Derek Walcott: exuberant poet in love with the magic of words

My first impulse was to run away but I am glad I didn’t. He was great fun once you settled into the comic routine interspersed with rich insight and a wonderful use of the vocal rhythms of exasperation. Above all he was in love with poetic expression and the way it helps us see the world that bit more clearly. He was a natural poet and even at his most realistic – and raised in poverty, he was a realist – he never lost his belief in the magic of words and the images it describes. “Where I come from, we sing poetry, ” he said. Friend of Heaney How he would have laughed his big, booming laugh at the idea of dying on St Patrick’s Day. Derek Walcott, poet and Nobel laureate of Caribbean, dies at 87 Seamus Heaney loved dirty jokes? Before our interview even began, he insisted on buying me ice cream “because you are so skinny”. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times Walcott would say things like that, seeking a reaction. Tell us another one Seamus Heaney and the Hedge School of Glanmore He once likened poetry to a snail moving along a wall in possession of its own concept of eternity. He believed in the power of language and his was exuberant, his metaphors pulsating with energy and colour. Derek Walcott, who died on Friday aged 87, was a magnificent poet. His death is sad and yet he loved life too much to enjoy being ill and must have hated being vulnerable. He created an aura of happiness, not self importance. Where I come from, we sing poetry Awarded the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature he would point to the irony of knowing his literary tradition not only mastered a language which had been imposed on his race, “we made it soar.” A buoyant, gravel-voiced showman, he was a fine reader of his work with its huge themes of the colonial experience and national identity. Lamentation will rend the air today, and not just in his native St Lucia in the Caribbean, but everywhere poetry is revered. He was also confident, funny, explosively opinionated, playful and occasionally outrageous. His art, shaped by Shakespeare and the Bible and an inspired balance of the ritual and the colloquial, enters the heart as well as the memory. He would have loved to brag about it to his friend and …

Derek Walcott, poet and Nobel laureate of Caribbean, dies at 87

His Caribbean reimagining of The Odyssey, 1990’s Omeros, secured him an international reputation, which gained him the Nobel prize in 1992. It demanded to be heard, in all its sensuous immediacy and historical complexity. It’s always visible. Its opulent vegetation, blinding white beaches and tangled multicultural heritage inspired, in its most famous literary son, an ambitious body of work that seemingly embraced every poetic form, from the short lyric to the epic. Walcott’s ancestry wove together the major strands of Caribbean history, an inheritance he described famously in a poem from 1980’s The Star-Apple Kingdom as having “Dutch, nigger, and English in me, / and either I’m nobody, or I’m a / nation”. And if you say in patois, ‘The boats are coming back,’ the beat of that line, its metrical pace, has to do with the sound and rhythm of the sea itself.” Sensuous immediacy There was nothing shy about Walcott’s poetic voice. His death was confirmed by his publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, which said the poet had been in poor health for some time. New voice With the publication of the collection In a Green Night in 1962, critics and poets, Robert Lowell among them, leapt to recognise a powerful new voice in Caribbean literature and to praise the sheer musicality of Walcott’s verse, the immediacy of its visual images, its profound sense of place. Both of his grandmothers were said to have been descended from slaves, but his father, who died when Walcott was only a year old, was a painter, and his mother the headmistress of a methodist school – enough to ensure that Walcott received what he called in the same poem a “sound colonial education”. Derek Walcott, whose intricately metaphorical poetry captured the physical beauty of the Caribbean, the harsh legacy of colonialism and the complexities of living and writing in two cultural worlds, bringing him a Nobel Prize in literature, died early Friday morning at his home near Gros Islet in St Lucia. He was 87. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh He told the Economist in 1990: “The sea is always present. If you wanted to approximate that thunder or that power of speech, it couldn’t be done by a little modest voice in which you muttered something to someone else.” – (New York Times Service; Guardian Service) Walcott’s expansive universe revolved around a tiny sun, the island of St Lucia. “I grew up …

