In a Word . . . Childish

Childish, from Old English cildisc , Middle English childisch, meaning “proper to a child”, “puerile”, “immature”. You will recall the opening lines of James Joyce’s novel Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Apparently no one has ever heard of the word “platt” either. It reads: “Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo.. – Ed.) Sorry. .” Have you ever heard a child talk like that? Sure! Sir. This was brought home to me at Christmas once upon a time when I was Santy for an article at the Square shopping centre in Tallaght. Joyce goes on (no surprise there!) “He was baby tuckoo. You’ll never hear them go “coochy, coochy, coo” or any such nonsense. Ahem. The moocow came down the road where Betty Byrne lived: she sold lemon platt.” Lemon platt? It’s adult talk and an insult to children. They didn’t. Yesterday was Bloomsday. Bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronntuonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthurnuk, it is claimed (by loads of idle academics with nothing more to do), represents a symbolic thunderclap associated with the fall of Adam and Eve. Another Joycean invention. They also claim that “lemon platt” refers to lemon-tasting sweets. Like his 101 letter word at the beginning of the impossible Finnegans Wake (Dear Ed, please, please make sure no sub puts an apostrophe either before OR after that last ’s’ in Finnegans or we’ll all be disgraced. So there. (Mr McGarry, I’ve told you before. We are a NEWS service at The Irish Times. We don’t do “yesterday”! That’s how Joyce wrote it.). (As every reader of The Irish Times does of course and as you do too, O omniscient, dear Mr Editor. even if you are from Waterford). inaword@irishtimes.com I discovered then that the children took it in their stride, just another example of the silliness of this world, while their adults were like putty. They believed the little dears experienced the same sweetness (me) and innocence (children) as they did. Who are we to disagree? Children never use such words.

Walking in the footsteps of James Flood, Famine emigrant to Canada

Commemoration What differentiates Strokestown Famine Museum’s bi-annual National Famine Walk from other commemoratives is that it represents a microcosm of the greater tragedy, contextualising a finite 1,490 lives out of the millions who emigrated. Mick Blanch took a week of no pay, and without any great reward other than a settling conscience, marked his presence in the simple act of pilgrimage. In Quebec, the motivation to provide succor was Catholic kinship, while through Ontario, and especially in Toronto, municipal authorities marshaled medical resources and contingencies for housing refugees that became the gold-standard for disease containment throughout the 19th century. Goddamn corpses…. One imagines this moribund harvest, this eerie memorial to those fateful years and to so many unburied dead. In Montreal, a single stone monument, The Black Rock, erected after the unearthing of a forgotten mass grave of some 6,000 Irish in 1859, sits today in a busy thoroughfare. Typhus, colloquially referred to as ship’s fever, raged. Names were not always recorded, given so many expired in a state of delirium. I guess that’s what it was… Nothing but scum.” And so it goes; our reflexive psychological trauma, that dark indictment of those inhumane years that reduced us to nothing, a historical moment which continues to outstrip even the most eloquent and celebrated of our novelists, and sees us forever bound to and forever recoiling from what befell us. The walkers, oft in costume, stopped at schools and towns along the route, lecturing and extending the lessons of 1847. On June 1st, along with 13 others, I completed the six-day 2017 National Famine Walk. We Irish have undoubtedly suffered a great national psychological wound, endured an episode of such extremity that words defy capturing. So, too, under the guidance of Caroilin Callery, Strokestown is leading a resurgence in Famine studies, facilitating a deeper understanding of life on an Irish estate in the 19th century, whilst also conjoining a national tragedy with universal themes of exile and emigration. One of Mahon’s three chartered ships, The Virginius, carrying 496 passengers, suffered a lost 158 souls. Participated is perhaps too benign a term for an assisted emigration that was a self-serving, mendacious act, a forcible removal from Ireland, as landlords, burdened by the 1847 Poor Law Extension Act requiring them to feed their tenants, decided it was better to be rid of them. The heroic efforts of Montreal’s community – especially the intersession …

Podcast: Man Booker International Prize winners

Book Club podcast Listen to Grossman and Cohen in conversation with Eileen Battersby, Literary Corriespondent of The Irish Times. Israeli author David Grossman, together with his translator Jessica Cohen, this week won the Man Booker International Prize for A Horse Walks into a Bar, a popular winner which will delight Grossman’s international readership, established as long ago as the publication of his second novel, See Under: Love.

