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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… ALT March 11, 2017

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ALT were a band comprising Andy White, Liam Ó Maonlaí and Tim Finn. The first letters of their names is where the name ALT cam from. They toured

This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… The Alarm January 14, 2017

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The news that once again U2 are playing Croke Park brought me back to a few days after my Inter and seeing them in Croke Park in 1985. On the line up that day we also had Welsh band The Alarm.
The massive hair and anthems that suited the day. Their debut album “Declaration” had had a number of hits with “68 Guns” and “Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke?” and although I wasn’t exactly a fan I was surprised how good they were live. Subsequently got a tape of “Declaration” and it wasn’t great and for me as was so often the case a great live band failed to translate well in the studio.
They released a number of further albums “Strength” , “Eye of the Hurricane” and “Raw” before breaking up in 1991. They were quite successful in the US too.
Later on lead Singer Mike Peters resurrected the Alarm name and is still touring and recording. They are still particularly popular in their native Wales and released Welsh language versions of a number of their albums.

Television January 5, 2017

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Culture.

The 14 year old Television that was massive and weighed a ton finally met it’s doom today. Having managed to get it into the back seat of the car, my son sat beside it on the journey to the shop to get a new TV. We were laughing at the size and weight of it compared to the TVs that are around today. Suddenly the questions started coming from the back seat….
“Did you ever watch a Black and White TV?” . I explained how we only got a colour TV in 1979 (for the Popes visit) and up until that it was a black and white TV which had a dial you had to move to change channels, much like moving a radio dial. So you had a dial to move and some TVs also had different frequencies you could turn the dial to, UHF, VHF and so on. There were just 4 channels here RTE, BBC1, BBC2 and UTV and if you were down the Country it was only RTE, unless you were near the border or had a massive aerial down in Wicklow or Wexford where you might get BBC Wales or HTV.
“Wow only 4 channels?” Yes and they weren’t on all day. RTE might start at 3pm and the others around midday. There was also shutdown where channels would finish around 11.30 or midnight and then slightly later at Christmas time or Easter. They might also come on earlier if there was something on in the morning like Cricket ,Golf , a Mass or again Cartoons at the weekend or at Christmas.
I then remarked how the TV in the back was the first Television that we had bought, up until then we had rented our Television just as our parents and many others had done right up until the late 90’s…. from the back seat came the question “Why would you rent a Television?” …..
It really is astonishing how much Television , the technology, streaming, channels, pay TV and so on has changed in my own lifetime….

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Mise Éire December 31, 2016

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My son asked me the other day what my favourite song of the year was…… I wondered for a while and then told him that the Patrick Pearse Poem “Mise Éire” sung by Sibéal Ní Chasaide (with music by Patrick Cassisy) was probably my favourite. I’ve seen her sing it live in Croke Park and at another celebration and just thought it incredibly haunting. It’s a song I’ve probably listened to most this year as it just wafts around the room. I’ve also included Mise Éire by Sean O’Riada which is another wonderfulk piece.

Dundalk …. December 20, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Culture.

