In a Word . . . Orange

There to witness sound and fury once more. They told her: “We trust that the parading issue especially in Portadown will be high on the agenda for the new government.” Of the 10 DUP MPs, seven are members of Orange or Independent Orders. Six months of 2017 gone. Ah yes. Six to go. Media were not allowed in the following year. Another year my mobile phone rang and rang during the service until I finally strangled it. We’ll never feel till Christmas. And at Drumcree. Itself named after the town of Orange in France, which became part of the Nassau principality in the 16th centuy inaword@irishtimes.com The tedium was in the repetition, déjà vu again and again and again. But time can crawl. Orange from Old French orange; Latin, pomum de orange, for the fruit. At which point Mrs May probably wished she had lost the election more fully. One of the very first messages UK Prime Minister Teresa May received on formation of her new Government last month, with DUP support, was from the Portadown Orangemen. Not used for colour until 16th century. Orangemen are called after the Dutch William of Orange, of the German House of Nassau. Sometimes it was worse. At this time every year in the recent past a similar drowsy numbness would seize my senses as I headed once more for an occasion of paralysis which was our annual visit to that dreary steeple at the Church of the Ascension outside Portadown on the first Sunday of every July (tomorrow, this year). I caused excitement myself one year when I wrote the Orangemen were attending a service in the Church of the Assumption there, that Catholic doctrine of the Virgin Mary being anathema to every good Lodge member. You think I’m joking? July 1st. And Drumcree. I remember as a child the awful realisation on St Stephen’s Day that Santy Claus would not be coming for another, whole, 24 hours-long (each) 364 days. But Drumcree goes on. Me and the Orangemen would head out on yet another parade to a service there, followed by a march down the hill to security forces blocking the way along the traditional route through the Garvaghy Road. When you’re young. If they pass with the same stealth as the recent six I had better wish you “Happy Christmas” now.

Jennifer Johnston: the letter I kept in my wallet for 30 years

we were called up to stop a counter-attack. That letter I have kept in the back of my wallet since it was given to me about 30 years ago. – this terrible century through which we have just lived. There have always been wars. Martin got a slight wound in the arm. If they weren’t killed they would or should die of shame. He was 24 when he died. I am at present watching the 2 Divisions which are coming up to relieve us getting the most awful shelling. My mother could never bear the arrival of a telegraph boy and used to always get someone else to read the message out to her. I doubt I’ll ever get there now. Or perhaps they would? If only there had been no war. Luke got his hand blown off but is still all right. His mother, my grandmother, became ill for a long time. And, of course, God. It stops working. Three men were shot handing me messages. When they come up we will all attack. They can’t be bothered looking for secrets. It doesn’t seem to enjoy being bullied, not even gently. And wars. No doubt it was one of those terrifying telegrams that frightened people so much. My books have taught us nothing. Thanks ever so much for all you have done for me. I knew almost nothing about my uncle. Wars over holes in the ground, over stretches of water, over kings and queens, over herds of cattle, and poverty. How I got through I shall never understand, the shrapnel and bullets were coming down like hail. My head seems to object. After yesterday I have a feeling I shall get through this ‘job’. I get no pictures in my head. Could I have learnt something from you that would have calmed the inside of my head? And we have learnt nothing from these slaughters. So long. per day to do everything with, cook, wash etc. He wrote that letter and then died. We are at present much nearer to the enemy than they are, but they are giving us a rest. We were doing fatigues for the first 2 days and only lost about ten men but yesterday morning about 3 a.m. Perhaps then those later things that happened might not have happened. I think he was a kind and gentle man. If there had been no …

