Hollywood writers strike: what it means for your favourite shows

Mind you, last time around, one show weathered such inconveniences to become a classic. A more serious worry would be the curtailment of upcoming dramatic shows. Writers lost more than $287 million in compensation that was never recovered, deals were cancelled, and many writers took out strike loans to make ends meet. The many Irish personnel will be viewing the negotiations with interest. We couldn’t employ a writer to finish it.” Craig went on to explain that he ended up writing some of his own scenes. The subsequent rise of streaming services and the continuing strength of cable networks has altered the TV business in unexpected ways. “On Quantum, we were f**ked,” he said with typical Cheshire frankness. The WGA argues that this has resulted in an average decline in income (although the figures are disputed). Most significantly, the old US pattern of sprawling 22-episode runs has broken down. The current dispute is, happily for the Academy, looming a whole 10 months before the 2018 Oscars. Now, prestige shows such as Big Little Lies or The Handmaid’s Tale are flogged as relentlessly as Oscar-contending movies once were. The first observable effect – of little impact on this side of the Atlantic – would be the cancellation of late-night comedy shows such as the inexplicably lauded Saturday Night Live. Also at issue is an endangered health plan that is facing deficits of $145 million in the next three years. There are truths in there. New series of The Waking Dead and American Horror Show also find themselves travelling on uncertain ground. In 2007, punters were still swimming through reality television’s first wave. Agreements reached in the VHS era were looking sorely out of date.  The strike could cause difficulties for CBS’s latest Star Trek incarnation. Used to less variety, audiences were also a little more tolerant of repeats. No piece about Hollywood’s keyboard hammerers is complete without disinterment of that ancient joke about the starlet who was so stupid she slept with the writer. “The companies are committed to reaching a deal at the bargaining table that keeps the industry working,” it read. Successive strikes by the Writers Guild of America have, however, undermined the gag’s cynical message just a little. Mainstream movies take forever to produce and such delays are, thus, much more commonplace. Nobody thinks the bust-up will last that long. A few years ago, Daniel Craig came close …

Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme dies aged 73

Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs There were more Oscars for Philadelphia, Hollywood’s belated engagement with the Aids crisis, in 1993. An ambitious adaptation of Toni Morrison’s Beloved was met with mixed reviews. Movie legend Though this was not the first cinematic representation of Hannibal Lecter, The Silence of the Lambs turned the hungry sociopath into an enduring movie legend to set beside Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein monster and Bela Lugosi’s Dracula. David Byrne in a scene from the Talking Heads music documentary Stop Making Sense Born on Long Island, Demme was one of the many great film-makers – Francis Ford Coppola and John Sayles are others – to cut their teeth with the exploitation master Roger Corman. Photograph: Reed Saxon/AP It was The Silence of the Lambs, an adaptation of Thomas Harris’s gruesome thriller, that really nudged Demme into the stratosphere. Demme’s touch for a menacing close-up was vital in establishing the villain’s uneasy appeal. Demme directed such colourfully titled projects as Caged Heat and Crazy Mama before going on to shoot an episode of the durable TV series Columbo. His 1986 screwball comedy Something Wild, starring Melanie Griffith and Jeff Daniels, confirmed his gift for combining independent sensibilities with the demands of the mainstream. Thereafter, Demme’s career became a little erratic. Demme also directed such acclaimed films as Philadelphia, Something Wild and the Talking Heads concert documentary Stop Making Sense. His take on the Manchurian Candidate in 2004 felt unnecessary. Tom Hanks won the first of two consecutive awards for playing a corporate lawyer facing dismissal following diagnosis. That film, released in 1991, has a place in Oscar history as one of only three projects – the others are One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and It Happened One Night – to win the big five Academy Awards: best picture, best director, best actor, best actress, and best screenplay. Jonathan Demme holds the Oscar for best director, alongside Jodie Foster (best actress) and Anthony Hopkins (best actor) for The Silence of the Lambs. When Paul Thomas Anderson, among the greatest US directors of the next generation, was asked to name his three favourite directors, he gave a surprising answer: “Jonathan Demme, Jonathan Demme, and Jonathan Demme.” Fair enough. But he scored a critical smash – while returning to his earthy independent roots – with the beautifully acted Rachel Getting Married in 2008. The cause …

What would a Hollywood writers strike mean for viewers?