Clerical abuse, boom and bust: how Joyce predicted Ireland today

Recent years have seen a massive revision of our sense of our country’s past and of our relationship to it. His life isn’t such a bed of roses. I am thinking, for instance, of Molly Bloom’s casual reference to the husband of her cleaning woman, Mrs Fleming: “and he beats her”. There is nothing at all abusive about their relationship but there is a question about its appropriateness, a question articulated early by a character who is despised by the boy-narrator as a “tiresome old rednosed imbecile!” The boy, however, has in a sense been singled out by the priest, made to feel special, and the whole strange story is suffused by the queasy sense of the consequences of that privilege. Later, of course, artistic considerations took precedence over everything, but Irish society today still has a lot to learn from both the diagnosis and the prescription of our 135-year-old contemporary. Those words, first published in 1959, remain true even today, in ways that have a direct bearing on the Ireland in which we now live. Waiting outside pubs to bring da home. This underlying theme is rendered explicit in a line that could easily be overlooked very early on: describing the Irish crowds who are watching the motor race – featuring exclusively foreign drivers – that precedes the night of card-playing, the text states that they “raised the cheer of the gratefully oppressed”. Other stories in Dubliners also have a bearing on the Ireland of today. O let him! This is stated without any further comment, as if it were just another part of the world as it is. It is extraordinary that something which now looms so large in the national consciousness – child abuse and exploitation – should be explored with such delicacy and perception in a work written so long ago, when the subject could not normally be mentioned. As Joyce moved on, as his work expanded, it embraced many other things than just Ireland, of course. This is the way things are and, in spite of all the many other things going on in the text, this reality remains an essential underpinning of the entire work. As I have indicated in my book Ulysses Unbound, Stephen Dedalus tries to come to terms with the bloodshed, the hatred and the violence that disfigure that history and are its irreducible subtext: “They are not to be thought …

Father’s Day book suggestions

Should you purchase it for Dad, you may want to borrow it, or maybe just buy two copies… Farewell to the Horse by Ulrich Raulff, translated by Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp (Allen Lane) Although I am biased, this is a great book – a celebration of the horse through history which explores not only our changing relationship with horses but also our enormous debt to their courage, grace and toleration of humans. Even if Zwagerman commits the anthologist’s no no, that of including himself, this is to summon the cliche a treasure trove and a partial explanation at to why fiction from the Netherlands is so very fine. The central character, Frits, a young office worker living with his parents leaves Holden Caulfield and Salinger in his wake. Sand by Wolfgang Herrndorf, translated by Tim Mohr (Pushkin) A man regains consciousness in the North African desert, his memory is gone. The supreme Father’s Day tribute would be the novel and the movie lovingly wrapped together. Lucky the father who receives this on Sunday. One Man and a Mule: Across England with a Pack Mule by Hugh Thomson (Preface) Surprised? They also ventured into bordering California, across the Sierra Nevada, enjoying the glories of Lake Tahoe. It is a great story and although the word “tremendous” has sadly become tainted by association, it is good to read something good about America to counter all the garbage touted by you-know-who and his spineless cohorts. I’m only making a suggestion but it could be the best piece of advice you will get as you race through the shopping precincts, in search of something special… Istanbul by Bettany Hughes (Weidenfeld) A magisterial history of this great city written as an epic biography, this will be remembered as one of the defining achievements of narrative history – a lavish, beautiful book about one of the world’s most alluring places. A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman, translated by Jessica Cohen (Cape) A stand-up comic takes the stage more on his mind than entertaining the expectant audience in a night club. No one could ask for a better present. Both are touching and tender, but the one recalling his father who died, aged 55 when Ford was only 16, is particularly affecting. Nevada Days by Bernardo Atxaga, translated by Margaret Jull Costa (Maclehose) The outstanding Basque writer Atxaga, author of The Accordionist’s Son and The …