Gypsy review: sex, lies and that empty feeling

 Psychologists do not swear the Hippocratic Oath but “Do no harm” would still count as sound advice for Dr Jean Holloway Phd – played by Naomi Watts –  a willowy therapist in Manhattan who begins secretly meddling in the lives of her patients. Without pills, “everything is grey… You ever felt like that?” Yes, yes she has. Television makers are even less beholden to strict codes of conduct, and yet there’s enough evidence of artistic negligence in Gypsy (Netflix, now streaming) to suggest somebody gets struck off the dramatic register. Take the lingering look at Jean’s notebook, as she circles the word “boundaries” while consulting with an overbearing mother. Or the parted lips and darting eyes of acknowledgement that Watts must supply every time a patient says something that applies to her. Like Jean and her patients, Lisa Rubin’s TV show does not display immense respect for its viewer, whom it clearly does not trust to grasp its subtleties. In a somnambulant voice over, which will inform the tone of the series to come, Watts’s listless character walks through the city, considering free will and unconscious desires, concluding, “we might actually be someone else”. All Eyez on Me: Tupac biopic fails to live up to the hip-hop legend Alone in Berlin: Emma Thompson and Brendan Gleeson offer a timely blueprint for dissent The House: A Will Ferrell gamble that fails to pay off Then she slips down a staircase into a café called The Rabbit Hole. She will become someone else. And so, burdened with a handsome lawyer husband (Billy Crudup) and a bright tomboy daughter, Jean plunges down the literary allusion, pursuing the toxic girlfriend of one patient, the toxic pills of another, and the toxic daughter of a third. As cover, she calls herself Diane, a freelance writer who likes bourbon and only ever seems to ask stupid questions: “What is it like being you?” (Conversely, she’s a very opinionated shrink.) If that didn’t already give you an idea of the boundless imagination of the show, just look at its attempt to depict Jean’s dangerous living, bopping around a depopulated warehouse party, somehow more awkwardly than any of director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s tie-up-and-tease work on Fifty Shades of Grey. Gypsy, move on. A struggling writer finally seems less an alter ego for Jean, than a concession to her true nature, someone stealing words from others, hungry for any personality than …

Steve Carell: Some people sprint to the top. For me it happened over years. I didn’t notice

The gang get their own sequel in 2020 and enjoy a bigger ensemble role in this summer’s Despicable Me 3. The tone was different. In 2012 Universal Studios Florida opened the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem theme-park attraction, featuring Gru’s loyal, babbling sidekicks. Eight years ago the actor Steve Carell went into a recording booth to adopt a cod eastern European accent for the first time. It had a different feel to it. “I think there’s a nod to that,” says Carell. “I don’t even think the creators had any sort of notion this would happen, that it would be anywhere near as successful, with all these products. They’re the comedic descendants.” All Eyez on Me: Tupac biopic fails to live up to the hip-hop legend Alone in Berlin: Emma Thompson and Brendan Gleeson offer a timely blueprint for dissent The House: A Will Ferrell gamble that fails to pay off Despicable Me 3 It’s a properly yellow fever. Because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone.” Back in 2013, Carell’s Gru erroneously informed Ellen that he was from Albuquerque, New Mexico. “In a lot of ways, the minions are the Marx brothers. Despicable Me 3 sees Carell assume dual responsibilities as Gru, now an agent for the Anti-Villain League, and as Dru, Gru’s long-lost twin and a pig-farming mogul from Freedonia. Steve Carell shakes his head in disbelief. And I think they achieved that.”    The voice of Gru Carell is cautious about doing the voice in public, although he did appear in character on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2013. “I remember seeing the first one at a test screening with kids,” he recalls. That was more than enough to greenlight Despicable Me 2, a film that scared up almost $1 billion at the box office, two Academy Award nominations and a monster 13.9 million-unit-shifting hit in Pharrell Williams’s Happy. But he’s a good person. For some fans it’s a bit like being told that Santa isn’t real, he fears. He is naughty. The Minions 2015 spin-off movie cruised past the $1.1 billion mark in global ticket sales. So the trick was to not make him truly evil. The 2010 animation went on to make more than $540 million from a comparatively small $69 million budget. The role was Gru, the hero of Despicable Me, a villain who warms to the three orphan girls he adopts, initially as …

The Friday playlist: Four tracks you need to hear right now

This taught me an important lesson: musicians are full of shit. 5 AFTER MIDNIGHT Up In Here ★★  Syco Filmed on the streets of sunny Shoreditch, Up In Here is the debut video from former X Factor finalists 5 After Midnight. It’s passable, it’s workmanlike, it ended about 10 seconds ago and I couldn’t pick it out of a police line-up if my life depended on it. (Gossip…get it?) But frontwoman Beth Ditto refused to pose reading that week’s copy of Heat magazine, since Kate Moss appeared on its cover and she believed the supermodel perpetuated an unrealistic body image that was damaging to young women’s self-esteem. LILLIE MAE Over The Hill and Through The Woods ★★★★ Third Man Records I’ve come a little late to this. It contains so many blatant nods to Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk that I genuinely can’t tell if it’s a homage or a piss-take. Lillie Mae Rische is the fiddle player in Jack White’s touring band. The photographer accompanying me brought along trashy celebrity magazines to use as props for the photoshoot. BETH DITTO Oo La La ★★★★   Virgin In 2006, I interviewed The Gossip backstage in the Temple Bar Music Centre just after they’d released what would become their breakthrough album Standing In The Way of Control. I was impressed by her articulacy and persuaded by the strength of her conviction. Beth Ditto’s excellent solo debut Fake Sugar is out now. LIAM PAYNE ft. A few weeks later, the album was a chart hit and Ditto was photographed leaving a nightclub arm in arm with her new best friend Kate Moss. (She sang Temporary Ground on his Lazaretto album.) A professional musician since childhood, Forever and Then Some is her Dolly Parton-esque debut album. QUAVO Strip That Down★★  Capitol The Howard Donald of One Direction, Liam Payne, has struck out with very much the Howard Donald of solo singles.

