The nine best new Irish artists of 2016

Formerly known as Profound, Jafaris is the most promising of the lot. Catch her at District 8 in Dublin on December 30th. Expect plenty more from this duo in 2017. Their debut single Dance swayed with a electronic funk-pop style and a video shot in LA raised the style of the project. Their music has funk, soul and falsetto; rhythm, style and stomp. Burnt Out  With just two songs and their accompanying black and white visuals, North Dublin band Burnt Out left a lasting impression of lives in a working class neighbourhood with less a band, more of a multimedia art project. Soulé Young Balbriggan singer Soulé debuted this year with a drum and bass-styled R&B song Love No More that immediately grabbed the attention of the industry. As an artist in her own right, there’s a similar fluorescence to her music, with a wider range, taking in R&B, bass music, old-school dance, grime and on recent EP a nod to her roots with a song called Bodhrán. Live, she’s been known to cover Kendrick Lamar and showcase her singing voice accompanied only by a guitarist. Siights Having played with Hozier in a live setting for the last two years, Mia Fitz teamed up with with Scottish songwriter Toni Etherson as Siights this year. Bonzai The Wicklow-raised UK-based singer has found considerable acclaim by teaming up with Jersey producer Mura Masa on his day-glow electronic pop tracks. Lyra A London-based Cork girl, Lyra appeared this year with an impressive debut EP called W.I.L.D. ADVERTISEMENT Bad Bones Sal Stapleton is another Irish artist who considered the whole package before debuting music. This year, his EDM dance pop music sold out venues not just in Dublin but LA, New York, San Fran, London and Toronto and has just completed a 33-date world tour. Joyrider, sung in a thick Dublin accent and its stark abandoned urban scenes reinforce the weight of Burnt Out’s creative aspirations. That consideration is brought into a live setting where two dancers add an extra dimension. Lorcan O’Dwyer and Steven McCann are the main members of this band but they have a gang of people that swells to nine performers in a live setting to do it justice. For the first five months of the year, she released a song a month, each accompanied by a video she made herself. The 20-year-old multi-instrumentalist has built a worldwide fanbase that …

Cyprus Avenue, a short story by Lucy Caldwell

You will feel yourself struggling to shoulder the weight of it; will want, more keenly than ever, to shrug it off, just this once, just for one year; and you’ll find yourself saying on the phone to your mum: I might not actually be able to get home. the barman is saying to him. When you make it to the front you’ll find yourself shoved up against the young Indian man: you noticed him earlier, standing by the window out onto the runway, tall and silent, not moving, just staring out at the lights of the planes on the wet tarmac, looking like he’s in a different world entirely. But now, for the first time ever, you’ll allow yourself to think that maybe you’ll come back again in a few months’ time, when the days are beginning to lengthen. Pint of Guinness please, he’ll say. and it will seem as if there’s never been a better joke and the two of you will laugh until you find yourself crying. you’ll hear yourself pipe up, a bit cheekily, overcompensating for the moment when you inadvertently betrayed yourself (you and them, us). Photos, and my parents’ stories. It is an Exiles flight: there may be a handful of English or half-English kids visiting their Northern Irish parent’s folks for Christmas, but the majority are those who have left for good, all travelling back at the last possible minute, most guilty, some maudlin, few happy. He will have told you, too, a little bashfully, about the book he’s writing in his spare time, a book about a young boy from Delhi growing up in Belfast who rides his bike along Cyprus Avenue. ADVERTISEMENT Christmas will be quiet, as always, but it will be a calm sort of quiet, this year, and for once you won’t feel ridiculous the three of you sitting in the cold dining room wearing paper hats while your father carves the turkey and your mother doles out the vegetables and you chatter in bursts about silly, inconsequential things. But it hardly seems worth pointing that out now, and besides, you suddenly don’t want to break the moment. Nirupam is more dutiful than you, and comes back often. This is what you will have talked about. S’cuse me? You will have told him how they explained in Sunday School that those we’d lost watch over us, and how it was …

Patrick Freyne: Will 2017 be the year television finally fulfils its destiny?

