Porn and the Angelus? It must be Brendan O’Connor’s Cutting Edge

Now in its second series, the theme of Cutting Edge is to conduct a merry post mortem on the week: one early section is entitled On the Slab. 1 “Enda is a streetfighter. Bonk. Everyone will have their top five FHE utterances, and here are mine. “He’s the sexiest Pope of all time, for young people.” 3. “I think that was very interesting and enlightening,” says Brendan O’Connor, more than generously, as he draws one contribution to a close. “I have so many gay friends.” ADVERTISEMENT My suspicion is that Healy Eames now counts Al Porter among her vast gay entourage, and by the end of the programme, I’m not entirely sure she’s wrong. “Coming up, we’ll be talking about porn and the Angelus.” That’s a pretty good summation of how Brendan O’Connor’s Cutting Edge (RTE One, Wednesday, 9.35pm) makes its lively toll: Bong. “I have many, many gay friends.” 4. “Who died in the media this week?” asks O’Connor, and as his contributors mention Enda Kenny’s White House performance and the Pope’s advice to young people, the metaphor shrivels. This is the star of the first episode, former Fine Gael senator, Marriage Equality opponent and Oireachtas sexting expert Fidelma Healy Eames, who, in an era of cynical trolling, stands out for the absolute honesty of her incoherent beliefs. When O’Connor, who has become a skilled and subtle moderator, turns a conversation about adoption (Healy Eames has adopted children) towards the rights of gay parents to do likewise, she is sincere in her approval. Comedian Al Porter champions the “Facebook Generation” as models of progressive change, and in his frank discussion of personal depression and porn use, he displays no interest in its privacy settings. The other boys aren’t.” 2. It’s a mordant approach that could only seem profoundly awkward if, say, a major, complex Irish political figure had passed away one day earlier. But the Twitter responses, dividing along predicable lines, aren’t close to the appeal of the show. Whatever she is, she’s trending hard. “She’s a very fair woman,” says Porter. Sunday Times journalist Eithne Shortall is called upon to both atomise and represent those mythic Millennials while regarding, with utmost scepticism, the third panellist. “I applaud you, the fact that you’re gay.” 5. The deeper incision The Cutting Edge makes, though, is in its choice of panellists, lustily calibrated to rally your sympathies and push your buttons. …

Brendan O’Connor’s Cutting Edge: give and take between the bong and the bonk

Comedian Al Porter champions the “Facebook Generation” as models of progressive change, and in his frank discussion of personal depression and porn use, he displays no interest in its privacy settings. The deeper incision The Cutting Edge makes, though, is in its choice of panellists, lustily calibrated to rally your sympathies and push your buttons. “I think that was very interesting and enlightening,” says Brendan O’Connor, more than generously, as he draws one contribution to a close. “Coming up, we’ll be talking about porn and the Angelus.” That’s a pretty good summation of how Brendan O’Connor’s Cutting Edge (RTE One, Wednesday, 9.35pm) makes its lively toll: Bong. This is not a shouting match, there is a modicum of genuine give and take, and although it loses focus over a long hour (a late, serious topic on educating children about porn is almost completely missed), it is a talk show that actually demonstrates listening. Whatever she is, she’s trending hard. “I applaud you, the fact that you’re gay.” 5. This is the star of the first episode, former Fine Gael senator, Marriage Equality opponent and Oireachtas sexting expert Fidelma Healy Eames, who, in an era of cynical trolling, stands out for the absolute honesty of her incoherent beliefs. If ever a show knew how to bait, hook and crumb-coat its viewers, this is it, a roundtable discussion, on the gabbier end of current affairs, broadcast live before a studio audience. “I have many, many gay friends.” 4. When O’Connor, who has become a skilled and subtle moderator, turns a conversation about adoption (Healy Eames has adopted children) towards the rights of gay parents to do likewise, she is sincere in her approval. “She’s a very fair woman,” says Porter. It’s a mordant approach that could only seem profoundly awkward if, say, a major, complex Irish political figure had passed away one day earlier. Everyone will have their top five FHE utterances, and here are mine. Bonk. The other boys aren’t.” 2. Sunday Times journalist Eithne Shortall is called upon to both atomise and represent those mythic Millennials while regarding, with utmost scepticism, the third panellist. These days, that’s a pretty sharp tactic. “I have so many gay friends.” ADVERTISEMENT My suspicion is that Healy Eames now counts Al Porter among her vast gay entourage, and by the end of the programme, I’m not entirely sure she’s wrong. “Who died in the …

