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Literally priceless… September 20, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture.
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…is the news about the latest U2 album, yes, that unwanted and unsought for ‘gift’ given to all iTunes subscribers last week.

Apple has responded to criticism of its deal to give away U2’s new album to iTunes users by making it easier for them to delete the tracks, if they don’t want them.

Seems for some you really couldn’t give it away.

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Dougie MacLean September 20, 2014

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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It had to be a Scottish artist this weekend, so I had a rummage , wondered how a Rod Stewart CD had ended up in the house, skipped The Proclaimers, Simple Minds, The Jesus and Mary Chain , Big Country , The Blue Nile, Trashcan Sinatras and others ….. and ended up with Dougie MacLean.
I gather his “Caledonia” was used by The ‘Yes’ side of the recent Scottish Referendum and many of you will be familiar with the Dolores Keane version from The best selling “A Woman’s Heart”. Many moons ago he was a member of The Tannahill Weavers and briefly Silly Wizard. There has been a Dougie MacLean Festival running in Perthshire since 2005. He has performed with different artists over the course of each Festival. The Fesival Website
He is not just a fine singer ,guitarist and composer but also a noted Traditional Scottish Fiddler, Indeed the first tune here is his composition “The Gael” which was used in the film “The Last of The Mohicans”.

Docklands community to mark 50th anniversary of death of Sean O’Casey – this weekend September 16, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Irish Politics, The Left.
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Culture night performances and unveiling of important local plaque

This Thursday marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Sean O’Casey. He died on 18th September 1964 in Devon, aged 84 .
Sean O’Casey, one of Ireland’s most enduring playwrights, spent three decades of his early life living in the North Docks area of Dublin. To mark the anniversary of his death, the local community will be holding two very special events this week – an evening dedicated to the life and works of Sean O’Casey on Friday Evening and Saturday afternoon will see the unveiling of a plaque on the site of the former St Barnabas Church & School where O’Casey attended.

As part of Culture Night celebrations on Friday 19th September, the Sean O’Casey Theatre on St. Marys Road, East Wall will be hosting “What is the stars?” This is a newly constructed O’Casey piece which features scenes and characters from ‘The Silver Tassie’, ‘Juno and the Paycock’ and ‘The Plough and the stars’ alongside a musical accompaniment. In the year that also marks the outbreak of the First World War, this is a powerful piece which highlights a common O’Casey theme, of ordinary people living their lives while “The whole world’s in a state of chassis”. This will be followed by readings and performances of O’Casey material, drawn from his plays, autobiographies and letters. In addition to the invited participants, there will be an opportunity for all performers, amateur and professional to take part and read their chosen O’Casey piece.

On Saturday afternoon, 20th September, a memorial plaque will be unveiled on the former site of St. Barnabas Church, which stood from 1869 to 1969 on Sheriff Street. It’s most famous parishioner was Sean O’Casey, who dedicated a volume of his autobiography to the Reverand Griffin, whom he befriended here. The plaque will recall others associated with the mariners church – the Rev Canon DH Hall , the so called ‘building parson’ who was an innovator of housing reform in the early 20th century , and also the 12 parishioners who lost their lives in ‘The Great War’. The unveiling will take place at 2.30pm at the junction of East Road and Sheriff Street, followed by refreshments and celebratory event.

Commenting on the Culture Night event, Fran Laycock of the Sean O’Casey Theatre said: “O’Casey was a unique talent, he captured the voices of those around him and immortalised them in his work. When his characters speak, you are hearing the authentic sounds of Dublin life as witnessed by the playwright. What better way to celebrate his anniversary than by attending these performances in the heart of the community and amongst the people he was very much a part of, in a theatre named in his honour.”

Commenting on the unveiling of the plaque on the site where St Barnabas Church once stood, local resident Marie O’Reilly stated: “So much of the area has changed and important elements of our history are in danger of being forgotten. It is great to see this being prevented from happening – Saint Barnabas Church & School and the sizeable Church of Ireland population played a hugely significant part in the development of the North Docks community, yet many younger people are unaware of this. Commemoration events and the presence of historical markers will keep the great story of our area alive and hopefully encourage people to find out more.”

For further information contact:
Fran Laycock (Sean O’Casey Theatre) – 0876350056
Joe Mooney (East Wall History Group) – 0876698587

See links to event pages (which will feature related articles throughout the week):



November SOCIALIST VOICE from THE CPOI September 14, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.

