From the Archive: Before the Diet Coke hunk, there was this chap

Indeed the sugarless soft drink itself was a mere toddler, having been on the market for only three years. When this picture was taken in the summer of 1987, the legendary Diet Coke hunks weren’t even a twinkle in an advertising copywriter’s eye. Unless, of course, he is about to retrieve his shirt from the “no iron” cycle. The poet Patrick Kavanagh recorded a visit there in his Irish Press column City Commentary. But when Paddy Whelan went to photograph the demolition of the Tara Street baths and wash-house, don’t tell me he hadn’t some hunk-type mischief in mind when he asked this particular builder – named Myles Behan – to step in front of the camera. But from 1885 until its demolition – the space now houses the Markievicz swimming pool and leisure centre – the laundry was a bit of a Dublin legend. For, as the caption reveals, the baleful-looking circular thingummyjig he is about to demolish is, in fact, a washing machine. Never let it be said that this newspaper isn’t way ahead of its time. A more recent chronicler of the capital, Bill Cullen, described it in his book It’s A Long Way From Penny Apples as “a big red-brick building, full of steel washing urns, steam spewing everywhere”. Once the viewer gets over the excitement of seeing Behan without his shirt, however, it’s time for a Dublin-style reality check. The idea of bringing your laundry to Tara Street, shoving it into one of these grim appliances and paying sixpence an hour for the privilege is almost unimaginable now. A book, The Times We Lived In, with more than 100 photographs and commentary by Arminta Wallace, published by Irish Times Books, is available from irishtimes.com and from bookshops, priced €19.99 Nevertheless, Behan has donned a pair of gloves in order to inspect its innards. The laundry’s 40 tubs were still in weekly use as late as 1949, so when our photo was taken, this particular tub hadn’t been given a spin for nearly 40 years. These and other Irish Times images can be purchased from irishtimes.com/photosales.

From the Archive: What’s all the fuss about smashing atoms?

A book, The Times We Lived In, with more than 100 photographs and commentary by Arminta Wallace, published by Irish Times Books (€19.99), is available from irishtimes.com/irishtimesbooks and from bookshops If you’re a bit disenchanted with the Higgs boson hoo-ha, which emanates from the laboratories at Cern, in Switzerland, on a regular basis (“We’ve found it! No, hang on a second, here it is… “He destroyed the scientific universe by building his own particle accelerator out of old car batteries and baked bean tins.”) The determinedly downbeat mood of the piece is echoed by Jack McManus’s picture. Oops – we’ve lost it again… Dr Walton is described as “a quiet, shy man in his early 50s” who, when asked whether he wouldn’t like to go off and get a glamorous job in atomic physics elsewhere, replied: “No, I am far too fond of Ireland to wish to leave it.” The author of the feature clearly didn’t harbour any ambitions to be a pop-science superstar. You can buy this and other Irish Times images from irishtimes.com/photosales. Dang, maybe not”) have a look at today’s photograph. There’s a hint of humour in the application of that biro, but overall, Dr Walton’s expression is rather guarded. The machine, its knobs and rods gleaming in a slightly sinister and utterly unfathomable manner, is given equal visual status with the scientist. It shows Ernest Walton, joint winner of the Nobel Prize for physics in 1951, doing something highly technological with a biro in a lab in Trinity College Dublin. Sort of… Maybe he can see the future, and it’s the overblown soap opera that is Cern. The headline reads simply, “ETS Walton, FTCD”. Walton’s historic achievement in smashing the nucleus of the atom at the Cavendish Lab in Cambridge in the 1930s is dispatched with one no-nonsense swipe, namely: “It is difficult for the layman to grasp either the process or the results of this experiment.” (Can you imagine how the Cern equivalent would read? The unsigned article was part of an Irish Times series called Portrait Gallery.

