Man Booker International shortlist is an impressive final six

Jacobsen has a wide readership, as evidenced many an Irish book club selected The Unseen which is about as perfect as a novel can be. In only its second year since a daring re-invention, the Man Booker International has further consolidated its position as a major literary award with a world-class shortlist of fiction in translation. Rich in ideas, digressions, historical fact and comic characterisation, it is beautiful, eccentric and never takes itself seriously although its theme is profound – the ongoing conflict of east meets west, the concerted ransacking of Middle Eastern culture and all the more tragic in the context of the current agonies of the Syrian people. The Shortlist Compass by Mathias Énard This is the obvious winner. Four men and two women; three Europeans, two Israelis and the youngest, an Argentine, are the survivors from an original submission of 123 books published in English translation. Life is hard on the island where the sea is lord and a changed in the weather can prove fatal. This novel of ideas spans one long night in the imagination and memory of a sympathetic narrator, Franz Ritter, insomniac, musicologist, dreamer and unrequited lover, as he revisits days spent with a tenacious scholar, the woman he loved, sort of. (Review) A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman Compass review: A delightful odyssey into learning made easy The Unseen review: Red sky at mourning for a Norwegian fishing family A Horse Walks into a Bar review: a polemic of unusual power It was always destined to be an impressive final six, as the 13-strong longlist included no less than 11 novels with serious claims. As he lies in bed, very ill, he resembles Ivan Goncharov’s apathetic anti-hero Oblomov, from the 19th century Russian classic of the same name. (Review) The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen This is the story of a family living on an island off the Norwegian coast. My book of the year last year, it is about as perfect a novel as would be expected from the gifted Jacobsen. It is a gorgeous performance, wry and humorous. The winner of the 2017 Man Booker International prize, which sees the £50,000  divided equally between the winning author and translation, will be announced on June 14. Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin A hint of the Gothic shapes this mesmerising narrative from the youngest contender – she’s 39. Unsettling, fluid, …

The best gigs to see this week: Barrow River Arts Festival, Kasabian, Maverick Sabre and more

JC TECHNO Operator The Sound House Dublin 11pm €15/€12/€10 A live performance from Neil Landstrumm, a producer who has made many trips to the capital over the years. Beckett’s earliest theatrical masterpiece, long the unofficial property of the Gate Theatre, now makes far more regular appearances than its famous no-show. Anders Bergcrantz & Perico Sambeat JJ Smyths, Aungier St, Dublin, 9pm, €20, jjsmyths.com After a succession of false dusks and hopes for a reprieve, it looks like JJ Smyth’s will finally close its doors at the end of the month, and live music fans of all hues – but particularly the jazz audience – will shed a tear for one of the last bars in Dublin’s city centre where the name above the door was the face behind the bar. As a producer, he’s released some fine cuts for Berghain in-house label Ostgut Ton as well as for Playhouse and Running Back. CL ART Small Town Portraits Dennis Dinneen Gallery 1, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin Until May 27 Dennis Dinneen, who died in 1985, was “a publican, taxi driver and, most notably, a photographer in his home town of Macroom.” From the 1950s through the 1970s he made numerous portrait photographs of local people, mostly in an improvised studio setting. Produced in his log-cabin studio on the Darss peninsula overlooking the Baltic sea, albums such as last year’s well received Mare and 2012’s A Forest are beautifully pitched and deployed, full of minimally adorned deep house grooves and icy emotions and moods. Kapoor is the name at the top of the bill, the dude who runs leading-edge local label Four Sides. By night these musicians will continue to play for sessions of music and dance for all to join in. He’s joined by Autumns, the Derry act who’ve been making waves with their gritty slo-noise electronics and were recently signed by Regis to his influential Downwards label. Last year, they all happened to be in the country at the same time and decided to get together to play some original music. That makes Druid’s exceptional staging all the more miraculous. Not surprising given that they are often trying to see behind immediate appearances. Directed with energy and heart by Garry Hynes, designed with artful simplicity by Francis O’Connor, and performed by a revelatory cast of Marty Rea, Aaron Monaghan, Rory Nolan and Garrett Lombard, this is the freshest, …

