Feature Trout Records - For Love, Not Money // Not Gospel Steven Rainey on The Return of Twin Peaks // Live Hard Working Class Heroes 2014 // Primer Dublin illustrator Fatti Burke ISSUE #002 | NOVEMBER 2014 | FREE
Exclus ive Free Subp Downllots oad
Sea Pinks: Life Imitating Art SEPTEMBER GIRLS // ADULTROCK // GO WOLF // BELFAST ROLLER DERBY // ELLLL // I HAVE A TRIBE // CONTOUR // KRAFTWERK // PRINCESS // SILENCES // ATRIUMS // MEB JON SOL
Foreword / Contents
Autumn, Autumning & Onwards
Editor Brian Coney firstname.lastname@example.org @brianconey Photo/Visual Editor Loreana Rushe email@example.com @loreana Art Director Stuart Bell @stubell_ Reviews Editor Andrew Lemon firstname.lastname@example.org @_andrewlemon_ Guide Editor Stevie Lennox email@example.com @stevieisms Advertising, Marketing & Creative Co-ordinator Richard Crothers @CRUTHCAT Tune In Editor James Magill firstname.lastname@example.org @jamesjmagill Cork Editor Mike McGrath Bryan email@example.com @vilifier_ Contributors: Sinead Byrne Brian Coney Carlos Daly Liam Doyle Mark Earley James Hendicott Scott Jamison Joe Laverty Colm Laverty Andrew Lemon Stevie Lennox Joe Madsen James Magill Sara Marsden Mike McGrath Bryan Shaun Neary Brid O’Donovan Shannon D O’Neill Luke O’Neill Michael Pope Steven Rainey Loreana Rushe Isabel Thomas David Turpin Jonathan Wallace
Ok, so it kinda fits in your back pocket...
or Morrissey, November spawned a monster. For us, it has spawned the grand second issue of our physical magazine - yep, you’re totally holding it - exactly a month after launching/dancing ourselves into existence at Belfast’s Bar Sub with Not Squares et al. Needless to say, the response to our physicality has been very lovely indeed, something that myself and others have been all too ready to divert in the general direction of our exceptional team of contributors. Truly, a GBOL
and then some. That said, we are always on the look-out for brand new writers, photographers and everything in between. Interested in joining us? Hit us up at info@ thethinair.net. In the meantime, enjoy what the following twentynine pages hold in store and help yourself to an exclusive free download of the awesome ‘Wave Collapse’ by Dublin duo Subplots, taken from their forthcoming new album, Autumning: bit.ly/1yta5pg. Don’t say we’re not good to you! Brian Coney
Contents Photo of the Month ������������������ 4 Projection ����������������������������� 5 Inbound �������������������������������� 6 The First Time ������������������������ 9 Feature: Trout Records ������������ 10 Feature: Belfast Roller Derby ���� 12 Tour Diary: Go Wolf in NYC ����� 14 Indoors/Outdoors ������������������� 15 thethinair.net
Feature: Sea Pinks ������������������ 16 Exit Plan ������������������������������ 19 Primer��������������������������������� 20 Reviews/Live ������������������������� 22 Not Gospel ��������������������������� 26 Playing to Type ���������������������� 28 88mph ��������������������������������� 30 Agony Uncle ������������������������� 31
– Photo of the Month 4
Hanna Brewer (Purple) Limelight, Belfast Image: Sara Marsden
ach month our photo editor Loreana Rushe selects one stand-out gig image from our fantastic team of hard working photographers. The photographer gets the opportunity to showcase their snap and share a few insights into how they captured it. Loreana: This month was a very difficult choice as the standard of photos that came through
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were phenomonal. I had already made my mind up about a different photo until this image of Hanna Brewer blew me away. It was just one of those really lucky moments all photographers long for when shooting a live band, and for it to be a fantastic shot of a drummer (who rarely ever see the light of day in gig photography) made my mind up immediately. Bravo Sara!
Sara: It was an absolute gift to photograph Hanna. I had never seen a drummer able to dance about as much as she did behind that kit, whipping her platinum pony tails about and throwing cheeky faces every chance she got. It was all about waiting for the perfect moment to capture that energy. SHOT WITH NIKON D5100, 35MM, ISO 1800, 1/200 AT F/2.8
Mark In Your Diary…
ovember always brings the welcome return of Cinemagic film festival and a certain doctor with a rockabilly quiff. Now in its tenth year, the Mark Kermode Film Night is an absolute highlight of the festival programme and this year The Good Doctor has gone absolutely classic in his film choice, selecting the Powell and Pressburger masterpiece, A Matter of Life and Death. Before the film, Belfast’s finest film critic, Brian Henry Martin will be in conversation with Dr Kermode and the audience will also get a chance to put questions to Dr K. Just make sure your questions are grammatically correct and don’t mention Transformers! Other highlights to look out for at Cinemagic include their world cinema and nostalgia screenings. The world cinema programme always throws up some under the radar gems
and this year Metalhead, the story of an Icelandic teenage girl who becomes obsessed with heavy metal after the death of her brother, looks like it could be one. If that doesn’t float your boat, you’ve your choice of cult classics from Wayne’s World to Big Trouble in Little China to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Most triumphant! Richard DavisTickets for The Mark Kermode Film Night are available from queensfilmtheatre.com and wegottickets.com
Christopher Nolan’s closely guarded and feverishly anticipated Interstellar. Matthew McConaughey goes to infinity and beyond in an astronaut team heading into the black unknown to find a new home for the species. No-one comes close to Nolan when it comes to ideas-driven spectacle. Go see on the biggest screen possible. There are worthy releases beyond the studio fanfare too. SNL alumni Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader are a pair of dysfunctional siblings in The Skeleton Twins, hitting the melan-comedy sweet spot. And one half of The Conchords, Jemaine Clement, writes, directs and stars in ace spoof vampire doc What We Do in the Shadows. Finally, special mention must go to Steve James’ Life Itself, which serves as a record of Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert’s final days and a wonderfully fitting tribute to his life, career and enthusiasm for cinema’s empathy-generating machinery, undiminished right to the end. Conor Smyth
f it bleeds, it leads! Nightcrawler, a wickedly satirical neonoir, keeps the Halloween vibe going with Jake Gyllenhaal as a vampiric crime reporter in thrall to the American dream. Stalking nocturnal Los Angeles, he chases ambulances and spouts biz-ness buzzwords: Travis Bickle with a lens. All eyes though are on
I Have A Tribe
