12 Years a Slave producer under fire over new show Guerrilla

John Ridley says he set out to portray the complexities of the situation. “This story is complicated, it is going to cause consternation, and hurt and conversations. That’s why we as artists do this, so that you can have these conversations and try to deal with it, as best we all can.” Guerrilla airs on Sky Atlantic on April 13 Later in the series, we find that one of the policemen on the Black Power Desk (for that existed) is subject to racism because of his Irish background. The new project comes from John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) and the cast includes The Wire and Luther star Idris Elba as black activist Kent. “My wife is a fighter. Racism towards Irish people is also portrayed; within the first few minutes, Denise Gough is called an “Irish c**t” and assaulted by the police. “Black was not just colour of the skin, it was political blackness: the oppressors and the oppressed, who were all from the colonies like India,” she said. “This is TV: this is easy. “When we talk about diversity, I find it not-inclusive when we don’t talk about people from other parts of the world that contribute. But if we are having trouble dealing with a TV show, think about dealing with real life. When asked about this issue, Mumbai-born Pinto defended the choice, saying that it was accurate to have minorities united against the National Front. Post-premiere Q&A sessions are usually a safe place for actors, featuring softball questions on character exploration and the director’s vision. “If everyone understood racism, oppression, the consequences, then we should be doing Dancing with the Stars.” That didn’t fly with the audience and Ridley was again pushed to defend the show’s choices. My wife is an activist, and yet because our races are different, this is a lot of the things we have to put up with. That is by design. But the character that drew the most interest was Jas Mithra, an Indian woman in a mixed-race relationship who instigates the Black Power extremism that centres the six-part series. The show’s producers say that the inclusion of Omega (Zawe Ashton) ups the level of empowered black women later in the series. “This is one of the proudest moments in my entire life. “It was not an easy process to create it, it was not an easy process to put it …

US and Russia in dialogue of sorts

And the rhetoric from Moscow had been upped also. Expectations for US secretary of state Rex Tillerson’s visit to Moscow were not high. And as Tillerson sat down for talks, a senior Russian official attacked the “primitiveness and loutishness” of US rhetoric while spuriously continuing to maintain the gas attacks were “provocations” by rebels anxious to embroil the US in Syria. Some of the raised tension at global level is as much about uncertainty and mixed signals from president Donald Trump as any potentially tougher line emanating from Washington. But that meeting was described as a “tense” encounter. As the Guardian put it, “the question is not so much whether Tillerson can reach an agreement on Syria but whether he can start any sort of dialogue at all”. Lavrov said he was trying to understand – like the rest of us – the “real intentions” of the Trump administration and accused the US of carrying out an unlawful attack against Assad’s forces. The meeting came against the backdrop of blunt and detailed exchanges over Moscow shielding Syria’s government from blame for the Idlib gas attack, the US retaliatory attack on a Syrian air base and a provocative signing by Trump of a treaty on Tuesday in support of Montenegro joining Nato Tillerson travelled to Moscow from a gathering in Italy of foreign ministers from the Group of Seven and Middle Eastern allies which endorsed a joint call for Russia to abandon the Syrian president. But they are talking. It was always unlikely the Russians would announce any immediate U-turn on Syria or support for president Bashar al-Assad. Photograph: Sergei Chirikov/EPA In the end President Vladimir Putin did deign to meet Tillerson, a sign – diplomats suggest – that the talks earlier with foreign minister Sergei Lavrov were perhaps not as frosty as anticipated. Tillerson told Lavrov that the talks will “further clarify areas of sharp difference” to better work out how to narrow them. But we might get some clarity about US intentions. US secretary of state Rex Tillerson is greeted by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Wednesday. A nationwide TV channel Zvezda declaring ominously on Tuesday night that “only a demonstration of force” could stop Trump in Syria.