New series of The Waking Dead and American Horror Show also find themselves travelling on uncertain ground. There is a slippery connection between the concerns that triggered the 2007 dispute and the issues under discussion this week. “The 2007 Writers Strike hurt everyone. Agreements reached in the VHS era were looking sorely out of date. Also at issue is an endangered health plan that is facing deficits of $145 million in the next three years. The current dispute is, happily for the Academy, looming a whole 10 months before the 2018 Oscars. Star Trek: Discovery has already been much postponed (the excellent The Good Fight, a Good Wife spin-off, stepped into one proposed timeslot) and, now shooting for a proposed early autumn premiere, it looks worryingly vulnerable to WGA action. Certain contracts forbid writers from working on other shows in the longer hiatuses. Writers lost more than $287 million in compensation that was never recovered, deals were cancelled, and many writers took out strike loans to make ends meet. Who can tell if the films would have been any less awful if they’d had been written to the usual schedules? The effect on cinema will be less immediate and less easy to assess. We couldn’t employ a writer to finish it.” Craig went on to explain that he ended up writing some of his own scenes. In 2007, punters were still swimming through reality television’s first wave. Most significantly, the old US pattern of sprawling 22-episode runs has broken down. “And a writer I am not.” Ten years later, the WGA has prepared the ground for another stoppage. Endless such shows could be called up as writerless replacements for cancelled drama and comedy. Used to less variety, audiences were also a little more tolerant of repeats. We remain focused on our objective of reaching a deal.” The feeling is that the writers have more leverage this time. Chat shows such as Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel, which rely on WGA members for jokes and monologues, will also have to adapt.  The strike could cause difficulties for CBS’s latest Star Trek incarnation. The Golden Globe ceremony was, indeed, axed, but agreement was reached just in time for the bigger bash to proceed. On Monday, by an overwhelming margin, the union voted to give their leaders authority to strike if no satisfactory agreement is reached with the producers. “We had the bare …

US director Jonathan Demme dies aged 73

Born on Long Island, Demme was one of the many great film-makers – Francis Ford Coppola and John Sayles are others – to cut their teeth with the exploitation master Roger Corman. That film, released in 1991, has a place in Oscar history as one of only three projects – the others are One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and It Happened One Night – to win the big five Academy Awards: best picture, best director, best actor, best actress, and best screenplay. Thereafter, Demme’s career became a little erratic. He is survived by three children from two marriages. Movie legend Though this was not the first cinematic representation of Hannibal Lecter, The Silence of the Lambs turned the hungry sociopath into an enduring movie legend to set beside Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein monster and Bela Lugosi’s Dracula. Tom Hanks won the first of two consecutive awards for playing a corporate lawyer facing dismissal following diagnosis. When Paul Thomas Anderson, among the greatest US directors of the next generation, was asked to name his three favourite directors, he gave a surprising answer: “Jonathan Demme, Jonathan Demme, and Jonathan Demme.” Fair enough. The cause of death has been announced as “oesophageal cancer and complications from heart disease”. In 1980, Melvin and Howard, detailing a story from Howard Hughes’s later years, became a raved-about cult hit and announced Demme to the studios. An ambitious adaptation of Toni Morrison’s Beloved was met with mixed reviews. Demme’s touch for a menacing close-up was vital in establishing the villain’s uneasy appeal. His 1986 screwball comedy Something Wild, starring Melanie Griffith and Jeff Daniels, confirmed his gift for combining independent sensibilities with the demands of the mainstream. Demme directed such colourfully titled projects as Caged Heat and Crazy Mama before going on to shoot an episode of the durable TV series Columbo. His take on the Manchurian Candidate in 2004 felt unnecessary. There were at least three Demmes to choose from. But he scored a critical smash – while returning to his earthy independent roots – with the beautifully acted Rachel Getting Married in 2008. It was The Silence of the Lambs, an adaptation of Thomas Harris’s gruesome thriller, that really nudged Demme into the stratosphere. There were more Oscars for Philadelphia, Hollywood’s belated engagement with the Aids crisis, in 1993. The US director Jonathan Demme, who won an Oscar for The Silence of the Lambs, has …