Bloomsday: James Joyce, our 135-year-old contemporary

“We are still learning to be James Joyce’s contemporaries,” Richard Ellmann wrote in the first line of his biography. Physical abuse, too, looms large in Joyce’s work, whether it is the pandybatting administered by Father Dolan to young Stephen in A Portrait or Farrington’s beating of his son at the end of Counterparts in Dubliners. He is carried along on a tide of optimism, excitement and self-importance; he is flattered to be in the company of these exotic young men, to be one of their number. It is extraordinary that something which now looms so large in the national consciousness – child abuse and exploitation – should be explored with such delicacy and perception in a work written so long ago, when the subject could not normally be mentioned. This may seem remote from a writer who died in 1941, who had left Ireland in 1912 and whose works, while focused on Dublin, are treated as quintessentially literary artefacts, important for critical theory and other rather abstruse concerns. Recent years have seen a massive revision of our sense of our country’s past and of our relationship to it. Joyce’s attitude is never judgemental: he merely depicts what happens, but neither does he shirk from portraying the realities of Irish life in what he described as his “nicely polished looking-glass”. By changing God from being the ultimate goal of all history to just “a shout in the street”, he changes the terms of debate and ensures for Ireland and for all of us a certain indispensable modicum of freedom. But even in Ulysses there is the same clear-eyed, unblinking rendering of the realities of Irish life, as they existed then and as many exist now. – it is worth reflecting on the eagerness with which this country embraced its new masters in the ECB and the austerity measures they imposed. There is nothing at all abusive about their relationship but there is a question about its appropriateness, a question articulated early by a character who is despised by the boy-narrator as a “tiresome old rednosed imbecile!” The boy, however, has in a sense been singled out by the priest, made to feel special, and the whole strange story is suffused by the queasy sense of the consequences of that privilege. As I have indicated in my book Ulysses Unbound, Stephen Dedalus tries to come to terms with the bloodshed, the hatred …

James Joyce, Irish rebel

Must be damnably humbled If a Joyce is found cleaning The boots of a Rumbold. Kiberd has said that Joyce wrote from the viewpoint of a staunch republican. Even in 1912 when the Home Rule Bill was passed, Joyce saw it as the viewpoint of the bourgeois that he was, noting that despite nationalist effusion, Britain would control taxes. Joyce predicted that the British Conservatives would conspire to incite the Ulster Unionists to rebel against any settlement with the leadership in Dublin. He saw Britain as a coloniser acting like Belgium in the Congo Free State. Joyce held that despite Ireland becoming part of the British democratic life, she had never been faithful to England nor to herself, as she had discarded her own language for English, betrayed her stars and served only the Catholic Church. He was cynical enough to foresee parliament reduce Irish representation by half to avoid granting Home Rule. It is way past time for Ireland to have done once and all with failure. The one time he felt emotionally involved was when Terence MacSweeney, whom he believed to be a distant family relation, died on hunger strike in London. I, for one, am certain not to see that curtain rise as I shall have already taken the last tram home.” The Easter Rising and its aftermath shocked Joyce and he shied away from violence. If the Irish have not been able to do what their American cousins did, this does not mean that they will never do so – a moral separation already exists between the two countries.” Joyce went on to forecast an insurrection but did not visualise it occurring during his lifetime. He even dubbed William Gladstone a hypocrite, who pretended an interest in Home Rule knowing full well that the House of Lords would veto any such Bill coming from the House of Commons. James Joyce became a convert to Arthur Griffith’s brand of Irish nationalism through reading Griffith’s United Irishmanwhile living in self-imposed exile in Trieste. Declan Kiberd has deemed this one of the most accurate predictions of partition. Joyce wrote a bitter poem drawing on his belief that a colonising country wreaks havoc on a colonised country: The Right Heart in the Wrong Place Of spinach and gammon Bull’s full to the crupper White lice and black famine Are the Mayor of Cork’s supper But the pride of old Ireland. …

