Friday 29 June 2007

The Kanyu Tree Vs The NME (In My Eyes)


The Kanyu Tree...

A musical triumvirate comprised of three brothers, Daniel, Shane, and Oisín Cluskey. They hail from Salthill in Galway. Impressively harmonised pop intelligence is their bag, allied with a generous helping of white boy funk. Think Stevie Wonder via The Beach Boys with a left turn at Teenage Fanclub... Although not quite as seminal. This is a band deeply immersed in the rhetoric of pop music, easily transcending the androgynous tripe of the NME Flavour Of The Month TM. (Whomever that may currently be, I do lose track.) The Kanyu Tree possess a self-awareness generally lacking in these oiks. Irrespective of scenes, theirs is to offer up intentionally upbeat pure pop gems. Dancing is the only option.

By the way, they used to be called The Cheerfuls. To celebrate their re-monikering they are playing the Róisín Dubh tomorrow night. Doors 9.30pm. Having seen them live before I would heartily recommend checking them out if possible. Tome.

Song wise, worth checking out are "In My Drums", "Shima", or "Sycamore". Doing so is possible at:

By way of conclusion (and to further berate NME and their ilk), a brief quotation of Mikrofisch:

"Coldplay, Keane and Kaiser Chiefs / Kasabian, Jet and Razorlight
Kings of Leon, Dead 60’s / The kids are all shite!"

The Week In Idiocy


Via www.b3ta.com

Dubya Diplomacy

"One day the good Lord will take Fidel Castro away." - George W Bush.

Bush: "One Day The Good Lord Will Take Fidel Castro Away" - Reuters.

Really, this quote does more to undermine the twit than sarcasm ever could.


As an added treat I present you with perhaps the most inane news brief of the millennium. Even more feckless than Albanian Watchgate.

Blogosphere 1 Ceann Comhairle 0

"If you can keep your head when all around you have lost theirs, then you probably haven't understood the seriousness of the situation." - David Brent



Via Green Ink. He took the ball and ran. Huzzah sir!

Thursday 28 June 2007

The Paradox Of (Irish) Politics

Politics is a funny old game. On one end of the spectrum lie the pure ideologies of politics, a constant potential for societal inclusion and visceral change. On the other end fester the shysters, the feckless manipulators of the realpolitik (the kindest of euphemisms)... The Irish electorate are only too aware of this dichotomy. Allow me to present examples of both.

Firstly, an optimistic example...

Nigerian asylum seeker becomes Ireland's first black mayor - Breaking News.

Rotimi Adebari, a Nigerian asylum seeker forced to leave his country for fear of religious persecution was today elected Ireland's first black mayor. Adebari, 43, arrived in Portlaoise, Co Laois with his family in 2000 and later set-up an unemployment support group in the county after he failed to get work... Huzzah! A truly uplifting tale. A beacon of democratic possibility.

Now, a shyster...

John O' Donoghue. Gormless.


Via Twenty Major

Soundtrack To My Life

Una (definitely) Rocks and she posted this fun type activity today.

If your life was a movie, what would the soundtrack be?
So, here's how it works:

1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc.)
2. Put it on shuffle.
3. Press play.
4. For every question, type the song that's playing.
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button.
6. Do not lie and try to pretend you are cool.

This is the soundtrack to the major motion picture event that is me:

Opening Credits: "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" - Smokey Robinson & The Miracles.

Waking Up: "God Only Knows" - The Beach Boys.

First Day At School: "Moon Hop" - Derrick Morgan.

Falling In Love: "Bottle Of Smoke" - The Pogues.

Fight Song: "Run Fay Run" - Isaac Hayes.

Breaking Up: "Wake Up & Make Love With Me" - Ian Dury & The Blockheads.

Prom: "Bo Diddley" - Buddy Holly.

Life: "Blindinoneeye" - Radical Face.

Mental Breakdown: "Window" - Fiona Apple.

Driving: "In Diesen Raum" - Trost.

Flashback: "Monsters In The Parasol" - Queens Of The Stone Age.

Getting back together: "Jam Band Death Cult" - Ninja High School.

Wedding: "Girl, I'm Gonna Fuck You Up" - Republic Of Loose.

Birth of Child: "The Magic Number" - De La Soul.

Final Battle: "Walk Like An Egyptian" - The Bangles.

Death Scene: "Indestructable Sam" - Buck 65.

Funeral Song: "The Slip" - Reverend Cleatus & The Soul Saviours.

End Credits: "Kung Fu" - Ash.

Must admit to being satisfied with that playlist of chance. John - The OST available soon.

Have a go yourself.

Wednesday 27 June 2007

EGGS

Irish Youtube is turning out to be a right old giggle. To celebrate, another Irish short film: Eggs by James Cotter. Zombie Catholicism.

The Dim Blue Line


Gardaí are selling replica guns at a sale of lost and stolen goods in Dublin, it emerged today. Despite calls from a senior opposition politician for the silver and black-coloured mock pistols to be pulled from the auction the force insist they are harmless toys. A box of around 27 of the fake firearms, complete with plastic ammunition and two training targets, are part of a lot being auctioned off tomorrow at Kevin Street Garda Station.

This is an amazingly stupid move by the Gardaí. A Garda spokesman insists that they are obvious replicas, yet this is hardly the point... Gun culture is on an upward trajectory in Ireland. Do you not read The Star people? This gun culture was a constant bugbear of Honest Enda throughout the election, and thereby a considerable source of annoyance for The League Of Bertie. Gardaí, why then leave yourself so blatantly open for criticism by selling these 27 'toys'? Would just fucking them in the bin really have been that ideologically reprehensible? The cap gun as expression of freedom? Okay.

