James Vincent McMorrow leaves crowd elated at Trinity gig

The Trinity cricket ground works nicely as a venue, both sonically and logistically, and with the weather playing its part, the trees close in as darkness falls and it’s very easy to imagine you’re in a field at a festival, rather than in the centre of the capital. “I only have an hour and a half so I don’t want to bore you with my shiteing on. When the band rejoined McMorrow on stage they were ready to flex their rock muscles, and the gathering momentum of the gig was driven forward by an astonishing hat-trick of songs – the slow build juggernaut of We Don’t Eat, the synthtacular One Thousand Times and the throbbing bass of Rising Water. It felt a little like that when James Vincent McMorrow kicked off the Trinity summer series of gigs on Friday evening. He thanked everybody for turning up, from his parents to the people drinking cans outside the fences, and then treated the crowd to some awkward moves from the Thom Yorke school of dance. If I Had a Boat provided a suitable encore, leaving both the performer and the crowd to float off into the Dublin night, elated and sated. There’s surely a perfect intersection between the point where the crowd thinks an artist is flying, and the musician is only just starting to notice that their feet have left the ground. James Vincent McMorrow Four stars Trinity College, Dublin You can probably mathematically graph a quality gig. I’ll just play as many songs as possible.” Even the set list betrayed some insecurities, with only one song – National – from True Care as he “didn’t want to be ridiculous” and play loads of tunes off the new album. Just as well McMorrow seemed to enjoy playing to his biggest ever Irish crowd – on the evidence of this he might have to get used to it. But the reaction to that song and its witty lyrics (“We’d spend our nights listening to The National … You said your favourite song / Was the one about death / I said every single one’s like that.”) as part of a mid-set acoustic break seemed to give him a chance to take in his surroundings and breathe. Musically there were no early signs of nerves – the R&B groove of Get Low and Nashville twang of Breaking Hearts were delivered with a pristine …

‘True Blood’ actor Nelsan Ellis dies aged 39

Bauer wrote on Instagram: “One of the sweetest most talented men I’ve ever met. Among those paying tribute to Ellis were his True Blood co-stars Aisha Hinds, Michael McMillian, Lauren Bowles and Kristin Bauer. You will be missed. Rest In Peace Nelsan. True Blood star Nelsan Ellis has died aged 39, his manager has confirmed. I don’t know how else to put words to this terribly sad news…” McMillan said he was “stunned, devastated by the terrible news” in a post on Twitter. She had earlier told US website the Hollywood Reporter: “Nelsan has passed away after complications with heart failure. “He was a great talent, and his words and presence will be forever missed.” Ellis appeared in True Blood throughout its seven-series run after first appearing as the cook at Merlotte’s Grill in 2008. A terrible loss for all of us. He added Ellis was a “genius and a beautiful soul”. He also had roles in The Help in 2011 and most recently appeared in CBS show Elementary. The actor, best known for portraying Lafayette Reynolds in the popular HBO series, passed away after complications with heart failure. PA His manager Emily Gerson Saines confirmed the news to the Press Association.

Doctor Who should be a woman. Well, an alien in female human form

Remember when Phoebe Waller-Bridge was the next Doctor Who? Olivia Colman would be better. Because that’s a problem. Almost as important is the fact that it will greatly annoy the hard core of MRM Whovians. Some dialogue in recent episodes pointed in that direction. Newspaper articles argue that “straight white males” are now the real victims. The film arrived last week and there has been scarcely a peep from the supposedly outraged. The “Men’s Rights Movement” rewrites sociology to make women the oppressors. The mythology allows it and the time has come. Pls save the betting people their money! Waller-Bridge would have been excellent. Those eager for a more serious Doctor Who moaned about yet more comic actors taking control of the police box. What are they all so frightened of? There really is, nonetheless, a mass of aggrieved men who regard any such move as evidence that the Monstrous Regiment is committed to hacking off all dangling genitalia and installing H Rider Haggard’s She Who Must Be Obeyed as world ruler. If the people at Newsnight really had been let into the secret, then they almost certainly wouldn’t have run the segment. Following her triumph on the BBC comedy series Fleabag, Ms Waller-Bridge – who has a singular gift for comic perplexity – became the hottest of hot properties. Photograph: Jesse Grant/Getty Images for AMC The imagined outraged Let me stress a continuing issue with the digital world. Social media users are prone to taking offence at things they haven’t actually heard or read. And, of course, there were complaints about a fictional alien who travels through time and lives eternally becoming something more like a human woman than a human man. By the time DryWhite sent its tweet, the contemporary world was already a bit sick of the story. Olivia Colman: the next Doctor Who? When Peter Capaldi announced he was leaving the Tardis, talk began about a possible female replacement. Let’s go further. We’d wondered whether it was right that another privately educated actor – St Augustine’s, Ealing and Rada – should be grabbing such a plum job. It would be worth it just to hear the meninazis squeal. By the following morning the Guardian was asking: “Is Phoebe Waller-Bridge really the new face of Doctor Who?” Somebody once said that if a headline asks whether something is so then that thing almost certainly isn’t so. Miriam …

