Nigel Farage and Piers Morgan’s Rainbow coalition ruined my childhood memories

This week, after eluding the villainous TV executives once more, Kelly gets the charismatic and socially conscious Liam Cunningham, star of Game of Thrones and Hunger, to ruminate over his career and to make a case for activism and creativity, and the dignity of labour and general decency. He was once hit by a Volkswagen Beetle. “You all laughed at me,” he gobble-gobbles. “There isn’t a lot of evil people out there but there’s a huge amount of complacent people,” says Cunningham, clearly part of the resistance. Then George/Morgan asks Zippy/Farage: “How difficult is it to be married to Nigel Farage?” Everything makes sense for a brief moment. This is a love poem in two parts. “Ah, how delightful, Zippy and George from Rainbow are back!” I say, as I turn on the telly to see a pink sycophantic hippo-thing coaxing gibberish from the wide zip-like mouth of a yellow, goggle-eyed wonk. But he has never known doubt. At this point, both Farage and Morgan’s man-suits burst with smugness and their spores of self-regard disperse across the land, contaminating the crops and blotting out the sun. Sadly, I am mistaken. In the ensuing darkness, I begin penning an apology to Zippy and George and the creators of Rainbow. Oh dear! “You’re not laughing now.” ADVERTISEMENT Tattooed on her arm At one point Morgan replaces the image of Farage’s face with the image of a woman who has had Farage’s face tattooed on her arm. .”, a show that must have been commissioned in the desperate hope that the ellipses would be followed by the words “the jaws of a yawning rubbish-compactor” or, more simply, “a bear”. They are proud of their freakish spawn. Okay, now I’m nauseous. And so, in my disappointment, I watch as this damned duo converse surrounded by a studio-full of hooting goons, which is how Morgan likes to have all his conversations, while sitting before a terrifyingly huge picture of Farage’s face, which is how Farage likes to have all pictures of his face. But no, George is asking about Zippy’s actual wife, a real life German woman at whom Zippy chants “two World Wars and one World Cup” during football matches (seriously), and who has, over the years, put up with reported infidelities and more disturbingly, I’m sure, the sheer existence of Nigel Farage as a marital reality. So he doesn’t mind this line of …

Jesus, Navan and Joseph

Our talk was mostly of football but, as the referee blew his whistle to signal half-time, Richard turned to me and said: “Did you ever think that the apostles might have taken Jesus literally when he said, ‘Eat my body and drink my blood’?” Nothing unusual in that comment, we’d been having these kinds of conversations since we first met as young boys in St Clement’s College in Limerick in 1966. There is no right or wrong means of surviving, there is only the act of survival. It reminded me of the vanished souls who appear and disappear from the pages of life and literature – among them The Captain; Jude; Blue and Laz. And as the spring came on and summer arrived the stories opened out into experienced and dreamt countrysides – parts of the United States; Spain; Palestine; Ireland and London became settings for the tales these men were telling. It involved a lot of walking and some researching and then more walking. Finding 12 voices to tell 13 stories can be difficult. Because his followers saw him as that, as a leader, a man worth following, a capable tactician and a philosopher, a man who made most of them feel safe and secure. Why The Captain? A novel, a collection of poems and a play followed in the next couple of years but always the figures of the 12 men and their leader were there in the shadows. ADVERTISEMENT Once We Sang Like Other Men review: The 12 as ordinary people Once We Sang Like Other Men, a short story by John MacKenna Joseph, by John MacKenna That leader, his step-son, had never been named by Joseph, instead he referred to him as the little fellow and, later, the young fellow. When the 12 stories were done, I realised there was still something missing and so the 13th and final part of the book was completed. In it I returned to Peter, who had given the first version of events, and I allowed him to deal, at last, with a weight he had carried all his life. Once We Sang Like Other Men began its life more than 10 years ago on a drab, wet spring afternoon in Pairc Tailteann in Navan. The process of writing took more than two years. And so I set off on a journey of writing and imagining. It allowed me to …

