Barry Manilow: ‘I thought I would be disappointing them if they knew I was gay’

It’s not for me.‘ I’m glad he stayed.” – (PA) He said: “When they found out that Garry and I were together, they were so happy. The private star, 73, kept his sexuality hidden for decades but said he has been moved by the “beautiful” reaction of his supporters since news of his wedding to manager Garry Kief broke in 2015. I was one of the lucky ones. So I never did anything The couple have been together for nearly 40 years but Manilow has only now spoken about his husband. Singer Barry Manilow has spoken about his marriage and sexuality for the first time after fearing his fans would be disappointed if they knew he was gay. He was like, ‘I can’t handle this. I thought I would be disappointing them if they knew I was gay. “He’s the smartest person I’ve ever met in my life – and a great guy, too.” However, the relationship was not without obstacles, with Manilow saying Kief struggled with their relationship after attending a concert. The singer, best known for hits including Mandy and Copacabana, said the revelation was “a blessing and a curse” and he received an outpouring of support from fans. He told the magazine: “I was out making music every night, sowing my wild oats – I was too young. The reaction was so beautiful – strangers commenting, ‘Great for you!’ I’m just so grateful for it.” I was out making music every night, sowing my wild oats Manilow was briefly previously married to his high school sweetheart Susan Deixler and said he was not struggling with his sexuality while they were married. I wasn’t ready to settle down.” In 1978 he met Kief, saying of the executive: “I knew that this was it. I always have been. So I never did anything.” The couple married in a secret ceremony in Palm Springs, California, in April 2014, and in 2015 news of their marriage and Manilow’s sexuality made headlines. He said: “I got into the car with him, and (the fans) were rocking the car. I thought I would be disappointing them if they knew I was gay. He told People magazine: “I’m so private. I was pretty lonely before that.

‘The reason they rejected us? Heavy metal shouldn’t be played in church’

Metal has many subcultures within it and it evolves, as other genres do. Like many other genres, since the internet enabled greater outside influence, metal has embraced outside influence but has remained an outsider art. Metal still means Metallica to many. Which is exactly what the event is about. There was the sense in the air that it was the start of something.” For more, see facebook.com From The Bogs Of Aughiska: the band organiser Conchúir  O’Drona plays in A gig grew into a one-day festival and this year’s event takes place on May 6th with sets from death grind band Abaddon Incarnate, gloomy ambient black metal music from O’Drona’s own From The Bogs of Aughiska, Tipperary “progressive sludge” band Zhora, Dublin experimental duo Deathness Injection and Cork atmospheric band Oiche Samhain among them. When it comes to metal, the leather-clad tattooed pierced vision of a typical fan instantly comes to mind. O’Drona lives in Lisdoonvarna where The Burren Storehouse, the venue that will host the festival is operated. I am friends with people in Irish bands who are working in higher education, mental health or even in the archaeological field.” Audiences abroad Many of bands playing Roadburren Fleadh have developed audiences abroad, have toured worldwide  –  Abbadon Incarnate have Ecuador, Colombia and Peru stamped on their passport – and O’Drona says while metal may be outsider music but it is thriving on the fringe. The organisers of the Roadburren Fleadh, have embraced their position on the outside, both figuratively and literally. Metal music has been more than death metal, thrash metal or Scandinavian-inspired black metal for a long time now. “As long as we break even and the bands have a good time, that’s all that matters.” And for the embracing of the traditional Irish word “fleadh”? “I think the Burren is a perfect setting for an event like RoadBurren Fleadh – cold, bleak and yet beautiful, just like the music,” says organiser Conchúir  O’Drona. All the acts are Irish and have their own take on Irish music. “The good thing with working with bands in this scene is there is a strong sense of community and everyone tries to help each other out,” says O’Drona. Streaming services such as Spotify are also helping the discovery of metal bands. Anti-metal sentiment in the arts O’Drona claims he’s encountered anti-metal sentiment from arts funding organisations and programmers. The second edition of …