Many thanks to EMC for the following:

The September Socialist Voice is now available online.

Apologies for the delay.

List of contents:

Illusions of recovery

In early September the minister for public expenditure, Brendan Howlin, claimed that the Government’s economic strategy was so successful that “we’re not going back to boom and bust.” But he is not the first social democrat, and no doubt will not be the last, to make that grandiose claim.
Slump and boom are inherent in the capitalist system, and recurrent crises cannot be prevented within capitalism but only by defeating capitalism itself.
Capitalism is prone to sequences of slump and boom, coupled with wild financial speculation and property and asset bubbles. It simply cannot exist otherwise.

Guests of the nation

Being a theoretical journal with an unambiguous world view, Socialist Voice places less emphasis on the type of investigative journalism that features prominently in more commercially inclined publications. Nevertheless there is a role for this method of news-gathering and especially when an intriguing rumour is begging for authentication.

Suffer little children

The United States is one of three countries that have failed to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In this it finds itself in the august company of Somalia and South Sudan. Somalia, however, has committed itself to ratifying, and South Sudan’s parliament has passed a bill to do so.
To be fair, it has to be said that the United States played an active role in the drafting of the bill, and has actually signed, though not ratified, it. Among the reasons given is the fear of a backlash from the religious right, who see the bill as an assault on their rights.

The Republican Congress eighty years on: A relevant or redundant concept?

Like any organisation, the Republican Congress was a product of its time and place; therefore we need to understand it on its own terms and in the historical conditions of the time.
Ireland eighty years later is a different place from the Ireland of the 1920s and 30s. The world is different, and the balance of forces has shifted.
We need to consider such factors as the deep economic crisis of the system at the time, which had a huge impact on Ireland. Unemployment in the South stood at more than a quarter of a million; there was mass emigration, widespread poverty, and evictions from farms and homes.

A stark class divide

A recent report from the Higher Education Authority reveals a stark class divide in Dublin when it comes to access to higher education. The report confirms what all socialists already knew: that teenagers from the leafy middle-class suburbs are far more likely to go on to third-level education than those from less privileged areas of the city.

Lance Armstrong should keep his jerseys

In July, RTE featured a documentary on Paul Kimmage, the sports journalist. He was portrayed as the journalist who exposed Lance Armstrong as a cheat, and was one of the main journalists who campaigned about the use of drugs in professional cycling.
There is no doubt that Kimmage is a unique journalist, and in fact he is one of the small number of people—never mind journalists—who actually completed a Tour de France when he was a professional cyclist. He could have completed a second Tour but withdrew. This still seems to be a source of regret to him.

Political statement
National Executive Committee, Communist Party of Ireland

The National Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Ireland expresses its solidarity with workers now engaged in industrial struggles to defend their livelihood.
Iarnród Éireann workers are struggling to prevent a cut in wages arising out of Government policy, which is to to run down the rail service, and public transport in general, in the interests of privately owned companies, to shift the burden of running public transport onto the workers and travelling public, and to remove the state from any meaningful social responsibility for providing a comprehensive public transport service.

Whoop it up for freedom!

René González, the first of the Cuban Five to be released, was due to speak at meetings in Liverpool and London to mark the sixteenth anniversary of their arrest.

Who really owns us?

It was announced last month that the value of Government bonds at the end of last May was €113.216 billion—120 per cent of the value of the country’s annual economic output. 53 per cent of these bonds are held by foreign individuals and institutions.
Along with Portugal, Ireland is one of the EU’s most indebted countries, and it has recently taken to share-switching to stave off an inability to pay its creditors. Short-term bonds due to be cashed in in 2016 are swapped for ten-year bonds, and so the evil day is postponed.

O’Flaherty Summer School a huge success

Féile na bhFlaitheartach, 2014—the Liam and Tom O’Flaherty Society’s August summer school—was a fantastic weekend, richly rewarding for all who made it to Árainn.
The school opened with a talk by Theo Dorgan on the horrific industrial slaughter that was the First World War, making the point that if it were not for the literary records of the brutality and horrors of this war in books such as Liam O’Flaherty’s Return of the Brute later generations could be more easily duped by politicians and the the media into believing there was something heroic in it.