From the Archive: The rook and the rookie come face to face

It just goes to show that, as the celebrated biologist EO Wilson wrote, when you’ve seen one ant, one bird, one tree, you have not seen them all. There’s no denying that, with those baggy-trousered leg feathers and that honking great bill, rooks aren’t exactly the cutest corvids on the block. Although, between you and me, I’d prefer a bite of a Big Mac any day.” The expression “bird brain” doesn’t look so clever any more, now that we know exactly how smart our feathered friends – especially those of the crow family – can be. Beak extended, he may be giving the rook a stern telling off. This image turns the tables by having the bolshie baby talk back. Get your beak out of my lunch!” “Well, give us a go of your fork then. This rook certainly knew which side its bread was buttered when it helped itself to a generous mouthful of the picnic lunch belonging to the baby, who is named in the caption as 21-month-old Karl Daly from Enniskerry, Co Wicklow. A book, The Times We Lived In, with more than 100 photographs and commentary by Arminta Wallace, published by Irish Times Books (€19.99), is available from irishtimes.com/irishtimesbooks and from bookshops They are, however, famously gabby birds. But the best thing about our picture is that it celebrates the joy of the unexpected encounter. For the sake of retrospective health and safety, we can only hope not. We go to the zoo to see an Abyssinian hornbill, only to find ourselves up close and personal with an ordinary, everyday rook. You can buy this and other Irish Times images from irishtimes.com/photosales. “Oi! Young Karl is fearlessly making eye contact with a wild creature that is almost as big as he is. Or is he waiting – baby bird-style – for his new chum to share? The photo was taken at Dublin Zoo – where, if feathers are to be ruffled, they might reasonably be expected to come in a more exotic set of colours. Anyone who has spent any time near a rookery will have experienced their lengthy busybody conversations as they caw and call back and forth from the tops of tall trees in an apparently endless avian soap opera.

The Times We Lived In: Before the Diet Coke hunk, there was this chap

When this picture was taken in the summer of 1987, the legendary Diet Coke hunks weren’t even a twinkle in an advertising copywriter’s eye. But from 1885 until its demolition – the space now houses the Markievicz swimming pool and leisure centre – the laundry was a bit of a Dublin legend. Unless, of course, he is about to retrieve his shirt from the “no iron” cycle. These and other Irish Times images can be purchased from irishtimes.com/photosales. A more recent chronicler of the capital, Bill Cullen, described it in his book It’s A Long Way From Penny Apples as “a big red-brick building, full of steel washing urns, steam spewing everywhere”. But when Paddy Whelan went to photograph the demolition of the Tara Street baths and wash-house, don’t tell me he hadn’t some hunk-type mischief in mind when he asked this particular builder – named Myles Behan – to step in front of the camera. For, as the caption reveals, the baleful-looking circular thingummyjig he is about to demolish is, in fact, a washing machine. A book, The Times We Lived In, with more than 100 photographs and commentary by Arminta Wallace, published by Irish Times Books, is available from irishtimes.com and from bookshops, priced €19.99 Indeed the sugarless soft drink itself was a mere toddler, having been on the market for only three years. Never let it be said that this newspaper isn’t way ahead of its time. The poet Patrick Kavanagh recorded a visit there in his Irish Press column City Commentary. The idea of bringing your laundry to Tara Street, shoving it into one of these grim appliances and paying sixpence an hour for the privilege is almost unimaginable now. The laundry’s 40 tubs were still in weekly use as late as 1949, so when our photo was taken, this particular tub hadn’t been given a spin for nearly 40 years. Nevertheless, Behan has donned a pair of gloves in order to inspect its innards. Once the viewer gets over the excitement of seeing Behan without his shirt, however, it’s time for a Dublin-style reality check.

Sci-fi TV asks the big question: what is it to be human?