John McEnroe: ‘I saw myself as part of punk’

You’re serving at 4-3 and 40-30. I’ve got it up on the wall of my office.’ So now anybody who goes through Trump’s office thinks I’m a supporter.” French Open final For many tennis fans McEnroe is synonymous with his five-set Wimbledon final against Björn Borg in 1980, which included a 34-point fourth-set tiebreak. “Hold on, is that an all-time record? Oddly, he seems embarrassed when you bring it up. “Even now, more than 30 years later, I’m as hot as I was in the fifth set, and I can taste the red clay on my tongue. Lendl can only push it back over the net. Serena Williams is without question the best women’s player of all time. Am I playing later? It was a match I should have won and it turned into the worst loss of my career.” He was two sets up against Lendl in that final but slumped to a five-set defeat. He does valuable work for the tournament each year by saying something “controversial” just before play starts, to get the presses rolling. “I wake up in a sweat. And how can you have inner peace when this is how you dream: you’re coiling up to serve on Court Philippe Chatrier in the 1984 French Open final. “I really didn’t realise it would create all this fuss. McEnroe says his upbringing in Queens wasn’t as Irish-American as people think “I began this book with what the effect of losing that match against Ivan still has on me, because the book is my attempt to deal with all the what-ifs? Next thing I know he’s won the next two sets and I’m facing match point in the fourth.” McEnroe says Serena would be ranked 700th in men’s tennis John McEnroe will not apologise over Serena Williams remarks The angry young man who shook up the old lady of tennis The hurt of that loss was assuaged by his taking the Wimbledon title the following year and again in 1983 and 1984. Did I miss the match?” “But this has been going on for a long time in tennis. But I’m not sure if two nutcases should work together.” Talk about his backhand volley sets him off on a rant: “It’s ridiculous how even on the grass the top players don’t serve and volley any more,” he says. I already lost it. “I peaked in my career at …

The Saturday Poem: Top of the Pops

We were either sitting by the rivers of Babylon or we were walking on the moon when Sister Pius adjusted the rabbit ears, and the countdown continued from ten to one. Video may well have killed the radio star, but love was still in the air, for so sang John Paul Young. We didn’t know then what might be read into our favourite exponent of the wobble board tying his kangaroo down, or what the glitter man might really have meant when he asked “D’you wanna be in my gang?” As far as those Sisters of Mercy were concerned, I was one of their own, even if my father’s whereabouts were unknown Sunday mornings, even if I would pass up the chance to carry in the myrrh and frankincense. Taking a few pointers from The Pointer Sisters or a guy down the chip shop, we watched as the second would-be Welsh Elvis went weak at the knees.   There was either a message in a bottle or a brown girl in the ring when I squeezed my way between Sister Áine and Sister Catherine in the convent TV room. Ciaran Berry grew up in Connemara and Donegal and currently lives in Hartford, Connecticut. His most recent collection is The Dead Zoo (The Gallery Press, 2013) “I’ll Be Satisfied” was up to number nineteen the same week “I Don’t Wanna Dance” leapt from thirty to eleven.

PJ Gallagher’s relentless quest to make a joke of everything

It’s an uneven first edition, with the opening monologue proving the most striking element. When a listener (incorrectly) guesses that the person featured in a mystery voice quiz is actor Cillian Murphy, the presenter goes off on an unnecessary tangent about the films that launched his career. Marian Keyes: Ruth Fitzmaurice’s portrait of true love How to Stop Time review: This novel is too short. In its own way, their frenetic two-handed format is as anachronistic as O’Callaghan’s DJ stylings, the zany zoo radio formula being two decades old even in Ireland. There’s Gary Cunningham, an ex-con who has transformed himself since being released; Michael Downey, a stand-up whose promising career was shattered after a car crash; and Simone George, a high-achieving lawyer who has devoted herself to her partner, a blind rower left paraplegic after a catastrophic fall. That corner is Gareth O’Callaghan in the Afternoon (4FM, weekdays), a show where the presenter’s spiel is as smooth, slick and dated as the oldies he plays. But even this vague pitch has clarity of purpose compared to what goes out on air. Put him in front of a microphone, however, and he’s a throwback to the days when DJs were men (and they were always men) who spouted factoids in accents that rendered the word “little” as the name of a German budget supermarket chain.  Hence, when O’Callaghan isn’t filling airtime by recounting stories he’s seen on the internet or previewing television highlights, he’s showing off his impressive arsenal of trivia. O’Callaghan also displays the verbal tic, de rigueur in any self-respecting jock, of misplacing the stress in words for effect, so that “sufferer” is pronounced “suffer-RER”. “It’s for your own good,” he says, “there’s no other agenda than that. A comedian who made his name with his improvised antics on the TV show Naked Camera, Gallagher brings the same spirit to the morning show, with suitably chaotic results. This and that with Baz A confused atmosphere runs through Baz Ashmawy’s new Wednesday-night show, part of RTÉ Radio 1’s revamped summer schedule. It’s not that O’Callaghan is some dinosaur out of step with touchy-feely modern life. Occasionally one gets the feeling that Gallagher is using the programme to try out comic material, with McCabe acting as the straight man. Far from it: outside his radio career, he is a qualified psychotherapist who has spoken candidly about his depression and has …