Ed Sheeran superfans ecstatic as Dublin concerts begin

I was devastated. He was filming near Spanish Arch and him and his band drove away just as I was about to catch a glimpse. “It was all over Facebook and Twitter that Ed was in Galway filming the video for Galway Girl so we had to go there and hunt him down,” said Ava. So much chart music today has no meaning but his lyrics are class and every album he has done is brilliant,” says Jack. I would die,” said Ava. He’s someone you could imagine being mates with,” says Cian. Ahead of Wednesday’s first gig, Sheeran was spotted out and about in Galway, where he was filming the video for his number one single Galway Girl. “He can sing, rap, play guitar and write his own songs. “I went to O’Connor’s pub and O’Connell’s pub and hung outside for hours but we never got to see him. You could still imagine him with his cap out busking. “We have standing tickets so we’re hoping we get up near the stage so Ed invites us up – that would be amazing. “When he sings, he just speaks to you. I was running around Galway city for about three hours afterwards looking for him,” said Aifirc. Self proclaimed “hardcore fans” and bonafide Galway girls Ava Greaney and Aifric Malone (both aged 16) were among them. For the girls, Sheeran’s “realness” is what resonates most with them. “His lyrics really speak to me – there’s not a song on his three albums that isn’t good,” said Ciara. For brothers Cian (16) and Jack O’Donoghue (18) from Dublin, Sheeran is someone “who could just be one of the lads”. He’s really down to earth and never forgot his roots. ‘When is Ed Sheeran doing that thing?’ and other questions Ed Sheeran to star in Game of Thrones “I really hope he performs Perfect tonight – it’s my favourite song off his new album but I think the crowd are going to go crazy when he plays Galway Girl tonight,” says Megan. Do you know what I mean? “He’s just so honest – he’s not fake or contrived. The city of the tribes clearly holds a place in Sheeran’s hear; he famously included home video footage of himself busking in Galway city as teenager in the video for his song Photograph. We’re living through the drippy Ed Sheeran era – where did …

Cruinniú na Cásca 2017: A rich roster of free public events for Easter Monday

At the Conference Centre, Sinéad Gleeson will present a series of discussions on Women in Irish Society, with guests including Lenny Abrahamson, Lynne Ruane, Sinead Burke and Una Minh Kavanagh. If you can’t find a topic of interest in Monday’s Cruinniú na Cásca roster of talks and events, you might need to check you have a heart or indeed a pulse. A further 31 local authorities are hosting events outside of the capital too. Where to start? Think of it as a one-day live open university on topics from arts and culture to creativity and social inclusion. An Newman University Church will be hosting four conversations as part of The Trailblazery under the heading Pathways to Freedom. And you can search for #cruinniu on Twitter for updates. And Una Mullally will be talking to Broden Giambrone, chief executive of Transgender Equality Network Ireland, Darren Collins, who is a member of Traveller community, and Aoife Fitzgibbon O’Riordan, a founder of Bi-Ireland about LGBTQIA visibility. A companion event also takes place on Monday at Kilmainham Gaol. All events are free, but talks, film-screenings, autism-friendly workshops and coding workshops should be pre-booked to secure a place. Eoghan McDermott, Mark O’Halloran, Patrick Freyne and Bashir Otukoya will be discussing what is means to be a man in Ireland today and how we express and assess masculinity. For full details on talks, and to find out what’s on around the country, see rte.ie/cruinniu. And in the spirit of self-promotion, I’ll be hosting a Creativity in Confinement discussion at City Hall at 1.30pm, about how to create art in confinement within the Irish prison system and direct provision. At the Unitarian Church on St Stephen’s Green, Declan Hughes will be talking to authors Andrea Carter, Anthony Quinn and Catherine Ryan about writing crime fiction set in rural Ireland. The Trailblazery The National Library will be unearthing gems from its Irish Traditional Music Archives, with a particular look at the work of Leo Rowsome. And Colm O’Regan, Alison Spittle, Emma Doran and John Colleary will be offering solutions to Irish life through the medium of stand-up. I’ll be talking to musician and playwright Gary Cunningham, who is a former prisoner; Bernie Masterson, arts teacher at the training unit in Mountjoy Prison; and Vukasin Nedeljkovic, a visual artist and researcher and the creator of the Asylum Archive. RTÉ will also broadcast live from Cruinniú na Cásca events in …

