains “devastated”, her desire to be buried alongside her son seeming ever more futile. Undeterred, Donohue describes the reports of mass graves as a myth and a hoax.  ADVERTISEMENT Moncrieff eventually has enough. “Not much laughter there,” the presenter adds, with uncharacteristic venom. He says scientists are “laughing” at the idea that so many bodies could be disposed of in a septic tank; Moncrieff clarifies that one academic has merely said that the chamber in question should be termed a “burial vault”. Moncrieff replies that she uncovered the death certificates but nobody knew where they were buried. Still, it’s the thought that counts. Donohue insists that “significant” differs from “huge”, a metric that presumably might permit the use of the term “mass grave” in news reports. In later life he tracked his mother down in London, although in her frail mental state she denied at their last meeting that he was her son. ADVERTISEMENT These stories are broadcast with little additional commentary, for obvious reasons; the distressing experiences speak for themselves. Moncrieff plays a clip of Corless suggesting that Donohue is just looking for hype; it could be said that, for all the host’s indignation at his  guest, he still gives him a platform for his opinions. The airwaves are thick with grim tales of life and death in church institutions, in Tuam and elsewhere. Moncrieff, who has been getting his mojo back of late, may have given up talking about Donald Trump for Lent, but it’s a vivid snapshot of the post-Trump world. She was told of his death only after he was buried. Of course, things have moved on. He dismissively “deals with” Catherine Corless, the local historian who first uncovered the scandal, asking why she says 800 children are interred on the Tuam grounds. The basis for this staggering assertion is the statement that the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation had uncovered “significant” quantities of remains. But it is striking how many of the voices have English accents, be they children of women who went through the institutions or those who endured them at first …

Paul Verhoeven on his ‘rape comedy’: ‘this is horrible and that is funny’

Soldier of Orange, a tale of the resistance, was a critical hit in 1979. His family house in The Hague was near a German military base and, eager to take out the V1 launch sites, Allied forces bombed the area repeatedly. But it’s more to do with the third act. Elle, Verhoeven’s first film in French, has proved to be the most warmly reviewed of his career. Showgirls and Starship Troopers had more difficulties. And it became very triumphant at the end. “There is no law that says you can’t juxtapose such things.” Even those critics who objected to the film admitted that Huppert is first-rate. Did he reject the United States or did the US reject him? You will, however, struggle to find a more enthusiastic individual. True, controversy has gathered around the project. “Maybe that is why there is violence in my movies,” he says. It doesn’t become a revenge movie.” Alas, we can go no further into this conversation without revealing what happens in the closing sections. Something sinister is happening across the Atlantic. “I would say in the beginning they liked me very much,” he laughs. You think of all those collapsing universes.” The son of a teacher and a milliner, Verhoeven completed a degree in maths and physics at Leiden University before going on to take classes at the Netherlands Film Academy. Worst actress. “I don’t think it’s so much about the rape itself. After that many journalists have said this is going to be very controversial. Real life is full of elements that are opposite to one another.” He’s on a roll now. “We didn’t discuss Freudian psychology,” he shrugs. His American career was quite a rollercoaster. “And then there were reprisals. You may not sympathise or understand her. They were yelling and screaming and shouting. You are close to being able to buy elections.” It is mid-October when we speak. “The New York Times wrote that I would never understand the United States,” he says. Worst music. The anti-fascist Starship Troopers was seen as pro-fascist. RoboCop and Basic Instinct were enormous hits. It was a joyous experience.” Now 78, Verhoeven finds himself in a less ambiguously happy place. “Mostly you get these answers through managers. Did he get the feeling that the admission of wit into a film concerning rape stoked discomfort? So it was slowly dawning on me that this might be …

Blood, sugar, sex, magic: The Love Witch director Anna Biller goes retro

I think this is a feminist movie. I’m still surprised when people talk about Love Witch as being campy or pastiche.” She’s not wrong. Many of The Love Witch’s most ardent admirers see favourable parallels in Italian Giallo and Hammer horrors. Not too far into new cult sensation The Love Witch, the white witch heroine Elaine (Samantha Robinson) takes a break from preparing the elaborate spells and charms she uses to ensnare a parade of Mr Rights, to impart advice to a friend: “Give men what they want,” Elaine insists, while simultaneously plotting to dispatch her latest (disappointing) gentleman caller. It takes a lot of work to create a film with this kind of texture. But I also found it very hard to explain to people what exactly I wanted. “So I thought, I won’t make a comedy this time. So that left me at home crafting.” Biller, whose long career as a visual artist goes back to the 1990s, was a little dismayed when Viva, her feminist reworking of Luis Buñuel’s Belle Du Jour, was praised as an homage to the exploitation films of the late sixties. The lighting is phoney. “It became a kind of moral virtue. When the old studio system was dismantled, their way of filmmaking went too. Regular citations include such similarly-themed studio pictures as Rosemary’s Baby and non-studio pictures as Ted V Mikels’ Blood Orgy of the She Devils, Russ Meyers’ Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and Jesús Franco’s Vampyros Lesbos. And I guess people see pageantry and look back to most recent examples, which came out of the 1970s. “Maybe not on this kind of scale, I guess. There were a few factors. “There are many sane women out there, but they have to deal with insane contradictions: wanting to be beautiful, wanting to be looked at, not wanting to be looked at, wanting to be loved, not wanting to be objectified. Those job titles become all the more impressive once you witness the film’s dazzling designs, matchy colour schemes, intricate tailoring, witchcraft rituals and spell preparations. Suddenly that craft was dismissed. I thought: two weeks! I also became ill during that time. I’m interested in creating an aesthetic cinema. “I wanted to create a character, not a cardboard female character that a man might create, but a character from the inside-out,” says Anna Biller, the writer-director behind The Love Witch. “So …