Want to know the secret to writing a great crime novel?

Because there is no secret. is the name of Karen Perry’s forthcoming novel. True, to an extent, but let me offer this: consider instead what he said a beautiful truth. Their fourth novel, Can You Keep a Secret?, is published by Penguin on August 26th That is discipline. How not? And that takes practice, trial and error, being able to take it on the chin when a good editor, or reader, or fellow writer, says no, try again. Let it do that. At the start of each writing day, that is how it feels, in any case. These are the kinds of things I said. Whatever about the machinations of all this, you have to be able to write a sentence before anything else. The heroine – or anti-heroine; you decide – is a forensic photographer. What is the formula? Some of it was good, most if it was not. It doesn’t matter whether the novel is a thriller, a mystery or a literary novel. I was prompted to elaborate. (That’s a compliment) The best of young adult fiction The First Day review: an East Belfast story caught in a time warp Then you can add the setting, the relationships your lead character has with others, the backstory and their character traits. Karen Perry is the pen name of Paul Perry and Karen Gillece. And lastly think about this: Cormac McCarthy once said that the ugly truth about writing novels is that they are made out of other novels. I reverted to my own chorus: there is no formula, no secret. There’s no soundbite. And then some more I state this clearly and place it to the fore because it’s the truth, and also because when I recently said the very same thing, and repeated it as clearly as I could, I was misheard, more than once. That is a contemplative disregard of and for distraction. Try harder. Fluid, haphazard, with drafts, and drafts of wrong starts and cul-de-sacs along the way. The character wants something that he or she can’t have. So let me tell you about this latest novel. You constantly ask the character, and the situation you land them in: why not? Still she wanted to know. I wrote reams of stuff that never made the final cut. She has a career; it’s a start. It is applicable to the content and action of the narrative of …

John Hume restored to his rightful place in Irish history

Here are five more promising films to watch out for. How to Stop Time review: This novel is too short. Bono, who famously brought Trimble and Adams on stage before the 1998 agreement, talks about how Hume “took down the emotional temperature”. What really got me interested in this line is that it’s virgin soil.” Absent Hume Now too unwell to participate, the contemporary incarnation of John Hume is conspicuous by his absence. The history of the past 50 or 60 years shows us there was, between the DUP and Sinn Féin, a measure of being objective allies. “I find that extremely offensive. Pilgrimage There are lashings of mud and violence in Brendan Muldowney’s gripping study of a Herzogian journey across medieval Ireland. “He understood where the endgame should be in Northern Ireland. “If you are a documentary film-maker, the first thing you do is pick up the books on the subject – the definitive text – but they just weren’t there,” Fitzpatrick says. “Seamus Mallon is a brilliant man. But we see much archive footage of a determined man refusing to flinch in his commitment to justice and his determination to reject violence. He was raised in the city by the Foyle and initially studied for the priesthood before deciding to become a teacher. After making his qualifications, Seamus Mallon argues that his old colleague should be regarded alongside “Parnell and Daniel O’Connell”. He made a film about Brian Friel’s Translations and, in 2009, directed a study of several illustrious alumni of St Columb’s College in that city. Tom Vaughan-Lawlor stars. He spent time in Norway and he has taught in Japan and Germany. Limbo Gerard Barrett wowed earlier fleadhs with Pilgrim Hill and Glassland. As the bit after the colon confirms, the film has much to do with Hume’s negotiations in the United States. Photograph: Watford/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Fitzpatrick developed a particular interest in Derry. Fitzpatrick says: “Hume had his own vision long before he became a practising politician. The fact that he was deputy leader and wasn’t always taken into confidence – particularly on America – rankled with Seamus.” It is interesting that, with so many interweaving narratives to consider, Fitzpatrick chose to examine Hume’s experiences in the US. By that point, Hume had been a key force in Derry’s politics for more than two decades. A year later, he joined Paddy Devlin, Gerry Fitt and Seamus …