Steve’s craggy hands rise to his cracked lips in mock surprise. Yes, RTÉ faces existential threats in 2017 that reportedly mean it may have to leave its ancestral land in Montrose and tour the country solving crimes in the mobile broadcasting unit. Striking Out begins (on January 1st) The ever-excellent Amy Huberman plays a solicitor who quits her fiancé and job to become a rogue lawyer for hire – which describes all Irish lawyers really, if international norms and pricing structures are to be believed. Ask me the next day. ADVERTISEMENT My own chat show (I’ve just devised it) will involve me interviewing confectioners on a train. “Please let me go back to my family. ADVERTISEMENT TV3 ascends Reinvigorated by money from a kindly benefactor (Great Uncle Virgin Media), TV3 absorbs UTV Ireland into its mass and reemerges as a daddy bear (TV3), mammy bear (Be3) and baby bear (3e), ready to gorge on advertising porridge. Steve gasps. As a liberal-media wonk who has had actual sex dreams about wasting your hard-earned licence fee on Joe Duffy’s salary, I think eviscerating RTÉ would be a bad thing. In other news, R2D2 will be appearing on Fair City as local wheeler-dealer Jimmy “The Hat” Boylan. But what of the dying Trump husk? “Yuuuuuge,” it groans. RTÉ cancels self “Will I dream, Dave?” says RTÉ, as “Dave” (what RTÉ calls the licence-paying public) shuts it down due to the fact they can get their drama from Netflix, their comedy from the universe and their news from their racist uncle on Facebook who likes to post links to websites called fluoridetruth.com. I am terrible at metaphors. But in the absence of reforming the legal profession (you litigious scamps!), I’m sure Huberman will be brilliant and this legal drama might replace Love/Hate in our hearts, minds and box of lazy journalistic references. If it’s an entirely accurate depiction of US foreign policy, he will be accompanied by a scrappy robotic sidekick named Drone-ald and an invisible alt-right blogger that only he can see (thanks to the Facebook algorithm). And then this quartet of social justice warriors will band together as The Defenders in order to fight Galactus or hate speech or low self-esteem. ITV is moving the News at Ten in order to dabble in a US-style entertainment chatathon with The Nightly Show, beginning with temporary host and safe-pair-of-hands David Walliams. Commissar Putin strides from …

Comics of the Year: Marvels from the big hitters and small wonders

While these can often be more trouble than they’re worth, Jonathan Hickman, Esad Ribic and Ive Scorcina’s devilishly intricate Secret Wars has been among the more successful efforts of the genre. But the true blockbuster remains the inimitable Saga by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples, which continues the story of a husband and wife from different, warring races struggling to escape a galaxy that seeks to hunt them down, along with their scandalous lovechild. Titles such as the western-tinged sci-fi of Drifter, beast-of-the-week frontiersman horror Manifest Destiny or the spellbindingly Spielbergian Paper Girls are all worth a look. Part blood-soaked horror, part philosophical counter-history, the grit and gristle of the series’ savagely fleshed-out mythos make it a thing entirely of its own. Elsewhere, Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows have cooked up a feast of chilling horror in Avatar Press’s dense and disturbing Providence, which depicts a journalist investigating the weird fiction of the early 20th century, interacting with real-world authors like HP Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith, and getting drawn into the creepy, uncanny worlds that may not be entirely of their imagining. Come for a look at the unwieldy stone-age mechanisms required to take a selfie, stay for the hilarious riffs on modern American culture. Saga’s explosion of ideas somehow coalesces into the most essential ongoing title in modern comics. Taut, smart, funny and engrossing, this self-contained miniseries is a gem that deserves all the recognition it can get. Perhaps no field of entertainment has undergone as much change in the last decade as comics. Perhaps the most unexpected joy from DC this year has been The Flintstones by Mark Russel, Steve Pugh and Chris Chuckry. This has a good claim to being the best book of the year, no matter what year you read it. Studios) by Simon Spurrier and Jeff Stokely, a wonderfully inventive and gripping murder mystery set in the vertical city-state of the title. Few recent fictional settings have been rendered with as much throwaway depth as that inhabited by the residents of the Spire, where one’s class is determined by altitude, and a mysterious threat to the established order appears to be killing off high-born citizens one by one. In a sprawling story set directly after a multiverse cataclysm (don’t ask), Secret Wars brings dozens of worlds together in one Game Of Thrones-esque tale of intrigue where the refugees from innumerable titles have …

Donald Clarke: Touch of Hollywood macabre to death of Carrie Fisher

Fisher was famous from the day she entered the world. Obituary: Carrie Fisher Star Wars actor Carrie Fisher dies at age 60 Carrie Fisher ‘stable’ after cardiac incident When she was just two years old, her father ran off with Elizabeth Taylor. Born in 1956, she was the child of Debbie Reynolds, one of the industry’s great entertainers, and the suave singer Eddie Fisher. In the last scenes of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which acts as a prequel to Star Wars, we see a digitally engineered version of the young Fisher preparing for coming action in that 1977 sensation. The aftermath forever coloured Fisher’s attitude to fame. Over the Christmas period, cinemas have, once again, given over their screens to the franchise that turned Fisher from a daughter of legends to a star in her own right. Carrie and her brother provided the media with poignant subplots. She passed away three days after suffering a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles. Reynolds was the ultimate romantic victim. In a TV interview with Al Roker nine years ago, she admitted that she would not have accepted the role in Star Wars if she knew it would bring similar levels of celebrity to that endured (and enjoyed) by her mother. A touch of Hollywood macabre accompanies the sad death of Carrie Fisher at the age of 60. no words #Devastated pic.twitter.com/R9Xo7IBKmh— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) December 27, 2016 I will miss our banterings. I'm deeply saddened to learn of the death of Carrie Fisher. A wonderful talent & light has been extinguished.— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) December 27, 2016 When I was a young man, Carrie Fisher she was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. She turned out to be witty and bright as well.— Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) December 27, 2016 She was the brightest, funniest, bravest, kindest, cleverest and sweetest person I ever knew. A crushing blow to lose @carrieffisher— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) December 27, 2016 Carrie Fisher was smart, funny, talented, surprising, and always a hell of a fun time to be around. Family Guy will miss her immensely.— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) December 27, 2016 Fans adored her honesty, her screwball wit and the sense that she didn’t give a hoot what others thought of her. But the chemistry that mattered was that between Fisher as the plucky Princess Leia and Harrison Ford as …

