Archive for December, 2008

Dec 13 2008

Urf, The Final Final Frontier

Published by under Blog

A crude joke?

Urf Oil

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Dec 12 2008

Home For Christmas

Published by under Blog

HomepagesCatherine’s project, Homepages, was launched last Monday in Le Cirk in Dublin City Centre. The book, a collection of stories from some of Ireland’s finest bloggers, is available from and can be ordered for €14 on a print-on-demand basis.

Homepages is a unique collection of stories and photographs, the first of its kind in Ireland. The nation’s best bloggers hold forth on the theme of “home”, covering everything from pets and expat life to parenting and the Kellogg’s Variety Pack. By turns hilarious, heartbreaking and thought-provoking, it promises a captivating read and showcases some of Ireland’s best undiscovered writing talent. All proceeds from the sale of each book, compiled on an entirely voluntary basis, go directly to Focus Ireland, who provide services and support for people who are homeless across Ireland.

Click here to purchase this excellent book and support Focus Ireland.

(It’s possible I have a story in there too)

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Dec 12 2008

A Blogger Table Quiz

Published by under Blog

Daragh (with one ‘r’) is doing some kind of feasibility study on how many people would be interested in going to a Charity Blogger’s Table Quiz before the Blog Awards in February. Specifically, if you can’t make the blog awards, maybe you’d be interested in a Dublin meet up.


Check out Daragh’s blog here for more information and please fill out his very quick survey (hint: Do you feel lucky, punk?). Spread the word too…


Incidentally, if you have not done so already, go register to attend the Blog Awards 2009.

5 responses so far

Dec 12 2008

What Christmas Is All About

Published by under Blog

HeroesFor a telly addict, my TV viewing has been very light of late. Apart from my near religious following of Heroes and the occasional episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles and, for my sins, Gossip Girl, I’ve only caught fleeting moments of television in recent weeks.


So today, I’m going to start planning my Christmas viewing schedule. It’s a military process and takes place over several days. Indeed it is subject to much tweaking even as the season unfolds. The mission begins with intelligence gathering. To give them a fighting chance, I go hunting for the Irish channels schedule first. RTE and TV3 have some decent shows on this year.


After that, I widen my search to include the UK terrestrials. BBC usually features heavily at this point. ITV seem to expect people to switch their brains off for the Christmas period. Who’s to say they’re wrong? Channel 4 often has some nice surprises.


This year adds something new to the mix. I tentatively expect to have the Sky+ installed over the next week, so I will have a plethora of channels from which to draw my ultimate TV schedule. And with Sky+ I will be able to avoid those awful Sophie’s choices where overlapping occurs on my planner – I’ll be able to catch EVERYTHING.


I’ll keep you informed as to how my planning progresses, but if there’s anything you feel I can’t afford to miss, let me know.

5 responses so far

Dec 11 2008

Come What May

Published by under Blog,Movies,TV

Baz LuhrmannI watched BBC’s Culture Show’s documentary and interview with Baz Luhrman on Tuesday night and was in awe of a great man. Intelligent, funny and seemingly down to earth, Luhrman came across so well and has now been catapulted to the top of the table at my fantasy dinner party. Stephen Fry will have to shimmy down a bit.


He is responsible for the quirky, shoestring budgeted smash hit Strictly Ballroom, arguably the greatest Shakespeare movie adaptation, Romeo and Juliet, the movie which is widely credited with the resurgence of musicals on the big screen, Moulin Rouge, and now the as yet unreleased period epic, Australia, which is already heralded in some quarters as the new Gone With The Wind. Both Moulin Rouge and Romeo and Juliet appear on my to ten movies list – It is understandable then that I would develop a fascination with the man.Basil Brush


Nicole KidmanBorn Mark Anthony Luhrman, his nickname Baz would be given due to an unfortunate resemblance to Basil Brush. Growing up in the small town of Herons Creek, child of a father who ran a petrol station and local cinema and mother who was a ballroom dancing teacher and dress shop owner, it isn’t hard to see where his first film Strictly Ballroom was inspired. Originating as a 20 minute play, directed by Baz, he eventually fleshed it out into a feature length film. When it first screened in Australia, it was not received well, but a midnight screening at Cannes made it hot property and it rapidly became a worldwide smash.