I’m sick of stupid TV shows – the ad breaks are so much more meaningful

Davidoff Cool Water’s hunky swimmer For some reason, a topless hunk goes swimming in his slacks after talking about the power of the ocean for a while. Core message: The Irish are great craic (what’s the Irish for Lebensraum?) Berocca Boost – the Big Day This ad for the multivitamin product Berocca Boost hypothesises that you are a smug young Australian who has a busy day ahead. Core message: time is fleeting and we all must die; eat bread. He then gifts the island to his people, the Gaels, and imposes Irish culture on all its citizens. Ultimately, he’s selling a form of smell-good juice called Davidoff Cool Water that, if I’ve understood the ad correctly, works in the sea. It’s an important moment in his life. Okay, I’m lying. “This child has notions,” the locals think darkly, but as this is an aspirational advertisement and not a novel written by a depressed Irish émigré in the 1960s, the child is left with his illusions intact. Core message: Our smell-good juice works in the sea Yum! We’d just eat the kittens, thankful for the protein. Yes, life is often difficult because you have a punchable face and must spend a lot of time in an office around other humans pretending to care about their feelings. The main industries now seem to be tourism and beach hurling. Core message: Is homeschooling wise? No one has seen him in years. No such entrepreneurialism for the medical professionals in this ad, who, when their packet of digestives turns out to be filled with disgusting kittens, seem just fine with it. Be like fighty man. A confused orang-utan attempts to make sense of human civilisation (this was created before the Trump presidency, so I don’t think it’s a direct commentary). So the notion propagated by this ad, that babies need to be protected from eating something that looks as delicious as a 3-in-1 Ariel detergent pod, is just more PC nonsense from so-called “experts” who know little of baby lore. Come look at mountains. Conor McGregor shills Budweiser Conor McGregor walks from Dublin to New York, for he is Conor McGregor of whom the legends speak. “Donal” is spoken of in hushed and awed terms but we do not meet Donal. McVities Digestives – now containing kittens! The camera cuts away before she forcibly extracts the information from a carnie. But be assured she …

Edna O’Brien wins French translation prize

Her translators Aude de Saint-Loup and Pierre-Emmanuel Dauzat will receive three weeks’ translation training with Literature Ireland, co-sponsors of the prize with Dublin’s 25 Francophone ambassadors. Other highlights include Horse Winter, a short story by 2016’s Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year, Ríona Judge McCormack, and Cruelty, threats, lies: A diary of 2016 by Ian Sansom. She will receive her prize of €1,500 at a ceremony in the Swiss embassy in Dublin in May. the dublinreview.com ilfdublin.com Listowel Writers’ Week has announced the shortlist for this year’s €5,000 Pigott Poetry Prize for the best collection of poetry by an Irish poet: Selected Poems by Vona Groarke (Gallery Press), Parvit of Agelast by Máighréad Medbh (Arlen House) and The Seasons of Cullen Church by Bernard O’Donoghue (Faber & Faber). “Curiosity about the world, and the magical gift to turn this into compelling narratives, lie at the heart of any great work of art, and at the heart of a great festival,” said programme director Martin Colthorpe. John Banville was the inaugural winner for for his novel La lumière des étoiles mortes (Ancient Lights). “Whether this is a film about cave paintings or grizzly bears by the legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog, or the warts-and-all dissection of modern life by comedian and writer Ruby Wax, festivals offer a chance both for enrichment and for escape. The 22nd Irish Writers in London Summer School takes place from June 8th to July 14th for two nights a week at London Metropolitan University. Contact course tutor Tony Murray on t.murray@londonmet.ac.uk If you enjoyed Eimear McBride’s essay on her West Bank sojourn elsewhere in Weeekend Review, you might be interested in Colm Tóibín’s essay, Jerusalem, Tunis, Hebron, Jericho, in the Spring 2017 edition of the Dublin Review. The award is sponsored by Mark Pigott and judged by Lavinia Greenlaw and Deryn Rees Jones. Set up in 1996, the summer school provides an informal but informative setting to read and discuss work by contemporary writers and to meet and talk with them about their work. We find this in the imagination of great novelists like Elizabeth Strout or the poet Michael Longley, or through the perceptive insights that scientist Richard Dawkins or economist Yanis Varoufakis bring to their subjects. The other shortlisted works were Tanglewood by Dermot Bolger, Ghost Moth by Michèle Forbes, The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray, The Thrill of it All by …