Star Wars actor Carrie Fisher dies at age 60

The 60-year-old, who became an international screen star and sex symbol when she appeared as Princess Leia in the 1977 sci-fi blockbuster, was taken ill on a flight from London to Los Angeles on December 23rd. “Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.” Tributes have poured in for the actor, who went on to appear in three Star Wars sequels including 2015’s seventh film in the franchise, The Force Awakens. In a statement released on behalf of Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd, spokesman Simon Halls said: “It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8.55 this morning. I will miss our banterings. Star Wars actor Carrie Fisher has died in hospital, days after suffering a heart attack on a transatlantic flight. ‘Deeply saddened’ Star Trek actor William Shatner tweeted: “I’m deeply saddened to learn of the death of Carrie Fisher. “She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly. A wonderful talent & light has been extinguished.” Obituary: Carrie Fisher Carrie Fisher ‘stable’ after cardiac incident Carrie Fisher in ‘intensive care’ following heart attack on flight to LA For all her fans & friends. Fisher said the affair started and ended in 1976 during production on the blockbuster sci-fi adventure in which she first appeared as the intrepid Princess Leia. “It was so intense,” Fisher told People. Fisher reprised the role in two Star Wars sequels. I thank you for your prayers & good wishes.” Fisher, who had been in England until recent days shooting the third season of the British sitcom Catastrophe, suffered a heart attack during a flight on Friday from London to Los Angeles. Her mother Debbie Reynolds tweeted on Christmas Day: “Carrie is in stable condition. She returned last year in Disney’s reboot of the Star Wars franchise, The Force Awakens, appearing as the more matronly General Leia Organa, leader of the Resistance movement fighting the evil First Order. I was so inexperienced, but I trusted something about him. ADVERTISEMENT Fisher revealed the affair to People magazine while promoting her new memoir, The Princess Diarist, just before it went on sale. Fisher had appeared to be stable in hospital in California following her medical episode on a United Airlines flight on Friday. She gained sex symbol status in 1983’s Return of the Jedi when her Leia character wore a …

‘Watership Down’ author Richard Adams dies aged 96

Watership Down author Richard Adams has died aged 96, a statement on the book’s official website has said. He “passed away peacefully” at 10pm on Christmas Eve. The statement, issued on Tuesday, said: “Richard’s much-loved family announce with sadness that their dear father, grandfather, and great-grandfather passed away peacefully at 10pm on Christmas Eve.” Adams, who grew up in Berkshire, penned the classic book at the age of 52 after encouragement from his children. Happy 95th birthday Richard Adams, creator of Watership Down His books will be cherished for years to come.” ADVERTISEMENT It was also transformed for the big screen, and its theme tune – Art Garfunkel’s Bright Eyes – was at number one for six weeks in 1979. Published in 1972 The book was published in 1972 and has since sold tens of millions of copies. He conjured up the tale about the plight of rabbits whose home is under threat while reading bedtime stories to his daughters, Rosamond and Juliet. It read: “It seemed to Hazel that he would not be needing his body any more, so he left it lying on the edge of the ditch, but stopped for a moment to watch his rabbits and to try to get used to the extraordinary feeling that strength and speed were flowing inexhaustibly out of him into their sleek young bodies and healthy senses. The statement announcing his death quoted a section of the book. “ ‘You needn’t worry about them,’ said his companion. A remake of the film by the BBC and Netflix was announced in April and it is expected to air over four one-hour parts in 2017. ‘They’ll be alright – and thousands like them’.” A spokesman for Oneworld publications, which brought out a new edition of Watership Down with illustrations by Aldo Galli, said: “Very saddened to hear that Richard Adams has passed.