hat Dublin’s Patrick O’Laoghaire should feature in our Inbound section at all is, some might argue, misleading. In the last twelve months the singer-songwriter and guitarist with indiefolk act Slow Skies has played Brighton’s Great Escape festival, Dublin’s Working Class Heroes festival and released his debut EP; the bewitching Yellow Raincoats EP. Furthermore, O’Laoghaire has previously opened for Villagers’ Irish dates, as well as having toured with Anna Calvi. Why, then, is the man who plays forward-thinking folk music under the I Have A Tribe moniker gracing these particular pages? Put simply – despite his not inconsiderable achievements to date, 6
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it still seems as though O’Laoghaire’s is yet to make his mark on the Irish scene. His debut EP, for instance, swells with the kind of melancholic vocals and eerie electronic arrangements that make a listener sit up and pay attention. The 2013 single ‘Monsoon’ starts off with a radio-friendly piano piece that wouldn’t sound out of place on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, before Postal Service-esque bleeps and bloops and an extended outro establish the track as a cut above the standard singer-songwriter fare. Conversely, the EP’s title track is a much more introspective affair, circulating around a linear melody and electronics before an octavetoggling riff takes over, O’Laoghaire lamenting how “...the depression
rose in my throat”. It’s not the only instance where his voice is used to devastating effect. As well as his tender, affected vocal style – think Jeff Buckley meets Thom Yorke – O’Laoghaire’s lyrics are often an uncomfortable glimpse into a dark well of subject material: “My pills are gone, my evening’s settled”, “Hush in the winter time, it’s better to be dead”, and “Smile, it doesn’t last that long” just three snippets that probably aren’t going to be made into motivational posters any time soon. That said, O’Laoghaire’s influences during his formative musical years – an eclectic mix including Leonard Cohen, Arvo Pärt and classical piano works – ensure that his plaintive pop songs carry a nuance that begs for a wider audience. Andrew Lemon
Photo: Mark Earley
– Inbound –
Inbound I Have A Tribe
Her progression to more prominent live appearances and
festival sets mirrors that of a number of past collaborators and contemporaries, having done the live rounds comprehensively in Cork for years, and sharing bills with musicians that went on to form leading lights for Irish music like The Vincent(s), The Altered Hours, Elastic Sleep and others, all the while refining her knack for dark, brooding electronics. Approaching quietly and steadily is a theme evident in King’s music, also. Across her recent Photo: Brid O’Donovan
work and the various oeuvres experimented with and crossreferenced, a slow build, emerging from ambience and slowly swelling into its own, forms a common ground, best evidenced in streaming single ‘\\\///’ and its tense, crawling pace. Likewise, ‘Bones’ hinges on minimalism and stark soundscaping to devastating effect, and ‘Piano’ slowly snakes from a seemingly innocuous piano line to an insidious, faded, almost sinister proposition. These manipulations, seething textural experiments, walk a thin line between drone’s stretching of expectations, noise’s outer limits, and ventures into minimalist beats like ‘Espy:Espied’. An EP has been in the works, and is expected “sometime soon” according to King’s Facebook page, though off the back of aforementioned successes, one might assume the wait mightn’t be long. Mike McGrath Bryan
– Inbound –
hough based in and a musical product of Cork City, glitch/ambient/noise producer Ellen King, known better to gig-goers as Ellll, has been quietly amassing a number of high-profile supports around Dublin and the UK, opening for Lust for Youth, Carter Tutti Void and Shackleton among others, while November 20 sees her appear with Tim Hecker at the Button Factory.
Inbound Adultrock / Atriums
dultrock are a far cry from previous highprofile projects Super Extra Bonus Party and We Are Losers, diving for the clubbing heartlands in intense, mesmerizing loops that
hint at a love of Berlin all-nighters. In fact, this is a pulsing product of semirural Ireland, driven by what Gav Elsted calls a Newbridge (Co. Kildare) “outsider mentality” and a thriving local scene born out of self-confessed
hen a musician can illustrate an organic tenderness with an incredible weight of sound by such minimalistic means as employed by Atriums, it is an indication that you’re listening to something quietly intricate, but very obviously powerful and stirring. With the release of his Tell me we both matter, don’t we? EP 8
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in July, Dublin singersongwriter Gavin Farrell has pieced together something delicate and enchanting that has all of the heft and reverberation of a sound far more blatant than what he actually plays. Sleepy guitar strings ring smoothly alongside piano keys and celestial electronic soundscapes that frame a meditative and conceivably forlorn voice throughout the EP, and it’s difficult to
ignore the feeling as though you are intruding on something very personal. If you missed his set at HWCH, you can still purchase the heartstring-tugging artist’s first offering on Bandcamp for a meagre sum. Liam Doyle
Photo: Joe Laverty
– Inbound –
Photo: Carlos Daly
boredom. The Chants EP – released in March – was a major step forward loaded with slow-building hedonistic touches, and launched Adultrock on the circuit in a big way. Elsted’s prolific, and sees label Bodytonic as a welcome pace slower and quality control. The as yet untitled follow-up isn’t due for another six months, yet with some tracks already aired live, it’s clear that the slowed process has led to an intense focus on recording perfection. Boredom, it seems, is sometimes a wonderful thing. James Hendicott
The First Time Caoimhe Derwin
– The First Time Photographer Joe Laverty shoots and delves into the music-making, listening and loving firsts of September Girls’ guitarist and vocalist Caoimhe Derwin First album you bought? Michael Jackson - Bad. On tape, no less. First single you bought? Madonna - ‘Borderline’. I was all about the Queen of Pop First live concert/gig? I went to see Stone Temple Pilots in the SFX in Dublin. The SFX was a brilliant venue.
Photo: Joe Laverty
First album you properly loved? It’s a Shame About Ray by the Lemonheads. Still one of my favourite albums always reminds me of being a teenager. I love Evan Dando. First artist/band to change your musiclistening/making life? Probably the Breeders - I adore Kim Deal’s voice. I loved their harmonies and attitude. So effortlessly cool and honest. I want to be Kim Deal. First local band you got really into?
