In a Word . . . John

And how he only got his speech back when, after the boy was born, he wrote down that he should be called John. I raised my hand and answered correctly. Our teacher was Mrs Molly Forde, a good woman of deep faith who taught us religion diligently. I might as well have walked on water where Mrs Forde was concerned. My moment had come. Less so now, somewhat. Thereafter I could do little wrong in that school, and all because of an old man who was silenced because he doubted. Then the diocesan examiner – a priest – arrived and questioned us children about the gospels, with a nervous Mrs Forde standing at the classroom window. One question he asked was “who was the father of St John the Baptist?”, to be met with a silence as mute as… St John the Baptist played a huge role in my young life, rendering me something of a hero in the most unexpected and unpredictable of circumstances. Today is the feast of St John the Baptist. And I note this here with many apologies to my betters above me on this page as I, if ever so slightly, encroach on their territory. This was in the days before our family travelled through time zones, entire universes and numerous dimensions to the metropolis of Ballaghaderreen. Zachary. John, traditionally, is believed to have been six months older than Jesus which is why his feast day is on June 24th. Her telling of how the old man Zachary was struck dumb when he doubted the angel who told him his wife Elizabeth, and cousin of Mary mother of Jesus, would have a son, made a strong impact on me. Of course June 23rd, St John’s Eve, was an occasion for major bonfires all over our part of the world in those days too. From Middle English John, Johan, Jon; Latin Johannes; Greek Ionnes; Hebrew Yohanan; meaning “God has been gracious.” inaword@irishtimes.com well… That he was a cousin of Jesus stuck in my young mind for some reason, as we were taught our catechism at the then one-teacher Mullen school in the countryside of north-west Roscommon, near Frenchpark. I’ve always remembered too the card the priest gave us that day. It depicted Salvador Dali’s very striking image of Christ of St John of the Cross (a different John!).

Johnny Depp sorry for ‘bad joke’ about Trump assassination

Thousands of revellers stood silent, with some waving flags — including those bearing images of the worker bee, a symbol of Manchester, and “We Love MCR”. I was only trying to amuse, not to harm anyone.” He made a second appearance at the festival on Friday when he joined Kris Kristofferson for a live performance on the main Pyramid Stage. “It did not come out as intended, and I intended no malice. “I think he needs help and there are a lot of wonderful dark, dark places he could go,” Depp said, to cheers from the crowd. The co-founder of Joy Division and New Order stood on the Pyramid Stage in front of thousands of people at 10.40am. Earlier on Friday music legend Peter Hook led a minute’s silence on stage to remember those who lost their lives in the Manchester and London attacks, and Grenfell Tower fire. “However, it has been a while and maybe it is time.” In a statement issued to People magazine, Depp said: “I apologise for the bad joke I attempted last night in poor taste about President Trump. “When was the last time an actor assassinated a president? The actor picked up a guitar as he unexpectedly strode onto the stage and played along to the US folk star’s hit Sunday Morning. It marked an extra special moment for Kristofferson, who turned 81 on Thursday. It will be horrible. Hook’s daughter was at the Ariana Grande gig on May 22nd and was taken to hospital, where she spent time on crutches after being trampled. He introduced his 2004 film The Libertine along with film director Julien Temple but began talking about religion and President Trump following questions from the 1,500-strong audience. “It’s just a question — I’m not insinuating anything. The Hollywood actor received a rock star welcome during the event on Thursday night at Cineramageddon — a drive-in cinema situated on the Somerset site. Johnny Depp has apologised for joking about assassinating US President Donald Trump during an appearance at Glastonbury Festival. I lie for a living. “I like that you are all a part of it. Later Elbow played an unannounced gig at The Park Stage — delighting thousands of fans with hits including The Bones of You. PA “By the way, this is going to be in the press. “I want to qualify, I am not an actor.