They each know the other’s feelings, and can combine talents, languages and memories. It’s about how, without loss, there is no gain – without leaving things behind, there is no going forward. Though the characters are avatars of loss, pain and betrayal, this sense of shared experience, different in detail but similar in kind, ultimately allows them to overcome the oppressive boundaries within which they have been forced to live. In Humans, which features Emily Berrinton, humanity is revealed in the ability not just to reflect love, but to absorb and express it. However, shows like Channel 4’s Humans and HBO’s blockbuster Westworld set out to challenge the idea that the technological cannot know anguish. They do not live on in San Junipero. To imagine? There is no fix, because we are not broken. In Humans, William Hurt plays Dr George Millican, a former scientist whose memories of his deceased wife disappeared after a stroke. “An ability to reason? “I look at Odi, I don’t see a synthetic,” he says. Both shows use grief as the factor that elevates the robots to something more than objects, while remaining something other than human. Odi, his out-of-date “synthetic,” keeps those memories alive for him. Eventually, Martha buys a life-sized robotic replica of Ash, which walks and talks just like the real thing. All the memories he carried for me when I couldn’t. They have no sense of time distinct from the passing of microseconds. “What is ‘human’?” he says. After Yorkie passes over permanently to San Junipero, she begs Kelly to come with her. Sense8 is different from other sci-fi shows because it presents a human evolution rather than a technological one. In Be Right Back, an episode from the second series, Domhnall Gleeson plays Ash, partner of Martha (Hayley Atwell). After Ash dies in a traffic accident, Martha becomes hooked on a service that allows her to converse with a version of Ash constructed from his emails, tweets, texts and Facebook posts. Computers, as John Berger once said of animals, “have no anxiety for tomorrow, so they need no philosophy and they don’t know anguish”. Similarly, Westworld is a show completely haunted by memory and grief, with its two central characters – Evan Rachel Woods’ Dolores and Thandie Newton’s Maeve – both undergoing dramatic narratives of self-discovery centred on their ability to remember, and feel the pain resulting from, tragic events …

Freemasons, Girlboss, Versailles: this week’s must-watch TV

This four-part psychological thriller stars Jack Rowan as the youngster going through something far more sinister than an adolescent phase. This new series takes us inside the United Grand Lodge of England to see for ourselves what these grown men get up to behind closed oaken doors. Anyone can throw a few ingredients into a pot and follow a recipe, but if you want to do it better than the average sloppy Joe, you’ll be tuning into the latest series hosted by the baron of Ballymaloe. There’s the rub. Get away out of that. But she’s still determined to secure her legacy – whatever the hell that is. Believe me, it’s gonna be beautiful. What, we’re supposed to cook this ourselves? Yummy. Girlboss is based on the bestselling autobiography of Sophia Amaruso, founder of the Nasty Gal clothing brand. Whatever happens in series two, you can be sure of one thing: those elaborate costumes will end up on the marble floor. Photograph: Sky TV It’s been 300 years since the birth of Freemasonry, and still we haven’t a clue what it’s all about. The king faces some fresh threats to his reign in series two, including a high-profile poisoning and an influential rival. Or is it just a bunch of middle-aged men dressing up in costumes and playing silly games? Is it all secret handshakes, bizarre initiation rituals and guaranteed career advancement?   Cruinniú na Cásca 2017: free public events for Easter Monday Dr Who is back in our dimension, and he’s hiring – quick, somebody call HR Archive: Vincent Hanley reports from New York on ‘MT USA’ How to Cook Well with Rory O’Connell Tuesday, RTE One, 7pm So, you think you can cook.   Versailles Friday, BBC Two, 9.30pm We love watching lots of debauchery and decadence, as long as it’s accompanied by lavish costumes and sumptuous settings, and laced with a few backstabbings and betrayals, which is probably why TOWIE keeps coming back for more. Meanwhile, in the real world, Nasty Gal has filed for bankruptcy, as the brand failed to meet expected big targets, but don’t let that put a crimp in your enjoyment of this fun fashion fandango. Britt Robertson plays Amaruso in this 13-part comedy charting the ups and downs of building a world-famous brand with a little luck, a lot of sass and a potty-mouth. Ah, but do you know how to cook …