The best of young adult fiction

I don’t know where a girl who doesn’t belong anywhere should go.” Benjamin Ludwig’s debut novel introduces us to Ginny Moon (HQ, £12.99), an endearing if at times frustrating narrator who recalls both Katherine Paterson’s Gilly Hopkins and Mark Haddon’s Christopher Boone. ‘Trouble Makers’ by Catherine Barter The difficulties and joys of family life are also explored in Catherine Barter’s Trouble Makers (Andersen, £7.99), in which 15-year-old Alena lives with – and adores – her older brother and his boyfriend. Her political awakening goes hand-in-hand with uncovering more about her dead mother’s life, and thankfully avoids dictating to the reader what or how they should believe or act. Ginny is 14 and on her fourth “forever home” (each time she’s placed with a new set of foster parents she is promised it will be for good), but she yearns desperately for her mother and needs to make sure her “baby doll” is still alive. ‘Phantom Limbs’ by Paula Garner Paula Garner’s Phantom Limbs (Walker, £7.99) presents another “good” character, though Otis is immediately established as concerned with matters physical as well as spiritual, lusting after both girls and sugary doughnuts in the opening chapter. The cancer that has just returned, prompting her life-long faith in God to splinter, even though as a “preacher’s kid” she has always found solace in prayer. This is one for older teenagers as well as adults, who may empathise with Ginny while also sympathising with her “forever parents” and the strain that her secret-keeping places on them. ‘The Names They Gave Us’ by Emery Lord Lucy of Emery Lord’s The Names They Gave Us (Bloomsbury, £7.99) has a more traditional romance narrative, with Lucy meeting a mysterious, cute, talented boy at summer camp and learning what it means to be really attracted to someone. Her genuine desire to help others and be “good” separates her from the many teen rebels in fiction today. He is the sort of guy who’s always there for his friends, including his moody swim coach, Dara, whose literal phantom limb pains inspire the metaphor for how Otis views loss. Claire Hennessy’s latest YA novel is Like Other Girls (Hot Key Books). Like Ginny, Alena worries about whether she’s really wanted there, particularly after her brother’s new job – working for an opportunistic London mayoral candidate – creates tension at home. At one point, Anna laments that the only books in …

Remembering the real ‘inventors of jazz’

The first ever jazz record was released on March 5th, 1917 They returned to New York in July 1920 and continued playing and recording until they split up in 1925. They became the victims of an inverse racism, and were accused of pirating and vulgarising black music, despite the praise they received from the likes of WC Handy and Louis Armstrong. Warring temperaments among the musicians, however, meant that the band broke up once more in 1937. This was Victor Catalogue Number 18255 released by the Victor Talking Machine Company of New York on March 5th, 1917. I challenged him to find the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. The least easily heard of these instruments was the piano of Henry Ragas, but the plaintive melodic line of his playing can be clearly heard in the piano breaks of his composition Bluin’ the Blues. They were silent for more than a decade but reformed in 1936. In one minute he had done so and I learnt that the band had been reformed in New Orleans under the leadership of Nick LaRocca’s son, Jimmy LaRocca. This was their final appearance apart from a recreation in 1943 with only two of the original line up surviving: Eddie Edwards and Tony Sbarbaro. The Original Dixieland Jazz Band (ODJB) consisted of five white musicians from New Orleans: Nick LaRocca on cornet; Eddie Edwards on trombone; Larry Shields on clarinet; Henry Ragas on piano and Tony Sbarbaro on drums. Despite their worldwide acclaim from 1917 until 1925 they have largely been ignored or derided in jazz history. The band was a sensation in London, opening and becoming the resident band at the New Hammersmith Palais de Danse and appearing at Rector’s Club and the Palladium. Black music and rhythm were of course fundamental to the creation of jazz but it was also a hybrid of marching band and Irish music as well as opera. As Nick LaRocca put it “I played the melody, Edwards the harmony and Larry Shields put on the lace”. Tragically, pianist Henry Ragas died from flu during the worldwide epidemic before the band made it to the UK. So it is my proud boast that I danced to Tiger Rag played by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band at midnight on my 60th birthday. One evening about 15 years ago I challenged a friend John Aboud about the internet. What they embodied was a …

