Monday, September 30, 2002

The incorrect statistic on internet growth that ultimately led to the loss of several hundred thousand jobs and wiped out billions of dollars of equity.....and the number originated from poor old Worldcom.

Friday, September 27, 2002

This girl had a better night than me last night. Not to say that I didn't have fun. I did. Pints in the Living Room, then some moshing in Cuba - they even played QOTSA - 'No One Knows'. I almost put my back out...dancing like it was 1991 all over again. Unfortunately the shots came out, and even a post-nightclub camomile tea and a smoked salmon sandwich in Java's couldn't counter-act the effect of three sambucas. Predictably, I ended up sleepwalking again...luckily, this time I was reasonably decent and only did a harmless tour of the house - down the stairs and into the kitchen and, unlike the last time, woke up in my own bed...nearly two hours late for work.
Scary Duck's hilarious blog has won the Guardian's silly 'Best British Blog' competition. Well done Mr. Duck.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Ronan, Keith, Mikey, Shane and Steven: Is this what they have been reduced to?
Steve Earle's new album gets slammed by Slate.
Lewis Carroll Puzzles.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

What’s an Irish Traveler? via MSNBC.
Belated update on my TV career....the back of my head appeared briefly on the otherwise woeful Ask Anna show last you know why I was less than enthusiastic about helping poor Carol with her self esteem issues.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Alabama 3 announce Dublin show. I've just remembered I met a guy in Carrick on Shannon a couple of weekends ago who claimed to be a back-up drummer with them....he had a stash of the strongest weed I have partaken of in quite awhile; I guess that explains the memory loss....
Listen to Badly Drawn Boy's new album "Have You Fed The Fish" online here.
The Romans used urine as a mouthwash with imported Portugese piss being superior to the homemade thats something I never knew before. Read more about the history of toothpaste at
Pitchfork has a few words with Joe Pernice. I had a few words with him myself a couple of years ago when he played a gig in the Roisin in Galway - a really nice chap and a great songwriter too.

Monday, September 23, 2002

Kentucky Fried Chicken really is going to pot. This of course, wouldn't have happened at their (recently whitewashed) Shankill Road branch - what customer would call the police and risk the attentions of UFF thugs?
TIME magazine on the set of Tarantino's 'Kill Bill'. You know, it might actually turn out to be a great movie after all.

Friday, September 20, 2002

Terry at Fenian Ramblings is calling for a boycott of Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants in protest against the support for the UFF/UDA displayed by the KFC outlet on the Shankill Road. There isn't one in Galway but if there was it wouldn't get my custom.
Hooray! It's war! There's a new edition of The Evil Gerald out. Check out their piece on the candidates for the position of new Irish Time editor - it's a gem.
Broken Newz - Ben Kingsley admits he is Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
This is interesting. Scientists have identified the part of the bain which triggers out of the body experiences. I used to have them all the time..sometimes even seeing demons and the like when I was floating above my body. It was quite scary actually - until I drew an imaginary pentagram around my bed for protection from evil spirits....that did the job, so now I look forward to the experience whenever it happens. Still, it's comforting to know it's all a hallucination anyway. I prefer not having any superstitions....
Good news for Galway today. NetIQ Corporation is setting up an operation in the city with the creation of 180 jobs. They are badly needed - the last year and a half must have seen at least a couple of thousand job losses here through major cutbacks in the large tech companies plus almost weekly layoffs of smaller numbers which have generally gone unannounced.

Thursday, September 19, 2002 A blog about a Seattle pub-crawl. I could do this for Galway yet....
I've been listening to Queens of the Stone Age "Songs for the Deaf" this week. I love it. There'll always be a place for hard riffing, rawwwk n' roll in my house - we all need to kick out the jams every now and again, so this guy should pull his head out of his arse and loosen up. While I'm at it, what do you think happened in Hull when the band played there a few weeks ago?

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

An album of Black Sabbath songs covered by medieval music band Rondellus and sung in Latin.. It sounds lovely, but I'd rather buy a Black Sabbath covers album of early medieval folk songs. Oculi Filioli....!
Stylus Magazine interview with Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley.
Ms Dynamite wins Mercury prize. No quibbles from me about that. I figured she was in with a great chance.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