Parades round up: Diversity the theme in cities across Ireland

“The conditions are pretty tough. David Raleigh ***** Waterford This year’s parade in Waterford was laced with sadness as it began with a quiet, dignified ceremony in memory of the four Coast Guard members who were lost at sea off Co Mayo during the week. Hundreds of thousands of people attended St Patrick’s Day parades across the country despite wet weather and stormy conditions which led to some marches being cancelled. Conor Kane ***** Belfast Thousands of people enjoyed Saint Patrick’s Day festivities across the North on Friday. Fourteen-year-old Limerick Person of the Year and cyberbullying campaigner Luke Culhane led out the parade, which this year had as its theme “Our Stories – this is where we belong”. It’s as bad as it is out in the middle of the Atlantic, nearly. ADVERTISEMENT Representatives of the city’s Filipino, Polish, South African, and Indian communities underlined just how multicultural Galway has become, while there was a strong representation from the city’s GAA clubs. The theme running through the Waterford parade was the Greenway, as much of the cycle and walkway which is set to attract thousands to the coastline will open next weekend. “If you can put up with conditions like this, that’s the best training you can get,” he joked after watching the end of the parade pass by the viewing platform in Eyre Square. A special reception was given to members of the Search and Rescue teams in the parade, following the recent tragedy off the coast of Mayo with the loss of Rescue 116. A PSNI source told The Irish Times overnight into Friday five arrests were made for low level disorder and minor alcohol related offences but it was otherwise quiet. It is an inclusive day. Some of the more colourful floats were provided by representatives of the city’s ethnic communities, including a fantastic red and yellow dragon from the Irish Chinese Society. Elsewhere in Co Cork, the Youghal parade was led by grand marshall, Sinead Kane. She was joined by representatives of four major sporting events Belfast is due to hold this year – the World Ice Hockey Championships, the World 24 Hour Running Championships, the Women’s Rugby World Cup and the UEFA Women’s Under 19 Championships. Captain Dara Fitzpatrick spent several years working with the R117 Coast Guard helicopter from its Waterford base while her colleagues were also on that crew at different times. Chinese …

Derek Walcott, poet and Nobel laureate of the Caribbean, dies at 87

Its opulent vegetation, blinding white beaches and tangled multicultural heritage inspired, in its most famous literary son, an ambitious body of work that seemingly embraced every poetic form, from the short lyric to the epic. It’s always visible. He also directed and wrote more than 80 plays. “I grew up in a place in which if you learned poetry, you shouted it out. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh He told the Economist in 1990: “The sea is always present. Walcott’s expansive universe revolved around a tiny sun, the island of St Lucia. All the roads lead to it. He was 87. It demanded to be heard, in all its sensuous immediacy and historical complexity. Boys would scream it out and perform it and do it and flourish it. “I come from a place that likes grandeur; it likes large gestures; it is not inhibited by flourish; it is a rhetorical society; it is a society of physical performance; it is a society of style,” he told the Paris Review in 1985. Derek Walcott, whose intricately metaphorical poetry captured the physical beauty of the Caribbean, the harsh legacy of colonialism and the complexities of living and writing in two cultural worlds, bringing him a Nobel Prize in literature, died early Friday morning at his home near Gros Islet in St Lucia. He had first attracted attention on St Lucia with a book of poems that he published himself as a teenager. If you wanted to approximate that thunder or that power of speech, it couldn’t be done by a little modest voice in which you muttered something to someone else.” – (New York Times Service; Guardian Service) ADVERTISEMENT Derek Walcott with Seamus Heaney in the background and Rebecca O’Neill-Doran from Bray, Co Wicklow, at the launch of a series of poetry cards on Dublin’s Dart trains in 1989. His death was confirmed by his publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, which said the poet had been in poor health for some time. Walcott’s ancestry wove together the major strands of Caribbean history, an inheritance he described famously in a poem from 1980’s The Star-Apple Kingdom as having “Dutch, nigger, and English in me, / and either I’m nobody, or I’m a / nation”. Both of his grandmothers were said to have been descended from slaves, but his father, who died when Walcott was only a year old, was a painter, and his mother the …