Roadburren Fleadh – showcasing the new wave of Irish heavy metal

There was the sense in the air that it was the start of something.” For more, see facebook.com What’s the craic with that?” Despite growth, Metal isn’t seeking validation outside itself. The first edition last year was fantastic. Which is exactly what the event is about. “The scene is much stronger than 10 years ago, with a lot of bands touring worldwide and making a name for themselves, even though they might not be well known back home in Ireland.” That activity is reflected in online sites such as metalireland.com, irishmetalarchive.com, at events like the biannual metal festival The Siege Of Limerick and gigs from DME Promotions in Dublin. I am friends with people in Irish bands who are working in higher education, mental health or even in the archaeological field.” Audiences abroad Many of bands playing Roadburren Fleadh have developed audiences abroad, have toured worldwide  –  Abbadon Incarnate (below) have Ecuador, Colombia and Peru stamped on their passport – and O’Drona says while metal may be outsider music but it is thriving on the fringe. The local doctor even came to the festival last year.” Why are you having a Bram Stoker festival in a church in the first place? O’Drona lives in Lisdoonvarna where The Burren Storehouse, the venue that will host the festival is operated. O’Drona agrees that the preconception persists of metal fans and musicians is that they are odd or worse, that they are simple. “That couldn’t be further from the truth. “Fleadh means a festival of Irish or Celtic music, dancing, and culture. The thing is, we aren’t really a metal band. The second edition of the one-day festival, which puts on a line-up of metal and experimental music, takes place near the Burren, a karst landscape, suitable for harsh music to be heard. When it comes to metal, the leather-clad tattooed pierced vision of a typical fan instantly comes to mind. Metal music has been more than death metal, thrash metal or Scandinavian-inspired black metal for a long time now. What’s the craic with that? O’Drona says most people involved in metal do it for themselves first. “I’ve worked in digital music distribution for nearly 13 years and Spotify is phenomenal and continuously growing all the time,” says O’Drona. “I am the scene,” responds O’Drona. O’Drona explains. Anti-metal sentiment in the arts O’Drona claims he’s encountered anti-metal sentiment from arts funding organisations and programmers. Like many …

The High Court is not the answer to movie and TV piracy

(Note: I quite haven’t finished the first draft of that script yet.) Q&A: What’s the story on blocking streaming sites? Bing, bang, bosh! Back then, the labels believed the way to stop piracy was to kick the legal stuffing out of everyone who came within an ass’s roar of Pirate Bay. Innovations It says a lot about the unwillingness of the labels to listen that the roads to the iTunes Store and Spotify were littered with obstacles and interference. It’s a damn sight easier and more convenient to use these entities than wander around in search of a working illegal torrent or non-buffering stream. The studios wanted the High Court to issue orders blocking access to a number of websites which were involved in illegal streaming or downloading of films and television shows. Multiply this by the number of other jurisdictions where such cases have been taken. The film and television dudes may point at Netflix as a possible solution, but it doesn’t have every single film or television show you want to see and the windowing of releases between territories aids and abets piracy. It’s a thought that came to mind while listening to and reading coverage of the High Court action taken by six major film and television studios to get nine Irish internet service providers to play ball when it comes to pirate streaming sites. After all, it’s better to treat the people who want to watch your films and television as consumers rather than criminals. Mr Justice Brian Cregan granted orders and access was blocked to three named websites. Up to 1.3 million internet users – including many people reading this piece right now, I’d wager – are involved in illegally accessing films and television via these websites. Learn from the mistakes the music business made and don’t repeat them. And, as you’d expect in the game of whack-a-mole that occurs on these occasions, a plethora of other websites had opened for business by the time all in the courtroom sat down for their tea. Billable hours Think of the money the studios spent instructing legal eagles to take this case. This approach made loads of money for the legal profession, but it took the arrival of easy, simple-to-use, one-size-fits-all shops such as iTunes and Spotify to truly wean people off piracy. If the solution is to give the user what he or she wants, the …