Robert Silvers, New York Review of Books founding editor, dies at 87

Rea S Hederman, the publisher of the Review, confirmed his death. She dismissed the reviewing in American newspapers and magazines as tepid, perfunctory, shallow and, in a word, noncritical. It later became a best-selling book, Salvador. A precocious student, he left high school in Rockville Centre at 15 and enrolled in the University of Chicago. Recapturing its militant spirit of the 1960s, he filled its pages with long, scathing critiques of the government’s diplomacy, its conduct of the wars and its record on civil liberties. Jason Epstein, an editor at Random House, and his wife, Barbara Epstein, a freelance editor, had proposed the idea of a new publication in discussions with Hardwick and her husband, the poet Robert Lowell. “That’s an extraordinary opportunity in life. Gathering in the offices of Harper’s at night, Silvers and his co-conspirators worked their way through stacks of review books and compiled a list of ideal reviewers. Despite its self-image as an arena of intellectual combat, it could be staid, even boring. “He was not only sympathetic, but you knew that he would get it, and not try to rewrite because he really wanted to be a writer. Silvers could blow hot and cold on his writers, courting them assiduously, then dropping them without explanation or apology. An introduction to George Plimpton led to a post as managing editor of the newly created Paris Review, a journal in some disarray and badly in need of an editorial guiding hand. “How Bob edited Salvador was by constantly nudging me toward updates on the situation and by pointing out weaker material,” Didion told the Paris Review in 2006. They had in mind a literary review on the model of the Times Literary Supplement in London, or the literary section of the British magazine The New Statesman under VS Pritchett: a forum for writers to discuss books, ideas and politics at length, provocatively. When a trial issue of the Review was published on February 1st, 1963, many of those names were in its pages, writing free of charge: Kazin, McCarthy, Miller, Norman Mailer, Dwight Macdonald, Irving Howe, Gore Vidal, Susan Sontag, William Styron. His myriad enthusiasms found their way into a publication that was edited for an audience of one. In other words, it was the travel piece carried to its logical and not very interesting conclusion. He seemed to have little interest in younger writers and, particularly …

The Jesus and Mary Chain: ‘Don’t ask about 1985. I can’t remember’

You never made any money from touring back then and it was all about the record. Scarlett Johansson sang backing vocals on Just Like Honey at Coachella in 2012, a song that soundtracked the climactic scene of Lost in Translation. “I can’t remember last week. “It’s better than it has been for a long, long time. Meanwhile, Bilinda Butcher of My Bloody Valentine guested on the same song at Primavera in 2013. I’d say it hasn’t been this good since the 1980s to be honest, which is very weird territory for us. Bonnie alleged that their mother was cremated because it was cheaper, despite wanting to be buried. That’s sad, but true. It was like a machine back then and it wasn’t particularly enjoyable. The Wilson brothers actually make the Reids look harmonious, as Brian and the other Wilsons still bitterly contest rights to the original name. “We quietly took it aside and booked a rehearsal room and tried it out for a week or two to see if it could fly, and it sounded great. “He then stamped on the cake.” The Beach Boys The Jesus and Mary Chain do a mean version of Surfin’ USA by the Beach Boys. “Fuck, don’t ask me,” he laughs. “Things are good at the moment,” Jim answers. Psychocandy is the crystallisation of a period of time, as was Darklands, and so on, but the actual events that surround them remain very hazy.” The Reid brothers: There are songs on Psychocandy we never played live This recent burst of Mary Chain activity comes on the back of the 30th anniversary tour for Psychocandy in 2015. There are songs on Psychocandy we never played live, for reasons none of us can remember.” I was doing my best to act all cool but all my children kept saying: ‘Da Da, I can see your baldy bits’ Prior to this, The Jesus and Mary Chain played one major festival show a year. Whether you wanted to tour or not, there always seemed to be someone telling us we had no choice. “Just as I was about to cut the cake, Ray jumped on the table and made a speech about how wonderful he was,” the guitarist said. “A record helps crystallise memories. “We resisted it for a long time and for very good reasons. Now, it’s completely the other way round.” ADVERTISEMENT In Zoe Howe’s absorbing biography of …

