2017 Ifta Awards: ‘A Date for Mad Mary’ claims best picture

I think we lost a great Irishman,” Meaney continued. “We thought the language and the accents would be a problem,” Foott told The Irish Times. The hiccups that have marred previous Ifta bashes look to have been left behind. Deirdre O’Kane, hosting for the second time, remarked of one award winner: “We do love it when they win if they’ve travelled.” Ifta were a little unlucky when, due to prior engagements, a few of the flashier winners were unable to attend. The statuettes were handed out to a well-behaved audience at the Mansion House in Dublin. In admirably progressive fashion, both men and women were subjected to spinning analysis. Most disappointing of all, Sir Michael Gambon, due to receive a lifetime achievement award, had to cancel his trip after being taken to hospital earlier in the week. There had been fears that, following the annus mirabilis of 2015, when Irish films garnered multiple Oscar nominations, the industry would suffer a creative hangover. The hugely ambitious Irish-language western series An Klondike was the most nominated entertainment of the night and it ended up grabbing best TV director for Dathai Keane and best supporting actor for the long-ubiquitous Ned Dennehy. Michael Flynn, the divan salesmen immortalised in Mattress Men, which won best documentary, wandered amiably about the pavement like an everyday movie fan. Darren Thornton, who co-wrote the script with his brother Colin, seemed sincerely surprised by the victory. For all that, the ceremony was carried off with efficiency and quiet flair. “I was very moved when Martin died. The great actor, who was born in Dublin, has since been released from care, but his doctors felt it unwise for him to travel. “This was one of those projects. Colm Meaney with his wife Ines Glorian at the Mansion House. We got a few bites from outside Ireland and we thought maybe this could go a bit further. Oscar nominee Ruth Negga was awarded best actress in her absence for a beautifully subtle performance in Jeff Nichols’s civil rights drama Loving. “Every once in a while we get to do something significant,” he said. The Siege of Jadotville won best director, best visual effects and, for Jason O’Mara, best supporting actor. The legendary producer Morgan O’Sullivan accepted best drama series for the hairy, decapitation-friendly Vikings. O’Kane kept the jokes flowing and – happy to relate – didn’t forget to get in the …

Tupac and Joan Baez enter Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Tributes were also paid to Chuck Berry, who died last month at age 90 and who was the first person ever to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, and Prince, who died of an accidental painkiller overdose in April 2016. Shakur, whose songs about social and racial injustice still resonate today, was only the sixth rap act to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in its 30-year history. Reuters Baez enjoyed a new round of fame this week through a protest song called Nasty Man, which she wrote about US president Donald Trump. Former Journey frontman Steve Perry reunited on stage with his Don’t Stop Believin’ bandmates for the first time in 25 years at the event in New York, while Roy Wood of Electric Light Orchestra attended the ceremony 45 years after leaving the English band. Let us build a great bridge, a beautiful bridge, to welcome the tired and the poor.” Baez then played an acoustic version of the traditional spiritual Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, saying afterwards that she hoped the song’s band of angels were “coming… They can’t take this away from you homie,” he said, accepting the Hall of Fame statuette on Shakur’s behalf. Disco producer Nile Rodgers, the man behind 1970s hits like Le Freak and We Are Family, was presented at the ceremony with a special award for musical excellence. to carry me, you, us, even Donald Trump, home”. Late rapper Tupac Shakur and 1960s protest singer Joan Baez were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Friday, on a night where nostalgia was mixed with calls to political action. Artists are eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first recording. But one of the strongest moments came from long-time activist Baez (76), who told the Hall of Fame audience: “Let us together repeal and replace brutality and make compassion a priority. Fellow rapper Snoop Dogg recalled how in the early 1990s he and Shakur were “two black boys struggling to become men. Inductees British progressive rock group Yes and Seattle-based grunge band Pearl Jam were also among the 2017 inductees, who were chosen by more than 900 voters drawn from the music industry. He’s hip-hop history. He’s American history,” Snoop said. You will always be right with us. Show business is still hostile to open sexuality Depeche …