In a Word. . . Gender

Here is former colleague Andy Pollak writing after the Slovakia/Republic of Ireland match in Tallaght last month. But… The women were “fast, skilful, determined and take no prisoners in the tackle. If you look at some of the figures associated with that, they’re huge. The shame, the shame. Player Aine O’Gorman spoke of “getting changed in public toilets of airports on the way to matches, being given our kit there”. Any team sport you like? Why do we have a Republic of Ireland women’s international soccer team? It shouldn’t be tolerated there either. Some girls are taking this as unpaid leave, some are taking as holiday leave. Thankfully matters have been resolved to the satisfaction of the women soccer players. It’s maybe two months’ wages out of your 12 months are sacrificed and that’s been going on. Another player Karen Duggan explained how between September 2015 and 2016 “we would have taken over and above 40 days (off work). inaword@irishtimes.com Why do we have women’s tennis? And don’t give me “the fairer sex” argument. Remember the furore last month over the Republic of Ireland’s international women’s soccer team. If women can lead men in our Defence Forces they can compete with them on a sportsfield. Why should there be this rigid divide between women and men in sport? Bless my sweet soul! Denise O’Sullivan is a stylish and tigerish midfielder. Why just women’s sport at all? Why similarly in Gaelic, rugby, hockey? Katie McCabe was particularly outstanding – a marvellously gifted dribbler and forceful right-winger, who if she were a man would certainly be an ever-present in Martin O’Neill’s team. Stephanie Roche of that “overhead flick and volley” goal of world renown is the main threat up front.” So less of this gender nonsense in sport. It is no longer tolerated in education, health care, any of the professions or trades, yet I have yet to hear a single voice say it is wrong. Or athletics? Gender from Middle English, Middle French gendre, genre, Latin gener-(stem of genus) meaning kind or sort. We’ve received no reimbursements for six years now.” All while FAI chief executive John Delaney was swanning it over in Helsinki arranging his successful election to Uefa’s executive committee thus adding more than €100,000 to his current €360,000 salary, plus a €300-a-day allowance when he is on federation business.

Gig guide: Barrow River Arts Festival, Kasabian, Maverick Sabre and more

AD MONDAY ART Whispering to the ground Patrick Redmond. Don’t expect any real innovation here, but rather a canny assimilation of rock music that gets the pulse racing. Take your pick from James Devine (Modern Irish Step Dance) to Timmy “the Brit” McCarthy (polka & slides sets of Sliabh Luachra), Siobhan Butler (Sean Nós Dancing),Joe McGuiggan (Old Style Step Dancing), Maureen Culleton (2 Hand Dances) and Edwina Guckian (Dance the Tune – creating dance with a musician). That his solo recording career has been virtually overlooked by all but the avid fan is surely equal parts frustrating (for Chester) and shameful (everyone else). The photos were generally intended as identity documents for administrative uses, or as personal keepsakes. JC SUNDAY CLASSICAL New Dublin Voices Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin noon, Adm free Multi-award-winning choir New Dublin Voices and their conductor Bernie Sherlock present a typically mixed programme with the emphasis on the music of our own time. That forms the climax of his John Field Room programme, which builds up to it through Aaron Copland’s Piano Variations, Beethoven’s Eroica Variations and Liszt’s Sonata in B minor. The third live act is Kandehha, a debut appearance for this collaboration between techno producer Koichi and sound and visual artist Helena Hamilton. This show sees Stafford perform without a safety net: just him, a few onstage accessories and a bunch of unplugged songs. Expect to be disorientated. Helping, they say, the afflicted since 1990, Northern Ireland’s Therapy? The passage of time, however, has not softened the tragedy, as millions of people – most of them children – continue to suffer from the after-effects. AD WEDNESDAY FUNDRAISER A Night for Chernobyl Set Theatre KiIkenny 7.30pm €25 set.ie This fundraising show marks the noted 31st anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, to date the world’s largest. TCL HOUSE Prosumer Pgy Dublin 7pm €10 pyg.ie At this stage of the game, Achim “Prosumer” Brandenburg is one of those dudes on the international DJ circuit who probably doesn’t require an introduction. have undergone a few changes in their time, but none so different as exchanging electric for acoustic. Previews Apr 22-24 Opens Apr 25-May20 7.30pm (Sat mat 2.30pm) abbeytheatrre.ie “Off we go again,” says Estragon, and later Vladimir, and until this wonderful production appeared last year, you knew exactly how they felt. Fire dominates Landscape For Fire, but from there on McCall sets about deconstructing film, stripping it …