Barry Manilow reveals why he hid his sexuality for decades

It’s not for me.‘ I’m glad he stayed.” – PA He said: “When they found out that Garry and I were together, they were so happy. Singer Barry Manilow has spoken about his marriage and sexuality for the first time after fearing his fans would be disappointed if they knew he was gay. So I never did anything.” The couple married in a secret ceremony in Palm Springs, California, in April 2014, and in 2015 news of their marriage and Manilow’s sexuality made headlines,. I was pretty lonely before that. I thought I would be disappointing them if they knew I was gay. I wasn’t ready to settle down.” In 1978 he met Kief, saying of the executive: “I knew that this was it. The couple have been together for nearly 40 years but Manilow has only now spoken about his husband. He said: “I got into the car with him, and (the fans) were rocking the car. He told People magazine: “I’m so private. “He’s the smartest person I’ve ever met in my life – and a great guy, too.” However, the relationship was not without obstacles, with Manilow saying Kief struggled with their relationship after attending a concert. The reaction was so beautiful – strangers commenting, ‘Great for you!’ I’m just so grateful for it.” Manilow was briefly previously married to his high school sweetheart Susan Deixler and said he was not struggling with his sexuality while they were married. The singer, best known for hits including Mandy and Copacabana, said the revelation was “a blessing and a curse” and he received an outpouring of support from fans. The private star, 73, kept his sexuality hidden for decades but said he has been moved by the “beautiful” reaction of his supporters since news of his wedding to manager Garry Kief broke in 2015. I was one of the lucky ones. He was like, ‘I can’t handle this. I always have been. He told the magazine: “I was out making music every night, sowing my wild oats – I was too young.

Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair launches

Her third novel, The Well of Ice, is due out in October. Out of the Marvellous, an Atelier Pinton tapestry designed by Peter Sis in memory of Seamus Heaney is to be unveiled on April 20th at 6.30pm at Poetry Ireland, 11 Parnell Square East, Dublin. Carter, a qualified barrister and solicitor, was selected as a finalist for Novel Fair 2013 and went on to publish her Death at Whitewater Church and Treacherous Strand (Constable & Robinson), the first two in a series of mysteries set on the Inishowen Peninsula in Co Donegal. The winning author will be awarded a €1,500 prize. Having generated more than 10 publishing deals in the last eight years, the fair has been described by The Irish Times as “a Dragons’ Den for writers”. Limerick Writers’ Centre presents On Raglan Road – Great Irish Love Songs and the Women Who Inspired Them with Gerard Hanberry at Limerick City Library, the Granary, Michael Street, next Thursday, April 13th, at 7.30pm. Hanberry will give a talk on the fascinating women who inspired some of Ireland’s great poems and songs based on his recent publication. Poems explored will include work by Patrick Kavanagh, WB Yeats, Oscar Wilde and others. Mulhall, who has maintained a long-term interest in AE’s life and work, will explore the career of the poet, painter, mystic and public figure and assess AE’s contribution to the shaping of modern Ireland, as a cultural nationalist, an advocate of agricultural co-operation and an editor of two influential journals. The event will feature talks by author and former Novel Fair winner Andrea Carter; Dan Bolger, commissioning editor of New Island Books; and author and columnist Martina Devlin, who sat on last year’s Novel Fair judging panel. Now in its seventh year, the Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair 2018 will be launched next Thursday, April 13th, at 7pm at 19 Parnell Square, Dublin. The translator will receive three weeks’ training with Literature Ireland. Created last year by the 20 embassies (including Estonia, Egypt and Greece – who knew?) of the International Organisation of La Francophonie represented in Ireland, the Prix Littéraire des Ambassadeurs de la Francophonie en Irlande – Ireland Francophonie Ambassadors’ Literary Award is awarded to an Irish writer recently translated into French, in partnership with Literature Ireland and the Alliance Française. A musician as well as a wrtier, he will perform a selection of the songs and …

Netflix is not the answer to movie and TV piracy

Billable hours Think of the money the studios spent instructing legal eagles to take this case. The labels knew such innovations were the right thing to do – sure, they went off and did their own versions such as PressPlay which had zilch traction – but they were just too darn stubborn to give in to outsiders. Forget the infighting and bickering and realise this is the only option. Put the cash you’re currently giving to barristers and solicitors into building a brilliant, user-friendly site which is a Spotify for television and film. Multiply this by the number of other jurisdictions where such cases have been taken. Bing, bang, bosh! Up to 1.3 million internet users – including many people reading this piece right now, I’d wager – are involved in illegally accessing films and television via these websites. After all, it’s better to treat the people who want to watch your films and television as consumers rather than criminals. The approach of the film and television heads reminds you of the way the record industry used to be before people such as Steve Jobs and Daniel Ek came along. Mr Justice Brian Cregan granted orders and access was blocked to three named websites. The answer was not more legal action, but rather looking at why people were pirating music and then coming up with a user-friendly solution. If the solution is to give the user what he or she wants, the one-size-fits-all thing is important too. And, as you’d expect in the game of whack-a-mole that occurs on these occasions, a plethora of other websites had opened for business by the time all in the courtroom sat down for their tea. Learn from the mistakes the music business made and don’t repeat them. One of the surest ways to save money is to stop wasting it on stuff that does not work. Think of the billable hours involved and what that bill now must look like. (Note: I quite haven’t finished the first draft of that script yet.) Do you download illegally? This approach made loads of money for the legal profession, but it took the arrival of easy, simple-to-use, one-size-fits-all shops such as iTunes and Spotify to truly wean people off piracy. The film and television dudes may point at Netflix as a possible solution, but it doesn’t have every single film or television show you want to …

