Siren Volume 23 Issue 5

Page 1

College Tribune Entertainment Supplement 3.11.09

the Siren The Gospel according to Bishop

Des Bishop speaks to the Siren ash Eamonn McCann Men who stare at goats Funeral for a Friend



3.11. 09

The Siren 3.11.09

The Scoop


Another show Cancelled!

Robbie Williams is the latest of a growing list of top names to pull out of shows this month. The worn-out pop star was due to perform at the MTV Europe Music Awards on November 5th in Berlin, but has cancelled due to what has been described as a “scheduling conflict”. We hope that Robbie’s comeback won’t end like Michael Jacksons did. Equally talentless Artists Def Leppard have pulled a number of US tour dates because of what their own website describes as “unforeseen personal matters.” The nine armed glam rock band where due to play various shows in North America but in a statement carried on their website, the band say “life’s commitments need to be the priority.” Health problems have left thousands of Irish fans disappointed as geriatric pop star Elton John was advised by doctors not to perform in Dublin causing the 62 year old to postpone until further notice. It is believed that most of his Fans will still stand firmly behind him. In related news, Morrissey who has been struggling with health problems has been released from hospital in England where he had been held overnight following his collapse during a show last week. Irish Blood, English Heart, LA Grave I reckon.

Oxana Martynova speaks to Funeral for a Friend Page 5


Dates announced

Young’ coincides with the tour. Tickets are on sale now from all Ticketmaster outlets nationwide. Basement Jaxx have announced that they will play the Olympia on December 8th and now due to high demand they have added a second date for December 9th. Tickets for Basement Jaxx at the Olympia on December 9th go on sale this Friday November 6th and are priced at €49.20. The Dave Matthews Band have announced that they will be playing in Ireland as part of their European tour on March 9th 2010 when they visit Dublin’s O2. Tickets are on sale now. New Releases Canadian punk rock band The Flatliners are set to release their second full length on Fat Wreck Chords in 2010 but in the meantime have decided to release stellar 7” titled Cynics out on November 10th. Staying in the punk scene, NoFx have announced that they set to release “Cokie the Clown”! The CD includes five new songs and is set to be released on November the 21st. Foo Fighters Greatest hits compilation will be released on November 3rd. They have debuted a new song , ‘Wheels’, which will feature on the compilation as well as many classics from the band’s back catalogue.

The Strokes front-man Julian Casablancas has announced a Dublin date at The Academy on December 14th.The Release of his first solo album ‘Phrazes For The

Karina Bracken reviews The Men Who Stare at Goats Page 10


Cathal O’Gara demonstrates the importance of a good time-piece Page 9

New noise Local Natives Every now and then a band comes along that seems to tick all the right boxes for the countless number of hipster bloggers and buzz generators of indiedom. Silverlake, California based Local Natives are one such band that fit quite comfortably into this category, which is a pity in a way, as despite earning the group some much deserved attention, hype mongering such as this can often leave the expectant listener understandably disappointed on first hearing. Certain quarters would have you believe that Local Natives are some perfect amalgam of all the popular trends in indie music today. The cynical and lazy view of the band reads like cooking instructions for the “perfect” indie band of 2009, take a healthy slice of Vampire Weekend’s rhythmic sensibilities, add the exuberant feel of Arcade Fire at their most joyous and smother it all in a thick layer of gorgeous Fleet Fox-like harmonies. Of course there is some truth in all these+++ comparisons but to continually reduce the group to references of today’s most popular indie acts is to exaggerate Local Native’s talents while also not doing justice to what actually makes this 5-piece so special. What you should expect when listening to Local Natives is a warm, deceptively simple and instantly likeable sound that makes one imagine what a carefree Californian summer really ought to feel like. Each element of their sound is essential to the simultaneously intimate and open sound of their recordings, a trait the band claim to be a result of their extremely democratic and collaborative songwriting process.

However, it is the group’s intricate and lovingly arranged three-part harmonies that grab the listener’s attention and bury the songs firmly in the memory. Owing as much to classic 60’s vocal groups such as Crosby, Stills and Nash and The Zombies as well as less obvious contemporaries as Animal Collective, as they do to the current kings of indie-folk Fleet Foxes, the group’s instinctive feel for spine-tingling harmonies is the real key to Local Natives user-friendly warmth and intimacy. With their debut album, Gorilla Manor, set for release in the UK on November 2nd (although it is streaming for free at the moment on the NME website) and a string of live dates being planned around these parts for early 2010, expect to hear much more about this charming little vocal group over the coming months. Until then gorge yourself on the simple, infectious energy of Local natives and their brand of accessible, energetic indie-folk. You won’t regret it.

By David Tracey



The Siren 3.11.09

African Elephants Dead To Me Jim Scully

San Francisco has always been a hotbed for all things punk rock, so when street punk outfit One Man Army disbanded it was never going to take long before new music emerged from the break-up. And that it did not. Within a year of One Man Army coming to an end, singer/ guitarist Jack Dalrymple had gathered himself some new troops and by July of 2006 had released their first record by way of Dead To Me’s ‘Cuban Ballerina’. Since their debut release, fans had a long wait before hearing anything else from Dead To Me. African Elephants, the bands second full length release, shows the band embracing different styles of music. Something which was hinted at in 2008’s five track ‘Little Brother’ EP. With Dalrymple taking a temporary break from music to take care of his duties as a father, song writing duties were dispersed among the rest of the band members. This no doubt had an effect on the album’s overall sound which shows another stage in the bands ever evolving style. The album opens with ‘X’, a mash up of both punk guitars and heavy dub bass lines. The song’s politically charged lyrics are complimented by excerpts from Martin Luther King’s speech on Vietnam. The title track of the ‘Little Brother’ EP showed the band’s love for a reggae beat, something which they have perfected

Buttsweat and Tears

The Lawrence Arms

Jim Scully For ten years The Lawrence Arms have been churning out their furious, punk flavoured brand of rock n’ roll. The band’s music a constant reflection of the brutal honesty of it’s purveyors. It’s that outspoken honesty of certain band members that has perhaps in the past prevented the band from reaching the same heights as their friends in some quite notable Chicago punk exports. As bassist Brendan Kelly recently said, ‘I’ve spoken my mind a lot in this business, and it has, at times been detrimental to our trajectory as a band.’ No doubt about that one. But maybe this hasn’t been such a bad thing for the band,

juggling the life of a musician and that of a minimum wage job has fed Kelly with the lyrical ammunition that makes The Lawrence Arms what they are. After 2006’s ‘Oh! Calcutta!’ the band were always going to find it hard to hit that bar again. But three out of five on ‘Buttsweat and Tears’ come pretty close. ‘The Slowest Drink at the Saddest Bar on the Snowiest Day in the Greatest City’ is the band at their best. Catchy, well structured guitars mixed with their typical storytelling lyrics should be enough to satisfy any Larry arms fan. The less obvious ‘Demons’ is a perfect example of Kelly’s song writing talents. The same can be said for his work on the closing track. ‘The Redness in the West’ is possibly the highlight of the album, rounding off what is hopefully a sign of things to come from the Chicago natives.

Phrazes For The Young

Julian Casablancas

David Murphy Finally, the highly anticipated debut solo album from the man who epitomises cool, the front-man of New York rockers The Strokes, has arrived. He joins the rest of the band (bar lead guitarist Nick Valensi) in releasing a solo project. The most notable of the others is rhythm guitarist, Albert Hammond Jr. Casablancas has produced a far different sound to the blues type sound of Hammond Jr. He has also taken a step away from the garage rock of The Strokes to produce a synth-rock sound with some intricate beats. What hasn’t been lost in this transition is his renowned croon.

