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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: January 6, 2011 @ 7:08 pm

    If you only do one thing this weekend . . .

    Laurence Mackin

    January – a time for penitence and belt tightening, while massaging the body, still bruised and swollen from Christmas excesses, and soothing the mind, full of guilt and self pity thanks to December’s over indulgence. Sitting in is the worst thing you can do, though: the guilt will only increase, locked in your sitting room with only your own neuroses for company, and your house will seem a whole lot less bearable with nothing stiff to drink at hand. So here are our selections to get you through the weekend and make the stumble through January that much brighter, until a time when you can take a break from sweeping your doorstep to wink and comment to a passing stranger, that “there’s a fine stretch in the evening”. And we’ve tried to stick to things that are reasonably priced to boot.

    Turner knew what a fine stretch in the evening looked like

    Visit: Every cloud has a silver sales bag, and every January a little fleeting glimmer of artistry over at the National Gallery, where the Turner Watercolours are being given their annual outing. If you haven’t seen them before, it’s hard to explain the detail in the draughtsmanship, and the impact in the sudden bursts of colour. If you have seen them before, you’ll be rushing back at some stage, no doubt, to feel awestruck all over again. The exhibition is complemented by a display on the works’ care and conservation. An annual tradition to genuinely be looked forward to then, and all it costs is time.

    See: Few novelists had the connection with film that Graham Greene enjoyed, and some of his books, so terse and sharp, read almost like screenplays. It also helped his legacy that few writers got such excellent treatment on the silver screen – perhaps it had something to do with Greene working as a film critic. Can you imagine the review he would have given a director or screenwriter who mashed up one of his masterpieces? The IFI is in the throes of a Greenfest and this week it’s the turn of Brighton Rock, which you can catch at 2pm on Saturday or Sunday. British film noir at its finest, with Richard Attenborough heading up a cast in tune with the film’s impressionistic imagery. Masterful stuff altogether.

    Listen: Those of you of a certain vintage will swear blind that Lir were the best band never to make it big out of Ireland, so it’s good to see Colm Quearney of yon group cutting a dash on his own under the name Q. He has three albums under his belt, with no little amount of craft on display on his third, Root to the Fruit. You can get up close and personal with the man at the excellent Cobalt Café on Saturday night, for €12.50 of your local shekels.

    That’s all we have at the moment. A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to beg, borrow and blag my way into Other Voices in Dingle (and no, I’m not tired of gloating about it yet) and was blown away by more than a few acts, including Anna Calvi. She’s due in these parts at the Workman’s Club on February 23. Here’s a little incendiary taste of what to expect.

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