Book Club podcast: Jennifer Johnston talks to Eileen Battersby

Over the past month, we have been looking back over her career, with a particuclar focus on her latest work, Naming the Stars, a haunting tale of love, loss and memory, which was published by Tinder Press last year along with her earlier novel Two Moons. Contributors have included Eibhear Walshe of UCC, Paul Delaney of TCD, Deirdre O’Byrne of Loughborough University, Tesera Casal of the University of Lisbon, novelist Dermot Bolger and Adrienne Leavy of Reading Ireland: The Little Magazine. We have also republished two archive features by Eileen Battersby and the author’s son, Patrick Smyth, now Brussels Correspondent of The Irish Times. Today, we published a final piece by the author herself, a poignant reflection on her personal connection to the devastation of the first World War, which casts a shadow over much of her fiction. (1974), the Booker-shortlisted Shadows on Our Skin (1977); The Old Jest (1979), winner of a Whitbread Book Award; The Railway Station Man (1985); and The Invisible Worm (1992). In a wide-ranging interview with Eileen Battersby, Literary Correspondent of The Irish Times, which was recorded earlier this month at the Irish Writers Centre in Parnell Square, Dublin, Jennifer Johnston discusses her long and distinguished literary career, which began relatively late at the age of 42 with the publication of The Captains and the Kings,winner of the Author’s Club First Novel Award in 1972. Now 87, she has gone on to publish more than 20 works, including such admired titles as How Many Miles to Babylon? Book Club podcast

Jay-Z appears to admit to cheating on Beyoncé on new album

On the title track of the new album, Jay-Z repeatedly apologises for past indiscretions, while on another, Kill Jay Z, he addresses the 2014 Met Gala where Beyoncé’s younger sister Solange launched herself at him in a lift. Lyrics on the rapper’s first record in four years seemingly confirm the rumours which emerged following the release of his wife’s critically acclaimed visual album Lemonade last year. Fans on social media took aim at the musician over his confession. Jay-Z has appeared to admit to cheating on Beyonce in his latest album, 4:44, which got a surprise release exclusively on streaming service Tidal Friday morning. Jay z confirmed he cheated but he man'd up,took responsibility and got his woman back. 🤷🏽‍♀️ behind closed doors like it's supposed to be— E (@callmeEDIDDY) June 30, 2017 You almost went Eric Benet. 4:44 is out now on Tidal. I don’t even know what to say, n****r never go Eric Benet.” The record, which is exclusively streaming on Tidal, features vocals from Beyoncé as well as contributions from Frank Ocean, Damian Marley and the rapper’s mum, Gloria Carter. If they don’t look at me the same, I would probably die of all the shame.” He also adds: “What good is a menage a trois when you have a soul mate.” On Kill Jay Z he sings: “You egg Solange on knowing all along, all you had to say was you was wrong. – Press Association On 4:44 he sings: “If my children knew, I don’t even know what I would do. Let the baddest girl in the world get away. She was going THROUGH IT pic.twitter.com/NXqIF8GT16— Alluring Ivy🌿 (@Drebae_) June 30, 2017 Jay Z said It took Blue being born for him to realize the value of his marriage… no wonder Beyoncé made lemonade. *Jay Z admits to cheating on Bey in his song* The Whole entire Beyhive:😤😡 pic.twitter.com/aRW0QzbDhq— Napturally_Breezy (@napturally17) June 30, 2017

