Rock’n’roll guitarist Chuck Berry dies aged 90

The department said Berry’s family has requested privacy “during this time of bereavement”. He was convicted two years later, after an initial conviction was dismissed because of a judge’s repeated racial slurs, and spent 20 months in prison, an experience which his friends said changed the musician’s demeanour. The legendary guitarist Chuck Berry, who merged blues and swing into the phenomenon of early rock’n’roll, died on Saturday aged 90, according to Missouri police. Remembering a 1964 tour with Berry, the guitarist Carl Perkins told a journalist he “never saw a man so changed”. “It wasn’t just jail. Berry was born in a middle-class neighbourhood of St Louis in 1926 and picked up the guitar in high school. It was those years of one-nighters: grinding it out like that can kill a man. But I figure it was mostly jail.” (Guardian service) He recorded some of his most famous hits in the 1950s, including Rock & Roll Music, Roll Over Beethoven, Johnny B Goode, Maybellene and School Day. Berry’s music was hugely influential around the world. “Inside the home, first responders observed an unresponsive man and immediately administered life-saving techniques,” the police department said. “Unfortunately, the 90-year-old man could not be revived and was pronounced deceased at 1.26pm.” Officer Nate Bolin confirmed to the Guardian that Berry, whose full name was Charles Edward Anderson Berry Sr, had died. St Charles County police said in a post on Facebook they responded to a medical emergency at a home at approximately 12.40pm local time. John Lennon famously said: “If you had to give Rock ‘n’ Roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry.” ADVERTISEMENT In 1959, Berry was arrested in St Louis on charges relating to a 14-year-old girl, whom authorities said he had transported across state lines for the purposes of prostitution. “He had been an easy-going guy before, the kinda guy who’d jam in dressing rooms, sit and swap licks and jokes,” Perkins said. His break came in 1955 when he met blues musician Muddy Waters and producer Leonard Chess in Chicago, and for the rest of the decade Berry blended the country and blues songs of the south with pop sensibilities starting to echo on the radio. As a teenager he was arrested for attempted robbery and served three years in form school, after which he worked in an assembly line at a General Motors factory. He turned to …

UCC engineer elected Royal Irish Academy president

Prof Patrick M Shannon was also elected as academy secretary. Mr Kennedy was elected unopposed, succeeding historian Prof Mary E Daly who was elected as the academy’s first female president in 2014. Past presidents of the academy include economist TK Whitaker (1985-7) and politician and climatologist James Dooge (1987-90). ADVERTISEMENT Members include President Michael D. Mr Kennedy said he was honoured to be elected and that he saw the academy as “playing a key advisory role in Ireland’s response to the challenges and opportunities of Brexit”. Mr Kennedy will serve a three-year term as president of the academy, seen as Ireland’s leading body of experts in the sciences and humanities. Mr Shannon is the founder of the Marine and Petroleum Geology research group in UCD. He received the inaugural Parsons Award in Engineering Sciences in 2001 and was elected as a member of the Academy in 2004. Higgins, and past presidents Mary McAleese and Mary Robinson. Professor of Microelectronic Engineering at UCC, and considered a world expert in wireless communications, Mr Kennedy is the academy’s first president from UCC. A graduate of UCD and the University of California at Berkeley, Mr Kennedy is one of Ireland’s leading engineers whose research has been funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Research Council, the academy said. University College Cork (UCC) academic Prof Michael Peter Kennedy has been elected the 56th President of the Royal Irish Academy. He won UCC’s Invention of the Year Award in 2011 and led the development of the US-Ireland Research Innovation Awards in 2014/15, a joint initiative of the Royal Irish Academy and the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland. His main research is in the areas of basin analysis and marine and petroleum geology, with special reference to the Irish offshore. Historian Roy Foster, political scientist Louise Richardson, economist and former governor of the Central Bank of Ireland Patrick Honohan, and economist and former director of the Economic and Social Research Institute Frances Ruane are also among the members.