Anakana Schofield short story: Strawberry Plants and Cabbages

The problem with walking was the gangs of lads who’d call out the obvious to you – look at her walking, always walking, or weirdo or freak or just stupid stuff that was easy to ignore. The Indians never threw anything away, she said, and they hid people in the attics. But she’d seen him. They were lined up on her flowery sofa. What do you think the back lane’s for?” She slammed the front door so hard that the knocker hopped, and she reappeared triumphantly in the doorway of the living room. “Mum!” she shouted up the stairs while still staring straight ahead at the man. “We’ll be here ’til the landlord chucks us out.” “If,” Mum said, “I owned this house, I’d never put a sign up. It was that day she began talking to the old woman on the corner, who sat on a fold-up chair with her front door open and watched and heckled the world as it went by. You’ve to stop this spying. Sarah nodded when she said, “See, my daughter, she’s happy here with me. Their only view of the world was via the front-room window, on which the curtains were firmly shut at all times, because her mother said she “didn’t want people looking in at them, taking account of what they had, and entering it into their ledgers. “Do you think we want to look at you washing your car? She worried about the Catholic. DO NOT TAKE THEM OUT. “Disrespectful!” she shouted at him. Younger than Sarah she was, no more than 10 years old, tiny wrists and hair pulled back into a lengthening ponytail that went… Her mother had entered the room and ripped the curtains closed, turning on her. They haven’t even got water there. Only the thin-wristed girl took an interest, but even she shortly offed back down the garden. A sense of dereliction prevailed as if it were an abandoned car park waiting for some wanton act of destruction. It didn’t matter which church, she said. Put it on the tab.” The girl came right to the fence, her eyes searching for voices. “It’s not my fault,” Sarah sent back. “They haven’t got red biros in India. Three, two more, now a boy, all moving in and out of the back door, squatting towards the ground, turning the dough or mix, whatever it was, over and …

The Times We Lived In: Insurance hikes exhausts the patience of MAD bikers

Our photographer has sallied into the midst of the action, which not only gives a sense of the scale of the protest – bikes fill O’Connell Street as far as the eye can see, and heaven knows how many have already passed the lens – but gets the viewer close enough in to understand that all human, or at least Irish, biking life is here. Last week’s photo showed Nuala O’Faolain and her nieces all biked up and about to cycle from Dublin to Lahinch. But there you go. Which is MAD. In front of that again, is a chap who has pushed up not only his visor but his helmet as well – a move which clearly hasn’t impressed the passenger to his right. A book, The Times We Lived In, with more than 100 photographs and commentary by Arminta Wallace, published by Irish Times Books, is available from irishtimes.com and from bookshops, priced at €19.99. And look: towards the right, several rows back, a sunglasses-sporting dude straight out of Easy Rider. To me, however, the whole biking life is a bit of a mystery. I know that a long list of seriously cool people, of whom Michael Fassbender is one of the coolest, are motorcycle enthusiasts. The only time I ever rode one – as a passenger, clinging on for dear life – I fell off and scraped my knee. On the far left of the image is a lad who is itching to be on the racetrack. Maybe that’s why I like this photograph so much. Motorised bicycles, I have to confess, mostly come to my attention when I’m annoyed with them. But let’s be inspired to think kindly of motorbikes. The insurance situation for motorcyclists hasn’t improved in the years since this picture was taken – if anything, it has probably worsened. Arminta Wallace These and other Irish Times images can be purchased from: irishtimes.com/photosales. It was taken, the caption explains, on the occasion of “a demonstration organised by the group Motorcyclists Against Discrimination to draw attention to the high cost of their insurance”. In the middle of the second row the sun glints on a lowered visor, rendering the helmeted, zipped-up figure as anonymous as a robot. At least for today. This week’s shot features bikes of a very different kind.

