Here’s what happens when your first record is Miles Davis

The first record in your collection is not generally something you feel inclined to advertise. See musicnetwork.ie “Somebody mentioned Miles Davis to me, and I thought, ‘Okay, I’ll check this guy out.’ And obviously the most commonly found Miles record in the local HMV was Kind of Blue. “I started playing the trumpet in primary school, and I was playing in a local youth jazz orchestra,” she says brightly. “I felt like it wasn’t helping us having that name. But it would be understandable if she didn’t want to be seen as a spokesperson for her entire gender. But when I ask Laura Jurd for her first record, a broad smile spreads across her face. “I used to love to improvise and make things up. But I think any women doing something where they are being pro-active and taking some kind of leadership artistically, if it has a positive impact on other women who want to be creative, then, yeah, that’s a wonderful thing.” ADVERTISEMENT Dinosaur begin a Music Network Irish tour at the Sugar Club, Dublin on February 21, then tour to Sligo (22), Mayo (23), Letterkenny (24) and then further dates nationally. “I actually feel like jazz musicians and the world that I am part of, is full of some of the most progressive and liberal minds, so I feel very lucky to have never found it an issue. “After people talking about the electric Miles thing, I kind of got more into that world. I think a lot of people blame specific things, like they might blame the ‘jazz industry’ – if those are two words that go together – for what are societal level issues. Since then, she has been on a steadily upward trajectory, gaining a reputation as a composer of fresh, genre-busting music, and winning awards including the 2015 Parliamentary Jazz Award for Instrumentalist of the Year. “I’ve definitely never been one for, you know, the whole ‘let’s start an all-female jazz band’ thing, because I’m not sure that’s going to fix the problem. “I actually don’t mind it at all, because even beyond improvising and jazz, I think Miles is a hero. I just admire his attitude as a person, how he changed [his music] over the decades and, yeah, how true he stays to himself all the time, despite everything.” ADVERTISEMENT Started as a toddler Growing up in rural Hampshire, daughter of …

My Ireland poem is a thundering, vibrant look at Ireland today

My Ireland: the video ☘️ https://t.co/A8TPRfS8Zy #MyIreland— an cailín cainteach☘ (@Trillian_01) February 15, 2017 An astonishing poem of romance and realism. Living in the past, hopeful for the future. My Ireland is paying way too much for Amber Leaf and still running out of filters before the end of the box #MyIreland #sjswords #spf— Alan Coyne (@APCOYNE101) February 15, 2017 What frustrates me is that we have so much potential here to be better than what we are, and I don’t always think we realise that.” Part of the intention is, he said, to encourage people to look to the future, and “to ask more of ourselves. Part of the poem’s appeal is that is imbued with history but not weighed down by it: it resolutely looks to the future, asking: “I’m trying to listen / so what have you to say?” ADVERTISEMENT As he prepared to perform live at the Wednesday night launch as part of the Saint Patrick’s Festival, Smith said he had been “overwhelmed” by the reaction to the poem, which was published in full by The Irish Times. He is already moving on to his next artistic project, which is likely to be a play. I think it’s a calling for that.” “I didn’t set out to write it as a theme for the St Patrick’s Festival. No romantic vision He was determined not to romanticise Ireland. Irish memes There are universal memes and ones only Irish people will get, like Superquinn sausages and Copper Face Jacks. There’s talk of turning it into a dance performance. “An incredible writer, an internationally renowned one, and someone I’d aspire to be. All artists in this country need to be doers, and be entrepreneurial. What message does that send out for other artists?” Join the conversation In the meantime, Smith is hoping that his #MyIreland can be sustained as a living work of art. And he can’t make a living as a writer. “I want people to add their voices to it. Unfortunately this State doesn’t do enough to support artists.” He cites the example of the writer, Donal Ryan, who revealed recently that he has to return to his job as a civil servant. But first, he wants to hear from people who have something to say about what Ireland means to them. I’d love them to use the #MyIreland hashtag on social media, and say what Ireland …

24: Legacy review: ‘I knew it!’ shouts Donald Trump. ‘Get me Eric Carter on the phone’

We prefer army rangers who don’t get killed, like Eric.) “That’s right, we killed your friends and their wives and their children,” says a terrorist, lest we think they’re the kind of terrorists who do terrorism due to poverty or because they’re misunderstood. Terrorists: (well, “0” if you don’t include the dead army rangers, which we don’t, because we don’t like LOSERS. “In your face, Keith!” I shout. A boy tells his teacher that he’s worried his Chechnyan girlfriend is a terrorist. We all hate Keith. I want him to replace General Flynn on my national security team.” The terrorists arrive and start shooting at Eric and Ben, who run through a building site. She tells him that having seen Eric shoot terrorists to death, she realises that he misses his old job and that “the life he could have with me would never be enough for him”. Terrorist menace Other things happen. So terrorists come and tie Eric to a chair and plan to torture him to find Bin-Khalid’s secret box of mystery, which is a thing they want. On cue, Eric rings Rebecca and tells her about the terrorist plot to destroy America. “Get me Eric Carter on the phone. They’re always messing things up and they hate America.” (I might be misremembering some of the dialogue here). Eric shoots a big concrete pipe down from a crane and it rolls over the terrorists. So Rebecca abandons Jimmy Smits and goes to spy headquarters to brief her replacement, Keith (Teddy Sears). Of course, these days the now Jack Bauer-free, in-real-time torture romp is less a TV drama and more a blueprint for future foreign policy. Terrorists, terrorists, everywhere: Corey Hawkins and Charlie Hofheimer in 24: Legacy. I learn a lot about them in these few moments. Each character is a workaholic who is under pressure to spend more time with their child or wife or presidential-candidate husband. We know he’s an army ranger because he has the word “ranger” tattooed on his arm. Eric says that Ben probably has Bin-Khalid’s secret box of mystery, so Rebecca gets some random tech guy to follow Ben with hacked security cameras while saying things like “We need geospatial trackers on a burner phone”. Meanwhile Eric drops Nicole off with his brother Isaac, a drug lord in a bad neighbourhood, because that’s a sensitive back story for a black army ranger. So …