Gypsy review: someone needs to get struck off the dramatic register for this

A struggling writer finally seems less an alter ego for Jean, than a concession to her true nature, someone stealing words from others, hungry for any personality than her own, and ultimately entirely unsure what to make of people. As cover, she calls herself Diane, a freelance writer who likes bourbon and only ever seems to ask stupid questions: “What is it like being you?” (Conversely, she’s a very opinionated shrink.) If that didn’t already give you an idea of the boundless imagination of the show, just look at its attempt to depict Jean’s dangerous living, bopping around a depopulated warehouse party, somehow more awkwardly than any of director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s tie-up-and-tease work on Fifty Shades of Grey. She will become someone else. And so, burdened with a handsome lawyer husband (Billy Crudup) and a bright tomboy daughter, Jean plunges down the literary allusion, pursuing the toxic girlfriend of one patient, the toxic pills of another, and the toxic daughter of a third. Only Jean is not at all good at it. Gypsy, move on. Her affluent life is barely stifled enough to make her a convincing imposter; she is not sociopathic enough to make her actions fascinating; and, more to the point, she’s a uniquely terrible liar. Or the parted lips and darting eyes of acknowledgement that Watts must supply every time a patient says something that applies to her. Television makers are even less beholden to strict codes of conduct, and yet there’s enough evidence of artistic negligence in Gypsy (Netflix, now streaming) to suggest somebody gets struck off the dramatic register. Take the lingering look at Jean’s notebook, as she circles the word “boundaries” while consulting with an overbearing mother. The House: A Will Ferrell gamble that fails to pay off Silver pox? Like Jean and her patients, Lisa Rubin’s TV show does not display immense respect for its viewer, whom it clearly does not trust to grasp its subtleties. In a somnambulant voice over, which will inform the tone of the series to come, Watt’s listless character walks through the city, considering free will and unconscious desires, concluding, “we might actually be someone else”. Without pills, “everything is grey… You ever felt like that?” Yes, yes she has.  Psychologists do not swear the Hippocratic Oath but “Do no harm” would still count as sound advice for Dr Jean Holloway, Phd (Naomi Watts), a willowy therapist in …

The letter in my wallet by Jennifer Johnston

The water here is very scarce. I should have visited your grave, Billy. Some very black and some which were hardly worthy of the name of secret at all. In about 2 hours we lost 12 officers and about 450 men. Things that turned into secrets. If they weren’t killed they would or should die of shame. I have not had a mail yet. Things that turned into secrets. They can’t be bothered looking for secrets. We are at present much nearer to the enemy than they are, but they are giving us a rest. Some very black My uncle Billy died from his wounds on August 15th, 1915. If there had been no war. Give my love to mother and everybody at home. That letter I have kept in the back of my wallet since it was given to me about 30 years ago. My books have taught us nothing. I hope you are well. The Colonel also got through all right. Could I have learnt something from you that would have calmed the inside of my head? It doesn’t seem to enjoy being bullied, not even gently. Now, it is no longer neat nor clean, but it has not lost the magical quality that made me keep it in the first place, that still makes me take it out and hold it for a few moments and then put it back once more in its prison. And we have learnt nothing from these slaughters. Jennifer Johnston is the author of 19 novels, including The Captain and the Kings No more have the books of other more famous writers. When they come up we will all attack. No words burst out through my fingertips, leaving their marks on the paper. No doubt it was one of those terrifying telegrams that frightened people so much. He was 24 when he died. And I would still be writing about mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, mothers without fathers, bishops, old age, dancing in the sea, the ugly things that we do to children, angels, illness, bad jokes, gay men – and why did I not write about gay women? There have always been wars. Martin got a slight wound in the arm. I get no pictures in my head. In the last five nights I have had about 5 hours sleep but still feel fairly fit in body but my heart …

Silver pox? Steve Carell on the strange reaction to his new hair

When they first described the character of Gru to me, I thought it was a bold move that the villain was the star of the film. The 2010 animation went on to make more than $540 million from a comparatively small $69 million budget. “It was incomplete at that point. The Minions 2015 spin-off movie cruised past the $1.1 billion mark in global ticket sales. “Not in a million years,” says the actor. Might this be the same Freedonia that was presided over by Groucho Marx in Duck Soup (1933)? It’s stunning that it turned into what it did.” When they first described the character of Gru to me, I thought it was a bold move that the villain was the star He partly attributes the success to the upstaging antics of the minions (“Long may they continue to upstage me”), but there’s more to it, he suspects. Steve Carell shakes his head in disbelief. They’re the comedic descendants.” Six of the best films to see on the big screen this weekend Donald Clarke’s movie quiz: so what is Like a Virgin really about? So the trick was to not make him truly evil. But he’s a good person. “In a lot of ways, the minions are the Marx brothers. Because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone.” Back in 2013, Carell’s Gru erroneously informed Ellen that he was from Albuquerque, New Mexico. I have to be careful when to use it. The animation was different. But I liked it. “I think there’s a nod to that,” says Carell. “Sometimes it’s too off-putting if people hear that voice coming from me,” says the actor. The gang get their own sequel in 2020 and enjoy a bigger ensemble role in this summer’s Despicable Me 3. And I think they achieved that.”    The voice of Gru Carell is cautious about doing the voice in public, although he did appear in character on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2013. “I don’t even think the creators had any sort of notion this would happen, that it would be anywhere near as successful, with all these products. In 2012 Universal Studios Florida opened the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem theme-park attraction, featuring Gru’s loyal, babbling sidekicks. For some fans it’s a bit like being told that Santa isn’t real, he fears. “Because it’s like hearing the voice from the wrong body. That was more …