BAI rejects complaint about Micheál Martin’s comments on Newstalk

The BAI said the presenter “did not appear to have sufficient regard to the information that his guests were providing insofar as his approach was focused almost singly on the view that there was a link between the vaccine and reported side effects in Ireland and elsewhere. The committee noted that Newstalk had declined to give airtime to Ms O’Doherty to respond, but had offered to read out a clarification. Considering the complaint, the BAI’s compliance committee stated that “the audience would have understood that Deputy Martin’s remarks in respect of the complainant were clearly relating to the case of the disappearance of Mary Boyle rather than being remarks suggesting that the complainant had no faith in An Garda Síochána or the justice system as a whole”. “While the complainant wished to set out her views on-air, a decision as to who to place on-air is solely an editorial matter for broadcasters,” it said. The BAI’s Executive Complaints Forum also considered and rejected 12 complaints, including an allegation of anti-Israeli bias in an RTÉ documentary about peacekeepers in south Lebanon. This was considered problematic by the committee, given that the topic under discussion is a matter of public importance and one which concerns the health of children.” However, the committee was of the view that the contributions from a consultant paediatrician and a representative from the HSE ensured the discussion as a whole “was fair, objective and impartial”. A complaint that Newstalk presenter George Hook’s “ill-informed and irresponsible” coverage of the Gardasil HPV vaccine was contributing to a reduced take-up of the vaccine was rejected on the basis that the programme met the requirements of the Broadcasting Code, “but only in a barely minimal fashion”. The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has rejected a complaint made by journalist Gemma O’Doherty about comments made by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin on Newstalk 106-108. The BAI has published its most recent decisions on seven complaints about programmes aired on Newstalk, Today FM and RTÉ One TV, all of which were rejected. The committee said the quotation of “clearly offensive” comments about migrants by Hopkins, and her support of these comments in the programme, was editorially justified as part of an item on the issue of free speech and hate speech. Comments about the Irish language on Newstalk’s Breakfast Show and coverage on RTÉ’s Six One and Nine News of the non-enrolment of …

FLARE and the age of the narrowsheet

By Shane Holohan At Prestatyn For Rachael With a restless sea breeze a fresh melancholy rolls in yesterday’s echoes cradling the waves Pink blossom cheeks adorn the mantelpiece in a soldier’s house where her infanthood dwells On a mournful landscape my returning child is embraced A humble old cat sleepily purrs Beneath an elegant watercolour in a dingy cafe we sup coffee and plan our forever The past meets the future at seaside Prestatyn my heart soars from the earth to the stars By Kenneth Nolan I opened the curtain at seven thirty sun still below the rooftops sky high and warm – the picture of a perfect day. The Sunflower Sessions are named after the founder of its ancestor, The Last Wednesdays open mic, Sarah “Sunflower” Lundberg, who died prematurely a few years ago. This inclusive approach also attempts to make good the dearth of paper publishing opportunities, which can mean young and rising poets go for years without an appearance in print, and thus access to an audience wider than the faithful open mic congregation. Though the remainder of the regiment may not be so instantly recognisable from recent book-spines, on a first reading they are all identifiable as rising or mature talents. And I cried and I cried for a seed to throw in that deep blue soil to grow from it just one more day. The periodical, which is quarterly, has no open submission system as such – people who’ve read are discreetly approached one by one to contribute poems, which means there’s no slush-pile anxiety for the writers. The poets are invited to contribute to a couple of issues, which does no harm to their print portfolio and may help them find a publisher for their first – or next – collection. A number are being published in book form during 2017. FLARE was conceived by Sunflower organisers Declan McLoughlin (session host and provider of the startling base images for all the FLARE covers) and Ross Hattaway (coiner of the description “narrowsheet”), who both saw the value of a regular publication as a natural outreach from the open mic platform into permanent paper form, and as a fundraising effort. The accompanying poems, one for sorrow and one for joy, give a small hint of the range of the contributions to FLARE. FLARE 03 WINTER 2016-17 [FLARE is published quarterly by The Sunflower Sessions, €5 (ISSN 2009-9819). …

Girlboss’s terrifying new archetype: the manic pixie capitalist

It was crushingly disappointing that, for all its challenging, contemporary themes, ‘Girls’ ended on a conventional note Which is why it was crushingly disappointing that, for all its challenging, contemporary themes, Girls ended on a conventional note, with Hannah coping with her role as a mother. Don’t be surprised if he ends up hollowing out his younger campmates to use as canoes. He builds beds from branches, supervises the cooking of a limpet broth, and rounds off the evening by demonically howling Dion’s The Wanderer into the darkness in his shorts like something from a tropical Twin Peaks. Dunham and Judd Apatow, her executive producer, curiously chose to end a show that once celebrated the limitless freedoms of a vibrant modern girl with the full stop of a baby’s cry. Sophia Marlowe is tortuously annoying,with her plot-device neurosis and her nonsensical tantrums. There was a time in its history when people were only sent off to an island in the hope of creating Big Brother by the sea. These were the days of shows like the hangover life raft Shipwrecked and the original Celebrity Love Island. A coup must take place, but it might not come from inside the camera-hogging kids’ camp. When she’s not forcing her box-headed boyfriend to have sex on a mattress full of money she’s calling her would-be customers idiots. Telly millennials are often at the root of this demonisation. The experiment was to cram a sandy nook in the South Pacific full of impossibly tanned and toothy young people, ply them with booze, and try to repopulate telly with a race of blank-faced superbabies. Fulfilled by work, she relied on her talent after numerous personal failures. Annoyingly, after a series of strops directed at the youngest camp member, Frankie, and with their amber wee signalling a scary amount of time without fresh water, Ben managed to create the necessary fire. His unwarranted confidence now has an extra godlike sheen. When Sophia’s not forcing her boyfriend to have sex on a mattress full of money she’s calling her would-be customers idiots With its emphasis on success at any cost, Girlboss has created a disgusting hybrid: the manic pixie capitalist. They were marshalled by Ben Cooper, a sentient football jersey, the type of ruddy-faced irritant who believes Kasabian are “real” music and thinks bellowing “Oi oi!” into a woman’s face is a form of mating cry. Who …