Romeo and JulietTrying to make a film about ballroom dancing in small town Australia was seen as a crazy venture, but attempting to pitch a modern Romeo and Juliet maintaining Shakespeare’s original dialogue was sheer madness. Even after proving himself with this, he was still viewed sceptically when he set about making a musical. Bare in mind, this was before Chicago, Hairspray and Mamma Mia! The result was the remarkable Moulin Rouge, which saw Oscar nominations in 8 categories and wins in two. Bizarrely, there wasn’t even a nomination for Baz for Best Director. On Oscar night, Whoopi Goldberg sarcastically remarked, “I guess it just directed itself”.


AustraliaHis new project is Australia, starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman and is an ‘outback epic’ set in the early 1940’s against a backdrop of World War II events such as the bombing of Darwin in 1942. With a running time of almost 2 and ¾ hours, it is truly an epic event. I am nervous and excited to see if he can add a third film to my top ten list. Australia is released on 26th December, just in time to escape your family on St Stephen’s Day.


If you are in the UK (or are skilled with computers) BBC are making The Culture Show’s documentary available for UK residents to view online for 6 more days. Click here for more. And here’s the trailer for Australia:




2 responses so far

Dec 11 2008

Parents Are Cruel

Published by under Blog

Check out the comments on the YouTube video here.

3 responses so far

Dec 10 2008

Assisted Suicide

Published by under Blog,Politics

I‘m opening it up for debate. Ahead of Sky Real Lives’ documentary tonight where they show the final moments of Craig Ewert‘s life, after he travelled to Zurich to end his life with the aid of the Swiss firm Dignitas, I find myself wondering if I am for or against it.

Watching the news earlier, where they were reporting the fact that the DPP have decided not to prosecute the parents of Daniel James, who also travelled to end his own life, I was happy that they were not going to hound his grieving family, but I thought it unfortunate that yet another opportunity to discuss the legal repurcussions of euthanasia on a national scale had passed by.

There’s a huge part of me that believes that if someone is suffering and has no hope of recovery, they should have the option to end it all in a dignified and safe manner. Of course, there’s a part of me too that believes the legalisation of euthanasia is a slippery slope that may lead to it becoming a means of health care cost containment or the rejection of the importance and value of human life.

Pepsi are already making light of suicide as an end to depression – they seem to believe suicide is an effective marketing tool…


Where do others stand on this?

6 responses so far

Dec 08 2008

The Apprentice Live Blogging – Final Week

Published by under Blog,TV

The Apprentice is finally coming to a close. We have reached the final week and the only two left standing are Brenda and Nicky. David went home first (remember him?), Shane walked out, Joanna ‘cheated’, Mark fell apart, Stuart survived an atrocious week 5 but got the chop last week. So who will be Bill Cullen‘s new apprentice…


Brenda and Nicky have to run a charity event and “present their charity in a novel and interesting way”. Join us this week, where we will be running the live blog from Le Cirk on Dublin’s Dame Lane where we pick apart the two hopefuls’ decisions and discuss who will hear the line – “You’re Hired”.


Or click here to open in a new window.






One response so far

Dec 05 2008

The Apprentice – The Final Reckoning

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Brenda ShanahanMonday night sees the final of the Irish Apprentice and we will discover who becomes Bill Cullen’s protégé. Only Brenda and Nicky are left after last week’s firing of Orla and Stuart.

Nicky O'CallahanAs with previous weeks, we will be live blogging the event. At 8.45 on Monday evening, check out,, or to participate in the event.