There are two real standout tracks on this album. The opening song, River Of Brakelights and its marauding beats is a quality pop song that leaves you enthusiastic about what lies ahead in the next 7 tracks of the album. However this doesn’t materialize and that enthusiasm begins to wane. A lot of the songs here are quite dull, even boring. 11th Dimension, the first single released off the album, is the highlight. It is a danceable synth-rock, retro 80s style master-class. Phrazes For The Young is short but unfortunately not as sweet as I expected from Casablancas. It’s not a bad album, just not a great album either. Let’s just hope his next offering is better, preferably back doing what he does oh so well, strutting his stuff with The Strokes. Fingers crossed, because we miss those boys.

on this album, and which thankfully appears more than once, returning most obviously on ‘California Sun’ and in the less obvious reggae guitar rhythms throughout. With tracks like these it’s easy to see the influence The Clash have had on the band, but the sensibilities are present among the band to manage to still sound original. One of the most impressive aspects of this album is Nathan Grice’s song writing abilities. The six-stringer has the charming ability of managing to say quite a lot with very few words, creating stories out of very simple lines. The greatest example of this is on one of the album’s highlight’s, ‘Cruel World’. On this social commentary the lyrics succeed in doing what few punk bands do as well as this, making politics personal, presenting things from a very effective personal viewpoint. African Elephant’s still retains the sharp aggressive attacks which predominantly ran through ‘Cuban Ballerina’, but are presented in a more sensible and well constructed fashion. Tracks like ‘I dare you’ and ‘Blue’ show how far the band have progressed in their time out of the spotlight. This is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated punk albums of the past year, and for the most part it doesn’t disappoint. It’s typical Dead To Me, only more diverse and matured. This album has some moments of real excitement, but aside from these moments it sounds like every other Dead To Me record. Great for fans of the band or punk in general, Not so much for anyone else.

The Unforgettable mosphere over melody, Eno’s ambient synthesiser work stalks Fire (Remaster) the album like an ever present U2

David Tracey The release of U2’s fourth album “The Unforgettable Fire” came at a crucial time in their career. Instead of repeating the hard, bombastic rock sound of their breakthrough War, U2 decided to take something of a left turn, ditching Steve Lilliwhite as producer and recruiting the more left field pairing of Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. Although the album consolidated War’s impact, at the time this move surprised many who expected U2 to simply repeat what seemed to be a winning formula. Instead, the resulting album was much more ambitious than anything the group had produced before. The songs often favour at-

shadow while the Edge’s layered, echoed guitar flicks and flitters around the strong rhythm section, far more concerned with sonic texture than driving rock riffs. Every subtle nuance is clear and beautifully realised on this latest remaster, the mix of which was overseen by The Edge. This approach may have produced a cohesive sound, but the songs themselves suffer from drastic differences in quality. At its worst as on “Elvis Presley and America,” the listener is confronted with mundane, pointless and rather forgettable excursions into experimental soundscapes that add up to little more than half cooked sketches However, when the mix of stadium built rock and progressive production techniques works as on the title track or “Bad” the result is some of the most rewarding music U2 ever produced.



The Siren 3.11.09

The A-Z of Ash

As Ash prepare to take their innovative A-Z tour to the road, Drummer Rick McMurray talks to Caoimhin Miller about the highs and lows of the band’s career to date Ash have been through a lot in their seventeen years together. Having burst onto the scene with the disarmingly accessible 1977, they arguably became victims of their own success. They came close to collapse when the darker and edgier offering that was Nu-Clear Sounds failed to find the same kind of critical and commercial acclaim. This was not, one suspects, solely because of the quality of the music, but because it lacked the poppy punch of its predecessor. Any album with tracks such as “I’m Gonna Fall” at least deserves to be judged on its merits. They came close to big success in the U.S. several times, before being forced to watch the energy they’d built up through exhaustive touring dissipate, as first one U.S. distributor, then another, folded. They poured their heart and soul into 2007’s Twilight of the Innocents, only to have their record company run out of interest and ideas when it came to promoting the record. Enough was enough. Ash went right back to their indie roots, further even, to the DIY mentality that saw them get together in the first place. “We’ve got our own label now [Atomic Heart Records], that’s how we’re putting stuff out at the minute, and we’re just happy we’ve got sole control,” says drummer Rick McMurray. “Maybe we don’t have the same money behind it, but it’s more about ideas; that’s how things are going to really take off these days.” The “stuff ” they’re putting out now is the A-Z Series, which will see 26 singles, one for each letter of the alphabet, released online to subscription holders and in 7” vinyl format, over the next year. The idea is innovative, groundbreaking even, and marks Ash out as one of the few bands willing to actually do something other than moan about the current state of the music world. The first two singles are out now, and it’s so far, so good, says McMurray. “It’s going really well. I think the fans are really excited. Obviously, we’ve just started; we’ve got “B” out, which is “Joy Kicks Darkness.” We’ve been playing that live and

it’s going down a storm. I think the fans are really getting their heads around the whole concept. I think they’re into the episodic quality of it, so it’s all good.” He’s pretty clear on what the problems were at Infectious, their former label: “I think it changed out of all recognition, really. The first three records, it was a genuine independent.” “After that it got sold and was part of the whole Warner group, and the major label thing didn’t really suit us. We definitely found with the last record, they pumped a lot of money in at the start, but had no real concept of what to do then.” He’s also pretty withering about the dearth of ideas at the major labels: “Record companies for years have been just throwing money at things and it’s not working out – people just aren’t interested in buying records. You’ve got to find a creative way to do it – not just rely on the power of the pound.” It might seem like he’s talking sense, but clearly this kind of straightthinking is anathema to the majors. “With the concept that we have, doing things our way, I don’t think any record company would have had the balls to put out 26 singles.” With the new label has come their own

e d i u G GIG

Yo La Tengo – November 5th Tripod €20 For over twenty years the New Jersey trio, Yo La Tengo, have been supplying the music world with their brand of artsy indie rock. Hovering somewhere between the mainstream and the unknown they are beloved of hipsters and those oh so cool indie aficionados worldwide, which is a pity because the music is quite often surrounded by a veil of pretentiousness. Thankfully this is Dublin, not Soho. You don’t have to worry about looking cool, just go along and enjoy some top notch music. A Place to Bury Strangers + Japandroids – November 9th Whelan’s €15 It’s rare that you will get to see a top notch line-up like this in a decent venue like Whelan’s, so be grateful. Both acts offer something interesting exciting. The headliners on the night APTBS present a barrage of tight rhythms through a clash of pounding electronic beats, synths and guitars. Openers Japandroids are a much simpler but no-less powerful offering. For two people, armed with just a guitar and a drum kit, they make a shit load of noise. Noisy, powerful and catchy, they could be the best gig you see all year.

