So my old band have a new EP out. We Tried, which is a better song than The Script’s We Cry, is the lead “single” from it. It sounds massive.
As briefly explained in this introductory tumblr post, aptly titled “EP RECORDING“, I left, there was a brief period of stagnation and mourning (I think it was about 40 minutes or so), and Barry and Daniel recruited two of my favourite people – Niall Jackson and Colin Boylan. Niall being the everyman’s stupidly solid bass man and Colin being Sunburnt Jets who occasionally dry heaves into my dreams.
A bad photograph of St. Vincent supporting Sufjan Stevens, November 1st 2006, Dublin's Olympia theatre. Pic by wheatln2
And this is now… [disclaimer - "Cruel" is a potential video and song of the year candidate, it will lodge itself in your consciousness]
So I talked before about my favourite ever show – Sufjan Stevens in Dublin’s Olympia theatre, November 1st – but another thing that made it such a good night was the unknown support act. A member of Sufjan’s touring band, Annie Clark, who called herself “St. Vincent”, looked as sweet as sugar but played some guitar like an animal. Since then we’ve had a bit of thing going on…
So the tenuous lead-in before the funny facts… Great South Africans was a 2004 TV show that looked to count down the country’s most important figures but was cancelled due to controversy for featuring too many apartheid figures and mis-representing what it meant to be a “great South African”. The fact you only had to have lived there for a time qualified people like Lord of the Rings scribe JRR Tolkien who was born in Bloemfontein but left when he was 3, and the focus of this piece, Mohandas Gandhi, who was born in India but worked there from 1893 to 1915.
While number one was no surprise – anyone else and there would have been uproar – the televised countdown only got down to number 11 before being cancelled. This meant the people at numbers 2-10 only got placed alphabetically… Continue reading →
And she gets to hang out with Al Pacino and his 'surehecouldbehergrandad' girlfriend!
So a year ago at TIFF, I saw The Debt (Aug 31). It was fine, but the fact it’s taken a year to see the light of day with a general release in North America just last week tells you all you need to know. But at the time I thought the unknown red-head charged with playing the young Helen Mirren was one of the best things about it. I didn’t write that in my review, but you trust me when I say there wasn’t a whole lot else to take away from the picture. The director John Madden said he was looking for a fresh faced unknown for the role but now admits “that strategy seems to have been blown out of the water” as, by accident or design, it’s now impossible to escape Jessica Chastain. Continue reading →
So in case you were in any doubt, I love film festivals. While TIFF is far from perfect, when you’re dealing with something of this scale (HALF A MILLION TICKETS?!), I guess it’s easy enough to fuck up a little. So lets forgive the wacky lottery ticketing system,the number busy buuup buuup I kept getting for 90 minutes on Saturday morning and the inevitable late showings and lineups. Instead, let’s focus on what matters – the films. Because when it comes to putting together a festival program, they do pretty damn well.
This year I didn’t get my act together in time and so missed out on the 10-ticket packs, which meant I was left to fend off thousands of other enthusiastic punters on “Single Ticket Saturday”. Instead of pitching a tent for an overnight stay on King Street, I opted for the phone and email option. Took 90 minutes (should really just have set the alarm for 8am instead of 6.45am) but eventually the website started playing along and I’m delighted with the ten I got.
Picking what you want to see is a combination of a guessing game, logistical planning and plain old blind luck. Last year The King’s Speech won the audience award and didn’t lose any momentum before taking home the Best Picture oscar last February. Before the festival it hadn’t even registered on my radar and I was more excited about seeing eventual duds like The Debt and Bang Bang Club.
The shortlist: INTO THE ABYSS, ELLES, TWIXT, SHAME, MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE, THE KID WITH A BIKE, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME, THE DEEP BLUE SEA, KILL LIST
~ INTO THE ABYSS ~
Director: Werner Herzog | Country: USA | Year: 2011 | Language: English | Runtime: 106 minutes | Format: HDCAM
“We do not know when and how we will die. Death Row inmates do. Werner Herzog embarks on a dialogue with Death Row inmates, asks questions about life and death and looks deep into these individuals, their stories, their crimes.”
What more can I saw about Werner? One of the most interesting and passionate film-makers working today, equally adept with drama or documentary. If the Bavarian beauty (trademark wheatln2) were to film himself sitting on the toilet narrating his morning bowel movement I would still pay top dollar to see it as soon as possible. I was lucky enough to see Cave of Forgotten Dreams at the festival last year and whether it was the fact it started at something like 11pm or the 3D glasses, it all swept over me like a nice dream.
Herzog’s new documentary Into the Abyss is an insight into one of my favourite things. The American prison and judiciary system. Whether it’s network television’s serialised cesspit Prison Break or Louis Theroux’s Behind Bars, I’m hooked.
Me before I quit drinking back in 1995. I was so drunk back then I can only date the photo from the Cronins EOS coach in the background...
And in 3 days time I shall return! A 16 day sojourn, until Sunday July 24th. I shall do my bit to live up to the national stereotype by taking lots of deep breaths to take in the country air, drinking to excess, pretending it’s not raining and blatantly ignoring traffic signals.
What have I missed? Eh… Obama, the Queen, King Enda taking the crown in a general election, the IMF buying the country, the death of a man who tried to pretend we and he weren’t in trouble, Manchester United topping the table but not being Barca-quality, Drogheda United propping up the table but not being relegated and of course snowpocalypse.