Chef Rachel Allen leads Cork’s St Patrick’s Day parade

Elsewhere in Co Cork, the Youghal parade was led by grand marshall, Sinead Kane. Street performance An estimated 3,000 people participated in the parade, including spectacle and street performance companies Cork Community Artlink, Macnas, Spraoi and Dowtcha Puppets. The parade was led by a range of Ford models highlighting the decades of production at the Ford motor plant in Cork. It is going to be brilliant.” The parade got underway at 1pm and attracted in the region of 50,000 people to the city centre. The theme of this year’s parade was “Cork – A City of Community, Culture and Commerce”. The Democrat was one of the longest serving speakers of the US House of Representatives and played a major part in the Northern Ireland peace process. Ford’s participation in the parade included a bespoke Ford 100 pageant display created by Dowtcha Puppets company. Other groups participating included the United Filipino Irish Association, Nigeria Community Cork, the Mexican Community Cork and Mayfield GAA club which recently won the All Ireland Junior Hurling Championship. “I was very honoured to be asked. The solicitor recently became the first legally blind person to complete a global marathon, participating in seven marathons in seven continents over seven days. Ms Allen told Cork’s Red FM that her only concern heading in to the parade was trying to figure out appropriate footwear. Celebrity chef and self-confessed “Cork blow-in” Rachel Allen served as the Grand Marshall in the city’s parade on Friday, just days before she opens her new restaurant in nearby Washington Street. The Spraoi float was based on the legacy of the copper mines in Allihies, west Cork, whilst the Dowtcha Puppets float had a futuristic theme. “I feel so honoured to be Grand Marshall,” said the lawyer, who is registered blind, and has only 5 per cent vision. Tip O’Neill, who had family connections in Mallow, was named a Freeman of Cork city in 1985. The thing I like so much about Youghal is that it is a community and everybody supports everybody.” ADVERTISEMENT Rosemary O’Neill, daughter of the late US politician Tip, was Grand Marshall in the Mallow parade. I think I will bring a few options: heels, runners, wellies. Ms Allen said she was extremely honoured to be asked to lead the parade with the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Des Cahill.

Kerry kicks off St Patrick’s parades a minute past midnight

Dr Crokes were represented at the parade by a teddy bear and there was samba dancing from Brazil and a performance by Circus Vegas. It rained on the colourful parade in Killarney where there had been a last-minute plea for volunteers – as several hundred natives had left the town to support the local Dr Crokes football team playing in the club final in Croke Park. Dozens of tourists were among the onlookers. “Na sluaite” gathered in Baile na nGall, for what is also the shortest parade “ in the world” , local man Jim Bermingham said. A minute’s silence was held in the sea front village after a moving speech by local man Michael O’Shea in honour of the rescue services and those lost on duty. Tralee’s parade chose a different route this year because of road works on its main street Denny Street – but the parade’s music flowed well – despite the sudden turn to heavy rain which saw few stops at the viewing stand in Castle Street this year. Dingle, like most towns in Kerry this weekend, is enjoying a tourism bonanza with visitors packing out accommodation and restaurants. The parade was led by bands including the local whistle and drum band “Banna Cheoil an Atlantach” guarded by 30 “Pikey-blinders”, people with burning torches on pikes. The link with the American cities, particularly Springfield, was important to west Kerry as so many of its people settled there, he said. ADVERTISEMENT Lashing rain and wind saw the parade in Ballyheigue postponed to next week but parades were held throughout villages and towns in Kerry with the earliest escaping the heavy weather. The west Kerry parish that is the nearest to New York, Boston and Springfield, Massachusetts, stole a march on the rest of the country with its St Patrick’s Day parade getting underway at exactly one minute past midnight. “Bhí­ an áit dubh le daoine,” he said. At 6 am in Dingle town the traditional fife and drum parade, begun in an era when St Patrick’s Day events were frowned upon, took place through the dark streets.

Michael Gambon at the Gate: ‘The performance of a lifetime’

But to see his face, held steady by a stealthily advancing camera and projected on to a ghostly scrim at the front of the stage, is to see a performance of almost microscopic detail. The theatre actor understands that sometimes presence is enough. To see Gambon, sitting glum and inert on the edge of a stingy bed, you could be forgiven for thinking he is doing nothing at all, as a voice needles him into remembrance of things past. Or, as life without this “conquest” becomes a flavourless dream, does it transform into the real thing? Here Gambon does both. Eh, Joe ***** Gate Theatre, Dublin In Beckett’s short television play Eh, Joe, here ingeniously and still faithfully transposed to the stage, the great actor Michael Gambon gives the performance of a lifetime, in more senses than one. That fits a staging where the creative conventions of the theatre are both invoked and disavowed. Joe is never ready for his close-up. Anna’s merrily mimed dog, who we first take to be a real creature, later becomes a conspiracy between just them, like a shared secret. ADVERTISEMENT The Yalta Game **** Gate Theatre, Dublin In another short play, Brian Friel’s The Yalta Game, commissioned by the Gate in 2001, inner lives and outward appearances also begin to mingle, albeit more gently. When Sophie Robinson’s ingenue Anna enters the picture, she is seduced into playing along, and while their love affair develops, along a seesaw of guilt and passion, the status of reality itself begins to warp between them. “Anyone living love you now, Joe?” asks the voice. Here director David Grindley knows that less allows more: Francis O’Connor leaves the stage bare, save for a couple of wooden parlour chairs and a burnished mirror backdrop, while Jason Taylor’s canopy of overhead light bulbs flickers with changing locations or, in one lovely moment, lights up with an idea. – Runs until March 19th The camera, too, recognises that it is engaged in a kind of torture. The film actor knows that, on screen, the smallest gesture can carry a huge effect. Inspired by Chekhov’s short story, The Lady with the Lapdog, Friel’s play finds another love-’em-and-leave-’em philanderer, Gurov (Declan Conlon, smooth-talking and dapper in Belle-Époque style), on retreat in Yalta, busily ascribing scandalous fictions to each passer-by – the game of the title. As a drift of smoke hovers in the air, …