Frank Connolly, Tom Gilmartin: The Man Who Brought Down a Taoiseach and Exposed the Corruption and Greed at the Heart of Irish Politics (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 2014); ISBN 978-0-7171-6047-1; €16.99 / £14.99.
Níl siad imithe uainn fós, bíodh a fhios agat—polaiteoirí, baincéirí, lucht forbartha, agus infheisteoirí cama, ná na fórsaí taobh thiar díobh. Ná níl scéal Bhinse Flood/Mahon thart go fóill, mar a mheabhraigh cúis George Redmond sa Chúirt Uachtarach dúinn i mí Iúil.

Bratacha Bána
Gabriel Rosenstock

The pigs are back!

Tomás Mac Síomóin, Is Stacey Pregnant? Notes from the Irish Dystopia (Nuascéalta, 2014; ISBN 978-1-4992-1354-6; $10.75). Available from Amazon, Connolly Books, and general booksellers.

Anybody familiar with Orwell’s Animal Farm will be amused by Tomás Mac Síomóin’s rebirth of the pig as the “Smilin’ Porky” in his newly published novel Is Stacey Pregnant?—although the amusement will not last long as this novel gradually unfolds its horror!

The first expressionist play in Irish

Expressionism is an art form that developed fully in Germany in the years before the First World War (in painting, poetry and drama) and after the war in German cinema. It arose from a sense of existential fear and a world going out of control.
Its themes are very often psychological struggle, insanity, and unfathomable forces controlling people’s lives. Mainstream bourgeois aesthetics of outward objectivity are rejected in favour of the aesthetics of ugliness as the way these artists perceived their reality in the build-up for war and following it, right through the 1920s.

Maron and Mould September 13, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture.
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…WTF of Marc Maron interviewing Bob Mould. Well worth a listen – fair to say Mould comes across in a particularly impressive way. BTW Maron is an interesting character in his own right, the bit at the start about festivals is almost worth the price of admission, so to speak, just as an insight into what it’s like on comedy circuits in the early 21st century.

“I used to hate the water… “: Jaws – 1975 September 13, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Uncategorized.
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Been continuing with watching a succession of 1970s films, so far The French Connection, The Long Goodbye, The Taking of Pelham 123, Network and Jaws.

Deeply impressive, I hadn’t seen it in perhaps twenty years. Lots of problems, perhaps most obviously it’s gendered in the way of things circa 1975, which is irritating. But, some considerable strengths, no CGI, and while a lot of the outdoor stuff is shot on different days with consequent changes in weather that oddly isn’t too instrusive and overall the work is remarkably strong. It’s bloody, visceral, tactile, funny and a sense of realism pervades. Some see it as a tipping point, pointing towards the blockbuster films that would dominate subsequently, but if so it is not quite of them.

Scheider excellent, Dreyfuss likewise, and Shaw a revelation. Lorraine Gary is under used, to put it mildly but puts in a neatly convincing performance.

And it’s worth mentioning one element of the film that I had either completely forgotten or not noticed. When Scheider, Dreyfuss and Shaw are out on the boat a remarkable thing happens in the background, not once but twice. Genuine magical realism.

This Weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… Siouxsie and the Banshees. September 13, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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Siouxsie and the Banshees, pop, goth, rock, new wave, more than a hint of dance, punk. All of those and more. Ploughing a deeply individual musical path from the late 1970s and as a solo artist effectively to the present day. Their/her roots firmly in punk but somehow managing to move on a very clear trajectory away from that while never in any way disowning that history.

And with that so much to choose from in that career. The early singles – for Siouxsie was very much a chart group? They’re great raw artefacts from post-punk, though the lyrics are on occasion… troubling. Later material which saw her move in what she might term pop, but few of the rest of us would? Fascinating and compelling in their own way.

But for my money the years 1983 through to 1986 were a particular high point. Here her/their sound was consolidated, moving beyond the simplicity and vital rigour of the early material into a more experimental, thoughtful area. A Kiss in The Dreamhouse from 1982 clearly reflects that dynamic, but Hyaena and Tinderbox, released in 1984 and 1986 respectively, are for me the quintessential Siouxsie releases. There the blend is just right, great singles such as ‘Dear Prudence’ and ‘Cities in Dust’ matched by equally strong album tracks such as ‘Belladonna’ (with a fabulous skittering percussion and almost early New Order bassline and oddly joyous chiming chorus) ‘Cannons’ and ’92 Degrees’ (note the sample taken from 50s SF film ‘It Came from Outer Space’ and it’s proto-Fields of the Nephilim guitars). And surely covering ‘Dear Prudence’ was a massive statement of intent (just to be absolutely clear, the single wasn’t on the vinyl version of Hyaena, but was added later in a CD age – to good effect).