However, I must admit I am reassured by the fact that these are obvious replicas. I mean, an Irish post office has never been robbed with the aid of a replica firearm. Never in the history of this state has that occurred.

Phew.


NOTE - For international readers, The Star is a considered tome of bona fide journalistic reportage.

Tuesday 26 June 2007

The Princess & The Marine


Next Tuesday there is a film airing on TV3 at 9.00pm. It is, of course, a TV movie. It is, of course, based on a true story.

The movie is about a love affair between a US marine, Jason Johnson, and Meriam Al-Khalifa, a member of the royal family of Bahrain. It is called, fittingly:

The Princess & the Marine (2001).

Further adding to the insanity, Mark-Paul Gosselaar stars as Jason Johnson. You know him... Zack from Saved By The Bell!

They grow up so fast.

Whinge-Off!



PETA president Ingrid Newkirk has blasted Michael Moore, labelling him a hypocrite for criticising the US health service in his new film SiCKO. Her reason? The fact that Michael Moore is so terribly unhealthy. In a letter to Moore she wrote: "There's an elephant in the room, and it's you." She then encouraged Moore to become a vegetarian and check out goveg.com, PETA's veggie recipe site.

Now, Ingrid. Steady on love... Firstly, you are calling the guy fat. That is just mean. More importantly, your argument makes no sense. Surely if Michael Moore is unhealthy then that makes him perfectly qualified - or at the very least, no less qualified than anybody else - to comment on the health service. After all, unhealthy people are generally the people that use a health service.

Poor woman, must be the vitamin and mineral deficiencies...


P.S. It is the opinion of The New(ish) Journalism that Michael Moore films are plebeian piles of emotionally manipulative cinematic wank. They are cynical polemic, not documentary.

Me, My Life, & I

Over time, having surveyed the Bebo pages of innumerable friends and random folk alike, I have reached a questionable theorem, which is as follows... There are but five ways of tackling the perpetually tricky Me, My Life, And I section.

1. THE COMEDIC ONE-LINER INTRODUCTION
A sarcastic, surrealist, obvious, or (tragically) unfunny pinch of whimsy designed to quickly entice the vast swathes of wanton Bebo whores that pass through.

2. THE PERSONAL/HEARTFELT/OPEN APPROACH
Adopted only by females, or 13 year olds. Or both.

3. THE ESOTERIC RAMBLE
A course of action utilised by this very individual in the past. Advisable only to those capable of providing dexterous recompense via the art of aimless shitehawking.

4. QUOTATIONS FROM FILM/TV/SONG/POETRY/SCRIPTURE
Utilised only by the true dullard. Simple, but not effective. However, rare exceptions are to be found and are orgasmic in wallop. Irony is advisable.

5. THE "WRITE NOTHING AT ALL" MERCHANT
Social retards. Should fuck off back to the abyss.

Does Ireland need nuclear power?

Personally, I would say no. Ireland is rich in the renewable resources of the post-carbon era: wind, wave, tide, solar, biomass. Also, nuclear power in Ireland would simply not be economically viable without considerable state subsidies. I would assume that bankrolling such government subsidies is not what the carbon tax was intended for.

However, debate on the topic is essential and the following articles make for a fascinating read:

Head2Head - Does Ireland need nuclear power?

Sound points are made by both sides, but I leave you with the words of Oisín Coghlan. He says no:

And let us not forget that no country has yet developed a repository for the long-term storage of the high-level radioactive waste. Waste that has to be kept safe, without leaks, for over 200,000 years, twice as long as homo sapiens have been on Earth.

Malajube - Indie-Pop from Quebec

Malajube: a French-language indie-pop collective that hail from Quebec. Pulsating grooves, insistent tempos, uplifting harmonies... These lads are quite endearing. They are also playing the Foggy Notions Stage at the Picnic. Check out these pleasantly quirky videos.

"Le Métronome" - Malajube. (Watch until the end.)


"Pate Filo" - Malajube.

www.malajube.com

Monday 25 June 2007

Mike Gravel Vs Hillary Clinton


The following is a direct quote from Hillary Clinton, the current forerunner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination:

"The American military has succeeded. It is the Iraqi government which has failed to make the tough decisions that are important for their own people.''

This is a frightening statement, a malevolent irony. It is a statement that typifies the ceaseless flip-flop psyche of the eminent Democratic candidates... The frenzied power grabbing, the apparent lack of self-awareness or societal obligation... The ideological stagnation that could yet mortally wound the Democratic nominee in 2008.

Yes, this is a frightening statement, and this is a fear I share with Democratic candidate Mike Gravel. Read this article. Compelling:


One can but hope that Gravel will receive the Democratic nomination. Not a single other Democratic candidate (or Republican) comes close to matching the gravitas and sense of duty that this man exudes. Please Americans, make it so.

I, for one, am getting tired of the fuck ups.

Random Youtube Funnies

Flight Of The Conchords - "The Bowie Song". Probably the funniest thing I've seen in a long while.



Pitch 'n' Putt with Beckett 'n' Joyce by Donald Clarke. Genius Irish short film.

Sunday 24 June 2007

Jeremy Clarkson - The Inventor Of Rock Music


Playing the fool at Glastonbury - Jeremy Clarkson, The Sunday Times.

Jeremy Clarkson. He likes cars and he writes a column for The Sunday Times. Today in his column he bitched tunelessly about Glastonbury and modern music festivals in general:

But I do have a problem with Glastonbury. Rock music is ours. By which I mean it belongs to anyone born between 1950 and 1971. We invented it, and we made the rules.