IFI adverts archive a treasure trove of nostalgia

This is just one ad of thousands that appeared on Irish television screens in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s that have just been saved from extinction by the Irish Film Institute’s archive and some of the ads will be available to view online from Wednesday morning. The film reels were transferred to the IFI for safekeeping in the 1990s but the digitisation process only got under way in earnest 18 months ago through a combination of painstaking processes including frame-by-frame assessment, extensive physical and chemical conservation, followed by scanning and digital restoration. And when you perspire like that,” she says, pointing at the sweat patches under the arms of her colleague “you can’t be smelling fresh and sweet”. “The ads will obviously have a curiosity value and nostalgia value and will see people be transported back to a particular time in a particular place. Rather than breaking down in tears or storming off in a strop, the sweaty Betty simply asks if there “is there something I can do?” Why yes, yes there is. “The one that I would love to find is the one for Big John. 15 deadly ads from back in the day that you’ll never forget Patrick Freyne: the TV ads I’ve grown to love Nothing can hold a candle to TV ads of Christmas past The antiperspirant works its magic and before you know it the previously sweating outcast is heading off for a week’s camping with her co-workers where she will presumably continue to smell fresh and sweet because Irish campsites in the 1960s were famous for their bathroom facilities. “A woman should always be fresh and sweet. I’d never heard it pronounced that way before. Your wan who was off in America for a while learning how women should smell produces a bottle of Ice Blue Odorono. Me and my sister loved it.” Was there any ad she could not find but would love to track down? Massive collection The IFI Irish Film Archive, supported by a €290,000 grant from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, has catalogued, digitised, restored and preserved a massive collection of 35mm film television ads which were left rotting and growing mould in damp warehouses across the State for decades. “I always seem to be left out of everything,” says the woman working in an unidentified factory somewhere in 1960s Ireland. “Something I learned in America,” a co-worker who …

Still spinning after all these years: the DJ dinosaurs who keep evolving

Yes, some did the dog and burned out, but the smarter operators turned this into a career. But it’s not just live music where the more things change, the more they remain the same. Back then, clubbing and dance music were exciting, life-changing and genuinely groundbreaking, but weren’t regarded as the stuff of a long-term career. Legends of old Of course, bookers are also going for the new school – and it’s reassuring to see that bookers are now giving gigs to female DJs, an occurrence which was the exception rather than the norm for many, many years – but it’s striking how those legends of old are still in the game. Look at Paul Oakenfold, who recently became the first DJ to play at base camp on Mount Everest. The names of the clubs and venues may have changed, and the people on the dancefloor may now be the kids of those who were around in the past, but some of the DJs seem to be evergreen in their longevity. They got involved in different musical projects and pursuits (it must be time for the fad for DJs performing with orchestras to become a fad for DJs collaborating with jazz acts again) and kept coming back with something new to bring in a younger audience or to keep festival bookers happy. For those DJs starting out today, the name of the game is to think long-term and remember you might still be doing this into your 50s and 60s.  Few of those who started out in the late 1980s or early 1990s probably expected to make it this far and that’s not because of any sort of hedonistic lifestyle choices. Slam, Jeff Mills, Todd Terry, Ian Pooley, Octave One, Sven Väth and other veterans all regularly feature in the listings too. Over the years that I’ve compiled club listings for this paper and many other publications, I’ve seen many names become familiar fixtures. The record industry copped that dance music could shift units, and that there were was even scope to develop some decent album artists as a result. He may be one of the most boring interviewees you’ll ever encounter, but you can’t knock that kind of commitment. We know at this stage that heritage acts can still earn good money and command decent attendances on the live circuit as they keep touring decades after they first had …