‘Star Wars’ not to blame for Skellig Michael rockfall, says expert

Mr Rourke told Radio Kerry and RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that rockfalls – even though two of the most serious there had occurred in the past two years – were a natural phenomenon. The workmen have been brought in from the island and an assessment on the island’s safety and repair will be carried out next week. The recent rockfall left a large amount of material deposited on the island’s roadway to the work area near the lighthouse, which is away from the main visitor area. Last year, a large boulder damaged the main visitor access road. Visitor numbers to the fragile site, precariously rising over the Atlantic increased by well over 1,000 last year, and the surge in popularity is being attributed locally to the publicity surrounding the filming of Star Wars on the island in 2015. Storm damage They could be attributable to winter storm damage and weather, he also said. The Unesco world heritage site of Skellig Michael, a sixth-century monastic site, has suffered its second major rockfall in a year, and one of a handful of its most serious rockfalls in decades. It is not clear if the opening of visitor season will be delayed – while it is hoped it will not be, the situation requires constant monitoring, Mr Rourke said. The visitor season on the Skellig closes in October, and by mid-September the official count was already 13,500 – 1,000 up on the figure for the full 2015 tourist season. However, senior conservation architect for Skellig Michael Grellan Rourke rejected the idea the rockfall was linked to the increase in visitor numbers or filming in the area. There had been three or four rockfalls in the 40-year span of his time working on the island, two of them in the past couple of years. The rockfall was spotted on Friday when five workmen went out to the island to prepare the island for the visitor season opening in May. Mr Rourke said rabbit burrows may also be responsible for the instability.

Ed Sheeran: What time is it on at, how do I get there, and are there any tickets?

Ed Sheeran fans are everywhere. Make a day of it and check that tourist spot off your hitlist too.  Traffic will, as they say, be cat so if you can, leave the car at home and hop on the Red Luas to The Point. This is a very, very sold out event. A niece or a nephew obsessed with his latest album ÷ or a sibling who quips “I quite like Ed Sheeran” to no one in particular at a family meal, hoping to start a conversation but, instead, your mam asks her to pass the mash.   Why are they there? Doors are at 6.30p.m. In a bid to go viral, keep your phones ready and your eyes peeled for the wave of men (or women) dropping down to one knee, like a Jonestown Massacre of romance.  Or walk. Ed Sheeran fans range from kids needing lifts in with their parents to those who want to leave before the encore to beat the traffic. You beaut!”, but it’s good to get some fresh air all the same.  The closest Dublin Bus stop to the 3Arena is on Castleforbes Road, a two-minute walk from the venue, and the 151 is your chosen chariot.   Who will be there? Everyone except you. You pass Ed Sheeran fans on your lunch break, with a furrowed brow, regretting the chance to ditch work and hop on the next bus to Salthill, Galway where he was filming his video in O’Connor’s pub for his latest single Galway Girl. When and where is it on? It’s a cloudy day so you won’t be able to pause and take Instagram photos of the Liffey and its bridges, captioned with “Dublin! With the communal office radio set to 2FM, you might have caught your co-workers singing along to the song he wrote about Ellie Goulding cheating on him with Niall Horan (that’s the Lucy Pearl sampling Don’t) or you might have heard that their first dance at the wedding was to Thinking Out Loud. To have a good time and to propose. You might even be related to one. Sheeran is expected to come on stage at 8.15pm so get your wees and your drinks order in by then.  Are there still tickets? A member of Kodaline even proposed to his girlfriend on stage. During Ed Sheeran’s Croke Park two-night run in July 2015, proposals were two-a-penny. Ed Sheeran …

