To the Theatre James and don’t spare the horses (Part 4)

The Seafarer by Conor McPherson is back again at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. It is a welcome return. For me this is one of the most engaging and resonant modern plays that I have ever seen. It heartily reaffirms my faith in “Art” at a time when many other forms are cannibalising themselves and becoming quickly devalued.

The Seafarer is hilarious, scary, moving. There is more than a cursory nod towards many of Dickens’ themes but for me – all the best stories are about redemption.

The set is great, the cast excellent: Don Wycherley (v.funny), Liam Carney, Maelíosa Stafford, Nick Dunning, Phelim Drew. I have seen the play twice and with Lockhart played by two different actors. Nick Dunning’s portrayal was chilling and smooth, he played the character with an ease and confidence that was subtle and brought an extra chill to the stage.

But for me “Sharky” steals the show, I think Liam Carney is an very understated and potent actor whose presence brings both great humanity and edge to the proceedings.

However, it would be unfair to focus on only one or two elements, every player brings something special to the table that when effectively combined produce a very Irish play; partially about that most sacred of cows – our twisted love affair with drink.

Sometimes the play is more like a documentary, but that could be also because it is easy to detect much that is soaked in real world experience. McPherson has masterfully created a gem that operates as all good art should – on a level that induces a sense of catharsis in the audience, making you feel like you have been through an ordeal and come out refreshed looking at the world anew.

Yes, this review is full of superlatives – but they are all deserved. Go.

Srila Govinda Maharaj Vyasa Puja 2009 Ireland

It was the Grand 81st Appearance Day Celebration of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math’s Sevaite President Acharyya, Om Vishnupad Paramahamsa Parivrajakacharyya Sri Srimad Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj on the 4th of December and on the 6th in Leitrim, we had a celebration to mark the day.

We had a great day in Ananda and Vraja’s beautiful home in lovely Leitrim, with fantastic foodstuffs prepared by Vraja Didi. Many thanks to them for their kindness and hospitality.

It was also the disappearance festival of the founder of the Sri Chaitanya Math and worldwide Sri Gaudiya Maths, Bhagavan Sri Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupad.

“Yes” Live in the Olympia Dublin

Full disclosure, I was never a massive “Yes” fan. I liked some of their stuff and certainly appreciated their musicianship but I found Jon Andersons voice kinda whiny and all the “Pixies and Elves” undertones grated on me a little, so throw in a couple of dodgy Fairlight keyboard solos and I was generally reaching for the off button. They were however the only band I knew who could make me feel like I was going up and coming down, all at the same time.

So in short, I hadn’t listened to “Yes” for years, so when a good friend of mine recently turned 50 and I saw that they were coming to Dublin – I bought a couple of tickets. While spending many years listening to various kinds of music often from the wrong side of a bong (is there a right side? well Yes! – lol) – I kinda forgot about them – but did appreciate them as a historic part of my musical wallpaper.

Their music is actually hard to quantify, straddling Jazz, Rock and Pop they are certainly major players in the prog-rock arena, in fact they pretty much invented the genre. Prog, I feel, has a bad name and this is unjustified as there can be many a moment of brilliance littered through the sonic jungles of Focus, Tangerine Dream, Ozric Tentacles etc. Just don’t expect your wife to be ecstatic as you go shopping for groceries on a Saturday afternoon and you suggest lashing on “Pungent Effulgent”.

Anyway, the gig was bloody amazing. They had a punky feel live that I just wasn’t expecting – it was high energy, quixotic, schizophrenic hippy punk rock jazz of the highest order. I thouroughly enjoyed myself and even though the audience was a mix of young hippy types, aging hippy types, people who looked like they worked for the health board or other sundry government departments, young hippy types who will soon be working for the government etc. There was a sense of immediacy in the performance that was very impressive. It still all sounded fresh after all these years. Steve Howes playing was amazing, the Rickenbacker bass was punky and melodic. Rickwakeman Jnr tickled the ivories and Benoit David stood in for Jon Anderson admirably filling the shoes of the original “Yes” frontman. There were some lovely lush vocal harmonies throughout.

If you can catch the show in Belfast I say go!!

Paranormal Inactivity

This movie is a load of total horse and ushers in a new age of cinema where the audience is gradually and artfully bored into a state of total catatonia – so when anything does happen it seems amazing. It looks like it was filmed on an mobile phone (but that’s the point right?) featuring a gormless all American couple (he’s a day trader, of course his girlfriend is possessed, the wages of sin and all that) with nothing more than a copy of “Demoniac possession for Dummies – a reference for the rest of us” – to pass the time.

Also I could have improved the script. Sample below:

“I think this monster is trying to communicate with us” says he.
“Wow” says she.
“I’ll get a Ouija board so” says he,
“Oh, please don’t” says she. “Get an iPhone instead. Theres an app for that.”

[couple chuckle their last laugh together]
[enter guy with Ouija Board]

“Hi honey, I’m home!” grins gormless fool.
“How could you?” screams herself and storms out of house.

[He follows her and couple then realise that they are propagating tedium and throw them selves into nearest river]

[Demon gives up and gets day job in Micky D’s to pass time before being conjured up again by copycat script writer, he is confident he won’t have to wait long]


Note: I am available for scriptwriting work. Am very reasonable (120,000 Euro per day). Make all enquiries to

I just can’t believe this tripe is so popular and the whole thing only highlights the triumph of mediocrity that epitomises modern life. The scariest demons of all are running our churches and waging resource wars around the planet. Is that not scary enough?

What this movie does show however is that people are desperate to believe in /something/ but do yourself a favour and avoid – surely there are better stories to tell?

New Head Noise EP – “Where next Einstein?”..

Hiding the hand of the divine behind the viel of empiricism
The more we know the more we don't..
Sonically, I have been busy. Or that is to say I have decided to finish something and remove the files from the dusty archive that is my recording studio hard drive..

“Head Noise” is one of my audio incarnations and I had great fun putting this EP together using my new Akai HeadRush and some nice reverbs from the excellent Behringer Pro-Verb. All went via my Marshall AS100D Amp which I love playing with my Fender Jaguar – dirty and sweet..

So all of this went into Ableton Live and was treated with a few plug ins that come bundled with Live (though I also love Stillwell and PSP plugins) – they are affordable and excellent.

So what about the new EP? The new Head Noise EP distills our current fears and phobias about the future, our inherent mistrust of technology and the hope of redemption through personal change. Layers of distorted treated electric guitars shimmer throughout, with ethereal noise loops and spoken word samples from Albert Einstein.

This three track EP is an extension of previous Head Noise work, which Hot Press has described as “interesting and unconventional” and the Milk Factory as a music of “twisted sonic landscapes somewhere between minimal post-rock and dub electronica in its most somber form, creating dense atmospheric structures […].”

The new EP continues in that vein – the final track being a change in mood with the captivating “Blues for Govinda” – comprising of a simple but haunting guitar motif merging with gentle strings and horns, organ sounds and other esoteric tunings also offset the piece.

The EP is designed to be listened to as a continuous gapless piece, so it is best to download all three tracks and import into iTunes or similar.

Feel the noise… download the new Head Noise EP “Where next Einstein?” from the Technica Curiosa Website.