Big names and three debuts on Kerry Group Novel of the Year Award shortlist

Goodies and baddies begin to emerge; there’s even a love interest. This year’s shortlist is: Inch Levels by Neil Hegarty (Head of Zeus) “Unsettling and thought-provoking, with just enough ambiguity and nuance to convince, this is a bold and well-crafted debut.” My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal ( Penguin, Random House) “A moving story of a child’s desperate desire to keep his fractured family together in early 1980s Britain. Perhaps the most notable novel to be overlooked is The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride. Neil Hegarty was born in Derry and studied English at Trinity College Dublin, receiving his PhD in 1998. In 1996 he was awarded the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and in 2007 he was awarded a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship. Conor O’Callaghan is from Newry, Co Down, and lives in Manchester. A heart-rending story of neglect.” The Wonder by Emma Donoghue (Picador) “The first two-thirds of The Wonder sets a superb pace, but in the final third it’s as if Donoghue novelist had had her pen taken off her by Donoghue the scriptwriter (Oscar-nominated earlier this year for her Room). He also wrote the non-fiction book Red Mist: Roy Keane and the Football Civil War (2004). She used to advise social services on the care of foster children, and has written training manuals on adoption and foster care. The five exceptional novels shortlisted for this year’s Award will undoubtedly further Ireland’s international reputation and proud literary tradition. Kit de Waal was born in Birmingham to an Irish mother, who was a foster carer, and a Caribbean father. The case of Anna O’Donnell comes to a close with significantly less poignancy and poetic justice than that of Sarah Jacob.” Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (Tramp Press) “The work of an author in the full maturity of his talent, Solar Bones climaxes in a passage of savage, Gnostic religiosity: the writing catches fire as we draw near to the void, pass over into death itself, and therein confront the truth that even in a fallen universe, when all distractions tumble away, the only adequate response to our being is astonishment.” Nothing on Earth by Conor O’Callaghan (Transworld) Conor O’Callaghan immediately stamps his authority on this extraordinary, low-key and pitch perfect novel and maintains effortless control in what is one of the most impressive pieces of Irish fiction writing since Neil Jordan’s The Dream of a Beast in …

Kilkenny Arts Festival announces programme for 2017

De Profundis is essentially a love letter, which was written between January and March 1896 to Lord Alfred Douglas while Wilde was imprisoned in Reading Gaol. The Dreaming the Sublime programme on Schubert will feature performances from Benjamin Appl, Ailish Tynan, Robin Tritschler, James Baillieu and Iain Burnside. Irish bassoonist, harpsichordist and conductor Peter Whelan and his baroque orchestra Ensemble Marsyas will perform three concerts focusing on Georg Handel’s time in Ireland, which led to the premiere of perhaps his most famous work, the Messiah. The festival will also present Stephen Rea performing Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis, with accompaniment from the Irish Chamber Orchestra and composer Neil Martin. For more information see kilkennyarts.ie. The late masterpieces of Schubert, Handel in Ireland, and Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis with Stephen Rea are among the highlights of this year’s Kilkenny Arts Festival. In recent years, the festival has focused largely on classical music, and this year is no exception. This year’s festival runs from August 11th to 20th. Recent programmes have featured the work of Beethoven, Mozart and Bach, and this year it is the turn of Schubert. Women are notable by their absence. The Irish Chamber Orchestra will perform with Jörg Widmann; Quatuor Mosaïques will perform Schubert’s late String Quartets and String Quintet; Christian Blackshaw will play his last three piano sonatas; the late Piano Trios and Piano Quintet will be performed by the Fidelio Trio; and the Irish Chamber Orchestra will play Schubert’s Death and the Maiden quartet. We have contacted the festival for a response, which will be added to this report when we have it. ADVERTISEMENT Also on the bill are a late-night recital of Dowland and other songs and airs with countertenor Iestyn Davies and lute player Thomas Dunford; and The Orthodox Spirit, a programme of Russian orthodox sacred music, including works by Rachmaninov, Stravinsky and Bortnyansky with Chamber Choir Ireland, conducted by Paul Hillier. Further details will be announced in June. An opening night gala will see Christian Curnyn return to Kilkenny with his Early Opera Company for a concert performance of Handel’s operatic masterpiece, Julius Caesar in Egypt. Soprano Ailish Tynan and Katherine Hunka, director of the Irish Chamber Orchestra, are the only two women mentioned in this early release of performers (more than 20 men are listed). There is no work by women on the bill so far.

