5 absolute bangers you may have forgotten about

Bit of absolute shite pandering ‘journalism’ today! I was carrying out my morning ritual (coffee, cry, poo) and opened YouTube to see Clean Bandit had a new video out for a new song. They are always a good shout for a catchy tune and they always get someone well known or currently trending to sing their tunes. This time, her name was Marina. It struck a memory chord in my head as I reached back to my teenage years to try and place her. The name was so familiar. After much toing and froing I remembered an artist that had a hit or two a while back and then almost disappeared from the mainstream media, or at least my timelines. I’m sure that many people still listened and watched out for new songs. I, however, consigned her to the recent history books. I’m here to refresh your memories with 5 bangers that you might have forgotten about, starting with Marina and the Diamonds.

Marina and the Diamonds – Primadonna
This song is only six years old. What the fuck? I definitely thought that it was at least ten years old. Although, now I think about it, I definitely remember psyching myself up the few months in school before the dreaded Leaving Cert by blasting this full volume in the morning. I gave the bathroom mirror some stellar renditions of “Primadonna Girl” that summer. While the lyrics themselves are completely foreign to me and the song is definitely aimed at the opposite gender, for those four minutes, I really am a Primadonna Girl. And you better believe I gave the bathroom mirror in my current house the same show. Absolute TUNE!


She Hates Me – Puddle of Mudd
I can’t remember the first time I heard this song. I don’t even know if I’ve listened to it more than a handful of times. All I know is that it is a certified banger and any time I hear it I wish I could grow long hair and mosh out. If I grew my hair out I’d look like a young Krusty the Klown, which is ironically my street name in the Bronx.

C’est La Vie – B*Witched
Ah, no one could forget this but it’s an absolute banger and I hadn’t seen the video in ages. Calling this a work of art would be underselling this piece of film. Just look at the matching jean jackets and denim jeans! It is quite possibly the most ’90s thing I’ve ever seen and I also didn’t realize how sexually suggestive some of the lyrics were. God, I love being Irish. Definitely throwing this on the jukebox next time I’m in the Avenue for Thursday Night Football hahaha.

Breathe – Blu Cantrell ft. Sean Paul
I got an iPod nano for Christmas one year off Santa and went out the next week to get some new, hip music. I, a pasty, ginger, freckled twelve year old, walked into Xtra Vision and walked out with the R n’ B Yearbook, 2006. I was a child who knew no bounds when it came to culture and just lived for music. Just kidding, I had no clue what was on the album but thankfully it introduced me to Sean Paul and his wonderful habit of shouting his name every twenty seconds. This song is an absolute CHOON and is the reason why I have a best selling album in Latin America today.

Tragedy – Steps
Ah, this list could have been a compilation of Irish and British girlbands, boybands, mixed bands and so on and so forth. Sugababes almost made it in with Push the Button, and Girls Aloud were close enough too. Just a few decades worth of songs you want to throw on at 2:30 in the morning, absolutely off your face on whiskey-gingers, quickly throwing away your freshly lit cigarette as you hear the opening notes to Keep On Movin’ by Five blast from the DJ’s speakers.
Tragedy made it in because the video is hilarious, you would definitely sing along if it came on the radio and I hope that for humanity’s sake, we forget about it as soon as this post is a week old. Enjoy.

I’ve actually laughed so much writing this. Video after video of pure cheese has just been watched on my laptop. I couldn’t be happier. These bangers just put me in a fantastic mood. To be fair, as much as I might mock them in this post, every person in the videos looked like they were having great craic. Except for Puddle of Mudd. They were thick some girl wasn’t giving them the ride.
Honorable mentions go to Halo, by Beyonce. Everyone should remember every single song of Bey’s, but that one is my personal favourite. Promiscuous by Nellie Furtado and Timbaland was also almost there. Probably more of a banger than Tragedy but this is my blog, and that’s all that matters. Funny anecdote actually, I was in Tijuana, promoting my album and I bumped into Nelly Furtado. She congratulated me on my wonderful blend of Irish folk and Latin energy. I asked her what she was doing in Mexico. She told me she didn’t know where her soul was, or her home. It was a weird interaction but one that I will hold dear to my heart for the rest of my life.