Actually I tend to view these albums, albeit two years apart as being of a piece. This isn’t to say they’re identical, Hyaena is denser, more layered, more tricky – less immediate and arguably the better of the two. By contrast Tinderbox is sparser, poppier, more airy (and yet on tracks like ‘The Sweetest Chill’ there’s a hint of Cocteau Twin’s or a seductive moodiness as on ‘Land’s End’) though I’ll happily skip past ‘This Unrest’ any day. And yet there’s a definable aesthetic thread, something that nods to Goth while not being subsumed by it. I’ve often thought that they’d make a great double album with a little judicious editing, and that on the Tinderbox side.

Throughout there’s that unique pop element that Siouxsie (and the Cure, and a number of other post-punk groups) managed to make much their own transiting from that aforementioned stark rigour of their origins into something decidedly different while somehow retaining its essence. With Robert Smith it was, perhaps, the bleakness of vision even as the melodies spun and circled in ever more cheerful ways, for Siouxsie it was in that remarkable voice, stentorian at times – to the point that it sometimes wanders away from the melody entirely, at other times whisper soft. But always her voice.

It’s interesting that Smith’s name comes up, because he was in effect a member of the Banshees for Hyaena, and despite his – ahem – primary role as guitarist with them his influence is evident in the profusion of keyboards that fill in the background of this quite guitar oriented album – check out ‘Dazzle’, surely one of their greatest songs. But it is to do a disservice to Siouxsie and the rest of the group, Budgie on drums, Steve Severin on bass and John Valentine on guitars on Tinderbox, to see this as simply an artefact of his personality. His input may deepen the sound but no more so than the direction Siouxsie was taking it in anyway. He had long left by the time Tinderbox emerged and perhaps that explains the tauter sound. Worth noting that Steve Severin had begun to dabble in electronics in addition to bass on the latter album, something that can be heard in quite a number of tracks as a backing element.

I’ve already mentioned other projects of hers, and it’s remarkable to think of how she has so seemingly easily sustained a career that has spanned five, count ‘em, five decades.

Dazzle (video, with ad before it)

Dazzle (no video and no ad).

Blow the House Down


Bring Me the Head of the Preacher Man

Dear Prudence

Cities in Dust

92 Degrees


The Sweetest Chill

Land’s End

TWENTY-SIXTH DESMOND GREAVES ANNUAL SCHOOL 2014 – 12-14 September 2014 September 11, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.

Just to remind people…

A weekend of political thought and discussion
Friday to Sunday
12-14 September 2014
The Ireland Institute
27 Pearse Street
Dublin 2

Friday 12 September at 7:30pm
The Ideology of Remembrance – Ireland and the First World War

Brian Hanley
(Historian, author of A Documentary History of the IRA, 1916-2005 and (with Scott Millar) The Lost Revolution)
Michael Quinn
(Historian, has recently completed a doctorate on Irish-Soviet relations and is currently specialising in Ireland and the First World War)

Chair: Tommy Graham
(Historian, Editor and founder of History Ireland magazine)

Saturday 13 September at 11:00am
The Good Friday Agreement today

Anne Cadwallader (Journalist, case worker with The Pat Finucane Centre for Human Rights, author of Lethal Allies: British Collusion in Ireland)
Tom McGurk (Broadcaster, Sunday Business Post columnist)
Declan Kearney (National Chairperson, Sinn Féin)

Chair: Peter Bunting (Assistant General Secretary ICTU, with responsibility for co-ordinating the Trade Union Movement in Northern Ireland)

Saturday 13 September at 2:30pm
Politics and the physical force tradition in Ireland

Tommy McKearney
(Socialist republican, participant in the 1980 H-Block hunger strike, Northern organiser for the Independent Workers Union)
Eoin Ó Murchú
(Journalist, longtime campaigner for Irish sovereignty)
Mícheál MacDonncha
(Sinn Féin Councillor Dublin City Council; former editor of An Phoblacht, author of Sinn Féin, A Century of Struggle)

Chair: Ruán O’Donnell
(Historian, University of Limerick, author of Special Category: The IRA in English Prisons, Vol. 1: 1968-1978 and other books)

