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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: November 10, 2009 @ 7:14 pm


    Fiona McCann

    Reading Wolf Hall: So far so well observed, though I wish I didn’t already know what happened in the end. Will reserve judgment until I finally reach the long-awaited (for so many reasons) end.

    Seen An Education: wonderful performances, though memoir-based films always make me suspicious. Was Lynn Barber really so astute and worldly, with such intelligent comebacks to deliver her elders, at seventeen? I had such high expectations that I was inevitably disappointed in little ways – and spare me the montages, please – but Rosamund Pike was truly delightful, and Alfred Molina gave a moving turn as Barber’s astoundingly naive father).

    Heard Nothing new and worth commenting on, of late. Feel a bit musically bored, in fact. Any recommendations?

    Noted The brouhaha over the lack of women authors on Publisher’s Weekly’s ten best books of the year. Your thoughts?

    • Charlie says:

      Music recommendations: Here’s my favourite albums of the year…

      The XX – http://www.myspace.com/thexx

      The Unthanks – http://www.myspace.com/rachelunthank

    • Stan says:

      In case you missed it, an antidote to musical boredom: Prisencolinensinainciusol by Adriano Celentano.

    • Fiona says:

      Charlie: Thanks for those – have been meaning to go back to the Unthanks after seeing them on the View some time back. That’s my next purchase sorted, so!

      Stan: Hilarious!

    • Wolf Hall? Ugh. We at The Double Dee Book Club – http://www.facebook.com/pages/DOUBLE-DEE-BOOK-CLUB/94767212054 have decided to ditch the book. I got to page 17, other valiant members got to page 150, and we all agree, life is too short! No no no! I picked up Irene Nemirovsky’s “La Suite Francaise” instead – it’s riveting.

    • Urchinette says:

      Another recommendation for the Unthanks – the new album isn’t as good as their last one, The Bairns, but it’s still great. Perfect winter music. If you like strange modern folk music, Nancy Elizabeth is great too. And I have to recommend my ridiculously talented and lovely friend Angeline’s amazing band The Ambassadors of Sorrow – they’re kind of like a mixture of Francoise Hardy and Shirley Collins and if they didn’t live in the wilds of Cornwall I think they’d be huge. Their debut album is available on iTunes, and is absolutely gorgeous.

    • Helen says:

      Would recommend Michiel Borstlap Trio in Pavilion this Saturday night (14th November) – wonderful piano trio playing jazz (funky/ Thelonious Monk style music) from Amsterdam.
      Borstlap is also a columnist for Esquire Magazine, writes Operas, has had many books published and has written award winning music that has been played by the likes of Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. In Pavilion Theatre in Dún Laoghaire on Saturday night.

      Closer to Dublin, is Ingrid Laubrock and Tom Rainey coming from US to play with Ronan Guilfoyle and Michael Buckley in JJ Smyth’s at the IMC’s Pendulum Club. It starts at 8.30pm on Sunday 15th November. ON Aungier Street, Dublin 2 (tickets are €12 )

      Then starting next week (on 19th November) is the Galway Jazz Festival. With Trygve Seim (Norway) Rebecca Martin (NYC) Larry Grenadier (NYC – Brad Meldhau’s bassist) Francesco Turrisi Trio, Metier, Mercury Nominees Polar Bear, Hugh Buckley with John Stowell and Feeley, Matthew Berrill, and ECM artist Julia Hulsmann.

      And… on Monday night’s in the Button Factory the Dublin City Jazz Orchestra swing into action with a residency throughout November – tickets only €10 for each.

      That is a wrap for the best of jazz, so hopefully after next week, the ‘heard’ section will be filled!

    • Fiona says:

      Deirder Mulrooney: Hmm, I’m rather enjoying Wolf Hall, though don’t know if it’s one to which I’d give a massive cash prize. Still, some excellent writing and a cracking story, in many ways. Next up the new McCann, and then we’ll see about Nemirovsky. . . .

      Urchinette: Strange modern folk music is right up my street! Will also try the Ambassadors of Sorrow, thanks to your shameless plug. . . . did you wanna row in on the PW book list?

    • Tady says:

      Check out Sufjan Stevens new album “The BQE”. Commissioned by the New York Transport Authority it’s based on the Brooklyn Queens Express. Suprisingly, an orchestral album, but retaining the fun and twists of tale that Stevens managed to infuse “Illinoise” with… If you liked “Chicago” from that album, you’ll love this.

      Also if you haven’t already checked out Jonsi & Alex (Jonsi being the lead singer of “Sigur Ros”) then do so and do it now dammit!!! Album of the year for me…

      That’ll give yer musical chops something to gnash on for a while!


    • Urchinette says:

      Hee, shameless indeed! They really are amazing though, I’m not just saying it because she’s my friend.

      And as for the PW list, I do think it must, in some way, come down to the old story of male experience and writing being seen as universal while women’s experiences and work are somehow “niche”. If it was an all-female list – something I can’t remember ever happening in a mainstream prize – I’m pretty sure a lot of people would be much more shocked than they are by an all-male list, which is telling.

    • Inky Wrists says:

      Based on what you’ve read so far, is it worth reading Wolf Hall? I’ve been staring at it for weeks in Hodges Figgis, deliberating whether or not to buy it… I need advice!

      ps- it’s worth checking out Metric’s latest album if you havn’t already heard it, it’s brilliant!

    • Triona says:

      Music recommendations: John Mayer, Florence and The Machine, Imogen Heap, The Lonely Island if you want a laugh and a half

    • Fiona says:

      Helen: Thanks for all the recommendations. I was out of Dublin this weekend alas, but might catch the Dublin City Jazz Orchestra’s set tonight or next Monday. Thanks for that!

      Tady: Loving the Sufjan. The man can do no wrong, musically at least. Most definitely checking that out, and ditto the Jonsi & Alex recommendation, given that I’m a massive Sigur Ros fan.

      Urchinette: You’re probably right about how shocking an all-female list would be. It’s hard to tell how significant the resulting list is, however, not being party to the process of elimination or to the set of criteria that governed the choices. But there’s definitely something to be teased out there – maybe in another post.

      Inky: I would say it’s worth reading Wolf Hall, particularly if you have an interest in that period of history. It’s well researched and well written, though of course suffers from our inevitable foreknowledge. Still a cracking read, though.

      Triona: Thanks for those! I already have Florence and The Machine but am always up for a laugh so will try The Lonely Island out and report back . . .

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