Bohemian Rhapsody: The Show Will Go On

The long awaited Freddy Mercury bipoic opened on Thursday evening in North America to rave reviews. It raced to the top of the weekend’s box office with a projected $35-40 million return. It has beaten out all the other openers this weekend and rightly so. I went to see it in the middle of a split double shift, meaning eight hours on, eight hours off and eight hours on again. I didn’t expect to stay awake throught the whole thing after only a few hours kip but I was rapt with attention throughout.
The film throws up few surprises if any. I saw a few people write that it was predictable and formulaic. I mean, obviously. It’s a biopic of the most popular and most documented frontman in the world. Before the time of smartphones recording our every move, Mercury was in the limelight all the time. Add to the mix that he was a gay man in the ’80s, I think its fair to say that a lot of what he did musically and personally is already well known. Despite this lack of surprise, the movie keeps the viewers attention through witty interactions between the band, tense moments towards the end of the movie and of course, an astounding soundtrack. It helps that the soudtrack is all the band’s catalogue. That band being Queen, in case anyone didn’t know.

Rami Malek is Freddy Mercury. I don’t mean that he is the actor playing the icon, I mean that in this film he IS Freddy Mercury. He inhabits the character and sometimes you almost forget that it isn’t Mercury playing himself with actors surrounding him. That said, Gwilyn Lee as Brian May, Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor and Joseph Mazzelo as John Deacon are all fantastic. Aiden Gillen, Allen Leech and Aaron McCusker are three major Irish talents who star in the movie. Gillen has the same raspy voice as every other character he plays, being John Reid, Queen manager, in this film. Leech, of Downton Abbey fame, plays Paul Prenter, a long-lurking snake in the grass. McCusker plays Mercury’s final love, Jim Hutton. All three put in sound performances with Leech excelling as the slimy Prenter who is intent on playing Freddy against his family, the band.

I listen to Joe.ie and their film review podcast which is very good. They thought that the film was bad and cheesy and only people who didn’t know the full history of queen would enjoy the film as a whole, and not just Malek’s performance. Even though I can see where they are coming from I have to disagree. The film might be a bit jumpy and the early parts of the film seem a bit cheesy but as a whole, the film is very good.

The film comes to an end after the epic 20-minute finale, an almost identical replica of the Live Aid set that Queen performed. Instead of depicting his final years in which he was ravaged by AIDS, some screen caps explain that he died in 1991 and that a charity was set up in his honor to help AIDS victims worldwide. This is extremely fitting as a half an hour before, Mercury, after telling his band and friends that he has the dreaded disease, says, “I will not be their poster boy, their cautionary tale…”. Instead of showing him at his weakest, we see him go out on that incredible high of performing to billions of people all around the world and holding them in a trance like only Freddy Mercury could.

On a related note, are films coming out earlier in Ireland than America? Thought it would be the other way around. On another related note, I’ve been blasting Queen all day and night after watching the film. Shout out to my music teacher Ms. Lucey for introducing us to A Night at the Opera. On an unrelated note, I’m absolutely wrecked and want to sleep for a thousand years.

Boston

A little bit of a throwback for this post. I’ve done a small bit of travelling in my time here and had plans to do some more. Pennsylvania and Nashville were also on my list, as was Washington D.C. to a lesser extent. But I’m happy with the places I did see and the people I got to visit. Travel broadens the mind. To be fair, I did a hell of a lot of drinking on these trips so my mind was probably numbed to all of the life changing experiences but I’ve had my fun, and that’s all that matters.

Back in April I went to visit my friend Katie in Boston. She lives in Cape Cod, in Hyannis. I left the night shift ten minutes early so I could catch a Greyhound Bus from Penn State. Thank God I took those extra minutes because the bus was delayed…for two hours. Greyhound, more like a slow coach….Am I right guys? Guys?
I rolled into South Boston Station after four hours, bleary eyed and crooked-knecked. The views of the city on the highway leading to the station were beautiful. I could see why many J1s and ex-pats choose to spend summers and lifetimes in this city. I was happy to get some fresh hair and after two long years, see my friend again. Katie is hilarious, kind and just a joy to be around. I knew that although my trip would be short, it would still be two days of fun.