Ryan Tubridy is transitioning from young fogey to old codger

Murphy and O’Kane’s characters are similarly played to stereotype but yield more chuckles by delivering benignly meaningless sermons or reminiscing on prodigious birth rates.  With his deadpan persona and wry understatement, Tobin is the programme’s most effective figure, down to the knowing gag that he nearly shares a name with a more famous author. On this showing, Surviving Ireland counts as a missed opportunity, albeit one with potential. Hipster culture Given the target-rich environment that is hipster culture, the jokes about the millennial couple are disappointingly predictable. At any rate, it’s only partially successful in either regard.  The show’s premise has real-life comedian and writer Colm Tobin visiting a digital detox retreat on the island of Carnananaunachán in the company of Declan (Aidan O’Donovan, who co-writes the script) and Holly (Stefanie Preissner). Surely fake news hasn’t come to this? ADVERTISEMENT Tubridy’s manner switches between curiosity and delight, but perhaps inevitably, there is a sideswipe at those eggheads with ideas of fancy learning. Tubridy then introduces the writer, rhyming Kerr with “her”. The prize for the week’s most uncomfortable item goes to The Pat Kenny Show (Newstalk, weekdays), as the host talks to Icelandic author Thordis Elva, and Tom Stranger, the Australian man who raped her. The makers of Surviving Ireland (RTÉ Radio 1, Friday) may well have lofty aspirations to skewer the mores of contemporary society, but for the most part this St Patrick’s Day mockumentary is more concerned with generating laughs. Whether he knows it or not, Tubridy is in danger of being highfalutin himself. Naturally, he invokes the Beatles to illustrate the point: “As in ‘Baby, you can drive my car’,” he says. He regularly complains about the supposed absurdities of political correctness in public discourse while pouring scorn on pretentious notions that deviate from the milieu of having a few pints and praising the Beatles. ADVERTISEMENT Radio Moment of the Week: Barack a goner? And she outlines the inspiration for her books, be it her childhood for When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit or her fascination with cats for Mog. He’s a “trainee beardologist” while she’s a “social influencer” who grows increasingly hysterical the longer she’s deprived of her phone: she ends up in the “mucky hole”, which gives a flavour of the subtle wit on show. Like any good children’s book, the interview spins a great story while quietly imparting wider truths. She remembers her subsequent upbringing …

Iron Fist review: A show you will never get tired of slapping

ADVERTISEMENT Even the show knows this could have all been avoided. But Iron Fist, with its whiter-than-white protagonist somersaulting over taxi cabs, dispensing Buddhist koans and summoning up his chi (sometimes to the sound of breathy oriental flutes) has revived older concerns over orientalism, cultural appropriation and a serious lack of cop on. Early on, a kindly homeless man asks Danny about his purpose. “To protect K’un-L’un from all oppression and honour the sacrifice of Shou-Lao the Undying,” he says, solemnly. “Just remember to have fun along the way.” That, however, is something that Iron Fist just can’t grasp. “Ok, then,” replies his pal. In a gesture to early-aughts nostalgists, Danny’s only steadfast companion is a first generation iPod, and Ross’s bright-eyed performance suggests a naive soul frozen in time. The surprising thing about this guy – last but by all means least of the comic book stable’s street-level heroes – is just how gentle he appears. What chance do we have? As he seeks an audience with his uncle and cousins, now in control of the family company, nobody is sure what to make of him. The lumbering dialogue contains barely a flicker of wit, so bewilderingly repetitive or explanatory (“You’re the security guard from earlier”) that the people most likely to get hit over the head here are the viewers. That’s his skyscraper, says the young man, long presumed dead when the family jet went down over the Himalayas 15 years ago. I’ll confess that I found none of this quite as offensive as its sheer tedium. Based on a mid-1970s Kung Fu comic, Iron Fist imagines another billionaire orphan crime fighter, raised by magical martial arts monks and steeled in dragon slaying, high kicking his way through corrupt industry and low-level hoodlums. With Defenders, Marvel’s multi-pack hero series, scheduled for the summer, it thickens the suspicion that Iron Fist is just killing time. In the ever-expanding Marvel Universe, few names come with a heavier clunk than Iron Fist (Netflix, now streaming). Played by Finn Ross, with cherubic blonde curls and a backpacker’s beard, Danny Rand enters his own show beaming and barefoot, leaning on a hotdog seller for a dollop exposition. (Unfailingly hostile, they rough him up and throw him out, later depositing him in a psychiatric hospital.) The glaring problem for Iron Fist, though, is that no one else knows what to make of him either; …

