Body Shopping review: Dragged down by saggy editorialising

By the end of the show, we are told, with sad predictability, that Orla is “no longer happy” with her new nose; that Handsome Ger thinks it was worth it; while Panoraia merely gets Kelly’s assessment: “Did she need it? “I’ll be happier.” That Orla has already had her breasts augmented and used fillers for her mouth, with no vast improvement to her happiness, gives her little pause for thought. The first episode is engaged mainly with procedures, price tags and a dollop of prurience. I didn’t think so.” That saggy editorialising might have been reduced, some concluding footage moved towards the top of the show, and the context for our cosmetic culture lifted and made much firmer. Perhaps later episodes will consider plastic surgery’s role in treating burns and disfigurements, but Body Shopping’s title suggests interests closer to tabloid. An honest Lithuanian surgeon tries to manage expectations, but won’t argue against his services. Her name is Panoraia, as though she had already undergone anagrammatic reconstruction for a condition that surgery won’t alter. Kelly interviews the prematurely balding Ger about his immensely costly hair transplant (“It hasn’t ruined your good looks,” she assures him), later offering similar encouragement to a glamorous Greek woman who wishes to transfer fat from her thighs to her breasts. Actually, maybe Body Shopping could have some work done? But such is the general scepticism of Body Shopping (RTÉ 2, Thursday, 9.30pm), a new documentary series on plastic surgery, that Orla is presented as someone in more urgent need of a confidence transfusion. The squeamish comedy here is to show you how primitive such perfection procedures actually seem: the chisel and hammer used to break up a nose; the seamstress-like concentration of replanting hair follicles (“A lot of the girls here have experience with needlework,” offers the surgeon); the slicing, sucking and shoving it takes to move someone’s ass closer to their chest. (“No, actually,” Orla answers a subtly probing friend, “they don’t do any psychological evaluation.”) Elsewhere, a lipo-sculptor credits the pressures of Instagram with the demand for “procedures seeking near perfection”. Presenter Ciara Kelly approaches these transformation operations with the same gentle scolding she deploys on Operation Transformation. “It will really change my life,” a tearful young woman says of her forthcoming rhinoplasty. How seriously should we take it? “As a doctor,” she says, “I’m half fascinated, half worried that more and more of …

Read the winner of €10,000 Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize

Will I drop to the floor in the cereal aisle? We quiet old lovers who have no need to speak. Will not be ignored. Sharkey leads a creative writing workshop for adults recovering from mental illness and serves as senior editor of the esteemed Beloit Poetry Journal, which was the first or early publisher of Philip Larkin, Sharon Olds, Anne Sexton and Charles Bukowski. What can I do?Just stay with me. In whose hands we place ourselves in medicated dreaming, the voices calling each other’s names: Wake! Each day radically undetermined. Childlike and self-absorbed. Each day undermined. Darkly mirrored in the monitor. Barrels of grief. It’s the utterance over every if. It was pure sound answering pure sound rising and subsiding on a flood of memory and it had the power to unlock my grief. Only when you draw your bow across the cello strings do I hear the one who made my fierce heart tremble. Poetry feels more vital than ever these days.” Letter To Al By Lee Sharkey It was all sound. It’s the memory arriving of my mother in a slatted lawn chair, eyes closed (I have closed them), smelling the salted sea grass, a black and white memory I am painting red. The Texan poet Greg Geis (Marriage) published his first full collection this year, and C Mikal Oness (On the Sprocket Side of the Hay Rake), who has published two collections of award-winning poems, lives on a farm in Minnesota and is founding editor of Sutton Hoo Press. Lee Sharkey’s poem Letter to Al was chosen from among thousands of entries to clinch the €10,000 prize. I return to the nights in Russia when we stripped off sweaters and shirts, long johns and underthings, and dived for the narrow bed. You fill your pillbox, watch Space X rockets land on water. “It was a pleasure to judge the Ballymaloe Poetry Prize,” said Landau, “and to have an opportunity to sample the incredible verve and variety of contemporary poetry being written today in English. You fumbling to me. Outside, the plagues continue: the pestilence, the grievous hail, the stinking fish, extinctions. But our ambitions have grown modest. The locusts, the frogs, the death of the firstborn – we have escaped them. A hand held, a kiss soft on the lips – there is no future to speak of. Take each day as it metastasizes, Lord, your …