Giles Foden on the art of writing

You will know that it is about connection and dynamism – and you, too, reader, will know that also, absorbing the words gathered in this latest issue of The Ogham Stone. Apparently, it is according to the moment and location of fertilisation, the exact spot and place at which the sperm hits the egg, that certain of our bodily clocks and instructions for cellular growth are set. Next (secondary) comes combination of the observation into a grammar, which rises the notation from a basic to a surface level of language. Ethics (or Essex, as my colleague here on the MA course, Professor Joseph O’Connor, amusingly puts it in in this volume, in another’s voice) is important, too, and so is aesthetics, though I would always plump for the latter over the former. Mysterious and otherworldly as they are, it is questionable whether the marks on Ogham stones can be described as literature. The further danger of speculations on literary value is that once they become institutionalised edicts, they risk overcooking the golden goose. Here is an august body, the New South Wales Quality Teaching framework, on this topic: “Literary value does not include the values expressed or implied in a text but refers specifically to how one can attribute worth to a text in terms of its value to ‘civilisation’, a culture, a society, or a particular group of people. Perhaps this overcooking is the danger that our Australian friends have fallen into, and their equivalents policing higher academic enquiry in the Research Excellence Framework in Britain, which insists on “originality, significance and rigour”. It’s a good phrase that, Living Bridge, a human being came up with it, just as human beings made the marks on Ogham stones. As for the Russian doll that must be sacrificed, in KS Moore’s poem, all writers know about that, across the very long, fairly unsteady spectrum from writers in prison to those whose only problem is that or those which Cyril Connolly characterised as “the pram in the hall” in Enemies of Promise. But there is something before language too, even closer to the body. But there is much in writing that cannot be controlled. A connection grew over time between the Ogham letter-names and types of tree or shrub, probably because the letter shapes looked like forking branches. Sometimes I come out during a break from classes and stand on the Living …

Nothing on Earth: as good and as rare as a long hot Irish summer

My novel’s roots? What is the book really about? If we weren’t talking about it, we were thinking about it. I had done nothing apart from let the girl in, call the law and wait. I saw next to nothing.” As with many of fiction’s most compelling characters, I was forced to feel at once deeply sympathetic and intensely suspicious of him – both as man and narrator. The assuredness of the writing was clear from the first sentence. Is it a ghost story? Now I was walking the parched, eerie streets of an abandoned ghost estate, in a place that for all its otherness could only be Ireland, alongside characters whose vivid strangeness was instantly arresting. It might seem perverse to write affectionately of a dreary afternoon in January, but it was at just such a moment that Nothing on Earth landed in my inbox, accompanied by an agent’s note so brief and tantalising it was a struggle to resist. Remarkably, even the opening chapter still held surprises, its culmination as potent and chilling as ever: “If I am honest, I would even say that I already felt guilty. Is it a sinister tale of sexual abuse? Undoubtedly, the book speaks of and to the hollowness of post-crash consciousness; of shattered dreams and previously unthinkable realities, and the gothic tropes shed refreshing new light on well-trodden ground. A couple of weeks ago, on an afternoon comparably grey and wintry to that of two years ago, an early copy of the paperback edition landed on my desk. He will be appearing in conversation with AL Kennedy at Cúirt literary festival in Galway on Friday, April 28th at 6.30pm. Nothing on Earth is available in paperback (Black Swan Ireland, £7.99) Unsurprisingly, with a piece as enigmatic and non-conformist as Nothing on Earth, these were not easy questions to answer. It demands that the reader participate, because it won’t offer any solutions on a plate. When the euphoria of commissioning the book subsided, the very enjoyable task of editing took over. This is not a straightforward book, and I haven’t encountered another like it. There really is something about a hot book, and just as with the scorching heat of Joan Lindsay’s Picnic at Hanging Rock or McEwan’s The Cement Garden (works that have undeniable parallels with this one), the long, sweltering summer on the estate intensifies an atmosphere already fraught with unknown …

Finding Furry’s Family

“Okay, let’s follow them and see where they lead,” replied Chloe. For a minute, the Dad fox stared at Furry. One day, a fantastic fox named Furry was in the forest. “Mother, it is me! We should just walk out of here. “They look like my Dad’s footprints,” said Furry. And the foxes lived happily ever after. “I hope you find your true love when you find your family,” replied Chloe. Well, I guess I should go now.. All of a sudden, a big brown fox popped out, and on his back he carried two little foxcubs. Their names are Chloe and Zoe, and Lee and Leo!” “That’s my name!” said Chloe. Furry was carrying his teddy with him. Furry crept up to the bush, he was feeling excited. They were really curious and wondered did these footprints belong to Furry’s family. I’ve been searching for you for ages!” Furry’s heart was beating real fast. All Chloe and Furry could see was a little bit of red fur moving by. They found themselves inside a cave, where there were a lot of traps! Behind him the mother fox came out and she had another two newborn cubs. They made their way to the end of the track but suddenly the footprints disappeared. Back in the forest Chloe spotted some footprints in the mud. Chloe and Furry were scared and terrified. The branches and the leaves were so thick it was impossible to see what was inside. Chloe and Furry were rare marble foxes. “Wait a second,” said Chloe. “Hmm, I don’t know what this is.. He was on top of a rock and he seemed to be controlling all the other snakes. “We should stop panicking because snakes are used to their prey running. He was very excited. There were lots of snakes on the ground when they were walking past. They were big green snakes! They looked like her footprints except they were bigger. “I wish I had a family,”said Furry. They jumped with fear and began to dig in the ground for their lives. “It could be your family!” said Chloe, peeking into the bush. And who are these little cubs?” The Dad fox said “These are your brothers and sisters. His teddy bear even jumped up and said “Hurrah!” Furry said “This is Chloe, she helped me find you. “Okay, let’s do that.” So the two friends …