We walked around for a while because Katie forgot where she had parked her car but that allowed me to see more of the different parts of the city. Wherever I travel I always love seeing the streets and avenues of a city. There could be a hidden gem anywhere or there could be a cool looking shop. Who knows? I may never be in this place again but I’ll have that little trinket of information in my brain for when I’m an old fart telling nonsense stories to whoever will listen. God help my poor future wife.
We found the car and went to eat. As most people know I’m a picky eater and din’t eat pizza properly until I was 20 years old. Oysters wouldn’t have crossed my mind as a possibility for me and if I had my way I would still not know the taste. Katie ordered some and kindly gave me one. If I was to describe it in a kind way it would be that oysters taste like salty snot sliding down your throat. So give them a shot.
We had a few pints around Boston and ended up in a bar near the street that Paul Revere galloped down when he warned the citizens of the impending British troops. I could almost see it in front of my eyes, the sweaty hands hanging on for dear life as he raced to alert his city about the Brits. Maybe that was the Harpoon IPAs talking. After a few more creamy pints we left the city and made for Cape Cod. We met her boyfriend, Shea, at an Asian restaurant where we drank Muay Thais and ate dumplings. Afterwards, we travelled back to Shea’s house and told his Alexa system to leave us alone. We might have been drunk. After smoking a bit of the funny grass I started to see shapes and got a bit paranoid. All in all, it was a good first day, even if if I had ended the night in a state of absolute paranoia. Don’t do drugs, kids.

The next day was a busy one. We had breakfast in a lovely cafe near Shea’s house. There was no real plan for the day, which is one of my favourite things about Katie. You can have little events that you will do but the rest of the day is up to you. We stopped by a convenience store, got a 12 pack of IPAs and hopped in the car with no destination in mind. It turned out to be my favourite part of the trip. We drove from the bottom of the Cape to the top, passing through or stopping in most of the towns that dot the map. We parked up near beaches and got out and took some pictures. In Barnstable County we stopped by an old lighthouse. I can’t really remember the names of all the places because I was hungover and as I said, had some IPAs to get me through the afternoon, but they were beautiful spots. At the top of the Cape we stopped in Provincetown for a pint and got to walk the beautiful, cobbled streets. The bar we were in was extrmely old and the wood had warped in the floor but it was nice and warm. Harpoon was my new drink of choice.
After a while we drove back down towards home and caught some of Katie’s friends in an improv comedy show. It was hilarious. I had never been to a show like it before and although the crowd was small, the laughs were big. We met some of the performers afterwards at a local bar before going home. Before drifting off to sleep, Lil’ Bow Wow’s movie, Like Mike came on the t.v. and Katie recited the whole of the theme song, Basketball. I was amazed and hammered.

The final day was uneventful. We got food, I got some t-shirts and hats to remind me of the trip and before long I was catching another greyhound bus back to Manhattan. The trip was over far too soon and I was disappointed I couldn’t get to stay longer. However, the buildings don’t mind themselves, and they need a shmuck like me to do the nightshifts and write blogs about places I’d rather be and people I’d rather be with. I would highly recommend the Cape (that’s what people who know the Cape call the Cape, just deal with it, and don’t @ me), and for any J1s or people looking to make money, go when it’s in season between May and October. There’s money to be made from the rich kids further up and there’s fun to be had all over the Cape.

Hallowe’en

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Happy Hallowe’en all! Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening, wherever ye may read this. Today is Halloween, a grand old Celtic tradition that made its way to North America in the wake of An Gorta Mor. It has other names too, such as All Hallow’s Eve, or All Saint’s Eve. This makes November 1st All Saint’s Day, a global celebration of the London girl group popular in the late 90s and early 00s, and also the long running Australian medical drama that aired in the early mornings and afternoons when I was in secondary school. Ah, great times. No, in all seriousness, All Saint’s Day is a feast of the rememberance of the saints. This makes Halloween the eve of the feast of saints and was a celebration of the dead, at least in Celtic culture.

The festival of Halloween came from the Irish Celtic festival ‘Samhain’, which means ‘summer’s end’, or ‘end of harvest’. Samhain brought about the darker half of the year, probably from mid October until mid April. The border between the human world and the spiritual world was very limited during these few days, meaning that the Aos Si, or faeries, were more active in our world. Old stories of the Aos Si would have been passed down from generation to generation, meaning people knew the powers they had. Offerings of food, drink and crops were left outside people’s houses so that their family would survive the winter.
From as early as the 16th century there are records of people dressing up, or ‘guising’, while going door to door and reciting verse for food. In the 18th century costumes and pranks began to appear in records in the U.K. In all likelihood these early guises were of the Aos Si, the faeries, and other mythical Celtic creatures. You wouldn’t find a sexy witch walking around the town reciting old poems for a bit of bread!
Halloween made its way to the land of the free in the wake of mass Irish and Scottish immigration in the 19th century. This emigration from Ireland was, of course as a result of the Famine. The Celtic tradition was introduced to the Americans and over the last 250 years has been made into a humongous commercial holiday in the States. The holiday is no longer solely about the celebration of the dead and the saints. It is now a combination of entertainment for kids, partying for adults and thrill seeking for horror fans.