Horizons and Bridges

Bridges The narrow road bridge up at Cushendun was where we’d gather when the day was done back in the fifties. A straight line, wherever the edge may be, confines and also opens up the sea to ancient shipwreck, drowned forest, lost continents and nuclear waste. Peaty water raced past trailing branches, tackle, and dispersed to late-summer tides at the sand spit. Stars shone in the leaves at night. Nobody clears the same horizon twice. Relatedly, beyond the blue horizon, beyond the rising and declining sun are more horizons, and among real waves the line recedes to infinite alternatives before the final hot sand or pack ice. Girls on the bridge, men at the nets, seagulls planing in and out of the Antrim hills – it was one of those lasting primal scenes in sparkling definition, glimpsed again from boardwalks on the Thames and Seine, high bridges over gorges and ravines or the one linking Crane’s two shores to prove bright theorem and entelechy from above dockside, freighter and barge, the brief pedestrianism of the quotidian life; sun on a hundred windows, icy wings, a rainbow shining in a flight of strings. You hear a different music of the spheres depending where you stand on these quiet shores. Horizons Night wind – a continual, baffled aspirate – wanders the water like a vagrant spirit seeking repose but there is no repose till morning, when the tide withdraws from exposed depths to the southwest with its imaginary Islands of the Blest.

What’s Irish for ‘Billionaire Boy’? David Walliams as Gaeilge

His twin obsessions – the sea and “unexplained mysteries” – mask his loneliness as a bullied kid at school and his fears about his mother’s chronic illness. Bright, cheerful and playful, this is a visual and verbal treat. You’ve heard about Darwin’s theory of evolution? The touch of magic realism blends easily with the real-world concerns of family life and schoolyard bullying, and Billy’s voice is distinctive and authentic from the first page. Each is rendered beautifully. Asked why she’s a pessimist, Petula has a compelling answer: “It’s just common sense. The ways in which her parents have dealt with – or avoided dealing with – the tragedy is handled with a light touch; her mother’s obsessive adoption of stray cats is entertaining but also poignant, and the slight absurdities take the edge off the serious subject matter. ADVERTISEMENT “I was a water baby, a bath baby, a slithery pink thing. Triangle intends to “play a sneaky trick on Square”, but it’s not going nearly as well as he imagined. On the day Mary G Thompson’s Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee (Chicken House, £7.99) begins, one of them returns home. The humorous, conversational tone of the original shines through, with Tony Ross’s illustrations on hand to assist any readers whose Irish may be a bit wobbly. It won’t come out.” For years she has been Chelsea, a toy to be played with, held captive by a man with an unsettling obsession with dolls. And she is the one whose whereabouts everyone demands of Amy after her solo return to the normal world, albeit a world fractured for the two families. Six years ago two girls disappeared from a small Oregon town. While Billy gathers tales of inexplicable events in the Bermuda Triangle, Petula, the teenage protagonist of Susin Nielsen’s Optimists Die First (Andersen Press, £12.99) keeps a scrapbook of unforeseeable disasters. “I choke on the name. The novel has already been praised by David Almond – whose influence is felt throughout – and much more is doubtlessly on the way. Amy arrives on her mother’s doorstep at the age of 16 unable to even identify herself. A CD of the music is included, and the focus on nature makes this one that teachers are likely to bring into the classroom. Optimists miss warning signs.” Overcoming anxiety need not mean turning into a Pollyanna. After all, bad things do still happen in …

‘Make America Great Again is not a good poem. It’s a stupid poem ’

I’m from Boston originally, and in the Boston Globe I got a spread. Perhaps her best known work, the brilliant memoir-like novel Chelsea Girls, was republished in 2015. I was always told what to think and what to do.” We’re talking in Dublin, where Myles will later give a reading for the first time, in a joint event between Poetry Ireland and Trinity College. You were so ‘there’. It was crazy. .” Myles’s eyebrows rise. Myles’s poems flow freely, cascading down the page, and are often chatty, funny, sexy, urgent and brilliant. “Trump is such a bad poet. I just didn’t understand the chip that older women have on their shoulders about the fact that they have been devalued for 20 years, and they’re seeing hot crews of young girls pouring in, full of excitement and ambition. It’s a real education problem, that we don’t have that exchange, and men do. ADVERTISEMENT “People were joking, ‘What, do you own stock in the New York Times?’ ” Myles says, laughing. There was no social media. “Greatly. But on the other hand I love when somebody says, ‘I didn’t know your work until I heard it on that TV show.’ “I’m really a child of the 1950s and 1960s, which was very much the golden age of TV. I thought I was having my moment.” Does Myles feel vindicated now that the spotlight is growing brighter around her? I’ve certainly experienced some hero worship, but I’ve also experienced some takedowns. “I can’t tell you the amount of people who want me to write articles about ageing. Of course. That languishing in the corners could also refer to her career and persona, like a pool player hanging in the shadows, waiting to shark the chumps when the time is right. Nobody wanted anything from you. I remember him telling me when I was pretty young, ‘You’re going to get famous when you’re really old, like when you’re 50.’ And I was like, Oh my God, that’s the worst thing anybody has said. It’s like if you call me a punk poet you’re not saying dyke, you’re not saying working class, which is not that I want you to say those things, but you’re not talking about vernacular. I managed to move to the other column through the influence of friends who were starting to do something different.” We talk a lot about Hillary …