Body & Soul begins with tiny knights and a first stage invasion

This year the woods are filled with long fabric chandeliers, delicately lit and shimmering in the light breeze. Body & Soul 2017: Driving directions and last-minute information Body and Soul stage times Body & Soul: Six acts not to miss Last year’s deluge After last year’s deluge the festival’s organisers have put plenty of work into shoring up the roads and paths that wind through the Ballinlough woods. Blindboy Boat Club of the Rubberbandits leads a panel (including this writer) on fake news, with an audience willing to go toe-to-toe with those on stage. Last year’s festival coincided with biblical rain, but the weather this year is more forgiving. Perhaps the most impressive and unusual installation is a funicular folly designed by architect Rae Moore. Temperatures are forecast at 16 to 21 degrees over the weekend, with occasional showers, but no sign yet of heavy rain. The recent fine weather means the ground is solid under foot, with no sign of the mud that can sap a crowd’s energy. DJ Kelly-Anne Byrne opens up the Midnight Circus, pumping out disco tunes and dry ice. Expect it to be the loudest gig of the weekend. Everyone seems more than happy to catch a breather, after the necessary 40-minute slog through security and bag checks, with gangs of people testing the 24-can drink limit. Not that anyone seems to mind: it might have grown in size substantially in recent years – the capacity is now at 15,000 – but this music and arts festival is one of the most relaxed on the hectic summer schedule. There’s plenty of arguments and sharp criticisms, and the first stage invasion of the weekend. The tent takes its inspiration from the US’s Library of Congress, with discussions programmed all weekend on topics from the benefits of psychoactive drugs to bibliotherapy. Body & Soul gets off to a slower start than usual on Friday, the first of three days of the festival. People sit on the grass with sunglasses in place, even though the sun largely refuses to come out. DJs Twitch and Jonnie Wilkes will be bringing their Glaswegian club Optima to the Midnight Circus. But the pick of the day for entertainment value might just be the kids’ edition of Sing Along Social at 2pm, when hordes of tiny knights will be singing their hearts out to their favourite tunes. Cracking programme That’s followed by …

Is that Sir Bob Geldof, Dr Bob Geldof or Dr Sir Bob Geldof?

Australian medical researcher, Professor Terence Dwyer, was made a doctor in science for his work on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. She is the founder and director of An Taisce’s Environmental Education Unit. How many fellow travelers you’ve acquired along the way, how many battles you’ve won against all odds, how many lives you’ve saved.” Trinity also awarded honorary doctorates to four other leaders in their field. “It’s a long journey from scamming lunch in [in Trinity’s restaurant ]the Buttery when I was on the dole to doing the Trinity Ball with the band to now getting this.” The nomination process for conferring honorary degrees, states that individuals must show an “outstanding contribution to scholarship, society, culture and/or civil society”. The often outspoken singer joked to reporters that he could now represent himself in court whenever he is sued. Rock star and activist Bob Geldof was awarded an honorary doctorate by Trinity College today. Professor James P Smith, one of the first scientists to discover strong associations between childhood mental health and adult economic outcomes, was also awarded a Doctorate in Science. The award was made by the chancellor of the university, former president Mary Robinson. Garret FitzGerald nominated Bob Geldof for Nobel Peace Prize From the archive: Major and minor stars showing their concern ‘The overwhelming feeling I have is one of sadness for the country’ The doctorate is to honour the Boomtown Rats lead singer for his charity work with the supergroup Band Aid which Mr Geldof set up with Midge Ure to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia. Environmentalist Patricia Oliver, who worked as a volunteer with An Taisce and other environmental initiatives for over 40 years, was also conferred with a Doctorate in Laws. Historian Prof Marianne Elliott received a Doctorate in Letters for her work establishing the Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool. Mr Geldof received the Doctor in Laws distinction today in a formal presentation at the college. “So here you are, Robert Frederick ‘Bob’ Geldof, KBE, man of peace and Irish rebel at heart, still on your long journey to justice. From now on, I can just do my own stuff,” he said. Irish rebel At the ceremony, Prof Anna Chahoud said in her oration Geldof was an “Irish rebel at heart”. “It saves on legal bills. It will also recognize his work in organising the Live Aid concert in …

Electric Picnic: Elbow one of 20 acts just added to line-up

The festival, which will take place from Friday, September 1st to Sunday, September 3rd, sold out within five minutes of going on sale in March. Elbow released their latest album, Little Fictions, in February of this year. Among the other main acts on the bill are Interpol, Run the Jewels, London Grammar, Madness and Father John Misty. Birdy, Phoenix, Hannah Wants, Rejjie Snow, Declan McKenna, Lyra and Little Hours are among the other acts added on Friday. UK band Elbow have just been added to the Electric Picnic line-up for this year’s sold-out Co Laois festival. Annie Mac and The Divine Comedy are among the Irish acts on the lineup. The event’s capacity is 55,000. The xx, Duran Duran, Chaka Khan and A Tribe Called Quest are among the main headliners at this year’s Stradbally festival.