Kate Nash: ‘That’s why people love debuts. You’re not jaded in any way’

Her debut single, Caroline’s a Victim, was a barbed taster for Made of Bricks, which was a turning point for confessional Brit-centric pop music, particularly so for female teenagers who found in Nash’s songs all they wanted to hear but couldn’t articulate. We all know that ‘female’ is not a genre, yet walk into record shops and you still find a section labeled ‘female/women’, and that just isn’t right. Kate Nash says ‘Glow’ is all about women, friendship and empowerment; misfits finding their way through the world of wrestling “I guess you’re fighting to find your own identity because you get lumped in with these other women, which for some reason is actually considered a genre. “When you’re young, you don’t want to be compared with anyone else – you want your sense of individuality. To me, that’s success – I still have a career, and I’m still working towards something. It’s the coolest, biggest thing I’ve done so far, and it turned out to be the dream job I never thought I’d be interested in.” Nash agrees, a bit ruefully, that it’s been a strange career. Otherwise, you’re never going to be happy. It’s intense, that period of time, particularly what you go through at that age.” According to Nash, her world was changing. Kate Nash is one of the more glaring examples of how the music industry giveth and then taketh away. There was nothing then that sounded like Birds, Foundations, Mouthwash, Pumpkin Song, and Nicest Thing. The album’s songs, recall Nash, were all written when she was 16. In 2007, aged 19, Nash was one of the more celebrated female UK-based solo acts. I was just starting to feel as if I was creating my own identity Nash’s 2007 debut album, Made of Bricks, will shortly be on the receiving end of a 10th anniversary edition, and while there are, perhaps, other albums more deserving of such trumpeting, there are surely none as beautifully naive or one that mixed chav vernacular with folk/pop sensibilities. “I’m simply doing what I feel like doing to be an independent artist and to therefore hold on to my creative freedom. She has a supporting role in the new Netflix show Glow (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling), which premiered on June 23rd. Although she initially trained as an actor (more about which anon), she opted to learn the guitar when she was laid …

Macy Gray: ‘I think if you have other issues, it’s not because of fame’

I don’t think I’m the fish,” she says, playing it modest despite coming third in Bravo’s Celebrity Poker Showdown in 2006. “I think if you have other issues, it’s probably… it’s not because of fame.” Gray, whose career highs were thrown off balance by her career lows, has always been a grafter.  As her following albums The Id and The Trouble with Being Myself failed to reach the heights of her debut, her partying ways and haughty attitude became notorious. She admitted to wearing sunglasses in interviews so she could take forty winks and she told Oprah Winfrey in 2014 that her tour crew from the peak of her career were all from England and “All they did was smoke hash all day, and they knew where to get the good ecstasy”.  She exudes the coolness of a mafia don, something that’s impossible to fake, and she had that long perfected before she exploded on to the charts with her debut album On How Life Is and her monster, career-defining single I Try in 1999. While she never stopped making music, her appearance on Ariana Grande’s 2016 album Dangerous Woman pushed her back into the limelight she once basked under, and songs from her sixth album Stripped, which includes a jazz cover of Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters, will feature on her upcoming European tour.  A woman of extremes, her card advice reflects her the way she has lived her life: “When you have no other options, you just go all in.” Macy Gray plays the National Concert Hall on July 2nd Everybody knows who Robert De Niro is but you never see him out and about or in the tabloids. When Macy Gray speaks, her voice swings through a chorus of various cartoon characters. Fame is awesome,” she says, chuckling away to herself. I know how people talk about how bad fame is but I don’t know what they’re talking about.  “For me, I mean, I love it. While she’s eased off from the majority of her vices, she picked up another habit that’s landed her glory in an entirely different industry. With a history of drug abuse and a bipolar disorder, the added pressure of the public eye seems like a dangerous combination but she insists that the fame part is easy to opt out of if you want to.    She remains in the Bart pitch when she …