Super Extra Bonus Party – November 13th The Academy €17.50 Kildare’s Super Extra Bonus Party headline a night which features a dream lineup of home grown music. The band’s frenetic sound is supported on the night by Le Galaxie, Heathers and Bats. Having collaborated with Heathers recently on the fantastic ‘Comets’, we might be lucky enough to see the two bands recreate the magic on stage. Super Extra Bonus Party really are one of the country’s most exciting bands at the moment and always put on an impressive live show, with such a line-up this promises to be a great night.

studio. Atomic Heart Studios is in New York, the city Tim Wheeler (vocals and guitar) and Mark Hamilton (bass) call home. McMurray resides in Edinburgh, so “it’s a bit of a long commute, but it suits the way I’m working.” “I just go over and do stuff in an intense burst. At the end of a month we’d have maybe twenty drum tracks done, so I like that. It also gives Tim the freedom to experiment once the basics are down; he’s in the studio every day messing around with the latest semi-broken synth he’s picked up at some dodgy market somewhere.” This freedom to experiment is evident on the tracks released thus far; while recognisably Ash, they definitely show a band pushing themselves in new directions. McMurray agrees, attributing this in part to the fact that they “don’t have the whole concept of an album – the need to tie everything in together.” “We can think of each track as its own thing, so we feel freer to push things in a more radical direction. I think you can hear that on the first few songs. It’s something we would have hinted at in the past, but we’re pushing it a little bit more extreme.” At the minute they’re just “excited to be back on the road and living the life again. We’ve pretty much been locked up in the studio, so it feels like we’ve finally been released.” They’re currently touring 26 venues off the beaten track to promote A-Z (yes, one for every letter, from Aldershot to Zennor), rounding off the tour with dates in Dublin (Button Factory, Nov. 25) and Belfast (Spring and Airbrake, Nov. 26). “It’ll be a very debauched Irish end to our UK tour. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Saving the best for last.”

Cymbals Eat Guitars – November 14th Crawdaddy €12 This band will send you into a melody induced dreamy trance, then just as easily shake you awake with a full-on sonic assault. Hailing from New York’s Staten Island, which is not exactly the centre of New York’s music scene. Recently the band has become hot property, not so much anymore a band from Staten Island as a band from New York. They have become cool to like, mostly because the online bible of pretence,, told them so. Regardless, this is one you’ll regret in a few months if you miss it.

CLub Night

Toxic Tuesdays Where? Base Bar, 6 Wicklow Street, Dublin 2 When? Every Tuesday, Doors open at 10.30 Why? A chic, stylish venue located yards from Dublin’s Grafton

St, offering mouth-watering cocktails, sophisticated entertainment and reasonable prices. Resident DJs play the best of chart, house and dance music, perfect for students and offers a change from other popular clubs. How much? Admission is €5 with concession, €7 without. Drink promotions on offer.



The Siren 3.11.09

Sharp Shooters

Lead singer of Dublin outfit The Spikes, Tom Dunne, chats with Jim Scully as the band prepare to hit the road in support of their new EP Since releasing their debut album early this year, The Spikes have been working hard to achieve the heights that their name might suggest. In what has been a progressive year for the band, that hard work has earned the band recognition in the media and places on stages. Now, as the band look towards their next release they are all too eager to keep building on the foundations they have laid for themselves recently. Speaking to the band’s font-man, Tom Dunne, he is all too aware of what the band needs and needs not to do. “We made the mistake with the first album of actually not gigging and solely focusing on recording.” With this in mind, The Spikes are learning to strike a balance juggling recording and gigging. “We’re starting the Dublin rocks winter tour. We’re headlining that around the country starting on the 13th in the village. We’ve been gigging solidly since the summer.” Keeping in mind past mistakes, and with an awareness of the short shelf life of music nowadays, Dunne knows that while keeping the show on the road might be important, equally so is getting new material the music listening public. “We’re actually in the studio at the moment; we’re writing and recording currently. So that’s where the focus has been for the last month and will be up until we start the tour.” As the band prepare to hit the road in support of their latest EP ‘We Are’, the EP signifies the dawning of a new era for The Spikes. “The band went through a major

revolution, more so an evolution than a revolution. We lost one drummer and picked up a new guitar player and drummer.” “Basically, the new EP is like The Spikes 2. The sequel to what we were. We completely changed our attitude. It’s much more professional, we’re not really in it just for booze and women you know. It’s much more now about the business focused approach. Having a professional attitude on-stage and off-stage, constantly being in the game instead of as a part time kind of gig.” As a band who pride themselves on their live show, it’s no surprise that when it came to recording, capturing the live sound in studio was top of their intentions. Having found the vital tool to doing so in producer Mark Reddy, the band were confident they had found their sound for their next full length album. “When we started working with Mark the idea was to actually capture the live sound in a studio sort of setting. So brilliantly, he surpassed what we reckoned we could come out of the studio with.” “From that straight away we had plans to start writing the album, just to keep going. The whole push now is to get the second album out early in the new year and get ready for the summer and the

festivals.” While the band are sure of their plans for the coming year, the present turbulent state of the music industry prevents any band from looking too far into the future. However unsure the future may be The Spikes have set their goals, but the Dublin outfit have the good sense not to pin all their hopes on the decisions of a suit in a label. “It’s hard to know at the moment whether major labels are signing bands, but I mean, if we could get a deal where we had the publishing wing or the promotional wing of a major label then we would be extremely happy because that would allow us to float around the world on the backing of someone. But it’s not something that’s going to stop us if it doesn’t actually happen. We’ll still release our stuff independently.”

To die for

Bassist of Funeral for a Friend, Gavin Burrough, took time out to chat to Oxana Martynova about civil service career aspirations, being emo and the new album tour Formed in 2001, this five piece Welsh rock band has already released three gold selling albums, twenty singles and a DVD. Not bad for this small town band which played on tours alongside groups such as Linkin Park and Coheed and Cambria and is still going as strong as ever. Deciding this was all I needed to know I said I would catch up with Gavin Burrough and see what the “Craic” was and get a little bit more first hand information on the group. Always wanting to know what musicians would be if they had the choice to make a career move I decided the question that was most obvious to me concerning what

he thought he would do if he wasn’t a musician in a band right now and didn’t get the generic answer I was expecting. Without even a snippet of hesitation, his reply was, “I’d be a postman.” When asked why, his reply was; “I think I would quite enjoy being a postman. Walking around on your own, you know, nobody bothering you.” As for what would be the one thing that he would bring with him if he was stuck on a desert island he took more time to think. After a lot of consideration, the reply was; “The internet,” and no matter how good

that answer is I somehow doubted that would help him survive for very long. Deciding to get back down to business and see who he attributed his success to, naturally enough the answer was painfully truthful; “Myself, you can only rely on yourself, nobody else.” Very true, yet slightly philosophical. Burrough also admitted that nobody in the group is taken in too much by their fame, they all believe, “they are lucky to make a living out of what they love to do.” Funeral for a Friend is set in two different categories, emo and rock. Burrough take on this was that, “ They are just labels who want to group bands into these genres and if people want to call us that, they can. When I grew up, emo meant emotional music and all good music should be emotional.” “So, if you mean emo by us being emotional then yes, we are emotional but we have many other elements to our music, so I’d agree.” He also added how they begun writing the new material. “We started writing a new album and have gone back to a little bit more of the dynamics

of the songs getting a little bit more aggressive.” Finally, in regards as to whether the band is looking forward to coming to the ‘Big Smoke’ for the scheduled gig they are going to do as part of one of their tour dates, Burrough admitted they were. Being in Dublin before, Burrough said

that they were in Temple Bar so Dublin is no stranger to the Funeral for a Friend lads. “I Liked Dublin when I was there and am looking forward to coming back.” However he added the downside to consider was that, “The alcohol is too expensive”. No surprises there, it’s all true.