Here are our favourite Irish tracks right now

As a result, plans for a debut album were formed with the quintet’s Justin Ground on production duties. More recently, he’s been operating closer to the underground as Sias, with wobbly techno-leaning electronics. She has returned with her project Slow Skies and new song Dancing marks a brighter, lighter outlook for the songwriter. From collaborations with New Jersey production duos to solo acoustic confessionals, Richardson’s songs are always commendable. Waves, their first single in four years, is a positive punch of power pop. The accompanying visual by Feel Good Lost only adds to the scale with French running in landscapes of natural beauty. Sias – As We Are It’s five years since Frank B’s Aretha-sampling Chain of Fools blazed up dance floors with its soulful house vibe. They might be from Kerry but Black Fox Leash was formed in Kyoto last year. Hare Squead – Pure Jessy Rose, Tony Konstone and Lilo Blues are building on their major label connect and growing fanbase in UK and North America with this minimally shaded R&B pop track that serves as the lead song from EP number two titled Season 2. The brothers have put both their skills to good use on debut track The Fire, a sleazy, bluesy number, Autre Monde – I Want My Enemies to Prosper Featuring Paddy Hanna and members of Popical Island-associated bands Land Lovers, No Monster Club, Skelocrats and Ginnels, Autre Monde are displaying a fine-line of early-1980s-inspired rock. New artist: Black Fox Leash Alex Ryan is best-known as the bassist for Hozier and the producer of Saint Sister’s records but he also has a band with his brother Patrick, who is a film director. Formed to perform the music of cutting-edge composers like Iceland’s Olafur Arnalds and Estonia’s Arvo Pärt to keep them occupied during a harsh West Cork winter, the quintet went on to put on residencies in De Barra’s in Clonakilty and brought in singers such as Irish singer-songwriter Adrian Crowley and Swedish Alto Camilla Griehsel. As We Are is taken from his newest EP for Secretsundaze label offshoot SZE, and has strains of acid, electro and what sounds like a buzzing fly in its arrangement. It’s out on July 28th. Their individual strengths: the intricate rock atmospherics of All Tvvins with the melodic expression of McMorrow. Slow Skies – Dancing Karen Sheridan has been quiet over the last two years: “ a time …

Children’s literature conference in Dublin

Award-winning Irish actor Olwen Fouéré and Syrian opera singer Lubana Al Quntar are to collaborate on a unique project exploring the Syrian conflict through Seamus Heaney’s collection The Spirit Level, at Seamus Heaney HomePlace on Saturday, June 24th. The conference is designed for adults who are interested in the rich diversity and power of children’s literature as well as those in both the literary and the psychotherapy fields. This year’s 18 speakers include Heather Graham, a New York Times bestselling author returning to her Irish roots, the Hollywood producer Ken Atchity, a one time professor of comparative literature and vide-president of PEN Los Angeles, as well as local writers such as bestselling crime novelist Patricia Gibney. Recently published by Lilliput Press in an edition prepared by his biographer, Marilynn Richtarik, she will read from it and discuss it next Monday, June 19th, at 6.30pm, in Books Upstairs, D’Olier Street, Dublin. Reservations for the event may be made here. The third Dublin Writers’ Conference for writers and aspiring writers takes place from June 23rd to 25th at the Academy Plaza Hotel, off O’Connell Street. Parental Pathways, a parenting education and training centre, and Children’s Books Ireland will host an inaugural conference in Dublin, titled Children’s Literature: Building Resilience on Saturday, June 17th, in the National Library of Ireland on Kildare Street, promoting childhood mental health in a coming together of two worlds and two different disciplines – the literary and the therapeutic. The evening will be built around Olwen’s performance of the epic Heaney poem Mycenae Lookout, in addition to musical contributions from Lubana. Other speakers include Damien O’Connor (Brown Bag Films), Prof Amanda Piesse and Mary Pyle of Trinity College Dublin, senator Marie-Louise O’Donnell and Fergus Finlay, CEO of Barnardos Ireland. parentalpathways.ie Playwright Stewart Parker’s novel Hopdance, largely drafted in the early 1970s but unpublished in his lifetime, centres on the amputation of his left leg when he was 19. Currently starring together in Salomé at the National Theatre in London, the duo are the latest to take part in a series of events at HomePlace called Performance Reflections, in which a leading artist responds to one of Heaney’s collections. Writers Roddy Doyle, Siobhan Parkinson, Kevin Stevens, Hillary Fannin and Patricia Forde wil join with psychotherapy professionals in conversation. DublinWritersConference.com