George Michael secretly gave couple £15,000 for IVF treatment

“He was a major part of my life and I loved him very, very much. with Ridgeley in 1981, and went on to massive success, releasing a string of hit singles including Wham Rap! The singer’s generosity was often matched only by his desire to keep his identity secret, something Pointless presenter and former Deal Or No Deal executive producer Richard Osman alluded to when he recounted one such demonstration of Michael’s goodwill. He said: “Me, his loved ones, his friends, the world of music, the world at large. We don’t know what happened yet. Michael’s 1990 album Listen Without Prejudice Vol. “The beautiful memories and music he brought to the world will always be an important part of my life and those who also loved and admired him.” ‘Heartbroken’ Michael’s manager Michael Lippman said it was believed he had died from heart failure, while his publicist said he “passed away peacefully at home”. ‘90. He was an extremely kind and generous man. “What more can I say other than thank you George.” Peaceful Meanwhile, Michael’s partner Fadi Fawaz has said he found the star dead in bed when he arrived to wake him ahead of a planned Christmas Day lunch. (Enjoy What You Do), Club Tropicana and Wake Me Up Before You Go Go. bandmate Andrew Ridgeley said he was “heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend Yog”, an affectionate nickname used for the star. They were the first Western pop act to visit China when they played there in 1985, before splitting in 1986, by which time Michael had already released a handful of solo singles. Michael formed Wham! A couple who spent years clueless about who gave them £15,000 (€17,600) to fund their fertility treatment have thanked George Michael after it was claimed he anonymously stumped up the money. hysteria” was made on Michael’s website in August, with a post on his official Facebook page saying: “George is personally seeking rare Wham! A xx.” Spandau Ballet star Martin Kemp and his wife Shirlie – a backing singer for Wham! She told the Daily Telegraph: “For many years I wondered who would have been so generous and now I know. In a statement Goss said: “I’m heartbroken with the news that my dear friend and long-time love George Michael has passed. An appeal for archive footage and imagery from fans including “mass Wham! Michael’s former Wham! Confirmation …

Excavating old ideas

She doesn’t do the rose without the thorns, yet the rose is there: beauty is evident and vital. It could also be Hapaska’s motto. The wider world, that is, of relationships of any kind: personal, practical, economic, political. Such is the case in what is on view at the Kerlin. A truly monumental treatment, metallic and ghostly, is at the heart of The Red Earth in Carlow. He is also a fine writer and his texts, as in this case, are not so much about the work as part of it. The boy does not know how to cast a bell (his father never had a chance to teach him) but sets about doing so anyway, knowing that failure means death. Concrete cloth, an accompanying note explains, is a relatively recent material allowing “for speedy construction” and useful in crisis contexts. The term excavation could be used in relation to practically all of O’Donoghue’s work, not alone because of his copious use of archival, documentary material, much of it steeped in personal, family histories, but also because of the way he works the surface of a painting. It is as though he is unearthing and bringing to light not so much an image, as a mood, an atmosphere, densely packed with layers of memory, reflection and speculation. There is an echo, perhaps, of the youthful bell-caster in Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev. The alchemical promise of transmutation founders on the rocks. Until January 26th (reopens January 3rd), oliversearsgallery.com Siobhán Hapaska Kerlin Gallery, Dublin ***** With its jagged rhythms and calculated incongruities, Siobhán Hapaska’s recent work at the Kerlin Gallery draws a line under a troubled year. But he’s found the energy to make another, related, but distinctive and beautifully judged solo exhibition at Oliver Sears. Until February 4 (reopens January 3rd) kerlin.ie Since O’Donoghue first encountered the wreck of the Plassy on the shore of Inis Oírr as far back as 1962, the vast, rusting hulk has turned up in his work in various guises. She seems in this work to be more comfortably in command of her artistic language than ever, which doesn’t mean the experience is going to be more comfortable for us as viewers. For this latest incarnation of the Plassy, O’Donoghue cites a surprising reference. In her work, the Belfast-born sculptor has consistently opted for unorthodox materials yoked together in unexpected ways. The relationships and interactions between materials …

Nothing to Declare, a short story by John Boyne

He’s far too civilised for that sort of thing; he likes foreign-language cinema and rarely watches television except when our own programme is on and then he just laughs and scratches me under the chin while shaking his head a bit, as if he can’t quite understand how his life has come to this. “Cocaine. John Boyne’s latest work is Beneath The Earth. “You’ve been together a long time then, I suppose, the two of you?” “Almost five years now,” I said. “And it was reflected in the treats I received later,” I told him proudly. “But there’s some work being carried out on our kennels, an upgrade of sorts, so Officer Kane brought me to stay with him in his flat for a couple of weeks. “And what of our brothers and sisters, do you ever run into any of them?” “No,” I said. “No, I’m neutered so no one’s interested. It just lies on the floor and lets me do whatever I want to it. “Well, well, well.” “What a coincidence that we should run into each other like this,” I said cheerfully. I’m very well-trained, after all. A little of everything. In the EzyMart.” I could see that, although he was impressed, he didn’t want to make his excitement too obvious. Anyway, some of Roger’s weed is purely for medicinal purposes. A customs officer would have reacted instantly. And as I don’t get out much, there’s no one for me to hump. “Gringo,” I said as he brought his business to an end and proceeded to scrape his hind paws across the gravel. You take it all very seriously, don’t you?” “Of course. Not particularly. Being accepted into the Detector Dog Programme, after all, is like gaining access to the gates of heaven: many are called but few are chosen.” “And from our litter it was always going to be you, wasn’t it?” he said. Officer Kane smells amazing, he’s always throwing his balls around for me to retrieve them, and is never shy with treats. Better than I ever was. There’s no challenge there, you know? I took to training like a duck to water while all he ever wanted to do was roll around in the mud and chase after sticks like some kind of mongrel. “That is a lot of money,” he said, as if nothing had happened. Amphetamines. “Of course I’ll get no …