Neil and the Ice Crystals

Because he was small, Dipper crawled up the King’s trousers and tickled him under his arms. “If you can get me five tonnes of the king’s best cheese, I will help you get to the ice crystals in Castle Blackblood.” Neil was a mixture between nervousness and excitement. The ice crystals in the crown slowly melted and were released. “You must jump through this ring of fire!” Shaking with nerves, Neil approached the hoop, as if it was as terrifying as his grandmother. It was a telegram for Dipper. .” Neil looked around, “What have I got myself in for?” he wondered. “I guess I will have to get my coffee myself.” Dipper went to the espresso machine and popped in a pod. They would tickle the King to make him smile. Neil took the crystals in his claws and suddenly realised that they weren’t crystals at all but ice-cubes! “They are kept in the King’s crown and staff.” The ice crystals were stored there because the King had such a cold heart. First the King’s face was stony, but then he began to smile and slowly he started to laugh. He looked around, sneezed fire and fainted. Dipper crawled up the King’s back and onto his head. They would never melt. I got over my fear of fire all by myself!” Dipper smiled but then became serious. Dipper decided to make a deal with his friend. The dragon’s thick scales meant that he couldn’t feel any pain. Neil and Dipper decided to head to the castle right away. “I wish I didn’ t have this cold and could stop breathing fire,” Neil said. .?!” They laughed together like crazy all the way home. “Holy macaroni and meatballs, he’s fainted again,” said Dipper. He turned to Dipper in astonishment and said “I didn’t faint! When they arrived, they were relieved to see no archers on guard. The next day, Neil tried on the samurai suit but it was too small, and as the sword was a drawing pin he couldn’t even hold it in his big claws. Dipper and Neil came up with a plan. It read: Castle Blackblood will be under going upgrades in two days’ time. Dipper took out his samurai sword, which was a drawing pin, and began to poke and prod Neil. “I know where the ice crystals are kept,” whispered Dipper. “ Where’s my cheese.. …

The Roses

“Psst, over here,” the child whispered. Before the boy could say anything, Philip was pushed into the office by the Matron’s assistant. The man pushed him inside the gate and closed them behind him. He remembered seeing some keys in the Matron’s office. The Matron was stern, wrinkled and almost bald. She had a wooden ruler in her back pocket, for slapping the orphans’ hands. He would need to distract her somehow. Philip tried running, but the door was already closed, and the assistant stopped him. Philip went to his dormitory, and looked through the window at the bushes where the boy had been hiding earlier. ‘I don’t want to go in there,” Philip shouted. The Matron went to investigate the noise, while Philip went into her office, locking the door behind him… Seeing an old vase, Philip smashed it, and then hid behind an old oak table. “Everyone else is in the recreation room.” The recreation room turned out to be a room full of broken TVs and old carpets. He looked behind him, to see the man sneering at him and also saw a child in the rosebushes. He crept down the hall and peered into her office, and saw that the Matron was sitting there. Philip tried to open the window, but it was locked. The clothes were two sizes too small. Philip gulped back tears as he walked forward. There was filth and stale food all over the floor. Philip looked up at the great big building in front of him, and shuddered in fear. “You’ve missed supper,” the Matron growled. “Who are you?” said Philip. “Here’s your stuff,” the Matron said, and carelessly handed him a set of clothes made of potato sacks. The man was pulling him into the orphanage after seeing Philip steal some bread. There was a whip hanging on a nail beside her desk so she could easily reach for it, and there were little bits of children’s hair in a picture frame next to it. “I’m not going to do anything the owner says,” he thought to himself.