Help us slag off the receptionist, Jackie’s dress sense, Bill Cullen’s clichés and, of course, the contestants. See you there…


Big interesting update:


Le CirkOn Monday night, Catherine is holding the Launch Party for the blogger book, Homepages, in Le Cirk on Dame Lane. Unfortunately, due to the Apprentice, it looked like we wouldn’t be able to make it. However, Le Cirk have kindly offered to set us up with an area to Live Blog from, with a TV and Internet access.


So, if you are around city centre on Monday evening and you want to join us for a double celebration, the launch of Homepages and the final of the Irish Apprentice, come along to Le Cirk and buy me a pint*.


View Larger Map


*Actually, Ive been drinking wine a lot lately, so a glass of white would suffice.




6 responses so far

Dec 05 2008

The Swell Season In The Olympia

Published by under Blog,Music,Music Review,Night Out

Glen HansardI think, more than anyone else, my Oxegen experience this year was nothing short of perfect. We had one of the best camping sites; I escaped every possible queue; I didn’t get attacked by drunks nor mauled by drug addled oddballs. The food was good and the rain didn’t even bother me. Most of all, I got to see all the acts I was hoping to see and was introduced to some great new performers. On the final night, we had a varied choice of final performances – The Swell Season, Rage Against the Machine, Ian Brown and Chemical Brothers. We decided to see The Swell Season, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova‘s band, in the Pet Sounds tent and it rounded off the festival for us. Their first performance on stage since winning the Oscar for Falling Slowly from the film Once was serene, simple and superb.

On Tuesday night, The Swell Season hit the Olympia. Anthony McG sorted out the tickets for Lottie and I and, after some fine dining in Eddie Rockets, we arrived just before the support act came on stage.



The Hare’s Corner is Colm Mac Con Iomaire‘s trad band, but they are a hell of a lot more than just the diddly-eye. The 8 piece all instrumental group, led by Mac Con Iomaire on the fiddle, played an energetic and modern set that would have whipped the crowd up better with some volume. It was the only downfall. They were exciting, fresh and while they didn’t have the heavier beats of Kíla (who are playing Vicar Street on the 21st December by the way), they are a band I’d love to see again.


Glen HansardThere was a bit too long of a delay between Hare’s Corner departing and Swell Season taking to the stage, which quietened the crowd a little. Hansard et al didn’t get the rapturous greeting they deserved. Indeed, the first few songs, which were sweet and melodic, were met with applause and some polite whoops. But when they played their Oscar winning song, Falling Slowly, the mood turned and it became a night to remember. Falling Slowly was delivered with such passion and gusto that it was hard not to be drawn into the performance. From that point on, we they had us in the palms of their hands.


Kevin and Mark


Kevin and MarkOne of the greatest spontaneous moments from a gig that I have ever witnessed – Hansard began to tell the story of two young guys they met over dinner earlier in the day, who were going to be at the concert that evening. He fluffed his way through telling us, mixed up the lads names and eventually blurted out that the two lads, Kevin & Mark, played a bit of music. One sings and the other takes to the guitar. Half joking, he called Kevin and Mark up on stage and with some cheers and cajoling from the audience, the pair finally make it up. Hansard and the band leave the stage and the two lads are left wondering what song they should do as we all look on, slightly embarrassed for them, praying they wouldn’t make fools of themselves. We need not have worried. They belted out a brilliant version of Bob Dylan’s You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere. Half way through the song the band slowly emerged back on stage to join in. It must have been such a special moment for Kevin and Mark. They got the first standing ovation of the night went and deservedly so. Fair play to them for having the courage and confidence to pull it off.

I asked Kevin what it was like playing with Hansard and the band and were they expecting to be asked up on stage:

Meeting Glen before the show itself was brilliant. He was really sound and actually had an interest in our music. But when he said during the gig to come up and play with him, on his stage, to his audience and with his guitar, my heart plummeted. The spontaneity of it all was just so much! –

Kevin and Mark


If You’ve Gotta Go, Go With Happiness


When I first heard Happiness at Oxegen, I wasn’t over-awed. It was a quiet song and felt too raw and simple. Hearing it again on Tuesday night and I wonder is it the same tune. This time it has a haunting feel to it. Played it total darkness, except for the heavy drumming moments where the stage lit up with the drum beats like cracks of lightning, this was one of the finest moments of the night – a great spectacle.