Sunday 14 September at 11:00am
Imperialism and the national question in Ireland

John Foster
(Joint author Red Papers on Scotland; Emeritus Professor, Social Sciences, West of Scotland University; Secretary, Scottish Campaign against Euro-Federalism)
Kevin McCorry
(People’s Movement, former organiser NICRA)
Patricia McKenna
(People’s Movement, former MEP for Dublin)

Chair: : Mary Cullen (Historian, author of recently published Telling It Our Way: Essays In Gender History)

Sunday 14 September at 2:30pm
Unionism and the Way Forward

Professor Peter Shirlow
(Deputy Director, Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice, Queen’s University Belfast)
Linda Ervine
(Irish Language Development Officer for East Belfast; sister-in-law of the late David Ervine)
Owen Bennett
(Writer and commentator)

Chair: Helena Sheehan
(Professor Emeritus, Dublin City University; author of Irish Television Drama, A Society and its Stories)

For further information, contact Frank Keoghan, Director, at 087–2308330.

Someone really needs a holiday… September 6, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Economy.

There’s little I’ve read over the last few days that’s as dispiriting in its own way as this from Michael O’Leary.
No, not the boilerplate about ‘booting out’ ‘bad performers’ from the public sector. That’s so tediously predictable and reflexive a line as to be almost not worth mentioning. Almost.

But, no, it’s this little insight into a world that seems so detached from an ordinary reality as to be almost alien:

“I hate going on holidays, although I’m told I have to. I go to Portugal for two weeks a year with the children and a week skiing. I find those a trial, mainly because they take me away from work.
“You can’t have a family unless you make some of these sacrifices, but I hate being on holidays. It drives me mad,” he said.

One wonders how his (or anyone’s) nearest and dearest might feel on reading that functionally being around them for an extended period is a ‘sacrifice’ in the great man’s life – though as was put to me ‘why does he have to have a family. No family deserves that’.

But it also strikes me that this too shall pass. In five or ten or fifteen or twenty years or whenever the sort of life/workstyle that he alludes to will be beyond him, or he’ll have been supplanted by younger leaner more ambitious individuals. And what then?

I’m always troubled by people without a psychological hinterland. It doesn’t much matter what that may be, but I tend to believe it should exist, something above and beyond work, be it friends, family both, neither, something else entirely. But something above and beyond work. And perhaps starting with those closest, be they friends, or family. Or whoever. Or whatever. But something or someone. Surely?

And it has to be said. If this is how he views his world, what about his understanding, let alone empathy, for the situation of those who work for him? I’ve always thought it too reductionist to see some workplaces as a reflection of those who own/run them, and yet it isn’t unreasonable to suggest that sometimes they are that reflection… and of course for those with a media profile that has a broader impact again.

Oh no, not this… every microgenre in music mapped… September 6, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture.

Ever wondered about what metropopolis or nintendocore are, deep liquid, new jack smooth or ambeat? Wonder no more for here at Every Noise At Once someone has mapped them all… or pretty much them all.

The idea is:

This is an ongoing attempt at an algorithmically-generated, readability-adjusted scatter-plot of the musical genre-space, based on data tracked and analyzed for 1264 genres by The Echo Nest. The calibration is fuzzy, but in general down is more organic, up is more mechanical and electric; left is denser and more atmospheric, right is spikier and bouncier.

It’s interesting to see the way the genres are scattered. They’re not exactly linked spatially, even if there are fortuitous conjunctions (Prog and Krautrock which sounds about right). And it’s heartening to see familiar names – for example, acid jazz had United Future Organisation’s “Pilgrim” as its representative track, Apoptygma Bezerk are there for future pop. There’s haujobb for electro-industrial. And there’s genres which I’ve barely or never heard of but which I like… re:techno, ghoststep.

But wait, no Super Rock (the Fleshtone’s own…erm…genre), no (admittedly tongue in cheek) deathpunk as practised by Turbonegro?

Still, it’s a work in progress, and as this Guardian article on the site notes, there’s 1,264 so far, and counting.

You thought you had some kind of idea of just how much music is out there? You don’t. I don’t. But McDonald does. So he’s covered those genres – such as death metal, techno or hip-hop, which you’ll have heard of. Others, such as electro trash, indietronica or hard glam you may only have the most passing acquaintance with. Then, rather wonderfully, there are the outliers, those genres that you almost certainly didn’t even know existed – much less ever explored – suomi rock, shimmer psych, fourth world – right there at your fingertips any time you please.

In a way it’s brilliant, and it’s a real tool for the completists. But in another way it’s terrifying, as it’s a real tool for the completists.


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