The Irishman who led one of WWII’s greatest escapes

Both engines had inexplicably died, De Wiart suspecting sabotage. But one of the most invaluable was Major-General Michael Gambier-Parry, who hailed from a famous artistic family. In total, Mussolini assembled 13 of Britain’s highest-ranking captives and shipped them off to Vincigliata Castle outside Florence, where O’Connor and De Wiart were among the most determined escapers. The middle-aged and elderly prisoners tried everything to escape to Switzerland, just 200 tantalising miles to the north, including precisely-timed wall escalades using home-made rope (O’Connor’s speciality), piercing the great walls with carefully concealed holes and even climbing down a deep mediaeval well until settling upon the hardest task of all – digging a 60ft tunnel through solid bedrock. Six, in three teams of two, escaped later that month. Photograph: Michael Todhunter Working together, the generals completed their massive tunnel excavation in March 1943. The madcap De Wiart, model for Evelyn Waugh’s Brigadier Ben Ritchie-Hook, wasn’t the only high-profile prisoner to fall into Mussolini’s hands On his way from England to Yugoslavia, the 62-year-old had just been personally appointed by Churchill to head the British military mission there. Among the generals, a surprising number had previously unknown skills, including carpentry, metalworking and tailoring. Another brave Irishman, a young redheaded RAF observer named Sergeant Ronald Bain, ably assisted the generals. Coming to, he helped one of the injured aircrew swim a mile to shore before being captured by the Italians. O’Connor, whose father had been a major in the Royal Irish Fusiliers, was captured alongside his successor as Western Desert Force commander, Lieutenant-General Sir Philip Neame, who held the extraordinary record of winning both a Victoria Cross and an Olympic gold medal. Bain had been shot down in Libya and brought to the castle along with a dozen other-ranks prisoners to act as orderlies to the elderly gentleman prisoners. Not for them, or the other esteemed escapers, a comfortable chair beside a roaring fire and a cup of cocoa, instead this band of eccentrics in their twilight years proved to be some of the most determined and imaginative escapers of the second World War. They struggled on through rain and cold, hunted by the Italian army and police, short of food but never of guts. Travelling by air via Malta, de Wiart’s plane had been headed for Egypt before planning to turn north for Yugoslavia when the emergency had struck. O’Connor, a small wiry 55-year-old, with …

Method writer: how acting inspired Lisa Harding’s novel

There is no attempt to write it slant, or to play with form, or dazzle or seduce the reader. Lisa McInerney Q&A: ‘Heresies was a landscape. This became my first play, which was workshopped at the National Theatre, and led to my first commission as a playwright. An inspired theatre director once said to me: to play a character fully, to embody them, don’t just step into their shoes, wear their clothes and try on their voice, don’t just “act” them or “ape” them. I wanted to be humble with the material and to fully embody the experiences of trauma, as well as the girls’ survival techniques, which include friendship, fantasy and humour. What surprised me was that a story took shape in spite of my best efforts not to force one, and that there is dramatic tension and a forward-moving narrative arc. Woolly, perhaps, but always liberating. Perhaps my training in drama lent itself to this instinctive drive. I think that director left an indelible impression on me all those years ago: seeking to put yourself at the service of the character means allowing it to take on a life of its own. Instead, channel their spirit in much the same way a shaman does. My first novel, Harvesting, came about in this way. Only then does he apply his conscious mind to shaping the material. It is experiential and unapologetically real. The subject matter was presented to me in a similarly unexpected way: when I was asked to read first-hand accounts of trafficked girls at the launch of a campaign in 2012 to combat sex trafficking of minors, run by the Body Shop and the Children’s Rights Alliance. I don’t plot or structure in advance, I try not be in conscious control, and once I feel sufficiently possessed by a voice, I’ll allow it take hold. If you do that well enough, the humanity, the story, the truth – or something approaching it, devoid of posturing and artifice, at least – will shine through. Figures are currently rising because of the migrant crisis). If that voice attaches itself to a body and has legs, it will run, usually gallop, with me one step behind. I was haunted by what I read that day and the stories wouldn’t let go. Let their thoughts become your thoughts. Harvesting by Lisa Harding is published by New Island on May 1st and …

Resurrecting music that existed before the founding of the Irish State

In 2002 Philip Martin recorded a CD for Hyperion under the title The Maiden’s Prayer and other gems from an old piano stool. She included two pieces by Fanny Robinson (1831-79) and two by Paris-born Augusta Holmès (1847-1903), whose father was from Youghal. With a cut-off date of 1917, and adding in some non-Irish music with Irish connections, pianist Úna Hunt and friends resurrected this cast-aside repertoire under the title Recollections of Ireland. Recollections of Ireland did, of course, successfully make the point that Ireland has a much greater legacy of 19th century music than most people realise. Both pieces are still in print in the long-running Lilac Series which used to be found in piles on the tops of pianos or in many a piano stool. And they were not all men. The exposure given to Limerick-born George Alexander Osborne (1806-93) was the series’ most balanced achievement. But, even in the world of parlour music, there’s quite a difference between the leaders and the also rans. He did, however, add a list of 20-odd names to flesh out the picture and, with an eye to the future, offered some 60 more from among the living “to prove that Ireland can still boast of musical sons and daughters, inheritors of the traditions of past ages”. There’s a clear opening here for the RTÉ Lyric FM label. The others are Leokadiya Kashperova (1872-1940), Marianna Martines (1744-1813), Florence B Price (1887-1953), and Johanna Müller-Hermann (1868-1941). The invitation on the flyer for the series was to “Discover lost and forgotten music composed before 1917” and the focus was not on the quality of the music. Hunt seems not to have grasped that a selection of works made for CD, or for downloading, is an entirely different proposition to a full evening concert. At the end of his History of Irish Music, published in 1905, WH Grattan Flood apologised for dealing so little with that century. If there’s ever in modern times been a larger celebration of Irish music of this period, I have not heard of it. This was not a series that went out of its way to seek out and highlight the very best that could be found but one that seemed more concerned with breadth of embrace. Victorian parlour music Hunt’s approach was less curator more collector, eager to show the extent  and inclusiveness of her labour. The last Irish …