Robbie Williams at the Aviva: everything you need to know

Who goes where? Gates open at 6pm, and the support slot will be filled by the amazing Erasure (you’ll know more songs than you think) at 7pm. Email access@mcd.ie for further information.  The closest Dart stop to the Aviva is Lansdowne Road. Robbie is due onstage at 8.45pm. Further searches of clothing, bags and other items will be determined by discretion of security upon entry and exit.  What will he play?  Here’s the Robbie Williams set list from Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, on June 9th. There will also be an increase in security on site, and organisers suggest that you allow sufficient time to get through security checks before you enter the venue.  As outlined on MCD’s website, big backpacks and handbags are not permitted but those measuring 4.5in/11.4cm x 6.5in/16.51cm or smaller will be allowed. How do I get there? There will be no cloakroom or storage facilities in the arena. He recently covered The Proclaimers’ I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) at an Edinburgh show so it will be interesting what he sings for his Irish fans.  Although his recent emotional appearance at the One Love Manchester on June 4th, the benefit concert organised by Ariana Grande, had many of the younger and international fans mouthing ‘who?’, his 1998 hit Strong became one of the highlights of the night, with the lyrics changing to “Manchester you’re strong, you’re strong”.  Williams has a special place in the hearts of his Irish fans, many of whom remember his appearances at Slane Castle in 1999, so Saturday’s show will be a nostalgic sing-song.  Are tickets still available? It’s as sold out as sold out can be.  What time does everything kick off? The temperature is set to hit a whopping 26 degrees with barely a cloud in the sky. What about security? Limited accessible parking is available in the stadium’s car park, and access will only be permitted to this with a valid car pass. No. The Heavy Entertainment Show Let Me Entertain You Monsoon Party Like a Russian The Flood (Take That song) Freedom 90 Love My Life Livin’ on a Prayer / Rehab / She’s the One Somethin’ Stupid Come Undone Rudebox Kids Sweet Caroline (Neil Diamond cover) Motherfucker (with The Beatles’ Hey Jude) Feel Rock DJ Encore: Angels I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) (The Proclaimers cover) My Way There are no parking facilities at the Aviva Stadium, and organisers are suggesting two …

James Joyce: our 135-year-old contemporary

As I have indicated in my book Ulysses Unbound, Stephen Dedalus tries to come to terms with the bloodshed, the hatred and the violence that disfigure that history and are its irreducible subtext: “They are not to be thought away”, as Stephen puts it, but he refuses to accept that he or we are bound just to repeat it. More broadly, the Nestor episode of Ulysses engages very seriously with the “nightmare” of Irish history. This is evident in his very early essay, A Portrait of the Artist. Jimmy blows quite an amount of this wealth in a card game with some foreign visitors who are clearly out to exploit him. That is the position of the Irish as Joyce sees it, and if one wants to believe that this is merely a historical matter – British colonial oppression, etc. This strange sense is continued into the next story, An Encounter, which is explicitly about a potential child abuser. This story is about two boys who encounter this individual, but it is the boy-narrator, again, who is singled out for special attention, who is, in a sense, groomed by being privileged. This may seem remote from a writer who died in 1941, who had left Ireland in 1912 and whose works, while focused on Dublin, are treated as quintessentially literary artefacts, important for critical theory and other rather abstruse concerns. Later, of course, artistic considerations took precedence over everything, but Irish society today still has a lot to learn from both the diagnosis and the prescription of our 135-year-old contemporary. He is carried along on a tide of optimism, excitement and self-importance; he is flattered to be in the company of these exotic young men, to be one of their number. Take the story After the Race in Dubliners. Similarly, Bloom, seeing an undernourished, impoverished young boy near Lime Street who is smoking a cigarette, thinks: “Tell him if he smokes he won’t grow. There is nothing at all abusive about their relationship but there is a question about its appropriateness, a question articulated early by a character who is despised by the boy-narrator as a “tiresome old rednosed imbecile!” The boy, however, has in a sense been singled out by the priest, made to feel special, and the whole strange story is suffused by the queasy sense of the consequences of that privilege. Joyce’s attitude is never judgemental: he …

Bloom, a self-portrait of Joyce as the Irish European

But the prosperous and cosmopolitan post-Enlightenment Jews of Trieste bore little resemblance to Dublin’s Lithuanian Jews, a very closed and sectarian-minded community, often poor and only one or two generations removed from the shtetl. But he seems to have been in little doubt about his own Irishness. Joyce’s brother Stanislaus was even interned there during the first World War as an “enemy alien”. The suburbs of Dublin, and some provincial towns, are now rich in Polish, Lithuanian and West African supermarkets, showing the truth of the old saying that patriotism is above all an attachment to the foods of our childhood. A couple of years ago, I walked down nearby Bloomfield Avenue to the Jewish Museum, to attend a talk by the late Louis Lentin about Leopold Bloom’s Jewishness. Recent research would seem to prove the opposite: we seem to be mainly descended from the original inhabitants of the island. To the Dublin Jewish community he would have been an outcast. Louis said he was deeply saddened by this. What is your nation if I may ask, demands the Citizen of Leopold Bloom in one of the best-known scenes in Ulysses. It is not Bloom’s Jewish “content” which is important, his Jewishness is there to identify him as “the Other”, the wandering everyman. However, Joyce’s lack of understanding of the nature of Judaism and the Dublin Jews of 1904 is not important for his artistic purpose in Ulysses. The Irish attitude to immigrants is a complex one, obviously conditioned by our own experience and indeed ongoing expectations of emigration. Bloom is Jewish, Catholic and Protestant, with some atheism, freemasonry and Spinozism thrown in for good measure. But Joyce’s attitude to such matters is, like Bloom’s, noticeably relaxed, and Bloom can perhaps also be seen as a self-portrait of Joyce as the Irish European, the European Irishman. His father Rudolph Virag is clearly a Jew but has married a Protestant, and Leopold himself is tainted by conversion and marriage to a Catholic. After all, our patron saint was an immigrant. “Ireland, says Bloom. What emerged clearly from the discussion was Joyce’s ignorance and lack of understanding of the nature of Jewish society in Ireland at that time. Ireland.” But not before he has defined, under hostile questioning, what a nation is, by saying: “A nation is the same people living in the same place.” To which he quickly adds: “Or also …