Shane Ross fails to launch, but St Patrick’s Festival sets out its stall

In a radical move that may upset traditionalists, the parade will come down the east side of O’Connell Street because of the current Luas works. .” It hopes to celebrate, in the words of artistic director Karen Walshe, “who we are as a culturally diverse, complex and brave society”. Among the highlights she pointed to were Young Blood in the National Concert Hall, a showcase of young, spoken-word and hip-hop artists including the aforementioned Stephen James Smith, and The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, a day of discussions and performances in Smock Alley theatre on the subject of Ireland and revolution. The Minister was otherwise engaged with his Independent Alliance colleagues, explained festival chair Judith Woodworth, who said Mr Ross was unavoidably absent “due to events at another building up the street”. ADVERTISEMENT Family day out For most Dubliners, though, St Patrick’s Day means a big family day out, and the Lord Mayor, Brendan Carr, expressed his excitement at the prospect of leading the parade in the magnificent 18th-century mayoral coach. However, it was a case of Hamlet without the prince on Wednesday evening at the Royal College of Physicians on Kildare Street, just a few doors down from Leinster House, when Mr Ross failed to show up for his appointment to launch this year’s St Patrick’s Festival, which runs from March 16th-19th. Namechecks Happily, the absence didn’t seem to cause too much upset to attendees, who lapped up a powerful performance by spoken-word artist Stephen James Smith of My Ireland, a piece specially commissioned for the festival. Other popular events include the Big Day Out in Merrion Square on March 18th, with street theatre, aerial performance, workshops and, for those stressed out by the whole thing, a spot of yoga. At that very moment, the members of the Alliance were speaking to the press about their decision to (just about) support the Government. The St Patrick’s Festival was established in 1995 and over the past two decades has generally been a success in its stated mission of celebrating Irishness and making a few bob along the way. It was the first time the 12-minute-long piece, which namechecks everyone from John Charles McQuaid to Waterford Whispers, had been performed live following its release on YouTube that morning. There will also be funfairs as usual on Merrion Square and Custom House Quay. More than 3,000 artists, musicians, dancers and poets will …

24: Legacy is less a TV drama than a blueprint for future US foreign policy

America: 6 (and a half, if you include Keith). So terrorists come and tie Eric to a chair and plan to torture him to find Bin-Khalid’s secret box of mystery, which is a thing they want. God modern life is so stressful, we think, as Eric and Nicole speed off in their four-wheel drive, possibly to the shops. None of the builders calls the police, probably because they’re so used to terroristic gunplay (thanks Obama). I do think they missed a trick not having a cameo from Bauer here. “Ay caramba!” say the terrorists (I may be getting my racist stereotypes wrong). We see that American children are being corrupted by the terrorist menace. Eric plugs the USB key into his phone to find a list of terrorist sleeper cells around the US. We prefer army rangers who don’t get killed, like Eric.) “That’s right, we killed your friends and their wives and their children,” says a terrorist, lest we think they’re the kind of terrorists who do terrorism due to poverty or because they’re misunderstood. On cue, Eric rings Rebecca and tells her about the terrorist plot to destroy America. He doesn’t stop running to say, “Ooh me knees are giving me gyp” as elderly Jack Bauer was wont to do in his latter days fighting terror. I want him to replace General Flynn on my national security team.” The terrorists arrive and start shooting at Eric and Ben, who run through a building site. We cut to that digital clock ticking down the 24 hours to the finale and the screen splits into several screens and that familiar pulsing music kicks in. “That’s right, we killed your friends and their wives and their children,” says a terrorist, lest we think they’re the kind of terrorists who do terrorism due to poverty or because they’re misunderstood. Rebecca does what any of us would do when faced with such a workplace disagreement: she tazes him into unconsciousness “It’s probably Keith,” thinks Rebecca and she vows not to tell him anything. Cut to exciting music and lots of split-screen images of the people we’ve met, as if to say, “We’ll be seeing a lot of these characters over the next exciting 24 hours.” The last thing we see is Eric running frantically in a little split-screen square that shrinks and shrinks, not as a metaphor for waning American influence in the …

My Ireland: It could have gone all Michael Flatley, but it’s a thundering, vibrant look at Ireland