Have you seen it? The story behind the giant squirrel on Tara Street

Much of the large-scale street art in the city and elsewhere in Ireland has permission from the owners of a building or it goes up (technically) illegally and temporarily. Meegan put a treatment together for the Irish Film Board, who got behind their idea for a documentary. Street art has a lot of red tape to get through in Dublin. Trevor Whelan and Rua Meegan are working on a documentary of Bordalo’s work, supported by the Irish Film Board. The giant squirrel on the wall of the Workshop Gastro Pub at the junction of Tara Street and George’s Quay “In the beginning people are confused because its just trash, dirt and a big mess,” Bordalo says over email, “but as soon as the piece starts to get a shape and colour, people start to understand what I’m talking about.”  From the high-end, gallery-ready pieces of Conor Harrington to James Early’s naturalistic approach reminiscent of stained glass, the quality and diversity of Irish street art continues to grow. It’s the latest large-scale street artwork to appear, as if by magic, in the capital. The crew has permission from Dublin City Council for the artwork to remain for six months. The 3D element of Bordalo’s piece using material as opposed to paint means its planning and construction undergoes rigorous safety checks, using bolts and wire to secure it. “Rather than the city covered in advertisements and drab buildings,” Whelan says, “this stuff makes you think.” The Portuguese artist Artur Bordalo working on his Dublin piece on Tara Street Safety checks Recently, the London grime artist Stormzy was treated to a massive mural in Smithfield in Dublin when his tour kicked off in Dublin. Last week the Irish filmmaker Trevor Whelan stood near Tara Street in Dublin to gauge the reactions of passersby to a large-scale street art piece erected on the wall of the Workshop Gastro Pub. Glen Collins was the producer of the project which was partly funded by local businesses. There is also the increasing presence of female artists on walls, thanks in part to the Minaw Collective, an all-female street artist crew. On the Tuesday he started fabricating the piece and putting together the basic shape of the squirrel in sections. In the beginning people are confused because its just trash, dirt and a big mess “Within 10 minutes in Chadwicks, the manager was walking around with buckets” gathering …

Oh, d’oh, the big Three O: The Simpsons celebrates 30 years

Here are the show’s key cultural milestones. The stakes have risen since Murdoch’s last battle for Sky Live from Springfield, it’s Homer Simpson! Live from Springfield: Homer Simpson answers viewers’s questions Since then it’s become a ubiquitous cultural force: a theme park ride, half a dozen different action figure series, several video games, a whole line of comic books, and of course 28 seasons – and counting – of television. It’s also an incredible patchwork of secondary and tertiary characters, many of them voiced by the omnipresent cast of Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Hank Azaria, and Harry Shearer – with the rare exception, Yeardley Smith voices only Lisa. He grew up in Portland, Oregon, where the town next door was Springfield, though the mystery of which state hosts the Simpson family’s home town is a running gag on the show. Matt Groening’s The Simpsons is 30 years old today, its titular family having first appeared on the Tracey Ullman show in 1987 in a very weird short during which Homer and Marge put the kids to bed. The Simpsons looked a bit different when they appeared in segments between The Tracey Ullman Show and advertishing breaks. Depending on who you believe, Groening either came up with the Simpsons family the night before he was due to give the “What else you got?” pitch to producer James L Brooks or in the lobby of Brooks’s office. Groening had a dad named Homer Groening, a mom named Margaret Groening, neé Wiggum, sisters named Lisa and Maggie, and an aunt named Selma. Photograph: Fox But the Simpsons is far more than a sentimental look back on family life, though it is more often that than either its fans or its detractors believe. Prehistory Originally, Groening was invited to pitch an animated version of his popular alt-weekly newspaper strip Life in Hell but balked when he realized he would have to sign over the rights to the whole thing to 20th Century Fox. Episode 1 of season 1, Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire, airs December 17th. 1989 Animation problems pushed the series all the way to the end of the year from its original debut date in the fall of 1989. 1990 The Simpsons landed its first renewal and began its second season, outdoing The Cosby Show with the season two premiere, Bart Gets an F. It read: “Mike Flynn’s much-publicized …