I loved Halloween growing up. I loved the dressing up part of it and going trick or treating with my brothers and parents. It is magical as a child. Maybe not as magical as Christmas or your birthday, but it is a special day nonetheless. Going to the community hall in Rathpeacon to bob for apples and listen to scary stories was so much fun. Everyone was so proud of their costumes. Vampires, zombies and monsters would all be beaming up, the happiest group of undead you ever did see. If I remember correctly, a friend of mine dressed up as a mini Hitler one year for a competition in school. He looked the part. He did not win.
As we got older it obviously turned more social. Trick or treating with friends turned into a few naggins down the Gaa Woods or the tower road. Dressing up didn’t happen in the back fields as we tried to give ourselves alcohol poisoning.
A few years later during college we were all dressing up again. Alcohol was still a major factor, as it should be, which probably gave me the courage to dress up as a woman in first year in collge. God, I was pretty.

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I haven’t been able to do much the last few halloweens, working the night shift tonight and last year too. It doesn’t bother me that much as it saves me from a mahoosive hangover the next day but the fun of heading out with all your friends and everyone beaming when people compliment their costume is almost childlike. If it weren’t for the booze, cigarettes and riding going on all around us you could nearly be transported back to bobbing for apples and listening to scary stories with your mates.

Nostalgia

At the end of the day, life is built on memories. Every new experience, group of friends and places we visit and live shape us as people. We make new memories everywhere we go. We spend 5 days a week for 14 years with our best friends in school, and often spend whole summers with them in between. We head off to college and make a new group of friends, sometimes losing touch with old friends and only consistenly seeing a handful. It’s new and it’s scary but it’s freeing. We have more freedom. Some of us graduate and some of us don’t. Some of us don’t go to college. Some of us move away and some stay at home. Some of us will get married and have children and some of us won’t. In all likelihood, some of us will live happy, fulfilling lives and some of us won’t. But we will all make memories. Sometimes it is good to take stock and reflect on where we’ve come from and where we’re going.

I am lucky enough to hold dual citizenship and don’t have to worry about overstaying a visa. A number of my friends here aren’t in that position and are forced to stay here until their status becomes more positive. I can head home at any time I want while they have to stay which makes me feel a bit of misplaced guilt. It’s not my fault that they can’t leave. The guilt comes from being able to satisfy my nostalgic needs if they get too high. I’m not one to let homesickness get the best of me but if there was ever a time that I needed to go home, I could. Nostalgia is a fickle friend, filling you up with happiness and longing all at once.

I follow alot of Irish tourism pages on Instagram and Facebook. I watch a lot of Irish t.v, sports and documentaries on t.v. and streaming services. I keep in touch with friends from home all over the world, thanks to the wonders of social media. I like to keep up with what is going on and scratch my itch of seeing home every once in a while. However, nostalgia and memories can creep up on you and leave you in a heap. A picture of Cork City from Patrick’s hill recently just dropped me back to when I was 11 years old and going to open nights for secondary school. Christian Brother’s School was on the list. I had a knot in the middle of my stomach as I walked through the school, knowing it was more expensive than the other schools. Even then, I worried about money. I knew this wasn’t the school for me and thankfully, despite one of my best friends going to that school, I chose Blarney, where I made other best friends. I chose Music as an elective even though I didn’t particularly like singing in public and only being able to play the tin whistle at an average grade. That class brought me my first girlfriend, constant laughs and most importantly, two of my best friends. We had trips to Dublin where we played Bullshit on the train and went to operas and didn’t understand them, secret looks that we shot at each other in class and inside jokes we would laugh about all the time. I went to different colleges than those friends from the class and we didn’t see each other as much anymore. I wouldn’t say we drifted apart but relationships and distance didn’t bring us any closer.