My Ireland is paying way too much for Amber Leaf and still running out of filters before the end of the box #MyIreland #sjswords #spf— Alan Coyne (@APCOYNE101) February 15, 2017 My Ireland: ‘Getting the ride in Copper Face Jacks and women sailing to Holyhead’ ‘No one takes me seriously as a 16-year-old girl shouting about junkies or gun violence’ Bringing the Irish together in London through culture Fortunately, there’s not a shadow of a shamrock anywhere in the 1,755 words of Stephen James Smith’s thundering, vibrant and visual #MyIreland poem. It may not be the entire history of Ireland distilled into a 12-minute film – which features footage by Myles O’Reilly and music by Conor O’Brien of Villagers and Colm Mac Con Iomaire – but it’s not far off, touching on themes from Queen Meabh to 1916 to Bloody Sunday to Savita to the undocumented Irish to Apollo House. A commission from the St Patrick’s Festival to write an epic spoken word poem about Ireland might have had the potential to produce the literary equivalent of Michael Flatley’s feet thrumming across the page. What emerged at the end of the process is a thrilling, startling, irreverent, and sometimes angry reflection on contemporary Ireland, which manages to tread the line between knowing and clever on the one side, and full of heart and raw emotion on the other. “I don’t know if it’s even a poem. And trying to talk from my heart,” Smith said. It’s me just opening up my arms to Ireland, and trying to see what I can grab. The poet, playwright and performer carried a notebook around for the past six months, capturing fragments of thoughts and images, to eventually be transferred into a Google Doc. My Ireland: the video An astonishing poem of romance and realism. Living in the past, hopeful for the future. ☘️ https://t.co/A8TPRfS8Zy #MyIreland— an cailín cainteach☘ (@Trillian_01) February 15, 2017 #MyIreland, wherever you roam you are always a Paddy ☘️?? @sjsWORDS https://t.co/gjEgbfE177— Claire ☘️ (@ClaireF_) February 15, 2017 I think it’s a calling for that.” “I didn’t set out to write it as a theme for the St Patrick’s Festival. Irish memes There are universal memes and ones only Irish people will get, like Superquinn sausages and Copper Face Jacks. When I was researching a previous poem, Dublin You Are, I ended up with more stuff that I wanted to say …

Architects of Ulster: the firm that shaped the North

Buildings as well as people have fascinating stories to tell and I hope that Young & Mackenzie – A Transformational Provincial Practice will help make these building and the past come alive – that it will interest all kinds of readers, from those who are intrigued by buildings as well as those interested in the history of this part of the island. The firm’s ecclesiastical output was mostly for Presbyterian congregations, and in addition to “Church House”, Belfast, Young & Mackenzie designed Gothic Revival landmarks such as First Armagh Presbyterian; Cullybackey Presbyterian and Fitzroy Presbyterian in Belfast – all with soaring spires – but in among the large number of buildings, readers will also find the design of Belfast’s Annesley Street Synagogue. Without buildings such as very many of these, communities lose so much of their character and a distinctive sense of place. The founder, Robert Young, became the first Irish Architect Privy Councillor and his son, Robert Magill Young, was a notable chronicler of Belfast; both were instrumental in developing the cultural life of the city. Architects of Ulster: Young & Mackenzie – A Transformational Provincial Practice, 1850-1960 is available in selected bookshops and online from the UAHS: uahs.org.uk ADVERTISEMENT Into the twentieth century – with the firm operating as a family dynasty under RM Young’s son, Captain James Reid Young, until his death in 1967 – some of the firm’s interesting work included Belfast’s first flat-roofed Modernist house off Belfast’s Antrim Road, the red sandstone Presbyterian Memorial Hostel in Belfast’s Howard Street and the Rosemary Street Masonic Hall, which contains a fine interior with a John Luke mural. The firm was a pivotal player in the transformation of the appearance of Belfast in particular, and significant to the architectural landscape of many other Ulster locations too, for at least 100 years. Even beyond this, I and the publisher hope to encourage people to value and appreciate Ulster’s built heritage and take building conservation and restoration seriously. My recent book Architects of Ulster: Young & Mackenzie – A Transformational Provincial Practice, 1850-1960, published by the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, documents the work of the prolific practice and also tells the story of three generations of the Young family who were significant historical figures in themselves. The monograph contains more than 600 illustrations – many published for the first time and a large number drawn from the firm’s vast archive …

Eurovision organisers quit over ‘lack of transparency’