The 10 best U2 songs, as seen from Britain

The band were apparently so furious they almost fired him, but the stadium crowd and billions watching on TV were captivated. Holing up in Berlin’s legendary Hansa Studios – birthplace of Iggy Pop and David Bowie’s classic mid-1970s albums – brought experimentation and electronic/industrial grooves, although the album’s sublime standout is a sparse, eerily lovely ballad. Touring had opened the band’s eyes to wider political situations, and its lyrics refer to the internment of Polish Solidarity movement leader Lech Welasa and the lifting of martial law. Suddenly, U2 were seen as earnest and old hat. 2. Meanwhile, drummer Larry Mullen Jr and bassist Adam Clayton conjure up an almost pre-post-rock soundscape and Bono Vox – born Paul Hewson – is at his impassioned best. “You know you’re chewing bubble gum / You know what it is but you still want some / You just can’t get enough of that lovie-dovie stuff,” Bono sings, ostensibly about Ecstasy, although he has explained that the song has a deeper meaning, about “love … the counterfeit that you can’t find.” In the song’s video, the band send themselves up by donning garb like the Village People: Bono is a motorcycle cop, Mullen a cowboy, Clayton a sailor and the usually straight-faced Edge seems to revel in the role of a waxed-tached, crotch-thrusting, leather-chapped S&M/biker role. New Year’s Day By 1983, U2 were one of the bigger “alternative” bands on the gig circuit: contemporaries of New Order, Echo and the Bunnymen and the Cure. Pride (In the Name of Love) This 1984 smash was the track unceremoniously dumped at Live Aid, but otherwise it remains one of the band’s cornerstone anthems. It’s not, on the face of it, the most obviously commercial album. 7. The moment when the juggernaut rhythm crashes in over Eno’s introductory organ hum is particularly sensational. The sentiments could apply today, although, on a technical detail, trees don’t completely lose their autumn leaves until well into November. After the groundwork of Live Aid, MTV and endless touring, the album gave them a No 1 in every major market and took them to a new level of superstardom. The footage of the singer carrying a white flag of peace during Sunday Bloody Sunday has been called some of the most iconic imagery in rock history. “A lot of sweet teenage kids, who just liked to smoke a bit of ganja, were offered …

Space Jam: the best soundtrack of them all?

Record label Def Jam loaded The Nutty Professor with its biggest star. It helped that it worked. R Kelly’s soaring I Believe I Can Fly – a ubiquitous presence in pop culture when it was released – no doubt inspired burgeoning basketball players to spend extra hours on the court. Will Smith performed lead singles off his own films. Seeing the movie and then playing the soundtrack all summer, made the whole thing feel like an event. Released in 1997, the Batman Forever soundtrack featured U2, R Kelly, Nick Cave, The Flaming Lips and PJ Harvey. The rise of MTV in the 1980s trailblazed a marriage of music and visuals that blockbusters like Space Jam seemed to feed off. It was a common Hollywood tactic back then. It’s a practice you don’t see too much these days. Tim Burton, for example, might have been a Prince fan, but he was pushed by the studio into including Prince’s new music in Batman. The funky guitar licks and smooth vocals of Seal’s Fly Like An Eagle fit Jordan’s gravity-defying dunks as smoothly as His Royal Airness once sank jump shots. Destiny’s Child were inspired by the Charlie’s Angels movie to write Independent Woman. If executed incorrectly, the film risks angering the loyal disciples of the original. With Space Jam 2 in development, maybe it’ll produce another knockout soundtrack. These soundtracks threw up some hidden classics, indie crossovers and weird collaborations. Still, if a few Space Jam veterans can be roped into recording, and if King James can parlay his connections with the likes of Kendrick and Lil Wayne to bring them into the fold, it’s tantalising to think how hard the music might bang. The movie’s five “Monstars” were represented by rappers B-Real, Busta Rhymes, Coolio, LL Cool J and Method Man on the rasping boom-bap of Hit ‘Em High (The Monstars Anthem). Limp Bizkit covered the Mission: Impossible theme tune. It was the opposite of, say, Hans Zimmer’s sweeping orchestration or Quentin Tarentino’s dusty crate digging. Blockbuster pop discs were created to help promote the movies. Being forced to shoehorn in these tracks was probably a filmmaker’s nightmare. The film is slated to star current NBA superstar LeBron James, who last week took to Instagram to preview his early copy of Kendrick Lamar’s new album DAMN.. Space Jam features Basketball Jones, a Barry White-Chris Rock collaboration that was used to dramatise …