Bishop’s state of grace Des Bishop took time out of accepting the many awards UCD has to offer to banter with Katie Godwin about being bullied by the mafia, truelove, celebrity status and learning Irish from scratch

The Siren 3.11.09 Having just received not one, but two awards from the societies of UCD, I catch up with Bishop while he is contemplating where to hang the prestigious awards. Mulling over his options, he comments after careful consideration, “I’d say the James Joyce one is a hall way one. That’s next to my degree. Or I might give it to my mother; she loves shit like this.” Despite the jibes, Bishop claims to have really appreciated the sentiment of the award ceremonies although is skeptical about the sincerity of the Irish award; “It went well although it’s not completely what I expected.” “The Irish one was basically like two hours of messing around but I enjoy that shit; like this is great. The Irish award was totally made up on the spot but I appreciated the gesture.” Bishop goes on to explain the high regard he hold university goers in. “I would hold the opinion of students to high esteem because they’re the people you want to entertain; their so plugged in. You consider them to be the greater critics so awards like the James Joyce are great.” Bishop has worked as a comic in Ireland since the late 1990s after coming to the emerald isle from New York at the age of fourteen. He explains why he decided to make the move to Ireland. Not unlike the Fresh Prince of Belair, it started with some trouble he was hav-

“The Irish one was basically like two hours of messing around but I enjoy that shit; like this is great. The Irish award was totally made up on the spot but I appreciated the gesture” ing in the neighbourhood and when he was expelled from school. “I was always in trouble all the time. I started drinking at twelve. My crew started drinking and then I started drinking and from twelve to fourteen and it was a very quick dissent.” “I was doing graffiti and loads of stupid things. Of course you UCD people would be like ‘oh my god, graffiti is like so cool; it’s an art form’ but mine wasn’t artistic; I was shit at it. I just did it to rebel.” “There was a lot of petty violence in our neighbourhood and then I got kicked out of school at fourteen. I always want to say, I got kicked out because of my problem with alcohol so my mother came up with this ingenious solution to go to boarding school in Ireland where needless to say, the problem didn’t go away. But, that wasn’t what happened, I was just kicked out because I failed every subject.” Bishop didn’t find leaving the school in New York too traumatizing; he had hated it there due to the fact that he was being bullied by a gang at school. “For some reason, I clashed with the American-Italian kids at my school.” “Now, don’t get me wrong I have nothing against Italian Americans but they’re cocky as fuck and very hairy. However, one of the Italians was the son of one of the biggest gangsters in New York so basically I was being bullied by the fucking mafia” Being half Irish, Bishop always felt that,

that was a big part of his identity. However, the idea of coming to Ireland didn’t occur to him until this later point in his life, when his Irish cousin suggested it to him. Needless to say, the idea had a huge appeal. “I have no idea why she suggested it to me,” he comments, “and till that minute it never entered anybody’s mind and immediately I was like, ‘I’ll get away from these guinea pig Italian motherfuckers.’ I needed to get out of that aggressive world, I wanted to run”. Bishop went to St Peters boarding school in Wexford and then went on to study in UCC where he joined the drama society. “It was there I got the confidence to do comedy” he recounted. “I loved it.” He moved on from there by hosting shows at the International Comedy Cellar, a venue set up by Irish comics such as Ardal O’Hanlon, Kevin Gildea and Barry Murphy. He still hosts shows there frequently and these shows are actually his favourite gig to do despite the wide range of other shows he has done. “The shows in the international bring me



The Siren 3.11.09

the most joy. Last weekend I did a show there with David O’Doherty and that brought me as much joy as anything in my comedy career ever has.” He remembers euphorically. Disregarding his huge comedic career, most people in Ireland know Bishop for his huge effort within the Irish language movement. Bishop created a “hip-hopera” called “RAP ÉIRE” along with Arthur Riordan. “Rap Éire” was a satire following the story of an ambitious American who finds himself mixed up with a group of political types during the throes of early Celtic Tiger fervour. The show had two runs - firstly in the Project Arts centre in February 2001 and afterwards in the Andrews Lane Theatre the following Summer. His TV show, In the Name of the Fada, premiered in 2008. It deals with Bishop trying to learn Irish to a standard sufficient to perform an entire stand-up act through the language. He later used his Irish to sing the Irish version of the song ‘Jump Around’ called ‘Léim Thart.’

Bishop explained why he started to thrust his efforts behind the promotion of An Ghaeilge. “I was always jealous of the guys in school complaining about it, they hated it and I felt left out because I didn’t have something to hate with them. Then when I grew older I wanted to learn the Irish language because I though it would be an interesting thing to do but I didn’t realise how powerful it was until I learned to speak it.” “It was a very inspirational thing in a sense of identity and belonging. In The Name of The Fada for me was actually like a completion of my Irish journey.” He had started this journey at fourteen. In school he had always taken a great interest in the language and culture of Ireland. Although, he had always felt Irish, Irish people never saw him as one of them. “All my life I thought I was Irish in America. People asked me what I was and I said I was Irish. So when I came to Ireland, I was like I’m Irish and people were like, ‘no youre fucking not, you’re a yank.” They rejected me which strangely enough made me want them more.” This meant that he tried harder than anyone to become Irish and becoming a comedian made him more accepted. “When I became a comedian I become more Irish in terms of my own psyche. When I started making jokes about Ireland, Irish people saw that as an outsider making fun of them which made them like me more because funnily enough, Irish people have come to associate abuse with love.” Although Bishop loves what he does, he definitely has to deal with the bad side of

fame in Ireland; he can’t go out to nightclubs or bars without being harassed. “I can’t really go out much to be honest because all I end up doing is taking pictures with people. It’s not fun.” “The only places I could go to without being bothered are places like Lillies but I just don’t go there because I don’t like that shit.” Instead of going out, Bishop spends a lot of his spare time training for the marathon. He trains in parks or by the Liffey. When

“One of the Italians was the son of one of the biggest gangsters in New York so basically I was being bullied by the fucking mafia” asked if people whistled at him when he went out running, he recounts the many responses he’s gotten. “When I run on the Liffey, I sometimes get a “Go On Dessie.” Then somebody will say, “go on Dessie, pick it up, pick it up.” It’s usually van people for some reason but not whistles.” Bishop is popular with the ladies but doesn’t claim to have any stalkers although he joked, he would like some. “I’ve had a few weird fans over the years but nothing insane, nothing bunny boilerish.” He jokingly explained how he would deal with a female stalker if were to have one; “I would use them first and then deal with the consequences afterwards. I don’t really have that issue. I could do with a few more fucking stalkers man.” He exclaims longingly. He has received mail about his show but thinks this shows the ignorance of people rather than an appreciation of his comedy. “The odd time I’d get some mail. After the

last show that I did, where I talked about sexuality, I got some mail saying it was beneath me to talk about such things which is comical because the very point that the show was making was the fact that people like that exist. Although generally levels of complaints have been low; I don’t get much of it, even though most of my shows are pretty controversial.” Most of Bishops early comedy work was observations of the Irish society, based on some of the characters he has encountered during his life here. One of the more memorable examples he described was the head priest in St. Peters school in Wexford. “The head priest definitely wasn’t a good guy. He was one of the main priests in the Ferns report of course but I didn’t know what he was like at the time. The first thing he said to me, ‘Now Des, there are some words in Ireland that are different from the way you’d use them in America and one of those is the word fanny. Now, it’s not the back, it’s the front.’” “When I saw him on the front page of the Irish independent, I had a rethink about it and I was like, wow the dirty faggot.” Another thing he likes to joke about are the expressions Irish people use and how ridiculous some of them are, “‘ah don’t leave on your coat inside, you’ll be freezin’ when ye go back out.’ Well why don’t you turn on the heating? ‘Ah no, the heating’s on a timer, it wont go on till six o clock.’ I know but you control that timer” When he does gigs abroad, Bishop still talks about Ireland quite a lot but apart from that he has many other things to joke about. “Everybody likes to hear the jokes about Ireland.” he comments, “but I talk about other things as well obviously.” He talks about issues such as alcoholism which he can identify with since he was an alcoholic until the age of nineteen when he turned his life around. He also makes jokes about the unnerving and scary procedure

he went through when he had testicular cancer. “There’s no point complaining about it people have to go through rough shit all the time. Yeah I only have one ball but it still works.” He exclaims. Bishops optimism and enthusiasm can be seen in all of his work, especially his innovative and modern approach to promoting An Gaeilge which he is still active in doing. He still visits Gaeltacht areas and schools he wants people to understand the power of the Irish language. He’s also still concentrating on comedy, frequently appearing at the International which he and his brother help run. His next tour in Ireland will be 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd of January 2010 in Galway Town Hall.