Venus Envy. I supported them a few times in Dublin in my first band. I was kind of starstruck by them. They were so, so good.
minded-people in school. We started a band and I’ve been in bands ever since. First original song you wrote? Oh, God... I wrote a song with two of my cousins called ‘It Wasn’t Love’. It was a breakup song which is kind of funny because I was only twelve and I hadn’t even had a boyfriend. It was dreadful but I can still remember the lyrics and melody.
First favourite film soundtrack I hadn’t heard the Doors until I saw the movie. It was what introduced me to them. It was also the first time I heard the Velvet Underground. I listened to that soundtrack a lot. First band t-shirt/ jumper? Lemonheads, probably...
First gig or performance of your own? I played a gig with my first band, Palomine, in Slatterys, Dublin. There was a mirror directly facing the stage, so I could see my reflection through the whole gig. I didn’t move a muscle - I was petrified!
First song to make you cry? ‘The Lightning Express’ - it’s an old timey song about a boy on a train trying to get to his mother who’s dying. So sad.
First musical hero/idol you ever met? I met Johnny Marr when we supported the Cribs. That was pretty amazing. He bought me a beer. He’s lovely. I also met the Bangles. That experience fulfilled a childhood dream.
First time you knew you wanted to make music? I’m from a musical family, so performing is something I’ve always done. I think I realised I wanted to write when I was about sixteen and I met like
– Trout Records – For love, not money.
Named in tribute to teenage and student years at the now defunct George’s Arcade record store in Dublin, Trout now exists largely in Cusack’s bedroom. “I can’t get into my bedroom without stacks of records toppling over”, he 10
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confesses, “and in terms of the amount of mental space it takes up, Trout is hugely pervasive in my life.” His house, in fact, has even been home to shows, including a set by rumbling bleepsmiths PolyGlove loud enough to end with a mid-set PA explosion, a Jet Setter single launch and quirky popster Myles Manley’s acoustic offerings. Jet Setter – now amicably departed - and PolyGlove also date right back to days spent spinning records in every music nerds’ teenage dream job. ‘TR0001’ was a leg up from the boss at a time when the shop was still going strong. No one was thinking beyond a platform for SPIES, but members of all three acts were to be found flicking through stacks of vinyl under the guise of work. Stepping
outside that friendship circle to form today’s roster of acts looks, from the outside, like a first step from passionate hobby into full-on business. “I couldn’t work with artists that I wouldn’t consider friends outside of talking business”, Cusack admits, “but the most important thing is to be able to stand behind all of our releases and say I genuinely love each one. They also need to be great live acts, and open to playing a lot of
Photos: Tara Thomas. Above: Conor Cusack, below: Myles Manley
f ever there were a labour of music-scene love, it must be starting a record label: it’s expensive, time-consuming and is likely to reward only in some good nights and better friends. Cynics could point to Conor Cusack’s own rockers SPIES as a major motivation behind loveable DIY start up Trout Records – the Factory-edged indie rockers are easily the label’s highest profile asset – but it’s a view that would quickly seem presumptuous if you’d ever spoken to Cusack himself.
Feature Trout Records
shows. That’s how we’ll sell records.” It’s a simple strategy, perhaps, but also lacks the poppy, targeted cynicism that’s become a transparent characteristic of modern day major labels. PolyGlove play gorgeous yet abrasive modern house beats. Myles Manley riddles his quirky pop dynamic with explicitly radio unpalatable language, rendering his witty repertoire a tough sell, and Tandem Felix – whose unreleased new EP has Cusack effusive with praise – are wonderful, but too psychedelic to expect to trip
“The most important thing is to be able to stand behind all our releases and say I genuinely love each one.”
upon chart glories. If anything, Cusack’s own acts SPIES who’ve been hailed by The Guardian and NME - are the one that look most likely to make the label some proper money. This is a family, though. Members of Tandem Felix threaten to get tattoos simply because Cusack doesn’t like them. SPIES guitarist Neil Dexter tells us the ‘blasphemy’ contract on ‘CEO’ Conor’s behaviour expires early in 2015, and to come back then for the dirt. Manley claims to be the label moneymaker, and disputes a zero omitted from his advance at a dingy perk of a first meeting turned business lunch. On the ground, it doesn’t sound so much like work; more a meeting of minds bonded by daft dalliances. Trout Records survive because Cusack spends his days at a
mobile marketing company, though releases are slowly becoming self-sufficient. “I’d like it to be a day job, to earn a modest living and to be able to pay artists to record their music. That reality’s a way away; somewhat of a golden egg”, he admits. Perhaps that goose will bear fruit; more likely not. When a label owner spends so much more time talking about his love of his acts music and about friendships, though, you can’t help feeling that this kind of affectionate cottage industry is exactly how things should be. James Hendicott
November October 2014
Feature Belfast Roller Derby
– Belfast Roller Derby Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
“I see wheels, coloured hair and a skater name hinting at a homicidal maniac. At last, your writer has encountered the world of roller derby.” 12
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is being used in the TV advert. Turning to the first article in the issue, my eyes are drawn in curious confusion to a ghoul (or is it a girl?) covered in white face paint, wielding a toy meat cleaver. I see wheels, coloured hair and a skater name hinting at a homicidal maniac. At last, your writer has encountered the world of roller derby. October 2014: My right hip aches with a fresh bruise from this weekend’s advanced training session. An entire section of the kitchen counter is an altar for de-sweating safety gear and owning a skeleton teeth gum shield is completely normal. Having been a member of the Belfast Roller Derby league - Northern Ireland’s first roller derby league, established in 2010 - for just over a year now, I have had the chance to dabble in that
which I first saw in those photographs and put faces and friendships to the names in the paragraphs - a bit like that Ah-a video. Moving into its fifth year, the league “continues to grow in both membership and ambition and a lot has been achieved by the league since our inception” explains RaRa Rasputina aka Dani Mills, long term skater for Belfast Roller Derby. “The sport plays an important role in helping women to become active, compete and achieve well in a sport where most of the participants have began at the same basic skill level. We attract all kinds of people and we provide an important opportunity for women to participate in a very demanding and rewarding sport, with many of our members progressing to play at a highly competitive level.”