Phil Collins at the Aviva: Everything you need to know

The 4,7 and 8 buses from O’Connell Bridge are on the Ballsbridge route and are a five-minute walk to the stadium. Are tickets still available? Who has not shoulder-shimmed onto the dancefloor to Sussudio? What’s he likely to play? Standing tickets are sold out but there are a limited number of seating tickets available for the Aviva gig at an eye-watering €144 (Phil has to keep himself in comfortable slacks somehow eh?) What time does it kick off at? Yet again, it’s better to arrive in nice time to avoid the security queues no-one wants the remorse of missing Mike & the Mechanics doing AOR anthem Over My Shoulder because they just had to stuff some useless items in a stupid bag. Gates open at 5.30pm. Phil has been the background noise to our lives whether you like it or not he’s subliminally circumnavigated your soul, he was there on your Dad’s car radio, your Auntie’s wedding, that one summer when it was nice out all the time and Sunkist was first available in shops. How do I get there? Or drunkenly serenaded a paramour to Groovy Kind of Love? You cannot deny it, so you’re better off bowing down to the crusty curmudgeon, the perennial Dad rattling his car keys outside the disco. Against All Odds Another Day in Paradise One More Night Wake Up Call Follow You Follow Me Can’t Turn Back the Years I Missed Again Hang in Long Enough Separate Lives Only You Know and I Know I Don’t Care Anymore Something Happened on the Way to Heaven You Know What I Mean In the Air Tonight You Can’t Hurry Love Dance into the Light Invisible Touch Easy Lover Sussudio Sir Philip of Collins is back on the road having recovered from his fall in a London hotel room he’s back to full health on his hilariously titled (and hopefully not karmic) Not Dead Yet tour. As it is outdoors it’s best to layer yourself up and remain hopeful in removing those layers as the night progresses (oo-er!) Security As with all gigs at this time, security will be strict and MCD are advising not to bring backpacks or large bags at all as you may be refused entry, only A4 size bags and purses will be permitted. Excitingly, this is a greatest hits tour so expect to a colossal thrill-ride from Philly’s back catalogue with …

Has Banksy’s true identity just been revealed?

In 2016 investigative journalist Craig Williams claimed the artist could be Del Naja after Banksy art appeared in cities around the same time Massive Attack had a concert there. Robert Del Naja has not confirmed the rumours and previously denied the report by Williams as “wishful thinking”. I think he has flipped the world of art over.” Fans on social media are now speculating that Goldie was referring to Robert Del Naja, from the band Massive Attack. “No disrespect to Robert, I think he is a brilliant artist. Just on the phone with #3d rolling around fucking pissing our pants 🤣😂🤣❤— GOLDIE (@MRGOLDIE) June 23, 2017 There is speculation that UK DJ Goldie may have revealed the true identity of street artist Banksy during an interview on Tuesday. We can sell it now,” he said. Speaking about Banksy on the Scroobius Pip’s podcast Distraction Pieces, Goldie said: “Give me a bubble letter and put it on a t-shirt and write ‘Banksy’ on it and we’re sorted.

Colin Trevorrow: ‘Be proud of everything you paint, even if Mom doesn’t put it on the fridge’

Rumours of partying, erratic behaviour and studio interference dogged the production. They watch how you manage people and how you handle the release, and your ability to weather it all.” Trevorrow with Chris Pratt on the set of Jurassic World And what of the ‘Genius of the System’ as film historian Thomas Schatz calls it? “But there are no Cinderella stories. Of course, says Trevorrow: “I know a lot of directors of my own generation – Ava DuVernay and Ryan Coogler – who have come out of Sundance and gone on to direct bigger films. “If you’re going to make art you are opening yourself up to intense criticism,” he tells me. Before I sold my first screenplay there was ten years of crushing, mind-numbing rejection. So they were aware of me for a while. Of course I’m honoured to be able to do that. Gilroy, who wrote several Bourne films and the Oscar-nominated Michael Clayton, was initially paid $200,000 a week to whip the film into shape. So when you look toward an indie director, what you really need to know is if can they order off a Chinese menu for 500 people every day and know all of their allergies for three years.” An idiosyncratic fable Trevorrow had his pick of projects between Jurassic World and Star Wars IX, which begins shooting next January for a May 2019 release. That spec script – written when I was 30 – was bought by Dreamworks. It’s a tough job. And I feel like all of us have been given tremendous amounts of creative freedom. And a series of meetings. Edwards is another ‘one and done’ beneficiary. And I guess I’m discovering that on this movie more than ever. “In order to get any of these jobs people come observe you in pre-production and in post-production for two years. Last May, when Disney executives reputedly balked upon seeing Edwards’ first cut of Rogue One – his third feature film – the studio drafted in Tony Gilroy to rewrite and oversee reshoots for the standalone Star Wars film. His final paycheque – which fell somewhere north of $5 million as the reshoots and rewrites multiplied – prompted many commentators to wonder if the directors chosen to direct tent-poles actually get to direct? Photograph: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage Meanwhile, that same summer, Colin Trevorrow demonstrated the brilliance of the ‘one and done’ system with a …