The xx and Duran Duran to headline Electric Picnic

These ranged in price from €320 up to more than €500. Electric Picnic weekend tickets were almost immediately available on the secondary ticketing sites Seatwave and Viagogo. The original ticket price is €240. The festival also sold out within minutes of going on sale. Some fans who were on the site earlier and stayed in the online queuing system were able to secure tickets. At approximately 9.05am, anyone coming to the Ticketmaster site was told that tickets were no longer available. A version of the festival lineup had leaked on social media hours before the main announcement. The rest of the acts announced for the festival are: The Pretenders, Rag ‘N’Bone Man, Band of Horses, Michael Kiwanuka, Floating Points (solo live), Kiasmos, Vince Staples, Mano Le tough, Young Fathers, Krept and Konan, Section Boyz, Perfume Genius, Pond, Car Seat Headerest, Japandroids, Parquet Courts, Real Estate , Phantogram, All We Are, Hudson Taylor, Kelly Lee Owens and Goat Girl. The majority of the tickets had been sold in pre-sales. And here are the rest … #ElectricPicnic pic.twitter.com/K6rPFXJs5D— Laurence Mackin (@LaurenceMackin) March 23, 2017 Annie Mac and The Divine Comedy are among the Irish acts on the lineup. The xx, Duran Duran, Chaka Khan and A Tribe Called Quest are among the main headliners at this year’s Electric Picnic festival. Among the other main acts on the bill are Interpol, Run the Jewels, London Grammar, Madness and Father John Misty. Electric Picnic sells out in under five minutes

Videos of the Week: Watch Natalie Portman’s baby bump kick days before birth

I’m either about to have a heart attack or Nick Berry is set to launch a TV comeback. “And I’m dancing to your heartbeat.” Okay, the heart references are getting spooky at this point. It’s a moving image. The Dublin singer-songwriter describes it as “a tale of realisation, of waking up on a dirty couch and realising some mistakes cannot be undone.” Granted, there are no easy answers in life, Paddy… but have you ever heard of something called Fabreeze? BLONDIE Long Time ★★★★ BMG “I can give you a heartbeat,” sings Debbie Harry, picking up on an apparent cardio theme in this week’s singles. At one point, her unborn kid can be seen kicking through the walls of her swollen stomach. She gave birth just a few days after this was filmed. The New Wave greats will be supporting crappy old Phil Collins at the Aviva Statium in Dublin this summer, as part of his Not Dead Yet tour (aka Blondie’s But If We Were, We’d Be Spinning in Our Graves tour.) CLEAN BANDIT ft. PADDY HANNA Sunday Milkshake ★★★ Trout Records Debuting online earlier this week, Sunday Milkshake is an excellent solo single from Grand Pocket Orchestra frontman Paddy Hanna. “I can give you a friend.” Co-written by Dev Hynes of Blood Orange, this track from Blondie’s forthcoming Pollinator album echoes the band’s classic 1979 single Heart of Glass in it’s opening bars. JAMES BLAKE My Willing Heart ★★★ Polydor “When I see my willing heart, how will I know?” This track, from James Blake’s The Colour in Anything album, is over a year old. ZARA LARSSON Symphony ★★★★ Atlantic “Your song is on repeat,” sings Zara Larsson, on the third single from Clean Bandit’s forthcoming So Good album. In it, a heavily pregnant Natalie Portman is filmed floating underwater. ADVERTISEMENT But the ethereal accompanying video, directed by Anna Rose Holmer, is brand new.