Ruth Negga, Ciarán Hinds, Domhnall Gleeson get the Academy seal of approval

And Get Out is, of course, another film directed by and focusing on people of colour. Viola Davis and Mahershala Ali won acting awards. If we were feeling awkward we would complain that only 39 per cent of those just invited to join the American Academy of Arts and Sciences were women. There just weren’t as many potential options in the year of #oscarssowhite. More intriguing is the mention for Jordan Peele, director of the sociological horror Get Out. Hidden Figures joined that film, Hidden Figures and Fences in receiving multiple nominations. So, there will be furious debates over the Christmas dinner as to which colleagues deserve the nod. The advance is notable. He has already been marked down as a contender in this year’s race for his turn as AA Milne in Goodbye Christopher Robin. You don’t need a blackboard to work out that the Academy hasn’t reached gender equality yet. Following the outcry in 2016 over the absence of people of colour among the acting nominees, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy president, announced that more efforts would be made to diversify the membership. But most of those films always looked like possible contenders. The Academy wants more such genre hits in the best picture race. Last year that process began with a surge of younger professionals joining the body that votes for the Oscars. A Man Called Ove: A well-told tale of woe The most enjoyable summer blockbuster has arrived How the street cats of Istanbul landed on their feet Almost 30 years Hinds’ junior, Domhnall Gleeson also gets the invitation to join. It’s a bleeding disgrace that Ciarán Hinds, pride of Belfast, has never received a nomination, but he can now take solace in being able to cast his vote when winter comes around. The Dubliner has never been nominated, but, last year, he achieved the singular feat of appearing in four films that received multiple nods: Ex Machina, Brooklyn, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Revenant. That film’s fate at the 2018 Oscars will be worth attending. The Academy wants more such genre hits in the best picture race Barry Jenkins, director of Moonlight, this year’s best picture winner, receives an expected nod. Surprisingly, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, one of the world’s highest grossing stars, only now makes it into the fold. We will never know. After last year’s readjustment, the Oscar nominees proved to be …

Neil Jordan should stop worrying and learn to love Riviera

Faxing it in: Phil Davis in Riviera. What is in his unfathomable safe-room behind the wine cellar? The last two questions are linked, if only because Georgina never bothered inquiring about the source of Constantine’s wealth while he was alive, preferring to sashay around his delightful properties in fancy frocks with a sulky puss on her. The man unbuckles his trousers. To which I say: “Ooh err, Doctor Boffinly, you don’t get many of those to the pound!” and also, “Seriously? Adult children Georgina must now contend with these mysteries as well as manage Constantine’s adult children, a bewildered coke-snorting lothario (Dimitri Leonidas), a charmingly flaky novelist (Iwan Rheon, channelling a young Banville) and a rabid pixie-dream burp (Roxane Duran). Such is life, to paraphrase the Cheeky Girls. The latter is engaged in a star-crossed flirtation with the gardener, and her hobbies include walking around in her pants and popping up suddenly behind furniture, like a ghost or a disobedient pet or a glove puppet on a disturbing children’s TV show. Then Robert inexplicably gasses the whole household into unconsciousness. Arses! Irina has sex with the casino owner, for that is her way. There’s also Constantine’s ex-wife Irina (Lena Olin), who attempts to control the family from afar and manipulates local dignitaries with her sexy wiles, Phil Davis faxing it in as an Interpol investigator (“phoning it in” suggests a little too much urgency) and the aforementioned Sexy WomanTM  who escapes from hospital dressed as a nurse before hitching a lift with a man who naturally assumes she’s a prostitute (why?!?). At the start of this week’s episode, Georgina shoots a deer, to indicate, I think, that she is a force to be reckoned with. Photograph: Sky Instantly, questions are raised. I have no idea how Jordan and Banville’s apparently darker scripts went, but unless the characters all turned into werewolves (possibly) or ruminations on the Irish condition (unlikely) I can’t see how there was ever going to be much more to this premise. Georgina (Julia Stiles), a slightly dead-eyed art curator with a secret, is married to mysterious plutocrat Constantine Clio, who explodes along with a priceless painting and several less important people in a yacht. Is Constantine really dead? Here’s the premise of Riviera. And how did Constantine really make his money? It’s unclear why he’s doing this, but I assume, like the rest of us, he’s just …