Photos: Liam Keilt
ecember 2011: It’s a frosty day and a fierce wind doth blow as I flick through the current month’s copy of AU Magazine. I scan the likes of the year’s impending albums countdown, an A to Z of Winter and a low-down on the next This Is England installment – one that my teenage self is eagerly anticipating given that ‘What Difference Does It Make’ by The Smiths
Feature Belfast Roller Derby
working hard to strengthen our position in the European rankings. We are proud to have been accepted onto the apprenticeship program of the WFTDA (World Flat Track Derby Association) and we look forward to fulfilling the requirements to become full members.”
to strength since that very first Northern Irish game was written about in my little frost bitten-magazine of yore. To think: only a few years have gone by since then. Imagine what the next few will bring. Shannon D O’Neill
In fact, roller derby throughout Northern Ireland has been gaining momentum with teams such as the Belfast City Rockets, Belfast Men’s Roller Derby and the fledgling Tyrone/Armagh Roller Derby paving their way. The sport has truly gone from strength
Six members of the league have successfully worked their way on to the Team Ireland squad and will travel to Texas this December to play against some of the best teams in the world in the 2014 Blood & Thunder World Cup. With their recent victory against the Norwegian team Nidaros Roller Derby - a full WFTDA member team - the future is looking bright and bruisey for Belfast Roller Derby in their latest challenge: to join the prestigious WFTDA family. “Both our A and B teams have competed against teams across the UK & Europe and we’re
Tour Diary Go Wolf
– Tour Diary: Go Wolf in NYC Scott Jamison from fast-rising Belfast electropop band Go Wolf reports back from the band’s recent CMJ stint in New York City
ew York literally never sleeps. It’s mecca to America’s crazy dream, constant noise and commerce, and it’s into this sea of cultures and voices that we arrived on Sunday afternoon, flying into Newark airport followed by an hour-long taxi ride to hipster-central – Williamsburg, Brooklyn. After settling into our artist loft residence, we’re invited to a party gig next door and watch three great bands. The pick of the bunch is Lip Talk, who sound a bit like an experimental Beach House. Everyone is gorgeous and lovely and it’s like being in an episode of Girls. On Monday we make our rounds of Belfast expats, picking up borrowed gear and getting a feel for the city, followed by dinner with our label, Ooh La La Records. New York is big and small at the same time, full of colour and character. We hit the hay after a darts session in a local haunt – they have cheap PBR on tap and Steely Dan on the jukebox – heaven. Tuesday night brings our first show at Piano’s bar on the Lower east side. It 14
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has a rite of passage feel to it and the intimate crowd is into the Go Wolf sound. After our set we watch a New York buzz band called The Due Diligence – their energy is full on and the good times are flowing. Wednesday morning we hit a barbers in Williamsburg. Anthony cuts our hair and happens to be a shit-hot rapper. We exchange details and try to act cool. The afternoon is a Guggenheim trip to see the group zero exhibition followed by a photo shoot on a church balcony. Thursday is sightseeing day – all the tourist traps and more, MoMa, the Rockefeller center and the best bakery in Manhattan, Magnolia bakery. Rock n’ roll. As I write this we are prepping for our second show, a 1am show in Rockwood Hall. Tomorrow we play Piano’s again for a final hurrah. Hopefully by the time you read this we’ll be making the big time and touring the world – more likely we’ll be recovering from a crazy debauched week in the big apple. The Go Wolf train rolls on. Scott Jamison
“Everyone is gorgeous and lovely and it’s like being in an episode of Girls.”
Top: Some downtime downtown. Below: Go Wolf: from Translink to Subway
Indoors / Outdoors
– Indoors /Outdoors
“There’s no time like downtime.” Barry Chuckle
Indoors Halo: The Master Chief Collection (MICROSOFT, XBOX ONE)
All of an avid gamer’s birthdays and Christmases arrive at once in this lavishly assembled and hotly anticipated package. The main games from the critically acclaimed Halo franchise have been given an HD spruce-up, and have been bundled together with dozens of multiplayer maps and everything that the fan could possibly want. It really is a no expense spared, labour of love project that is on the shelf for the same price as a regular release. Ross Thompson Halo: TMCC is released on November 11 Assassin’s Creed Unity (UBISOFT, MULTI)
The first in the long-running series to have been created
solely for next generation consoles, Assassin’s Creed Unity looks absolutely beautiful, and its blend of Parkour, infiltrating historical landmarks and bumping off corrupt political figures is more seamless than ever. The saga of the ongoing war between the Brotherhood and the Templars only grows more complex, and the promise of using open world France as a playground is hugely exciting – one hopes that guillotines will feature heavily. Ross Thompson Assassin’s Creed Unity is released on November 14
Outdoors NFL International Series Sunday, November 9 Channel 4, 6.00pm In last month’s issue, we recommended you watch the Detroit Lions take on the Atlanta Falcons. Hopefully you listened, as the game was a thriller, with the Lions overturning a huge deficit
to claim a 1-point win with a last second field goal. The NFL graces the Wembley turf for the last time this season when the Jacksonville Jaguars “host” the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are arguably the most recognisable team in American football, and one of the biggest sports teams on the planet. For the first time in years, they have a team and a track record to mirror this lofty status on the field. This game will be a chance to see Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray continue his assault on the history books - at the halfway point of the season he is on pace to have one of the most productive seasons of all time. The Jacksonville Jaguars come in to the game with a poor record for the season, but with a talented crop of rookie players led by franchise quarterback in-waiting Blake Bortles, an upset could be on the cards. This will be your last chance to experience the spectacle of the NFL in the UK for another year. We hope you enjoy it. Luke O’Neill November 2014
Feature Sea Pinks
– Seeing Pink – The Return of Sea Pinks Neil Brogan talks expansion, influence and album number four
Words: Brian Coney Photos: Colm Laverty
our years on from the stellar lo-fi pop of their debut album, Youth Is Wasted, Sea Pinks have just re-affirmed themselves as one of the country’s mostly consistently impressive bands with the release of their fourth full-length record, Dreaming Tracks. Confidently building upon the 2012’s superb Freak Waves – something of a breakthrough release for the Neil Brogan-fronted band - it effortlessly ushers in new sounds, as well as new members to the fold. The question remains: for 16
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a band with such an instantly recognisable sound, is it a case of “the more things change, the more they stay the same”? Brian Coney chats with Brogan. So, how have things progressed or changed since Freak Waves in terms of what you’re singing about on Dreaming Tracks? I suppose each record has its own character and this one probably had the longest gestation and more thought, time and money went into it than
the previous records. Some people said to me Freak Waves was a good break up record, it wasn’t really conceived that way. It was really just the product of writing and recording things very quickly over a short period which is how I prefer to work. So whatever was in my head at the time will have been borne out in the songs. This time, recording in a studio and working up the songs with other people, it was a more drawn out process and a huge learning curve. It can be taken as just a bunch
Feature Sea Pinks
different kinds of songs and originally conceived of SP as a vehicle for certain of these but I’m increasingly interested in opening things out and accommodating different genres in there. So that approach was reflected throughout really, in writing and recording, mixing and sequencing.