The Burren is “cold, bleak and beautiful” – just like Irish heavy metal

All the acts are Irish and have their own take on Irish music. O’Drona lives in Lisdoonvarna where The Burren Storehouse, the venue that will host the festival is operated. “As long as we break even and the bands have a good time, that’s all that matters.” And for the embracing of the traditional Irish word “fleadh”? “I’ve worked in digital music distribution for nearly 13 years and Spotify is phenomenal and continuously growing all the time,” says O’Drona. Like many other genres, since the internet enabled greater outside influence, metal has embraced outside influence but has remained an outsider art. “I am the scene,” responds O’Drona. “But the place is fairly multicultural and open-minded. I am friends with people in Irish bands who are working in higher education, mental health or even in the archaeological field.” Audiences abroad Many of bands playing Roadburren Fleadh have developed audiences abroad, have toured worldwide (Abbadon Incarnate have Ecuador, Colombia and Peru stamped on their passport) and O’Drona says while metal may be outsider music but it is thriving on the fringe. Anti-metal sentiment in the arts O’Drona claims he’s encountered anti-metal sentiment from arts funding organisations and programmers. When it comes to metal, the leather-clad tattooed pierced vision of a typical fan instantly comes to mind. O’Drona says most people involved in metal do it for themselves first. “The good thing with working with bands in this scene is there is a strong sense of community and everyone tries to help each other out,” says O’Drona. The local doctor even came to the festival last year.” Why are you having a Bram Stoker festival in a church in the first place? The first edition last year was fantastic. Which is exactly what the event is about. Streaming services such as Spotify are also helping the discovery of metal bands. “Fleadh means a festival of Irish or Celtic music, dancing, and culture. And why are you having a Bram Stoker festival in a church in the first place? Metal still means Metallica to many. The second edition of the one-day festival, which puts on a line-up of metal and experimental music, takes place near the Burren, a karst landscape, suitable for harsh music to be heard. O’Drona agrees that the preconception persists of metal fans and musicians is that they are odd or worse, that they are simple. “That couldn’t be further from the …

Eurovision’s political scandals – From Franco to Syrian flags

Photograph: Michael Campanella/Getty Images 1998 – The Eurovision “comes out” with Dana International In 1998 the brilliant transgender singer Dana International won the competition for Israel with her song Diva. The countries have form when it comes to Eurovision scraps. Though the European Broadcasting Union (the organisers of the Eurovision) strenuously try and keep explicit political statements out of the competition – countries have always used it as a platform for geopolitical statements (at the very least in the form of tactically voting for neighbours and against enemies). Turkey refused to broadcast Greek’s My Lady, My Lady in 1976 because they believed it was about the Turkish invasion of Cyprus two years before. Also, see my Eurovision entry here. In 2000 the Israeli entrants, Ping Pong, finished their performance of Be Happy with a plea for peace and by unfurling Syrian flags to the shock of many of their country folk. We’ve been trying to get back in their good books ever since. Indeed, in 2014, autocratic dictator and part-time glamour model Vladimir Putin whinged that the competition was a “Europe-wide gay parade”. At last year’s competition many fans expressed anxiety about the possibility of having to travel to increasingly repressive Russia (this was brought up at post event press conferences I attended). Dustin at the Eurovision in 2008. He has hated fascism ever since. You may have noticed that the boundaries of Europe as defined in the Eurovision have become more and more elastic over time. Ukraine might be barred from the Eurovision if they proceed to ban Russian competitor Yulia Samoylova from performing. Australia, which is in the far, far south of Europe, was involved in the competition for the first time in 2015. Eurovision ‘could be hit by withdrawals’ over Ukraine-Russia row Ukraine bars Russia’s entry for Eurovision 2017 Russia’s choice for Eurovision puts Ukraine on the back foot It’s not the first time a country has refused to play an entry. Photograph: Getty Images 1974 – The Portuguese entry starts a revolution E depois do adeus (And After the Goodbye) by Paulo de Carvalho didn’t win the 19th competition in 1974, but twenty days later it was used as a coded radio message to rebel military officers to start the Carnation Revolution that brought Portugal from dictatorship to democracy. They’re doing so because she entered Crimea via Russia rather than via the Ukraine for a performance …

How Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad fell flat

Absurd, PC-crazed, virtue-signalling, snowflake claptrap. The new @pepsi ad with @KendallJenner is stupefyingly diabolical. pic.twitter.com/SA9RRanGNo— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 4, 2017 Trust me, this ad will become a great symbol of unity. Well, it unified people alright – in their disdain. Getting inside the minds of whoever came up with this concept is not a place I’d necessarily like to be, but I’ll wager the boardroom conversation went a little something like this: Executive A: Protests are really huge right now. As anyone within shouting distance of most protests already knows, the atmosphere at most protests is tense, urgent and apprehensive. On the surface of it, the Twitter backlash looks like the doings of the Permanently Outraged Brigade, who chuck their toys out of the pram at the first hint of dissent or misstep. The executives have defended their latest opus thus: it “reflects people from different walks of life coming together in a spirit of harmony”. Sure, if ‘different walks of life’ means ‘everyone has to look dead photogenic’. Executive B: Kendall Jenner seems really popular right now. In any case, Twitter wasn’t long in coming up with ripostes. We’re all about surfing the Zeitgeist, right? Have you seen how well political protests do on Twitter? Executive A: No way. It’s lovely to think that a gesture as simple as this could cure the world’s ills, but it’s quite something for Pepsi to shoehorn themselves into the conversation like this. Executive C: Won’t that be a little strange, though? It’s precisely this mercurial roiling social climate that has made Pepsi’s ad, striving as it does to be so ethical and woke, so embarrassingly out of touch with the Zeitgeist. People are marching to make a point and to let their dissenting voices be heard, not have an outdoor silent disco. Hiring a woman whose family are the very paragon of vapidity and privilege to front a campaign that doffs its cap to Black Lives Matter? Sometimes the ideas that seem good on paper should remain just that. Salience is the holy grail in this business. But there’s something about Pepsi’s chase of relevance and their play for people’s emotions, at a time when they’re running dizzyingly high, that is tedious. Add America’s fraught political and social climate – bubbling with racial, class and gender frictions – into the mix, and Jenner’s crisp white T-shirt would last five seconds. They aimed …

Dragon’s Den is not the fire-breathing, wad-waving wealthfest it used to be

Chief dragon Gavin Duffy rarely shouts “money fight” any more, at least on camera. Then Negan (above), instead of killing Rick when he has a chance, twirls his bat and waffles at him like an oversharing, possibly lonely Batman villain. In the halcyon days of the late noughties, when people said “I am an entrepreneur”, they meant: “My delusional folly has been fuelled by an unprecedented credit boom and the pleas of my loved ones have grown faint beneath the sound of blood rushing to my head.” And so, early participants in Dragons’ Den left good civil service jobs to pitch high heels for cats or chat rooms for babies and the money rained down upon them from the jewel-plated diamond-encrusted thrones (actually leather armchairs) of the indulgently judgemental dragons. Could it be that it was we who were the Walking Dead all along? Bone Broth does sound like something dragons of all kinds, financial and mythical, might enjoy And then biscuit mogul (that’s a thing) Alison Cowzer is excited by Sarah Kiely’s pitch for health-improving “bone broth” and invests a portion of her biscuit bullion into Kiely’s broth cauldron. Having power over other people and their stupid dreams is what brings happiness. It’s hard to tell with business folk. Luckily, Gavin Duffy is a man of vision and soon has Terry toiling in his vast money mines alongside the damned progenitors of previous gadgets and gizmos. “We are adding value to milk,” they say, proving their fluent knowledge of entrepreneurese. It was a good bunch. “Terry, I don’t know what to do with you,” says electricity provider Eleanor McEvoy, as though without her guidance Terry will wander the land for all eternity pitching tiny sleeves to good listeners. Then a tiger attacks Negan (this should be exciting but it’s just a relief he stops talking, really) and Negan and his goons run away. The answer is clearly yes. Bone Broth does sound like something dragons of all kinds, financial and mythical, might enjoy, which makes it a fitting conclusion to the episode. It’s actually a sensible device designed to keep glasses protected during hair-dying procedures. Everyone perks up a bit for the next product because it involves human blood, and if I know one thing about millionaire industrialists, they love human blood. Economies have boomed and busted and boomed again and Brexited and burbled since the programme first aired …