arts Fashion

Shop ‘til you drop in… Dublin

With no sign of falling airline ticket prices, Kellie Nwaokorie looks closer to home for planning your next shopping spree Green, is the smarter shopping area with fashionable stores such as Brown Thomas, the department store catering for many designer showcases, both foreign and local. Dublin’s leading and most exclu-



clothing, an assortment of scarf’s along with a funky range of coloured tights at prices that wont have you darting for the nearest ATM. Dublin’s cultural heart Temple Bar, named since the late 1980s / early 1990s is ideal for escaping into a fashion black hole. Sporting varies small vintage clothing shops also, teamed with Urban Outfitters, Temple Bar is perfect for finding pieces you won’t see many other UCD heads wearing.__ While you’re in the area you may as well venture into many of the other Charity shops such as Oxfam if you’re in the mood for digging. As Dublin is the capital city and it does in some sense heighten our culture why not take a wander into one of the lovely and quaint Irish stores and cast your critical fashion eye over the vast range of wools, tweeds and cashmeres, that this A/W are a must have .

The History of… Leather By Eef Hamill

Once leather was in use, people began to try and improve it. Probably by accident, man began learning to preserve leather so it lasted longer. The leather we know is not the same quality as they would have been used to. It has taken a long time to learn the methods that work with leather to soften it and break it in. Experimentation with grease, oils, smoke and even tree bark. The use of tree bark to tan leather is believed to have developed by the Hebrews. These techniques were guarded as secrets and it was an honour to know the details of the methods. The bursa was the first ever leather handbag. Surprisingly, it was carried by men. This translates to purse in modern language, and is in fact where the Romans carried coins. Leather has a lot more purposes than we utilize now. Aisling Before plastic, glass and metal was Commerce and Spanish in use, leather was used to carry water Favourite shop: Urban and wine. People wrote on thin sheets outfitters of leather too. Fashion faux-pas: It was not Runners until 1880s Fashion icon: Kate that the first female leather handbag surl ki n g a b o ut … faced. Like evs ta i e for erything else in on an, famoushes, has tly, World War 1, Jord ring clot k recen se ea boo sen leather shortnot w er 23rd fashion f tea but ing Her s ed h up o ages caused relea t clothes. eople’s c om bring her r abou ly most p ed her f to add to chil- prices to rise. uad nd real ide isn’t asn’t diss shion gu novels, a Look, However it , h a y s f t tha er own graphie Out: M osts also resulted h out h l autobio Standing ces her g erly in new designs a . a d r s r r e t k sev n’s boo an o Life and more credre Style, My ast. Form… p My shion now ativity spreading. e u a e f qu of Kate Ever since, Architecture women have Favourite shop: Zara been rarely withFashion icon: Jamelia Jamil out a handbag. Fashion faux-pas: Uggs The more products now made


Meabh 3rd arts Urban Favourite shop: y day) pa n Outfitters (o id av D : Fashion icon Bowie : Ugg Fashion faux-pas s ie od boots and ho

Island to Top Shop. But we all know that bargains and ‘one of a kind’ pieces are far from being found on Dublin’s most popular street, with the high street stores differing in window displays by merely a lighter shade of black or in some cases, minus a sequined jacket. To avoid the ‘oh my that girl has my outfit!’ faux pas, opt for buying one of your wardrobes statement pieces (coat, handbag or shoes) in a charity or vintage shop, where one of a kind clothing that comes with a worldly feel, is so chic and unique it could pass for brand new, but at that point, we call it – vintage. Dublin is splendid for such charity stores that are a must see. Georges Street, or South Great Georges Street, to give it its full name, is home to the superb Georges Street Arcade, a redbricked indoor market of stalls and sive jewellers, Weirs, is not too far stores offering an extensive range of away, along with a handful of high trendy attention grabbing second hand street stores to get lost in, from River


When we think of shopping sprees, one immediately transports themselves to a major fashion city of the world. The visual imagination goes wild with labels and suddenly the idea of shopping in Dublin is about as appealing as an MCQ Midterm. It is high time we took a new look at Dublin and reopened our eyes to the fashion jukebox that is our Fair City. Grafton Street, located between Trinity College and St Stephen’s

The Siren 3.11.09

in leather, shoes and belts, hats and jackets matches the products which are made of fake leather. In 1953, Marlon Brando’s character in “The Wild One” saw the main stream popularity of the leather jacket. Young men sported leather jackets for the tough boy look, thus the ‘greaser’ sub culture was created. Leather jackets were often used in aviation and military, this is where the word ‘bomber’ jacket was coined. Brown leather jackets were often seen on Hollywood adventure characters too. In the seventies and eighties, bands such as The Ramones and Sex Pistols were always seen in leather- starting the trend of punks wearing leather. The rise of animal activists has made the world more aware of animals being murdered for their skin. The quality of fake leather is now almost perfected and many people opt for this when shopping. This is also a cheaper way to wear leather.

arts Music Fashion

The Siren 3.11.09

m e i t l e y l s e t s u l o s Ab

ping ion and time kee sh fa e th h ot b in ou own ill never let youwdhat your timepiece says about y w h tc a w d oo g a As ’Gara examines stakes, Cathal O able, expressive and individualistic way of For the look, the qualYour wristwatch does a whole lot of work in terms of telling the world what a wonderful person you are, but are you sending the right message? It can give off one of many effects, the main ones being that you are sporty, practical, egotistical, or cheap. Watches in today’s society are what sports cars were to the nineties, the more costly and complex the machinery, the more glory is projected onto your disposition. If time is the meaning of man, then Omega watches are without doubt the definition of manliness. This brand of watches promotes and abets an impression of authority in a man, stressing a confidence which, whether intended or not, is kind of alluring. Even the most docile of personalities can be enhanced through the possession of this timepiece, as everyone is aware that the Omega watch is James Bond’s trademark timepiece of choice, creating an image of prestige and eminence. However, for the average student watches such as this may be slightly out of the budget. Swatch Watches are an afford-

adding flair to any ensemble. Just like clothing, many of us want a watch which makes us stand out, while at the same time expressing who we are. Swatches are currently all the rage, exuding chic and suaveness, they are the best way for any guy to show his fashion-awareness on a student budget. They are Swiss-made and come with Swiss quality movements. The company brings out new designs twice a year, which helps keep the watches unique, as well as the fact that collectible editions by designers such as Vivienne Westwood. One of the main results of the economic turndown is not, as one would first think, a slump in spending, but in fact a return to quality. It isn’t a question of consumers not wanting to spend, but if they are going to drop a considerable amount of money on a timepiece, they want to ensure that it is an investment rather than a fashion fancy. Watches such as Cartier, Breitling and the near clichéd Rolex can be an expensive endeavour, so it is a common conviction that consumers tend to avoid these brands, a mistake made by many.

ity, the elegance, and the dependability — a luxury watch is definitely worth the investment. Other than its features, the style of a watch and its brand can make a massive difference. Not only does the watch act as an emblem of status, but it also provides a great ego-boost. You can admit it or not, but buying a brand watch allows for a serious thrust to your pride. Brand-name watches, such as Tag-Heuer, each have their own distinguishing styles and finish. It is often said that the bearer of an expensive watch is compensating for something, but it is the converse which is true; an investment in a luxurious watch is a sign of intelligence and astuteness. For instance, Tag Heuer is renowned for its precision and accurateness amongst the sports world, thus it only makes sense for a sports fanatic to invest in such a purchase. Luxury watches come in an array of styles, some are simple and sober, while others are can be more ostentatious and create a sense of grandeur.

