Thursday, May 9, 2013

Festivals and Rock - Summer 2013

For festival goers the summer of 2013 looks set to be a great one. They are a great place to see up and coming bands being given the opportunity to play to a big audience and also to see some of the big names. Oxegen (David Getta, Rizzle Kicks, Rita Orra, Snoop Dogg) and Electric Picnic (Arctic Monkeys, Bjork, Fatboy Slim, Franz Ferdinand) have announced their line up to add to Kasabian, Primal Scream, James Blake and Chic at Forbidden Fruit and Vampire Weekend, The Maccabees, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Kraftwerk at Longitude.

For the rockers out there Ireland is being spoiled. First up, this June, following their great performance at the closing ceremony of the London Olympics, The Who arrive in Dublin to perform "Quadrophenia and More". They will play their 1973 album Quadrophenia in its entirety to be followed by a greatest hits selection. To fans of this particular album this is the music event of the year. Anyone who grew up during the 1979 mod revival will be familiar with this album and the film with Phil Daniels as the tragic male lead Jimmy and Sting as the miscast too-old-for-the-role Ace face.

Next on the rock list is the visit of the old Canadian rock god Neil Young and Crazy Horse to the RDS. With a history of working together since the late 60s this is a group of musicians so used to playing with each other you wonder have they become one machine. Frank "Poncho" Sampedo has played with Young for 40 years and at 64 is the baby of the band. Reputed to be playing unexpected tracks and shaking the band up, expect the unexpected and prepare yourself for some long guitar jams.

The final rock show not to be missed is the Boomtown Rats reunion at The Marquee in Cork. What we expect we just don't know but we want to be there to find out! It's 26 years since their final show was performed in 1986 after becoming one of the biggest bands of the late 70s/80s and were the first Irish band to have a number one UK hit. Geldof is quoted as saying; "we fancied getting up there and playing those songs again for the sheer joy of it and we hope some of you would like to hear them from the band that made them. Anyway it'll be good to be back and better to see everyone again!" 
 BoomTownRats Web

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

BREADBOY Teenage Kicks and Tatey Bread - What Paperboy Did Next by Tony Macaulay

This is a grand wee book so it is!  It is in his colloquial Belfast voice that Tony tells the story of growing up on the Shankill Road. It is 1977, Elvis is dead and even Big Duff, the hard man of the paramilitary is seen to shed a tear. On his bread round in Leslie's van brings him in contact with all members of the community and as a teenage pacifist Tony tries to take everyone as they come. Culture is on the edge of the punk explosion- we experience the Saturday Night Fever and Grease mania at the Westy disco DJ'd by Tony's dad before disco dies for a new expression.

Breadboy is just alive with the culture of the late 70s. It's got the music, the TV programmes, the movies, the changing fashions and even the food (fish fingers and smash). For anyone who grew up in these years  this book is just spot on with its innocence and excitement. You'll nod your head and chuckle at references to the films you watched and the aftershave or perfume you wore (Denim or Charlie!). Despite the backdrop of the 'The Troubles' and its ever present threat to the community, this is merely an aside to Tony's job delivering bread from the Ormo Mini-Shop and his aim of making Judy Carlton fall in love with him.

This is Tony's sequel to his first book Paperboy. Growing up on the Shankill Road he has worked for many years for peace and reconciliation and is a writer, broadcaster and contributor to BBC Radio Ulster. His humour and his voice call off the pages to the reader to laugh and share the story of a teenage boy as he grows up in the shadow of sectarianism but who puts all this aside for the Bee Gees, Star Wars, Wonder Woman Lynda  Carter and Farrah Fawcett Majors.

Breadboy is published by Blackstaff Press 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Mateship with Birds by Carrie Tiffany

Carrie Tiffany was born in Yorkshire and grew up in Australia. Her debut novel Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living (2005) won several awards and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. A former park ranger, her knowledge of wildlife, birds and nature is evident in Mateship with Birds, her second book, in particular the mating aspects. In fact the whole book has a very earthy and matter of fact approach to the baser bodily functions of life.

Set in 1950's Australia, in the outskirts of a small country town we follow the daily disappointments of the single parent family of Betty, past her prime and with the humdrum job of working in a nursing home. Her neighbour Harry tends his dairy cowherd day in day out and with much reference to the mechanics of the milking and the treatment of the cows for various diseases. It is Harry who takes it upon himself to educate Betty's fatherless son Michael in the ways of the world. Using his own experiences as reference he prepares notes for Michael. But how helpful can an elderly dairy farmer be to a young teenage boy?

In between the human family interactions we are introduced to the kookaburras that Harry watches through his binoculars. Their own family mechanics are followed and recorded, in an almost poetic way, the parents courtship, fledgling rearing and the launch of the young bird into the wider world of the farm territory.

It is an unusual book in it's continual reference to bodily functions and touching of parts in such an nonsexual manner and without a hint of sensuality. This aspect of the book is essential to the story; it is after all called 'Mateship'...'with Birds'. But despite this lack of sensuality it is however a tenderly written story. We feel for each of the characters in their isolation and in the sadness of their limited lives and also for the innocence.

 Carrie Tiffany has written a very unique tale here, with its roots in the Australian country towns of a bygone time. Her writing style and very individual approach sets this book aside from others and delivers a most rewarding and also thoughtful story to consider long after the last page is turned.

Mateship with Birds is published by Picador and was longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction, formerly the Orange Prize.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Dublin Writers Festival 20th-26th May 2013

The Dublin Writers Festival, founded in 1998, is nearly upon us and this year the organisers have managed to land some big name authors. With talks all over the city from the Irish Writers Centre to Axis Ballymun, there are free events as well as ticketed of various prices.