Space Jam: a peerless slam-dunk from a time when soundtracks mattered

Limp Bizkit covered the Mission: Impossible theme tune. It was the opposite of, say, Hans Zimmer’s sweeping orchestration or Quentin Tarentino’s dusty crate digging. Space Jam features Basketball Jones, a Barry White-Chris Rock collaboration that was used to dramatise the thoughts of basketball star Charles Barkley. Still, if a few Space Jam veterans can be roped into recording, and if King James can parlay his connections with the likes of Kendrick and Lil Wayne to bring them into the fold, it’s tantalising to think how hard the music might bang. Blockbuster pop discs were created to help promote the movies. Will Smith performed lead singles off his own films. Record label Def Jam loaded The Nutty Professor with its biggest star. Being forced to shoehorn in these tracks was probably a filmmaker’s nightmare. With Space Jam 2 in development, maybe it’ll produce another knockout soundtrack. It helped that it worked. It’s a practice you don’t see too much these days. The funky guitar licks and smooth vocals of Seal’s Fly Like An Eagle fit Jordan’s gravity-defying dunks as smoothly as His Royal Airness once sank jump shots. Destiny’s Child were inspired by the Charlie’s Angels movie to write Independent Woman. The film is slated to star current NBA superstar LeBron James, who last week took to Instagram to preview his early copy of Kendrick Lamar’s new album DAMN.. Tim Burton, for example, might have been a Prince fan, but he was pushed by the studio into including Prince’s new music in Batman. If executed incorrectly, the film risks angering the loyal disciples of the original. Seeing the movie and then playing the soundtrack all summer, made the whole thing feel like an event. It was a common Hollywood tactic back then. These soundtracks threw up some hidden classics, indie crossovers and weird collaborations. R Kelly’s soaring I Believe I Can Fly – a ubiquitous presence in pop culture when it was released – no doubt inspired burgeoning basketball players to spend extra hours on the court. Released in 1997, the Batman Forever soundtrack featured U2, R Kelly, Nick Cave, The Flaming Lips and PJ Harvey. The rise of MTV in the 1980s trailblazed a marriage of music and visuals that blockbusters like Space Jam seemed to feed off. The movie’s five “Monstars” were represented by rappers B-Real, Busta Rhymes, Coolio, LL Cool J and Method Man on the rasping boom-bap …

‘Heat, comfort, mobility – it all comes from petroleum’

That centre is being rigorously and visibly challenged by the migration crisis, which is also driven by climate change.” The simulation will run at Somerset House for a week. This is the portrait, now in the Arts Council’s collection, that smiles just once a year; there is the huge tree that gently emits carbon dioxide instead of oxygen, seen at the RHA a decade ago; there was the huge outdoor installation at the Lincoln Center that stopped New Yorkers in their tracks. The trees themselves are slowly dying according to the lifespan of each species. Mary, the subject of A Portrait to Smile Once A Year, will never grow old. “You can have a lot of diverse opinions within a nation state, but unless there’s a profound fracture you have the unifying emblem of the flag. Gerrard had become interested in the idea that the internet was a real thing, not the ethereal “cloud”. A petroleum reality The commissioners at Channel 4 saw it, and so the Western Flag project was born. Instead, the gently smoking trees (from the series Smoke Tree, 2006) are real-time computer simulations, in which the background changes with the seasons, and the light alters from day to night and back over each 24-hour period. The actor will also be getting involved, via social media, with Western Flag. Installation view, Lincoln Center, New York, 2014. The scene rotates to give a full 360-degree panorama, but instead of bearing a nationalistic emblem, the flag is pure black smoke. Anthony Lucas’s gusher, the first in Texas, first blew on this day and sprayed more than 100ft above the derrick for nine days until the well was capped. “This piece may look like cinema, but it’s not, it’s military simulation: the first Sims were battlefield simulations. In every era, artists will produce defining works, but John Gerrard has made some of the most extraordinary images I have ever seen. Of course not, but as we speak I start to get a sense of the complexity he’s dealing with. After art college a 2002 residency at the Ars Electronica Futurelab at Linz in Austria helped him push his thinking beyond the “look at what I can do with new technologies” aesthetic that makes so much computer-generated art so disappointing. Courtesy of the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery, London and Simon Preston Gallery, New York. His Dublin apartment is pared-back and …