Bloomsday Bus Driver: a short story by Alan McMonagle

Up it came at ten to five in the morning and didn’t disappear until twenty past ten that night. As soon as he climbed into his seat he was in no mood to hang about. ‘Young lad,’ he said as I stepped off, and he flipped a coin at me. ‘That’s not much of a tan,’ my mother said when she looked up from her paper. Then the two of them disappeared inside the house set back off the road. After a moment he pointed to the ice-cream cone. The bus driver leaned against the wall beside her. Some ice-cream was smeared across her top lip. ’I need to get some sun today,’ said one fretful lady. Some passengers became worried. ‘I want to ask that foxy lady a question.’ She was leaning against a wall, licking an ice-cream cone. By my steadily improving mathematical calculations that meant the bus was going to stop more than a thousand times before reaching the sea. ‘One with a flake in it.’ She took a cone from the stack beside the ice-cream machine, pulled the lever and, once she could pile on no more, offered me the towering sculpture along with a smile that, in times to come, would make the wind blow across my soul. ‘I wish I had the day off myself,’ he offered as he punched holes in tickets. I was glad I had inherited my father’s knack for patience. ’I’ll drive you all home personally,’ he said, and one or two women raised their eyebrows. But when he and his accomplice reached the driver’s seat they realised the bus man had taken the keys with him. The lady passed it over, and he ditched his reed and took a gob-full. ‘I’ll have an ice-cream cone,’ I said to the girl behind the counter. So I made my way to the station, gave the pound to the bus driver, sat in behind him and stared out at the clear blue sky. He was rushing down the pathway of the house he had been inside, tugging his shirt back into his half-way-down trousers. ‘That lad is very distracted.’ ’Does anyone know how to drive a bus?’ I wished I could’ve said, ‘I do’. He plucked a long stem of reed-grass and started chewing on it. At once I made a dash for Mel Campbell’s paper shop, he always stayed open late. …

Lorde’s second coming: ‘Pop music is my number one inspiration’

Like a police investigator tracking a crime and various persons of interest, she covered a wall with notes to keep track of where the album was going with its various lyrical themes. It’s something much different to Pure Heroine and I definitely had certain kind of principles that I was super-interested in exploring. She’s an amazing writer. “My writing this time was inspired by records I really admired, the classic albums like Rumours by Fleetwood Mac or Graceland by Paul Simon. I actually never had music help me so much as in the last few years. Lorde performs 2017 Governors Ball Music Festival at Randall’s Island, New York on June 2nd. Lorde performing at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend at in Hull on May 27th. Being able to forget that this is a business and get away from that is really helpful and beneficial to me. “You might be working on a chorus for one song one day and working on the production of a song the next. It seems to me that the planning was key and they wanted the records to be simple, clear, concise statements.” Giddy glory Most of all, Yelich-O’Connor did what she’s always done and leaned on pop music in all its giddy glory to push her on. Again and again, like a novelist at work, she edited and redrafted what she had to hand. Because it had been such a long time since I put out an album, there were a lot of emotions that I’d experienced or wanted to write about that I wanted to squeeze in there if I could.” Yelich-O’Connor says the album was planned and laid out with precision. Looking back now, I think the reason it took so long was that search for a rich and singular sonic world. What does she recommend for our readers this time around? I’d definitely recommend that.” There’s so much to the songs as I’m sure you can hear. “I’ve had a real moment with Bluets by Maggie Nelson. On the surface, it looks tight and succinct but when you delve in, you can see that we’ve pushed the boat out. Yeah, I’m in the industry and I make music but I feel like my main role is still to consume pop music and get excited about it and tear it apart like fans do. Photograph: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images “It all developed over …