Clarkson's wife attended the festival, and this is what lay in store for her according to Jeremy:

But what she’ll get is a bunch of reedy-voiced, stick-thin teenagers who’ve nicked what is rightfully ours and mangled it out of all recognition. A bunch of useless, talentless ne’er-do-wells who’d love to play you their next song but only after they’ve delivered a sermon on the evils of corporate America, global warming and how we should all club together to help some poor African kid with flies in his eyes. Oh, for God’s sake. Either turn on the lasers or eff off.

This is how he finishes his neanderthal tirade:

I’m not proposing for a moment we ban festivals. There are some good ones, where old bands, who know what they’re doing, play old favourites to old people on rugs. But I do think the time has come for new bands to be banned from playing or performing rock music. It’s ours. They should go and invent their own plaything.

What a cunt.

Friday 22 June 2007

"I thought you were into festivals..."

I have just returned from a distracted meander through the luscious environs of the Greater Ennis area. I met an old friend from work on my travels. The following is a segment from our somewhat awkward encounter:
"No man. Not into the Electric Picnic buzz at all man. Oxegen all the way man, going for the first time this year. Fuckin' savage man. You going?"

"No. Not really bothered."

"My arse man. Couldn't get a ticket yeah?

"No. Not really bothered. Doesn't interest me."

"Sure I thought you were into festivals and that shit man."

"I am. Just not into Oxegen."

"Why not like?"

Now, this is how I should have replied...

"Erm... Snow Patrol, Scissor Sisters, Amy Winehouse, Tori Amos, The Goo Goo Dolls, The Killers, Razorshite, The Kooks, Baby Shambles, Klaxons, and most of all that fuckwit Mika. Also... the general atmosphere of cynicism and latent malevolence, the omnipresent scobe and the subsequent unease, Tiesto in the campsite, roaming hordes of White Lightning fuelled beagles, the faint echo of Seven Nation Army's insistent progression (as roared by mindless arseholes), the degenerate security personnel, the tent burning, the toilet tossing, the allegations of rape.

Basically... the festival's soulless commercialism. The complete lack of heart or ingenuity in its organisation. The fact that Oxegen stands as an insult to Darwinism; a folly of cultural immediacy for the truly un-evolved... Mika."

Instead, I looked at my former colleague. I glanced into his eyes and at once saw the purity of his soul. It shone from him like a beacon, and momentarily cleansed me of my tumultuous memories. Thankful for this solace, I could not bring myself to tell. Let this festival virgin be sodomised by the rampant sex pest that is Oxegen TM... A twisted epiphany awaits the foolhardy.

"Grace Kelly" plays at the gates of Hades. Mika has made his pact... Kerchinnnng-ah!

Black Sheep

I've been keeping tabs on this flick for quite some time. Jonathan King's Black Sheep; an intriguing blend of B-movie schlock and revolutionary agricultural technology. The plot is ludicrously daft: the pastoral elegance of New Zealand is torn asunder by rampaging hordes of zombie sheep... It's all very Freudian.

I have never trusted sheep, what with their beady eyes and nervous disposition. Sinister gimps.

Oh, Dolly! When Sheep Go Bad, Forget the Peace in the Valley - NY Times.

Thursday 21 June 2007

The Longest Day Of The Year

21 June. The Summer Solstice. The Longest Day Of The Year.

As I gaze wistfully out at the glorious June cloud cover and heavy showers, whilst absently nursing our freshly neutered dog (not my decision), I would have to agree. This truly is the longest bastard day of the year.

The horror. The whining.

Wednesday 20 June 2007

The Go! Team, Deerhoof & Robinson's Fruit & Barley

A trio of audiovisual treats now... First up, The Go! Team's "Grip Like A Vice". Aurally, not too dissimilar to their debut, but when it ain't broke and so on... A riotous animated smorgasbord of block party vibes, blaxploitation imagery, and graffiti catechisms. Their performance at Electric Picnic is eagerly anticipated.





Next, Deerhoof's "Wrong Time Capsule". They are headlining the Foggy Notions Stage at the Picnic and a sonically quixotic show lies in store for those who choose to attend. I may well be one of them, a lack of clashes permitting... Apeshit animation, directed by Martha Colburn.




Last and probably least, but endearing in its own right... The rather sweet advertisement for Robinson's Fruit & Barley currently doing the televisual rounds. Why its inclusion in this trio? The quirky animation fits quite comfortably with the aesthetic of this post, and that's Deerhoof playing in the background that is... Capitalist swine! I jest.



Thomond Park No More

Thomond Park Is Dead! Long Live The Toyota Arena? Bulmers Park? Etc.



Thomond renaming to trigger red alert - Gerry Thornley, The Irish Times.


A sad day for Munster rugby. Thomond Park is gone. Well, the old ground will be redeveloped, but in a move of most penurious commercialism, the IRFU and the Munster Branch have decided to sell the naming rights to the ground when reopened in November.

Three things annoy me about this needless sacrifice of valued Irish sporting folklore:

(1) There is the obvious betrayal of the tradition of the hallowed stadium. It may well be the same field as before, but it will not be Thomond. It is in "Thomond Park" where the All Blacks were famously defeated, in "Thomond Park" where Chabal was hammered into the turf, in "Thomond Park" where O' Gara put Saracens to the sword all those years ago... For those of you who may say it is only a name... Would you mind then if Croke Park was renamed the Guinness Arena? Thought so.

