The stars of Xmas: seasonal gifts for music lovers

No idea what to buy for that music fan in your life? Freak not for Tony Clayton-Lea has done all the legwork and found the most bad-ass, rock’n’roll pressies of the holiday season

Chilling out at the Body & Soul festival in Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Chilling out at the Body & Soul festival in Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill



BODY & SOUL June 20th-22nd, Ballinlough Castle Estate, Co Westmeath; €79.50, but the tiered ticket prices increase as time passes.

GROOVE FESTIVAL July 5th/6th, Killruddery Estate, Bray, Co Wicklow; adult weekend €69 plus €5 booking fee; kids, 4-17yrs, weekend €34, plus €3 booking fee; early bird offer expires December 24th.

CASTLEPALOOZA August 1st-3rd, Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Co Offaly; at the time of going to press, you could purchase (via a tiered ticketing system, the prices increasing as time passes) a three-day festival and camping ticket for €64. Boutique Camping tickets (also via a tiered ticketing system) cost €255. A Castlepalooza Concierge “upgrade” service costs an extra €20 per person.

INDIEPENDENCE August 1st-3rd, Deer Farm, Mitchelstown, Co Cork; three-day weekend camping, €70; available to those who have previously purchased a ticket to the event, either through or with an actual ticket. This early bird loyalty offer will run until Indie14’s official launch next March.

VANTASTIVAL May 2nd-4th, Bellurgan Park, Bellurgan, Dundalk, Co Louth; €65, but the ticket prices increase as time passes.




spatulaFLIPPER GUITAR SPATULA If you fancy a burst of air guitar while frying your eggs (baby), then this silicon axe (man) is just for you. Plus points: it’s dishwasher safe and can withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees Farenheit. Dude! Where’s the freakin’ butter? (€10.50)

BEAT BOX FLAT PACK MUSIC SPEAKER Yes, yes, yes, your smartphone’s tin-shack speaker can’t deal with the loudness of Metallica or the subtleties of Ulrich Schnauss, so what to do? Assemble your own ghetto blaster beat box sound system, that’s what. The precision-cut cardboard beat box comes with two quality speakers and a cable/jack for your device. (€13.50)

The above are available from Five & Dime, Dame St, Dublin;


BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN/TRACKS A new(ish) album out in January isn’t going to stop the die-hard Bruce fan from getting their blue-collar mitts on this, a four-disc set which features more than 65 songs that you won’t find on the Boss’s studio albums. Originally released in 1998, this set was reissued a month or two ago, now completely remixed and remastered. (€25)

RORY_WEBRORY GALLAGHER/KICKBACK CITY If you like rough and ready guitar rock/blues and appreciate crime/noir fiction, then this inventive three-disc set is perfect. Not only does it gather Gallagher songs that explicitly, or otherwise, reference his love of crime fiction, but it also adds in a “live” version, followed by a bespoke Ian Rankin novella, The Lie Factory, which is narrated by Irish actor Aidan Quinn. (€26)

DYLAN1_WEBBOB DYLAN/COMPLETE ALBUM COLLECTION VOL ONE There are box sets and there are box sets, but surely the most expansive is this one, which includes every full-length studio album (35) and live album (6) that Mr Zimmerman has released to date. Yep, that’s six decades of music, from 1962’s self-titled album to 2012’s Tempest (with 14 titles remastered especially for this set). Not only that, but it also comes with two “Sidetrack” discs of non-album singles, B-sides (ask your dad), various other rare Dylan songs; an introductory essay written by Bill Flanagan; and a hardcover book featuring new album-by-album liner notes by Clinton Heylin. If you think the box set might take up too much space on your shelves, it also comes as a limited edition USB stick. In the shape, no less, of a flippin’ harmonica. (€160)

THE POGUES/30 YEARS: In order to celebrate the band’s 30th anniversary, this mega, nine-disc, career-spanning box set includes remixed/remastered studio albums as well as an unreleased live concert from 1991, featuring Clash frontman Joe Strummer on vocals. (€50)

All above prices as quoted by Golden Discs


WHERE THE STREETS HAVE 2 NAMES: U2 AND THE DUBLIN MUSIC SCENE, 1978-1981, by Patrick Brocklebank and Sinead Molony (editor). Published by Liberties Press. Photographer Brocklebank was there when U2 played the Dandelion Market, and when the Dublin music scene was a breeding ground for post-punk individuality. A good mix of images and text, and a must-have for fans of Irish music. (€24.99)

