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Steve Hackett at Vicar Street April 30, 2017

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Managed to get there this last week and highly entertained I was too. I wouldn’t say I was a great fan of Genesis, indeed I’d have thought at times I was no fan at all, but there was a certain interest and pleasure in hearing the early to mid 1970s iteration of that group live. Hackett, though, I’ve liked since the early 1980s.

And there was an oddness to it too. This surely was what punk had set out to destroy. But not a bit of it. Hackett himself was an amiable presence offering a good forty minutes of new material (I like it, some won’t – it’s like goth by way of someone who has never heard any goth but come to it through prog and a chunk of Zeps Physical Graffiti) before winding the clock back forty odd years to Wind and Wuthering, the first Collins led Genesis album and the last he played guitar on.

I have to admit to liking that record, and I’d only listened to it in the last few months. Actually I quite like a fair bit of Gabriel led Genesis too. Sure Watcher in the Skies sounds amazingly unsophisticated in comparison to Hawkwind at that time(!) and there’s a clunkiness, but I’m not averse to the baroque or melancholy aspects of the music.

The rest of the group is a bizarrely entertaining crew from singer Nad Sylvan who is more or less wheeled in to offer Gabriel/Collins like vocals on the older tracks, and who brings his own frankly weird aesthetic to it, to a bass guitarist who appears to have missed his vocation to be in a metal band.

I’d have liked more solo Hackett, but then that wasn’t the purpose of the evening.

On other interesting aspect was a quietly political subtext – pro-refugee and immigrant, and the point emphasised in a number of comments from the stage.

Restaurant review April 30, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I don’t know how many of you read Jay Rayner’s restaurant reviews in the Observer, I like them, but this last one was surely his most critical – that of a restaurant in Paris. What struck me, bar the entertaining critique, was the oddness of a restaurant business where… well… read on:

Irritated by reader complaints about the cost of eating out I decided to visit a classic Parisian gastro-palace, as a reality check. I imagined it less as review, and more as an observational piece, full of moments of joy and bliss, of the sort only stupid amounts of cash can buy. We’d all have a good laugh at rich people and then return to business as usual, a little wiser.

How much stupid cash?

Menus the height of Richard Osman are brought. My female companion, who booked the table, is given one without prices. Waiters look baffled when we protest, but replace it. Then again, having looked at those prices I suspect many people would wish never to see their like again. Starters and mains are roughly the same price, running from €70 to €140. Currently the exchange rate is 0.86 to 1. So that’s £121 for a single plate of food.

I like food. I like restaurants. Eat in them much much more rarely than I’d like. But this seems to me to not just skirt, but tip over, the edge of insanity.


A heap of couscous is mined with a tiny portion of lamb for €95.


With this, we each drink one glass of champagne, one glass of white and one of red, chosen for us by the sommelier from a wine list that includes bottles at €15,000. The booze bill is €170. The overall bill is €600.

Rayner is well aware of the absurdity – as he says…

Every single thing I ate at the restaurant Skosh for a sixth of the price was better than this. It’s bizarre. Not that the older gentlemen with their nieces on the few other occupied tables seem to care. The restaurant is never more than half full. Pictures of plates are snapped. Mind you I also take pictures, but mine are shot in the manner of a scene of crime officer working methodically.

And even if he says…

I have spent sums like this on restaurant experiences before, and have not begrudged it. We each of us build our best memories in different ways, and some of mine involve expensive restaurants. But they have to be good.

I wonder, in truth, how good any dish can be that costs… well that costs, not just so much, but too much. What is one purchasing here? It’s not the food. It’s extravagant conspicuous consumption at its worst.



Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week: DIY April 30, 2017

Posted by Garibaldy in Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week.
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No time alas to do this properly this week, but to get the ball rolling

The questioning comes from both the crowds outside and the professors and analysts inside the universities, central banks and investment houses. There is the making of a remarkable new consensus, where the policies of Mr Mélechon and Mr Corbyn are often largely indistinguishable from those of President Trump, Marine Le Pen or UKIP, and they are joined by mainstream economists and market participants.

Yep the UKIP and Labour Party manifestos will be virtually the same, that sounds likely.

SBP/RedC Poll April 29, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

All the movement, bar a fall in Inds is within the MOE…

FF 28% [+2]

FG 24% [NC]

SF 18% [+1}

IND 10% [-3]

LP 6% [NC]



GP 3%


Green Sleeves: The Irish Printed Record Cover, 1955 – 2017 April 29, 2017

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More information here.