‘As all writers know, the bio is the most important part of any book’

It’s called Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer. The colleges they attended, the inspirational parents they had, the beautiful wives, children and dogs that now give them the love and inspiration that makes everything else unimportant. So the bio has a huge readership – a multiple of actual book sales – which is why it is so important that you use it to bolster your ego, avenge petty slights, and impress those you want to impress. Outside it was always dark and raining and very windy. There is a hunger for abortion stories in the US at the moment, and Gosnell has benefitted. But it wasn’t. Despite the New York Times fiddling the figures, the book eventually became a bestseller (No 13 on the combined ebook and hardback list – since you ask). No, it’s killing me that in the mad rush just before publication, I discovered a number of passages in the book that belonged in a previous draft. There are consistent allegations that this “context” excludes books that challenge liberal assumptions. There was one phrase I have always envied – the “divides his time between”. I was brought up in a field, in Tyrone, in the 1980s. I rushed out a straightforward, vanilla bio. It certainly has the largest readership. He divides..(Editor’s note – this piece has been edited due to space constraints) And now I live in Los Angeles and two years ago bought a cottage in the west of Ireland. Let me give you some context. But there was one phrase that I have always envied and coveted. Since then I’ve dreamed of dividing my time between places, but I’ve particularly fantasised about being able to say it on the cover of a book I’ve written – or just putting it anywhere in print. But yet I feel disappointed, upset even. How many times have you lifted a book, read the bio, a bit of the cover, and then put it down. I was brought up in a field, in Northern Ireland, in Tyrone, in the 1980s. But I did read a lot and looked at book covers a lot, and there were a lot of people dividing their time between very glamorous places. It was launched just as America ushered in the most pro-life presidential administration in its history and the possibility that a number of retirements could see the appointment of a majority anti-abortion Supreme …

How Pepsi’s latest ad, featuring Kendall Jenner in protest mode, fell flat

Hiring a woman whose family are the very paragon of vapidity and privilege to front a campaign that doffs its cap to Black Lives Matter? Salience is the holy grail in this business. Getting inside the minds of whoever came up with this concept is not a place I’d necessarily like to be, but I’ll wager the boardroom conversation went a little something like this: Executive A: Protests are really huge right now. In any case, Twitter wasn’t long in coming up with ripostes. Sometimes the ideas that seem good on paper should remain just that. People are marching to make a point and to let their dissenting voices be heard, not have an outdoor silent disco. It’s lovely to think that a gesture as simple as this could cure the world’s ills, but it’s quite something for Pepsi to shoehorn themselves into the conversation like this. On the surface of it, the Twitter backlash looks like the doings of the Permanently Outraged Brigade, who chuck their toys out of the pram at the first hint of dissent or misstep. The executives have defended their latest opus thus: it “reflects people from different walks of life coming together in a spirit of harmony”. Sure, if ‘different walks of life’ means ‘everyone has to look dead photogenic’. Executive B: Kendall Jenner seems really popular right now. Have you seen how well political protests do on Twitter? They aimed for current and thought provoking, and missed it by a good country mile. But there’s something about Pepsi’s chase of relevance and their play for people’s emotions, at a time when they’re running dizzyingly high, that is tedious. We’re all about surfing the Zeitgeist, right? Well, it unified people alright – in their disdain. Add America’s fraught political and social climate – bubbling with racial, class and gender frictions – into the mix, and Jenner’s crisp white T-shirt would last five seconds. It’s precisely this mercurial roiling social climate that has made Pepsi’s ad, striving as it does to be so ethical and woke, so embarrassingly out of touch with the Zeitgeist. Trust me, this ad will become a great symbol of unity. As anyone within shouting distance of most protests already knows, the atmosphere at most protests is tense, urgent and apprehensive. Executive C: Won’t that be a little strange, though? Executive A: No way. Get in line #PEPSI https://t.co/UhEDirDVS0— Tara Flynn (@TaraFlynn) …