Weinberg: Chamber Symphonies – newly restored jewels by Shostakovich’s friend Songs of the Week: Thundercat gets in the Friend Zone, Josh Tillman is clueless Vince Mendoza/WDR: Homecoming – lush, brassy blasts of pure joy “The team have been instrumental in the planning for this year’s Eurovision song contest and we thank them for their hard work “We have reiterated to UA:PBC the importance of a speedy and efficient implementation of plans already agreed, despite staff changes, and that we stick to the timeline and milestones that have been established and approved by the reference group to ensure a successful contest in May.” Resignations Among those who quit were executive producers Oleksandr Kharebin and Victoria Romanova and commercial director Iryna Asman, saying they felt sidelined by the appointment of a new event co-ordinator and worried by a lack of transparency in decision-making. They also said a decision to increase the event’s budget to €29 million from €22 million would deprive Ukraine’s state broadcaster of €7-€8 million of profit. The EBU, which founded the song contest in 1956, released a statement reiterating that the event would take place in Kiev in May. Last year, Ukraine won the Eurovision song contest with the song 1944, performed by Jamala. It said: “The group felt they were not able to continue work on the project owing to staffing matters at UA:PBC, which the EBU cannot fully comment on. Ukraine’s preparations to host the Eurovision song contest in May will not be derailed by the high-profile resignations of several organising members in a row over staffing and “transparency”, Ukrainian officials said on Tuesday. Reuters and PA A reported 21 members of the Ukraine Public Broadcaster (UA:PBC), including two executive producers, the event manager and head of security, have resigned from this year’s Eurovision team over “staffing matters”, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said.

Songs of the Week: Thundercat gets in the Friend Zone, Josh Tillman is clueless

I hated it. “Unless you plan on giving me some / Cause I’ve got enough friends…”) Dissecting the lyrics here a little further, it seems the chief impediment to his potentially having a relationship with this woman is the fact that he is a 32-year-old man who plays videogames all day. (I know, I was shocked too…) Fortunately, there’s a happy ending to the story. (“Don’t call me, don’t text me, after 2am,” he barks. Apparently, some of those exist on the internet. “We leave as clueless as we came.” WARSAW RADIO After Eve ★★★ Recently featured on BBC Introducing for unsigned artists, Warsaw Radio are an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink rock group (think Arcade Fire meets The Waterboys) from Brighton, whose lead singer and songwriter Brendan McNamara is originally from Limerick. Dude, you’re lucky you’re even in the ‘Facebook friend’ zone. Decide for yourself… ADVERTISEMENT JAFARIS Love Dies ★★★ Every critic with a heart loved John Carney’s Sing Street last year. “It occurs to him a little late in the game,” Tillman croons. Not for the song’s protagonist, sadly, but for the listener. This is song about a person who thinks he knows everything. THUNDERCAT Friend Zone ★★★★ Brainfeeder On this track from his new album Drunk, Kendrick Lamar acolyte Stephen Bruner takes a big dump on the concept of platonic friendship between men and women. But one of that film’s young stars, Percy Chamburuka, has earned deserved praise for this new music video. FATHER JOHN MISTY Ballad of a Dying Man ★★★★ Sub Pop The fourth track released from Josh Tillman’s forthcoming Pure Comedy is about a dying man’s fears, not for his own mortality, but at the loss the world faced in being deprived of his sarky social media commentary. The YouTube comments are calling him Ireland’s Kendrick Lamar. They’re about to embark upon a four date Irish tour, beginning in Whelan’s, Dublin, on March 22nd.

Festival highs: Seven films to see at ADIFF 2017

I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO Tuesday 21st, 8.45pm, Light House Raoul Peck’s powerful documentary uses the words of James Baldwin – one of the great African-American writers – to investigate the lives of such figures as Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. You will remember Ní Chianáin as the brave director of the controversial Fairytale of Kathmandu. For more, see diff.ie Shahab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidoosti are excellent as a couple coping badly with unhappy relocation. Shaun Grant, writer of the brilliantly horrible The Snowtown Murders, provides the script. The Iranian follows up A Separation and The Past with a knotty film that gestures towards Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Among the best reviewed US film of 2016, I Am Not Your Negro is nominated for best documentary feature at the upcoming Oscars. BERLIN SYNDROME Thursday 23rd, 8.40pm, Cineworld We have been waiting a while for the new film from the talented Cate Shortland. Fine performances helped Sanctuary to best first Irish feature at last year’s Galway Film Fleadh. IN LOCO PARENTIS Monday 20th, 8.30pm, Light House Neasa Ní Chianáin’s much-praised documentary, warmly reviewed at the recent Sundance Film Festival, makes an in-depth study of Headfort, the progressive Irish boarding school in Kells, Co Meath. SANCTUARY Saturday 18th, 8.30pm, Light House Len Collin’s groundbreaking film concerns two people with intellectual disabilities who – in defiance of the law – set out to spend a happy afternoon together in a hotel room. After falling out at a party, the women move from barbed argument to a full-on furious punch up. ADVERTISEMENT A QUIET PASSION Wednesday 22nd, 6pm, Light House You probably think you know what a Terrence Davies biopic of Emily Dickinson would look like. And the film does eventually resolve itself into the expected sombre tones, but, before we get there, Davies has much fun putting quips in his characters’ sharp mouths. THE SALESMAN Friday 17th, 6.15pm, Cineworld Asghar Farhadi has, in rapid time, become one of the world’s most admired teller of tales. Odd. Onur Tukel’s film has already kicked up much debate since its premiere at last year’s Toronto Film Festival. Provocative. “The filmmaking is delicately executed in every department,” Variety raved. Cynthia Nixon is super in the lead. Teresa Palmer stars as a young journalist who is held captive after a one-night stand in a film that has been praised for its menace and …

If this is the digital age, why do I still use notebooks and vinyl?

