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    Adventurers in immortality and Nazism

    The revised edition of ‘Francis Stuart: Artist and Outcast’ (Kiely, Liffey Press, Dublin 2007; Areopagitica, NC 2017) coincided this year with two other biographies about Nora O’Mara and John Lodwick, close friends of Stuart’s in wartime. The challenge for the biographer is to interrogate the sources about Stuart, O’Mara, and Lodwick each of whom was […]

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    The Shaker Hymn: There’s no redoing things

    Independent music is odd: for a wide umbrella of music that breeds the creative freedom and cultural autonomy needed to help progress the overall artistic discourse, there’s no shortage of revivalists of various stripes, rejigging and refreshing previously well-worn sonic tropes. It’s been hard in the past to look at Corkonian psych-poppers The Shaker Hymn […]

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    Trouble Pilgrims

    The Radiators From Space, Ireland’s first punk band, captured the subversive mood of 1979 in the groundbreaking ‘Ghostown’ album. Now they cast a long shadow over Trouble Pilgrims who have inherited band members Steve Averill and Pete Holidai. But the iconic pair of Irish rockers are not just surviving, they’re thriving. The reason for this […]

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    The rock star should be sometimes alone, but never lonely

    The story of the contemporary rock diva, Lady Gaga, who literally could not stand to be alone, is a philosophical fable for our times. A few years back, according to claims in a legal action filed by the rocker’s former personal assistant, who sued for overtime pay, the singer could not tolerate being in her […]

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    O’Brien Comium

    Trinity College’s recent Conor Cruise O’Brien centenary symposium was a largely uncritical exercise. It was especially notable that it was so as it focused on Irish politics. Invited US academics, who discussed O’Brien’s assessment of the American Revolution, appeared unaware of O’Brien’s distinctly illiberal local contribution. Reverential tones underpinned contemplation of O’Brien’s analysis of Irish […]

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    Radical Love

    ‘I deem as heroic those who have the harder task, face it unflinchingly and live. In this world, women do that.’ – James Salter ‘I know too well those marvellous lips. By Allah, I’m not lying if I say I love sipping their finerthanwine delicious dew.’ – Hafsa Bint Al-Hajj Arrakuniyya about her lover Abu […]

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    10 From the ’10s [so far]

    The creation of lists and listicles titilatingly combines the writer’s self-indulgence with a gratifying boxticked clarity. The October 1 edition of the Sunday Times did this better than most, on a subject of notorious sensitivity – music, as a much-feted “101 Irish Albums We Love” list, compiled by Something Happens vocalist/Newstalk doyen Tom Dunne, ripped […]

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