‘Global competitiveness’ is a race to the bottom

As Brexit negotiations approach, the UK’s threat of luring corporations away from EU states through still-lower rates of corporate tax is seen as one way to ensure a favourable trade deal with the EU. It’s little wonder voters see little difference between political parties and now resort to more extreme alternatives It’s important to realise that in our globalised economy the pursuit of international competitiveness isn’t a party-political choice but a global imperative which has a devastating effect on democracy. It is grounded in very pragmatic but new electoral possibilities so it is certainly not wishful thinking. Is there a connection between the rise of right-wing nationalism across the Western world and our addiction to international competitiveness, including Ireland’s (and other nations’) espousal of highly competitive corporate tax rates? It means favouring globally mobile elites over nationally-rooted poor and middle classes. The SIMPOL Solution by John Bunzl and Nick Duffell is published by Peter Owen, at£14.99 The pursuit of international competitiveness – the very pursuit we are told will assure our prosperity – turns out to be a vicious circle that is slowly killing us all. With governments all playing the same game, everybody loses because it becomes an endless race to the bottom: a vicious circle in which all nations are caught. With elections coming up shortly in France and Germany, who knows what political calamity will befall us next? But other nations, notably the UK, inevitably react in tit-for-tat fashion. They remain advantages only until other governments respond in similar fashion. Of those, 14 are now sitting TDs. But the result is a widening gap between rich and poor that leaves the poor and the middle classes feeling increasingly marginalised and their sense of national identity under threat: exactly the factors that are fuelling the rise of far-right nationalism and causing voters to rebel in the form of Trump and Brexit. When they do, the only winners are the multinationals and the rich who have benefited from the tax cuts while all governments are deprived of still more revenue, so leading to still more cuts in public services and an even wider gap between the haves and have nots. And this is why much of our book is devoted to explaining and exploring the psychological and evolutionary pathways to change. By aligning with this process we can move our perceptions from their present “nation-centric” level, which blinds them …

Minister for Arts wants gender policies in place next year

No, she has not intervened in any direct way in the discussion about Kilkenny. Article 2 of the Constitution, as amended after the referendum of 1998, states that “It is the entitlement and birthright of every person born on the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, to be part of the Irish nation. Strange as it may seem, access to the RTÉ orchestras by emerging composers went into decline from the 1980s onwards after the National Concert Hall opened and RTÉ abandoned the style of programming it had pursued through free concerts when it was based in the SFX. That is also the entitlement of all persons otherwise qualified in accordance with law to be citizens of Ireland. That would have been to draw up an appropriate gender policy for her own department, a policy that would apply to any organisation or individual receiving funding from the department. Curiously, however, the power of another policy is everywhere to be seen. This year there are four: David Bremner, Seán Doherty, Francis Heery and Matthew Whiteside. For two years now, RTÉ has run a Composer Lab scheme in partnership with the Contemporary Music Centre. From a musical point of view, the major absence from the Minister’s workshop was RTÉ, and the reason is clear. The festival was clearly stung, and has put a statement on its website, delving into the membership of chamber ensembles to raise the female count from eight to 12. On the other hand, there’s also the fact that seven events are all-male line-ups and not a single one is all-female. ‘S-Town’ is more than a whodunit Just imagine if political parties had been allowed to handle the gender quota issue according to their own lights. And it was hardly surprising that, since Kilkenny focuses on the core of the classical canon, no women made it into the list of composers. Just imagine if political parties had been allowed to handle the gender quota issue according to their own lights It is a welcome and long-overdue move, although it is not by any means the most decisive move she could have made. And she has asked the cultural institutions to “put gender policies in place in time for the centenary of women’s suffrage in 2018”. Furthermore, the Irish nation cherishes its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad who share its cultural identity and …