Ruth Negga, Ciarán Hinds and Domhnall Gleeson get the Academy nod

There just weren’t as many potential options in the year of #oscarssowhite. You don’t need a blackboard to work out that the Academy hasn’t reached gender equality yet. He has already been marked down as a contender in this year’s race for his turn as AA Milne in Goodbye Christopher Robin. Then again, the fact that La La Land took best director, but lost best picture (after some confusion) to Moonlight suggests the latter race was very close indeed. If it receives significant nominations then it will go some way to allaying two gripes. If we were feeling awkward we would complain that only 39 per cent of those just invited to join the American Academy of Arts and Sciences were women. More intriguing is the mention for Jordan Peele, director of the sociological horror Get Out. Surprisingly, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, one of the world’s highest grossing stars, only now makes it into the fold. But most of those films always looked like possible contenders. The advance is notable. Hidden Figures joined that film, Hidden Figures and Fences in receiving multiple nominations. Moonlight won best film. Viola Davis and Mahershala Ali won acting awards. But the makeup of the new batch – and their sheer number – does mark another significant lurch in that direction. It’s a bleeding disgrace that Ciarán Hinds, pride of Belfast, has never received a nomination, but he can now take solace in being able to cast his vote when winter comes around. The most enjoyable summer blockbuster has arrived How the street cats of Istanbul landed on their feet ‘E stands for Empire. Maybe a few old geezers were cancelled out by a few recent young inductees. After a best actress nomination for Loving, Ruth Negga, the Ethiopian-Irish star, would have expected an invitation (though it is not guaranteed) and the envelope has indeed arrived. The Dubliner has never been nominated, but, last year, he achieved the singular feat of appearing in four films that received multiple nods: Ex Machina, Brooklyn, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Revenant. But just 27 per cent of the 2016 intake was female. There are no psephologists to tell us if a younger, more female, less white electorate will be more open to younger, more female, less white talent. The Academy wants more such genre hits in the best picture race. The Academy wants more such genre …

Rumour has it: Is Adele about to give up performing live?

Fair enough. Adele could bring the floppy disk back if she had half the chance.  Selling millions of albums and selling out stadium tours isn’t enough if you want to make cold, hard cash as a musician these days. I don’t know if I will ever tour again,” she said to New Zealand fans in March. She barely has to wobble a tonsil to get people riled up. “With my stage fright, I just don’t want to let people down. 19, 21 and 25 are blockbuster albums and in an age where no one buys CDs any more, she sold five millions physical copies of 25 on compact disc. With just three albums to her name, Adele works the music industry in a way that no other artist – not even Beyoncé – can. “I might never see you again at a live show, but I’ll remember this for the rest of my life.” This is what Adele shared with us on Instagram last night (and told the concert crowd) after the first of her four sold out shows in London’s Wembley Stadium and do you know what? There’s nothing definite here but it doesn’t mean goodbye.  Besides, someday, our phone might ring and all it will take is one word on the other side to cause the winds to rise and our hearts to beat again: Hello.  Her favourite band is the Spice Girls, she watches Neighbours and she gets stage fright.  “I only ever did this tour for you and to hopefully have an impact on you the way that some of my favourite artist have had on me live,” she continues in her note, “And I wanted my final shows to be in London because I don’t know if I’ll ever tour again and so I want my last time to be at home.” Adele’s note is full of mights and maybes. The 29-year-old wears her heart on her sleeve just as much as she cuts it up and dissects it in her songs about break ups and “dickheads”, and onstage, she isn’t afraid to get a bit wobbly. “Touring isn’t something I’m good at – applause makes me feel a bit vulnerable. I get so nervous on stage that I don’t have the guts to improvise or anything like that.” Part of her appeal is that she actually seems human. You need sock lines, Adidas collaborations, …

Irish-language theatre: underground but still alive

Philip O’Leary is a professor of English at Boston College and the author of Gaelic Prose in the Irish Free State, 1922-1939 (2004), winner of the 2005 Michael Durkan Prize from ACIS; Irish Interior: Keeping Faith with the Past in Gaelic Prose, 1940-1951 (2010); and Writing Beyond the Revival: Facing the Future in Gaelic Prose, 1940-1951 (2011). All those mentioned above, living and dead, are fine and engaging writers – and dedicated ones as well, committed to keeping Irish alive on stage anywhere they can. Perhaps the most notable of these companies have been Dublin’s Amharclann de hÍde (1992-2001), Aisteoirí Bulfin (1967-), Galway’s Fíbín Teo (2003-) and Belfast’s Aisling Ghéar (1997-). This article is based on an extract from An Underground Theatre: Major Playwrights in the Irish Language 1930-80 by Philip O’Leary, published by UCD Press and available from www.ucdpress.ie They were not, however, sanguine about the prospects of ever seeing the work on stage, writing: “We will present the first volume of Banba again to anyone who will tell us how a wave can be set in motion on stage, how seven men can gather around a bog-hole there and pull a cow out of it with ropes and sacks, how the cow can be kept on the stage with water and mud flowing from her sides, how she can be driven from there to the byre, – how, – how, how will the play be put on the stage, that is what we want to know.” With no real significant tradition of theatre in Irish to provide native models, those in the movement at the turn of the 20th century were often forced to put embarrassingly inept works on stage. The play is still regularly and successfully produced today. Alas, the National Theatre has not lived up to its commitments to the language, despite the occasional fine production at the Peacock. Nor was she the only playwright whose work remains worthy of comparison with contemporary Irish plays written in English. In 1903, the editors of Banba awarded their prize for a new play to Muinntear Chillmhuire nó Bó i bPoll (The people of Cillmhuire, or a cow in a hole) by Séamus Ó Dubhghaill (Beirt Fhear). Seán Ó Tuama could write both superb history plays like Moloney and particularly Gunna Cam agus Slabhra Óir as well as realistic plays of contemporary Irish urban life, and comic extravaganzas influenced …