Selling the family silver? April 29, 2017

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This was noticed by someone recently – and many thanks to the people who forwarded it on. Not good to see collections from this period falling into private hands, as they said ‘to be seen only by the few’.


157. [IRA BORDER CAMPAIGN] A Scrap Album relating to the IRA Border Campaign

December, 1956 to August, 1957 of Newspaper Clippings from national and Northern Ireland newspapers. Large folio album bound in full maroon buckram with seventy-six pages of cuttings. All newspapers with dates identified. In very good condition. Unique. €395

The Border Campaign was a campaign of guerrilla warfare (codenamed Operation Harvest) carried out

by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) against targets in Northern Ireland, with the aim of overthrowing British rule there and creating a united Ireland. Popularly referred to as the Border Campaign, it was also referred to as the “Resistance Campaign” by some republican activists. The campaign was a military failure, but for some of its members, the campaign was justified as it had kept the IRA engaged for another generation. This campaign was the first major military undertaking carried out by the IRA since the 1940s, when the harsh security measures of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland governments had severely weakened the IRA.

The campaign was launched with simultaneous attacks by around 150 IRA members on targets on the Border in the early hours of 12 December 1956. A BBC relay transmitter was bombed in Derry, a courthouse was burned in Magherafelt by a unit led by an eighteen year-old Seamus Costello, as was a B-Specials post near Newry and a half-built Army barracks at Enniskillen was blown up. A raid on Gough barracks in Armagh was beaten off after a brief exchange of fire.

On the evening of 30 December 1956, the Teeling Column under Noel Kavanagh attacked the Derrylin RUC barracks again, killing RUC constable John Scally, the first fatality of the campaign. Others involved in that attack included two prominent IRA men, Charlie Murphy and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh. On 1 January 1957, Seán Garland and Dáithí Ó Conaill planned an attack on the Police station at Brookeborough, but assaulted the wrong building. Two IRA men, Seán South and Fergal O’Hanlon, were killed in the abortive attack. Garland was seriously wounded in the raid. He and the remainder of the group were pursued back over the border by 400 RUC, B Specials and British soldiers.

The funerals of South and O’Hanlon in the Republic produced a strong emotional reaction among the general public there. The two men are still considered martyrs in Irish Republican circles. Up to 50,000 people attended their funerals.

The year 1957 was the most active year of the IRA’s campaign, with 341 incidents recorded. In November of that year, the IRA suffered its worst loss of life in the period when four of its members died preparing a bomb in a farm house at Edentubber, County Louth, which exploded prematurely. The civilian owner of the house was also killed.

The Republic’s government, led by John Costello of Fine Gael, feared that the IRA’s action would drag it into a diplomatic confrontation with Britain and in January 1957, it used the Offences Against the State Act to arrest most of the IRA’s leadership, including its Chief of Staff, Seán Cronin. Clann na Poblachta (led by former IRA Chief of Staff Seán MacBride) withdrew its support for the government in protest over this policy, and the government collapsed. In the ensuing Irish general election, 1957, Sinn Féin won four seats and polled 65,640 votes (c. 5% of those cast), while Clann na Poblachta’s vote dropped sharply.

The new government, of Fianna Fáil, led by Éamon de Valera proved even more hostile to the IRA than its predecessor. In July 1957, after the killing of an RUC man, de Valera introduced wholesale internment without trial for IRA suspects. Then in November 1961 his Minister for Justice, Charles Haughey established military courts which handed down long prison sentences to convicted IRA men. The use of internment on both sides of the Irish border made it impossible for the IRA, most of whose leadership was imprisoned, to maintain the momentum of their campaign.

Sacrilege…. April 29, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.



Don’t agree with this. Feels very click baity. Not least because of one glaring error in regard to the characters in Season 7 of Buffy in the following. 

The seventh season overloaded the show with a sudden cast of thousands. Enter Buffy’s Potential Slayers, only two of whom, Kennedy and Rona, have anything resembling an identifiable personality (three if you count “being unremittingly irritating” as a trait, in which case you may include Amanda) and none of whom the audience have the time or the inclination to care about. They crowded out the original Scooby Gang (Willow, Xander, Giles and Cordelia) and required Buffy to be more “military general” than “Slayer”. Suddenly, episodes filled with pep talks and tactics instead of action interspersed with witty banter.

