Archives For Uncategorized

The Fontaines DC are righteous and romantic. Every song is a declaration and a rumble. They catch lightning, write the best words and their upcoming album, Dogrel is set to be an unrivalled moment in Irish music. That’s reason enough to feel glad but their debut is going to be so perfect and of its time. It will register far beyond this island. Remember the excellent buzz of hearing The Strokes and ‘Is This It’? Prepare for a party soundtrack, an education and a way of looking back at the world. Continue Reading…

Robert Holmes 1976-2018

February 27, 2019

Robert Holmes had startling blue eyes and a quiet manner. He had worked as a tree surgeon and hod carrier. He painted and wrote and he often took himself up into the hills above his North Belfast home where he indulged his nature boy tendencies. He built stone cairns and found other ways to lift his experiences out of the normal.

Continue Reading…

Ubu is a hairy arse-crack, a chancer, an upsetter and a bin-hoker. Ubu is engorged and filthy, an opportunist who grabs the crown, trades in filth and reads his manifesto from a bog roll. Ubu is a parade of infantilism and id – literally and theatrically, a shit in a box.
Continue Reading…

Geraldine Quigley’s first novel happens in Derry in 1981. Teenage dreams are informed by post punk and the patriot game, by Ian Curtis and Bobby Sands. The former has made a glowering exit, beaten by illness, circumstance and a belief that all hope has been exhausted. Meantime the hunger strikers are very conscious about the power of mythology and the belief that the story can be changed with acts of self-obliteration.

Continue Reading…

Bridie, In The Name Of Love

February 11, 2019

Bridie Monds-Watson was in her Manchester flat on Wednesday October 19 when management rang. It was a request from U2. Could she add her vocals to a track that would feature during the band’s performance the following night? It was for a section in the gig about women of the world, taking over. Sure, she said, and recorded her part two hours later. Next evening, she was in a private viewing area at the Arena, listening to her own voice over the speakers and getting a namecheck from Bono. Continue Reading…

David Quantick – Go West

February 10, 2019

Go West, the new David Quantick book is great. A gauche, antiques whisperer with a stash of John Peel cassettes steers towards Land’s End and ever-reeling havoc. Bits of tenderness, philosophy, ripsnort, bathos and calumny. Names pinched from the payroll of Ace Records and a contrary search for the verifiable and real. DQ writes sentences that snap into unguessable shapes. Wry and spry.

The Alternative Ulster fanzine had asked Jake for a song that they might use as a flexidisc. He obliged in February 1978, using the fanzine title to imagine an empowered, shared space, the punks united against the bigots. Jake says he was chiefly the author of the song, although Gordon Ogilvie had provided the wordplay of “alter your native land”. The song was declined by the fanzine but Stiff Little Fingers had another flaming tune in the songbook. Also, they were working on their version of Bob Marley’s ‘Johnny Was’. Some liberties were taken with the words, Henry says. Continue Reading…

The mission is to play three sold-out gigs on consecutive nights in Belfast, to pitch energy, smiles and exceptional cheer into a torpid season. Brand New Friend already prevailed in the summer festivals of 2018 and carried it through the later months when they piggy-backed arena shows with Snow Patrol and closed the year onstage with Ash, singing Wizzard and wearing the Santa hats. But would January tolerate another refreshment offer from Taylor Johnson? Continue Reading…

Anyone who read Milkman by Anna Burns will realise that a whole other tone has been expressed about Belfast during the conflict. Her version of Ardoyne is pressurised by both State and communal policing, the vice grips of a fearful time. Now there is another, wildly different version of the same cityscape. For The Good Times by David Keenan sometimes reads like a negative print of Milkman, fronted by gun-slinging paramilitaries who adore the tunes of Perry Como and create a dandified carnage like the boys in Scorsese’s Mean Streets. Continue Reading…

Radio Free Derry, 1969

January 9, 2019

At 7pm on January 10, 1969 they plugged in a pirate radio transmitter that had been smuggled up from the Irish Republic by friends of People’s Democracy. The transmissions were a feature that year, firstly from the Creggan and then from the top of Rossville Flats, an eight-storey feature of the Bogside. The equipment was installed by Jim Sharkey, an electrician from Rossville Street and father of Feargal. Radio Free Derry went out on 240 Medium Wave and involved Eamonn McCann, Eamonn Melaugh, Tommy McDermott, Ross O’Kane and a few others. Their reach was the Creggan, the Bogside and the Brandywell – 888 acres and 25,000 people. They played folk tunes, pop music and they talked about resistance.

Continue Reading…