“I wish I had mentioned the revival of cassette tapes,” he says, “but even I was going ‘cassettes? For many of us, achieving that left us wanting more and asking what is the point of our life now that we’ve achieved all of this?” ADVERTISEMENT It’s not, he points out, a straight binary choice. “One of the markers of the digital age is people going ‘I’m so busy, I don’t have any time’ and running frantically from one message to the next. “Everyone got into digital and everything was going to be automated and outsourced and analogue was so over. Now, you’ve all these companies realising what’s what with analogue and that it can make money and are trying to get back in. The analogue is what they choose to have in their spare time and to spend their money on and it’s the part that matters. These people decided to start pressing records, or making games, or making watches, or making films for cameras. It would be so easy to dismiss a lot of this as hipster shite The digital economy is much more complicated, a smoke and mirrors game of building up an evaluation to the point where someone will buy you. So much of the concept of lacking time and being busy is a social construct. Photograph: Daneil Rodriguez/iStockphoto.com “Analogue can give you time. You don’t waste time with menus and formats and options and Powerpoint presentations. The return of the artisan bakery, the farm-to-table movement, all of those older, slower ways of cooking and making food and drink are analogous to this. It’s simple and effective, whereas the digital method, which promises those things, is far more complicated.” Sax also believes analogue offers an imperfection that we find alluring. The business community laughed at them and they’d a difficult time getting capital and were on a shoestring. At a time when we can have any food we want and microwave it, we’re doing all these slow, inefficient things.” Successful businesses What’s also noteworthy about Sax’s analogue case studies in the book is that we’re talking about successful businesses. “Digital promoted a perfection, whereas imperfection is what you’ll get in so much of the art and culture and life we love and value. “I had all this now and I had Spotify and I could listen to anything I want anytime so I went, what else is …

‘Was that airliner meant to be underneath me?’ Harrison Ford in plane near-miss

– (New York Times Service) ADVERTISEMENT A Federal Aviation Administration’s Pacific division confirmed most details of the episode and said that the agency was investigating it. Photograph: Damian Dovarganes/AFP Ford is certified as a private pilot and is rated by the FAA to fly several types of aircraft, including a helicopter, according to agency records. NBC reported that Ford could be heard on air-traffic control recordings asking, “Was that airliner meant to be underneath me?” For Ford, who played Han Solo, the swashbuckling pilot of the Millennium Falcon in the Star Wars movies, the errant landing was the second notable episode involving an aircraft he was piloting in nearly two years and the fourth since 1999. It was unclear how far above the airliner he was. In doing so, he flew his plane, a single-engine Aviat Husky, over a 737 that was stopped just ahead of the runway. Neither Ford nor the instructor were hurt, but the helicopter was substantially damaged. Other episodes involving Ford and aircraft In March 2015, Ford was injured when a single-engine, World War II-era training plane he was piloting crashed onto a golf course in Venice, California, shortly after taking off from Santa Monica Airport. He correctly read back the instructions but landed instead on a taxiway parallel to the runway. NBC News, which reported on the episode, said Ford’s plane flew over an American Airlines jet with 110 passengers and a six-person crew. In June 2000, while landing in Lincoln, Nebraska, a gust blew Ford’s plane from the runway. Harrison Ford crash-landed a second World War training plane on a Los Angeles golf course in 2015. Ford (74), an avid pilot and collector of vintage planes, had been instructed to land on a runway at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California. The plane had engine trouble on takeoff, and Ford was forced to make an emergency landing. The aircraft, a Beechcraft Bonanza, suffered minor damage, and neither Ford nor his passenger were injured, AirSafe.com, a website about plane crashes, reported. In October 1999 in Santa Clarita, California, Ford was on a training flight in a Bell 206 helicopter when he and the instructor made an emergency landing in a dry riverbed, according to AirSafe.com. He has been inducted into the Living Legends of Aviation and has an honour named after him, the Harrison Ford Aviation Legacy Award. He was “banged up” but walked away …

My Ireland: ‘Getting the ride in Copper Face Jacks and women sailing to Holyhead’