Frankly I think most seasons held up really well. Seven was interesting if only because it pulled together so many narrative strands so successfully. Moreover right to the end it maintained a genuine sense of peril about the characters. Sure there were a few longuers and in retrospect Caleb was less fully used than might be expected. But I really liked the way it dealt directly with misogyny in a way that hadn’t been fully explored up to that point and I have to wonder if some of the seemingly modish animosity to it derives from that focus on that issue.

Am half way through a rewatch – just finished Season 4 and while I always thought that was perhaps the weakest I’m slightly reappraising that judgement. I vastly prefer Riley this time around.There’s a lot to like in the portrayal of Spike and the idea of the Initiative was fantastic – the combination of fantasy and SF elements worked well. Bar in Adam. There I think there was an issue and I’m hard pressed to work out what it was. He seemed perhaps incidental to the action in a way that other adversaries didn’t. But perhaps that was the point of the exercise.

And now onto Glory, Dawn and Season 5.

Top of the Pops April 29, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I happened to catch terrestrial TV the other day, and along with the interminable ad breaks, there was a couple of Top of the Pops on. These dated from 1983 and it struck me what a weird programme it was. It has to be said the two editions weren’t great. New Edition were reaching to the heights of the charts and Spandau Ballet’s True was sliding down. Bright spots were the Beat and Funboy Three. Bar that it wasn’t exactly exciting. Blacmange’s … was on, a song I had quite happily managed to excise from my consciousness for nigh on four decades now. 

And it brought back all those endless weeks where there was nothing of any consequence on the programme. For all the times Motorhead appeared with Ace of Spades, or New Order graced us with their presence, or even half way good songs were played there was usually ten times that number of groups of little or no real interest. Granted there was  some entertainment in the perky jollity of whatever DJ or DJs was hosting it as set against some dour and grim outfit.

But yet we watched. I certainly kept watching on and off well into the early 1990s and intermittently after that until it was axed. 

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Advaeta April 29, 2017

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Got to love the internet. I put a search in recently for “feminist and shoe gaze” and what appears but Brooklyn based three person group Advaeta.

Their album Death and the Internet was released in 2015 to pretty much general acclaim and rightly so. It’s nine tracks, forty-three minutes long, and filled with propulsive music – guitar based and yes, touching on shoe gaze but with some other influences in there and some innovations all their own.

For Advaeta aren’t content to rest on the laurels of shoe gaze pioneers before them. Instead of smooth guitar sounds there is an abrasive quality to the sound that proves perhaps surprisingly listenable. Sure there’s echoey fuzz and reverbed guitar – those cathedrals of sound that shoe gaze has proved so adept at delivering since the early 1990s.

But on top of that is some notably muscular riffing. Church Cult typifies this perfectly. There are the chiming tones in the background, but then on top are bass sounds and crunchy guitar, so much so that this seems to nudge close to the louder end of psychedelia (and perhaps the shades of the heavier side of Joy Division style post-punk at times – exhibit A: Hazel Blue Eyes). But then there are the vocals – apparently shared, and which move seamlessly from near whispers to yelps. Those vocals owe much more, to my ears, to post-punk (the Slits come to mind listening to Your New Life in Pictures) than to later developments. And all the better for it.

It all makes for a compelling mix and to be honest it’s an hugely refreshing addition to an area of musical endeavour that can on occasion be somewhat smoothly predictable. This crashes and stumbles and lays waste to all around it and yet keeps on going. Not so much Slowdive as Spacemen 3 (or the more raucous moments of EMA) but a Spacemen 3 that managed to wake themselves up and go fast and then faster. For that’s another aspect that is hugely enjoyable – some of the songs tear along at a rapid rate of knots. And there’s the lyrics which appear to take a most sceptical view of human relationships. Much to like there.

As is true of the album in its entirety.



Church Cult

Divide (Live)

Hazel Blue Eyes (live)

The post-Brexit plan for Britain trading with its former…er…empire… April 28, 2017

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Not getting a very good reception… predictably enough…

The head of the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of nations has ruled out a free trade deal with the UK until at least six years after Brexit and taken a sideswipe at the idea of a new British trade empire.

The ACP chief, Dr Patrick Gomes, condemned “reactionary” Whitehall talk of a second era of British colonialism – dubbed “Empire 2.0” – and poured scorn on the government’s trade strategy.

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