Pete the Bin-Eater

He was sleepwalking when he heard Degi, his blue monster best friend, crying. Suddenly the wind became stronger and they couldn’t keep control of their wings. “Now you can’t laugh at me for being a pigeon because you’re a blue seagull!” The two bird friends flew to Howth. Then Degi walked past. When they smacked into the lamp-post they crashed to the ground like a meteor and lay there in a daze. They thought they could still fly and they ended up crashing head first into a bin. “Thanks for the help, mate.” Degi said, “Who are you?” 3 Pete replied, “It’s Pete! Then Pete realised that he could fly and started singing, “I believe I can fly.” Just then, Pete’s wing snapped and he landed in a bin. Your best bro.” “Yeah right, Prove it!” Degi exclaimed… Suddenly Degi became a blue seagull. “Well, we met at a bus-stop, six years ago, when we were chatting about our dreams and the things we had in common. Pete fell. He asked the pigeon, “What does the bin taste like?” “It tastes like a load of old gone-off salmon,” Pete replied. Suddenly, he saw a pigeon fall from the sky and started laughing. “LOL!”laughed Degi, “back to where you started!” “I hope I never see a pigeon again,” screamed Pete. He looked in the mirror and realised he had a beak, no teeth, a bald head, and beady eyes. He had been walking to the shop and was taking a shortcut. Without any notice, they hit into a lamp-post. His blue fur sprinkled to the ground and in its place grew blue feathers. There was a nice breeze on their wings. “Ask me a question about our friendship,” whispered Pete, “and I’ll prove it!” “When did we first meet?”asked Degi very suspiciously, rubbing the blue fur on his chin. 2 He screamed, “Aagggghhh, I’m a pigeon!!!” and jumped out the window in fear. Pete was astonished. When Pete woke up, he thought that he was a pigeon but then he said to himself, “Naaah, that’s not real.” He walked to the bathroom to brush his teeth. He was having a nightmare about pigeons. Then wings started to sprout from his body. The two friends decide to go to the local science lab to figure out a way for Pete to change back into a human. Pete found the spell to change …

A Small Step for Man – A Giant Leap for Chickens

So she began to bite through the chicken wire but she forgot it was electrified wire. Nicky Licky started clucking and then Alice took her out. It will take four years to get to the moon but only 40 days to get to Planet Bong.” Meanwhile back in Donegal, Nicky Licky’s Mum was still locked into the chicken pen and she asked everyone who passed to let her out but they wouldn’t do it. Alice gave Nicky a big hug. “You’re in luck,” said Alice, “as I have my rocket and we’re going to space while your Mam is locked in the chicken pen.” After they took off into space Nicky Licky said, “It’s always been my dream to go to the moon.” Nicky complained, “But I have no space suit,” when Alice said “Don’t worry, I have a chicken-suit for you.” Nicky Licky asked, “What planet are we going to?” and Alice replied, “We’re going to Planet Bong. Alice locked Nicky Licky’s Mum into the pen but Nicky Licky’s Mum kept shouting at them as they ran down the street. “Help!” she baulked… “Flippin Fionnuala!” she said, as she remembered just in time. Nicky Licky’s Mum came into the pen and started shouting and screaming. Nicky Licky lived on a farm in Donegal. Meanwhile up in space Alice the Astronaut and Nicky Licky saw something moving towards them… Nicky Licky was in her pen when Alice the Astronaut came and opened it. Alice was coming in to collect the eggs when Nicky came over to stop her.

AVA Belfast – An electronic festival determined to do its own thing

The community around the electronic music scene is very supportive, everyone wants everyone else to do well. I’m a prime example, I left to go to university in Newcastle, came back to Belfast but wasn’t sure if I was going to stay. Fo rmore, see avafestival.com Costello, who also puts on parties as Inside Moves, says that AVA wants to address this and that “change feels inevitable”. The community are embracing their status as an emerging creative hub. Everyone’s working together to make Belfast a better place.” AVA Festival takes place in Belfast’s T13 June 2nd -3rd. “A lot of young creatives have left. That inclusive energy is reflected in Belfast city itself. AVA is playing a part in that and attempting to expand beyond Belfast as a brand. Costello talks to developing the “community feel in all of Ireland,” and points out that Four/Four’s talk will feature former Bodytonic booker Eoin Cregan and Belfast DJ Timmy Stewart talking about “how we can utilise the relationship between North and South and work together”. The law hasn’t been updated since 1996 but that wasn’t much different from the legislation that was made in 1923 just after the partition of Ireland, so it’s a bit outdated you could say.” All-Ireland focus By bringing partners such as Four/Four and This Greedy Pig into a Northern Irish electronic music festival, and by booking acts like ELLL (Cork), Ryan Vail (Derry), Subject DJs, Techno & Cans and New Jackson (all Dublin), AVA is aiming to be inclusive to the whole of Ireland. It doesn’t create the best atmosphere for promoters and people. “The brain drain has been very real in Belfast,” Costello says. I got a job with AVA and it’s the reason I’m here.” It’s not just a job that’s keeping people in Northern Ireland – especially when it comes to music which has seen names such as Bicep, Tommy Stewart, Space Dimension Controller, Brién, Phil Kieran, Bobby Analog Jordan, Or:La, Hammer, Ejeca and the Extended Play label break out of late. Dublin music agency This Greedy Pig will be talking to directors and musicians about music videos while Four/Four Magazine hosts a panel exploring the differences between the North and the South of Ireland’s licensing laws, a subject that Emmett Costello knows a lot about, having written his dissertation for MA Arts Management at Queen’s University last year on the subject. There’s a …