Tim Crouch: ‘We are using play to explore a darker world’

You just might not be able to present them with those ideas in the same way. And I found that, if someone gives you authority, which they never do when you’re an actor, you begin to trust yourself. So you can say ‘Jeramee’ and mean ‘I want to kill you’ or ‘I want to be your friend’ or ‘Hold on a moment, I have something to show you.’ But the thing about something so simple is that it can contain universes, and that is what we have found as we have performed it: every different level of audience, from 18 months to adults, constructs their own interpretation of it based on their own understanding of the world.” Tim Crouch: “Let’s say there is a theme or idea that I want to explore; I shouldn’t shift those considerations just because I am writing for young people” Crouch is perhaps better known in Ireland for his work for and with adult audiences. “It just happened, by synchronicity, that they were commissions for young audiences. He first visited Ireland in 2004 with his debut play, The Arm, an experiment with ideas of art and representation that he says he “wrote almost by accident, not realising it was going to be the start of a new life as a writer”.  “I had written The Arm for myself,” he says, “just because there were ideas that I wanted to explore. He has been a regular at Dublin Theatre Festival for a decade and worked for a year with Pan Pan, the experimental theatre company, on its prestigious mentorship programme. But I try to come from a more inquisitive position. “It delivers what you expect, and large sums of money change hands. I try not to spoon-feed the audience. But let’s say there is a theme or idea that I want to explore; I shouldn’t shift those considerations just because I am writing for young people. I didn’t have a notion of myself as a writer at that stage. Those themes are my obsession, my inspiration, so to drop those themes just because I am writing for young people would feel phoney. There is a contract there that we are using play to explore a darker world, but all the signposting will be very clear: we will go to difficult places, but I will twinkle at you as I am doing it.”  I, Malvolio: “It’s for …

Talos: moments of inspiration built on sound foundations

I met some lads and started playing music with them” – Hush War Cry – “and I think that was the start of enjoying the design stuff. French is fascinated by what he sees as the impulsiveness in many of the tracks on the finished album. You’ve a song written and you know it’s wrong and you spend all this time trying to fix it and it all leads up to this moment when it comes right. When I was in college and started playing with Hush War Cry, it was always the others who were introducing bands to me and I’d get deeper in that rabbit-hole.” Subtle change When French starts talking about his own music, there’s a very subtle change in emphasis and he’s a lot more direct about what’s involved. The way French tells it, he sort of fell into both music and architecture. That slow and steady approach has now yielded a fine debut album in Wild Alee. Now, it’ll be different.” Wild Alee is released on Feel Good Lost on April 21. “In my early teens, my younger brother was massively into hip-hop so that was there as well. Talos play Button Factory, Dublin on April 21; Dolan’s, Limerick (22); Róisín Dubh, Galway (27); Live at St Luke’s, Cork (28); St Patrick’s Gateway, Waterford (May 12); The Set, Kilkenny (13); Voodoo, Belfast (25) and Spirit Store, Dundalk (June 22) I never bought into it. It does take time, there’s no avoiding it, you don’t arrive at that point in an hour or a minute. “I always think that the music is Irish and it sounds Irish, I hope, but I borrow from the emotive qualities of other music that I come across. “I don’t think I ever felt comfortable playing the songs to people before now and that reflected itself in the live show. He mentions the impact of people like Brazilian architect Paolo Mendes da Rocha and German painter Anselm Kiefer, as well as how references from theatre, literature and film, things which have language, “bleed” their way into his songs. There was also the sea, which gave the album its title (an alee is the side of a ship sheltered by the wind). From the very get-go, I never wanted to do this fucking three-piece pads and electronics thing because it didn’t feel right, but that’s what we ended up being for a …