The appeal of Phil Collins? It’s his friendly, happy face

* Patrick Bateman is actually the Phil Collins-loving antihero of Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho Phill Collins, New York, 1976 Not me. Phil Collins fandom never took off in the way say, being a Curehead or a metalhead did. Deal with it. “No!” they scream. I knew all along. I like to think that from his secluded eyrie Phil watched his renaissance with his little button eyes (lowercase ‘o’s) widening and that a smile (a sideways bracket symbol like this one:) broke out upon his perfectly circular face. At the time it was believed that this was because his wife had left him for a decorator. Now, I’m with the aforementioned cultural commentator Patrick Bateman* when he says he found early Genesis a little too complex and intellectual, fronted as it was by that overrated proggy weirdster Peter Gabriel (Phil was but a humble drummer in the early days). One minute you think you’ve got it sussed with your mockery of whatever musicians your generation has chosen to hate, then along come younger people, who’ve never fought in a war or wrangled with dial-up internet, and they make you look like a big eejit. He basically looks like an old baby. Phil Collins has been repurposed. He lamented the misery of the homeless in Another Day in Paradise, a message that was undermined slightly by his Tory-voting aversion to paying tax… .  He’s so appealing in an elderly-infant/friendly-uncle kind of way that the video for You Can’t Hurry Love features three versions of that amorous slow-coach, distinguished only by differing attitudes to sunglasses and ties. They can’t let it go. Phil’s not telling!). Eric Clapton, Chris De Burgh, Dire Straits – these were my jams. Drummer Phil Collins, guitarist Mike Rutherford, keyboard and guitarist Tony Banks, singer Peter Gabriel, and drummer Steve Hackett of Genesis, 1972. In particular I loved the smooth tones of Phil Collins and Genesis, best appreciated on the new digital format of the compact disc rather than the third-generation blank tapes I could afford, and best enjoyed in a sophisticated cocktail bar rather than on the side of the street outside Chicken America in Newbridge, which I could also afford. He is hip now and so am I. Phil may have a gift for melody but saying words convincingly eluded him. He also “acted” in the film Buster as the eponymous great train robber and for …

Famine bonds: Choctaw and Irish poets combine

Glaoim orthu arís le buíochas a ghabháil leo And so, I press an ear to the keyhole. President Mrs Mary Robinson is made an honorary Chief of the Choctaw Indian nation of Oklahoma by Randal Dorant (right) speaker of the Choctaw tribal council at Aras an Uachtaráin in 1992. Those hardships, and all that the Nation had lost, make the decision to donate money to Ireland remarkable. “We must honour that spirit of empathy today, and remember that Chief Batton’s decision to visit Ireland, President Higgins’ wonderful welcome for the delegation and Alex Pentek’s inspiring sculpture Kindred Spirits are parts of a long history of international collectivism and connectivity between the Choctaw Nation and our own. From the land, a voice lifts. I wait. As Doireann reminds us, the poetry is trilingual, allowing English to form a bridge between our native languages. An gcloiseann tú é? I press lips to it. That’s when I saw the posts by the amazing Irish poet Doireann Ní Ghríofa. We lost one quarter of our population from starvation on that long walk to Indian Territory. Can you hear it? As long as you speak of us, you will not forget. As a Choctaw, it was my mother, the late Christine Billy (Poynor) who told me about our tribe’s 1847 gift to the Irish during the potato famine. An tAmhrán Ocrach Ní thig linn an seansaol a fheiceáil ach trí pholl eochrach, radharc cúng orthu siúd a ghlaonn go ciúin ón dtaobh eile den doras. I call again; in gratitude, I call to them. I wanted to know more about our tribal history and about our mound building culture. I quieten. Then, Ansin, ón dtost, cloisim guth. Tost. The past can be seen only through a keyhole we peer through, to find this narrow, shadowed view of those who wait there, a murmuring heard from the other side of the door. Right here my body was a cycle of giving until Torn from our homelands by the Naholla, and Andrew Jackson, the duteous seamster Intent on opening all veins. To order a copy of Singing, Still, Libretto for the 1847 Choctaw Gift to the Irish for Famine Relief, visit ileannehowe.com and click publications. “This pamphlet allowed me a way to articulate both gratitude and shame. When I began to investigate the circumstances surrounding this truly amazing act of generosity, I realised that the real story …