In the news today. The United States deports illegal immigants from Ireland, while Ireland deports illegal immigrants from Romania.
I saw that movie 'Signs' yesterday. My God, but the dialogue in it was terrible - you know it had to be bad when the little four year old girl got all the good lines. And the numerous story set-ups and pay-offs were so clumsy they made the plot of the average Scooby-Doo episode look like a model of elegance and sophistication...and Scooby-Doo was less cliched. On the plus side, the film looked great, was adequately scary, and managed to create a sense of genuine dread even though the aliens had to be the dumbest race in the history of cinema ever to achieve the capability for interstellar travel. In the meantime, in a strange case of fact mirroring fiction, Pravda reports that Israel has been occupied by aliens. Good Lord.
Meanwhile, over on this side of the pond, the winner of the Mercury Music Prize is to be announced tonight. I've a tenner on The Streets to win. I suspect Ms. Dynamite will be the main challenger.
The ten finalists for the Shortlist Prize for Artistic Achievement in Music have been anounced:- Aphex Twin's Drukqs, The Avalanches' Since I Left You, Bjork's Vespertine, Cee-Lo's Cee-Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections, DJ Shadow's The Private Press, Doves' Last Broadcast, The Flaming Lips' Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, The Hives' Veni Vidi Vicious, N*E*R*D's In Search Of..., and Zero 7's Simple Things. I'm not sure how this will go but in my opinion, of the albums on the list which I am familiar with (everything except Cee-Lo and DJ Shadow), Bjork's narrowly pips The Flaming Lips for top spot.

Monday, September 16, 2002

Secrets of the Mexican Wave revealed. Tomorrow, a cure for cancer....

Friday, September 13, 2002

The Wanderly Wagon Web. Wasn't it the best TV show of all time?
Jerry Bruckheimer's Groin.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Business as usual in the Middle East:- Israel threatens war with Lebanon over water while Hizbullah sends fighters to guard the pumps.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

I went along to see the latest movie adaptation of 'The Importance of being Earnest' on Monday night. The film features Rupert Everett, Colin Firth and the ubiquitous Judi Dench, but the real star of course is Oscar Wilde's base material. As a movie, it provides for an entertaining 90 minutes but purists will find much to gripe about. Indeed much of Wilde's original dialogue has been excised from the film and any film that can afford to leave out material as sharp, witty and insightful as Wildes needs to be damn sure of itself.

Incidently, as an example of the timeless quality of Wilde's work, the following passage from the play is one that has relevance to a large proportion of the blogs in existence today...

Algernon: Do you really keep a diary? I’d give anything to look at it. May I?

Cecily: Oh no. You see, it is simply a very young girl’s record of her own thoughts and impressions, and consequently meant for publication. When it appears in volume form I hope you will order a copy....

September 11 already. Where has the time gone? This time last year I was in Florence, alone, relaxed. The first news of the WTC attack reached me four or five hours after it happened, garbled by the man in the B&B who had few words of English and minimal capability to string them into sentences. A bomb in New York? No..A plane crash? Not quite. What then? Later, out in the nightime streets, I noticed the concerned voices of American tourists, a group of people gathered around a TV moved into position outside a restaurant, and later still, in a busy internet cafe occupied by young travellers, I finally read the full horrific details of what had happened. An inflexion point in history? Indeed.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Congratulations to Peter Mullan for winning the Golden Lion award at the Venice film festival on Sunday with his film about oppression under the Irish Talilban. Not surprisingly, the Vatican isn't happy.
Anti-semitism in Ireland. The 'historical legacy' section makes for pretty shameful reading.
Sign the petition calling for the re-release of Neil Young's 1974 album 'On The Beach'. It's an amazing album which happens to feature one of my all time favoutite tracks 'Ambulance Blues'. For some reason, Neil has refused to sanction the release of this album on CD and original vinyl copies are very difficult to find (although MP3's are available on the web).
For some time now, telecoms companies have been marketing phobile moans on the back of the flirting possiblities of text messaging. So how appropriate to see that a new service has opened in Dublin. It's a rejection hotline that allows one to spurn the attentions of an admirer without going through all the messy stressful stuff. According to the website it's "the cultural phenomenon that's sweeping the nation" so it's obviously been quite successful in the U.S. I'd be surprised if it's a big hit here though - from what I hear, Dublin girls aren't in the business of turning men down :). If you're interested, the number is (+353) (01) 2194862 and apparently it's sponsored by a local tele dating service ''. And no I haven't tried it yet - I'm happy in my singledom recovering from the trauma of my last rejection.

Monday, September 09, 2002

Yesterday's episode of the Simpsons on Sky featured a cartoon cameo from one time U.S. poet laureate Robert Pinsky. Apparently, Pinsky (who happens to be huge fan of the program) did the voiceover in LA on the week of 9/11 last year. Unfortunately however, there is no reference to Bart or Homer in his new poem written to commemorate that fateful day.
If like me you browsed around the site, I'm sure this review of the screenplay for Tarantinos forthcoming 'Kill Bill' would have caught your attention. It sounds like it'll be a load of shite. If you're interested, a copy of the script is available here.
I went along to see Christopher Nolan's new movie 'Insomnia' at the weekend. I liked it, the photography and performances are top notch and I thought the plot was clever and suspenseful. Definitely one of the best movies of the year. However this review of the screenplay (written prior to release of the film) suggests that it's vastly inferior to the Norwegian movie on which it is based. I'd love to know if the writer still maintained his opinion after watching the finished movie.
Something to look forward to. Jeff Tweedy, Glen Kotche and Jim O'Rourke's collaborative album 'Loose Fur' is scheduled for release next January. 'Insignificance' and 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot' are two of the best albums of 2002 so far, so I've high expectations for this.