Junk Food Tshirts

Madonna, Bowie, Blondie, , Bruce, pay tribute to your favourite pop or rock icon with an ultra cool t-shirt from the design label ‘Junk food’. Check out for their mind-blowing range of tees.

Eye-catching make up

For the more daring out there why not try out a look straight off the catwalks, switch traditional colour conventions and opt for a sparkling ruby red eye-shadow, and accentuate with a basic nude lip colour. This is not a look for those who lack confidence, prepare to dazzle and shock!

The most important criteria to bear in mind when shopping for a luxury watch is its durability and purpose, whether it is high-end or basic, a watch should be longlasting, resilient to damage and come with a guarantee. The consummate watch is a debatable topic, and the answer ultimately lies in the individuals preferences. Whether you’re looking for a simple device which tells the time or seeking a timepiece to be a symbol of your principles, as long as your purchase isn’t heedless and you take time in your decision, there is a watch out there for every wrist, including yours.

Prepare to dye

Looing to the swinging sixties for inspiration, Aoifa Smyth talks you through a first DIY tie dye attempt Its time that we abandoned the stereotype that tie dye is just for middle aged saddos attempting to cling onto their youth, because flower power is back for the moment and I shall enlighten you on a little secret which I like to callD.I.Y. First of all, grab yourself a plain, white t-shirt. Opt for a shape you are happy with, but don’t spend too much money on your first attempt. A tee from Pennies or Dunnes will suffice for the practise run. Then, get your fine young self down to your local pharmacy or craft store and pick up some dye. Opt for fibre reactive dye, in whichever colour(s) you please. One, two or three dyes can be used, but bear in mind which colours compliment each other and refer to the colour wheel for inspiration. Make sure you wash the t-shirt you are using prior to the dying. Prepare your work area before you start, getting buckets or basins for each dye you want to use. Make sure you line the floor with bin bags to avoid fuchsia tiles and while you’re at it, grab some rubber gloves to avoid cyan fingers. Start off by filling the first basin with hot water, then pop in the lighest dye you are using. Tie rubber bands at intervals on the t-shirt, in the pattern of your desire. Place



Back-combed hair

Get just ‘out of bed’ rock chick chic tresses with back- combed hair, perfect for this seasons cut off leather jackets and biker boots look. All you need is a good comb, patience and plenty of L’Oreal Elnett satin hairspray, to add even more oomph and volume try Velcro curlers. Practice makes perfect.


Faux Fur Obsession

The current fake fur obsession has now officially become an epidemic on the high-street. Worn correctly a fake fur coat can be incredibly edgy. However, when you begin to see and OTT trend of chunky hoops, thrown together with the faux fur jacket, it is time to panic.

the t-shirt in the water and remove after four to seven minutes or when the fabric is just a tad darker then your preference. Rinse the dye out with warm water and remove rubber bands. Prepare the next lightest dye in the same way as last time and add more bands Ugg Boots to your t-shirt. I think we can all admit to being Repeat the process serial re-offenders until as many dye as when it comes to sporting this trend. you please have been They are comfy and seem to capture a added. When you are content, comfort-blanket feeling for us but when it rinse the tee in warm water comes to actually considering these boots jury is defiuntil the water runs clear as in anyway fashionable the choose laced leather Instead out. nitely and remove all bands. biker boots from River Island, resilient Then wash the t-shirt alone footwear for our temperamental in the machine with a light Irish weather, yet bang on detergent and leave to dry. trend so you can walk in Once the t-shirt is dry, the customising style. fun can commence! Neck lines and sleeves can be chopped as desired. Try cutting Going Gaga: the sleeves off your t-shirt, then using the The infamous Lady of material left over to tie each shoulder. Controversy, followed with Studs and other pretty embellishments can such gems of: is she or isn’t she a be purchased at a low cost from the woolen hermaphrodite? It is questionable but mills beside the Haypenny bridge. Just be she probably isn’t, but do we really care? careful not to go too over the top, before Frankly, no not really. Miss Gaga’s style you know it you could be resembling a credentials although bursting Christmas decoration. with originality have of late There you have it, the recession friendly been completely statement over-kill, there is eccentric guide to a super cool tie t-shirt. Once you and then there is just do it once, there will be no stopping you! plain weird. Next thing you know students all over Bellfield shall be sporting tie dye from head to toe. Em… groovy?

By Aisling Kennedy



The Siren 3.11.09 5 films to get you in that wood stock inspired free spirited, hippie mood By Ashling Maguire 5. Easy Rider – “Hey man, all we represent to them is someone who needs a haircut.”

Battle of the Bizarre The Men Who Stare at Goats

Directed by Grant Heslov Starring: Ewan McGregor, George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey Reviewed by: Karina Bracken

Jennifer’s Body Directed by: Karyn Kusama Starring: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody Reviewed by Karina Bracken Girl meets boy. Girl eats boy. It’s the beauty secret that the magazines don’t dare tell you about. Jennifer (Megan Fox) is a typical high school hottie who is transformed into a man eater (literally) after an incident on a night out. Jennifer’s nerdy best friend Needy (Amanda Seyfried) discovers that her friend subsequently has to feed on the flesh of young men to stay beautiful. Needy now has to stop her boyfriend from becoming the next meal on Jennifer’s menu. She sets out to quell her friend’s insatiable appetite for adoles-

‘The Men Who Stare at Goats’ may be an odd title but it suits this brilliantly bizarre film. The story follows Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor), a recently jilted journalist who goes to the Iraq war in search of an adventure and a story. Wilton meets the seemingly unhinged Lyn Cassidy (George Clooney) who is on a secret mission, so secret in fact that Cassidy himself does not know what it is. The film is based on a book of the same name by Jon Ronson. Cassidy is an incarnation of the specially-trained US soldiers that Ronson investigated. They are psychic spies in the US army’s covert operation “First Earth Battalion”. The so-called “Jedi warriors” use their paranormal powers to burst clouds and stop the hearts of goats.

cent males and girl-on-girl action. Not only is she up against Jennifer’s animalistic bloodlust, there are the inevitable horrors of high school life. By today’s horror genre standards, the film isn’t that gory. The visceral leftovers of one of Jennifer’s victims is described as “lasagna with teeth”, although the audience is spared the visual. The story focuses on the loss and mourning after the deaths, but the resulting dark moments are at odds with the “teen-horror-comedy flick” type. A film purportedly about female hormones, Jennifer’s Body will certainly appeal to the testosterone portion of the species. Teenage boys will be happy to hear that the film’s title is no red herring. Megan Fox’s body is flaunted at every opportunity, but admittedly the actress exudes the type of potent sexuality that makes any attempt at attire pretty redundant anyway. While not totally awful, the film is ultimately all teeth but no bite.