My Ireland is cherishing anything from an Instagram snap of a ham & cheese toasty to finding the right filter for taking that selfie. My Ireland constantly asks: “was it for this?” and “an bhfuil cead agam dul go dtí an leithreas?” My Ireland is Zig & Zag and top shelf mags, Pearse lonely as an old woman defiant in defeat. My Ireland is The Quiet Man and Waterford Whispers, shouting for us all. My Ireland is a terrible beauty, agus Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí. My Ireland by Stephen James Smith My Ireland you are the river rush, always fluid in flux in need of a little hush… My Ireland knows, When All the Others were Away at Mass there was The Meeting on the Turret Stairs. My Ireland is reeling in the years and not watching what’s happening now. My Ireland is Savita needing agency, The Magdalene Laundries. My Ireland can let go of all its cares, it has the arts. The poem is accompanied by a short film by director Myles O’Reilly, arranged and mixed by Conor O’Brien (Villagers), with music by Colm Mac Con Iomaire and Loah, Saint Sister, Eithne Ní Chatháin aka Inni-K and Ye Vagabonds. My Ireland is saying, “gra go deo” agus “slainte Diageo”. Brigid, Ireland playing frigid Naysayers and Peig Sayers. My Ireland doesn’t forget to pour a sup for the fairies and our women’s fairy tales sail to Holyhead. My Ireland loves laughing at Ó Briain and Norton. My Ireland is dizzy from misinformation and celebrations arising from The Proclamation. My Ireland is hysterical and in denial of being patriarchal. My Ireland is checking itself after a Queen’s Noble Call and in Dublin Castle heard “A Úachtaráin, agus a chairde” from auld Lizzy. My Ireland sees goodness, in the kindness of its people everyday. My Ireland you are The river rush of the Corrib, Nore, Foyle, Suir, Shannon, Lagan, Lifey, Lee And every tributary Wash over me, Wash over me, Wash over me… My Ireland didn’t Wake The Feminists, Queen Méabh was an early riser. My Ireland is terrified of leaving the immersion on and lamenting not having won the Eurovision in God only knows how long! My Ireland isn’t sure what to do about the water charges and needs someone to take the fall. My Ireland has warriors like; Damien Dempsey singing Colony and Katie Taylor knocking out misogyny! …

It takes a village: the help I got to become an author

Finishing the MA in Writing in 2007, I heard from the Arts Council telling me that I had been awarded a bursary (I had applied earlier that year). Of course I am, I replied, and he politely told me to chop-chop. In my writing life I flit anxiously and eagerly from day to day. And again, just when I needed it most, I got to spend precious writing time at the Heinrich Böll cottage on Achill Island and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annamakerrig. I remember at the time thinking: this title is so clever, I am a genius. I submitted stories to various journals. ADVERTISEMENT Early in 2006 I applied to do the MA in Writing in Galway. There are other days when sharpening a pencil feels like a step too far. Fear of being found out for the phony I regularly convince myself that I am. You must learn how not to give up. So I returned to Galway, commandeered one half of a kitchen table, cleared my writing throat. However, there are certain qualities I feel necessary for the cultivation of good writing habits – focus, discipline, concentration. Crucially, it attracted the attention of some festival organisers. I am looking forward to that day. This is primarily what the year on the MA provided me with. Over time, I have come to realise that fear is not something to avoid or run away from or beat back with a stick. It is my first novel, but my third book. Alan McMonagle is the author of two collections of short stories, Liar Liar (Wordsonthestreet, 2008) and Psychotic Episodes (Arlen House, 2013). Lengthy spells can pass before anything (a scene, story, poem) nudges its tentative way across the finish line. My manuscript got done, the agent liked it, and one glorious Friday morning late in 2015 I received a phone call informing me that Picador thought it had the juice. Let your poison be your cure. The intervening years were a mixed bag of misspent youth, false starts and wrong turns; reluctance, hesitation and indecision. I wrote a 25-page story called The Ants Who Grew Into Gi-ants. Then nothing happened. My un-started novel morphed into a second manuscript of stories. Again, it was about the necessity of an ecosystem of supports (bursaries, residencies, courses, publishers, festivals, other writers) to provide me with the space, time, money, and that oh-so …

Harrison Ford in plane crash near-miss

Neither Ford nor the instructor were hurt, but the helicopter was substantially damaged. He was “banged up” but walked away from the scene, his publicist said at the time. The aircraft, a Beechcraft Bonanza, suffered minor damage, and neither Ford nor his passenger were injured, AirSafe.com, a website about plane crashes, reported. Photograph: Damian Dovarganes/AFP Ford is certified as a private pilot and is rated by the FAA to fly several types of aircraft, including a helicopter, according to agency records. Harrison Ford, the actor known for his portrayal of a cocky smuggler and spacecraft pilot in the Star Wars movies, mistakenly flew a private plane over a commercial airliner carrying more than 100 people at a California airport on Monday, according to a news report. NBC News, which reported on the episode, said Ford’s plane flew over an American Airlines jet with 110 passengers and a six-person crew. NBC reported that Ford could be heard on air-traffic control recordings asking, “Was that airliner meant to be underneath me?” For Ford, who played Han Solo, the swashbuckling pilot of the Millennium Falcon in the Star Wars movies, the errant landing was the second notable episode involving an aircraft he was piloting in nearly two years and the fourth since 1999. ADVERTISEMENT In October 1999 in Santa Clarita, California, Ford was on a training flight in a Bell 206 helicopter when he and the instructor made an emergency landing in a dry riverbed, according to AirSafe.com. No one was injured. Other episodes involving Ford and aircraft In March 2015, Ford was injured when a single-engine, World War II-era training plane he was piloting crashed onto a golf course in Venice, California, shortly after taking off from Santa Monica Airport. In June 2000, while landing in Lincoln, Nebraska, a gust blew Ford’s plane from the runway. Harrison Ford crash-landed a second World War training plane on a Los Angeles golf course in 2015. The plane had engine trouble on takeoff, and Ford was forced to make an emergency landing. He correctly read back the instructions but landed instead on a taxiway parallel to the runway. In doing so, he flew his plane, a single-engine Aviat Husky, over a 737 that was stopped just ahead of the runway. He has been inducted into the Living Legends of Aviation and has an honour named after him, the Harrison Ford Aviation Legacy Award. Ford (74), …