Friday, September 06, 2002

Thats it from me for the week. It was a quiet day on the blog front but I'll be back on Monday full of beans.
Paul Weller is previewing his new album in the back of a taxicab. Six of them actually.

Thursday, September 05, 2002

Something for The Leptard: Bob Marley Footwear. I'm not sure which pair goes with "Stir it Up" though. Spotted on Koi.
A significant number, probably a majority, of Irish citizens support the constitutional position of neutrality. A much smaller number believe that our neutrality should be extended to preclude the stop-over of unarmed military aircraft at Shannon airport and the use of our airspace by those aircraft (most of which happen to be USAF). Of that number there is an increasingly organised group of people who without fail will turn up to publicly protest at the appearance of any USAF plane in Ireland. Yesterday, one of that number, registered his protest by spray painting a peace slogan on the fuselage of a USAF Hercules transport plane which had stopped over in Shannon. The protester is the main man behind the 'Refueling Peace campaign', and he has friends and supporters here and here. For the record, I no longer support neutrality, I believe it is a national cop-out, originating during the birth of our nation as part of the process of casting off the shackles of dependency on Britain.
Angelina, you're welcome to come over to my place and hang out anytime.
Sinead O'Connor is releasing an album of covers of traditional Irish songs next month. A strange prospect indeed. The Irish Voice has an interview with her in which she explains what she's about with this project.
A few weeks ago, the BBC released a list of the 100 greatest Britons of all time as voted by viewers. Unsurprisingly, the list is skewed towards show business and sporting personalities. It also includes a predictable smattering of royals plus the most evil tyrant Britain ever produced - Oliver Cromwell (A man whose legacy of genocide and persecution of Catholics is still being proclaimed by the Rev. Ian Paisley). Interestingly, five Irishmen are listed, Bono, Bob Geldof, Ernest Shackleton, The Duke of Wellington and most surprising of all, the founder of Irish socialism, James Connnolly. Obviously, I use 'Irish' in a broad sense here - Connolly was born in Scotland to Irish parents whereas that cheeky bugger The Duke of Wellington, upon being called Irish, once made the famous retort "Being born in a stable does not make one a horse." Furthermore, Boy George could also be classified as Irish under the same criteria as Connolly, as he too is the son of Irish emigrants. There's probably a few others that I am missing (Johnny Rotten maybe?). The list is the basis of a new series to be shown on BBC this Autumn and like other 'top ten' type shows I suppose it's not very meaningful but nevertheless makes for good conversation material.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Mick Fealty is a busy guy these days. Not only is he maintaining the excellent 'Letter to Slugger O'Toole', he is also a contributor to - the high profile, on the spot weblog from the World Summit on Sustainable Development.
There are a couple of interesting bands playing gigs in Galway over the next week or so. Scottish outfit and Reindeer Section members Idlewild are playing Cuba on the 10th followed by the Colorado preacher-rock band 16 Horsepower in the Roisin Dubh on the 12th. I'm not too familiar with the music of either band although I've heard a few tracks from 16 Horsepower before and they definitely sound like they are worth checking out. As regards Idlewild, I remember hearing some of their first album and thought that it was pretty ordinary. However it appears that they've been garnering great reviews for their new one 'The Remote Part', and making respectable sales too, so this gig could be a good chance to catch them before they get too big to play here again.
Wow! No sooner than I had posted the last entry, I find this link on Fimoculous: "Twin Towers at Ground Zero™". It might yet be theme park theme day today on SmokeSignals.
The Titanic Super Slide - apparently it's the most exciting inflatable ride in the industry in the last 15 years. What's next? An inflatable WTC in which you jump out of the windows perhaps?

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Is there something in the water in Scotland that imparts the natives with the power to turn out effortless pop? Whatever it is, Gary Lightbody of The Reindeer Section must be mainlining it. I procured their latest album "Son of Evil Reindeer" - great title - last week. It's a real nice listen, pleasant, melodic, totally unabrasive but utterly charming. One of those records that'll never set the World on fire but which is flawless in it's own unassuming way. The section are a strange collective - more than 20 contributors but all seem to be more or less marching to Lightbody's tune(s) and the set-up undoubtedly works. Also, it's good to see that one of those contributors is Eugene Kelly, of the Vaselines fame. He played a really fantastic set supporting Evan Dando in the Roisin a few months ago. Talent like his shouldn't be wasted.
Rex at Fimoculous has too many good links in his last two posts to link to individually - there's a Sonic Youth concert pictorial, the new Flaming Lips video, an American names database, an amazing number experiment and news that Godspeed You Black Emperor! are soundtracking Danny Boyles forthcoming flick.
A conversation with Scott Frank - screenwriter of Minority Report and Get Shorty. Apparently the Philip K. Dick short story that was the basis for Minority Report was originally optioned by the studio as a sequel for Total Recall.
The Sun reports that Shane MacGowan wheeled himself around Killarney on a pub crawl prior to his gig there on Sunday night. Check out the article for the very cool photo of the indefatigable Shane.