Several daytime events are aimed at children and there is a free evening Festival Club programme as well. All of the events can be seen at the festival website

Some of the more well known names are Dan Brown, Colum McCann, John Banville, Roddy Doyle and Anne Enright.

Dan Brown                      John Banville                 Colum McCann

Jon Ronson of The Psychopath Test, Paul Lynch whose Red Sky in Morning has caused much excitement in the publishing world and Caitlin Moran, writer of the hilarious How to be a Woman are also on the programme.

Jon Ronson                     Paul Lynch                     Caitlin Moran

Other events with new authors or less well known names often turn out to be highlights of the festival so do not miss out and get involved!

The site has a map of venues and for visitors to the festival several restaurants have a DWF special if tickets are shown;
-Fallon and Byrne: 15% discount on cheese board and wine in The Cellar
-Winding Stair Bookshop Cafe, Ground Floor: 2 for 1 on hot drinks

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Irish Restaurant Awards 2013 - Dublin Shortlists

Congratulations to all the restaurants, hotels and bars all over Ireland who were finalists for the Irish Restaurant Awards. The Dublin shortlists have also been announced in the following categories and where they were finalists in 2012 this has been indicated:
Irish restaurant Awards
Dublin Shortlist for Best Customer Service:

  • Chapter One, 18 Parnell Square D1 (2012)
  • Dax Restaurant, 23 Pembroke Street Upper, D2
  • Jaipur Dalkey, 21Castle Street (2012-Jaipur Georges Street)
  • Jamie’s Italian, Unit 1 Pembroke District, Dundrum D16
  • Il Primo, 16 Montague Street, D2
  • Rasam, 18 Glasthule Road, Dun Laoghaire (2012)
  • Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, 21 Upper Merrion Street, D2
  • Saba, 26 Clarendon Street (2012)
Restaurants Association of Ireland Website
Dublin Shortlist for Best Gastro Pub:
  • Ely Gastro Pub, Grand Canal Square, D2
  • Hole In The Wall, Blackhorse Avenue, Navan Road, D7
  • The Exchequer, Exchequer Street, D2 (2012)
  • The Magpie Inn, 115 Coliemore Road, Dalkey (2012)
  • The Chophouse, 2 Shelbourne Road, D4 (2012)
  • The Purty Kitchen, 3 Old Dunleary Road, Monkstown
  • L. Mulligan Grocer, 18 Manor Street, D7 (2012)
  • The Waterloo Bar and Grill, 36 Upper Baggot Street, D4 (2012)
Dublin Shortlist for Best Casual Dining: (all new nominations)
  • Bite, 29 South Frederick Street, D2
  • The Brass Monkey, 12 West Pier, Howth
  • Whitefriar Grill, 16 Aungier Street, D2
  • Isabel’s, 112 Baggot Street Lower, D2
  • Ely Winebar, Ely Place, D2
  • Saba
  • Jamie’s Italian
  • Fade Street Social, Fade Street, D2
Dublin Shortlist for Best Hotel Restaurant:
  • Cliff Town House, 22 St. Stephen's Green, D2
  • Citron @ The Fitzwilliam Hotel, 2 St. Stephen's Green, D2
  • Samphire @ Waterside House Hotel, Donabate-on-the-Beach 
  • The Cellar@ The Merrion Hotel, Upper Merrion Street, D2  
  • Wilde@The Westbury, Clarendon Street, D2 (2012)
  • The Dylan Restaurant@ Dylan Hotel, Eastmoreland Place, D4
  • The Dungeon- Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel, Killiney Hill Road, Killiney (2012)
  • The Saddle Room@ The Shelbourne, Stephen's Green, D2 (2012)
Dublin Shortlist for Best Chef:
  • Niall O’Sullivan of Isabel’s
  • Ross Lewis of Chapter One
  • Jerome Fernandez of La Reserve, 53 Ranelagh, D6
  • Mikael Viljanen of The Greenhouse, Dawson Street, D2
  • Graham Neville of Restaurant Forty One, 41 St. Stephen's Green, D2
  • Kevin Thornton of Thornton’s, First Floor, The Fitzwilliam Hotel, D2
  • Sunil Ghai of Ananda Restaurant, Dundrum Shopping Centre, Dundrum
  • Tom Walsh of Samphire At The Waterside, Donabate.
Dublin Shortlist for Best Restaurant:
  • Ananda
  • Chapter One (2012)
  • Dax Restaurant
  • La Reserve Brasserie
  • Locks Brasserie, 1 Windsor Terrace. D8
  • Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud (2012)
  • The Greenhouse
  • The Pig’s Ear, Nassau Street, D2
Dublin Shortlist for Best Wine Experience:
  • One Pico, 5 Molesworth Place, D2
  • Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud (winner 2012)
  • D’Vine Wine Bar, 16 Bachelors Walk, D1
  • Dublin Wine Rooms, Custom House Square, IFSC, D1
  • La Bodega, 93 Ranelagh Road, D6
  • Ely Wine Bar
  • Fallon and Byrne, Exchequer Street, D2
  • Beaufield Mews, Woodlands Avenue, Stillorgan
Dublin Shortlist for Best Kids Size Me:
  • Ely Gastro Pub (winner 2012)
  • Juniors, 2 Bath Avenue, D4
  • Joels, Newlands Cross, Naas Road, Clondalkin D22
  • La Banca, Main Street,Lucan Village.
  • Bewleys Hotel, Ballsbridge
  • Ely Bar and Brasserie
  • The Gables, Foxrock, D18.
Winners are to be announced of the All Ireland Awards on the 10th June. Good luck all!