COPENDIUM by Julian Cope (Faber & Faber), is written in what we can only describe as Copelandish – in other words, it’s a highly idiosyncratic overview of the singer and musicologist’s favourite albums. It’s more than that, however, as Cope also lays out in singular fashion an alternative history of the last six decades of popular music. The result is an embarrassment of riches that detail obscure and neglected masterpieces in various areas/genres, including Krautrock, post-punk, stoner and doom metal, jazz, and spoken word. Informed, erudite, off-the-wall and often highly amusing. (€25)


MARSHALL_FRIDGE_WEBMARSHALL FRIDGE Oh, we love this – the combination of more than 50 years of classic rock heritage and a very useful kitchen accessory results in the Marshall Fridge. This handy and, one might say, very cool item is crafted from authentic Marshall Amp parts. We can see these being purchased for recording studios, man caves and green rooms in music venues. Just think – grabbing a beer from a fridge need no longer be a boring experience but rather a rock’n’roll happening! The freezer compartment knob goes up to 11, naturally. Available from (€476, exclusive of delivery)


Remember those pre-Sky days when all you had was about five TV channels? And when the Christmas Day movie was over it was time for Xmas Night at the London Palladium, or some other “family” entertainment show? Well, welcome into your house, then, the rather dainty and highly prized Musical Wine Glasses set, which – depending on how quickly you drain your glass – will play tunes in any key you so desire. For example, a full glass gives you a B flat; a low glass gets you a G sharp. And so on. Fancy a concerto with your Chablis? Or a minuet with your Merlot? Lengthy Kraftwerk tunes not recommended. Available from (€47.79)


JUMPER_WEBBaby, it’s cold outside, but Xmas jumpers will come in handy. If you’re a One Direction fan, get ye hence to for the band’s seasonal sweater. If you’re harder-edged, then pop along to – our favourites include the Hip Hop Santa Sweater (‘slaying rhymes north of the Arctic circle’, apparently). If you want to go the whole “winter-warm” hog, then take time out to visit Josh Homme’s; here, you’ll get Queens of the Stone Age Reindeer T-shirts. Which is nice – but hold on, Santa, what precisely is Rudolph up to?


MOTORHEAD-BEER_LEMMY_WEBOh, there are so many to choose from, but, you know, we’re thinking that to complement the wine, the champers, the port and the gin we’ll have some lager, thank you very much. Top of the list is Motörhead’s rather pithily titled Bastards Lager, which, as lead shouter Lemmy says, is “distributed straight from Hell”. Sweden’s Kronleins Bryggeri brews the pale lager, and according to one customer rating on, it has a “cheap flavour with some grainy notes”. Motörhead? Cheap flavour? Grainy notes? Just saying. Available from


BOWIE_WEBDAVID BOWIE V&A PRINTS Alongside his surprise comeback album, The Next Day, the other DB Event of 2013 was David Bowie Is, the wide-ranging retrospective at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. While the exhibition is no longer at the V&A (it’s travelling globally until 2016), the museum is home to the official product range. Go to for a goo at stuff that will set you back as much as you want to pay: as little as £0.75p (DB guitar pick) or as much as £3,999 (Aladdin Sane contact sheet). Our personal fave? The White Duke Edition 3 (Limited Edition Print) for £90. Oh, yes, we’d love that one for Christmas. Just saying. Anyone?


Well, best vinyl with a difference, perhaps. The first item is a recycled vintage vinyl 7” single bookend set. Handmade in Philadelphia, each set is one of a kind and, no, you can’t specify vinyl titles. (€30.92)

It’s Christmas, it’s raining, it’s cold, it’s freezing, it’s snowing, the fire is blazing away, and you’re bored. Watcha gonna do except sing a line from the Rolling Stones’ song, Jig Saw Puzzle (“I’m just trying to do my jigsaw puzzle, before it rains anymore . . . ”) and get to grips with the 550-piece Vinyl Collection Puzzle, which includes the spines of classic albums (and a few obscure ones). Corners first! Available from (€18.55)

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