In a Word . . . Whataboutism

Of course. No obvious mother. He changed the subject to US interference abroad: “Put your finger anywhere on a map of the world, and everywhere you will hear complaints that American officials are interfering in internal election processes,” Putin said. Currently residing in US. Reared in Northern Ireland. The roots of whataboutism go back to the Troubles in Northern Ireland, he said. Commentators on the Troubles embraced the term “whataboutery” and frequently mentioned it in the ensuing years of strife, remarked Mr Zimmer. inaword@irishtimes.com Putin, he said, employed the tried-and-true tactic of “whataboutism” when asked about Russia meddling in American elections. Father, Sean O’Conaill. On January 30th, 1974, The Irish Times published a letter by Sean O’Conaill, a history teacher in Coleraine, Co Derry. Midwife, John Healy. He wrote of “the Whatabouts” – “people who answer every condemnation of the Provisional IRA with an argument to prove the greater immorality of the ‘enemy’.” Three days after that, in this same newspaper, John Healy picked up the theme in his Backbencher column, citing Mr O’Conaill’s letter. Now an adult of 43 in the great wheel of the world it, and its history, was discussed in the columns of the Wall Street Journal last month. It is not often that one (me!) experiences here such simple joy as detailing the history of a word begotten in this newspaper. “We have a bellyful of Whataboutery in these killing days, and the one clear fact to emerge is that people, Orange and Green, are dying as a result of it,” he wrote. Columnist Ben Zimmer used it when discussing an interview by the NBC’s Megyn Kelly with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He delved deeper. He contacted Sean O’Conaill last month who expressed some surprise that his “whatabout” had spread so far and wide since his 1974 letter to the editor. “Whataboutism” has arrived. Whataboutism. But, as to the carry-on of Messrs (indeed!) Putin and Trump, Sean O’Conaill added, “I claim no responsibility whatever for their shenanigans.” Well done Sean, now retired but still a regular contributor to this newspaper, including to its letters page. With admirable erudition Ben Zimmer explained “whataboutism is another name for the logical fallacy of tu quoque (Latin for `you also’), in which an accusation is met with a counter-accusation, pivoting away from the original criticism.” Familiar? No less.

Apocalypse forever: how Kurtz became Hollywood’s greatest villain

No better character exists to personify the otherness at the heart of dark foreign spaces. Strong odours of Apocalypse Now stream all the way through the shamelessly gung-ho follow-up to the most recent incarnation of Godzilla. The Vietnam saga’s rise to cultural ubiquity is scarcely less remarkable than the ascension of its distant source. Orson Welles attempted an adaptation in the 1940s. Coppola derived much of that look and sound from Werner Herzog’s Aguirre:Kur Wrath of God. None engages with the existential desperation that propels Kurtz towards derangement. Woody Harrelson in War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) In War for the Planet of the Apes, we are in no doubt that Colonel McCullough – given sombre presence by Woody Harrelson – is the descendent of Conrad’s demented ivory trader. As I noted at the time, Skull Island and Apocalypse Now should just get a room together. In Disney’s recent, excellent retooling of The Jungle Book, King Louie has become a colossal, even more slurred version of Colonel Kurtz. What is going on here? It was not, however, until the 1960s that the text became a controversial core text of post-colonial studies. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the previous film in what looks like a trilogy, had already travelled down this gloomy, malaria-ridden river. None of these three films makes any serious effort to address post-colonial issues. Wasn’t there too much of The Doors about the place? “Mistah Kurtz – he dead.” No, he isn’t. Voiced sinuously by Christopher Walken, he occupies almost every cubic centimetre of a vast, abandoned temple. And it’s all to do with apes. Not every film enthusiast will know of Lord Jim. Those enthusiasts know who Kurtz is. Coppola’s ultimate influence is upon the visual and the sonic. “Exterminate all the brutes”: Marlon Brando as Colonel Walter Kurtz in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979). Wagneresque: Kong: Skull Island Tom Hiddleston’s character is named for the author of Heart of Darkness. Conrad’s reputation was assured, but even he did not rate Heart of Darkness that highly. Something awful is lurking on a tropical island in the later years of the Vietnam War. They climb into helicopters and fly fearlessly towards what proves to be yet another giant ape. Next week, we get the third film in the superb reboot of Planet of the Apes. Nothing much is new in this art. The …

Dublin bookshop nominates ‘Nipples on my Knee’ as oddest book title of year

Many authors and aspiring writers dream one day to be named winner of the Booker prize or the Costa award and to be celebrated for their work. This year’s shortlist includes An Ape’s View of Human Evolution, the Commuter Pig-Keeper, Nipples on my Knee, Love Your Lady Landscape and Renniks Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Coin Errors: The Premier Guide for Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Coin Errors. NB No pressure, but one of these IS MY NOMINATION!!! Nipples on my Knee was nominated by The Gutter Bookshop in Dublin. The bookshop was unavailable for comment, however it tweeted the news saying: “Vote for your #DiagramPrize ‘Oddest Book Title of the Year’! However, there is one literary prize that should be valued above all other: the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book title. Though the award brings no money, the winning authors can cling to the celebrated notoriety of joining previous winners such as The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories (the 2003 winner) or Too Naked for the Nazis (last year’s winner). The inaugural winner was Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice. Winners will be announced on July 28th. According to trade magazine Bookseller, which presents the awards, the Nipples on my Knee authors, Graham and Debra Robertson, invite readers to “sit back in front of the fireplace on a cold, snowy evening, perhaps with a glass of sherry, while we relate to you our experiences from 25 years in the sheep business”. The award was first presented in 1978 by Trevor Bounford and Bruce Robertson, co-founders of publishing solutions firm The Diagram Group. Tom Tivnan, the prize co-ordinator said of the nominees “this is a standout year – time and again Diagram voters have shown that they have two favourite areas: animal husbandry and naughtiness.” While he praised all the nominated titles, he explained “Nipples on my Knee has got to be an early bookies’ favourite, as it combines both animal husbandry and Carry On-esque ribaldry. The public can vote for their favourite by tweeting hashtags based on the book titles, #teamnipples to @thebookseller and voting closes on July 21st. Full details of the nominees can be found at thebookseller.com/diagramprize2017 But, in the 39th year of this award, I can say that odd is, and remains, the new black.” While neither the author or publisher of the winning book receive a monetary prize, whoever nominates the book will …