New Irish music: from Fionn Regan, Kormac and Otherkin

NEW ARTIST OF THE WEEK Cities Promising to meld influences from pop, R&B and electronic, the newly arrived Dublin band certainly have moulded those touchstones into a sound that has elements of artists such as The 1975, M83 and Ed Sheeran on their debut single Give It Up, produced by Phil Magee (Kodaline, The Script).   This video makes it look easier than it is. The album was inspired by its countryside construction, a slower life, also of more space and time. Her latest song Tastemaker has some disco glitter to it belying a warning about music industry sharks. SONGS OF THE WEEK Kormac – I Believe Producer, DJ and big band leader Kormac returns with a new single that casts his jazz-sample electronic style in the best festival anthem light.   VIDEO OF THE WEEK Otherkin – Bad Advice A rock band performance in a nicely-lit studio with some good camerawork that makes use of cut-out circles placed apart and with some clever editing? Ditching the Dylan-influence completely, the album largely features meditative spacious folk music that sustains quietly like smouldering embers and a centrepiece of three songs with more layered rock music-style songs. Having considered being a visual artist but instead delving into production inspired by electronic music sensibilities, The Meetings Of The Waters feels like a stepping stone to a new path for Regan. Sea Pinks – Into Nowhere What started as a jangly indie pop side-project for Neil Brogan when he was with Girls Names has developed into a three-piece with Steven Henry and Davey Agnew and taken a more sophisticated route as heard on the lead single from new sixth album Watercourse out on May 26th. Niamh Regan – Tried To Pastoral folk, in the style of artists such as Karen Dalton and Laura Marling, is the vibe at play Galway singer-songwriter Niamh Regan’s recent EP highlight. Katie Laffan – Tastemaker Young Dubliner Katie Laffan has been developing her bedroom lo-fi funk pop music over the last few years.   ALBUM OF THE WEEK Fionn Regan – The Meetings Of The Waters Five years since his last full-length and 11 years out from his breakthrough debut, it sounds like time away has left Fionn Regan with a renewed sense of purpose. I Believe is a piano-stomping summer tune.   Autre Monde – Customs Popical Island associates Paddy Hanna, Mark Chester (Ginnels), Padraig Cooney (Skelocrats, Land Lovers, …

10 things to note about the Cannes official selection

She can also be seen in special screenings of episodes from Jane Campion’s TV series Top of the Lake. Maybe. 3. Now, his already contentious Redoubtable, starring Louis Garrel as Jean-Luc Godard, competes for the Palme. So it proved. Events kick off on April 17th (a little later than usual). Nicole Kidman appears four times – nobody is sure if this is a record or not. Thierry Frémaux, director of the Cannes Film Festival, has delivered his annual address before announcing the programme for the 70th edition. JLG has already called it “a stupid, stupid idea”. Yes, but that seems to include Kristen Stewart’s short. Heaven Knows What played well to the festival crowd, but few were the pundits who thought Good Time, a crime drama starring Robert Pattinson, would be in competition. In recent years, such pictures as Inside Out, The BFG and Mad Max: Fury Road premiered at Cannes out of competition. Maybe, a belated apology for rejecting the same director’s My Golden Years from the official selection a few years ago? Could they spring Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk? The three features that have made it into the fight for the Palme d’Or are all from Cannes veterans: Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled, Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here and Naomi Kawase’s Radiance. Netflix (less friendly to theatrical distribution than rivals Amazon) finally arrives in the competition with Bong Joon-ho’s Okja and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected). How they will accommodate Alejandro González Iñárritu’s virtual reality project CARNE y ARENA remains to be seen. Immigration a theme in election month This year’s Cannes will take place shortly after a French presidential election in which immigration has been a source of contention. Godard is (sort of) in competition Cannes made Michel Hazanavicius’s name internationally when it belatedly snuck The Artist – later an Oscar winner – into competition six years ago. They’ll need a lot of headsets. Nobody is sure if this is a record or not. It certainly includes Vanessa Redgrave’s belated debut Sea Sorrow. On which topic… He would become the first film-maker to triumph on three occasions 7. Less likely, I fear. Television, VR and streaming have arrived Frémaux played down the appearance of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks and Campion’s Top of the Lake at Cannes. The organisers stayed loyal by accepting the awful (and unreleased here) The Search in 2014. 4. 1. 8. …