Thankfully, through living in different countriess and coasts of the same country, and with the help of modern technology, we’re still extremely close. Any awkwardness or distance is forgotten as soon as I see these two girls again and we go for food and gossip and chats. We talk about old times and new times and new memories we have all made in our respective new homes.
I have loads of other memories with these two and with all my close friends from home that I happen to think about randomly from time to time. I could list off pages upon pages of memories with other close friends but the fact is this particular picture put my brain on this particular path to think of these particular girls who I am very lucky to call my friends.
Sometimes I do feel guilty that my buddys here won’t get to see their homeland as soon as I can, but I know that in the future when we are all there together for a wedding or an event or just a casual meet-up, we’ll make new memories.

The Bodyguard – Review

The long awaited sequel to the 1992 smash hit starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner has finally come to Netflix. Kevin Costner reprises his role as the bodyguard as he goes on the rampage against street drugs. Cillian Murphy takes on the role of Bobby Brown in a highly controversial piece of casting, while modern technology continues to wow us as Whitney herself is brought back to life through holograms and CGI. Disclaimer: none of that is true and I apologoise to any Whitney fans who take offense.

Bodyguard aired originally on BBC One earlier this year to rave reviews. Richard Madden of Game of Thrones fame is PS David Budd, an ex-soldier suffering from PTSD who foils a suicide bomb attack on board a London-bound train. He is promoted to be a Personal Protection Officer for Julia Montague, Home Secretary and a politician who promotes the very war that ailed his mental health. She is attempting to introduce a new bill that allows the British armies to go on the offensive against countries deemed a threat of terrorism. Or something like that. I don’t pay attention to all the intricate bills and laws in tv shows. My minds on other things, like food and football.

There is an uproar in the public due to this forthcoming bill and as a result, several attempts are made on the Home Secretary’s life. Buds foils a few of these, drawing him closer to Montague and adding a romantic, dangerous element to their professional relationship. However, not is all as it seems. Montague seems to be involved in several dodgy dealings, some including her bodyguard, while Budd himself seems to be tied to these assassination attempts. Every character is in danger and most characters are suspects.

I won’t give away any major plot points. I do highly recommend the show. It is only six episodes long at around an hour apiece, with the final episode running at an hour and fifteen. From the very first scene the tension is palpable and it doesn’t really let up at all. After Budd and Montague become involved in the second episode we see the extent of the main characters acting abilities. Madden is exceptional throughout as the suffering veteran who struggles to decide whether he can stick to his job of protecting the secretary or if he should care what happens to her at all. Montague is played by Keeley Hawes. She is probably best known for her role on Ashes to Ashes, but she is fantastic here. At times charming and warm and at other times cold and calculated, she is always brilliant, even when she struggles to cope with a fresh attempt on her life.Sophie Rundle, of Peaky Blinders game, plays Budd’s estranged wife Vicky, and although she doesn’t get a hell of a lot of screen time she does well as the confused but heroic love interest.

My only problem with the show is the ending. Amidst all the twists and turns the writers seem to have gone with a bit of a cop out. I didn’t see it coming but I wasn’t impressed. I still thought the show was amazing but the final reveal is a let down. Be warned but have a watch anyways. It is on American Netflix!

Chill the Beans guys

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It’s all getting a bit serious, isn’t it? No matter where you look these days there’s another scandal, uproar or incident. Political movements dominate the headlines online and in print. The advent of social media has driven the amount of movements sky high and social issues have taken hold of the front pages and are first on every timeline. It is truly an amazing time to be alive. It is so refreshing to see so many different viewpoints on many different ideas and situations. In a world where many see social media as having a negative impact on our mental health, and it often does, it also keeps us in touch with what’s happening 24/7. There is obviously an undercurrent of people who revel in just being dicks, basically, and want to bring people down with cyber bullying. They send death threats, actively despise people who are not the same as them and make people’s lives a living hell. They hate that people can be whoever they want to be in this day and age. If you are a man who wants to be a woman or vice-versa, or if you are a homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, or whatever sexual, some people just simply don’t like it. And instead of being a half-decent person and letting people get on with their lives, they make it their mission to go and post hateful things online.
The most sickening thing, however, is that because of the vitriol they spew, these people are highlighted and their points are amplified through the media-verse. A certain president of a certain superpower does anything but help things with his constant posting and lies concerning immigrants, gun laws, and now, ‘bomb’ stuff. There were literal bombs delivered to major political figures, news outlets and well-known figures over the last few days and Trump and his supporters find ways to blame the political side of the people who were affected. It’s madness.