A novel about weight, an exhibition about famine

Always, my punisher has taunted me with put-downs, insisting that “great” can’t ever apply to me or my life, either. It hadn’t stolen my sense of accomplishment and contentment. It was beyond time for it to kill off my delight and return me to the shadows. Throughout, as I moved from photograph to photograph and sat in the small dark of the film room, the hammer of my heart urged me to rejoice in being alive and in my successes, and to believe that I can be all that I dare to be. Since my flying return to Ireland, I’ve revelled and rejoiced much too much for my punisher’s liking. His identity and specific circumstances are unknown and it’s only in our imagination that we can bring him to light. The Weight of Him review: Sometimes heavy-handed examination of teen suicide The exhibition chronicles the Irish Potato Famine (1845-52) through a short, harrowing film and tens of fascinating if chilling photographs accompanied by informative display panels. I’m not quite sure what pulled me through those wide glass doors and into the exhibition during my brief return from San Francisco to Ireland and amidst a dizzying week of writers’ festivals, book signings, TV and radio interviews, and my novel’s launch party. When I exited the exhibition, the lover of history in me felt satisfied. For decades, my punisher has sliced at me. It’s as if something inside the exhibition somehow finished it off. It hadn’t succeeded in making me feel the all too familiar press of guilt and anxiety. The tour raised studs on my skin and felt especially disconcerting because my mind has been so full of various things fat over the past decade – 10 years spent writing my first novel about a man who is almost 30 stone and his startling quest to better the world. Most remarkable, I walked away from the exhibition having thwarted my punisher. Much more could have been done to alleviate the Irish Potato Famine – a catastrophe that claimed the lives of one million men, women and children to starvation and related diseases, and another million to emigration – but prejudice, greed and politics compounded the staggering devastation. A part that has always dreamed and always wanted more – despite how much the punisher filled me with doubt and fear and self-loathing. An entire nation ravaged by systemic bigotry, poverty, unemployment, disease …

How do I love Phil Collins? Let me count the ways …

Well, I don’t need to tell you, but the zeitgeist was wrong. He also “acted” in the film Buster as the eponymous great train robber and for the soundtrack he sang the melodic baby-boomer throwback A Groovy Kind of Love. Drummer Phil Collins, guitarist Mike Rutherford, keyboard and guitarist Tony Banks, singer Peter Gabriel, and drummer Steve Hackett of Genesis, 1972. and, also, I’ll admit it, by the fact that Another Day in Paradise is a terrible, terrible song (ironically a sort of “tax” for the ears). “No!” they scream. He wasn’t averse to pretending his drum sticks were a microphone in the video for the jaunty but existentially troubling Invisible Touch (“A meditation on intangibility” according to music critic Patrick Bateman) or engaging in some rough housing with his silver-throated namesake Philip Bailey in their ironically titled Easy Lover (she doesn’t sound “easy” at all; even at this stage Phil knew that love was pain). Eric Clapton, Chris De Burgh, Dire Straits – these were my jams. “F*ck that. It’s a generational crisis, of course. There weren’t hordes of young folk donning V-neck sleeveless jumpers and slacks and aping male-pattern baldness in those days, but the soulful Sussudio sticksman touched me nonetheless. Phil Collins with US singer Leslie Odom Jr. (Incidentally, if you want to read some erotic fan fiction about Phil, go here:  philrotica.wordpress.com/tag/erotica). Phil Collins is made up of simple geometric shapes. I like to think that from his secluded eyrie Phil watched his renaissance with his little button eyes (lowercase ‘o’s) widening and that a smile (a sideways bracket symbol like this one:) broke out upon his perfectly circular face. He basically looks like an old baby. No!” at the news that Phil Collins is cool now (I should probably stop ringing them in the middle of the night to tell them). As the new millennium dawned, Phil, in seclusion with his synths, paint pots and memories, was rediscovered. But the most important thing about Phil Collins was that the man undeniably knew his way around a musical hook – just listen to epic poptacularity of Against All Odds or the delightful, lyrical gibberising of Sussudio (what does ‘Sussudio’ even mean? No!” This is the problem with cool. Phil may have a gift for melody but saying words convincingly eluded him. By the end of the 1980s “Phil” and “Collins” were becoming bywords for 1980s pop …