“I had to learn to delegate and trust other people with new songs, which I found difficult.” of songs that work together or you can read deeper into it if you feel like it. I don’t tend to know what a record is about though until after it’s done and I can step back from it.
Sea Pinks L-R Steven Henry, Neil Brogan, Davey Agnew
Looking back at the writing of the album, what kind of things were you approaching, thematically, when sitting down with your guitar or with a pen in your hand in to write? Themes are things that tend to emerge after the fact, I think. Otherwise it gets contrived and you’re writing a concept album or something. Which isn’t on my list of things to do right now.
out for themselves if they feel like it. In terms of actual songwriting and production, what things did you try differently or experiment with before, during and after the recording itself? I guess I wanted this record to be more obviously eclectic than previous records. I wanted each song to sound different from the one before it but for them all to kind of work within a spectrum or sound palette that I had in mind. I suppose because I’m increasingly wary of Sea Pinks being kind of typecast as one particular type of music. I like to write
It’s the first album to be recording with Davey (Agnew, drums) and Steven (Henry, bass). How was that in terms of compositing and recording, compared to previous efforts? Very different. The previous Sea Pinks records were all recorded at home and I played pretty much everything on them apart from a couple of things here and there. I would totally advocate a DIY approach in general but it can get limiting after a while. So I had to learn to delegate and trust other people with new songs, which I found difficult.
Have your influences changed much over the last couple of years - any notable artists that might have made an imprint on the music? I think influences come from so many things, a lot of the time subconsciously. It kind of bores me to talk about it really. I’d rather leave clues here and there about what I’ve been reading or watching or listening to, and let people work it
Feature Sea Pinks
It just wasn’t the way I was used to working. But I’m glad I did because they are both really good musicians and they really enhanced the songs. We worked up the songs over a few months and at various points it wasn’t clear whether this would even be a Sea Pinks record or not. There was another bunch of songs we recorded at the same time. But by the time I came to mix it I realised it was a Sea Pinks record after all.
it on the record? It came about because I heard some cello work Davey’s brother, Johnny, had done on a Documenta thing and was really impressed. So I thought I would get him in for maybe one track on the record. It ended up being six songs which we overdubbed that day. I’m really pleased with how it turned out and think it really enhances the record and kind of lends it another texture deepens it.
One of my favourite things about the album is the presence of cello. Can you explain your decision to include
Finally, looking over the next few months, what are your plans for promoting the album and touring?
Dreaming Tracks is out now via CF Records . Supported by Women’s Christmas and Gross Net, Sea Pinks play our gig/ club night, No Tomorrow, at Voodoo, Belfast on Saturday, December 6.
ECHO & THE BUNNYmEN
ARKONA, SKáLmöLd FRIdAY 14 NOVEmBER mANdELA HALL
TUESdAY 20 JANUARY mANdELA HALL
+TW!TCH RESIdENTS SATURdAY 22 NOVEmBER BUNATEE
TUESdAY 17 FEBRUARY mANdELA HALL
FRIdAY 5 dECEmBER mANdELA HALL
THURSdAY 18 dECEmBER mANdELA HALL
We have a show in London coming up and another one in Belfast in December and some more stuff planned for early next year which hasn’t been announced yet. I’m really keen to play shows right now cos we had a long time off there to work on the record, almost a year and I really missed it. So that’s the priority for now.
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& TICKET INFO
THURSdAY 12 mARCH mANdELA HALL
TUESdAY 5 mAY BAR SUB
– Exit Plan
on November 20. Supported by fast-rising Cork electronic artist Ellll (check her out on page 7), this is certain to be a dark and intense night of pummelling sonics, earthshaking bass and moments of sublime beauty.
Seven comprehensively Thin Air-approved Irish happenings taking place in November Don’t sit in all the time. Sheesh.
Dublin Beatles Festival NOVEMBER 7-9 Hey, Jude, you know all those people that have uttered to you - without the slightest hint of doubt - “The Beatles – they are definitely the best band of all time”? Well, those people are 100%, factually, unerringly correct. Which brings us very comfortably to the Dublin Beatles Festival - the Ronseal of festivals. Details here: dublinbeatlesfestival.com Northern Ireland Music Prize 2014 Mandela Hall, Belfast NOVEMBER 15
NI alt-rock legends Therapy? will be performing their seminal album Troublegum at this year’s NI Music Prize, which will also see nominated acts Robyn G Shiels, More Than Conquerors and Sullivan & Gold play on the night; truly, something for everyone (who likes music). Kab Driver, Colourman (live), Dimebag DJs Redbarn Gallery, Belfast NOVEMBER 8
Belfast BYO club night Dimebag Sessions returns
in some style this month, with electro-funk maestro Kab Driver playing a DJ set alongside local electronic producer Colourman. With live visuals and painting, as well as the Dimebag DJs warming things up with a mix of Italo disco and acid house, it promises to be one party not to miss.
Conan, Bast, Slomatics Voodoo, Belfast NOVEMBER 21 Supported by Belfast sludgedoom overlords Slomatics and London trio Bast, selfproclaimed “caveman battle doom trio” Conan will almost certainly permanently bastardise the foundations of the Fountain Street venue, skilfully inducing irreparable whiplash for those with the sense to make an appearance in the process.