Lisa McInerney Q&A: ‘Heresies was a landscape. Miracles is a portrait’

And being the final instalment can we expect a conclusion, of some sort, for the characters? It refers to that famous Neapolitan miracle of the liquefying blood of San Gennaro, and Ryan’s blood – his family and heritage and background – both condemns and saves him. I think it was all of those similarities – Italy makes sense with Ireland. But God, it can be hard to realise when you’re at that point. Actually, if anything I’m more anxious these days. I think you have to let a novel or story or essay go when every tweak you’re tempted to make would drain some life out of it. Then it was an interesting way of going about things: presenting this character so proud of this beautiful double-heritage he has, this connection to two great southern cities (and Ryan would probably say he was Corkonian-Neapolitan before saying he was Irish-Italian), and then having that heritage exploited by the ruthless men around him. which leaves me with a rousing symphonic epic to write for the closer. And it’ll be multi-narrative again, sprawling in the way Heresies was but Miracles isn’t. I remember you saying your characters are just one bad decision away from being us and I think that is what makes us want to intervene in some way, like watching ourselves make those stupid decisions. Has The Glorious Heresies left you feeling indestructible? And with the Catholic theme, can you tell us a little about the religious titles? That doesn’t happen often either. The sentences are terser, tauter. That fed the style, too: it’s got a kind of sharp pitch to it, I think the sentences are a little staccato. In certain parts it feels, I think, banal and rhythmical – Ryan is a drug dealer and there’s a lot of waiting around in his line of work. The Glorious Heresies is, of course, a play on the Glorious Mysteries, which only came to me at the last minute, but I think it fit the content very well as the novel is about sin and penitence, or lack thereof. You had this overview in mind but how much of the story did you have before you began writing The Blood Miracles? It has its own hurried beat. The Blood Miracles is a follow-up to The Glorious Heresies. It is launched tonight at Dubray Books, Grafton Street, Dublin, at 6.30pm. Aren’t we, …

Scott Eastwood: Clint’s son rises, but under his own steam

A crag of Rocks? “It’s not super heavy drama,” he says. Albeit a massive collaboration. Does he have ambitions to follow dad (again) behind the camera? On the contrary, while Scott has appeared in a number of his father’s films – notably Flags of our Father, Gran Torino, Trouble with the Curve and Invictus – he failed to get a callback for American Sniper. “In no way am I replacing Paul. I would have done that this way instead.” For the moment, having bounced from last year’s Suicide Squad and Snowden into Fast 8 and Pacific Rim: Uprising, he has plenty going on. I didn’t do any of that. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images) Aged 31, the actor retains a particular soft spot for the movies of the 1990s. You just don’t get the call.” No handouts Scott’s mother, Jacelyn Reeves, was a flight attendant when she met the then-married Clint. That’s not how my dad does things. For Eastwood, who was already a firm fan of the franchise, it was full of pleasant surprises. It’s all built on reputation and on your work ethic. Or they are a pain in the ass. All those guys are huge stars. “It was easy for me in that regard,” says Eastwood. It’s completely awesome “Ah ha,” he grins. Clint, however, has remained – literally and figuratively – a big presence in his kids’ lives. More than 15 years after the original boy-racer film zoomed into cinemas, the $4 billion-grossing-and-counting franchise sees returning cast members – Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jason Statham and Kurt Russell – make new chums with Helen Mirren (playing Jason Statham and Luke Evans’ moll-mother) and Eastwood (as Russell’s junior partner, Little Nobody), to take down super-baddie Charlize Theron. Their affair lasted for years: Reeves and Eastwood also have a daughter, Kathryn. Scott spent many of his formative years on his father’s ranch in Northern California and so much time on his father’s film sets that he can’t rightly recall the first time he visited one. And I still love them.” He has been around long enough, he notes, “to tell a good director from a, um, not-so-good director”. He uses words like “grateful”, “gracious” and “lucky” early and often: “I know the value of things,” he says. I was broke and that would save money.” Happily, there …