Silent Grace and silenced women’s voices

Eileen shares a cell with a young outsider, Aine, and though they have different political viewpoints, a deep bond of friendship is formed. The distributor from before got involved again. I rang up TV3 and spoke to their acquisitions team. The situation changed; TV3 acquisitions now wanted the film, which they had always liked. It offered change where no change seemed possible. They had done an instant broadcast with my previous film Beyond The Fire and indeed they were open. I was lucky enough to attract the superb acting talent of Orla Brady to play Eileen, along with the class acts of Cara Seymour, Cathleen Bradley, Dawn Bradfield, Carol Scanlan, Conor Mullen and Patrick Bergin. I felt in rhythm and encouraged by them. The tipping point had finally arrived. Hope when everything seemed hopeless. Our eyes are not used to images of women confined in shit-smeared cells, or protesting women prisoners entering a state of starvation. The terrain broadens to become human, not just masculine. It was hard to keep going, but I knew the story of Silent Grace would not be complete until there was a wee bit of justice. As he actually owned the rights, I needed him. especially with the topic of women being man-washed from history.” Oscar nominated director-producer Andre Singer loved it as a humanist political film, “a brilliant evocation”. She highlighted the exclusion of women and women’s voices from Troubles films or hunger strike films, and Silent Grace was again mentioned and in detail. So I contacted all the UK and Irish broadcasters but they all said no, though were complimentary about it. As did Cara Seymour. I noticed we weren’t being mentioned anymore when people wrote about the hunger strike films. But I couldn’t manage to close the conversation with a concrete acquisition, though the conversation continued. Let’s not let ourselves or each other be written out of history. Our stories are valuable. Silent Grace gives a fresh perspective. I also had extinguished any internal sense of being secondary. I noticed we weren’t being mentioned anymore when people wrote about the hunger strike films. Step in. There is enough space for all of humanity in the story-telling circle. I wanted to write that into the narrative arc of the film. It also adds layers of complexity to the dirty protest/hunger strike narrative when some of the women are mothers or leaders. Then the …

Sebastian Barry wins Independent Bookshop Week Book Award

An exclusive Philip Pullman essay, Imaginary Friends, will only available for sale in independent bookshops. Cork singer songwriter John Spillane, who tutors the Festival’s song writing workshop, will close the week with an evening of song and story in the intimate setting of Ma Murphy’s. westcorkliteraryfestival.ie CILIP has announced the 2017 Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals: the Man Booker of the children’s publishing world. Writing workshops will be given by by Alissa Nutting, Vona Groarke, Lara Marlowe, Dave Lordan, Jan Carson, Dean Bakopoulos, Doireann Ní Ghríofa and Phoebe Smith. Highlights include a keynote talk from modernist scholar Wim Van Mierlo (Loughborough University) entitled “Literary Heritage and the Archive,” a paper by Sam Slote of TCD on James Joyce’s editing of his own work, a presentation from archivists at the Folger Shakespeare Library (Washington, DC) and a panel featuring researchers on the Beckett Digital Manuscript Project. More details available at dublinliteraryarchives.com Words Ireland is delighted to announce the launch of its National Mentoring Programme – the first of a broad range of initiatives for writers rolling out in 2017 and 2018. Rarely staged outside its home at the Irish Arts Centre in New York, Muldoon’s Picnic will be on tour from August 26th till September 3rd, with dates in Navan (26 Aug), Galway (29 Aug), Cork (31 Aug), Carrick-on-Shannon (1 Sep), Belfast (2 Sep) and Dublin (3 Sep). The IBW Bookshop Crawl is coming to Dublin on June 24th, the challenge being to visit as many bookshops on one day as you can. On each night of the tour Muldoon and his house band Rogue Oliphant (including Cait O’Riordan of The Pogues, Chris Harford and Ray Kubian) will be joined by special literary and musical guests, including Kevin Barry, Eavan Boland, Paul Brady, Lisa Dwan, Anne Enright, Martin Hayes, Jennifer Johnston, Michael Longley, The Lost Brothers, Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Patrick McCabe, Lisa McInerney, Sinéad Morrissey, Paul Murray, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Declan O’Rourke, Camille O’Sullivan, and Duke Special. Coincidentally, Monday marks the start of Refugee Week in the UK. Tickets €12. Either way, it’s a great night out! wordsireland.ie Words Ireland is also piloting the Venues Initiative that will see a number of literature curators work with regional venues to stage more literature events. The deadline for applications is July 10th. dalkeycastle.com The Literary Archives in the Digital Age conference in Trinity College Dublin’s Long Room Hub (7th-8th July) …