St Patrick’s Day parades: When and where to watch them

A number of guided tours and arts exhibitions have been announced, while the prawn festival in Howth and the Spirit of Dublin Craft and Food Fair at Teeling’s Distillery are the main gastronomic attractions of the weekend. Free family concert Galway city will host its own free family concert at Eyre Square following the parade on Friday, and a charity cycle which will be launched by guest of honour Sean Kelly has been organised for Sunday. ADVERTISEMENT The Kilkenny Tradfest is expected to draw a large crowd with music and dance sessions across the city until Sunday, while up to 50,000 people are expected to attend the Limerick International Band Championship on Sunday. Rolling street closures will affect routes in Dublin up until 6pm on Friday, with areas around Parnell Square, O’Connell Street, Dame Street, Christchurch, Clanbrassil Street, Kevin Street and Stephen’s Green primarily affected. Gardaí have warned there will be a “zero tolerance” approach to underage and on-street drinking across all parades and festivals today. Meanwhile, a host of other events and activities will run across the weekend as part of the extended St Patrick’s Festival in the capital. Gardaí have also advised patrons to be aware of their surroundings and belongings as pickpockets often operate on the margins of large public gatherings. Barrier controls operated by gardaí and Dublin City Council will again be imposed at access points to Temple Bar, where there will be an enhanced police presence to patrol for illegal drinking and anti-social behaviour. Funfairs will be open at Merrion Square and Custom House Quay from Friday to Sunday, and a treasure hunt will start from City Hall on Saturday morning. The annual St Patrick’s Day parade in Cork city begins at 1pm, starting from the South Mall, heading towards the Grand Parade, along St Patrick’s Street and finishing at Merchant’s Quay. It starts on Dominick Street at 11.30am before passing through Bridge Street, Shop Street and finishing on Prospect Hill at about 1pm. Ireland’s largest regional parade in Limerick starts at noon; this year’s theme is “Our stories, this is where we belong”. As always, the parades will form the centrepiece of festivities on Friday, beginning at noon. Miriam Lord: Media goes wild for Trump, but the feeling is not mutual St Patrick’s Day Quiz: 17 questions to test your Irishness Noel Whelan: Votes for emigrants? Galway will celebrate its 114th instalment of the …