Who wants to live forever? Transhumanism’s promise of eternal life

Illustration: Mehau Kulyk/Science Photo Library/Getty O’Connell first came across transhumanism 10 years ago, when writing for the now defunct Mongrel magazine. When I got married I thought, The first part of my life is the part before I got married and I didn’t die, and the second part is the part where I have been married and I die.” He laughs. I assume he will follow through on these in his next book, which is about prepping for the fall of civilisation: “It’s always the apocalypse one way or another.” His son recently asked what happens when people die. We’re not a ghost in the machine.” Would he like to be uploaded to a computer to live forever? “Also, it was perfect for the book.” Patrick Freyne is interviewing Mark O’Connell as part of the Mountains to Sea DLR Book Festival, at the LexIcon in Dún Laoghaire, on Saturday, March 25th, at 7pm; mountainstosea.ie. He has visited warehouses filled with frozen heads, met people who implant technology in their own bodies, and toured the United States in a coffin-shaped camper van with a man who was campaigning to be president. It defused the tension around death.” O’Connell laughs. The American political philosopher Francis Fukuyama “described transhumanism as the most dangerous idea in the world”. And it worked. Mark O’Connell has spent the past few years meeting people who want to upload their minds to robots and never die. To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death is published by Granta Books I wonder if Flann O’Brien was around now, would he be writing about computers?” In another chapter O’Connell travels with Zoltan Istvan, a transhumanist theorist and “life-size Ken doll”, in a camper van designed to look like a coffin, as Istvan campaigns for the US presidency on an anti-death ticket. “This is 80 per cent chewing, 20 per cent thinking,” he says after a while. “The one thing I came out of writing this book completely shitting myself about was the employment implications of this technology.” The destruction of jobs, he says, will happen soon. “There’s a sense that these people are off the reservation,” says O’Connell, “but at the same time these are the people creating the future. He worries about who owns the servers on to which our data and personalities might be uploaded (few transhumanists fret …

From the archive: Major and minor stars showing their concern

ADVERTISEMENT Those innocent days when charities were emblems of selflessness and celebrities, rather than being permanently switched on, came out occasionally – like stars – to save the world. The Sligo band Those Nervous Animals clearly weren’t all that nervous – they’re still on the go. After that, it gets trickier. Penned by Paul Cleary of The Blades, Show Some Concern bumped Phil Collins’s Easy Lover out of the Number One singles spot for a couple of weeks in March 1985, before being itself bumped out by the truly dreadful We Are The World. The new wave band Auto da Fe weren’t so lucky; they broke up, and singer Gay Woods returned to the British folk act Steeleye Span. Maybe you can identify Ray Lynam, Red Hurley, Johnny Duhan and others. The song itself is, of course, still doing the rounds on the interweb. As for the faces, some have survived in the music business, some haven’t. “Irish music stars, major and minor, filled the Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin,” reads the rather cruel caption. Our photo shows the assembled music heads giving the Concern recording plenty of welly at Windmill Lane. – but as charity anthems go, it’s pretty presentable even now. How many of these songsters can we put names to nowadays? A h, the Eighties. But we can see Twink, Mary Black, Maxi, Flo McSweeney, Linda Martin. Soon after Bob Geldof and Midge Ure did their Band Aid thing in the UK with Do They Know It’s Christmas?, Irish musicians got together to record a salvation anthem of their own. Well, we’re not prepared to adjudicate on that one. It didn’t solve the problems of Africa once and for all – did we really, even in more innocent times, think it was that easy? And what heads: we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, 80s hair simply cannot be beaten for comic effect. We can’t locate Christy Moore or Freddie White, though they definitely took part.