One of the challenges of managing a team of limited resources is that invariably your best players will be tempted by better offers elsewhere. In the League of Ireland that is especially so. Dundalk so far have lost Andy Boyle, Daryl Horgan, Darren Meenan and Ronan Finn. Talk too of Gartland and Gannon going and Stephen O’Donnell too. Given the income generated by the Europa League run, rumour has it that naturally Dundalk players are looking for much improved contracts when resigning. Indeed Bray were supposedly holding out for a six figure fee for Dylan Connolly who has just signed new 2 year contract with Bray. (Incidentally you’d wonder where Bray , who had financial difficulties recently and average crowds of 400 last season, are getting the money for all their signings and how long can they afford to pay them?)
In an interview with The Dundalk Democrat , Stephen Kenny stated that its likely that more players will leave.
One of the things about Dundalk these last few seasons has been the settled nature of the squad. No mass overhaul of the squad that is often the case with other clubs. A few players in and a few players out. If there is an exodus it’s quite late in the day to be signing new players.
When he took over at Rovers in January 2012 Kenny was rushing to get a squad together and signed Kerrea Gilbert, Conor Powell, Oscar Jansen, Colin Hawkins, Daryl Kavanagh, Killian Brennan, Graham Gartland and Reyaad Pieterse. None of them were a success. What also happened was that the loss of one player turned others who had been brilliant like Craig Lives to rubbish. It’s one thing signing a few players each season but having to replace half a dozen or more is going to be difficult. There’s not much quality available to sign at the moment here, so to improve the team he’ll have to go abroad. I’m sure Dundalk are inundated with offers from agents but plenty of these players /agents will be expecting a fairly hefty wage.
In the later half of the season goalkeeper was a problem position for Dundalk, it was presumed that they’d sign a keeper, instead Gary Rogers and Gabriel Sava were both given new contracts.
There’s another two months before a ball is kicked but I’m getting more confident of Rovers prospects and that Dundalk will find it hard to repeat or even improve on this years fantastic achievement.

In Search Of The Blue Nile December 17, 2016

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Very good radio documentary on The Blue Nile can be listened to here

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Ice Cream Van Music December 17, 2016

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An odd choice but a genre I hadn’t realised had a bit of a following. There’s a good piece on the History etc of Ice Cream Vans and their jingles here. There are certain themes that are more popular The Match of The Day theme tune is one, “Teddy Bears Picnic”, “Turkey in the straw” , “The Mister Softee Jingle”
There’s a number of albums such as Songs For Ice Cream Trucks that are available.

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Kate Ellis December 3, 2016

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A couple of weeks ago I went to see Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill in Dun Laoghaire. They were brilliant as ever. After the interval they were joined by Cellist Kate Ellis. They did an improv which was mesmeric, then back to some familiar tunes where at times the Cello added beautifully and other times it didn’t quite work. To see the Cello being used as a mix of Double Bass (Some of the string plucking really complimented the music) , a drum/percussion instrument and as a Cello was intended was really fantastic.
Alas I couldn’t find any clips….. So here is some clips of Kate Ellis. Some of it quite experimental. It’s excellent.

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Rock of Ages November 19, 2016

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Tonight I’ll probably be heading along to my sons school where he is one of the male leads in the school musical “Rock of Ages”. I went the other night too and it was brilliant fun.
When the auditions were on I hadn’t heard of “Rock of Ages” , I looked it up and was amused to see what was on the soundtrack. There was amazement from my son as his parents started singing (badly) a few bits from most songs in the soundtrack. The amazement that comes with youth thinking that they were the first ones to discover music and even worse that your parents actually liked all this music…. (Well it wouldn’t have all been my cup of tea, as a metal fan during the era the music comes from it drove me mad to have bands like Poison,Europe and more classed as Metal.) … but sure it was hard not to know all the songs as they would have been features on the radio, MTV and even MT USA!
Quite a feel good mix of sounds …..

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… “Take Me Home” John Denver Covers November 5, 2016

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John Denver died in a plane crash in 1997, had had multiple hit singles, albums with the likes of “Annies Song” , “Take me Home”, “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and “Rocky Mountain High” being his biggest hits. Yet for all that he was more than out of fashion by the time he died.
In 2000 Mark Kozelek (of the Red House Painters) decided to make a tribute album.
“My idea for this record,” Kozelek said, “is to take artists that are less likely to be associated with John Denver, have them open up a new audience to his songs, and give exposure to his popular as well as less known but significant work.”
Below is some of that album (alas some tracks are not available on youtube) and it’s really enjoyable.
This is the Spotify link if you want to listen https://open.spotify.com/album/7KU2wsOFu5wCqcyVJvLd20

There’s a good piece on the album here (with some of the tracks to download)

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