Pop Corner: Inside Tine Tempah’s home, and Lorde’s creative process

So with Ella, we both love pop songs that are interesting in the production side and also have a lot to do with break-ups, which can be devastating. “It’s a record about being alone. Meanwhile, Jack Antonoff told NME about working on Green Light with Lorde. “It all starts with me and them in a room, just talking about ideas and what we love. Making Green Light, we thought: ‘Let’s not dumb anything down, let’s make the pop music we love’.” Zero of the week is the end of a party, Lorde told the New York Times. “With a party, there’s that moment where a great song comes on and you’re ecstatic, and then there’s that moment later on where you’re alone in the bathroom, looking in the mirror, you don’t think you look good, and you start feeling horrible.” She explained that upcoming album Melodrama would tell the story of a night at a house party. The good parts and the bad parts.” NOW CLICK HERE To further snoop into Tinie’s home Hero of the week is Tinie Tempah, for letting us snoop around his home. He told Dezeen about his decor choices: “The giraffe was already there, but I bought a zebra, which is my favourite animal, so that the giraffe could have a friend in the house,” he said. I’ve always watched American TV shows like Cribs and I was just like ‘shit, I’ve got a basement, let me make it super-cool’,” Tinie went on: “I just turned it into a boys room. With hints of old school uk garage, an Aphex Twin-style video, and a ‘jog on, matey’ attitude, it 100 per cent bangs straight through Saturday night, all the way to Sunday morning. Word to the wise, if whipped cream makes you feel funny, do not click on the video. I added some concrete to the walls just to give it a New York warehouse, apartment feel.” TRACK OF THE WEEK Pillow Person – On Your Way This Moshi Moshi signing popped up onto our radar recently and we can’t get enough of it. Not surprising, given that Pillow Person, aka Sarah Jones, is the drummer for Hot Chip.

New Irish Music: Fionn Regan, Cities, Kormac, Otherkin and more

I Believe is a piano-stomping summer tune.   This video makes it look easier than it is. Having considered being a visual artist but instead delving into production inspired by electronic music sensibilities, The Meetings Of The Waters feels like a stepping stone to a new path for Regan. SONGS OF THE WEEK Kormac – I Believe Producer, DJ and big band leader Kormac returns with a new single that casts his jazz-sample electronic style in the best festival anthem light.   VIDEO OF THE WEEK Otherkin – Bad Advice A rock band performance in a nicely-lit studio with some good camerawork that makes use of cut-out circles placed apart and with some clever editing? Niamh Regan – Tried To Pastoral folk, in the style of artists such as Karen Dalton and Laura Marling, is the vibe at play Galway singer-songwriter Niamh Regan’s recent EP highlight.   Autre Monde – Customs Popical Island associates Paddy Hanna, Mark Chester (Ginnels), Padraig Cooney (Skelocrats, Land Lovers, Tieranniesaur) and Eoghan O’Brien (No Monster Club) got together inspired by the music of Television, early Brian Eno, John Cale , ESG, Television, Suicide, The Slits and with their debut single, they’ve nailed a loose rock style of the era.   ALBUM OF THE WEEK Fionn Regan – The Meetings Of The Waters Five years since his last full-length and 11 years out from his breakthrough debut, it sounds like time away has left Fionn Regan with a renewed sense of purpose. Ditching the Dylan-influence completely, the album largely features meditative spacious folk music that sustains quietly like smouldering embers and a centrepiece of three songs with more layered rock music-style songs. Sea Pinks – Into Nowhere What started as a jangly indie pop side-project for Neil Brogan when he was with Girls Names has developed into a three-piece with Steven Henry and Davey Agnew and taken a more sophisticated route as heard on the lead single from new sixth album Watercourse out on May 26th. NEW ARTIST OF THE WEEK Cities Promising to meld influences from pop, R&B and electronic, the newly arrived Dublin band certainly have moulded those touchstones into a sound that has elements of artists such as The 1975, M83 and Ed Sheeran on their debut single Give It Up, produced by Phil Magee (Kodaline, The Script). The album was inspired by its countryside construction, a slower life, also of more space and …

An teanga nach bhfuil láidir…

Níor cheart dom an Béarla a mholadh thar an Ghaeilge. In iarthar Bhéal Feirste ar na mallaibh dom, chonaic mé fógra taobh amuigh de shiopa agus iad ag iarraidh daoine a mhealladh isteach chun caifé a cheannach. An teanga nach bhfuil láidir… Ach, ina ainneoin sin, tig leis an Bhéarla féin ábhar gáire a thabhairt duit. Mar sin féin, ná moltar Béarla buí na banríona barraíocht. Béarla – an namhaid dhomhanda! póm Leoga, cuid de na cairde is fearr atá agam is Béarlóirí iad agus daoine deasa iad leis. Ní hé go bhfuil gráin agam ar an Bhéarla. Bhí mé ag coisíocht liom i mbaile beag agus chonaic mé bialann Shíneach a raibh “Kung Food” uirthi! Níorbh fhada, ámh, go raibh ábhar grinn i nGaeilge agam. “Tiocfaidh ár latte” a bhí ar an fhógra! Sea, tá an Béarla buí gach aon áit, sna ceithre hairde, ag alpadh theangacha eile na cruinne siar diaidh ar ndiaidh agus tá lucht na Gaeilge, oiread chéanna le dreamanna eile, ag déanamh a ndíchill a dteanga dhúchais a chosaint. Anois, abair tusa do rogha rud faoin Bhéarla ach tig le lucht a labhartha bheith an-chliste. Tá go leor cairde ag an Bhéarla agus tá an Béarla éigeantach le feiceáil gach aon áit – ar chomharthaí bóthair, ar ollmhargaí, ar éadaí, ar an teilifís – agus tá sé le cluinstin fud fad na cruinne agus sna ceantair is iargúlta de chuid na hÉireann.