(2) The IRFU and the Munster Branch were clearly considering selling the naming rights since the redevelopment began. Why not build a new stadium (with a new name) in a designated greenfield site then? Why needlessly obliterate Thomond? Such an alternative greenfield development would cost less, involve less planning permission proceedings, permit a larger capacity stadium and the possibility of proper amenities in the locale. Maybe even improved training facilities and an academy or two... Instead, the gobshites have gone for the worst of both worlds.

(3) Nobody seems to have considered the longevity of the new stadium's feasibility... The French clubs and the Guinness Premiership have shown how petulant their approach to the Heineken Cup can be, and how desperately the competition needs their continued involvement to survive. If they eventually decide to quit (not too unrealistic a possibility you will agree) then Munster rugby's new indulgence would be in dire straits... I hardly expect there to be a 26,000 capacity crowd at every Magners League clash once the stadium reopens. Without the Heineken Cup, the funds lost to this venture would result in an hastening of the exodus of players from the province. Hardly beneficial to club or country.


Honestly, some people.

The Irish Unification Of 2024


Sitting above is an excerpt from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Listen carefully at 00:41. An intriguing political foresight is it not? Such prescience and considered application of crass generalisations... How could anyone take offence?

I think this clip is from the episode where Jean-Luc and Co. land on a planet that looks really like Earth; an Earth with colour filtered grass and random smatterings of glaringly plastic foliage. On this planet they interfere in the politics of the local alien types, who look really like humans with rubbish prosthetics. Jean-Luc then saves the day with some derivative cod philosophising and a rubbish laser fight...

Tuesday 19 June 2007

WTF Comics # 2: Johnny Cash



It is a series then. It will be a sporadic compilation at best.

WTF Comics # 1: Hansi


The first in a possible series... The depravity! Meine augen!

Battles & Buck 65 @ The Róisín Dubh


A hearty congratulations to those who organise at the Róisín Dubh. Over the next few months Galway shall be treated to two exceptional acts as a consequence of your endeavours...

Firstly, Buck 65 is playing the venue for the Galway Arts Festival. Buck is a gifted lyricist and a performer of no little charisma. A hip hop experience not to be missed, especially whilst cosily immersed in the confines of Róisín's.
  • Mon 23 July. Doors: 21:00. Admission: €18 (€16 members).

Secondly, Battles. Their recent Mirrored is a distinct joy, an album of required status. Also, the word from friends who saw them at Primavera is that their live show is similarly impressive. All in all, decidedly worth the price of admission.

  • Thu 23 Aug. Doors: 21:00. Admission: €22.50 (€20 members).

Further details at www.roisindubh.net.

The Evolutionary Plateau of Contemporary American Hip Hop

Just today The Rocking Una posted a link to the following fantastic article on the commercial slide and creative stasis of mainstream American hip hop:

Can rap recover from sales slump - USA Today.

A rant about the cynical and clichéd nature of mainstream American hip hop should be forthcoming, but there is no need. The dislocated egotistical greed of its major stars is adequately summed up in the following sentence: 50 Cent endorses grape-flavoured vitamin water. Any claims to credibility are lost in this nonsense, and people are beginning to tire of it all. Gangsta rappers seem to have lost all sense of the altruistic and communal angst of their predecessors. Who cares when there is a new Nike to peddle?

An injection of wit and creativity is seriously needed if commercial American hip hop is to be revived. However, I doubt the will for change even exists. The gangsta captains are going down with their pimped out ships. Aiight!

For your aural and visual delectation, the Irish Messiah J & The Expert with "Something Outta Nothing". An example of creative, witty and effortlessly cerebral hip hop. An example of how hip hop should be. An old example, but a good one nonetheless:


My, what a reactionary post. Thanks www.unarocks.blogspot.com.

The Legacies of Bertie

The initial confusion has subsided somewhat. I have regained composure and offer to you now my compendious analysis of the merger of Fianna Fáil and the Green Party. Compendious and cynical, but needs must and so on.

Firstly, this is almost certainly the last term in the chequered existence of The League Of Bertie. The Man from Drumcondra therefore must be considering his political legacy; however much he insists on his continuing passion for the job. The question he asks himself then is this: "How shall Bertie be remembered?" Introducing... The Greens. Simply put, if their proposed 30% reduction in Irish carbon emissions is a successful policy then it will no doubt be manipulated as Bertie's success. He will become Bertie the Environmentalist, as well as Bertie the Peacekeeper (Northern Ireland) and Bertie the Health Conscious (the smoking ban). It is euphemistic bullet points such as these that Irish political historians (and secondary level school books) tend to focus on. You think Bertie does not realise this?

The other possible scenario is of course the abject failure of the carbon emission reductions. If this happens, who do you think shoulders the blame? The Greens will be chewed up and spit out, easily assuming the malignant lightning conductor mantel of McDowell... Still, what else can one expect whilst hugging trees in stormy weather? (Splendid metaphor there.)

Secondly, the motivations behind the Green decision to coalesce with Fianna Fáil. This decision was a nervous grab for power. Hungry pragmatism brought about by the realisation that Fianna Fáil could very easily return to power in five years time. Granted, one can not argue with their rhetoric that it is an opportunity to implement Green policies. However it comes at a significant ideological cost, and given time could seriously weaken the Green Party's ideological support base. The tears of McKenna could yet prove prescient.

Much has been made of the duplicity of the Green movement into coalition. The widespread surprise at this occurence is somewhat redundant, in my own humble. And I should not be alone in this opinion. Yes, Sargent made some noise about not entering into the fray with Bertie. But it was his noise. It has he would not lead the Green Party into coalition. Of course, by continuing as acting leader he has broken his promise to the Irish electorate, but a new party leader should appear soon. Considering the grand deceptions of Irish politics, to pursue this one seems a tad pedantic does it not? Also, throughout the election the man never stopped mentioning Green Parties around Europe who have been in government... The most high profile example? The German Greens. The German Greens who sided with (essentially) the German Fianna Fáil.