‘Are we going to let them burn us at the stake again?’ Jesse Jones’s bewitching art

Kathy Prendergast won the prestigious Premio 2000 prize for her exhibition in 1995. “Like if you were a man who has no knowledge of institutional violence against women, you have to do a bit more work. “It feels like a dream. “I’ve always been an anti-capitalist. Jones is enchanted, and speaks about the power of objects to change things. Selection is through competitive submissions, and is made by a team convened by Culture Ireland. It’s going to happen anyway, so are we going to let them burn us at the stake again?” Maybe not, if the witches assemble and if we let them help us get it right this time.  “It’s not so much the tea leaves my mother reads,” she continues. “Look at how she’s baring her teeth. These medieval carved figures are of naked women displaying an exaggerated vulva. “Tarot is conjuring the material world through images, and that is a really useful way of looking at art. Do you think it’s possible?  Jones’s work can be difficult. Because it was the place people could afford to live, it was class and culturally homogenous. It’s on a scale that’s super-intimidating, but it’s an amazing place.”  The Venice Biennale, also known as the Olympics of the art world, is an extraordinary event. But seriously, I’m not that separatist “This is female power,” she says. Her father worked two jobs, and she was the first of her family to go on to third level, studying sculpture at NCAD. The witches So what is Jones planning to show? I’m not cross with men in general, though some in particular. Mum always just knew.” From that we go on to talk about female power, how it evolved and was stifled, suppressed, and how new stories were then told about a woman’s place and what female sexuality means. Unless, that is, you happen to be Jesse Jones. “How can we have the Eighth Amendment when we have this in our culture?” she asks. We meet in a cafe on Dawson Street, closing the door on the chaos of digging that is the Luas works outside. It has to happen.” There’s a pair of benches beside the sheela, and our presence sitting there attracts some Italian visitors who mistranslate our explanation of the carving as meaning she was Gustav Courbet’s inspiration for his 1966 painting L’Origine du Monde. There’s something seductive about reinventing the …

James Joyce’s ‘Dead’ house on Usher’s Island goes on sale

I identified and photographed it more than 50 years ago I don’t think anybody knew of its significance at the time. “It is a very significant house. ‘Very significant’ Senator and Joycean scholar David Norris said Mr Kilty deserved great credit for saving the house from dereliction. If James Joyce was alive, I don’t think he’d care Bob Joyce, the writer’s grand-nephew, said he did not think the building should be acquired by the State. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien Mark Traynor, managing director of the James Joyce Centre on North Great George’s Street, said while the centre would not be in a position to buy the building, it would be interested in becoming involved in its future. Mr Kilty did not respond to queries. In 2012, Mr Kilty filed for bankruptcy in the UK, with debts including £2.1 million owed to Ulster Bank in relation to the Usher’s Island house. James Joyce’s listed ‘House of the Dead’ on market for €550,000 Mr Kilty refurbished the building over a four-year period, recreating Victorian interiors in some rooms which have since been used for Joyce-related events, including re-enactments of the Christmas dinner scene. The “dark gaunt house on Usher’s Island” – the setting of the James Joyce short story The Dead, is to go on sale. I don’t think it makes a difference who buys it. “We would be very supportive of any activity that would promote its Joycean heritage and would be happy to have discussions with the new owners.” The centre would also be interested in working with any State agency that might acquire the building, he said. The house, which is a protected structure, is now being sold on the instructions of receivers with a guide price of €550,000. The building was almost lost to fire in the mid-1990s, and firefighters tackling the blaze had to break most of its remaining windows. The Georgian house at 15 Usher’s Island, facing James Joyce Bridge on the south side of the Liffey, was built in about 1775 for Joshua Pim, who had his business next door at number 16. During the course of the 20th century, the house fell into increasing disrepair. If James Joyce was alive, I don’t think he’d care.” Dublin City Council said it had no interest in acquiring the house, adding that its use as a “public cultural facility celebrating James Joyce would require planning permission”. Its top …