Going out this Bank holiday weekend? Here’s the best of what to see and do

AD Tonight’s launch bash for the festival is hosted by Skirmish blog, who’ll be helming their own stage at the event. JC ORGANISED Booker T Jones Festival Marquee, Belfast 7.45pm £20 cqaf.com; also Tues Vicar St Dublin 7.30pm €45.50 ticketmaster.ie You don’t see many Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winners this side of the Atlantic, so it’s a pleasure to once again welcome Booker T Jones (above) to Ireland. Over the years, Bray has presented some major international figures (Andrew Hill, Steve Coleman and Tomasz Stanko) as well as catching up-and-coming names (Marius Neset, Ambrose Akinmusire and Kurt Rosenwinkel) and supporting local creative music (Fuzzy Logic, Oko, This Is How We Fly). Her most recent album, One Penny Portion, was a timely reminder of how much at ease she is with both traditional and contemporary material, even venturing in the direction of Americana. JC LEGEND Francois K Pyg Dublin 9pm €10 pyg.ie There’s no arguing with the fact that Francois Kevorkian (left) is entitled to legend status at this stage of the game. You never know who might show up. Most striking was the austere instrumentation, just the composer’s delicate, classically trained voice and Dan Bodwell’s shuddering double bass. The Punchestown Junior Jockey Fun club is a 60,000-square-foot area dedicated to free children’s entertainment, with bouncy castles, a bounce ‘n’ slide, pony rides, a disco dome and a soft-finish obstacle course. Alongside the big gigs – the Mozart Requiem, an acoustic evening with HamsandwicH, Katie Kim, Jack O’Rourke and Cormac Begley, art exhibitions, DJ sets, readings and discussions, there’s a full programme of kid-friendly, free and family events. West-African guitar genius Lionel Loueke (below) counts Herbie Hancock and Barack Obama among his admirers, and he’s bound to add to them on Friday evening. From Hook Head in Co Wexford to Loop Head in Co Clare, Rathlin Island in Co Antrim and Valentia Island in Co Cork, six of our most iconic lighthouses are taking part in the festival. Author Shane Hegarty will bring his bestselling Darkmouth fantasy series to life at the Dingle Bookshop on Saturday at 1pm, while there’s some mad trad to be had with Kila for Kids at the Skellig hotel on Sunday at 3pm. Paak and a few musician friends will, we are told, play a minimum of three songs with the possibility of more. There will be workshops throughout the run, a walk-through by the curator at 1.30pm …

The Iron Age by Arja Kajermo: an extract

An example of this is the drawing of the girl and the grandmother walking to their sleepy neighbour Miina. Mother came back after milking and put the coffee on. The creature parked herself on the bench by the door. I mostly used the photos to look at how people dressed back then. The next morning Mother came running in out of breath and upset. She had gone to milk them and found they had broken the fence. Tuomas and Tapio kept looking over at the rifle. She carried her boots on a string around her neck. Or was it … When I draw I use pencils of varying softness, but I also like to put in details of colour in some of the pictures, to create contrast or to highlight some detail. When Grandmother came back from the field to start the midday meal for the harvesters, I told her. This was backwardness and superstition, Father said. I have heard several of the anecdotes in it, told in various ways, by my Dad when I grew up. A piece of skin the size of her palm. She was as wide as she was tall. I stayed behind the stone oven and covered my eyes. For example, both the father’s and the card shark’s leather boots are drawn from a photo with one of the ‘rich relatives’ wearing similar boots. Father said she was a witch – a noita-akka. She sat down heavily. Rank, musty, mouldy, fishy. She had caught the noises in a leather purse and carried it down to the lake. I spent many hours on my own in the house, talking to myself and my rag doll, lying on the floor whispering stories into the dark cracks between floorboards. Father choked on his coffee. They were in the next field that belonged to the neighbours. I tried to make illustrations that would work together with the text but also as separate pictures that could somehow tell a story of their own. We went behind the stove oven to hide and covered our ears. She kept muttering and drooling. Her skirts went down all the way to the floor. And bad was indeed to follow. She was not leaving until she got coffee, she hissed. It is launched by Rick O’Shea at the Workman’s Club, Dublin at 6.30pm Dad’s nerves by Susanna Kajermo Törner Susanna Kajermo Törner on illustrating The …