What happened them? They got fucked... Pass the tissues McKenna.

By the way, I voted Green.

Monday 18 June 2007

Juxtapositiony Part Deux

Last week I noted the certain irony of examining Junior Certificate Science and Religion on the same day. Whilst talking to a beautiful stranger in The Village on Saturday night the topic somehow came up in conversation. I noted the irony once more, expecting her satisfied chuckles in lieu of my (blatantly obvious) witticism. The conversation continued and ended like so:

"What's funny about that?"

"Science and religion."

"Yeah?"

"Science and religion? Together?"

"Well, maybe the exams were arranged alphabetically."

"I wish. My sister is sitting her Music exam next week."

"So?"

"Mama, I'm frightened."

It was an arduous weekend. Remarkable fun though... I had thought blogging was beyond me today. Until this... It must be stated that the following clip could have dragged me into the chasm, engulfing me with The Fear/Confusion. Instead it rescued me from a day's blogospheric oblivion. Godspeed Depp!
The man brought us Father Ted, Black Books, and this... Why That's Delightful, Graham Linehan's Hompendium of Dorithies. Take a minute.


Friday 15 June 2007

The Ould Catholic Guilt

Ah jaysus now, ye can't be having a go at the Pope... Bollocks...

Holy twisted misogyny Batman, the Vatican council have called for Catholics to withdraw support for human rights group Amnesty International, accusing the group of promoting abortion. The Vatican have also withdrawn all financial aid to Amnesty. According to the council's president Cardinal Renato Martino:

"... the "suspension of all financing of Amnesty by Catholic organisations and by individuals" is the "inevitable consequence" of the group's recent decision to support access to abortion for women who had been raped or whose health was endangered by their pregnancy."

Amnesty have said that their actions were inspired by the group's international campaign to combat violence against women. However, it will not conduct any worldwide campaign in favour of abortion or its general legalisation and "will not make any judgement on whether it is right or not."

In 1996 the Catholic Church took a similar measure in cutting off aid to the United Nations childrens' fund UNICEF, also accused of promoting abortion. UNICEF was distributing in refugee camps around the world a post-intercourse spermicide for young women or teenage girls who had been raped.

At the time Vatican aid to UNICEF totalled $2,000 a year.

Interestingly, after this declaration by the Vatican, Amnesty Italy promptly countered with a statement saying that it had received absolutely no financial aid from the Vatican anyway.

The Catholic Church? Practitioners of self-serving hypocrisy? Say it ain't so...

Sinister vibrations.



Story found at:

http://www.france24.com/france24Public/en/news/world/20070614-Vatican-Pope-Amnesty-abortion-Catholics.html

"Every Day Should Have Its Golden Moments"

www.currychips.com



ROFL. Figuratively.

In Fact, Ah (2005 - 2007)

In remembrance, direct from www.infactah.com, The Biscuit Tin Series:

By the way, this is my 100th post. "That's the circle... The circle of life!"

The Summer Of The Sequel

"Look... I tried to tell Bruckheimer that he's lost the run of himself, that Pirates is based on a fecking DisneyLand amusement, and that by attempting to instill a sense of the grandiose and the epic he has robbed the franchise of the brevity and charm of the first film. But he just won't listen! Still, I'm in it providing some humorous asides amidst the ceaseless boredom."
Here is my capsule review of Hollywood's sequelistic (?) endeavours thus far:

28 Weeks Later: Cynical shite.

Spiderman 3: Regrettable shite.

Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End: Meandering shite.

Ocean's Thirteen: Vacuous shite.
NOTE - Although fleetingly smitten by the charisma of the Ocean's cast, I soon realised my folly. The plot is 100% clunky exposition leading up to a final heist that is paradoxically ludicrous and unimaginative. It is also completely devoid of dramatic tension. Plus the Chunnel thing is fucking stupid.

Thursday 14 June 2007

Flight Of The Conchords

A new HBO comedy series is starting across the pond this Sunday, June 17th. It is called Flight Of The Conchords, starring New Zealand digi-folk-comedy duo Flight Of The Conchords. Apt title then. The programme charts the efforts of Jermaine Clement and Bret McKenzie (the band) as they attempt to break America from their new home, New York City. Unfortunately they have so far only secured one fan (a married obsessive), one friend (the local pawn shop owner), and a dim manager who also/mostly works at the New Zealand Consulate.
A musical sitcom whose quirky aesthetics are heavily indebted to the likes of Peep Show and Curb Your Enthusiasm... This may be one to watch. The first episode is damn funny and can be seen in full at:

http://www.hbo.com/conchords/index.html

Here is a sneak preview. A song they call "Robots":


Juxtapositiony

Teenagers the country over sat two Junior Certificate examinations today. They were:

Science and Religion.

On the same day. Funny that.



The Steve Albini Experience

Steve Albini - acerbic singer, gifted guitarist, mesmerising performer, indie icon, and one of the most universally regarded audio engineers on the planet. Mention his name and most people will think of Nirvana, Pixies and PJ Harvey, and considering the brilliant albums that he produced with these artists, they would be right to do so. However the man has worked with well over a thousand bands. He also helped to re-examine and re-mould minimalist guitar rock with three wildly dichotomous bands of his own; Big Black, Rapeman, and his current project Shellac. To coincide with the upcoming release of Shellac's first album in seven years, he gave an interview with Foggy Notions' Eamon Sweeney in the May issue of the magazine.