In this current climate you can’t escape the events of the world. Sure, you can deactivate your accounts and switch off your devices and just take a step back. You see it all the time with Insta models. They take four or five day breaks from posting from the stress of it all. Obviously, they are stressed because of their constand need for a certain quota of likes, loves, comments and shares. Some people take breaks from social media because they can’t hack watching everybody’s constant optimism and success. It’s okay to take breaks and look after yourself. But it’s also okay to realise that despite the seriousness of it all, we all lead our own lives.
I mean, look at this post I’m writing. I originally intended to write, “It’s all getting a bit serious, isn’t it?”, and then go on a funny rant about things that are serious that shouldn’t be. I will write that too, someday soon, but this post derailed into another commentary on social media and people getting riled up. In related news, I found out this morning that Ali is apparently being removed from the Simpsons because of people getting annoyed that he is a racist depiction of Indian Americans. Where were ye for the last 20 years! Goosfraba, goosfraba.

I’ve never been enamored by politics and once voted for a Fianna Fail candidate because she was a bit of a ride. That’s sexist, I now know through the glory of twitter but I honestly don’t care. It’s just too serious now. It’s always been serious. The world is too serious. I can’t watch a feckin’ tv show now without worrying whether its racist, homophobic or insensitive to something. I’m tired of it all.
I’m going to stick to the humour and hope it sticks. I’ll be going to school for journalism in the new year and can’t wait to start my career in movie and sports reviews. It won’t change the world but at least I’ll be able to actively turn a blind eye to all the serious stuff. Hopefully. Oh God I hope so.

A Star Is Born: Review

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A bit late to the party here but I finally got to check out Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, a retelling of A Star is Born. This is the fourth version of the 1937 original film, with Judy Garland playing the star in 1954 and Barbra Streisand playing the same character in 1976. Lady GaGa and Bradley Cooper play the two main characters. Gaga is Ally, a waitress and sometimes performer named Allie, who is discovered by alcoholic and worn out country music star Jackson Maine, played by Cooper. The cheek of him putting himself in his own film. Brazen out!
The film follows the romance that immediately blossoms between the two and the burgeoning career of Allie as she eventually begins to outshine her lover and partner. She lands record deals and primetime entertainment television show appearances while he is being replaced in Roy Orbison tribute bands. Cooper’s Jackson slides deeper into depression and begins to lose his battle with addiction. Following a successful stint in rehab after almost ruining Allie’s career in a drink and drug fuelled Emmy Awards Night (as per), he realises he is holding her back. In a gut punching ending he sets her free and Allie delivers us his final gift: a love song he wrote for her in the event that he would ever leave. We finish with a close-up on her face as she looks deadpan into the camera and although she has made money and won awards throughout the feature, finally a star is born.

Personally, I think that I let too many people tell me this movie was brilliant before I saw it. It was good. It was really good. I love a good rom-com and I love a good musical. As much as they tear me apart Lisa I love an emotional ending. This movie had every one of those in spades and I really enjoyed the movie. However, I had read so many good reviews and heard tell of the wonders of the movie that I just had too high of an expectation. The Imdb rating is also 8.3 which should make it one of the best films of all time. Voting systems can be skewed but I would put the rating in the mid 7s.
The film starts out slow despite the presence of some boozy rock n’ roll and riveting French tones. After Allie joins Jack on tour the film becomes more lively but as a result of this it almost becomes too jumpy. Granted, I am being a bit too critical here because at 136 minutes, the film is long enough but still, it could have been fleshed out more. We jump from the lovers being happy and joyous to being at each other’s throats the next. Perhaps that’s a perfect reflection of the rock and roll/popstar lifestyle coupled with addiction and I’m just a doorman on the nightshift who’s more Indie pop/rock and IPAs. C’est la Vie.