Sex, lies and horsewhipping boys: a history of clerical cover-ups

He was told to get across a chair, and received nearly twenty fierce lashes with the whip. It was, in many ways a stark generational clash. On the following day he took her to Bray and had illicit intercourse with her.” Shortly after Mr Connolly found out about the affair, Mrs Connolly announced she was pregnant. On the following day he took her to Bray and had illicit intercourse with her It was alleged that Fr O’Connell had “stalked and hypnotised Mrs Connolly [and then] took her to a Dublin hotel and there debauched her. He also recounted how he had witnessed “one of the worst of the Christian Brothers break[ing] into the office of the manager and demand[ing] that a court case that mentioned Artane should not be used”. Whether the thing is good or bad it is an instructive approach to standards of behaviour in Journalism”. In his direct evidence, Fr O’Connell stated that Mrs Connolly had told him that her husband was “the grandest in the world if he would keep off the drink” and that the invitation to travel to Dublin had come from her. Despite the clear public interest no Irish newspaper reported on the case. Journalists, he believed, “should have tried harder to find out the real truth” but ultimately, such was the culture of the time journalists “would not have been believed and managements and editors would never have held out against a massed attack by the all-powerful Irish Catholic Church”. As a result, many of the more unpleasant aspects of life in newly independent Ireland were, for many decades, kept out of the public arena. Again, no national title reported on the case and the provincial title most likely to report on the case, the Longford Leader, also ignored it. Summing up the verdict, Justice Martin Maguire declared that “it had been established that the boys got what was a common case of a severe beating” and while objection had been taken to the horsewhip “it was more humane than a cane, being less liable to cause a break in the skin”. In later evidence, she stated that “the idea of a priest guilty of adultery going off to say Mass the next morning should have appalled her, but it did not”; she had been “swept off her feet by Fr O’Connell and he could have done anything”. Independent Newspapers editorial department …

Lament For Graham Parkinson – a video poem

Graham Parkinson: With him being an only child, and me having no brothers, we formed a very special bond during his short life I believe strongly in the higher functions of poetry, among which is the ancient and essential mode of honouring a heroic and tragic death among our loved ones. We hoped to merge the old poetic tradition of elegy and lament with the new and very exciting medium of indie video art, now open to almost any artist in the western world, at a relatively small expense, compared to what it would have cost 20 years ago. But I felt that the best way to honour Graham’s memory was to make a video poem, to take it to a larger audience, particularly those in my own community, the Dublin council estates, and inner-city working class, where to be honest poetry books are not big sellers. The poem was first broadcast on RTÉ’s Arena arts show, on the first anniversary of Graham’s death, and recently published in my collection Butterflies Of A Bad Summer (Salmon Poetry). It’s a 16-minute long piece in which we tried to push the video-poem tradition at least a small bit in the way of serious artistic expression. Karl Parkinson: I believe strongly in the higher functions of poetry, among which is the ancient and essential mode of honouring a heroic and tragic death among our loved ones The video draws on new technology and on the history of avant-garde cinema/film, especially modernist experiments of the 1920s and ’30s. I was intimately aware of the tradition of the poem of elegy and mourning, especially from one male on the death of another male: Milton’s Lycidas for poor drowned Edward King, Shelley’s Adonais for tubercular John Keats, Whitman’s When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d for Lincoln, Tennyson’s In Memoriam for lost lover Arthur Hallam… these are among the greatest in that tradition, and I read and re-read those and others for inspiration and comfort. This is the community in which most of Graham’s family and friends live, and many people there raised money for Graham to receive treatment outside of Ireland, last-ditch expensive treatments he could not get here. So I got together with musicians Conor O’Connor, Claus Jensen and Charlotte Hamel from The King Mob, and poet and now video artist Dave Lordan, to make the audio track and video of the poem. I feel, …

Get your own poem on Poetry Day Ireland

Readers include former US vice president Joe Biden, Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody, activist Sinéad Burke, actor Lisa Dwan, The Pogues’ Cait O’Riordan, Marie Heaney and Marian Richardson. (You might know Kenny from his poem May, released in the run up to Mothers’ Day this year, with a short film by Tony Callaly. Click here for details. Poetry Ireland will also be hosting a seminar on the business of poetry and the award ceremony of the Ballymaloe International €10,000 Poetry Prize in association with The Moth. Today marks Poetry Day Ireland, with more than 100 events around the country to celebrate our heritage in verse. If you are one of the 10 lucky people, a photo of the poem will be tweeted back to you later today. It will also launch Colette Bryce’s Selected Poems and there will be a reading with Scottish poet Don Paterson. There is also an evening of song, poetry, social history and tall tales with Seamus Ruttledge, Martina Evans, Sarah-Anne Buckley, Conor Montague and special guests at Róisín Dubh, Galway. There, Lewis Kenny will be writing poems on demand on the building’s steps from 12.45pm to 3.45pm. In Galway, the Cúirt International Festival of Literature will present an exhibition of more than 50 works inspired by a line from Emily Dickinson’s poem Hope is the Thing with Feathers and PJ Lynch’s The Big Picture, as well as a workshop with Martina Evans. Simply tweet @poetryireland with the hashtag #poemsondemand, and Kenny will pick 10 from the tweets received and write a poem for each. One of the busiest spots will be Poetry Ireland’s new premises on Parnell Square in Dublin. Let him know who the poem would be for and an idea of what you would like the poem to be about. For full details of events see poetryday.ie. ) If you can’t get into Parnell Square, we’ve arranged that Kenny will write some poems before that between 12pm and 1pm today. Elsewhere, at lunchtime, Tara Flynn will host a broadcast from Facebook’s Dublin HQ, featuring well-known personalities reading their favourite poems.