Dublin Book Festival NOVEMBER 13-16 Who doesn’t love a good book? Imbeciles and reprobates, that’s who. Returning from November 13-16, Dublin Book Festival will take in countless readings, talks, launches and more in what’s set to be three days of downright diggable discourse. Piqued? Peek dublinbookfestival.com
Kinnego Records presents: New Yen EP Launch The Menagerie, Belfast NOVEMBER 22
Finally, local electronic wizard Boxcutter and producer and DJ Defcon will release their collaborative EP New Yen in everyone’s favourite* Saturday night sweatbox, the Menagerie. Support on the night comes from the ever-brilliant Kaidi Tatham and local duo Ken & Ryu. Expect loud beats for the head and feet. *may not be supported by statistics or any sort of quantitative evidence.
Tim Hecker, Ellll The Button Factory, Dublin NOVEMBER 20 A year on from the release of extraordinary seventh solo album, Virgins, Canadian ambient master Tim Hecker makes his return to Dublin for a show at the Button Factory
Primer Fatti Burke
Primer: Fatti Burke
n this month’s installment of Primer – a feature looking at some of the country’s most promising and downright talented artists - Sinead Byrne talks to curiously-named Dublin illustrator Fatti Burke about inspiration, intuition and being positively Googleable. First off, can you tell us how you came up with the name ‘Fatti Burke’ aand why you chose to use it as your branding? When I was in college, I knew that being ‘Googleable’ was pretty important, as is having a good web presence. Unfortunately for me, there’s a very successful actress called Kathy Burke which kind of hindered that for me, so I reverted to a nickname I had growing up when my
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brother would tease me, calling me Fatty, cause it rhymes I guess. And then it just kind of stuck! I think it’s funny, but people sometimes have a hard time actually calling me that to my face.
in college. So a lot of the work I’m inspired by are by picture book artists (Roger Hargreaves/Quentin Blake/ Shel Silverstein) and artists in the music industry (SoMe, Kate Moross, Julian Opie).
What inspires you to create your work? It varies really. A lot of the time I’m inspired by things people say, and just the small things around me - my friends, my food and my personal experiences. Work with what you know, I guess.
What materials do you use to illustrate your work? Can you describe the process? I work mainly in Photoshop and Illustrator, usually starting on paper and completing my final drafts digitally. It used to be a much fussier technique but I’ve got it all pretty streamlined now, so the process comes very naturally especially since I bought my Bamboo tablet.
How would you describe your style? Intuitive? I don’t know, I don’t really think about it too much. I just work in the style that comes most naturally to me, and although it changes and evolves from week to week, there’s still a crudeness and messiness in my style that I don’t think I’ll ever be rid of. But I kind of like that. Who are your biggest influences? I’m terrible, I don’t know a lot about art for an artist, probably down to the fact that I mitched on a lot of my lectures
Primer Fatti Burke
Photos: Mark Earley
How is your studio set up? Can you talk us through a typical work day? It’s literally just a room with a desk at the back of our house, but the internet is pretty bad in here so now and again I have to go downstairs to send large files or whatever. I have a blackboard with a list of stuff to do each day, plus all my bits and bobs right there paintbrushes, poscas, printer, cutting mat - to make my life easier. What would be your dream commission? I’m going crazy about writing my first children’s book, because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but I just need to get my story down before I go crazy on the illustrations. I’m still stuck between doing something that matters, that teaches children things that they really need to
know, or to just do something really goofy and fun. I could do both I guess! Just need to find the time.
my head what I think it should look like. Can you tell us about the illustration you created exclusively for us? This piece is based on the breakfast I make for myself most weeks in the studio, and since we are talking about my work, I thought there’d be nothing better to show you than what I eat before I start drawing stuff! I call it the Fatti special, cause I love it but it will probably be what pops the next button on my jeans.
Food illustration is an area you’re particularly interested in. Can you discuss this with us - how you got into it, why you enjoy it, etc.? I was only talking about this with a friend yesterday, actually! I don’t know why I like it so much. It might have something to do with my perception of food, and how I love cooking at home. I’m just really comfortable around the kitchen, and ingredients are something that I don’t need to think too much about when it comes to visualising them. I mean, I know what most foods look like, so I get to illustrate food in a freer way than perhaps a car or a person, as I already have it in
– Reviews that old Coldplay fans have been crying out for for years. It’s all executed with such ease that you’d think they’d been together for a lifetime.
Silences EP: Sister Snow Since the release of Nevernames earlier this year Silences have found themselves the centre of attention. One of the hardest working bands Ireland has to offer, they’ve been tirelessly gigging up and down the country with an appearance at Electric Picnic to boot, so it comes as some surprise that they’ve had time to release their superb second EP Sister Snow. It’s hard to believe how a band this young can produce a record so immersive and involving. ‘Sister Snow’ is a prime example of doing it right; the title track gently whisking you away on a joyous and delightful journey, whilst ‘Stones’ has the sort of mellow and inspiring sound 22
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It’s not all lullabies and ballads though – the highlight of the record ‘Chase Me Home’ brings everything to a close in an exceptionally rousing fashion leaving you wanting more. It’s moments like this when you wonder, after creating something so whimsical and satisfying, what’s next for the five-piece from Armagh? If it’s anything at all like Sister Snow then we’re in for a treat. James J Magill
North Side Drive Snow//Sea//Sky Another gentle turn in the road for North Side Drive,
the solo outlet for Former Monarchs sticksman Jonathan Pearson’s neoclassical/post-rock leanings, Snow//Sea//Sky sees the composer turn his attention to themes of nature, specifically the elements and seasons. These turns of mood, taken in good time over the EP’s runtime, are reflected perfectly in these pieces. ‘Snow’, for instance, is beautiful, stark in its beginnings, before building up in a gentle fall of electronic white noise which passes in and out of the rest of the song. ‘Sea’ provides as terse and subtly turbulent an interlude as suggested, while ‘Sky’ rounds out the triptych in dreamy, upward-gazing fashion. Play with dynamics and textures throughout the record, kept brief and layered by Pearson’s love of simplicity and atmosphere, make for a joyous listen from a composer and musician on the ascendant. Mike McGrath Bryan
wheeze. And all the while, crucially, guitars jangle.