Philip Pullman announces The Book of Dust as follow-up to His Dark Materials

With Pullman, you don’t only get stories that make you want to read all night, but meditations on poetry, philosophy, metaphysics, science and religion. Crossover hit Pullman is not just a thrilling storyteller with a seemingly depthless imagination, but a very beautiful and thoughtful writer with a complex vision. It’s neither. This volume and the next will cover two parts of Lyra’s life: starting at the beginning of her story and returning to her 20 years later “The first thing to say is that Lyra is at the centre of the story. Questions about that mysterious and troubling substance were already causing strife 10 years before His Dark Materials, and at the centre of The Book of Dust is the struggle between a despotic and totalitarian organisation, which wants to stifle speculation and enquiry, and those who believe thought and speech should be free. In fact, The Book of Dust is… an equel. There are many layers to his books, which is one of the reasons they belong to the so-called “crossover” genre, appealing to both children and adults. “The idea of Dust suffused His Dark Materials. It’s a different story, but there are settings that readers of His Dark Materials will recognise, and characters they’ve met before. The first instalment of the trilogy is as yet unnamed, and will appear from Random House Children’s in Britain and David Fickling Books in the US. I’ve always wanted to tell the story of how Lyra came to be living at Jordan College and, in thinking about it, I discovered a long story that began when she was a baby and will end when she’s grown up. “Also, of course, there are some characters who are new to us, including an ordinary boy [a boy we have seen in an earlier part of Lyra’s story, if we were paying attention] who, with Lyra, is caught up in a terrifying adventure that takes him into a new world. We can only hope it will be a better effort than the 2007 movie based on Northern Lights, called The Golden Compass, which had a sadly miscast Dakota Blue Richards as Lyra, and a lot of over-wrought CGI effects. Meanwhile, readers have three new books to savour the prospect of, and plenty of time between now and October to guess what the title of the first one will be. Events involving her open the first …

Oscar Wilde and the sister’s death that haunted his life and work

I was shaken by its previously unknown draft of Requiescat. She had been staying with her aunt and uncle at Edgeworthstown Rectory, Co Longford, and was buried nearby in St John’s Churchyard. Oscar Wilde is an icon of the modern age, who has had an enormous impact on western literature and culture. ADVERTISEMENT At the time of writing this article it remains to be seen how other scholars respond to Isola’s presence in the Philadelphia notebook. Readers who would like to learn more about Isola Wilde can attend Edgeworthstown’s 150th anniversary commemorative event at St John’s Church and Rectory, Sunday, February 26th, from 3pm to 5pm. Such theories have not gained widespread acceptance due to the lack of evidence and potential stigma involved. No official record of her cause of death has emerged, and there are no known portraits. Some kill their love when they are young, And some when they are old; Some strangle with the hands of Lust, Some with the hands of Gold: The kindest use a knife, because The dead so soon grow cold. In 2015, I’d just completed a draft of my novel about Oscar and Isola’s childhood when the Philadelphia notebook appeared. I’ve detailed these instances, and provided some contextual commentary, in a recent article in The Wildean: A Journal of Oscar Wilde Studies (January 2017). In Wilde’s poem Requiescat (1881), written in memory of Isola, his love for her is palpable: Tread lightly, she is near Under the snow, Speak gently, she can hear The daisies grow. I’m attempting to incorporate the new notebook information in a faithful and principled way, with a dash of writerly imagination. A re-examination of Wilde’s writings has yielded much material to support this suggestion, which has the potential to change the way we interpret the man and his work. In the absence of further evidence, nothing can be inferred with any certainty; the nature of Oscar’s strangled memories may remain a mystery of modern literature. The latter phrase is used most famously in The Ballad of Reading Gaol, the poem inspired by Wilde’s prison sentence for gross indecency: Yet each man kills the thing he loves, By each let this be heard, Some do it with a bitter look, Some with a flattering word. As for my novel, it’s a case of back to the drawing board. Nor is this question the most important aspect of the …