Seacht mbua an aistriúcháin

Tá an-bhaint aige leis an Ghaeloideachas agus leis an oideachas aosach i mBéal Feirste; chaith sé 10 mbliana ina chathaoirleach ar Bhunscoil Bheann Mhadagáin agus tá sé ar fhoireann Scoil Samhraidh Mhic Reachtain ó bunaíodh in 2000 í. Is fear é a bhfuil cion ealaíontóra déanta aige ar son Uí Chonaire roimhe seo. Sa bhliain 1918 a foilsíodh Seacht mBua an Éirí Amach i nGaeilge den chéad uair, cnuasach gearrscéalta a dhéanann cur síos ar an dóigh a ndeachaigh an t-éirí amach i bhfeidhm ar an phobal mhór. Is scríbhneoir cruthaitheach é a bhfuil cnuasach gearrscéalta i gcló aige, Litir ó mo Mháthair Altrama agus Scéalta Eile (2005), agus tá úrscéal idir lámha aige. Ba é a scríobh Seosamh Mac Grianna: an Mhéin Rúin (2002) agus tá go leor scríofa aige faoi stair na hAthbheochana, Belfast and the Irish Language (2006) ina measc. Seacht mBua an Éirí Amach/Seven Virtues of the Rising (Arlene House) is ainm don leabhar is nuaí ar Ó Conaire, athchló ar na scéalta iomráiteacha sin i nGaeilge agus leaganacha Béarla leo; an chéad uair go raibh na scéalta ar fad le fáil i mBéarla. Caint! Léigh! Ní hamháin go mbeidh deis ag lucht na Gaeilge Ó Conaire a léamh arís an iarraidh seo ach beidh deis ag lucht an Bhéarla fosta. Bhí a thuismitheoirí Séamus agus Máire i measc na ndíograiseoirí a chuir borradh faoi Chumann Chluain Ard sna 1950í agus 1960í, ceann de na hionaid teanga is tábhachtaí sa chathair, an t-am sin agus ó shin. Ollamh nua ar Mhá Nuad Scoláire as Béal Feirste, an Dochtúir Fionntán de Brún (47), atá ceaptha ina Ollamh le Gaeilge i Má Nuad, ceann de na ranna Gaeilge is cáiliúla in Éirinn. Nach minic a dúirt mé é; nach minic a dúirt mé le m’fhile caol dubh féin é, agus é ag cur síos ar an obair a bhí fúthu a dhéanamh; nach minic a dúirt mé nach ndéanfaí aon ghníomh arís go deo in Éirinn ach caint! Bhain sé céim amach sa Léann Cheilteach agus sa Fhraincis in 1992 in Ollscoil na Banríona, mar a mbíodh Ruairí Ó hUiginn, an té a bhfuil sé ag teacht i gcomharbacht air, á theagasc. Bhí de Brún féin ar dhuine den ghlúin úr a tógadh le Gaeilge sa chathair. Ceann de na buanna is mó a bhaineann le leabhar a chur i gcló arís go gcuireann sé i gcuimhne don …