Albini has always been a critic of the machinations of the music industry and his vehemency does not relent in the company of Sweeney. One of the highlights of this interview is an excerpt from an emotional letter he wrote to the Chicago Reader in 1993. He was somewhat perplexed about the Reader's review of the year's best albums. The letter ended thusly:
Artists who survive on hype are often critic's pets. They don't, however, make timeless, classic music that survives trends and inspires generations of fans and other artists. There are artists in Chicago doing just that, but you don't write about them. You save your zeal instead for this year's promo fixtures. Shame on your lazy head. Clip your year-end column and put it away for ten years. See if you don't feel like an idiot when you re-read it.
Fuck you,
Steve Albini.
A prescient and timeless statement in and of itself... Ten years from now I hardly think I will be desperately seeking friends for a lend of their albums by Razorlight, Klaxons, or The Kooks. Nor tomorrow either, come to think of it... NME, take note.

In the interview Sweeney also mentions Albini's detailed critical analysis of the music industry, The Problem With Music, published in the American cultural-political journal The Baffler in 1993. A fascinating read. Check it out at:

http://www.negativland.com/albini.html

Whilst on the topic of Albini, beneath lies a clip of considerable interest... Subtle covering Shellac's "Prayer To God" live in Salt Lake City, Utah in March of this year. Dose gripped by convulsions of anger. His delivery dripping with targeted invective. Enjoy:


Wednesday 13 June 2007

A Polyphonic Post

Even a heart of reinforced granite would melt when confronted by the soaring nonchalance of The Polyphonic Spree. Seen them live before, and will certainly see them again at the Picnic. Spellbinding muthas... Below lies the video for their new single "Running Away": an ingenious compilation of over 70,000 still photographs. Not a millisecond of video footage was utilised in the completion of this:

Next, a "treat" of the quixotic variation for thee. A symphony of sock puppetry, merrily soundtracked by The Spree's cover of "Lithium"... Thoughts?

Stop The Presses!

George W Bush's watch may have been stolen whilst meeting the citizens of Albania. Link

In other breaking news:

Vladimir Putin can not remember where he put his house keys.

A bit miffed...

Ok... Bertie is a "socialist". This would explain his eagerness to embrace the "left-wing politics" of the Green Party. (Thank you McDowell).

But Ciarán Cuffe described any such coalition as a "deal with the devil". The Faustian melodrama is a bit excessive is it not Ciarán?

No, wait, Hill of Tara campaigners have described the burgeoning government as a "sell-out of Green Party principles and policies".

Well, I suppose that's "tree huggers" for you. Eh, Dick Roche? Eh?

Where's Trevor Sargent gone? Oh, he's still here. But he said...
Nervous folks?

Tuesday 12 June 2007

The Jai-Alai Savant

The Jai-Alai Savant... A cracking power rock triumvirate hailing from Chicago. The product of fronting mastermind Ralph Darden, these boys pack a vibrant punch. Their songs, hook laden pop compositions one and all, channel the bounciest aspects of everything from reggae to post-punk. The emphasis is always on the joy of the groove. Rooted and self-aware, The Jai-Alai Savant offer a determinate option amidst the ceaseless erosion of independent music hype.

Tracks of note on their debut album Flight Of The Bass Delegate include "White On White Crime", "Thunderstatement", and "Scarlett Johansson Why Don't You Love Me", all present and correct on their myspace. Check out the video for "White On White Crime" below. Tasty.

Interesting Trivia Aside #1 (And Only): Jai-Alai - the lunatic variation of the Basque sport pelota - appeared in the opening credits of the TV series Miami Vice. A death among players was part of the plot of one episode, "Killshot", which aired during the 3rd season... So there.

Ahem, the video:



http://www.myspace.com/thejaialaisavant

The Bebo "Friend Stories"

Those of us who partake in the sociological imperative that is Bebo will recently have noticed a new facet to the site's limitless gimmick armoury... The "Friend Story". Bouncing baby Gandhi on a particularly arthritic elephant, who is employed to come up with this nefarious drivel?

For those of you unaware (you lucky people, cease reading immediately), the Bebo "Friend Story" works like this. Brace yourselves... You open the "Friend Stories" page. You tick a box saying how you know your chosen friend/acquaintance - Family, Through A Friend, School Or College, Childhood Friends, Met Randomly, Through Bebo etc. You then have the option of further elaborating on your mutual connection via a maximum of 300 words. Or vice versa, you receive a "Friend Story" from your friend/acquaintance asking you to confirm the validity of their story... Erm, that's it.

This is one of the most excruciatingly moronic concepts I have encountered in a long while. A dangerously sharp intake of pungent air, and here goes... Firstly, a single ticked box and a longer than average sentence hardly constitutes a bloody story. The seanchaí of bygone ages would certainly have struggled to weave a lyrical tale with the product of this format... "Let me tell you a tale of a love unrequited, of persons unable to belong, Fionnula and Conchúr... Conchúr was Fionnula's Friend. They had known each other all the way through college. Mad yokes they were, especially in Copper's. Great craic :)" Oh, I'm so riveted and enlightened.

Secondly, if you are Bebo friends with someone, and I'm going way out on a reckless limb here, but you're probably already fucking aware of how you know each other! Furthermore, and once more we enter the realm of wild assumption, most of your Bebo friends probably already know each other. Therefore, they too already know how you know each other. Erego, nobody is in fact enlightened by the Bebo "Friend Story". Not your mutual friends and acquaintances, already knowledgeable of the basic mechanics of your relationship. Nor the Bebo "Friend Story" scribe or the Bebo "Friend Story" muse, as there is a total lack of care or attention applied to the procedure. It's as cold as ice, completely sans emotional sacrifice...