Thundercat takes a spiritual turn on his bass odyssey

Thundercat plays Dublin’s Vicar Street on March 27th. As time progressed, people stopped sharing stuff with me. It’s nice to come home and have a moment of chill, but I’m more so going than I am home.” Bruner talks about getting home to his cat, named for one of the many sci-fi films he adores. I’ve had some great and terrible times with people. In this lull before the release of Drunk, Bruner says he is “trying to stay open-minded, clear-headed and listen to music. “Even if you didn’t want to have anything to do with the politics, you have to. So there would be music that would start at my apartment and then we would bring it in to the studio. The studio was a kind of hothouse for the LA music scene’s finest, and it was there that Erykah Badu recruited him for New Amerykah. And he’s the bass-building powerhouse that gives so much of Kamasi Washington’s The Epic it’s swing and punch beneath those silvery, flowing saxophone lines. On the ground floor are daily lectures from producers and experts (Björk and Merrill “tUnE-yArDs” Garbus make an appearance in my three days there). It’s this crazy thing where, in this world, the process that got us to that one moment, and we’re kind of floating but all still playing – and then it feels like interstellar, this communication that’s happening. “The process that happened between me and Kendrick was very organic, in a very real way. “It’s all kind of out of time and everyone is still talking to each other; it sends chills up my back thinking about that. A bass player of supreme ability, whether in session or on his solo work, Bruner is also mischievous, hilarious company. Everyone is scared to to do it. He also seems cautious around the political burden being carried by the likes of Lamar. You can’t deny it. When Bruner was 15 he was in a boyband band called No Curfew, and a year later followed his brother into Suicidal Tendencies. It’s something that a lot of music and creativity can stem from. “It causes you to connect to things that are bigger than you. That’s the life that I actually know. “I talk to him on a consistent basis and see where his mind is at. You can’t downplay those ideas just because they are not popular any more. …

‘Inglorious Empire’: India strikes back

ADVERTISEMENT A corollary of the argument that Britain gave India political unity and democracy is that it established the rule of law in the country. In 1912, therefore, the British passed an act of parliament explicitly making it impossible for Indian workshops to design and manufacture locomotives. That Indians seized the English language and turned it into an instrument for our own liberation – using it to express nationalist sentiments against the British – was to their credit, not by British design. But British law had to be imposed upon an older and more complex civilisation with its own legal culture, and the British used coercion and cruelty to get their way. This is why Britain’s historical amnesia about the rapacity of its rule in India is so deplorable. Thus colonial administrators regularly wrote reports and conducted censuses that classified Indians in ever-more bewilderingly narrow terms, based on their language, religion, sect, caste, sub-caste, ethnicity and skin colour. ADVERTISEMENT In the years after 1757, the British astutely fomented cleavages among the Indian princes, and steadily consolidated their dominion through a policy of divide and rule. No greater indictment of the failures of British rule in India can be found than the tragic manner of its ending. ADVERTISEMENT The India the British entered was a wealthy, thriving and commercialising society: that was why the East India Company was interested in it in the first place. The British had no desire to educate the Indian masses, nor were they willing to budget for such an expense. Of course the British did give India the English language, the benefits of which persist to this day. It is questionable whether a totalising Hindu or Muslim identity existed in any meaningful sense in India before the 19th century. Punch wrote an entire ode to The Stout British Boot as the favoured instrument of keeping the natives in order. And, of course, racism reigned; though whites-only compartments were soon done away with on grounds of economic viability, Indians found the available affordable space grossly inadequate for their numbers. The idea of India is as old as the Vedas, the earliest Hindu scriptures, which describe “Bharatvarsha” as the land between the Himalayas and the seas. In the 17th and 18th centuries, British shopkeepers tried to pass off shoddy English-made textiles as Indian in order to charge higher prices for them. If this “sacred geography” is essentially a …

Film-maker Paul Verhoeven on his ‘rape comedy’

At the end there was no rejection of me. Then it got worse. “We originally were going to make an American film. But it’s more to do with the third act. It doesn’t become a revenge movie.” Alas, we can go no further into this conversation without revealing what happens in the closing sections. Real life is full of elements that are opposite to one another.” He’s on a roll now. Showgirls said that in Vegas, sex is just about money. I don’t suppose people often brandish the phrase “joie de vivre” when discussing the work of Paul Verhoeven. “I think I understood the US pretty well. “It went very well. Reviews at Cannes, though largely positive, were couched with expectations of imminent outrage. Showgirls was a disaster. Not everybody nominated for the “worst film” gongs turns up. “Mostly you get these answers through managers. But you feel all the time that that person really exists.” Bleak aesthetic Throughout the decades, amateur psychologists have traced Verhoeven’s bleak aesthetic – and his obsession with fascism in particular – to his childhood experiences during the second World War. “I reject the notion that the seriousness of the rape would exclude anything funny elsewhere in the film. I keep my fingers crossed that it will be Hillary.” I grunt approval. The acclaimed Turkish Delight from 1973 made great use of a young Rutger Hauer. True, controversy has gathered around the project. He had to wait until the 1970s before moving into features. People being killed and being forced to walk the streets. It wasn’t really until the film opened in the US that the anger began to emerge. You see only death and destruction.” Another stream of heavily accented vowels washes around the room. We turned the script into an English-language script. “I don’t think it’s so much about the rape itself. They heard there might be controversy. You start to be pessimistic about the world. Then Basic Instinct and Total Recall had some trouble. Worst music. “There was blood, destruction, death, ruins for six years,” he remembers. “There is this and it is horrible and there is that and it’s funny,” he says. I feel that would be dogma from a dictator. Eventually, at the beginning of the new century, he returned to the Netherlands and made the war film Black Book. Yet nobody booed when it won the Golden Glove for …