The Fastest Animal Olympics

“I’ll eat you if you say that one more time!” said Tim. “I bet you’re not going to win the race,”said Octo again. He saw Penqueue and Pengwhen diving into the water… The rest of the competitors were just arriving. “What are you doing on my foot?” said Tim. An artist called James had been hiding behind a wall that he had painted to look like a tree. Octo the octopus was in the race too. The giant started running and jumped into the water. Turtles lived in a mansion on the Big Hill. Turtles decided he was going to try and win the races. Turtles went into his shell and jumped into the water. “I bet you’re not going to win the race,” said Octo to the hungry giant. There was Tim the hungry giant, who had a special pass to go into the race because he was very speedy. Tim the hungry giant picked up Octo by the tentacles. His house was in the water at the top of the hill. Turtles wanted to race in the Animal Olympics. He jumped into the water with his paints. He quickly got his fins back out and swam past Octo. Suddenly a horn fired out a car noise. Turtles saw what was happening and stood on Tim’s foot. “Let go of my friend,” said Turtles. “Ladies and gentlemen, the race has begun!” said Peacock, the commentator. The Animal Olympics this year were taking place in a field in a valley next to the hill. Turtles was a turtle, but no ordinary turtle. Octo cannonballed into the water and swam past the giant. When they heard the noise, the competitors rushed to the start of the race. Turtles looked around. The water turned brown and green, red and blue, turquoise and black, and pink and purple.

When Stuff Goes a Bit Too Far

Franklyn the Funny Man was walking down the street heading for Sweetland Circus in San Francisco. Suddenly, Franklyn crashed into a speed bump and hit the log that Larry the Lumberjack was lying on. It was you that crashed into my car!” He collected his car from the garage, got behind the wheel and started the engine. All the people on the street ran for their lives. “Would you like to come to my party in Sweetworld? When they arrived Bob the millionaire banged the big judge-stick and roared, “QUIET IN THE COURT!” Just then, Sparky Dude on Rage walked through the doors. “That’s okay, Franklyn. I’ll have a big bouncy castle there!” Sometime later the two friends headed to the presidential election debates. Sparky Dude on Rage threw the desk to one side and roared with a red face, “YOU! I know that you’re just new to driving,” said Larry the Lumberjack. He bent down and hid behind the desk. Franklyn the Funny Man got very frightened.

This Is a Mad Story

“Sure,” said Chewey as he hurried into the secret tunnel and into the basement. Suddenly he felt like he should just go back to Bob and safely take off in the spaceship. “Don’t worry, we’ll get her,” said the space police officer calmly. “The dentist gave me new ones,” replied Chewey Lewey. “She escaped!” cried Alien Bob and Chewey Lewey at the same time. All of a sudden there was banging on the wooden boards. MINIONS! He grabbed his Confusion Sword and his Water Gun of Doom and ran up back to the house. Bob opened the door and ran into the main room. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” cried Grovelia. “I AM NOT REALLY YOUR MOM!”exclaimed the evil demon as he took off his mask. “We forgot my teeth!’’ “But we can’t get them now!’’ replied Alien Bob. But the minions didn’t know which house Alien Bob and Chewey Lewey were in because their house was boarded up. “I shall rule the world!” “MOM! But he had to get his teeth back! “Oh how nice you showed up son!” she said. It was me THE EVIL GROVELIA! “Don’t be expecting me to fight those minions. “My tooth broke!” said Chewey Lewey. The minions heard the spaceship taking off so they went outside and started shooting up at it. The greatest villain ever! One of the minions shot through one of the boards of the house. “Come in here or something might happen to you!” said Alien Bob. When the smoke was gone, Grovelia was gone. I can barely spell my own name!” said Chewey Lewey. The sounds of gunshots were right outside Alien Bob and Chewey Lewey’s house. Fortunately for him, the tracking system said that Chewey was now in the demon’s base, which wasn’t as heavily protected as “The Beautiful Pig”. Right now, the tracking system said that Chewey was on the main spaceship of the evil demon. You destroyed it!!! “What happened?” asked Alien Bob. Alien Bob took out his Water Gun of Doom and pointed it at the minions. Alien Bob and Chewey Lewey went through a secret tunnel into their spaceship. “Who’s that demon anyway?” “My Mam,” answered Alien Bob. That was the power of the Confusion Sword. “We have more stuff to concentrate on than your gammy tooth!”said Alien Bob. “ME ANGRY! In there was the evil demon, a dozen of minions and… You’re having some bad day!” …