Maybe it is just my poetic soul, but I would require a sprawling tome from any of my chosen brethren in life's ceaseless meander. Volumes of intricately woven papyrus, bound by the joyous and grateful tears of their compiler. Tales of a soul destitute and forlorn until the searing illumination of my presence eased all pain... So Bebo Friends, please do not send me such a dim and inadvertently antagonistic "Friend Story". It does hurt me so.

Spleen vented. I need a smoothie.

Monday 11 June 2007

Pentagon Once Considered Developing A "Gay Bomb"

Yes, you just read that. Security officials in the Pentagon once considered the development of chemical weaponry that when deployed would render opposition soldiers sexually irresistible to one another. And therefore useless in combat. But of course... Just how offensive and wrong some people can be? Laughably so it seems. Watch the clip below for more insane details:

Galway Film Fleadh Masterclasses '07

Hearty congratulations to the Galway Film Fleadh and the Galway Film Centre. They are providing tutors straight out of the top drawer for this year's series of festival masterclasses. Application shall be swift on my part. Oh yes.

  • The Directors’ Masterclass with legendary German New Wave director Volker Schlöndorff, takes place Friday 13 July 2007 in the morning.
  • The Actors’ Masterclass with Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons takes place Saturday 14 July 2007 in the morning.
  • Furthermore, the Galway Film Fleadh/Galway Film Centre in association with Northern Ireland Screen, will be presenting the Screenwriters Masterclass with acclaimed screenwriter Terry George which takes place Friday 13th July in the afternoon.
  • Admission to each Masterclass is by application only. The cost of each half day Masterclass is €50. Deadline for application is 5pm, Friday June 29th 2007.

www.galwayfilmfleadh.com

"I don't know what a tracker mortgage is."

Found of Blogorrah, but of course. Well played sirs. Well played.



www.blogorrah.com - In case you did not already know.

Live Arse

Live Earth is a derivative, nonsensical, self-important, collective ego wank that will achieve absolutely nothing except further needless carbon emission. An inconvenient truth? Afraid so.

To be honest, the writing was well and truly on the wall when Bob Geldof, the Boomtown Messiah himself, wanted nothing to do with the latest benign pop crusade. Al Gore, according to Geldof, you are wasting "yer fuckin' time." Geldof went on to condemn the event's lack of clear, concrete objectives. "I would only organise a gig like this if I could go on stage and announce concrete environmental measures from the US presidential candidates," he told a Dutch newspaper. To be fair Bob, time has shown Live 8 to be far from a monumental success in this respect either. People in glass houses...

Do not for a moment get me wrong. I care very much for the environment, and would dearly love this series of gigs to successfully awaken Middle-Class Earth from her ignorant slumber. The environmental importance of our generation and the perilous ecological imperatives of our time can not be underestimated. However I do not bother to hope for change as a result of Live Earth. Why so?
EDIT - Originally I had listed six bullet pointed reasons as to why Live Earth is doomed to failure. Yet on reflection, I have deleted these reasons, and offer instead a far more compendious explanation. Firstly, as Geldof says, Live Earth suffers from no clear objective. Its success can never be quantified. Raised consciousness is a fine and noble aspiration, yet unless Al Gore has a few X-Men tucked up his sleeve, it will do precious little to alleviate the harm being done to our environment. Secondly, in essence Live Earth is a hypocritical farce. Why spend millions staging Live Earth and jetting rock stars and their entourages around the globe, thereby creating unnecessary carbon footprints, in order to prevent the creation of unnecessary carbon footprints? Also, it is hardly cost efficient, which is the environmental movement's supposed trump card in the battle to bring change. Finally, Radiohead, perhaps the greenest band of them all - so much so that they have threatened to cease touring to cut down on carbon emissions - have laughed it all off. Thom Yorke stating the following: "the last thing the planet needs is another rock concert."

The reformation of spoof rockers Spinal Tap is perhaps the final nail in the coffin of Live Earth's credibility. Christopher Guest's rock mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap exists as unquestionably the finest jibe ever at the preening self-importance of the rock star. It hilariously lampoons the complete lack of self-awareness that insulates their hallowed world. I truly hope that Christopher Guest took up Gore's invitation as a means to successfully deride from within. I really do. It would do his filmic repertoire a real disservice if he's being genuine this time... The folly of placing Spinal Tap on the bill is perfectly captured by Robert Sandall in the current Sunday Times Culture magazine: "Al Gore had better hope that their (Spinal Tap) slogan for the day - "We're hot, and so's the planet" - doesn't catch on."

Watch it all unfold on the telly if you will, or join me outside for a walk, or a tree hug with Dick Roche, or a strum on my acoustic guitar. You should hear it when it goes all the way up to 11.

The above facts and quotes are taken from Robert Sandall's "Green age kicks", from the current Sunday Times Culture magazine, 10th July '07. Worth a read.

The Legacy Of Yeltsin

The students of France need not fret. The oft-resourced spirit of '68 shall not be required this term. Eager to allay any misgivings about his recent election as President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy gave this rousing press conference at the G8 Summit. Such blinding statesmanship.

This appearance came after a lengthy discussion with Vladimir Putin. Refreshments were plentiful throughout, and Sarkozy left in high spirits... Ladies and gentlemen, the world's most obvious pun.