I truly did think this film was fantastic. The soundtrack is brilliant and there are some standout tracks climbing the charts right now. The best part of the film was definitely the chemistry between Cooper and GaGa. Lady’s acting wasn’t on par with someone with the calibre of Cooper throughout the whole film but there was a rawness about her performance that struck a chord (pun intended). It also helps that she has an amaxing voice and is already a global superstar. The scene where she is dragged on stage to sing her original song with Cooper that he arranged for her is nothing short of spine-tingling. Her unsuredness and half-embarrassment at singing her song is adorable and makes you root for the character from there until the end of the film. So go for the tunes, go for the emotions. Go if you want to see Lady Gaga’s nipple around halfway  through the movie. Go for the love of it all!

Black 47: A Powerful Revenge Tale

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One of the most highly anticipated Irish films in recent years, this was released in the U.S last Friday. Well-known Irish stars Sarah Greene, Moe Dunford and Stephen Rea star alongside Australians Hugo Weaving and James Frecheville and the legend that is Jim Broadbent. Barry Keoghan, the rat from Love/Hate is continuing his rise as a genuine acting talent and for once, he plays a character with redeemable qualities. Some of you might know Dermot Crowley, who plays a judge who revels in dealing out harsh punishments, from the series Luther, in which he plays Idris Elba’s beleagured and suspicious boss. All in all, the film boasts a strong cast and the performances don’t lie.

The film opens with Hannah, played by Weaving, a drunken English officer with the Irish Constabulary. He is interrogating a young Irishman who is a suspect of conspiring against the Crown. Hannah loses the run of himself and kills the suspect.
Next, we are introduced to Feeney, played by Frecheville, an Irish soldier returning from war with the British overseas. He returns to a desolate wasteland that was once his home. He is met with the horrific news that his mother starved to death, his brother was hanged and his brother’s wife and children live in fear of being evicted from the home they are squatting in. His brief reconnection with his sister-in law and niece and nephew is cut short, however, when landlords, landagents and soldiers force the family from the home, kill Feeney’s young nephew and leave the mother and her children to freeze to death. Feeney himself is taken to jail where we get a glimpse of his prowess as a soldier and his willingness to take revenge on those who have hurt his family. Killing several officers and burning down the barracks, he returns to the house and finds his brother’s wife frozen to death with her young son in her arms. Her daughter is nowhere to be seen, presumed dead. Feeney stares at the scene and we see a hollow look consume his face and then we are treated to an hour and a bit of gratuitous violence against the British and the corrupt Irish landlords. Happy days.
Hugo Weaving is drafted in to hunt the Irishman down alongside Freddy Fox, who plays Captain Pope, Barry Keoghan who plays a lieutenant and Stephan Rea, a translator who they pick up along the way. The quartet following Feeney and his path of destruction are taking part in an inverse game of cat and mouse, with the cat leading the mice on a deadly dance through the famine-stricken west coast of Ireland. Up until the final battle scene we are never really sure which side that Weaving’s character is on, as it is revealed that he and Feeney know each other from serving in Afghanistan. We truly see the conflict that faced Irish men at the time; go and serve with the British overseas and potentially bring miney back home, or stay at home defying the crown and die by hunger or by hand. A line spoken by Feeney in a scene by night with Hannah is particularly striking when put in context with the events at the time and the black year of ’47 in general.
“When I kill, it’s murder. But when they kill it’s war…providence.”

Overall, I believe the film is fantastic. It might lose half a star for Keoghan’s death scene. While he was good in the rest of the film as the young man who has joined a mission far above his station, when he tries to liberate the grain that Lord Kilmichael and his soldiers are stealing from the people it all just seems forced and wooden. A powerful scene that shows a British soldier seeing the error of his country’s ways and giving up his life for people he has no connection to fell a small bit flat.
Frecheville is brilliant as the Terminator-like Feeney, stalking those who did his family wrong with his cúpla fóclóir and his steely gaze. Weaving is equally as impressive as the disillusioned and decorated former British Army veteran who faces a choice of escape or redemption in the final scene. Broadbent is sublime and horrible to watch as the oily, anti-Irish Kilmichael. Stephen Rea provides some sort of comic relief and the true voice of the oppressed Irish, sharing a powerful scene with Broadbent in which he stands up for the Irish peasants while making the Lord think he is partaking in friendly banter.
The film ends on a hopeful note with Feeney’s niece, who was presumed dead, seen on a cart bound for a boat to America. A bittersweet end to a film chronicling the worst year of the biggest genocide that the Irish nation ever suffered.