Four fresh tracks you need to hear right now

Peaks is their intriguing debut single. The album’s lead single combines a sneery and a snarling vocal with a riffs so big and dumb it could be elected president of the United States. Ice Cream is the follow up to his 2016 single Tiger Lilly. QOTSA play the 3Arena in Dublin on November 24th. He plays support to UNKLE at the Roisin Dubh as part of the Galway Arts Festival on July 27th. QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE The Way You Used to Do ★★★★ Matador When it was announced that Mark Ronson was producing Queens of the Stone Age’s forthcoming new album, Villains, fans of the veteran rockers might have feared the pop hitmaker would come in and upset what is by now a tried and trusted formula. THE KILLERS The Man ★★★ Island I’ve got gas in the tank,” boasts Brandon Flowers, on the lead single from The Killers’ Wonderful Wonderful album. So deep down, you just know he absolutely believes it. “Okay, okay, so there’s abundant evident, starting with the single cover art (depicting a child in an adult’s clothing), to suggest the singer’s tongue is at least partly in his cheek. SLOW PLACE LIKE HOME When I See You… Ice Cream ★★★ Strange Brew Rekkids Slow Place Like Home is the musical nom de guerre of Donegal electronica artist Keith Mannion. But he’s a rock star. It’s a dinky, unimposing and yet infuriatingly catchy track. “I’ve got money in the bank / I’ve got news for you baby, you’re looking at the man.” In other words, ladies and gentlemen, please stand for the Douchebag National Anthem. AGE Peaks ★★★ AGE are a Hackney-based “indie-electronic partnership”, consisting of Irishwoman Jenny Cosgrove and Australian Gavin Dwight. On this evidence, there is zero cause for concern. When I See You…

The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling strike back in Netflix’s new ’80s-set drama Glow

“It’s porn you can watch with your kids!” enthuses Marc Maron, playing B-movie-director wash-up Sam Sylvia. Brie, who on Community and Mad Men was girlish, preppy and slightly cracked, is here more fraught and rangy (she trained extensively for the role). Like Orange is the New Black though (Jenji Kohan is a producer), this provides the show with a less interesting protagonist than its wider, diverse ensemble. “Finally!” Glow (Netflix, now streaming), Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch’s new comedy based on the real Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling phenomenon, doesn’t see the project as anything quite so high-minded or anywhere near as low. “They’re going to be wrestling with their own female stereotypes!” pitches the director of GLOW, a new entertainment for the huge-haired, aerobics-obsessed, coked-up 1980s America. The optimism of the new show is that Glow can be whatever they make it. The stereotypes with which these women wrestle are bundled into an amusingly goofy 1980s nostalgia, where Reagan-era chauvinism comes with back-combed hairdos and squeaky synthesizers, and second-wave feminism meets amped-up training montages. For Alison Brie’s protagonist, Ruth Wilder, that is a chance to create herself: a struggling actress in LA, she sees professional wrestling as a place where actresses might struggle more profitably. This, he continues, ought to endear it to female audiences, while its male appeal will be self-explanatory. Having betrayed her friend Debbie (Betty Gilpin), a former soap-opera actress recruited to be GLOW’s all-American star, Ruth may resist every call for a “cat fight”, yet the show keeps trailing that dynamic. What does it say, though, that one of Ruth’s nicknames, The Homewrecker, has been well earned? It’s an enjoyable confection about empowerment and the media, made more so by the fact that the real women of GLOW finally acquired the franchise, spurring a documentary and now this show. “Tits!” says another. “Blood!” calls one. Glow is available to stream on Netflix from Friday, June 23rd         “Storytelling, ladies,” he insists. Initially they resist the slurs, but popularity puts politics in a chokehold. In one rhetorical flourish, Sam asks his wrestlers what they give the audience. Like Brie, they discover the benefits of playing “the heel”, wrestling’s villain. Its fizzier irony, though, when Ruth becomes a comically taunting Soviet, an ultra-heel, is that only by regaining trust can she and Debbie play mortal enemies in the ring. Here, an Indian woman plays Beirut, …

Six of the best films to see on the big screen this weekend

TWICE SHY ★★★★ Directed by Tom Ryan. 12A cert, lim release, 105 min A cautious but rigorous examination of the pressures that led to the death of Whitney Houston: the $100 million lawsuit her father took against her from his deathbed; the drug addiction; the codependency that she and Bonny Brown slid into. Connors is great. But Twice Shy, as the Nenagh-born director has noted in an interview with The Irish Times, is not “an abortion movie”. Set in Darndale, Cardboard Gangsters has admirable kinetic sweep and a keen sense for the absurdities of city life. 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. TB Review/Trailer CARDBOARD GANGSTERS ★★★★ Directed by Mark O’Connor. But it is so enjoyable on a scene-by-scene basis that it proves hard to care. It wouldn’t take much for Wonder Woman to become the best film in the DC Extended Universe to date. Barras has a habit of holding group shots longer than expected to press home the increasing closeness of the kids. Sure enough, it knocks Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice into a cocked cowl. 18 cert, gen release, 92 min O’Connor, a young Dubliner of some invention, delivers his most complete film yet with this story of a small-time hoodlum (Connors) seeking to take a few steps up the ladder. The picture does lack story and structure. The picture’s baffling swerves do nothing to deflate its final emotional payoff. Starring Whitney Houston, Bobbi Kristina Brown, Bobby Brown, Robyn Crawford. It’s funny, lively and unpretentious. The subsequent death of her daughter Bobbi Kristina adds an awful coda. Only a jerk would complain about it painting to rosy a picture of such scenarios. Starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya. The film is a beautifully balanced, visual marvel. 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. Starring Shane Murray Corcoran, Iseult Casey, Ardal O’Hanlon, Paul Ronan, Pat Shortt. Sadly, Wonder Woman does still end in the usual boring super-punch-up. Starring: John Connors, Fionn Walton, Jimmy Smallhorne, Kierston Wareing. DC Review/Trailer WONDER WOMAN ★★★ Directed by Patty Jenkins. He gives them round, expressive eyes, framed by reddened rims …