Ho99o9: ‘The first time we came to Ireland, we met the nicest border guard’

“So many people we know have been brainwashed because they’ve been persuaded to stay in their bubble. If we want to take it up a few notches, best believe we could, man.” Their debut album, United States of Horror, is a grand statement to go with that live energy. “When we’d go out to a show in New York and see that style of performance, it definitely struck a spark with us and we wanted more. He’s been our friend ever since. The rappers rap and if people push you at a show, it means they want to fight. Google the gangs Both hail from hardscrabble backgrounds in New Jersey. Working stiffs “I was working all these shit, hard, boring jobs in hospitals, fitness centres, fast food restaurants. You have to go explore for your own sanity, but you have also to do so for art purposes and food purposes and personal purposes. “What is happening now with police killing people, and Trump is just getting more attention because so many people have realised it’s not all happy and normal. It’s always been like this and we can date that back decades. Even when Eaddy was playing basketball, he was going hard, man. “It’s pretty much always been dark for us and the light just comes on occasionally and it gets dark again” Their debut album is crystal clear about the duo’s politics around the modern African-American experience. A regular night for us is a f**king explosion for everyone else. Now, it’s been shoved in people’s faces. But we wanted more so we made time to make music and to go out and see what was going on. “Growing up, we didn’t have much around us so we had to venture out and go deep into the world and see new cultures with your own eyes. People have tried to block it out and live their everyday lives and go to work and take care of their kids and live some kind of happy, normal life. It’s tough, edgy and abrasive, an album full of anthems that address the state which has inspired the fury and frenzy on show. Now, they have no choice. You’ve got to want more. There has always been inequality and police brutality and racism but people didn’t care as much as they do now to speak about it or act on it. When I wasn’t …

Body & Soul: Six acts not to miss

The wild-man comedian has been on the circuit for years, polishing a funny mix of brash storytelling, lively physicality and weird-as-hell acoustic-guitar songwriting. Instead the Dubliner stamps a distinct imprint on her work. The dinky arrangements of Sinkane’s earlier work were charming, but after a tough gigging schedule Gallab has evolved into more of a bandleader on his lush recent album, Life & Livin’ It. The Irish Times is coming together with the Wonderlust stage for Saturday-afternoon talks and discussions that will cut into the nucleus of media, politics and culture, and where the three intersect. The Irish Times and Wonderlust Self-promotion is terribly undignified, which is why we’re going to do it only this once. They’ll include a special edition of the Women’s Podcast; the Irish Times journalist Simon Carswell chairing Time to Resist?, a talk about Trump, Brexit and the right; Arts Editor Laurence Mackin moderating a discussion of Culture Ireland with John Concannon; and my colleague Patrick Freyne, the DJ Sally Cinnamon and the comedian Alison Spittle presenting The Hack of Ireland, a look at the unstoppable forces and immovable objects of Irish culture, such as country and western music, the Rose of Tralee and The Late Late Show. Released just last month, the group’s EP Clichés encapsulates their sparkle. The Irish festival season is a cage fight each year, as dozens of events battle for your money, time off work, and limited tolerance of the sun. I Don’t Mind sees Laffan, who is barely in her 20s, interlocking her offbeat vocals with a rubbery bass line, funky guitar stabs and peppy drums. Shookrah Shookrah’s satin-smooth sound is like an old-school Chevy Impala with silk tyres and suede seats. The digital strings of the yearning ballad Trophy find the singer laying out the story of a fracturing relationship, revealing a more solemn side to her songwriting. Young talents don’t always arrive so fully formed. Expect a set of bright bluster, catchy choruses and enough sunny positivity to melt the 99 flake right out of your hand. The South Korean electronic trio’s heavy synth-driven rhythms draw from the gaudy glamorama of 1980s electropop and 1990s 16-bit gaming soundtracks, with a dollop of classic Korean rock mixed in too. Body & Soul has its ethos burned right into the handle. Here are six acts and events we’re hoping to catch. And as something extra to look out for, Idiotape …

Big Boi: ‘The difference with Atlanta is that we work together’