Monday, September 02, 2002

Probably the highlight of the night for me was the support act "The Hook". A four piece from Sligo fronted by two brothers, both of who unusually play guitar left handed. Their set consisted mostly of their own material which was extraordinarily good - melodic guitar driven music with tight vocal harmonies (the basic blueprint for most of the best rock n'roll). I heard shades of the Byrds, Big Star, The Clash (why isn't London Calling more influential?) and maybe even Todd Rundgren in the efficient but sophisticated songs that they delivered; all of which came in under three minutes. I'd love to predict great things but who can say? On the basis of their short set they could well be the Irish 'Teenage Fanclub'. The drummer informed me that they will be playing a set in Cuba sometime in the next few weeks. I'll be there to see them.
(This should follow on from the last post - blogger refuses to allow me to post the complete lot together)

But Shane and the Popes eventually did show. Sometime around 1:00, the bouncers cleared a path through the crowd for the procession of Popes to make their way onto the stage. They were followed by a man carrying an empty wheelchair...and after several minutes of jostling and shoving as impatient punters struggled to get a good vantage point, Shane appeared being carried by three of four bouncer types. After he was carefully lowered into the wheelchair, a pint glass of a clear liquid with a lemon slice was placed in his right hand. His left hand was busy working a cigarette. The mike was maneuvered into position and the show was on.

Unfortunately I didn't keep a set list - suffice to say that he played many of the Pogues most well known material plus understandably several songs from his recent albums. The highlight for me was his rendition of "The Oul Triangle" a beautiful song which now unfortunately always brings to mind the mental picture of three owls in a tree as rendered by a comedian in the comedy club a few years back. The wheelchair bound Shane was almost totally motionless throughout the set - almost like a dying man plugged into a life support machine that consisted of The Popes, a stage and a live audience. At least five or six stone heavier than he was in 1991, he is starting to resemble Brendan Behan or even Elvis. Every now and again he would mutter something like a "thank you" but that was about it for his interaction with the crowd. I heard later that he believed he was in Kilkenny.

I should also mention that the audience was the rowdiest crowd I've ever seen at a gig. This was accentuated by the layout of the Quays; the small area in front of the stage meant that everywhere near it became a moshpit. I can't remember the last time I had as much drink spilled on me. It was a bouncers nightmare, but much fun was had by all - particularly the drunk.

In a strange resonance with my post on Friday, while I was unabashedly making speculative conversation (i.e. chatting up) a girl at that gig, I was accused of being a negative person. I think I had just commented on how sad Shane looked...but it was hard to sound positive about him - maybe I should have said that it was great to see him still knocking out the tunes after all those years of drink and drugs...he's an example to us all.
I wasn't sure what to expect at the Shane MacGowan and the Popes gig on Friday night. I had heard he had sobered up and straightened out his life over the last while and that this was being extended to his live performances. I had last seen him in 1991 and at that time he was a disaster - stumbling on stage with a bottle of whiskey, incapable of delivering any song unaided. Neither I nor anyone else there that night would have expected that he would be still alive and performing 11 years later. Since the Pogues split, I haven't really kept up with his career but it seems to me that in that time Shane has ascended to a position that few others Irish musicians have ever attained in their lifetime - to the Irish of the generation that came of age in the Eighties he is a true Icon - a personification of a particular Irish spirit, a poetic romanticism born of the building sites, and drinking dens, loneliness, bedsits, emigration and persecution; a voice connecting directly with the spirit of Behan and numerous unknown working class Irish troubadours and barroom poets. And the drink, drugs, bad teeth and slurred speech are as much part of the MacGowan package as the music....tragic songs speaking to an audience that revels in a celebration of life and identity amidst the tragic; sang by a man prepared to chase down his own tragedy.

So the gig itself. Shane was preceded by two support acts - a lively folk duo (box and guitar) worked the crowd well before being followed by a splendid young rock four piece from Sligo (more about them in another post later). After that, we had a wait of what seemed like an hour during which we exchanged stories of shambolic concert appearances by Shane over the years. It was noted that the Quays management had refused to return the ticket stubs on entry, which we surmised was motivated by the very real risk of a no-show. ....