This film is playing in the Independent Film Centre on 6th ave. if anybody living in New York want to see it over the next few weeks. It’s also on Showbox, for smart people like my friend Aaron. Shnake.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

There have been plenty of changes over the past couple of months in the upper echelons of the company I work for. A guy I worked with on the overnight shift went back to Slovakia and told me that change was-a-comin’. Then he drifted into the wind as he waited for a cab on 6th Ave. The first known casualty of Thanos’ regime. But no, he knew of some changes coming in the following months as his brother is a super and had an inside ear on the gossip. And he was right. A lot of managers and execs left and went to another building management company for a whole host of reasons. Obviously there’s more to it than that but I am not willing to divulge any classified information on this. I’ve already said too much. They will be coming for me soon.
I’d love to be a whistleblower and go on a documentary where they blur my face and lower my voice. Then, at the end, I’d get up and say, “Anyways, sound, I’ll meet you for pints later down the town, I think this will sort out the rampant problems in this industry or my name’s not Cian Dalton”, and I’d give away my identity. A simple dream, but it is one I want to happen.
Anyways, the whole changing of the guard had me worried for a minute about whether it would affect me and my coworkers in anyway. This in turn had me thinking about all the changes that had gone on in mine and my friends lives over the past couple of years, whether it be jobs, partners, education and the rest. How does one prepare oneself for change and then deal with the aftermath? How does one adapt to a new place? How does one allow oneself to open up to a new partner? How does one start over again in a new job while they figure themselves out? Tough times.

New Jobs

Starting a new job is always a nerve-wracking experience. Once again you have to introduce yourself to everyone and give the same introduction dozens of times over. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been working in retail for yonks or working behind a bar for years; you have to get to know the system people have in place and be as genuinely nice as possible for as long as you can. Accept everyone’s help and take it all in. Get to know who the annoying pricks are and who are the sound ones. Get to know what makes your amnager impressed and succeed on that for as long as possible. But know also when to stand your ground and stob being the ‘new guy/gal’.
I let one guy be an asshole to me for a couple of weeks longer than I should because I thought it was all banter. Then he shouted at me for taking too much cold water from the water dispenser, which is connected to the pipes of the building. So there would never be a shortage of cold water. I told him to take a fucking break with the shit and find someone else to listen to his shit. I disliked him for a while but now we are firm friends and he’s my Best Man for my wedding so….that’s life.

Partners

A change in one’s lovelife will have major effects on the rest of one’s life, especially as the relationship progresses. Sometimes it can just be a fling and both parties involved know that. Ideal. Sometimes you don’t know where the relationship is going but you like the person and want to see what happens, which can also be ideal as long as feelings aren’t too hurt when it ends. Sometimes a relationship can feel so real and true but for some reason it doesn’t work out and you don’t know why and it hurts. But that’s showbiz baby. Sometimes you meet someone and it seems fantastic but you know it can’t last because you are moving halfway around the world. And that’s fairly shit. But sure look, life isn’t that short and technology is wondrous. Keep in touch with them.
I’ve been single for ages and love it. I want to live all over and couldn’t go getting involved with a young one without deciding three months later that I’m going to live in Germany for a while. And I couldn’t do long distance. I’m terrible at keeping in touch with my friends long distance. That poor fictional girl wouldn’t stand a chance with me!

Education

This is a tough one to talk about change, really. The majority of young people in the developed Western world experience the sharp change between being molly-coddled by teachers and parents in secondary/high school to living away from home and being left to their own devices for the most part in third-level education. People can still get away with doing the bare minimum in college but further education such as a Masters or a Doctorate requires the full discipline and attention of the student.
I am going to attempt to rectify my lazy ways before I start my Masters but I put the bare minimum in in college, passed with an O.K. QCA (GPA for you Yanks), but I know I could have done so much better. I have no regrets with my time in U.L. I had the best craic with some of the best people but I know I can do better academically. So I would recommend to enjoy the freedom of college but for God’s sake don’t just sink into it. Do your work and realise you are building your future with hungover, rollie-stained hands.

Everything Else

You can literally take anything life throws at you in a, ‘roll with the punches’ vibe if you put your mind to it. Except tragedy and death. That’s a whole subject that I’m lucky to not have truly experienced first hand. I would never tell anyone who has suffered how to go about dealing with it. But all of the above and everything else, just remember that you are a worthwhile individual who can deal with this new stress and turn it into a positive situation. Ride the positive waves, men and women. #Believe #don’t@me