10 things we learned this weekend
(1) We went to Graceland the other night. Paul Simon brought two bands to town for his brace of shows at Dublin’s O2: there was the band who’ve been touring with him of late and there was the band who …
(1) We went to Graceland the other night. Paul Simon brought two bands to town for his brace of shows at Dublin’s O2: there was the band who’ve been touring with him of late and there was the band who last worked together when he released “Graceland” a quarter-of-a-century ago. Rhymin’ Simon is on a bit of a roll at present and not just because he’s revisiting that album – last year’s “So Beautiful Or So What” was a bit of a masterpiece. But it was the promise of “Graceland” which had him filling this huge shed for two nights in a row and Simon and his grand ensemble (25 musicians onstage all told between the jigs and the reels) did not disappoint when they went back to that sparkling gem. A show to savour.
(2) The tractor boys are out in force on the nation’s highways and byways as the delayed silage season swings into gear. Will we see some of these beasts in our fields and on our roads in the coming years?
(3) It was Banter time in Donegal yesterday so we headed to Derek Hill’s kitchen (complete with Picasso plates on the dresser) in Churchill for a pow-wow on Irish culture’s relationship with the boom and bust. Part of the Glebe Cultural Summit at the Earagail Arts Festival, this Banter saw film-maker Lenny Abrahamson, performer Little John Nee, Dublin Fringe director Róise Goan and writer and broadcaster Sinead Gleeson probe and prod the topic with aplomb. Lots and lots of takeaways and food-for-thought from Banter 032. Big thanks to all involved in putting this one on including Paul and Siobhan at EAF, the Indefatigable Derek and all the panelists.
(4) It’s Springsteen week again! Two nights of the Boss at the RDS and he’s on something of a roll at present, with the set heading inexorably back towards the four hour mark (hence why he’s onstage at 7pm on Tuesday and Wednesday nights). Let’s hope that no-one pulls the plug, as happened in London at the weekend when the band and guest Paul McCartney went over curfew.
(5) Two tech confabs for your diary: Culturetech is a four day blend of tech, music, arts and media happening in Derry from August 29 to September 1. Speakers include Kath Mainland (Edinburgh Fringe), Daniel Burwen (Cognito Comics/Operation Ajax), Sir Nicholas Kenyon (Barbican, London), Joe Cohen (Seatwave), Joe Tree (Blipfoto) and Fiona McAnena (Clearhound). Cloudbusting 2012 is an one-day event at GMIT Galway on September 14 with speakers such as Dave Allen (Gang of Four), Michela Magas (Stromatolite), Alexandre Passant (Seevi), Barry Nolan (Converser) and many more.
(6) More Banter: the final soiree in our short nationwide tour sees us heading to Galway for A Conversation With Nile Rodgers. This public interview with the man behind dozens of Chic hits, the producer who worked with everyone from David Bowie to Duran Duran and the author of the fantastic “Le Freak” autobiography takes place on Thursday next, July 19, at the Hotel Meyrick, Galway on July 19 at 5pm and admission is free. Expect some great yarns, brilliant anecdotes and thought-provoking stories from Nile before he plays with Chic at the Big Top in Fisheries Field that night. This Banter is part of the Galway Arts Festival’s new First Thought Talks series which also includes talks with Mary Robinson, Fintan O’Toole, Alex Ross, John Mahoney, Rondi Reed, Tom Murphy and Garry Hynes.
(7) We had our own run-in with Chris Brown and Team Breezy earlier in the year, but there’s been a further slew of musing and frowning about the r’n'b performer in recent times, such as this piece on a comeback with contrition, thoughts on the role of race in the Brown backlash and Andrew Emery and Laura Snapes debate if we have forgotten and forgiven too easily.
(8) Great piece on the curse of culture by Hamish McKenzie
(9) The question of the day/week/month/year: are musicians making more or less money than they used to do?
(10) Finally, for my Donegal peeps