Katell Quillévéré: ‘Not everybody wants to confront death. And pay for the ticket’

That’s how I worked with the actors. That’s the space where cinema comes alive.     We wanted restraint and reserve. And pay for the ticket as well.” Heal the Living is on release Those links and how every link takes its place in a chain. Those bodies are still predominantly male.” For many critics, Katell Quillévéré is the brightest of French cinema’s new stars. When an accident leaves one of the youngsters in a coma, it falls to medical professionals to both break the news and raise the issue of organ donation with the grieving parents. “It’s a representation of specific things. “Fundamentally, that’s what interested me: what links people, whether its society or family or professional life. The choices you make for lighting and colour and shots. We reined everything in so the emotion was only just reaching the surface. There are more and more female technicians coming forward, too. “It was more a question of renewing myself and finding a way to tell a story in this specific format. Not everybody wants to confront death. Their choice of words changes from words like ‘passing’ and ‘deceased’ before they actually pronounce the word ‘dead’.” Quillévéré and her long-time director of photograph, Tom Harari, also sat in on heart transplant operations and worked with medical professionals and horror effects specialists to replicate the moment when the heart leaves the chest: “But for me cinema is never a replica,” she says. The film-maker did, she notes, look to Douglas Sirk’s similarly themed Magnificent Obsession as a template, but her film studiously avoids the (compelling) melodrama of that picture, in favour of a complex web of narrative arcs and small compassionate moments. Where there is still work to do, in terms of gender parity, is in official selection in festivals. It should leave – like the word suggests – space for reflection. There is a protocol in terms of how organ donation is orchestrated in real life. Agnès Varda made her first feature in the 1950s, Coline Serreau in the 1970s, Claire Denis in the 1980s, Virginie Despentes in the 1990s, Lucile Hadzihalilovic in the noughties. That’s the trick – to get there and no further.” A top-class ensemble – including Rahim, Emmanuelle Seigner, and Anne Dorval – pull together to literalise the idea of human connection. Since 2014, under the umbrella marked exception culturelle, between a quarter and a fifth of …

The Simpsons offers a dark take on Trump’s first 100 days in office

Trump sits alone in bed, phone in hand mumbling about his accomplishments and his number of Twitter followers. Meanwhile, back in the Simpsons houshold, Marge has rum out of “Mother’s Little Helper” pills and Grampa is being deported. Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner are locked in combat. The Simpsons was way ahead of the curve in predicting his presidency almost 16 years, and now the show it has retrned to the subject of Donald Trump to offer a terrifying behind-the-scenes look of his first 100 days in office In the clip, a promo for upcoming Season 28, Sean Spicer hangs lifeless from the rafters next to his podium as Kellyanne Conway runs away in terror. And “we’re only 6.8 percent of the way home.” You have to laugh