St Patrick’s Festival in Dublin: a parade of poets

‘You Think I Wear This For You?’ by Raneem Saleh Saleh’s video You Think I Wear This For You? For more information on the event visit stpatricksfestival.ie. For videos and information on Dublin: A Year in Words see dublincityofliterature.ie If you’re expecting expert talk on the canon you’ll be sorely disappointed!” says Devlin. The bookshops selected are an interesting mix of old and new, traditional and contemporary. “An easy-going and enjoyable ramble with what I’d call ‘real-life’ poets. Rounding out the day in another stalwart independent, Books Upstairs, is rising star Kerrie O’Brien, whose debut collection Illuminate, published in 2016, was chosen as a New Statesman Book of the Year by Sebastian Barry and an Irish Times Book of the Year by Joseph O’Connor. Recent Ireland Chair of Poetry, Paula Meehan, will give a half-hour recital from her much celebrated works and her recent collection Geomantic. So what can punters expect from the trail? Young bilingual poet Ciara Ni É makes a fitting start in long-established Irish language outlet An Siopa Leabhar, at the Club Chonradh Na Gaeilge on Harcourt Street, before heading a short distance northwards to Hodges Figgis on Dawson St. “But what we do promise is a chance to connect with some of our living, breathing, often struggling artists, who are passionate about what they do and the city they do it in.” ADVERTISEMENT The trail will be led by John Cummins and Devlin, with plenty of time built in to browse bookshops afterwards and chat to those involved. explores issues of Islamophobia and clocked up more than 13,500 views, making it the most watched video from the Year in Words series to date. Founded in 1768 and famously mentioned in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses, Hodges Figgis is reputed to be Ireland’s oldest bookshop, and it will play host here to relative newcomer Raneem Saleh, originally from Saudi Arabia. A stone’s throw from here young Dublin poet Hazel Hogan will bring her socially conscious work to Oxfam Books on Parliament St before crossing the Liffey to the charming setting of The Winding Stair on Ormond Quay where “poetician” Cummins will share the unique lyrical stylings which have seen him win both Leinster and All-Ireland Poetry Slam titles in recent years. Northwards from here the trail will takes in a double bill at The Secret Book and Record Store on Wicklow St, a real gem of a shop for preloved …

The first poem about Ireland by monk who inspired Heaney and EU’s architect

Leading European statesmen and diplomats that included Minister for Foreign Affairs Seán MacBride and Taoiseach John A Costello together with high-ranking Church officials (among them Monsignor Roncalli, future Pope Saint John XXIII who would convene the Second Vatican Council) converged on Luxeuil in response to Schuman’s invitation. Above these, yellow-haired Titan descends And, with dimmed light wheeling, heads for the regions of Arcturus. Heaney’s sudden death only four years later came as a shock: he poignantly chose the medium of Latin as his final words – Noli timere (“Do not be afraid”). He was also the first Irish person to express an Irish sense of identity in writing (S Patrick was Romano-British) and the first to introduce us to the concept of a united Europe. In evocative verse, the poet describes the sun setting off the west coast of Ireland as waves break and crash against cliffs preventing a currach from venturing out in the swell. There will be a book launch for the volume at Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop in Galway on Thursday, April 20th at 6.30pm. As an immigrant in the heart of Europe, he pleaded for toleration and accommodation. With his customary grace and courtesy, Heaney replied to my letter, thanking me for the “wonderful defamiliarizing, refamiliarizing work”, praising the translation “because the remoteness of the idiom and the elsewhereness of the island come through – without any sense of archaizing”, and wishing me well with the bigger task of translating Jonas’s Life of Columbanus. I got his address from a friend of my father’s in Co Antrim who knew Heaney well. Thus, having passed through all the turning-points of day and night With completed course, He illuminates the lands filled with his brilliance, With his heat rendering the world, wet with dew, pleasant again. As a historian, I wanted to honour a great poet who made “hope and history rhyme”. Following the North Wind, he seeks his rising-place in the East, So that, revived, he may give back a pleasant light to the world, And, with fire, show himself far and wide to the shivering world. ADVERTISEMENT Robert Schuman speaks in Luxeuil-les-Bains to commemorate the 14th centenary of Columbanus’s birth. In his vision for a united Europe, Schuman drew inspiration from the unlikely figure of Columbanus who he praised as “the patron saint of all those who seek to construct a united Europe”. The island of Ireland …

Olivier Assayas on Kristen Stewart: She brings a modern energy to cinema

“It is like painting on a canvas. Kristen Stewart plays, yes, a personal shopper to an egotistical diva. I always wanted to make films. That is not common with American actresses. Assayas went on to win best director. “You can still take risks if you work on a tiny budget,” he says. Stewart has taken the most fascinating route away from early fame in Twilight. Hey, the same thing happened to Taxi Driver. The reason I wanted to work for that magazine in the early 1980s was because it was the one film magazine that was produced by future film-makers. The sets were built. Why connect with society? Why has it continued to wield such power? She is like those Nouvelle Vague actors who were individuals and brought their own modern energy to cinema.” Assayas is now one half of an enormously respected partnership. Right? The cameras were all loaded. ADVERTISEMENT “I’m not sure it has retained its influence,” he says. Why have kids? The dialogue is icily unsettling. Maybe so. That’s another problem.” Assayas credits the untouchable minimalist Robert Bresson as his greatest influence. Just a few short years ago, he was set to make an American crime film with Robert De Niro. I saw the American film industry from the worst possible angle. The whole world is going to be turned upside down. When you need a specific colour, you use colour.” Assayas, who speaks beautiful English at a furious pace, knows what he is talking about. She is extremely smart and so articulate when she discusses her work. “You use those genre elements when you need them,” he says. “It was a true-crime picture in Chicago. “Maybe so. What’s exciting about film-making is doing things other directors don’t do.” After the noise died down, Personal Shopper picked up some of the best reviews of the festival. “But back then the main thing about Cahiers was that it was the magazine of the guys who transformed cinema. He was just a teenager then, but those pocket revolutions coloured polticial thinking for a decade. These things happen, but not the day before shooting.” It sounds like the sort of experience he could turn into an interesting film. The fact that the boos came in response to cheers was less well reported. The film weaves jarring strands of mainstream horror into the mix: spooky text messages and an actual CG …