The OA review: the less you know about this show, the better

It dropped, with the urgency of a secret message, on to Netflix last week, having been announced just days earlier. After a seven-year absence, a missing woman reappears, and though she has been blind since childhood, now she is miraculously sighted. Prairie (or Nina as she was born) briefly passed over to the other side during her Russian childhood, and it seems to have bestowed her with entrancing powers. “I couldn’t feel pain,” says she, voice low with portent. ADVERTISEMENT The charitable description of these outlandish stories, encouraged by the show, is as a series of nesting dolls, emerging one from one another. That explains its endlessly shifting tone, beginning with a Cloverfield-level of grainy reality in drab suburban Michigan, leading to more risible sequences of otherworldly fantasy, and stalling for intolerable stretches in a situation of breathlessly gothic hokum (think mad scientist), as The OA explains her mysterious captivity at astonishing length. Because the less you know about the show, the more likely you’ll find it intriguing. A few episodes into The OA, an eight-part series that arrives pre-wrapped in manufactured mystery, the protagonist wakes up upon a mossy landscape of rounded foothills, next to a shack so fit for a fairy tale that it may as well be made of gingerbread. Long before the mystery begins to take shape, you may find it much easier to undergo deprogramming. But, to be more specific, she seems to be just south of the Shire and close to Teletubbyland. For Prairie Johnson (given a milky messianic performance by Marling) now answers to the name “The OA”. It’s not her only transformation. But I could see.” Watching this ridiculous show, these were my thoughts exactly. In the first episode, for instance, she impresses a group of misfits by subduing a vicious dog with just her calming touch; she later convinces a school teacher to give the local hoodlum a free pass with a similar method. The more you discover about her, however, in the writers’ kick-the-can-down-the-road form of exposition, the more inert the show becomes. Her devotion is in line with the programme’s spiritual mumbo jumbo, which more closely resembles a swindle. If there’s any true insight in the series it is how jaded people must be to submit to such hollow narratives and desultory surprises. “DOA” might be closer to the truth. Or “NDE”, as the show puts it, making Near …

Radio silence: Stations which play the least Irish music revealed

There is only one Irish track in the 20 most-played tracks in the station (Gavin James’ Nervous), with three other tracks in the top 50 by Walking on Cars, Picture This and John Gibbons. Penrose led a delegation of musicians to the gates of Leinster House in September and the likes of Phil Coulter, Johnny Duhan, John Sheahan, Sibéal Ní Chasaide and the Doyle sisters played a tune for the assembled gathering. Radiomonitor manager Feidhlim Byrne explains how the system works. To compile these findings, Music Business Worldwide used data from Radiomonitor, the independent airplay monitoring service, which provides detailed analysis on radio play to all parts of the music industry. And is there any way to find out? The Labour Party TD for Westmeath is on a mission to get all Irish radio stations to adhere to a 40 per cent quota for homegrown music. If Penrose and co were able to find a way to solve this particular pickle, they would be doing a great job. This time around, it was Willie Penrose who led the charge of the miffed musicians. Seven Irish tracks turn up in the top 10 most-played tracks on the station this year, with a further 23 in the top 50. ADVERTISEMENT Other Irish acts do feature – including former major label acts Bell X1 and Cathy Davey, who have already established an audience – but the overwhelming winners are those who have the backing and heft of a major label behind them. Although there are some regional variations – Lynchy and White Boys scored high in Waterford, for example – the Irish acts that receive the most plays are ones signed to major labels, such as Walking on Cars, Hozier, Picture This, Gavin James, Kodaline and Brian Deady. If every station and every show put their music into a ‘now playing’ system, we’d be able to grab a huge amount of additional plays.” Byrne points to local radio stations such as Highland and Midwest that are “probably playing way more Irish music than the quota and probably way more than other stations”, yet their system doesn’t allow this to be tracked. Irish sounds: 20 Irish radio stations by the numbers 2FM (1) Number of Irish tracks in top 10 most-played in 2016: (0 per cent) (2)Number of Irish tracks in top 100 most-played in 2016: 13 (13 per cent) RTÉ Radio 1 (1) …