Sunday 10 June 2007

The Primavera Experience

Missed out on Primavera this year then? Me too, had gathered nowhere near the requisite funds... However, a few mates of mine made the trip to Barcelona, and to compound my (our) jealousy one of them posted a video on youtube chronicling their escapades. The charlatans. Maybe its because I know them, but I feel it quite accurately depicts the debauched lunacy of the festival break away. Huzzah DJ Eurovision! Huzzah!

I don't know what the pink marker is about either, but about 200 people bore their seal by the end of the festivities... Roll on the Picnic!

Saturday 9 June 2007

How To Spoil Your Vote

General Election '07. Votes are very much in and accounted for. Been so for quite a few days. Just ask Gormley and Cowen. Nonetheless I felt I needed to share this story from a polling station in Monaghan. Socially irresponsible, but highly amusing... Found it whilst browsing www.overheardinireland.ie.
Vote No1

Overseen in a counting station in Monaghan (I know its not Dublin but give me a break):

Beside all the candidates was "1"

Written at the bottom: "As promised"

Overheard on Tuesday, 29th May 2007 - Monaghan by Danny

Friday 8 June 2007

On Repeat: Fabriclive.27 - DJ Format


DJ Format's offering to the Fabriclive series has been on release for about a year now but I nonetheless feel compelled to "big it up", as it were. Why? The glorious recent weather and the good time vibes associated with such meteorological wonder. Rejoice Ireland, and let this seamlessly diverse compilation help you raise those pasty limbs high into the air! On Fabriclive.27 Format offers the listener an eclectic cross section of hip hop, turntablism, soul, jazz, rock, funk and swing... The common demonitor of every selection: its guaranteed party rockin' pedigree.
It all begins with "33% B-Boy", a jam of Format's own construction, all heavy beats and deft scratching. Soon after sits another Format track, "3 Feet Deep", featuring masters of the vernacular Abdominal and D-Sisive. Followed chronologically by the old skool nous of Cut Chemist, This Kid Named Miles, Coldcut and Aspects. The follies of Dubya are then vehemently ridiculed by the precision rhymes of "Get Wise '91" - Mr. Lif feat Edan. Within moments Ella Fitzgerald reworks the timeless "Sunshine Of Your Love", her voice soaring above the funky cacaphony of the horn section. Then this effortless segue... "The Slip" - Reverend Cleatus & The Soul Saviours; a fantastic, fantastic group name... To "Save Me", during which a theatrically distressed Nina Simone begs for Batman, The Green Lantern, anyone to aid her in the affairs of the heart... To the punchy union of rock riffage and organ play that is "Indian Rope Man" by Brian Auger, Julie Driscoll, & Trinity... Later, we are begged to revel in the debauched possibilities of a nocturnal lifestyle by Cleo Laine during "Night Owl"... Until procceedings are brought to a close by the shuddering beats, bass and rhymes of "Rock 'N Roll" - Edan feat Dagha.

Clocking in at over 70 minutes, this is a dream party compilation. DJ Format understands the subtleties of soundtracking a social gathering, obviously. Play it low and toes will be tapping as the conversation ebbs and flows in time. Play it loud and feel the floor vibrate under a devastation of dancing. Brilliant stuff.

Because I have grown fond of all y'all... The excellent video for DJ Format's "3 Feet Deep":


The Battle Of Algiers @ The IFI from June 16th



Gillo Pontecorvo's The Battle Of Algiers... Perhaps the celluloid definition of native resistance to a colonial occupier... Pontecorvo's is an intense and immaculate filmic scrutiny of the decline of French imperialism in Algeria. It is a film so visceral in emotional impact, so raw and unbridled that in the four decades since its release it has often been mistaken for a documentary. Yet the film's continuing relevance is not simply a result of its political and societal concerns. Its continuing relevance is not because of its self-evident parallels with the political landscape of today. This film is beyond polemical manipulation. It is cinematic truism, Pontecorvo's direction heavily indebted to the verité aesthetics of Godard et al. As Donald Clarke states in The Ticket today:
"The Battle of Algiers is remarkable more for the brilliance of its filmmaking than its accidental presience."
Whilst studying film in university, and although never once a syllabus requirement, I watched this film at least five or six times... On a battered and dusty VHS tape, on a miniscule and grainy monitor in the college library. From June 16th a newly restored print of The Battle of Algiers will be showing at the Irish Film Institute. I implore you to see it if you can. Please.

Dan & Becs - A Second Series

Dan & Becs returns for another series in September. Now some might say that the programme is grossly unfunny and populated by two inherently pompous and unlikeable characters whose 'relationship' is a lesson in vacuous futility. Some might agree, but for The New(ish) Journalism there are deeper issues at play here. The commissioning bodies at RTE have missed a trick with the Dan & Becs format... Much more could be done with it all.
How about simply transplanting the format out of its D4 environs? Keep the 'comedy' but make it more real, more visceral, more gritty... RTE commissioning board I give you Darren & Jacinta. The show will be set in Southill in Limerick. Darren, 22, is an unemployed shelf-stacker with a penchant for domestic abuse and firearms. Jacinta, 19, is an unemployed mother of three, living at home with her mother in Kincora Park, a mother who the Gardaí suspect is harbouring a known fugitive. Their love transcends their societal confines and blossoms amid the constant tension and occasional firefights. Will Tescos ever let Darren back? Will Jacinta ever get the hang of hot-wiring her birthday present?
Truthful and breezy. Hardhitting and uplifting. Darren & Jacinta would be a surefire winner.
DISCLAIMER - This is not a dig at Southill. Just a dig at RTE. Boring, clichéd, lazy stereotypes seem to be their stock in trade, so I thought I would ironically pander. Oh, the irony.