In a Word . . . Bell

Bells, being the operative word. Now there’s an intriguing word, campanology. The bells. It’s not. “As a woman and a Christian,” she had to do something. / As well as if a manor of thine own / Or of thine friend’s were. Mary McAleese welcomed the idea as “a timely, simple but profound initiative which I hope will be copied by many churches throughout Europe and other parts of the world”. / Therefore, send not to know / For whom the bell tolls, / It tolls for thee. / If a clod be washed away by the sea, / Europe is the less. You might be forgiven for thinking it was a study of over-the-top behaviour by particularly effete gay men. ADVERTISEMENT To which Dean Jansson would add: “Ring out misogyny, hate, xenophobia and fear. They will also underline the sentiment of John Donne’s great poem, that: No man is an island, / Entire of itself. She will launch the newly repaired cathedral bells, resoundingly, at 11am. Wherever bells ring out. It will be, as the Dean said, “an appropriate response to the cacophony of hatred which gets more frightening every day across Europe” in attitudes to refugees and immigrants. The bells today will be “ringing a message of love, hope and inclusion that we hope will bring comfort to the men, women and children whose lives are blighted by the hatred and bigotry of those who would deny them their dignity and rights as human beings”, she said. There Ireland’s former president Mary McAleese will mark this St Patrick’s weekend in a special way. The bells. Ring in solidarity, truth and justice.” Bell from Middle English bellen, Old English bellan or belle, to roar. An idea of Dean of Waterford Maria Jansson, the pealing cathedral bells will be accompanied by ringing church bells far and wide as an assurance to the stranger that he or she is welcome. / Each man’s death diminishes me, / For I am involved in mankind. Tomorrow witnesses a unique event at the Church of Ireland Christ Church Cathedral in Waterford. This will not be just any old bell ringing. / As well as if a promontory were. / Each is a piece of the continent, / A part of the main. Unless they are over-the-top effete gay men with bells and whistles. She reminded people that St Patrick “was an immigrant to Ireland …

Celebrity children’s books: the good, the bad and the Galloway

It may be his best yet.” ADVERTISEMENT One to watch out for in 2017 is Yoga Babies by Fearne Cotton: “It is coming out in September. A successful children’s story does not broadcast, it does not preach. Political figures who have previously turned their hands to writing for children include the former US presidents Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter, the former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd and the former British minister Norman Tebbit. I’ll admit I was a bit nervous reading Clary’s first book, The Bolds, but it’s a fantastic story.” Paul Black, who’s currently on a book tour with Clary, is a publicist who has worked with both Walliams and David Baddiel, who recently won a Laugh Out Loud, or Lollie, award for his book The Parent Agency. It’s the dilettantism, as if writing for children was so easy anyone could do it.” Galloway responded on Twitter by indicating that he did not know who Ness was. “Above all it needs to be a great story – be it funny, be it adventurous, be it full of heart. Galloway says he has signed a deal for the first book in a series, Red Molucca the Good Pirate, about “a husband and father whose family (and dog) pirate alongside him. Children will respond to a message, but it shouldn’t be too front and centre,” he says. It’s all about a family of hyenas who are passing themselves off as someone else. Storytelling is stand-up in a book form. It interacts, it asks, it respects.” He added, “It’s not the subject matter that bothers me. So it’s got a great message about being yourself, and you can hear Julian Clary’s voice in it when you’re reading,” the author and curator Sarah Webb says. Clary, Walliams and Baddiel work because “they’re funny – they come from comedy, and they use that storytelling to great success. “Who he?” he tweeted at the BBC. A kind of Robin Hood of the high seas.” No details about the identity of the publisher are forthcoming yet. I didn’t think the story was very good, and she went a bit too hard on the Kabbalistic messaging,” says Paul Black. The funniest bits are when they don’t rein themselves in. In 500 words or less, it has to have a full story, full characters, full plot, and it has to appeal to children and adults – and that …