Music is a universal language – with some border checks

For the opening concert on Saturday, Duley placed the instrumental ensemble in the aisle, with rows of singers seated either side of them.  The layout raised serious issues of balance in a venue where audibility and clarity can often be insurmountable problems. The West Cork Chamber Music Festival is a consistent advocate of new work from at home and abroad. Meanwhile, Tom Johnson’s minimalist 1970s classic, The Four-Note Opera, didn’t reach these shores until Opera Theatre Company gave the Irish premiere in Carrigallen in 1998. But technology was to the fore in Kate Ellis’s solo cello recital at the Hugh Lane gallery on Sunday. Music may be a universal language, but real language can be a genuine barrier.  ADVERTISEMENT Three words Gerald Barry’s new Humiliated and Insulted, inspired by Dostoyevsky’s 1861 novel of the same name, bypasses the issue of words. ADVERTISEMENT The closing piece, Donnacha Dennehy’s Bright Vision, a treatment of Aisling Geal with electronics, was as illuminating of Dennehy as of the original tune. Music, it is often said, is a universal language. Ellis performed in a sort of cocoon, a screen for video projections behind her, an array of music stands in front of her, with microphones and cameras filling up the gaps.  Laura Sheehan’s “live visuals” showed Ellis’s hands at work, so that the sound-production methods of Helmut Lachenmann’s sonically exploratory Pression of 1969 could be seen as well as heard. “Sing with great power,” exhorts the score. And the programme ended with a second rather blunt choral work, Bruckner’s Te Deum. Adès and Johnson are the lucky ones; most new operas don’t make it here at all.  The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra has long had a lunchtime slot that embraces work by living composers. There’s the matter of the expense and there’s the matter of the words. A voice or a player almost near enough to touch can sound as if coming from a place beyond reach.  That said, Duley and his team gave vigorous accounts of a selection of upbeat works by Telemann, Bach and a number of unidentified 17th-century Thuringian composers, with Jörg Jacobi providing organ interludes of pieces by Buxtehude and Pachelbel. “Be very loud and thunderous!” The work’s first performance, given by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra with the RTÉ Philharmonic Choir under Hans Graf at the National Concert Hall last Friday, was as blunt as the text was repetitive. But …

Four Irish on £30,000 Sunday Times Short Story Award longlist

It will officially be opened on February 24th at 6pm in Limerick City Gallery of Art by journalist Olivia O’Leary. Prices are always much lower than similar book fairs. On Saturday March 11th, at 3.30pm, 90 women writers from all over Ireland will participate in a mass reading on the steps of Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance, creating a soundscape of women writers’ voices in celebration of International Women’s Day, part of a collaboration between the Irish Writers Centre and Women Aloud Northern Ireland. Kevin Barry won the prize in 2012. Beginning at 11am, the day-long event will be an all-island literary celebration of women’s writing and an opportunity to hear extracts from women writers. The shortlist is revealed on March 19th and the winner on April 27th. Four Irish authors have made the 14-strong longlist for the 2017 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, which includes nine women, seven American writers and only two British authors. Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival has announced the shortlist for the 2017 Shine/Strong Award, presented to the author of the best first collection of poems published in English or Irish by an Irish poet in the previous year. With panel discussions and information sessions, the event aims to cement the relationships between women writers across genres and across Ireland. Highlights include Cecilia Ahern in conversation with fellow novelist Donal Ryan; a “vinyl and wine” session on Oscar Wilde and Morrissey hosted by UL Professor and author Eoin Devereux; the presentation of the Kate O’Brien Award to best novel/short story collection by a debut Irish female writer; and other events featuring Martin Dyer, Doireann Ní Ghriofa, Mary Lawson, Thomas Packenham, Mike McCormack, Francesca Melandri, Roisin Meaney, Bill Whelan and Liz Nolan. This year’s Trinity College Dublin Booksale will take place from February 21st-23rd in the Exam Hall in Trinity’s Front Square. The winner will be announced on March 26th at 2pm when all shortlisted poets will read from their collections. At £30,000 for the winner, this is the world’s richest and most prestigious prize for an English-language single short story and regularly attracts some of the finest literary talent from around the world. This year’s judges are authors Anne Enright, Mark Lawson, Neel Mukherjee, Rose Tremain and Andrew Holgate, literary editor of the Sunday Times. The longlisted Irish writers are Lisa McInerney, who won the Baileys Prize for Women’s Fiction and the Desmond Elliott …

Things just got real: the end of the digital revolution

For many of us, achieving that left us wanting more and asking what is the point of our life now that we’ve achieved all of this?” ADVERTISEMENT It’s not, he points out, a straight binary choice. The business community laughed at them and they’d a difficult time getting capital and were on a shoestring. It’s not about rejecting digital.” Guns N’ Roses shout out ‘Hello, Sydney!’ – except they were in Melbourne Toughest Place To Be… “Those who’ve made money from analogue over the last decade are people who are visionaries, who spotted a trend,” believes Sax. So much of the concept of lacking time and being busy is a social construct. We need to spend our money and be passionate about something. Now, you’ve all these companies realising what’s what with analogue and that it can make money and are trying to get back in. The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter is a fascinating and superbly observed tale from the Toronto-based writer about how and why such physical objects as vinyl records, Moleskine notebooks, physical books, board games, Polaroid film and wristwatches came back strong. The difference compared to the digital market is that it’s a much more easily defined business model. It would be so easy to dismiss a lot of this as hipster shite The digital economy is much more complicated, a smoke and mirrors game of building up an evaluation to the point where someone will buy you. On the contrary, the digital age has created a new market for the things we thought we’d consigned to sheds, attics and secondhand markets. “One of the markers of the digital age is people going ‘I’m so busy, I don’t have any time’ and running frantically from one message to the next. There you go, the proof is in the pudding.” ADVERTISEMENT With hindsight, there are a few other things Sax wishes he’d focused on. We were sold the premise of an always-on world where all the culture and stuff we’d ever want to consume would be available wirelessly and seamlessly at the press of a button. You make something and as long as you can charge enough to cover your costs and make some profit, you’ll make money. “I wish I had mentioned the revival of cassette tapes,” he says, “but even I was going ‘cassettes? Look at Moleskine, which has been bought …