Show business is still hostile to open sexuality

Everybody else in the building was taking the exhibits at face value. Perhaps that’s what triggered the announcement. We don’t even need to consider rumours about That Star everyone “knows” to be homosexual. “That is the minimal level of representation we should have on television and the correct response would be: ‘What took you so long?’ not ‘We’re so great.’” Maybe Manilow is a Whovian. Towards the close of our visit, we overheard an elderly couple furiously muttering about the scurrilous rumours concerning his sexuality. It’s none of our business how he goes about his lovemaking. Bits of Hollywood have advanced little further in this area than professional sport has managed. Stubbornly hostile Such attitudes are surely vanishing. You know, the sort of lies those European nincompoops in the Liberace Museum might spout. The implausibly tiny percentage of leading actors who identify as gay confirms that wariness of homophobia still abounds. There was other circumstantial evidence. A few older actors, now viewed as beyond the teen-heartthrob demographic, are also prepared to admit the truth. The singer married Garry Kief, his partner for some 40 years, at a quiet ceremony in 2014. I don’t think that younger chap in the photograph was just his chauffeur; do you? Ha, ha! The more we swaggered, the sourer the atmosphere became. There is something worth unpicking here. But the dictum that a male romantic lead should be potentially “available” to heterosexual female fans has barely relaxed since the days of Rock Hudson. “I thought I would be disappointing them if they knew I was gay. Look at the Rolls Royce covered in diamanté. But I won’t, just yet. Even backwaters like Ireland have elected prominent gay politicians. The great man began his career accompanying Bette Midler at a gay bathhouse in New York. You are the greatest wit of the age. Then again, maybe gay people just aren’t drawn to the theatrical professions. Many character actors are proudly open about their gayness. Still, nobody knows anything. If you reacted to the news with an online post detailing sarcastic astonishment then pat yourself firmly on the back. “When they found out that Garry and I were together, they were so happy. The strange and depressing fact is that there are certain areas of show business that remain stubbornly hostile to openness on sexuality. Same-sex marriage is the norm in many western democracies. There was no …

The Alexandra Sequence review – giving rhyme and reason to our online lives

It snapped my proxy off and swallowed him. All we can do, he suggests, is play the parts we have assigned to us. Maybe. When I knelt my eye to the eye of the obstacle, my little self could not be seen. The grapefruit fills, as the grape foretold, with the incandescence of not going back, (Alexandra Seven) a series of images whose sense only dimly comes into view when we realise the speaker is attending a pre-natal class. Juxtapositions Time, as SF writer Ray Cummings observed, is what stops everything happening all at once, and Redmond’s use of oddly lateral juxtapositions removes time or refuses to privilege one moment over another, so that each moment seems to contain within it all that has gone before and everything that will happen in future. He teaches poetry at the University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing. But such a door! If we recognise this kind of overloaded, media-saturated, overlapped scene, and Redmond’s ingenuity in capturing it, we must also reckon with the fact that Redmond is feeling his way into the right form to represent this world. Instead, Redmond is interested in the way that we live now, between screens, and the book’s title sequence, which makes up two-thirds of the book, begins, “I open a window east of Microsoft Word,” and that language of online Windows, open tabs and “the backlit / pastel icons of Skype and Spotify” is key to understanding Redmond’s process. Redmond’s insight is to write the internet age and the idea of homo deus not as SF but through a poetry of predestination, whose characters only come into focus when they take on avatars, which are also traditional roles. The risky, tenuous poems of The Alexandra Sequence (Carcanet, £9.99), John Redmond’s third collection, attempt to map our modern communications onto a sort of autobiography. Another question Redmond asks is harder to answer: where do the poet and the writing fit in this world? This is most apparent in the description of a pregnancy, where images configure a strange simultaneity, although the actual body involved is hard to track down, The lemon’s nostalgia for the poppy-seed is a memory of the placenta. Addressing an ex, she writes: “Wherever you are, go / with a bride-thought haunting your shoulder, as lovely as snow” ( At a Photography Exhibition in New York Public Library). In Alexandra One, the writer …

Depeche Mode: ‘You know you’re in dangerous territory’