This is your four-week warning: festival season is nearly upon us

You’re in an overcrowded and overheated dance tent. Your usual culprits will swear they’ll never return to Stradbally, but somehow they arrive on Sunday with a day ticket, just as you knew they would, all giddy and clean, saying that the fomo was too strong. The Irish festival circuit rarely changes – maybe to the point of exhaustion – but the Buzz, scientifically a very difficult thing to shake off, will get you. As miserable damp winter days are replaced by magical damp summer nights, our delusions are played up so we can have a good time in a field for 72 hours. Forbidden Fruit (June 3rd-5th) will deliver Danny Brown, Flying Lotus, Moderat, Nao, Booka Shade and, with a DJ set, Hot Chip (Hey Joe!) as armies of people swinging bags of cans parade their way to Kilmainham and tut at people wearing Native American head-dresses. Your shirt is as unbuttoned, rolled up or removed as it can be, your bulky yet sensible rain coat is tied around your waist, and your Coke bottle filled with lukewarm Buckfast becomes your sceptre, which you wave around to illustrate your midnight chatter. Nationwide, young people will go on pilgrimages along scenic walkways such as the Bray-to-Greystones route, on their chosen weekends off booze, so they can rejuvenate for the next big one. When the sun comes out for a grand total of 30 minutes there’ll be a chorus of “And to think we could have wasted our money and gone to Primavera instead – LOL.” Your friends will exhaust every Facebook competition going in the build-up to Body & Soul (June 23rd to 25th), in Co Westmeath, trying to win tickets so they can treat every chip van playing Todd Terje’s Inspector Norse as if it’s a main-stage act. It can creep up on you when you least expect it, and if it hasn’t got you now then, just like summer, it’s right around the corner. You pour one out for the friend who forgot to book Monday off work as you try to scratch last night’s glitter out of your eyes. The ease of smaller events like Another Love Story (August 18th-20th), in Co Meath, and Castlepalooza (August 4th-6th), in Co Offaly, are minibreaks compared to the rest. The goosebumps on your arms signify that your body temperature is returning to normal, the thud of far-off music is now no …

Lionel Loueke: ‘It’s beyond the music. It’s the spirit, the human nature’

Before that, I was singing south African songs, Congolese songs, but when I heard George Benson, it was completely different. “That’s actually how I started singing too. And my father framed it that big” – a beaming Loueke spreads his long arms wide – “in the living room. Before he had finished the two-year course, he had already performed with Shorter and Hancock and was touring with Blanchard. That’s the best way to learn. It’s the spirit, the human nature, you know, how can you be better in your head.” “I’m sure they’re learning something from me too,” he adds modestly. He’s really proud.” The Lionel Loueke Trio, with Massimo Biolcati and Ferenc Nemeth, play the Bray Jazz Festival on Friday, April 28th. “It’s like a language. He would spend long days poring over his cassettes, learning every phrase by heart, not realising that Benson was improvising. There was no way it was going to happen. So I decided to do some transcriptions, because I wanted to learn those phrases.” But there was another parental obstacle – he wasn’t allowed to touch the record player in the living room, so he had to wait until Sundays when his parents went out to church. brayjazz.com At first glance, Lionel Loueke’s early life looks like an African musical boyhood straight out of central casting: banging on anything that made a noise from an early age; saving for a year to buy his first guitar; using bicycle cables for strings; dreaming of one day playing his music around the world. “I don’t know what, but with that spirit they have – they have the spirit of a child, you know, fresh and thirsty to learn, every single time, no ego, very humble. The genial guitarist laughs again. “When he caught me playing his guitar, I thought he was going to smash me,” says Loueke, laughing quietly, “but he said ‘No man, if you’re going to do this, you’ve got to do it right. “You know, I played at the White House last year, and I took a photograph with president Obama. “I had no idea,” he exclaims. When I went to France, I knew there were a lot of African musicians playing African music, but I never got in touch with them, because for me, I didn’t go to Paris to play African music, I got to Paris to play jazz.” But at …

Goldenbridge cemetery to reopen as part of culture festival

Originally opened in 1828, and modelled on Père Lachaise in Paris, Goldenbridge was among the first official Catholic graveyards in Dublin since the Penal Laws. It was closed later that century, except for occasional burials, including that of the politician WT Cosgrave in 1965. The event was formally launched on Wednesday in Richmond Barracks, which will also host a touring installation from Belgium’s In Flanders Fields museum, commemorating the Irish dead of the first World War. All tours and shows during the festival are free, although in some cases subject to booking. The reopening of historic Goldenbridge cemetery will be among the highlights of a new culture festival highlighting the postal district of Dublin 8 next month. The full programme is at culturedatewithdublin8.ie. Although most of its residents are south of the Liffey, Dublin 8 is unusual in being one of only two postal districts to cross the river, north of which it also includes the Phoenix Park. The cemetery was overgrown for some years and Cosgrave’s was among a number of graves vandalised there in 2014 but since repaired. Its reopening to the general public will be marked by a concert during the Culture Date with Dublin 8 festival on May 13th and 14th, with performers including the local St James’s Brass Band, which itself has a history stretching back to at least the early 1800s. The May festival is designed to promote the many historical and cultural landmarks in the area, including Kilmainham Jail, the War Memorial Gardens at Islandbridge, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, and two cathedrals: St Patrick’s and Christ Church.