Alynda Segarra on following her ancestors, her intuition and her conscience

“I began to think about this idea of navigator and the various things it means and that opened up all these roads. There, she realised the Puerto Rican kid from the Bronx had a lot to say about just who she was and especially where she was from. “I was confused about where home was and that was driving me all this time,” she explains. “Community was my major scourge. “I started with Entrance and I didn’t truly understand what I was tapping into when I first wrote it,” Segarra says. I was constantly been told to find my community, find a place I was included, but I always found I was in the middle and I wasn’t enough of this or that.” What she’s done on The Navigator, HFTRR’s sixth release, is riff on ideas of her own Puerto Rican identity and perspective after years of musing on other themes. ADVERTISEMENT “Then I found out later after talking to my father that he used to hang out in Tompkins Square Park and play jazz on a rooftop. That’s when the other songs began to grow and develop. It was time for Alynda Segarra to head home. Is it your ancestors or your intuition or your conscience? How funny to be hanging out as an act of rebellion in the exact same park as my father used to hang out in during the 1970s! I thought I was getting away from my family and I was just circling back to the roots of a lot of Puerto Rican New York.” After a decade in New Orleans and some time thereafter in Nashville, the Hurray for the Riff Raff band leader found herself back in her native New York. “I began to think about who is leading me on this journey that I’m on and through different experiences and obstacles and identities. “When I went down to the Lower East Side as a teenager to hang out with the punks, it took me about an hour and a half on the subway to get there and I thought I was going to the other side of the world. My way of feeling at home was about making amends with my past and feeling comfortable in my own skin.” Back to her roots She laughs when she recalls how her early attempts at finding her own crew inadvertently led back to her own …

Spotify knows we’ve got Ed Sheeran on repeat. Should it feel like a guilty secret?

The public’s most prevalent tastes are thus revealed in gory detail.” That makes it sound that the problem with streaming isn’t that it’s misleading but that it’s too accurate an account of behaviour. By the time the serious film arrived they still wanted trash. Your private actions, which are now a matter of horrid public record, are so repugnant to industry leaders and cultural tastemakers that they are trying to take responsibility away from you. (I once took malicious glee to find that a hipper-than-thou friend’s most played song was Lionel Richie’s Dancing on the Ceiling. The buzz around Transparent might attract you to the service even if you only used it to keep abreast of Jeremy Clarkson’s noisesome controversies. Even Sheeran’s repeat listeners will become jaded if his chart dominance leads to too many soundalikes, and Netflix subscribers will grow wary if another series of Stranger Things comes at the expense of The Crown. Technology and its unforgiving metrics have given us a much more precise reflection of our habits, just not our desires. When a cawing report in Variety last year dwelled on how modest the apparently modest viewership was for Amazon’s much-awarded comedy Transparent – revealed by an analytic service that measures “what people do rather than what they say” – it missed the point. Moonlight may win the Oscar for best picture, but it doesn’t take an envelope mix-up to make you opt for La La Land instead. The music journalist Laura Snapes put it most stridently: “The dominance of streaming rewards passivity – repeat listening – rather than active discovery,” she wrote, adding that it “concentrates the vote into the hands of a certain group who love playing the same tracks over and over. The idea of a “guilty pleasure” now seems almost quaint, yet the discrepancies between your Hodges Figgis bestseller list and the Kindle chart still suggest a furtive pattern. When Netflix was still a mail-out DVD-rental company, issuing movies that its subscribers placed in a queue, it was puzzled to discover that certain films languished unwatched and unreturned. If the tug of instant gratification has delayed you from the discovery of something worthwhile, it’s time to get around to it. There may, indeed, be a gulf between what people do and what they say, but our stated intentions aren’t a rouse either. But streaming services make their money from subscribers, where any …