Depeche Mode hasn’t run smoothly; they have faced near-fatal drug abuse,  illnesses and personnel upheavals Combusting “Russia was going into the Ukraine and Crimea, and there was a whole spate of black people getting killed in America by police. It just seemed like everywhere you looked, the world was combusting.” Given that Depeche Mode’s profile rose in 1980s England against a background of IRA attacks, economic recession, racial divide and Thatcherism, why is their current response their most political? And a petty man with the nuclear codes doesn’t sound like a good combination.” Us and U2, we’re both survivors Given their political stance – which was obvious if you had spent any time absorbing songs such as Everything Counts and Pipeline – they were the wrong choice for the US far-right figurehead Richard Spencer to declare “the official band of the alt-right” in February (to which Gahan succinctly responded by calling him “a c**t”). “You know you’re in dangerous territory when you start doing social commentary, but fortunately most of the reviews we’ve seen so far have been good. Although the trio of Dave Gahan, Martin Gore and Andy Fletcher are older, wiser and sober-er, they are still riding the crest since Violator delivered not only their enduring singles Enjoy the Silence and Personal Jesus, but also their consequent breakthrough in parts of the world few bands could reach. Fun fact: for the Past 30 years, each of Depeche Mode’s albums has reached the top 10 in the US. If it had been universally slated, I think we would have been quite upset.” There are easy links to be made with the album’s message and the Trump/Brexit effect, especially as both Gore and lead singer Dave Gahan are long-time US residents. “I think things were bad in the 1980s, but I wasn’t as scared as I am now,” says Gore. Let’s hope the wall doesn’t go up. But that would have required either clairvoyance or an expedited writing-recording-releasing process. Released in March, Spirit’s chart success (matched in Ireland where only Drake and Ed Sheeran kept them off the top spot) wasn’t a done deal for the trio. This unbroken record continues with Spirit, the 14th album in their 37 years together. He’s a very petty man. Nialler9’s New Irish Music: Touts, Interskalactic, Bitch Falcon & more Harry Styles: Sign of the Times shows he’s done with the fame circus I …

The world’s turmoil is down to boredom. Art can fight this

  In Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, after the two tramps have concocted another bit of business to keep themselves going, Vladimir exclaims: “That passed the time.” The gloomier Estragon counters: “It would have passed in any case.” “Yes,” rejoins Vladimir, “but not so rapidly.” The exchange is typically laconic but it captures something about the nature of art. We can be simultaneously devastated and yet, somehow, fortified. Consider a question that looms for us all in this age of robotisation: is my job safe from automation? We all know the experience of checking our watches and being horrified that only five minutes have passed in what seemed like five hours. So we get bored and boredom can be dangerous. These are the very things that machines like best. Boredom is a source of deep insecurity. If work makes you feel like a machine, a machine will take your work from you. It matters for what it does and especially what it does to our sense of time. We can even find that the things that usually make us bored – patterns, repetitions – are sources of delight and wonder. We can experience rigour and ecstasy, great discipline and great freedom at the same moment. It has to do with boredom. So being bored at work is now a very good reason for economic anxiety – it is a portent of redundancy. Art doesn’t ask us to ride on this pendulum. Contemporary culture offers false choices: immense ennui or hyped-up hysteria; ecstatic highs followed by unbearable lows; mania or depression. Passing the time will be an ever greater problem for cultures in which more and more people do not have meaningful jobs yet do not have to struggle for the basics of existence either. There used to be a natural coupling: “Safe and boring.” We used it about jobs, about people, about societies. Burning witches is much more fun than hoeing the fields; hating immigrants is much more enlivening than fussing over the details of health policy. The democratic necessity of art lies in its unique capacity to free us from the mere passage of time and to allow us the freedom to make it pass in different ways. They have many different sources, of course, but one of them is boredom.   Right now, boredom is a fundamental problem of western culture. Art exists to solve this problem, to …