Irish buyer pays €37,000 for Cromwellian porridge bowl

An “extremely rare” piece of 17th century Dublin silver – “made in Dublin at the time of Oliver Cromwell” – that turned up at auction in England has returned to Ireland. It sold for £31,600 (about €37,000), over five times the top estimate of £6,000, to an anonymous bidder. It is believed that Col Bibby had bought the porringer from an antiques dealer in London in 1967 for £3,000. Art in the Church: helping people during difficult times in their lives Mystery initials The bowl, which would have been used to eat porridge, soup or stew, was made in Dublin sometime between 1659 and 1663. The whereabouts of the ‘IS porringer’ was unknown for almost 50 years until earlier this year when Sworders valued items of silver from the family of an English private collector – Col SL Bibby CBE. It has since emerged that the buyer was a private Irish collector. He said there had been “at least five phone bidders and a couple of people in the saleroom up to 10k”, and subsequently just himself and another telephone bidder. The identity of ‘IS’ remains unknown. ADVERTISEMENT He was delighted that the bowl, “a wonderful object of great historical importance, was coming back to Ireland as surviving items from the Cromwellian era are very rare”. Dublin auctioneer Ian Whyte told The Irish Times that he had successfully bid on behalf of an unnamed client. The silver porridge bowl, of a type known as a ‘porringer’, was described as “one of the rarest pieces of Irish silver ever to come to market” by Sworders auctioneers of Stansted Mountfitchet in Essex in November. Sworders said its research, in consultation with silver experts in Ireland, had identified that the porringer had been made in Dublin at the time but could not establish the name of the silversmith. Mr Whyte said “considering it sold in 1967 for £3,000 – the price of a three-bed semi in south Co Dublin at the time – the price paid today seems reasonable”. Mr Whyte said his client, although “not a silver specialist”, was a “general collector of interesting and rare Irish items” and “liked the look of it, its rarity and the fact that it came from the Cromwellian period”. It measures 2¾ inches high and 6¼ inches long from handle to handle and is known as ‘the IS porringer’ on account of its engraved initials. …

Fake Britney Spears death tweets sent from hacked Sony account

That hack came a month before Sony Pictures was due to release the film The Interview, about two journalists recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Sony Music, a unit of Sony Corp, said in a short statement that its social media account was “compromised” but that the situation “has been rectified”. Another unit of Sony, Sony Pictures Entertainment, was the victim of a devastating cyber attack in November 2014, which the Federal Bureau of Investigation concluded was the work of North Korea. The Twitter account of folk music icon Bob Dylan may also have been subjected to a hoax, Billboard reported, when it sent out a now-deleted tweet reading “Rest in peace @britneyspears”. Fake news story prompts Pakistan to issue nuclear threat Stories about online echo chambers need a fact-check How Russian hackers hijacked the US election The 35-year-old international superstar and Grammy Award winner is “is fine and well”, Spears’s manager Adam Leber told CNN. Sony Music Entertainment’s Twitter account was hacked on Monday, publishing fake statements that US pop star Britney Spears had died. A Sony spokeswoman refused to comment further. In some tweets, the group OurMine took responsibility, Billboard reported. The Sony spokeswoman confirmed that Bob Dylan is also a Sony artist and that the company’s statement “holds true for what’s happened”. A Twitter spokesman did not return emails seeking comment. In the first of several false tweets on Monday, the company’s Sony Music Global Twitter account published a short message reading “RIP @britneyspears” and “#RIPBritney 1981-2016”, along with a teary-eyed emoji, Variety and Billboard magazines reported. Reuters Tweets removed The fake tweets were soon removed. The company said it “apologises to Britney Spears and her fans for any confusion”.

Una Mullally on George Michael: A gay man devoid of shame

But when he did, he lived his truth, and his fans loved him for it. Michael may not have been as prolific as many of his peers – four solo studio albums in 17 years and three Wham! These were not throwaway tracks. Like George Michael’s persona, they had an edge and a knowingness that made you feel like you were in on the joke listening to many of them. Sting operation In April 1998, I was listening to the radio on my Walkman when a news report announced that George Michael had been arrested in Los Angeles. albums in as many years before that. It’s hard to imagine the anxiety he experienced before he came out as gay in the late 1990s. The details were murky, but it emerged that it was essentially a sting operation carried out by a police officer in a public bathroom. It’s an odd testimony to George Michael’s songwriting talent that his melodies ended up on cheap keyboards. It was notable for its sound bank: preset sounds that allowed you to push a button and make the keys sound like a clarinet or a slap bass. Much will be written and speculated about Michael’s more turbulent years before his death aged 53, but that will evaporate. But it also shows how instantly recognisable and long-lasting they are. Not only was he a prodigious songwriter, but his production capabilities gave Wham! It also had a demo button, and the tune that emerged, cheesily orchestrated, was Wham!’s Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. Still, his voice and persona are as iconic as any: all action-man stubble, arched black eyebrows, a swinging earring, and, later in his career, a refreshing honesty in a world of spin. the sort of sound that, while undeniably ’80s, has come back around again to feel timeless. It was 1990, and my neighbour had gotten a Casio SA-1 keyboard for Christmas. ADVERTISEMENT Ten songs in the key of George Michael’s life George Michael praised for LGBT campaigning George Michael: Quiet philanthropist who helped thousands The tunes veer from pop to funk, ballads to blockbusters, and most of them were written and produced by him. What will remain are the songs and his voice. LGBT appeal While straight rock stars and pop stars were expected to be falling out of clubs with female models, “scandal” was still attached to anything other than heterosexuality …