Electric Picnic sells out in under five minutes

Electric Picnic has sold out in less than five minutes after tickets went on sale at 9am on Thursday morning. Before an act was announced, though, all tickets were sold out for the weekend festival, which takes place from Friday, September 1st to Sunday, September 3rd. The event is due to announce its line-up at an event at noon today. The original price for a weekend ticket is €240. Fans were quick to take to Twitter to voice their dismay, and this latest frustration is likely to lead to more calls for controls on the secondary ticket market. Tickets were already available on secondary ticket markets Seatwave and Viagogo within minutes of selling out on Ticketmaster for between €323 and €500. The event’s capacity is 55,000. More to come …

‘It’s not unusual to find the actors playing the lovers actually fall in love’

Can’t we accept things for the way they are? Since the play debuted, with Billie Piper in the role of Connie, Prebble’s observations didn’t stop there. Is it love, they wonder, or is it the drug? But her play leaves room for productions “to mould the text around themselves”. Prebble invokes mythic forbears and admits that the names allude to Tristan and Iseult, the archetypal star-crossed romantics, but Prebble’s names carry echoes of emotional states too: Tristesse and Contentment. Her text begins, with sardonic wit, by specificing her characters’ precise heights and weights, less a tyrannical casting demand than a joke about the invasiveness of clinical observation. With The Effect, the subject matter is love, but also, on a minor key, depression as well. On stage, at least, Prebble allows for more room to manoeuvre. “What is this feeling called love?” Dreamers have long asked the question, with no real intention of finding an answer, but eventually the scientists replied. It comes back to free will and determinism, she adds, or whether we rush to act on a feeling or stand still to question it. It is worth examining. That’s basically the experience of watching theatre.” The second reason was more personal. And those are three really strong ingredients for making people fall in love. “My experience is that there is no point in doing a theatre piece if you don’t allow quite a bit of collaboration,” she says. One is a clear-eyed realist (and mildly depressive) Connie, the other is a impetuously optimistic (borderline manic) Tristan, who both submit to a drug trial for “agent RLU37”, a kind of mood enhancer, and end up falling passionately, even torturously for each other. The illusion of theatre, though, seems more robust. It’s to depict an illusion, but also to shatter that illusion.” She is currently working on a play about “the golden age of magic”, which follows the marriage between a magician and his assistant as conjuring gravitates from live entertainment to recorded forms, which she refers to as “the death of liveness”. It can sound like a writer’s prerogative, to understand everything. Prebble, who recognises, as the play does, that realists tend towards mild depression (happiness in life and love, psychologists agree, requires a degree of self-delusion), tends to identify with Connie’s position, “who prizes reality”. What does it matter, he says, if we are led by chemicals in our …

Dee Forbes lays out broad vision for RTÉ but without details

Deckchair-rearranging None of this matters very much to the audience, however. The commitments made by Forbes in a fluid and confident interview with Sean O’Rourke on his Radio One programme were high on management-speak but low on nitty gritty. ADVERTISEMENT “The feeling was that it’s nothing many of us haven’t seen before – the need to economise, work more efficiently, maximise our potential etc,” said one person who was at the staff briefing. The planned voluntary redundancies will not have come as a surprise to staff, and there may even be some relief that the numbers envisaged are not higher. The botched attempt last November to summarily outsource children’s programming, which Forbes acknowledged “wasn’t our finest hour”, led to some believing that management was pursuing a “publisher-broadcaster” model, with minimal in-house production. Additional costs associated with the 1916 centenary added to the burden, and hopes of a political move to address Ireland’s high level of licence fee evasion were dashed. That proposition was firmly rejected by the director-general, who said Fair City and other flagships would remain in Montrose. Like its competitors, it suffered last year from an unanticipated downturn in the advertising market due to an accelerated shift to digital. Perhaps this week’s announcement should be seen, therefore, as a pre-emptive strike against any suggestion that the land sale in itself will solve any of the challenges it faces in the years ahead. Restructuring and rethinking may be inevitable facts of life for media companies as they struggle to adjust to the destruction wrought by the internet on their traditional ways of doing business. Eight months after she took up the job of director-general, Dee Forbes stepped into the limelight to outline her vision for the future of RTÉ to an open-to-all staff meeting and simultaneously (via the magic of pre-recording) to the listeners of Radio One. RTÉ plans up to 250 job losses and eyes licence fee rise TV licence fee ‘should be doubled’, says RTÉ director general How much does a TV licence cost in other countries? In a presentation timed to coincide with the market launch of a slice of the Montrose campus valued at €75 million, Forbes spoke of the need for the broadcaster to “adapt or die”. Forbes might, for example, see fit to address the longstanding running sore of 2FM, the faltering junior radio channel which these days seems to have neither a …