“When I stop this record at last song with Currency and Killer Mike, it actually continues on. There’s a certain sort of brotherhood, a pride. People trust my judgment and the quality of music I put out, so people want to be a part of it. My man came in wilding on an electric guitar and that bassline dripping syrup on the track. This music is actually far ahead of its time, because we do so much wild s**t. “For me, the difference with Atlanta is that we work together. Teenage star Big Boi has been platinum since his teen years with Outkast. How does Big Boi explain the cultural moment his hometown is experiencing right now? That’s what I call ‘that elite street s**t’.” Open-door policy Sometimes this open-door policy can lead to moments of unexpected serendipity. While he couldn’t match Andre in, say, his ability to dress like a fox hunter from The Jetsons, he more than made up for it with his polyrhythmic patter and elastic southern drawl. “Nobody ever says no,” he says, before giving an artful example. That’s how things turn about. Like Adam Levine, we got the same manager. Some of these tracks are years old and, to be honest, I still feel like y’all ain’t ready for this s**t.” Boomiverse is out now on Epic Records “The Snoop collaboration on Get With It came about because he just happened to be in the studio when I first did that record two years ago. “My man Cory Mo, who produced records for UGK, brought me Southern Anthem, the song with the Pimp C verse on it. While his Outkast partner, Andre 3000, had the higher public stature and the more flamboyant bearing, Big Boi was always a critics’ and fans’ darling. The duo put out six albums, selling 20 million records in the process. Atlanta natives such as Migos, Gucci Mane, Lil Yachty and 21 Savage dominate the national stage, while Killer Mike has made Run the Jewels the biggest touring hip-hop group on earth. But I had to stop it because this is Boomiverse Side 1, and y’all waiting for Side 2. Elsewhere Janelle Monáe is an art-pop cause célèbre, while in 2016 Donald Glover’s rap comedy drama Atlanta took the city as the setting for one of the year’s best TV shows. And it’s so funky. The studios are in one sector …

Six films to see this weekend in the cinema

Cult popularity beckons. Starring: John Connors, Fionn Walton, Jimmy Smallhorne, Kierston Wareing This is Mark O’Connor’s most complete film yet. The picture’s baffling swerves do nothing to deflate its final emotional payoff. Voices of Gaspard Schlatter, Sixtine Murat, Paulin Jaccoud, Michel Vuillermoz, Raul Ribera, Estelle Hennard, Elliot Sanchez Wonderful French animation concerning a group of disadvantaged youths in a care home. It wouldn’t take much for Wonder Woman to become the best film in the DC Extended Universe to date. Sure enough, it knocks Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice into a cocked cowl. Starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya Gal Gadot stars as an Amazon super-woman who helps Pine’s agent defeat the Germans during (in questionable taste) the first World War. What we have is a beautiful fable that plays out in an environment that is so effectively realised the viewers feels he has lived there for days. 105 mins TB CARDBOARD GANGSTERS ★★★★  Cardboard Gangsters: Noisy, loud, violent and sad Directed by Mark O’Connor. He gives them round, expressive eyes, framed by reddened rims that speak to their continuing stress. 92mins DC  MY LIFE AS A COURGETTE/ MA VIE DE COURGETTE ★★★★★ My Life as a Courgette Directed by Claude Barras. Just when you think you’re watching a variation on The Parent Trap, the film wanders away from big strings and melodrama. PG cert, Triskel, Cork; IFI/Light House, Dublin, 81 min DC As ever, the director has fashioned a lovely, appealing, lightly comic film that exists somewhere between late Ozu and early Spielberg. 12A cert, gen release, 140 min DC THE RED TURTLE/LA TORTUE ROUGE ★★★★ The Red Turtle: ‘damp washes and elegant story’ Directed by Michael Dudok de Wit Lovely animation from Studio Ghibli concerning a man who, after being shipwrecked, gets menaced – or maybe protected – by a giant turtle. WHITNEY: CAN I BE ME ★★★★ Directed by Nick Broomfield, Rudi Dolezal. It’s noisy, loud, violent and sad. The picture, set among small-time criminals in Darndale, has admirable kinetic sweep and a keen sense of the absurdities of city life. Starring Hiroshi Abe, Kirin Kiki, Yoko Maki The great Japanese director returns with the story of a broken marriage and its effects on children. Car-crash gawpers may quibble that Broomfield has (respectfully) avoided footage of the final years, but this remains a quietly devastating portrait of a magnificently loud talent. O’Connor …