How did he do it?
Come up with the Ten Commandments, I mean. Because limiting myself to the ten most influential books of the noughties was a fierce challenge altogether, the results of which will be made known in tomorrow’s Irish Times. Many thanks to all the suggestions and contributions: I have been strict in adhering to the caveat that the final inclusions must have been published within the decade, which meant we had to chuck out Dreams of my Father and Harry Potter, both of which made their first appearances in the nineties. But while you’ve all been ruminating on books, I’ve been catching up on other arts, notably Strandline at the Project, the new Abbie Spallen play. Set in a small coastal village in Northern Ireland, this is a play about secrets and lies, perhaps a fitting theme for our times given all that’s been revealed about the church of late. A cracking cast works hard to play with shifting audience sympathies against a fittingly cold and stylish set by Sabine Dargent. Looms loom (yes, I have waited some years to be able to say that), and dialogue crackles, while Fiona Bell plays the best stage drunk I’ve seen in quite some time. Here’s what Peter Crawley had to say about it, and if you’re convinced, you’ve got till Saturday to catch it. If Strandline doesn’t float your boat (SWIDT?), then this week’s highly recommended movie must is Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon. Beautifully shot, achingly suspenseful, fittingly slow-paced and with incredible performances elicited from a cast of fabulous faces (yes yes, actors, I know, but the close-ups are expressive and hauntingly memorable), this film leaves the viewer with a myriad of questions, and a discomfort reflective of life’s eternal failure to tie things up satisfactorily. Go. See. It.