An Réabhlóidí Faiseanta

Bhí paisean agus díocas agus comáint ann, mar a bhíonn san fhile is fearr. Ach dúinne ar feadh tamaill, b’é an guth eile é, an guth ailtéarnach, an guth nach gcloistí abhus. Fuair Yevgeny Yevtushenko bás an tseachtain cheana. Ina dhiaidh sin bhí Solzhenitsin ina bhuachaill bán mar thug leadradh don rialtas stalcaithe iarStailíneach, ach a bhí chomh cáinteach céanna ar amaidí is ar thomhaltóireacht gan chuibheas an Iarthair. Duine in aghaidh na bunaíochta a bhíodh san fhile tráth dá raibh, mar is eol don chat. Thóg mé anuas leabhar beag a chuir Penguin amach a bhí agam ó chionn fada sa tsraith sin ‘Modern European Poets’, agus léigh mé le fonn é arís. B’fhéidir nach raibh ann ach go raibh grá tíre acu, mar a bhíonn grá teanga ag scríbhneoirí nach dtréigeann an rud is dual dóibh ar son na bpotaí óir. Bhí an chuma ar Yevtushenko go raibh an dá thrá á fhreastal aige, go raibh sé liom leat. Léigh mé úrscéal Julian Barnes The Noise of Time le déanaí. Ní foláir nó tá cuimhne fós ar na paidreacha a deirtí ag deireadh an Aifrinn ar son iompáil chreideamh na Rúise ar ais nuair a bhí an cumannachas in airde láin, agus cé déarfadh nár éirigh leo? Cibé aighnistí beaga deasa atá againn inniu, dar linn, ní tada iad le hais a raibh le fulaingt ag scríbhneoirí na Rúise. Míniú leis seo: file Rúiseach ba ea Yevtushenko a shiúil ar imeall na faille idir an stát Rúiseach Sóivéadach agus an tsaoirse cainte a cheapaimidne atá againn. Bhí Pasternak go hiontach toisc gur bronnadh an duais Nobel air, ach gur cuireadh iachall air diúltú di. Ní raibh de shuim ag an Iarthar, áfach, ach sna scríbhneoirí sin a bhí in aghaidh an rialtais. Cén file inniu a chuireann éamh suas in aghaidh an chiníochais ghránna, i gcoinne an tsoláthair shealadaigh do theifigh a mhaireann scór bliain ar arán tirim agus leite chaol, a phleancann maoithe bhog an airgid mhóir a stiúrann an stát? Ach d’fhan formhór na mórchumadóirí Rúiseacha sa tír in ainneoin na cúinge. Agus thit gach duine i ngrá le hOmar Sharif nó le Julie Christie sa scannán de Dr Zhivago, ag brath ar an gclaonadh a bhí aige. Is maith gur tháinig Yevtushenko slán, cé go raibh filí eile nach raibh buíoch dó. Bhí caolchúis agus tuiscint agus íogaireacht ann. In ainneoin an Bhéarla, chuala mé …

Modern sci-fi TV is grappling with the oldest question: What makes us human?

After Yorkie passes over permanently to San Junipero, she begs Kelly to come with her. Though the programme does backtrack its way to a happy ending, Kelly’s powerful evocation of what it means to live and lose the ones we love is a rare expression of existential commitment and an acknowledgement of the weight of the past. Reborn as a chatbot Using the accumulated data of a life lived through technology, Ash is reborn as a chatbot. The memory of those lives, those losses, causes Kelly to reject, temporarily at least, the virtual pleasuredome of San Junipero, where one might “spend forever somewhere nothing matters”. In San Junipero, Kelly and Yorkie are young, vibrant lovers. However, shows like Channel 4’s Humans and HBO’s blockbuster Westworld set out to challenge the idea that the technological cannot know anguish. Most Black Mirror episodes revolve around a particular technological innovation and its complex consequences. “What is ‘human’?” he says. In reality, they are both old women, testing out the attractions of San Junipero in anticipation of their natural deaths. After Ash dies in a traffic accident, Martha becomes hooked on a service that allows her to converse with a version of Ash constructed from his emails, tweets, texts and Facebook posts. At the heart of it, and all these shows, is a set of questions that desperately need asking at a time when fences are springing up anew and battles rage over all sorts of personal, social and national boundaries. In its best moments, Sense8 captures a utopian sense of global human interconnectedness – physical, mental, cultural and sexual – which is visceral and intimate at the same time. “I see all the years of care he gave us. We imagine futures for ourselves, but computers cannot. Sense8 is one of a number of television shows that use science fiction to explore what it is to be human. Grief and mourning are not illnesses, not glitches in an otherwise functioning system, but processes that must be endured. Absences which become presences, which become part of who we are. “Everything we sacrificed,” says Kelly, “the years I gave him, the years he gave me.” Those years meant something, they were significant and valuable, because they ended and they could not be gotten back. The loss of a parent, a lover, a child; these are the wounds we live with, the absences we internalise. “An …