Meb Son Sol Southpaw Niños
Photo: Princess by Isabel Thomas
Right from the opening seconds, Southpaw Niños sets out its stall - jaunty, ragged pop. It wears the trappings of folk, but like the Waterboys’ Fisherman’s Blues before it, this is still pop music through and through. And frankly, that is no bad thing. But unlike The Waterboys’ Mike Scott, Mickey McCullagh is no firebrand poet, spitting sermons from his pulpit on the prow of a ship being pulled beneath the waves. Instead, the mood is relaxed and playful, the emphasis on a warm, laidback charm. This is what The Waterboys would have sounded like if Scott was actually Irish. Banjos and mandolins twang, whilst fiddles swoon, and harmonicas
McCullagh was formerly the guitarist and backing vocalist in indie-popsters Colenso Parade, and that band’s brand of whimsical jangle-pop is still at the core of these songs. Strip back the instrumentation of songs like ‘I am From Nowhere’ and ‘Not Young Anymore’, and you’ve got indie guitar music. When the songs veer into more Irish trad territory, they’re not on as sure footing.
Princess Molly Is the titular Molly a who or a what? Whether it soundtracks a comedown or an opiate-like romance, it’s a sublime, eight-minute example of how to give a song room to breathe without letting it collapse under the weight of its own ambition. In all of its amble-paced junkie looseness, ‘Molly’ tips its proverbial hat towards the finest Eno-produced dream pop in its cathedral-evoking spaces, with glistening, glassy Beach House lead lines, underpinned by gently strummed, subtly autumnal Dirty Three-esque guitar textures. This is probably the finest thing the Dublin duo have put their name to so far, which is saying something. Stevie Lennox
But none of this matters when there’s such charm on display, with every song positively rearing to grab you for a dance, or buy you a pint. It’s not the finished article, but my goodness, it’s an exhilarating opening shot. Steven Rainey
– Live The Thin Air & Nialler9 at Output Belfast
osted as part of the inaugural Output - Northern Ireland’s largest ever one-day conference and showcasing event, no less - we teamed up with Nialler9 to showcase four of the country’s finest acts in Belfast’s Black Box on Thursday, October 16. Here’s a selection of Colm Laverty’s photos from the show, which featured mindexpandingly awesome sets from Autumns, Contour, Ships and our headliners, Cork psych-rock maestros The Altered Hours.
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to play with only an acoustic guitar in hand, quipping that replacing the other lads would “feel like cheating on a spouse - or two, in this case.”
Hard Working Class Heroes 2014
Photos: Isabel Thomas. Top: Little Xs For Eyes, right: Ham Sandwich, bottom: Fight Like Apes
icking off at the start of the harvest season, Dublin’s Hard Working Class Heroes festival bears a fresh crop of the country’s ripest talents. The concept is simple: three nights, seven venues and one hundred emerging Irish acts. The fun of the game is darting around Dublin’s city-centre bars to catch as many of the half-hour acts as possible and, with the variety of venues participating, exploring the city’s nightly outlets proves almost as exciting as the acts themselves. Now over a decade old, the festival has routinely rendered rising stars of the Irish music scene, and this year featured no shortage of talent, and talent that hustles, at that. Better still, as with other years,
Where Ham Sandwich, Little Xs For Eyes and honorary Heroes Fight Like Apes well and truly deliver, a stunning light show and state-of-the-art acoustics sees Meetinghouse Square dazzle with fun poprock, the lantern-strung circus tent and old brick of Grand Social echo the nostalgic serenity of folk numbers and the Workman’s lends its sinister lair to new-age synth and electro-pop artists, including Dear Desert, whose daring high-octave vocals falls beautifully on mood-imbued arrangements redolent of Eighties synth-pop pioneers. Joe Madsen
the informal, often witty banter between numbers delineates the festival as a leveled conversation between artist and community. “This’ll be on an album before the end of the year... the question is, what year?” jokes solo folk artist Elephant. HWCH belongs not to the glory-seekers, but to the laborers - the literal heroes. Walpurgis Family, after years and albums of playing, are still cranking out zany 90’s-style alt-rock jams despite two of them now raising infants, Elsewhere, Ciaran Lavery’s strong, raspy tenor sounded off folk hymns of a blue-collar legend, and while normally performing with two other band-mates who could not attend, Lavery feels compelled
Not Gospel Twin Peaks
– Not Gospel
ecently, I had the pleasure of talking to songwriter Vashti Bunyan. She’s released three albums in forty years, which is a slow output by anyone’s standards. Her new one, Hartleap, is likely to be her last. “I just don’t have anything else I want to write about,” she said, and truthfully, I knew what she meant.
And now I hear that David Lynch has got the kettle on, brewing up another cup of damn fine coffee, preparing to bring Twin Peaks back to our screens. And whilst the internet has gone wild with delight, I’m left with a sinking feeling in my bones. I first caught the show on a re-run in the early 90s, and was enthralled by it, despite not really knowing what was going on. Which, in some respect, was the point. But to think of the show outside of the context of the 1990s is difficult. The show resembled the 50s, but was clearly ‘modern’, and poor, doomed Laura Palmer, the show’s ill-fated focus, could only really have existed in the self-referential 90s world that Twin Peaks created. All of a sudden, back in 1990, people started drinking black coffee, eating pie, and getting smart haircuts, not because that was what they did, but because it was
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what Twin Peaks showed them they should be doing. None of it was real of course, but that, in some respect, was the point. The thought of Twin Peaks in 2014 feels somewhat redundant, a desperate attempt at recreating a thing that never actually existed. Lynch has hinted that it’s not a re-boot, but a continuation, somehow accounting for the decades that have passed in between the end of the second series, and now. But do I want to see a slightly saggy Kyle MacLachlan portraying an older version of Agent Dale Cooper, struggling to use the internet, and trying to get WiFi in the Great Northern Hotel? Will I be filled with a nostalgic glow as he sips a cup of damn fine coffee? Will I care what happened to him in the interim? Will Laura Palmer still be dead? But, like Vashti Bunyan, is David Lynch merely taking his time to come back to something that’s important to him? As he resurrects Twin Peaks, and runs the risk of tarnishing the legend, will we turn away from the original? Perhaps that, in some respect, is the point? Steven Rainey
Not Gospel Twin Peaks
Playing to Type
– Playing to Type In Defence of Musicians Turned Actors
The strongest film performances by musicians – from an authentically otherworldly David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth (Roeg, 1976) to a fiercely empathetic Courtney Love in The People Vs. Larry Flynt (Forman, 1997) – are the result of uncanny consonances between performer and material. True movie stardom exists when, for the duration of a film, the performer and the part seem not fused but interchangeable, and these examples capture that strange alchemy. 28
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Likewise Deborah Harry in Videodrome (Cronenberg, 1983), nailing the glazed hauteur she pursued, with mixed results, on her 1981 solo LP, KooKoo. Even Madonna, much maligned for her tone-deaf lunges at the screen, found a perfect fit in Desperately Seeking Susan (Seidelman, 1985). Björk’s fraught outing in Dancer in the Dark (Trier, 2000), meanwhile, is startling precisely because it’s unclear how much of it is “acted”. Some musicians have used their inbuilt otherness to striking effect in smaller roles – Tom Waits’ demented Renfield in Dracula (Coppola, 1992), for instance, or Antony’s brief but affecting appearance in Animal Factory (Buscemi, 2000). On other occasions, the connection between performer and part is more obscure, as in Silkwood (Nichols, 1983), with Cher – presumably no stranger to ridicule – giving
Debbie Harry: Blondie goes Brunette
usicians turned actors get a hard time, often dismissed as dilettantes whose egos won’t permit them to stick to what they’re good at. This is unfair for several reasons, not least because great film performance needn’t involve much “acting”, in any conventional sense. The screen craves emblems, and for this reason, musicians – with their iconic personae – can make for tremendous film performers, embodying a part without having to act it.