Ten songs in the key of George Michael’s life

Whenever Michael performed it live he would always dedicate it to Feleppa. Somebody to Love (1992) Arguably the greatest live performance of his career, he sang this with Queen at the tribute concert to Freddie Mercury at Wembley Stadium in 1992. 4. 6. Poignantly, he had just learnt that his Brazilian boyfriend was dying when he put in this performance. Michael turned the tables on the prurient media coverage of his arrest by singing about the joys of alfresco sex while dressed in a policeman’s uniform and dancing in a public toilet. Michael idolised Franklin and regarded this duet with her as one of the highlights of his career. ADVERTISEMENT 5. 9. 8. 7. This was his first overly political song, the lyrics were strongly critical about the relationship between George W Bush and Tony Blair and their involvement in the Iraq war. Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me (1991) Michael had originally sung this Elton John song at the 1985 Live Aid concert but it wasn’t until a live recording of the song at a 1991 show was released that it became a massive hit on both sides of the Atlantic. Sadly, his lover, Anselmo Feleppa, was to die two years after they first met from an Aids-related condition. 10.Shoot The Dog (2002) Michael had grown up during the Thatcher era, an experience which made him a lifelong Labour supporter. Father Figure (1988) For many the song which saw Michael accepted as a serious artist. Outside (1998) Not his best work but an important song as it dealt with his arrest for an engaging in a “lewd sex act” 6 months previous to its release. These days we’d call it “getting ahead of the story”. It’s the purity of his vocal that elevates this song here. I Knew You Were Waiting For Me (1987) It’s a very brave singer who stands in a vocal booth next to Aretha Franklin for a duet and a very nervous Michael does his level best to keep up here. The pain of not being able to share his love and grief with the world bleeds all over this tender tribute to his boyfriend. A shimmering ballad with a great vocal, it established his blue-eyed soul credentials and was one of his personal favourites. No one can out-Freddie Freddie but the Michael vocal here is sublime. Jesus To A Child (1996) In …

George Michael: Quiet philanthropist who helped thousands

“Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this difficult time.” PA Behind the headlines and huge on-stage persona, George Michael was a generous man who kept quiet about his considerable charitable donations, it has emerged. “Along with other charities, we were grateful to benefit from the royalties of George’s 1991 duet with Elton John, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me. “Thanks to George’s legacy, we are a step closer to that world and we are so grateful for his support and friendship over the years. Michael has helped countless children as a result of his donations to Childline, the charity’s founder and president Dame Esther Rantzen said. “Over the years he gave us millions and we were planning next year, as part of our 30th anniversary celebrations to create, we hoped, a big concert in tribute to him — to his artistry, to his wonderful musicality but also to thank him for the 100s of 1,000s of children he helped through supporting Childline. “And it is particularly tragic that Christmas, which was when he released Jesus to a Child, would also be the time when we lost him. “We are so saddened by the loss of George Michael,” she added. “For years now he has been the most extraordinarily generous philanthropist, giving money to Childline, but he was determined not to make his generosity public so no-one outside the charity knew how much he gave to the nation’s most vulnerable children,” she told the Press Association. “I think all of us have memories of particular Wham! “George also often thought of us to kindly donate experiences and gifts that were used to raise vital funds to help us support people living with HIV. The star donated all the royalties from his 1996 number one single Jesus To A Child to charity, and is said to have given a gameshow contestant thousands of pounds to fund her IVF treatment. Michael, who spoke about losing his partner Anselmo Feleppa to HIV, “personally supported” the Terrence Higgins Trust for “many years”, Jane Barron from the organisation said. “Certainly, for Britain’s children, George Michael meant so much more.” And in the hours after the singer’s death was announced TV presenter Richard Osman revealed that Michael had called a woman who appeared on Deal or No Deal to give her the money she needed for IVF treatment. George Michael secretly …