Six must-watch shows on TV this week

Call it Keks and the City. But Jenny will soon find out to her horror that the rotten apple has not fallen far from the tree. It’s also probably why Versailles has been commissioned for a second series, following more carry-on and shenanigans in the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV. As season six opens, Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is no longer president, and has to adjust to her new life outside the White House. This new series takes us inside the United Grand Lodge of England to see for ourselves what these grown men get up to behind closed oaken doors.   Born to Kill Thursday, Channel 4, 9pm Sam seems like a normal teenager – polite, considerate and affectionate (eh, is that normal for a teenager?), but deep inside him lurks an ultraviolent urge which he’s finding harder to suppress.   Veep Tuesday, Sky Atlantic, 10.10pm Well, the political landscape in the US sure has changed, hasn’t it?   Versailles Friday, BBC Two, 9.30pm We love watching lots of debauchery and decadence, as long as it’s accompanied by lavish costumes and sumptuous settings, and laced with a few backstabbings and betrayals, which is probably why TOWIE keeps coming back for more. Anyone can throw a few ingredients into a pot and follow a recipe, but if you want to do it better than the average sloppy Joe, you’ll be tuning into the latest series hosted by the baron of Ballymaloe. Meanwhile, in the real world, Nasty Gal has filed for bankruptcy, as the brand failed to meet expected big targets, but don’t let that put a crimp in your enjoyment of this fun fashion fandango. Whatever happens in series two, you can be sure of one thing: those elaborate costumes will end up on the marble floor. With the real White House looking more like an episode of The Three Stooges every week, can Veep keep its comedic finger on the button? This four-part psychological thriller stars Jack Rowan as the youngster going through something far more sinister than an adolescent phase. There’s the rub. Or is it just a bunch of middle-aged men dressing up in costumes and playing silly games? Britt Robertson plays Amaruso in this 13-part comedy charting the ups and downs of building a world-famous brand with a little luck, a lot of sass and a potty-mouth. The king faces some fresh threats …

Gate Theatre recorded losses of nearly €1m over two years

‘Extremely successful’ It said Mr Colgan has led and managed the Gate “according to his own strengths and style, widely recognised as extremely successful”. In addition, the director will no longer be a board member. He has been succeeded by Selina Cartmell, whose productions have been nominated for 35 theatre awards, with 10 wins, including three for best director. “This is not sustainable,” the report said. The report found the Gate was “highly dependent” on high returns, adding: “The apparent conservatism of its core audience means that any experimentation outside of a particular taste may have negative financial results.” The report also said the continuous erosion of Arts Council funding, down from almost €945,000 in 2014 to €860,000 in 2016, undermined the theatre’s ability to achieve its ambitions. The report also said the theatre had not premiered a new work, unless by an established playwright, since 1983, when Mr Colgan became director. Attendance figures at the theatre, founded by Hilton Edwards and Micheál Mac Liammóir in 1928, were down almost 10 per cent from 102,810 in 2011 to 94,110 in 2015. The Gate has “ a significant opportunity”to develop and diversify supported by a modernisation of its staffing, marketing and fundraising, but the transition will require “a substantial investment”, including Arts Council help. This action was successful and the Gate expected to exceed significantly its financial targets. A five-year business plan is needed, including more fundraising. “There are clear opportunities to increase ticket yield through pricing strategies reflecting the genre, style, popularity and demand,” the report found, adding that Colgan had kept to standard pricing “on egalitarian principles”. “There is a particular need for clarity over HR policy and remuneration arrangements,” the report found. “The Gate believes that this risks damaging its reputation and also losing audiences,” the report said of the theatre, whose former director Michael Colgan stood down in April after more than 33 years ago. The Abbey, funded as a national cultural institution, received more than six times the funding, though both theatres have similar attendance. However, the business model was dependent on all productions generating a surplus and success was dependent on meeting the expectations of “the current, core, loyal but conservative audience”. The existing operating model of the Gate Theatre, which has combined losses of more than €900,000 in 2013 and 2015, is being “stretched to the point of unsustainability”, consultants have warned Commissioned by …