Arts Council announces overhaul of funding system

Apocalypse forever: how Kurtz became Hollywood’s greatest villian Future Islands at the Iveagh Gardens: unbridled passion, unbelievable dancing The best classical music concerts in Ireland this week McBride gave the example of a theatre company. “There are no plans to reduce Aosdána’s funding. Orlaith McBride, director of the Arts Council, outlined the changes on Friday. A new scoring system will be introduced, and organisations will receive those scores. The Arts Council has previously introduced similar schemes, but those were shelved when the council’s funding was slashed in the wake of the economic downturn. This is no longer the case. The council is to vastly simplify its funding application procedure. She said it is the largest project she has worked on in her tenure. The Arts Council has announced a major reform of its funding framework. “This can change the arts in Ireland if the Government backs it.” The Arts Council appears confident that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will significantly increase funding to the Department of Arts. It was about working out the structure and how we work into the future.” “We want to have a real conversation about what they do and why they do it, their plans for the future, and [we want to] have those conversation in a more transparent and open way that doesn’t have the spectre of [funding] hanging over it.” McBride says the new system is “clearer and more transparent in terms of decision-making, so that people understand the decisions we make and why we make them.” Organisations can now apply for funding on a one- or three-year basis. “This can be transformative if the Government buys into it,” she said. During his leadership campaign, the Taoiseach promised to double funding for the arts and sport. Crucially, this meeting will not be linked to funding decisions. Previously, organisations and individuals would have to apply separately across a range of categories for different categories. This will be introduced as a limited pilot scheme to test its efficacy. Of these, 145 receive a €17,180 annual stipend. Previously this was limited to a number of major arts organisations. Applications will be done through a new online system. Each organisation will also have a meeting in the spring with the council, to try and help them identify developmental goals. The Arts Council says it wants to strike a better balance between the “tried, tested and established on the one hand, …

Sofia Coppola: ‘Colin Farrell is the thinking woman’s hunk’

Her soft voice would not startle a cranky baby. Dark interiors. But once [Ross] said ‘I really think you should remake this’, that seed was in my mind. “And I wasn’t keen on the idea of remaking someone else’s film. He had told her to be louder so the cast and crew knew she was in charge. The film, based on a 1966 novel by Thomas P Cullinan, tells the story of an injured Union fighter who seduces several of the women at Farnsworth Seminary, a southern school for girls, using, as Coppola notes, “a very ’70s sensibility. The codes that men don’t always see Coppola’s film retains the sexual rivalries but delivers them without the screeching hysteria. When she arrived on the set of The Virgin Suicides (1999), her directorial debut, she soon found she had to unlearn a piece of advice from her film-maker father, Francis Ford Coppola. The protagonist, meanwhile, is “Clint Eastwood, the man, the symbol, the sexual enemy.” Inevitably, Coppola has met Clint Eastwood – they sat together when they were both nominated as Best Director at the 2004 Academy Awards. And when I watched it, I thought: now, I see what she’s talking about. But I’ve had to learn to apply that in my own way. And crazy women characters.” “I didn’t know the film,” she says. “I guess this means we’ve been in America too long,” she smiles. The picture was The Beguiled (1971), Don Siegel’s pulpy Civil War-era melodrama, starring Clint Eastwood, and quite possibly the last picture one might think of as being a suitable candidate for Coppola’s floaty, female style. “Remake,” she notes, “was a dirty word” when she was growing up. “I remember my dad saying that no one does a remake unless they are trying to make money.” Thus, Sofia Coppola’s sixth feature started as an in-joke between the director and her production designer, Anne Ross. Cannes review: The Beguiled – straining at the seams with suppressed sexual passion Every scene simmers with unspoken longing: Kirsten Dunst’s lonely schoolmarm pines visibly, Elle Fanning’s naughty teenager is rather more forward, and even Nicole Kidman’s buttoned-up headmistress seems to thaw. It’s how she does things. Much shade – enough to power an entire series of Ru Paul’s Drag Race – is thrown. Her outsized dress is insanely fashionable, but low-key. A lot of zooms. Those glances that say so much. …