Oh wait, I’m meant to say I missed my family, friends and our tail-less eye-less cat Lily? Oh yeah, those too I guess…
the new sunburntjets.com. Tilted slightly you don't think it's a propah webpage. There aint no iframe shit goin on here either.
So last Friday, Sunburnt Jets aka Colin Boylan aka mybrotherfromanothermother (and father) released a batch of 3 new songs. This retreat // out of here // blood brick EP follows on from his Low Flying Crow LP which was released last August.
We’re not going to win the grammy for best artwork (yes grammies 87 and 88 are given out for packaging…), but I like it. Likewise the web “site” is just a web “page”, so no webby award for me. The cover shot is a photo Colin took on his recent holliers to California and Las Vegas. What he was doing down a seedy back alley in Santa Cruz I’ll never know but it made for a great shot.
Anyway I’m not going to embed a stream, video or bandcamp link here as you can just head on over to sunburntjets.com for all that. Click this rainbow-riffic pic to make all your dreams come true.
I really love The Sound of Music. Visiting the sets in Salzburg and taking the coach tour around the mountains was one of the highlights of my 2003 inter-railing experience. Most people would probably say getting sick on the streets of Krakow or trying to write their name on the Brandenburg gate would have been their favourite memory but I quite enjoyed getting to see the famous gazebo where Liezl and Rolf sang Sixteen Going on Seventeen.
But imagine seeing this movie with terrifying Mia Farrow as Liesl, the eh, “lead-kid” eventually played by goody-two-shoes unknown Charmian Carr. Talk about a completely different movie…
It’s a scoobie oobie doobie scoobie doobie melody.
So if I said to you one of my favourite actors is famous for appearing in two of cinema’s best-loved celebrations of madness, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and The Shining (1980), you’d think Jack Nicholson right? Well you’d be wrong.
I’m actually talking about Scatman Crothers. The gentleman getting his ear burnt off by Jack’s tales of drug-addled debauchery in the photo above. Or maybe he’s explaining that some white guy will steal his name and have a hit single in the mid 1990s, Scatman finds it hilarious…
Benjamin Sherman Crothers was born in Indiana in 1910 and died of cancer at the tender age of 76. He would have been 101 last month. And the fact he died 25 years ago last month is also worthy of note and motivation for those people who only like to acknowledge people due to a big landmark. (*cough* Bob Dylan at 70 *cough*)
As with a lot of things I draw strange comparisons between things so I’ve always ended up associating Scatman Crothers with Scatman John, born John Paul Larkin.
His big hit, Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop) was an Attention Bebe (16 piece 1990s cover band I tactlessly rocked the glockenspiel in) staple for a while, and is worth a quick listen.
Now wasn’t that nice.
But I don’t really want to talk about Scatman John. That was only to lure you in. This is really about one of the finest voices of the 20th century…
Onward as we go through some hastily-compiled chunks of text about the late great Scatman Crothers! Continue reading →
The new Bon Iver album, “Bon Iver, Bon Iver“, is fantabulous and worthy member of my “best of the year so far” top 5.
I think there are a number of reasons I feel this way.
No matter what I see or hear Justin Vernon do he comes across as the smartest, loveliest fellow in the world. Can he be my older brother please?
It’s like a giant metaphor for high school– people think or say certain things, and those ideas get amplified via telephone and, all of a sudden, somebody’s a dick or a racist. I just want to know that, no matter what the perception of me as a person is, I can live with who I actually am. But I find it funny that the stories are wrong. It goes to show that even the indie rock world– which is supposed to be about truth and independence from corporate mindfulness or something– is totally subject to the paraphernalia of celebrity. [Pitchfork: Interviews: Bon Iver]
“I think in that way I was emboldened by seeing how Bryce and Aaron [Dessner, of the National] work in their life,” he says, “and also how Kanye worked: ‘I want that – get that. I want an 80-piece orchestra – get it.’ And I guess I just was like: ‘Oh, I can see now! I know my two favourite saxophone players in the whole world, so why don’t I get them in the same room?’” [Bon Iver: 'I'm really confused right now' - guardian.co.uk]
Equally at ease on video in the last few weeks he’s been on the late night talk show circuit, talking as well as performing. A sign for anyone thinking he’s not on the verge of being a mainstream superstar is a fool. Here he is a few weeks ago chatting to Jimmy Fallon….
“Bon Iver, Bon Iver. So nice you said it twice.”
…and here is a sit-down from last night’s Colbert Report. Stephen is obviously a pretty big fan but doing his best to keep it in character as always.
So a year ago I was just arriving in South Africa for the 2010 FIFA world cup and figured it would be useful to have an online depository for travel writing, videos, photos and your typical self-effacing and yet self-indulgent schtuff.
And here we are. Now one year later. Got out of South Africa alive, got to Canada, got a tan, saw some films, got a job, got snowed on, got another job, got a haircut and am now working on another tan.
Or at least that’s the short version. The longer version is messier but I don’t think anyone needs to read that right now. Got to keep something for the book deal right!
Bottom line I’m happy to be here in Toronto for another year. But before that… I get to go home for half of July (8th-25th)… Isle of Man, Whelans, Wicklow, Connemara, Inis Meain, Tesco Donore Rd, Dundalk train station, Cineworld Dublin, my roland synth, the atlas piano, bus windows, vintage cars… here I come!
In the mean time here are some noted posts and awards. Unsurprisingly some kid called Nigel wins all of them.