Think Roald Dahl’s Matilda for grown men and you begin to get the idea. Jeff Bridges outshines the others in his role of Bill Jango, a Vietnam vet who is in charge of finding an alternative way to fight war. The gung-ho Jango becomes a New Age hippy after being shot in ‘Nam. Queue shots of the ageing Bridges engaged in naked hot tub sessions and ashtanga yoga. So far, so crackpot. (Pot is an essential part of the training). The film has a broad spectrum of humour, from Cold War military oneup man ship to tank-driving soldiers tripping on LSD. The quirkier your sense of humour, the more likely it is you’ll laugh. The film ultimately hurdles towards a

Taking Woodstock Director: Ang Lee Starring: Demetri Martin, Eugene Levy, Emile Hirsch, Imelda Staunton. Reviewed by: Ashling Maguire Based on the memoirs of the real Elliot Tiber, this charming film mixes the awe inspiring “free love” attitude of Woodstock with an unusual twist on a coming of age story. Elliot Tiber, played by the appropriately awkward Demetri Martin, is an aspiring designer who has to put his career plans on hold to move back to his small hometown of Catskills and help his parents with their failing motel. After hearing a neighbouring town stopped plans for a music festival, Tiber organises for it to be set up on a neighbouring farm

bizarre ending, which tests the opening line: “More of this is true than you might believe.” Like the book, it is asking you to believe the unbelievable and the end may have more than a few scratching their heads.

Two bikers embark on a road trip to Mardi Gras with the proceeds from a drug deal. On their search for spiritual freedom they encounter the two extremes of American society at the time. From hippies living in a free love commune, struggling to grow their own food to the conservative and narrow minded inhabitants of a small town. Far out scene: LSD trip in a graveyard. With Hookers. 4. Wayne’s World 2 – “If you book them, they will come.” The sequel to the almighty Wayne’s World sees Wayne channeling the spirit of Jim Morrison by putting on a rock concert while simultaneously trying to save his relationship with Cassandra (Scwiiiing!) which involves a brief performance as the village people and a full on dubbed kung fu match. Although not strictly a hippie or stoner film, it certainly has the right attitude. Far out scene: Talking to Jim Morrison in the desert while a weird naked Indian observes from the background. 3. Woodstock – “Lotta Freaks!” Michael Wadleigh’s Oscar winning original 1970 documentary on the festival that brought three days of peace and music to America. Be blown away by killer performances from the likes of Grateful Dead, Janice Joplin and The Who as well as a look at the festival goers themselves. Far out Scene: Rain chanting and mud sliding.

with the motel as headquarters, unknowingly setting in motion one of the most influential events in music history. There are some beautiful moments in the film, including an acid-fuelled encounter with a free loving, hippie couple (Paul Dano and Kelli Garner), the only glimpse of the actual concert from a great distance and Elliot’s parent’s first experience with special brownies. The first half of the film brings plenty of laughs along with some stunning psychedelic visuals but towards the end it takes on a more serious tone as the capitalist elements of the festival take over and Elliot struggles with questioning his sexuality in what is perhaps a part of the story that’s left a little too underdeveloped. Of the few down points in the film, the fact that we barely see the stage itself is slightly off putting. At times the festival seems to become just a backdrop for Elliot’s belated coming of age instead of a central part of the movie. Nonetheless, this far out film is well worth the trip to the cinema.

2. Pineapple Express – “It’s almost a shame to smoke it. It’s like killing a unicorn with, like, a bomb.” Casual stoner, Dale, witnesses a murder and accidentally leaves a joint containing the rare Pineapple Express weed at the scene. He and his dealer, Saul – the hilarious pyjama clad James Franco – spend the rest of the film trying to escape the murderer, resulting in some ridiculous marijuana fuelled mishaps. Far out scene: Epic fight at the drug dealer’s house. 1. The Wizard of Oz – “Follow the yellow brick road!” The 1939 Judy Garland classic takes the viewer to a world of bright colours, bizarre characters and, let’s be honest, slightly terrifying munchkins. We recommend syncing it with Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon.’ Narcotics optional. Far out scene: Pretty much the entire movie.

The Siren 3.11.09

Starting a revolution


Music arts

Eamonn McCann lends his voice of liberal reason to Jim Scully to discuss writing for Hot Press, student activism and how music helps to stop him becoming a boring old fart Having dedicated most of his early life to local politics, Eamonn McCann quickly became a well known figure around his native Derry. As part of the Housing Action Committee in Derry and his work with the civil rights movement during the sixties, McCann quickly became an influential figure in local politics and eventually on a much larger scale. Unlike many, after so many years McCann’s passion did not waiver. Most recently targeting American defence contractor Raytheon for their part to play in Israel’s bombing of Lebanon, as well as countless other military operations. While retaining his commitment to politics and activism, McCann carved a place for himself in the national media, providing a much needed voice of liberal reason to national discussions. To date McCann has published five books documenting political events of Northern Ireland. Currently he has a regular column in Hot Press magazine in which he covers a wide range of topics, sharing his views on politics, current affairs and his passion for the arts. “I love writing for Hot Press, for that reason. Sometimes I’m writing stuff which a lot of people, maybe even people in Hot Press think is not suitable. Stuff that is a wee bit off centre; however they’re very good at printing it. I’ve been writing for Hot Press now for certainly over 25 years.” As a man in his sixties, McCann has remained well in touch with the youth of today. Something he credits to the world of music and culture. One can’t help but think that if the countries TD’s kept up to date with youth culture, we might have a somewhat more aware government when it comes to what’s on the minds of young people. “It does reach an audience that isn’t reached by the main stream media. Although Hot Press is fairly mainstream. It’s mainstream in a kind of kooky and strange way. It reaches mainly a young audience which is a lot of people at third level.” “Because it is primarily a rock magazine, I think a large section of the establishment who are themselves a tiny minority in society see it almost as an adolescent publication, which it most certainly isn’t.” “I think Hot Press is a very influential organ, if I were in government I would

read Hot Press every fortnight to find out what people are thinking. To find out what people who don’t write letters to The Irish Times are thinking.’ “It’s helped to stop me becoming a boring old fart.” He exclaims, “I’ve always been into music, I’ve always been going to bands. And I’ve seen bands which become huge when they were small. Primarily, The Rolling Stones and U2 before they had record deals. And so you live in hope that some of the young bands you see around venues in Derry, a lot of them have the potential to become huge.” “I genuinely see a band every month that I think ‘that’s got the potential’, but of course only a tiny, tiny minority of bands actually realise the potential that’s there - typically of young people who are half crazy.” McCann’s involvement in the music scene in the North-West has undoubtedly kept him of youthful mind. Talking to the Derry man about the youth

orientated music scene, it shows how he has bridged the generation gap that our countries political figures are more often than not so blind to. “Just the very fact of going out in Derry to Sandinos or The Nerve Centre or The Dungloe Bar and seeing a teenage band, getting talking to the audience. In what other context would I be sitting talking, or shouting when the music’s on, to people who are sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen?” “I wouldn’t actually have the opportu-

nity to talk to people like that other than in the context of music. So I find that really valuable and I really, really enjoy it.” Having grown up in a time where music was the soundtrack of a revolution, McCann realises that music and society go hand in hand. But can it make the impact upon society that it has done before? “Potentially I think it can. Society is a bit more disparate now, a little more chaotic I suppose. I mean The Clash were lucky in a way, a lot of those bands - Sham 69, The Buzzcocks. It depends on what’s happening. They came along at a time when there was a mass movement on the streets.” “There was a generalised radicalism among young people, that wasn’t created by the music. I think the music reflected that. There isn’t that coherent oppositional movement particularly among young people at the moment. So there’s nothing for the bands to relate to. They need that.” That ‘coherent oppositional movement’, he agrees, is something which is missing among young people today. Now with the guarantee of third level fees being taken off the board for the time being, McCann believes now is the time students need to be at their most aware, with the rise of registration fees looking inevitable. “Registration fees are the most obvious. It has been signalled and I don’t think anybody would be terribly surprised if that were happening. And for that reason alone I think the USI should be trying to raise consciousness on that aspect of the matter and needs to be able to make it clear to the government or the authorities in education generally, college principles and managers, ‘don’t you dare, don’t try it because we’ll fight you and we’re organised to do it.” “You can’t do it overnight, there’s no point waiting until an announcement is made and then saying we’re going to get organised. It’s always too late if you wait until it’s announced. You’ve got to be prepared in advance.” As a man with a life’s worth of experience in activism, he has seen it all, and knows only too well how vulnerable groups like students can be when cutbacks are on the table. “If you get complacent you can very, very easily lose them again. That’s for everything, eco-