Passion Project: The greatest story ever told in Ballyfermot

“So who will be involved in the drumming?” I ask. She said she had two chaps on board who were going to write it and I said, ‘if it’s going to be contemporary, you’ve got a huge field to play in because god knows what Jesus would be like if he came back today. Everywhere are the men’s own passion projects: swan-shaped flower boxes, intricate garden benches, wooden toys. “He is taking the position that the people need to trust him; that he will do the right thing.” He will be played by Dublin actor Donal O’Kelly. The Messenger is played by Roxanna Nic Liam. She shows me the Aspect Hotel in the slightly desolate Park West, where it will all begin, and the wasteland, where the homeless people’s tents will be burned. Photograph: Cyril Byrne I ask them did they hear about the bonfire part? Pupils from the local schools will be using the drums but it is the men from the Ballyfermot men’s shed who made them. You just have to get on with, as they say.” Children at St Ultan’s School, Ballyfermot rehearsing for The Passion Play. “I just feel that this could be the catalyst for something very positive.” Two weeks after the last rehearsal the actors are around a table again. After more on-stage drama in the civic centre, there’ll be a Best of D10 show with Finbar Furey and X Factor’s Mary Byrne. They’ve just come from bag-packing in Tesco to raise money for the project. There are a few wolf whistles. They’d be galloping up and swinging their swords. I’m delighted that they’ve all bought into it.” He hopes The Passion Project will provoke a conversation about the “shocking” housing crisis, and he thinks it might address part of the perceived divide between Cherry Orchard and Ballyfermot. “When we were young, Ballyfermot was rough.” She describes an afternoon in the 1970s as “like the OK Corral”. “People are working all hours to pay a mortgage so you don’t see them. “We first encounter her when she’s being evicted from a squat in an abandoned field.” She rallies the community around her and is punished. For the community Julie’s house is on the main thoroughfare and the front door is wide open. The Pony Club, Cherry Orchard Equine Centre, Ballyfermot. And they have. “Just shoot the f**ker,” one man jokes and everyone dissolves into …

Poem: Seven Sugar Cubes

Clodagh Beresford Dunne was the recipient of the 2016 Arts Council of Ireland Emerging Writer Award bursary On April 10th, 1901, in Massachusetts, Dr Duncan MacDougall set out to prove that the human soul had mass and was measurable. Do you grapple with the journey home of the body of a man you have known since you were a body in your mother’s body? His findings concluded that the soul weighed 21 grams. Does the news melt into you and cool to the image of his remains in a Tasmanian Blackwood coffin, in the body of a crate in the body of a plane? When your mother phones to tell you that your father has died ten thousand miles away, visiting your emigrant brother, in a different hemisphere, in a different season, do you wonder if your father’s soul will be forever left in summer? Or do you place the telephone receiver back on its cradle, take your car keys, drive the winter miles to your father’s field, where you know his horses will run to the rattle, like dice, of seven sugar cubes.

Donnybrook Magdalene laundry demolition proposal scrapped

The laundry on The Crescent in Donnybrook was run by the nuns for more than 150 years, with 100-120 women working there at any one time through most of its years of operation since 1837. The full demolition of the site, apart from the chimney, “not only removes character, but also potential diversity of use and unique sense of place”. Character In addition to the report from the city archaeologist, the council’s conservation officer, Nicki Matthews, raised concerns about the treatment of the site, which has a protected structure, a tall chimney stack used by the laundry. The Religious Sisters of Charity who ran the laundry said last month they did not have any reason to believe former residents may be buried in unmarked graves on the site. The plans, she said, did not show sufficient regard to the significance of the site, and were a “disappointing response to the architectural and historical richness of the site”. A spokeswoman for the developer said it intended to submit a new application for the site. They said they could account for the whereabouts of all those who died while working and living in Donnybrook and the death and burial records had been checked by the McAleese Commission. The Sisters of Charity also objected to the development on the grounds that it encroached on their boundary, and their privacy would be compromised. Justice for Magdalenes Research, which provides support to survivors of the institutions, said the Donnybrook laundry was the last to still contain much of its contents from when it was used as a laundry, and the State was “morally obliged” to buy the building from its owners so it could be preserved as a historical record. However, the developer, investment firm Montlake, has this week withdrawn its application to demolish the laundry and replace it with a scheme of 25 apartments. Plans to demolish the former Magdalene laundry in Donnybrook, Dublin 4, have been scrapped amid concerns about the cultural, historical and conservation significance of the site. A convent building adjoining the site, St Mary’s, is still used by the Sisters of Charity. Two women who continued to live in the institution were subsequently employed by the laundry company. A report from the Dublin city archaeologist Dr Ruth Johnson last September said there was “potential for burials being uncovered” at the site, given its history as a Magdalene laundry. Separately, the …