Surimono: a visually sumptuous Japanese artform

Incidentally, for more of Hokusai, indeed to see some of the sketchbooks that may have been used as wrapping paper in the 19th century, you can visit Manga Hokusai Manga in Trinity (Trinity Long Room Hub, Arts and Humanities Research Institute, until April 1st). Back in 1917, recovering from a potentially fatal dose of Spanish flu, Beatty had travelled to Japan, acquired a number of superb painted albums and scrolls and gained a high regard for Japanese artistic prowess. He was much slower to warm to woodblock prints, though he could have purchased many at any stage. ADVERTISEMENT Beatty was a passionate collector. it only remains for me to go ‘crackers’”. The Art of Friendship: Japanese Surimono Prints Chester Beatty Library, Dublin Castle ***** When the Japanese woodblock prints known as ukiyo-e, or pictures of the floating world, began to appear in Europe early in the 19th century, they were not widely circulated. Subtleties abound, not only in the nuanced use of colour – as many as 10 blocks might be used for a single print, with an additional, calligraphic block for text – but also, for example, the complex, look-again use of embossing and other flourishes. Beyond that, he always prioritised the quality and condition of work in the collection. Crackers or not he eventually took the plunge and, for £4,250, which he considered a high price, he acquired “Approximately 620… Around this time he approached Hiller and asked him “to refine the collection and secure some additional works as required”. The word translates as “printed things”, and they were non-commercial, privately commissioned prints, incorporating verse and made for exchange between friends in poetry circles. When a selection of his Japanese prints was exhibited at Trinity College in May 1955, a small number or surimono were included almost as an afterthought. The Japanese flair for graphic design evident in ukiyo-e and surimono undoubtedly contributed to the more recent development of manga comic books. Japanese Colour Prints”. When it came to consolidating a representative collection of Japanese prints in the 1950s, he enlisted the advice of an expert, Jack Hillier, generally recognised as the leading authority in Europe – and a self-taught one at that. Redfern details how, in 1954, Beatty was offered the chance to purchase an entire collection, that of Dr M Cooper. Not only were they printed on flimsy paper – there are several accounts of prints, …

The Jesus and Mary Chain: ‘Don’t ask about 1985. I can’t remember last week’

You never made any money from touring, it was all about the record. Act all cool “Primavera was lovely,” Reid says. “I can’t remember last week. Now, it’s completely the other way round “Now, if someone offers us a festival, we do it if we want, and this is how we approach live work. The Jesus and Mary Chain play the Academy, Dublin on April 7   Sibling Rivalries – Blood Relatives in Bands Oasis “Liam is rude, arrogant, intimidating and lazy,” Noel Gallagher once said about his little brother. Hardly a punch has been thrown.” Damage and Joy is out on March 24. Psychocandy is the crystallisation of a period of time, as was Darklands, and so on, but the actual events that surround them remain very hazy.” The Reid brothers: There are songs on Psychocandy we never played live This recent burst of Mary Chain activity comes on the back of the 30th anniversary tour for Psychocandy in 2015. I’d say it hasn’t been this good since the 1980s to be honest, which is very weird territory for us. “All the rules that existed back then have been completely turned on their head. People were always cracking the whip. Bonnie alleged that their mother was cremated because it was cheaper, despite wanting to be buried. Meanwhile, Bilinda Butcher of My Bloody Valentine guested on the same song at Primavera in 2013. “Fuck, don’t ask me,” he laughs. Ruth, Anita and Bonnie Pointer had a nuclear fall out over their mother’s burial wishes. He’s like a man with a fork in a world of soup.” The Kinks The Kinks’ Ray Davies (front) and Dave Davies (wearing hat) have always been fond of a row. “It’s better than it has been for a long, long time. “We quietly took it aside and booked a rehearsal room and tried it out for a week or two to see if it could fly, and it sounded great. How are relations between Jim and William at present? Scarlett Johansson sang backing vocals on Just Like Honey at Coachella in 2012, a song that soundtracked the climactic scene of Lost in Translation. Your belly is over your belt.” Even though Jim and William now play a lot more than one show a year, Reid is a firm believer in touring at their own pace. “I was with my kids. Whether you wanted to tour or not, …