nomic rights, social rights, the rights to sexual freedom and so forth. The price of liberty is eternal alertness.” “So I don’t think it makes any sense for people to say that’s it now. We can see what’s happened with the economic crisis of the last year or so. Nobody at all knows how things are going to work out.” “Nobody foretold this eighteen months ago so no one knows how bad this thing is going to get. If it does get worse, nobody knows the extent to which the establishment, if you want to call them that, are going to come back looking for further cuts and imposing further charges. This is no time to be complacent.” When it comes to activism, McCann knows how volatile the relationship between activist groups and the public can be. As we enter a time which will undoubtedly call for action on behalf of students, McCann offers some well grounded advice, “There are times when it’s just not possible to wait until you go through all the procedures before you decide what to do.” “Sometimes an instant response is necessary and only direct action can deliver an instant response. Even when that is

necessary I think care must be taken, as far as is possible, that the people involved are not writing off the great mass of people behind them, be they students or trade unionists or tenants or anything else.” “That they keep explaining why they’re what they’re doing and looking for majority support for what they are doing. Even the most imaginative practitioners of direct action can very, very easily become arrogant. They begin to believe, ‘we represent the people’, rather in the way guerrilla armies represent the people.” “I’m not saying those involved in direct action in colleges are comparables to armed paramilitaries.” He exclaims, “There’s a similarity that once you believe you have the right to act for people you’re sort of well on the way to leaving them behind and making enemies of them, and that’s not going to be terribly effective.” “So I’m in favour of direct action when it’s necessary, but every time people are sitting in somewhere, the conversation should be, ‘how can we get the support of all the people, or as many as possible of the people who are not sitting in here with us?’” McCann concludes pointedly.



The Siren 3.11.09

A Life Sentence ‘ A Life Sentence’, is a play written by Mark Seaman and directed by Mark O’Brien. The casts two person ensemble consists of Brenda Moreau as Ann Bailey, alongside Jack O’ Connor as her deteriorating husband David ‘Dave’ Bailey. In length the play is relatively short, as it spans approximately thirty minutes in total. The story is relayed to the audience through both direct, reflective monologue provided by Ann, and conventional scenes of dialogue between Ann and her husband. Each of the three acts is preceded with Ann’s dialogue, which provides poignant insight and heart-wrenching introspective elements to her story. The plot is sweet and simple, at its core we are presented with Ann Bailey’s touching accounts of her of ailing husband who had been battling with dementia and reoccurring strokes. Through the sadness of the story the script is peppered with little gems of laughter. The actors performed brilliantly, with Moreau providing moments, which seemed to encapsulate genuine affection and emotion, through simple gestures such as caressing her husband’s hand or lovingly kissing his cheek. O’ Connor portrayed the degenerating mental state of a man with mental illness brilliantly; tone, expression and movement brought the character to life. O’ Brien’s careful consideration of the minute facets of the script, produced a finished piece that was truly heart breaking.

e d i u G t Even Frank MacBride Pavilion - New works by Fergus Feehily Where: Douglas Hyde Gallery,Trinity College, Dublin 2. When: Until Wed 18 November (Mon Fri, 11am - 6pm; Thur, 11am - 7pm; Sat, 11am - 4.45pm) Price: Free. “The Best of Irish Stand Up Comedy” at The Bankers Where: The Bankers Bar & Comedy Club, Trinity Street, Dublin 2 (Off Dame Street near Dublin Tourism) When: Every Sat @ 9pm Price: €10 / Students €8

Russell Brand “Scandalous Tour” Where: The O2, North Wall Quay, Dublin 1. When: Tues 10 November Price: €38 (incl. booking fee)

“The Birds” Where: Gate Theatre When: Until Sun 15 November @ 8pm Price: €15.00 - €35.00

The Francis Bacon ‘A Terrible Beauty Exhibition’ Where: The Hugh Lane Gallery When: October 2009 until the 7th of March 2010 Price: Free Lawsoc Free Speech Debate Where: Theatre TBC When: Tues 10 Nov @ 7pm Price: Free for Lawsoc members L&H Capitalism vs Socialism Debate Where: Theatre TBC When: Wed 11 Nov. Time TBC Price: Free for L&H members

“The Wedding Singer” Where: Astra Hall (Student Centre) When: From Tues 10th November to Fri 13th November @ 7pm Price: €16 adult/€12.50 student

“Disco Pigs” by Enda Walsh Where: Dramsoc Theatre, LG1, Newman Building. When: From Mon 2 November to Fri 6 November @ 1pm Price: TBC

Gary Numan Tripod Where:Tripod, Harcourt St, Dublin 2 When: From Sun 1 Nov to Mon 30 Nov @ 7.30pm Price: €22.50/27.50

Persepolis Reviewed by Fiona Dunne This is a novel about its author Marjane Satrapi’s childhood in Iran in the 1970s and 80s through simple yet powerful drawings and words. Marjane was he child of radical Marxists and also the grand-daughter of Iran’s last emperor; needless to say her coming of age was intertwined with these issues. Marjane’s childhood was at once outrageous and ordinary-beset by the unthinkable, punctured by the Islamic Revolution and the war with Iraq, yet buffered by an extraordinary and loving family. She describes what it was like to bear witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Marjane’s intelligence and outspokenness add a very raw and honest element to a story so full of tragedy. Her depiction of life in Tehran reinforces the contradictions between private and public life in a country plagued by political upheavals, while her childlike naiveté imparts a poignancy to this account of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned beatings, and heroes of the revolution. The cartoon format adds another dimension to the book that lures the reader in. Although the cartoons get a bit tiresome and overly depressing toward the end of the book. I would definitely recommend this book as it is a big achievement. Marjane Satrapi managed to condense a huge chapter of history of the whole country of Iran into one both poignant and funny scene after another.

Arts Focus ‘A Terrible Beauty’

The Francis Bacon ‘A Terrible Beauty’ exhibition is currently running in The Hugh Lane Gallery from the 28th of October 2009 until the 7th of March 2010. The exhibition itself is an incredibly unique conception, it showcases in astonishing detail the enormous archive of material retrieved from Bacon’s studio formally of number 7 Reece Mews in London. The highlight of the entire exhibition is undoubtedly Bacon’s studio, brought in its entirety from London, walls, doors, ceiling, and floors, along with the disordered wealth of mess and objects that had strewn the studio floor. It has been completely reassembled to its original state of complete chaos in the Hugh Lane Gallery. The artist’s studio space has in effect itself been transformed into a work of art.The gallery space of the Hugh Lane lends itself as the perfect expanse to house such a collection. The exhibitions true realisation is to educate the viewer with the real inspired motives and methods behind Bacon’s paintings. Although this exhibition does reveal much about the artist and his creative innerworkings we can not only help but think that such exposure only “deepens the mystery” and legend that surrounded one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.