James Mercer of The Shins, and the sound of the summer of ’85

Perhaps that’s why, at this point of his career, he is happier doing things his own way. wouldn’t it be cool if I could continue doing it without selling out my soul, and still have some sort of success that crosses over a little bit?” Mercer thought the Port of Morrow track It’s Only Life would do just. It was a bit of getting back into some sort of rebellious spirit. I kind of felt why bother, to be honest.” He laughs. It kind of taught me how to work in the studio with guests, and how to collaborate, and how to express what you need from somebody. It’s not like a punk record or anything, but there is that sort of sentiment somewhere in there.” ADVERTISEMENT Most Underrated Arguably one of the finest (and certainly one of the most underrated) songwriters of his generation, Mercer (46) began writing Heartworms after releasing the second album by Broken Bells, the electro-pop side project that he fronts alongside producer Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse. “I decided, y’know what, I’m just gonna go back and do things the way I f*ckin’ like doing ’em.” As the main protagonist and only constant in a band borne out of his 1996 Flake Music project, Mercer is well acquainted with both fleeting success and triumphs on a bigger scale. “I think with Port of Morrow, there was a certain part of me that felt like I wanted to get the ‘straights’ in on it,” he says down the phone from a snow-covered Portland. James Mercer came to a realisation when he sat down to begin writing the fifth Shins album, Heartworms. It was just, man, I know I’m writing hooky shit… “It wasn’t a super-strategic thought. Working with Burton, he says, has had an impact on both his personal and professional life. I was really in a different place socially before I started working with Brian.” Contrarily, Heartworms saw Mercer working predominantly alone in a production capacity for the first time since 2001’s Oh Inverted World. “And I think that disappointment with sort of maybe putting out an olive branch to the wider world and saying, hey, I’m a songwriter who’s accessible, and it not being received the way I wanted… The Oregon-based band’s last album, Port of Morrow, proved their most commercially successful yet, largely thanks to its lead single (Simple Song) and the momentum …

St Patrick’s weekend roundup: Parades galore, with trad and bandslams in the mix

Gardaí have warned there will be a “zero tolerance” approach to underage and on-street drinking across all parades and festivals today. Funfairs will be open at Merrion Square and Custom House Quay from Friday to Sunday, and a treasure hunt will start from City Hall on Saturday morning. Spraoi performers Charles Jacob and Nicholas Kavanagh put the finishing touches to their floats and costumes at Broadstone Depot in Dublin. Gardaí have also advised patrons to be aware of their surroundings and belongings as pickpockets often operate on the margins of large public gatherings. A number of guided tours and arts exhibitions have been announced, while the prawn festival in Howth and the Spirit of Dublin Craft and Food Fair at Teeling’s Distillery are the main gastronomic attractions of the weekend. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins Rolling street closures will affect routes in Dublin up until 6pm on Friday, with areas around Parnell Square, O’Connell Street, Dame Street, Christchurch, Clanbrassil Street, Kevin Street and Stephen’s Green primarily affected. Free family concert Galway city will host its own free family concert at Eyre Square following the parade on Friday, and a charity cycle which will be launched by guest of honour Sean Kelly has been organised for Sunday. ADVERTISEMENT Transatlantic adventurer Gavan Hennigan will lead Galway’s St Patrick’s parade. The Kilkenny Tradfest is expected to draw a large crowd with music and dance sessions across the city until Sunday, while up to 50,000 people are expected to attend the Limerick International Band Championship on Sunday. Eleanor McEvoy is one of the headline performers at this year’s Kilkenny Tradfest. Barrier controls operated by gardaí and Dublin City Council will again be imposed at access points to Temple Bar, where there will be an enhanced police presence to patrol for illegal drinking and anti-social behaviour. Photograph: Don Moloney/Press 22 Ireland’s largest regional parade in Limerick starts at noon; this year’s theme is “Our stories, this is where we belong”. The Dublin Bay Prawn Festival, Tradfest in Kilkenny and the Limerick International Band Championship are among a host of events set to take place across the country to mark St Patrick’s weekend. Galway will celebrate its 114th instalment of the local parade, led this year by transatlantic adventurer Gavan Hennigan. Elsewhere, the Waterford parade is due to begin at 1pm and will proceed through the Quay and the Mall. As always, the parades will form the …