Apocalypse forever: how Kurtz became Hollywood’s greatest villian

The Vietnam saga’s rise to cultural ubiquity is scarcely less remarkable than the ascension of its distant source. He’s never been more alive. They also turn up as the epigram to TS Eliot’s The Hollow Men. It was not, however, until the 1960s that the text became a controversial core text of post-colonial studies. There’s a perfectly decent 1965 adaptation of that Conrad book starring Peter O’Toole, but the character has not quite entered the Cineverse’s Great Hall of Heroes. They meet a lost American airman (John C Reilly) who, like the hero of that novel, sweats under the name Marlow. Though it won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in unfinished form in 1979, the Coppola film – hammered together after a famously troubled production – opened to decidedly mixed reviews. Woody Harrelson in War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) In War for the Planet of the Apes, we are in no doubt that Colonel McCullough – given sombre presence by Woody Harrelson – is the descendent of Conrad’s demented ivory trader. No better character exists to personify the otherness at the heart of dark foreign spaces. “Exterminate all the brutes”: Marlon Brando as Colonel Walter Kurtz in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979). Wagneresque: Kong: Skull Island Tom Hiddleston’s character is named for the author of Heart of Darkness. Next week, we get the third film in the superb reboot of Planet of the Apes. Nothing much is new in this art. Strong odours of Apocalypse Now stream all the way through the shamelessly gung-ho follow-up to the most recent incarnation of Godzilla. What is going on here? Woody Harrelson in War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) Rudyard Kipling, author of The Jungle Book, would, no doubt, be deeply confused by the insertion of a character derived from an American film based on a novella by a Polish sailor who became a distinguished Englishman. Coppola derived much of that look and sound from Werner Herzog’s Aguirre:Kur Wrath of God. The associations borrow a demonic weight from their influence – without that link, the new King Louie is scarcely more scary than the 1967 version – but the ape movies are more interested in the ghastly khaki cool of that strange, strange film. The outsider’s eye is so often the keenest. In Disney’s recent, excellent retooling of The Jungle Book, King Louie has become a colossal, …

Best jazz gigs to see this week

TUESDAY 11 ORGAN DAMAGE Tommy Halferty’s Lifetime Crane Lane, Cork (Tuesday); National Yacht Club, Dún Laoghaire (Wednesday); Billy Byrnes, Kilkenny (Thursday); Bennigans, Derry (Sunday 16th); Basement Bar, Belfast (Friday 21st) Tommy Halferty The trio format of Hammond organ, guitar and drums is a line-up that punches far above its weight, thanks to the decibel heft of all three instruments. The musicians in this brand new experimental trio – Japanese Berliner Keisuke Matsuno on guitar, Irish New Yorker Simon Jermyn on bass and Dubliner Matthew Jacobson on drums – have all played together in other settings, but this short Irish tour (they started last night in Kilkenny) is the first time they will perform in public as a unit. Corea, a bravura technician with cut-glass precision, has been a major figure in jazz since the release of his groundbreaking trio album, Now He Sings, Now He Sobs, in 1968. Now a major, Grammy-nominated recording star with two best-selling albums under his belt, the diminutive pianist arrives in Dublin with his trio, featuring Willie Jones III on drums and Alex Claffy on bass. Surrender your preconceptions at the door and you’ll be grand. FRIDAY 07 TERRA INCOGNITA Fireplace Dragon Courthouse, Ennistymon, Co Clare (Friday); Black Gate, Galway (Saturday); Arthurs, Dublin (Sunday afternoon); tickets at eventbrite.ie I haven’t heard Fireplace Dragon yet, but there’s a good reason for that: no one has. Matsuno, who is now based in New York, is a Frisell disciple, and with Jermyn, a member of ace New York drummer Jim Black’s quartet. It was the great Jimmy Smith who originally set the tone for such trios, but the format received a major kick in the arse when ex-Miles Davis drummer Tony Williams formed his Lifetime trio with guitarist John McLaughlin and organist Larry Young at the end of the 1960s. Fleck gave the world of bluegrass and Americana a thorough shake-up with the emergence of his genre-busting Flecktones, and particularly their 1991 hit album Flight of the Cosmic Hippo. Venerable Derry guitarist Tommy Halferty, celebrating his 70th year, will be in his element revisiting the music of his louder, callower youth, with rising Belfast organist Scott Flanigan and front-rank Dublin drummer Kevin Brady. Born and raised in Bali, Indonesia, a nine-year-old Alexander played for Herbie Hancock while on a visit to the island, and the elder man immediately recognised a fellow pianist. Together, these two big stars search …