‘Please make this stop’: The really terrible play you won’t want to miss

Self-production isn’t, he admits, the usual course for newbie actors, but he and co-writers Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields were members of a sketch troupe called Mischief Theatre, and Lewis had worked, as a teenager, with Michael Green, the author of the hilarious Art of Coarse Acting. An amateur. There are now four different productions happening simultaneously including ones in the West End and Broadway. There’s a big grandfather clock on stage. The first one-act version of the play was performed, Lewis tells me, on front of 12 people. “I watched the other production and just didn’t know how they did that without hurting her,” she says. It’s called The Murder at Haversham Manor and it is terrible. Invariably, his tights will fall down. We build it up really slowly and the safety routines are really, really precise.” Preparing for their roles also involved being inoculated against embarrassment. “Every audience is different,” says Kirton. “I was playing a dead body on a trolley behind some doors and there was silence on stage and I did the natural thing – I sat up and looked around.” “I was also doing a production of Frankenstein,” says Mortell. The audience thought it was hilarious but I was like ‘Noooo!’ He’s now my husband,” she adds. Lewis was, in the early days, a newly-graduated actor from Lamda (the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts) hoping “to prove we could put on a show and have it work”. It looks like violence and destruction but it’s just the illusion of violence and destruction. They keep accidentally breaking the fourth wall or blanking their lines or forgetting that their characters are meant to be dead. She was lying on the floor and I thought it had fallen on top of her.” “I survived,” says Mortell, lest I’m in doubt. Is biological knowledge useful for acting? Afterwards, I attempt to confront two of the actors, Sandra Wilkinson and Max Bennett, only to find they are actually named Meg Mortell and Alastair Kirton. “There have been few people who have walked out saying, ‘This is just atrocious, I can’t stay and watch this car crash!’” says Mortell. It’s actually named The Play That Goes Wrong and it has its origins, Mortell tells me, as an independent production staged above the Old Red Lion pub in Islington seven years ago. For actors, being in a play that’s deliberately …

Once upon a pair of wheels: Edgar Wright on Baby Driver

Onwards and upwards. Scott Pilgrim. Ansel Elgort, Jamie Foxx, Eiza Gonzalez and Jon Hamm in a scene from ‘Baby Driver’ “I met a few ex-cons in Los Angeles. That scene when you see all the cop cars fan out? And that’s fair. It’s amazing. But only the top 10 per cent of the clever clogs community could – we’re guessing – describe exactly where you were sitting during a 30-minute interview from four years ago. I wanted it to feel authentic.” How does an English director go about meeting bank robbers? “I had been listening to the John Spencer Blues Explosion album Orange. The idea of requiring a perfect getaway track was finessed after Wright encountered a real life bank robber. There’s nobody in the world who doesn’t connect with music in some way.” “Funnily enough, I never had a Walkman as a kid,” says Wright. Baby Driver repeatedly puts a pedal to the metal in order to pay off a debt to criminal kingpin Doc (Kevin Spacey), a job that brings him into contact with such undesirable fellows as the increasingly unhinged Buddy (Jon Hamm) and the entirely psychotic Bats (Jamie Foxx). Jon Hamm made the point that you don’t really have to act when you’re travelling down the freeway at 100mph. And over the years, I started to wonder what that car chase was about. There’s no easy shot in a car chase film. Since then, Wright has written The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn for Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, has racked up production credits on Son of Rambow, Attack the Block and Sightseers, and featured in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Land of the Dead and Sing. “We’ve met before. There’s nobody in the world who doesn’t connect with music in some way. Marvel ever had”. And one of the robbers said: ‘This is a bad omen. But it did rather leave fans pining for Wright’s original script (co-written with Attack the Block’s Joe Cornish), a script Joss Whedon described as “the best… For World’s End. So that wound up in the movie.” Because I’m a middle class English kid from Somerset making an American crime film. And I think he’s right.” – Baby Driver opens on June 28th Indeed, the writer-director behind the Cornetto Trilogy – Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End – has lost little of …