a soulful supporting turn as a blue-collar lesbian in a small community. Of course, it helps when a performer has many personae, as in the case of cult musician par excellence Will Oldham, whose association with American independent cinema includes a role for John Sayles (Mattewan, 1987), and two for Kelly Reichardt – a lead in Old Joy (2006), and an unforgettable cameo in Wendy & Lucy (2008). Musicians may not always make actors, but cinema has never really been about acting anyway. David Turpin
88mph Kraftwerk Autobahn
– 88mph Kraftwerk – Autobahn
utobahn was Kraftwerk’s big breakthrough. The title track was a revolutionary worldwide hit and suddenly the Düsseldorf automatons were household names. It heralded a decade-long string of electronic pop treasures that inspired their peers and furnished generations of electroheads with imagination and possibilities. This, however, was no overnight success story. Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider, as Kraftwerk, had already released three albums of experimental arty instrumentals employing more traditional instruments. The West German Krautrock scene they formed part of seemed unlikely ever to
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produce commercial music, but Kraftwerk’s repetitive rhythms were more gentle than those of Neu! and their weirdness a little more covert than that of say Can or Faust. Autobahn then saw the first introduction of a bevy of electronic elements (many invented and built by themselves) and, for the first time, vocals. The ‘Autobahn’ single, with its perpetual pulsing beat and occasional sound effects, delivers a three minute taste of life on the road in Germany. It is however drastically abridged from the mammoth twenty-two minutes that constitutes Side One. In this context, the listener can sit back and experience, in real time, the journey north from Bonn to Cologne on Bundesautobahn 555. It’s an engrossing sensory adventure, the natural sonic patterns of a six-lane motorway propelling the music beautifully. However, with the furore that surrounded the hit single, it’s easy to overlook how transitional this album is and
how far Kraftwerk still were from the pure electropop that would become their signature sound. Side Two, a suite that leads us through a starry night to daybreak, reverts quite heavily to the sound of their earlier output. ’Kometenmelodie 2 (Comet Melody 2)’ embraces the new direction wholeheartedly, but its preceding counterpart is a defiantly minimalist affair. ‘Mitternacht (Midnight)’ is the kind of sinister soundscape Aphex Twin would exploit on Ambient Works II yet stupefyingly was released as a single in the Netherlands. ‘Morgenspaziergang (Morning Stroll)’ is a beautifully pastoral essay set in a Japanese garden. It is devoid of all electronics, and is an exquisite conclusion. For many dipping in to the Kraftwerk catalogue, Side Two may be a surprise, but it tidily draws a line under the early part of their career and with the closing two tracks perfects the music style they had been working on prior to finding their true voice. Jonathan Wallace
Agony Uncle Brunch
Agony Uncle Agonising? Le Galaxie mainman Michael Pope is here to help.
nch This month: Bru
s most of you will know, ‘Brunch’ is a union of the word ‘Breakdance’ and the word ‘Punch’. What you may not know is that Mark Wahlberg once blinded a Vietnamese man, Hoa Trinh, in one eye. But that’s another story for another time. What you need to know now is that Brunch mainly consists of eggs, alcohol, WhatsApp and wankers. But enough of my yakkin’, whaddaya say... let’s boogie! What are your thoughts on the idea of a spinoff from the Brady Bunch called The Brady Brunch? Would you watch it? Religiously? ADAM, CORK
Illustration: Loreana Rushe
Only if it was Liam Brady being force-fed Eggs Benedict by Paul Brady in the nip. For sixty minutes. The Sex Pistols and Brunch. Can you link the two with an awesome pun? EDWARD, BELFAST
I used to like the Sex Pistols before they became such shell outs. (It seems I’m going to talk about eggs mostly).
I don’t eat Brunch. It literally doesn’t exist. What, in your estimation, is the correlation between brunch and hipsterdom?
Some people think the growing observance of Brunch in Ireland is a way of trying to look beyond the repressive guilt and inadequacy innate in our culture. Would you be inclined to agree?
EMMA MC, BELFAST
Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea is full of backmasking (a technique where subliminal messages are recorded backward onto a track that is meant to be played forward) basically inventing brunch and ordering fans to eat it. It snowballed from there.
Excellent question, Daniel. I believe we are impatiently dashing from our Irishness into a maelstrom mashup of facile European and US cultural affectations. It would make this old yellowbeard very happy to eat stew with a pint at 2pm on a Sunday but white people don’t want to do that anymore. Taking all that in to account, do you blame me for using heroin so much?
What technological or conceptual advance will one day transform Brunch forever? LEANNE, DUBLIN
You wake up one day, only to discover Brunch has been cancelled. How do you react? Reactionary brunch protest? Streak down the street?
Straight up, no messing about: what do you like to eat for Brunch?
I will drink cheap beer and have sex in a bath full of Shepherd’s Pie.
NEXT MONTH’S SUBJECT IS... KISSING. SEND YOUR QUESTIONS TO ASKMICHAEL@THETHINAIR.NET