Jennifer Johnston: past master

“Echoes. “Are we all condemned to be infected by our past?”, Imogen’s father is left to ask, in private, as he anguishes over his daughter’s mental health. Perhaps I may come alive.” Laura’s turn towards writing is repeated in a number of Johnston’s other works. Prof Paul Delaney is Lecturer in Irish Writing in English at Trinity College Dublin. “I don’t care about the big issues,” Jennifer Johnston commented in the Belfast magazine Fortnight in 1995. As it does this, the narrative moves forward in psychological rather than chronological time, with the central characters, Laura and her friend Dominic, gradually finding space to speak of their innermost fears and anxieties. “I am not sure in which tense I live, the present or the past,” Laura confesses, in one of Johnston’s finest works, The Invisible Worm, as she struggles to come to terms with the fact that she was raped by her father as a child, burdened with the memory that her mother failed her when confronted with this terrible knowledge. An additional feature of her work is that it often makes use of a preferred compositional structure, interleaving first-person accounts (diaries, letters, documents, personal memories) with extended third-person narratives. “Perhaps I may come alive”: this is no small success in the circumstances, and testifies to Johnston’s achievements as a prose writer. In Johnston’s work, such statements are always hard won. Specific images also reverberate through her novels, gaining in significance as they take hold of her narrators’ imaginations, and indicating the depth to which her characters have been hurt and the extent to which they obsessively ruminate. “We need to know how to forgive as well as to be forgiven,” Laura explains, if she is to escape the ghost of her father. Johnston deploys echoes as resonant structuring devices in her work, drawing upon fragments of texts (echoes of songs, poems, nursery rhymes, etc.), and repeating them chorus-like through the course of her narratives. Sometimes these echoes gain in intensity as characters appear trapped within ever-expanding cycles of pain and violence. Although her canvas is large, Johnston paints in miniature. I will try to embellish the emptiness of living. Over and again, Johnston places characters in situations of extreme stress, struggling before the pressures to survive, to conform, or simply to be. are a case in point, providing Alec with the context for a highly-stylised recollection of his mother but …

Kings of Leon at the 3Arena: Everything you need to know

Over The Bucket Mary Eyes on You Manhattan Slow Night, So Long Around the World Milk Fans Use Somebody Walls Find Me On Call Supersoaker Reverend Knocked Up Pyro Crawl Notion Radioactive Sex on Fire Waste a Moment How do I get there? What time does it kick off at? It’s just common decency and they’re not off anywhere exciting like you. Let them off at their stops before you crush on. They are priced at €85.50 (plus booking fee) for standing and €100.50 (plus booking fee) to have a sit. For those who want to see exactly what they’re getting for their money or what they’re missing out on, here’s a recent setlist from Berlin, for those who don’t, in the grand tradition of the football results: look away now. Ireland has so much love for the Followill clan that they are decamping to Dublin for three nights but they could probably stretch out their stay to a month and still have people moaning that they couldn’t get tickets (it’s a scandal, Joe). It seems that when the boys became dedicated modelizers and Caleb Followill’s face went from scraggly dustbowl raggamuffin to Wayne Rooney’s American cousin, we couldn’t get enough of them. As Moodymann dropped Sex on Fire into his Field Day set a few weeks ago, with mixed results, there is no word yet whether the boys will return the favour and throw in a cover of Don’t You Want My Love on one of the nights, but we live in hope. After previously selling out Slane and Marley Park, this three-night stand in Dublin’s 3Arena in support of their latest album Walls is probably an average weekend at an enormo-venue for the lads. They became just normal enough to be acceptable to us. Kings of Leon will take to the stage at around 8.30pm. Are tickets still available? No, we really do. Although the easiest way to get to the 3Arena is the Luas Red Line from Heuston Station or the city centre to the Point stop. We like the predictable and the safe. What are they likely to play? A4 bags and purses are fine but you will be subjected to a few routine searches before you get in so be warned and wear some nice deodorant. The three dates (July 1st, 2nd and 4th) were all sold out, but this week MCD managed to source …