‘A kick in the backside, with love, for the Belfast proletariat”

Sometimes these worlds combine. Both were fiery east Belfast men who tackled people they thought were out of order. Ellis too was essentially blacklisted and knew he would have to take his chances across the water, which was where the part of Bert Lynch in Z Cars came calling. McKee was also a regional governor of the BBC and a golfing companion of unionist prime minister Lord Brookeborough. The Over the Bridge affair is also the subject of the short film Two Angry Men, directed by Ellis’s son Toto, which has just screened on the BBC and is currently touring the film festival circuit. Louis MacNeice attended the opening night, calling it “a red-letter day in the theatrical annals of Belfast” in a review for the Observer newspaper. The Sam Thompson Bridge in Belfast Ellis was best known for his roles in the long-running BBC police drama Z Cars and as an archetypal Belfast hard man in Graham Reid’s Billy plays, but he had originally made his name in the theatre. To Eamonn McCann, their play was nothing less than “a kick in the backside, with love, for the Belfast proletariat”.   Connal Parr is a research fellow at Northumbria University. Aside from his work, Thompson also has an east Belfast bridge named after him which opened in April 2014. Ellis had already cast and publicised the play when the Group Theatre’s board elected to withdraw it a fortnight before its opening night in May 1959. Though widespread in northern society always, sectarianism was not a subject the patrons of Ulster’s arts scene thought local audiences should worry about – their ultimate insinuation being, of course, that sectarianism did not really exist in the shipyards. Photograph: Ronald Dumont/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images Thompson laboured on in what he called the “Siberia of the arts”, delivering The Evangelist (1963) – driven by a powerhouse performance from Ray McAnally – and Cemented With Love, a television drama about electoral skulduggery. However, poor health caught up with him when he collapsed and died of a heart attack, more than symbolically, in the Waring Street offices of the Northern Ireland Labour Party on February 15th, 1965. Named after east Belfast-born actor, director and writer James Ellis, you could be forgiven for viewing the scene as a clash of cultures. In the words of Martin Lynch, who adapted Over the Bridge on its 50th anniversary at Belfast’s …

Eva International curator: ‘Art fairs have hijacked the system’

Now, history has lurched in a different, unexpected direction. The essence of Eva is that it is a democratic platform. eva.ie It’s just a question in general, a catalyst. I don’t know what the title will be yet. For me, the project is like a research tool. Courtesy the artist and EVA International Even the apparent evil of art fairs, as a manifestation of a globalised market, is not so clear-cut. “Ireland was the closest and first, Hong Kong the furthest and last. The curator of next year’s exhibition, Colombian-born Inti Guerrero, recently visited Ireland. That seemed clear enough even quite recently, with the beginning of the Occupy Movement. Already he has scouted Limerick and Dublin, talking to interested parties and visiting studios, and he plans to travel farther afield in Ireland. It was up to artists to interpret it in whatever way they like. He has worked as a curator in Costa Rica as well as curating exhibitions for a large number of international venues, and is currently Estrellita B Brodsky adjunct curator of Latin American Art in Tate, London. So I began to think, an exhibition is like an essay, one written throughout a space, unfolding like a scroll.” He is currently developing the scroll that will be Eva. Exhibitions are distributed in space, we experience them spatially. Eva International 2016 viewers admire Abdoulaye Konaté’s tapestry. Artistic discourse in Hong Kong became politicised around the issue of China, for better or worse – mostly, he feels, the latter. It comprises works by artists selected from open submission and works by invited artists. The contemporary art market in China is effectively a Chinese monopoly. Instead of the colonial model, or on the other hand a retreat into insular, nationalist identities, surely it’s better to recognise plurality, difference and divergence? “We are in the era of the art fair. He will be back several times in the lead-up to the exhibition, then for a prolonged period as the start date looms. Photo Miriam O’Connor. Both Hong Kong and Ireland were colonised by Britain. He studied art and architectural history and theory in Colombia and in São Paulo, Brazil, before completing the curatorial programme at De Appel in Amsterdam. As opposed to a snapshot, it will be a collection of interconnecting group shows proposing a number of complementary narratives. Eva International, Ireland’s biennial exhibition of contemporary art, is based in Limerick. …