Marketa IrglovaIntroducing the song Once, we find out that John Carney is hiding in the wings. Too shy to play bass on stage, Swell Season play on without him and the crowd love it. Hansard’s banter throughout added so much to the night. It helped create a sense of intimacy that a venue like the Olympia struggles to provide. The tight seating, the high stage and the formality of the old theatre prevent the closeness that other venues, such as Vicar Street, The Academy, Whelan’s and even our own Greystones Theatre, can provide.

And yet, Hansard managed to bridge the divide somewhat. Introducing the song Lies, he says it is the story of “the guy who tells the truth about things that didn’t happen”.


Marketa IrglovaIt would be easy to dismiss The Swell Season as just being Glen Hansard’s band. He does all the talking and most of the singing. But there is so much more to the band than that. Marketa Irglova’s incredible piano skills aside, her voice takes the harsh edge from his and provides perfect and hypnotic harmonies to compliment Hansard. It is only when she is left alone on stage though, that we discover how truly beautiful her voice is. A stillness came across the Olympia as she sang. You begin to think that we are getting two acts for the price of one in Hansard and Irglova. His voice is about passion, her’s sounds lovelorn and heartbroken. Gorgeous.


The Swell Season


The Swell Season



7 responses so far

Dec 04 2008

I Give In

Published by under Blog

Right, I’m giving up on the Bah Humbug. There’s no point – you can’t fight it. Last night, I arrived home and Lottie had the Christmas tree up. Now, I’m not a fan of the artificial tree. For me, one of the only good things about Christmas is the smell of the real tree. We’ve only ever had a fake tree, but this year, to make me happy and get me in the spirit, Lottie got a real tree.


Christmas Tree


It looks great, it smells great and it’s perfect for our apartment. Merry Christmas, movie house! Merry Christmas, Emporium! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan! Merry Christmas, Lottie, and thank you.

Exploding Tree


17 responses so far

Dec 04 2008

Awesome Things

Published by under Blog,TV

Just some stuff that I’m happy about:

  • Condoleeza Rice’ piano recital at Buckingham Palace for the Queen. Nifty!

  • Wantsies – oh so very wantsies…


  • Lost Season 5 sneak preview (it’s back on January 21st):


Oldest lolcat

8 responses so far

Dec 03 2008

Mario Kart Love Song

Published by under Blog,Music

The finish line is just around the bend,

I’ll pause this game, so our love will never end


4 responses so far

Dec 03 2008

Only You

Published by under Blog,Music

It’s one of those songs that’s pretty much constantly playing in the back of my mind. It’s always there, and whenever I’m busy with something – washing up, making tea, entering invoices, etc. – I often just start whistling it and don’t even notice.

Yazoo was formed by Vince Clarke and Alison Moyet in 1981. Before leaving Depeche Mode, Clarke offered the song Only You to the band but they turned it down. It became Yazoo’s debut single and though it entered the charts at 198, it quickly made it to number 2 (it’s a crime it never made it to number 1 – although it can claim the honour of being the song that Tim and Dawn kiss to in the Office Christmas Special). The band lasted less that two years, but both Moyet and Clarke went on to have huge careers – Moyet as a solo artist and Clarke with Erasure.

This year Yazoo reformed for a special Yazoo Reconnected tour, playing Ireland in June. I would love to have seen them, but it was not to be. Maybe they’ll be back…


Anyway, the song is fantastic and of all the songs I could have reverberating around my head on a constant basis, I could do a lot worse. Anyone else have any great songs on repeat in their noggin?

2 responses so far

Dec 02 2008

Sing For Your Supper

Published by under Blog,Music

Following on from this, here’s the amazing Sing For Your Supper by Cathy Davey:


2 responses so far

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