Goodbye 2016 and thanks for all the pop

Follow her here Need proof? Gather round as we gaze upon the wealth of bangers, gossip and clips that 2016 offered us Hero of the year – Ariana Grande She spoke out on sexism and double-standards so many times that it’s hard to keep track. Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas, Adele and Justin Bieber. Whatever I feel like wearing that day, it doesn’t define me. Our top three? Feud of the year Taylor Swift Yes there was another Kanye bust-up, but what better way to say ‘see ya’ to your ex than by casually revealing you wrote his number one hit song? As is tradition round Pop Corner towers, we see the new year out with a gaze backward. Choice quote: She told the Sunday Times that she was sick of being typecast: “Are you a good girl or a bad girl? ADVERTISEMENT Instagram account of the year – Rihanna She loves a meme. That applies to all women.” Vox Popper of the year – Zayn Malik Need a quote about his time in One Direction? It defines what mood I’m. Band of the year – Little Mix Not since the spice girls has being in a girl group looked so much fun. No! Pure joy. The track, of course, was This Is What You Came For’ by Calvin Harris and Rihanna. “I’m just staying the way that I am. I think that’s the best way to keep your sanity. I’m a good girl, I’m a bad girl, I’m innocent, I’m sexy, I’m smart, I’m funny – I’m everything. But on the flip side, he was also open about his mental health, and how he deals with anxiety, telling Dazed. You’ve got to hold on to what you are and not let things get to your head,.” Outlet of the year – Carpool Karaoke Who thought that all you needed to do to get celebs to open up, was to clip them into the front seat and put the radio on? He was all for it. Watch them perform ‘Shout Out To My Ex’ on X Factor. Plus they’ve got each other’s backs.

British singer George Michael dies of suspected heart failure

He nearly died from pneumonia in late 2011, and after receiving treatment in a Vienna hospital, he made a tearful appearance outside his London home and said it had been ”touch and go” whether he lived. The movie, with the working title Freedom: George Michael, was to be narrated by Michael and set to feature Mark Ronson, Mary J Blige, Tony Bennett, Liam Gallagher, James Corden and Ricky Gervais. Their first album, Fantastic, made UK number one after it was released in 1983, as did their second album, Make It Big, the following year. ADVERTISEMENT Big names from the world of entertainment paid tribute after hearing about his death, which comes in a year that has seen the music industry lose some of its biggest stars including Prince, David Bowie and Leonard Cohen. His first solo single, Careless Whisper, made number one across the globe after its release in 1984. My heart goes out to his family and all of his fans.” Michael’s former Wham! The record was his second solo album, after the hugely successful Faith, and was arranged produced and almost entirely written by Michael, but did not feature him on the album cover. “At this stage the death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious. 1 in 1990, Older in 1996, Songs From The Last Century in 1999 and Patience in 2004. bandmate Andrew Ridgeley said he was “heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend Yog”, an affectionate nickname used for the star. There will be no further comment at this stage.” As well as being known for his talents, Michael had a turbulent personal life, as brushes with the law and tales of drug use saw him hit the headlines. ‘90 in 1990, Cowboys And Angels in 1991, Round Here in 2004, True Faith in 2011 and Let Her Down Easy just two years ago. Wham! Sir Elton John posted a photograph of himself and Michael on Instagram, writing: “I am in deep shock. A xx” Madonna paid her own tribute, posting an undated video on Twitter in which she embraced Michael on stage. 1 had been set to be reissued accompanied by a new film featuring Stevie Wonder, Elton John and the supermodels who starred in the video to his hit single Freedom! ADVERTISEMENT They were the first Western pop act to visit China when they played there in 1985, before splitting in …

Iconic images: Muhammad Ali, Bruce Springsteen and Monterey Jazz

It shows Ali from behind, in black and white, doing his early-morning roadwork; pounding the Pennsylvania gravel in a grey tracksuit and heavy black boots. The historian Nat Hentoff places jazz of that era in its proper cultural context – an integrated scene that maintained its dignity in the maelstrom of the civil rights struggle. “If there’s a secret to my fights,” Ali once said, “it’s how I prepare.” This collection of photographs gives us a privileged window into both the brutality and humanity that this preparation entailed. Ali is walking back to his corner, his arms raised in a victory many aficionados say was perfection personified (he sent Williams to the canvas four times). The perfect shot for the perfect fight. ADVERTISEMENT But Ali was just a man (even if the distinction of super- is unconditionally prefixed to him). It’s as if Ali swallowed life whole and transmitted only its joy through himself to anyone within his orbit. Instead, my mind’s eye conjures an image taken by Peter Angelo Simon in 1974. We see his breath cutting through the stillness of the new morning air, while a shaft of sunlight cuts across the middle of the frame. Indulging the celestial metaphor once more, I always feel that if you had labelled Ali a meteorite, he would have slapped you down saying a meteorite was too small-time – he was the asteroid! ADVERTISEMENT Muhammad Ali: Fighter’s Heaven 1974 (Reel Art Press, £29.95) Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band 1975 (Reel Art Press, £40) Jazz Festival: Jim Marshall (Reel Art Press, £45) Following two critically acclaimed albums, a lo-fi Boss is captured in these gritty portraits trying to piece together what would become his breakout album Born To Run. Someone we think of as the embodiment of American values is Bruce Springsteen and – unlike jazz and boxing – it feels like he has never had anything but praise and approbation during his career. This large book is an eye-catching testament to an age of effortless cool – sharp suits, smoked edges, sounds rising to the stratosphere – and features a foreword from famous sax player (and sometime president of the United States) Bill Clinton. With his trusted band in tow, we see a stripped-back Bruce: unadorned, living out of a bag, and from meal to meal probably. If boxing is taking something of a standing count from mainstream consciousness …